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75 Free Outdoor Activity Ideas for This Summer

With warmer weather, vacations planned and sometimes a more relaxed schedule, summertime is a great season to get outside. Unlike in the wintertime, when going outside often requires layers upon layers and protection against frostbite, summer is the time to soak in the sunshine without your many jackets.

And you can get out and enjoy the season even if you’re on a budget.

Many may use the excuse of being tight on money or on a budget to prevent them from going outside and enjoying the summertime season. Enjoying summertime outdoors doesn’t require a big, fancy vacation across the country. Savoring the summer moments doesn’t need memberships to all the clubs and pools.

In fact, getting out and enjoying the summer season can be a fun, free activity that’s perfect for the whole family. From the energetic toddler to the bored pre-teen to kids out of high school, enjoying the great outdoors is a great family activity that has something in it for everyone.

Getting outside is great for your health. With the fresh air, physical activity and soaking in the vitamin D from sunshine, the outdoors has a lot to offer. And it can also be great for your wallet, too.

Wonder how you can get outside with your family and still be smart with your finances? Here, we share 75 free outdoor activities that are perfect for the summertime season.

Get Active

Warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to get outside and get moving.

  1. Go hiking – Find a trail near your house or take a little drive to a new park, get on your hiking shoes and hit the trails.
  2. Play at a Park – Especially if you’re in a heavily populated area, there are often plenty of community parks where you and your family can climb, slide, swing and play all for free!
  3. Jump on a tramp – Whether it’s yours or a friends, there’s no age limit on this fun opportunity.
  4. Play tennis – grab your rackets and check out a free court.
  5. Do yoga – While doing yoga in a hot and steamy room has its appeal, so does practicing your downward dog poses in the beauty of nature. Go solo or find some friends or family to do it with you as you enjoy the weather and increase your flexibility.
  6. Hula hoop contest – Grab some friends and see who can last the longest.
  7. Make an obstacle course – Grab extra furniture and create your own course in your backyard.
  8. Slip’n’slide – Stay cool while getting some exercise in the warm weather.
  9. Shoot baskets – Grab a ball and a friend and have a friendly competition.
  10. Go on a walking tour – Whether it’s somewhere new or in your own town, walk around and explore new things.
  11. Climb a tree – Perhaps an option for the more nimble and agile, you or your kids can find a large tree with sturdy branches to practice your climbing skills without paying to go rock climbing.
  12. Shoot baskets – Grab a ball and a friend and have a friendly competition.
  13. Join an exercise group – Check out groups interested in staying active just like you. Often, these free groups meet in parks or other common areas.
  14. Chase seagulls at the beach – Get some exercise and save your sandwich.

15. Cool off in a creek or lake – Summertime can be hot. Cool off in the heat by heading out to a lake or creek in your area for a free way to refresh.

16. Kick around a soccer ball – A great sporting activity you can do alone or with friends.

17. Play flashlight tag – Wait until dark and grab your flashlights with your kids and play a game of flashlight tag.

18. Fly a kite – Perfect for a windy day, a kite can be a fun way to get outside whether at the beach or your own backyard.

19. Run – Whether you train to participate in a 5K or just for fun, the summer is a great time to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.

20. Toss a frisbee – Head out to a park, the beach or your backyard and grab a frisbee to toss around with your friends or family.

21. Catch fireflies – Wait until dark, grab a jar and head outside to collect those tiny lightning bugs.

22. Play catch – Whether a softball, football, baseball or any other kind of item to toss, grab a friend and throw it around in the backyard, a park or at the beach.

23. Ride your bike – Find a path and get to peddling.

24. Walk your dog – Your K-9 friend needs to stay active, too.

Get Learning

There’s always something to be learning. Take some time during the summer to learn something new, all while enjoying the outdoors.

25. Go stargazing – head outside after dark and look to the skies. Use an app to help you learn and identify the stars and constellations you see above you.

26. Visit a national historical monument – get outdoors and explore a national monument near you and learn about the significance of the area.  

27. Read something – grab a book, a magazine, even just a newspaper, and get outside to read. Whether in a park, the beach or just your backyard or front porch, relax and learn something new as you read that book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf for too long.

28. Go birdwatching – find a large nesting area or check out the National Audubon Society to watch and learn more about the beauty of birds.

29. Visit a nature center – Find a free nature center near you and visit to learn all about different kinds of plants and animals in the area.

30. Pick wildflowers – head out to an open field and pick a bouquet of wildflowers (as long as they’re not on someone’s property). Then, see if you can identify what you’ve picked.

31. Study architecture – whether you’ve lived where you are for years or are brand new, there’s often something new to learn about the buildings around you in a park, downtown area or square. Pay attention to the architecture as you walk around and take photos for review.

32. Watch butterflies – Whether at an actual butterfly garden or just your backyard, these tiny creatures can be interesting to learn about.

33. Take photographs – Walk around your area and capture images that speak to you.

34. Visit a garden – see if there are free gardens in your area where you can visit and learn about the plants there and experience the beauty of the flora.

35. Collect rocks – Depending on where you live, you can come across a wide variety of interesting rocks. Encourage your kids to collect them and see what you can find out about your collection.

Get Social

Find a group of friends or head out with your family to spend time with those you care about.

36. Go to an outdoor concert – check local concerts played outdoors for free.

37. Make ice cream – grab the right ingredients and a ziplock bag to make your own summertime treat.

38. Walk around a farmers market – Browse the abundant fresh food offered at your local farmers market.

39. Clean up the community – From rivers to parks, volunteer to spend time cleaning up around your area.

40. Go for a walk – Have a conversation with your friend while enjoying outside.

41. Visit downtown – If your area has a cute downtown area with lots to see, venture down and window shop as you walk along the sidewalk.

42. Have a picnic – Pack your own food, find a cozy spot and enjoy your meal outdoors.

43. Go to a free baseball game – Check out your local school’s schedule to see if you can go for free.

44. Start a community garden – It’s a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and savor the fresh produce you grow yourself.

45. Volunteer – Find a cause you’re passionate about and find a way to help while being outside.

46. Watch a free outdoor movie – Check out your local community to see if they show any outdoor movies you can enjoy for free during the summer.

47. Watch a movie in the backyard – If you can’t find any community events, pull out your projector and watch a movie outside in your own backyard.

48. Host a barbecue – Have some friends over and share a meal outside. Ask everyone to bring a dish to make it even more affordable.

49. Play games outside – Take your deck of cards and board games to a table outside.  – just be sure it’s not too windy.

50. Make playdough – With the potential for messes, this fun activity is a great one to do outside.

51. Build a fort – Get some blankets, towels and create your own outdoor fort.

52. Paper airplane contest – Grab some extra paper and have a competition, despite the summertime breeze.

53. Water balloon fight – A great way to cool off in the summer heat.

54. Campfire – Grab some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate, too.

55. Scavenger hunt – Chart out memorable places and items either in your backyard or in your area.

56. Set up a lemonade stand – A classic way to earn a little bit of cash, and a way to stay outside.

57. Make shapes out of mud – It’s like learning pottery, but without the extra costs.

Get Productive

Balance your summertime fun with a chance to get things done and accomplish those tasks you’ve been meaning to do.

58. Write something – Take up that writing task you’ve been thinking about for a while but haven’t done yet. Writing and thinking outside can help give you a different environment to work and more creativity.

59. Wash the car – Cool off with the hose and get something done at the same time.

60. Water someone’s plants – Take care of someone’s flowers while they’re away.

61. Mow the lawn – Get the chore done while soaking up the sunshine in being outside.

62. Sidewalk chalk – Whether tic-tac-toe, hopscotch or drawing pictures, sidewalk chalk is a great way to stay outside and decorate your area.

63. Tie-dye t-shirts – Use old t-shirts and dye or just regular paint to create your own favorite shirts, all done outside.  

64. Complete an outdoor project – Whether it’s building a shed or finishing the deck, take your work outside and check things off your list.

65. Do yard work – Who says yard work has to be work? Enjoy the season while making your yard and house look great.

66. Have a yard sale – Make some money during the summer by having an outdoor yard sale.

67. Make popsicles – Whether out of juice or fruit, you can enjoy them while sitting outside.

68. Work outside – If you work on your computer, bring it outside to enjoy the warmth and sun while still getting done what you need to.

Get Relaxed

Sure, going to a spa can be relaxing but so can spending time outside. Channel your inner zen and find ways to relax this summertime.

69. Sit on a bench – head out to a park and chill on a bench and do some thinking or people-watching.

70. Create pictures from clouds – lay out in an open area on a partly cloudy day and look up. See what images and other things you can pick out of what the clouds look like.

71. Sunbathe – Load up on sunscreen and get your tan on.

72. Relax in a hammock – Just find two trees and rest away.

73. Watch the sun come up – get up early in the morning and head out to a quiet and calm place as you watch the sun come up to start your day off with the beauty of nature.

74. Watch the sun go down – either alone or surrounded by your family, head out to a clear area and watch the sun go down for the day.

75. Listen to audiobooks outside – Catch up on those books you’ve been meaning to read by listening to them while enjoying the outdoors.

 

Savor the Season – For Free

Enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t have to come with a price tag. With these 75 easy and fun ways to get outside while saving your wallet, you’re set for a summer to remember.