100+ Cheap or Free Summer Activities
Summer is FINALLY here and I am loving it! I love the warm weather, the awesome colors, and the fact my kids are out of school so we can hang out all day! Yay! The flip side is that sometimes if my family and I don’t plan well, we can get a little bored. To help offset that, I decided to plan ahead – a concept to me which is foreign – lol. Along with that, as Divas, we decided it might be high-time to round up over 100 of our best summer activities for our readers (and us) to enjoy. All of the things on this list are cheap or FREE summer activities! Nothing beats free, right? 😉 Let’s dive into this list!
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First off, we found ideas to fit every person’s needs… from fun summer activities at home, to fun summer activities for adults, from cheap summer activities to the BEST summer activities for kids. Without a doubt, you will find your must-dos for your summer bucket list below. In total, you’ll find:
- Epic Outdoor Activities
- Fun and Flavorful Food Activities
- Entertaining and Romantic Activities for Couples
- Engaging Activities for Kids
- All-Things-Crafty Activities
- Activities for Thrill-Seekers
- Nostalgic Activities
- Out & About Activities
With this list of TONS of our best summer activities, you are guaranteed to find SO much to do!
As a bonus, we had the ever-talented Crystal of A Well Feathered Nest create an amazing printable summer activities list for you as well. Read through all the items we have found, pick your favorites, and you can type them into your free printable list linked below! Or, simply print it out and fill it in by hand. She even left a blank space for you to fill in with the dates you want to complete the activity or the type of category. Thanks Crystal!
Cheap Outdoor Activities
Let’s start with the best OUTDOOR summer activities. In short, summer is all about being outdoors and soaking in the sun! You’ll love this list of our best summer activities that are outdoors! We have brought together ideas for not only kids but couples as well. Basically, these ideas are all SO good that you may even fill your entire summer bucket list with ALL outdoor ideas. Check these out!
- Soak Up the Sun Water Fight Family Date: Add this amazing date to your summer activities list! This is a unique way to get out and soak up the sun with either your spouse or your family!
- Go to a Drive-In Movie: Drive-in movies are awesome! I loved going to them as a kid. Go with friends, make it a family night, or just have an awesome date night. Whichever you choose, this is a must for your summer bucket list! With these cute printables, you can even make your OWN drive-in movie date at home. 😉
- Visit a Botanical Garden: I think that botanical gardens are one of the most romantic, as well as fascinating, places you can go to. There are so many wonders to see. The flowers are amazing, the smell is to die for, and soaking up the sun never hurt anyone – and those are just a few rewards you receive when going to a botanical garden!
- Fly Kites: Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height… Oh, that song brings back so many awesome memories. You might scoff at us when we suggest this one, but honestly, it’s a fun activity and before you know it, you will be having the time of your life!
- Plant a Garden: Summertime is the perfect time to plant a garden – and the joy that it brings when you eat the joys of your labor is awesome! Have a blast planting your garden and see what fun and adventure await. (Tip: If you don’t know where to start- THIS article has some great tips and advice on how to start a garden!)
- Go to the Farmers Market: Going to a farm and picking your own fruit has a sense of accomplishment attached to it. It’s such a fun adventure and you leave with the freshest fruits and vegetables money can buy. Make a cute date out of it with these ADORABLE printables! If you don’t know where to find a farm near you, try here.
- Backyard Camping Date: Camping is a definite must for your summer bucket list. If however, your idea of camping is going to a hotel… try to be creative and camp in your own back yard with a tent. You can even try your own family room! What’s great about this is you still get to enjoy ‘camping’ but you get the comfort of your own home. You can take the couch cushions and use them as your bed, or pile up a ton of blankets. Whatever works for you so you can have tons of fun while still keeping your comfort level to the maximum! Use these super cute printables to make it even more fun! 😉
- Paint Slip n’ Slide: Oh my goodness! This just looks amazingly awesome and tons of fun! I mean, big slip n’ slides are great, but add paint to the equation and it turns it into a genius idea. I can’t wait to do this with my kids!
- Messy Twister: Twister is such a classic game and tons of fun – especially for family get-togethers. Try this fun ‘twist’ by adding paint to the equation. I guarantee no one will be standing for long playing this game! LOL!
- DIY Slip n’ Slide Hockey: This over-sized hockey game is great! I love that you can have the kids be super entertained, and they can stay cool. If you want to make this even better, take this kid’s toy and make your own adult-sized water hockey rink! Get plastic sheeting, spray paint the borders for an actual hockey rink, gather up friends and split into teams, then have a blast playing hockey and get super wet! Fun!
- Night Swimming with Glow Sticks: Again, going swimming as part of your summer activities is a no brainer, but swimming at night and using glow sticks as the lights is just next level! This is a definite must! If you’re loving this idea, check out our Glow-in-the-Dark Group Date Night.
- Take a Walk for Date Night: If you’re looking for the most basic of outdoor and free summer activities, this is for you! You could clear your mind by taking long night walks. There is nothing that will beat the peace you will get by taking a great night walk. Make it a date by using these cute printables!
- Go on a Picnic: Picnics are so great. I love that they can be last minute and unplanned, which make them fun. What’s great is the diversity of a picnic too. You can go as a family, just yourself, or a romantic get-a-way with your spouse. Whichever you choose, it will be awesome.
- Dance in the Moonlight: I know this sounds so cheesy – but honestly, this can be so liberating. Throw caution to the wind and let your spirits soar and DANCE! For a romantic option, grab your special someone and slow dance in the moonlight. Either way, just have fun!
- The Hammock Date: Summer is not summer without taking a nap – but a normal old nap is not worthy to be on your summer activities list. Hammocks are perfect for summer, so taking a nap in one just fits. Relax and enjoy the peaceful sway. Take it a step further by making it a date with these adorable free printables!
- Make a Tire Swing: Oh my goodness – tire swings just scream SUMMER BUCKET LIST, right?! Be creative and make your own – or find a park that has one in it. Either way, swing to your heart’s desire and let it all go.
- Outdoor Board Game: Seriously, board games are a must for summer but a normal ol’ board game is not bucket list-worthy. What makes this idea simply amazing is that it is a DIY over-sized board game using your own back yard as the board! Your kids will LOVE this!
- Water Balloon Piñatas: Oh my goodness – I LOVE this idea. I am always searching for ways to keep my kids cool during the summer. Fill up some water balloons, hang them up, and then let your kids at it (normal piñata style with a blindfold, bat, and all :))! I would just take cover so you aren’t soaked to the max, too!
Summer Food Activities
Summer isn’t summer without amazing food, right? That being said, we rounded up the best recipe and food-related activities for you to enjoy all summer long! These food activities are perfect for keeping you cool and refreshed, AND double as summer activities you can do at home! Here’s to keeping your kiddos entertained while also keeping their bellies happy and full!
- Make Homemade Pretzels: My family loves to go to the mall and get amazing soft pretzels to share. Now that I know we can make our own, oh goodness, this is going to be a great summer!
- Eat Snow Cones: Come on…summer is not complete without eating at least one snow cone, right? Make your own at home and have tons of fun in the process! This will easily become one of your favorite summer activities!
- Get an Ice Cream Cone from the Ice Cream Truck: Ice cream trucks are rampant during the summer. Fill your kids’ memory books with letting them get a sweet, cool treat from the ice cream truck.
- Make a Fresh Fruit Pie: Have you ever had a fresh fruit pie? If not, you are totally missing out! This is one of our favorite summer activities, especially for adults. Make this yummy treat for smiles all around!
- Ice Cream in a Bag: Homemade ice cream is so great, but I had never heard of making it in a bag! This is so awesome! My kids are going to love this!
- Get the Scoop Ice Cream Date: This is the perfect addition to your summer bucket list! Grab your sweetie and get to scoopin’! 😉
Activities For Couples
Sometimes the summer can seem consumed in activities for your children, but every couple needs some fun activities to do together during the summer as well. Let this list help plan all your activities for you! Create your own bucket list with your sweetie to keep the spark alive!
- Watch the Sunrise: Take summer to the romantic level and go watch a gorgeous sunrise. I don’t know if I can say that my hubby and I have ever woken up early enough to watch an amazing sunrise. That’s about to change because this is definitely going on our summer activities list this year.
- Have a Star Gazing Party: The stars are so gorgeous during the summertime. Plan a great date and get ready to be amazed by the mind-blowing beauties of the galaxy. And, make sure to check out these amazing Star Maps that mark a special date in you relationship!
- Watch a Lightning Storm: I love summer storms – and lightning storms fascinate me. Plan a romantic date with your spouse around a storm and enjoy nature at it’s best.
- Watch the Sunset: If you are watching the sunrise, then you have to also plan a night to watch the sunset too. Unquestionably, you will make your spouse happy when you present a night full of cuddling and enjoying nature! This is a must for your summer activity list.
- Have a Nerf Gun War: Have a fun-filled evening with this great summer activity! And what’s even better is it has a slightly competitive nature to it. Get your ‘nerf’ on and enjoy a fun night shooting targets and objects.
- Go Skinny Dipping: Um, I know that this activity might be a little wild, but skinny dipping with your spouse is pretty much a MUST! Throw caution out of the wind, be adventurous, and go swimming in your birthday suit with your spouse this summer!
- S’mores Bar Date: I seriously LOVE to cuddle – so cuddling in front of a campfire sounds like heaven. This is a must for any couple’s summer bucket list!
- Glow Bath: I occasionally will take a bubble bath by myself to help me relax, but taking one with my hubby is even better. Warm up the bath, add the bubbles, and then enjoy each other’s company (with a special twist!)
Free Summer Activities For Kids
We all know it isn’t easy keeping kids entertained all summer long! Let your kids pick their favorites on this list to help your summer be filled with tons to do. We brought tons of ideas together, all the way from indoor forts to painting with ice cubes. Boredom won’t even exist in your house with all these free summer activities!
- Homemade Bubbles: Every kid is fascinated by bubbles. How much would your kids love it if you made your own? Awesome right? Have tons of fun with this awesome summer activity!
- Play Your Favorite Night Games: I loved playing night games when I was growing up. Pick your favorite games to teach your kids and have a blast playing some amazing games! This is perfect to add to your list of FREE summer activities!
- Go to a Petting Zoo: Take your kids to learn more about animals and enjoy nature at a petting zoo. Every kid loves to pet animals, so a whole day full of that will be heaven!
- Paint with Ice Cubes: This idea not only keeps your kids cool but allows them to express their inner artist too. These paint cubes will be a huge hit!
- Play with Summer Snow: Oh my goodness, I LOVE this idea. Take shaving cream, pour it into a bucket, freeze it, and let your kids have tons of fun with their summer snow.
- Build a Fort: You may think building a fort is just for the kiddos, but it is SO FUN to do as a couple as well! Have a ton of fun building a fort with your kids and when they go to bed, grab your spouse, and build a fort of your own! 🙂 This idea is one of my favorite free summer activities!
- DIY Glowing Baking Soda Volcano: Every kid loves to see science at its best – but a glow in the dark volcano explosion? That’s a definite must!
- DIY Marshmallow Shooter: Have a blast with these DIY shooter contraptions and let your kids go wild!
- Make Balloon Rockets: Help your kids learn all about movement and science while still having a blast. They will not tire of this fun experiment.
- Make Soap Clouds by Our Best Bites: After you do this activity, you will never look at soap the same way again. Get some bar soap, put it into the microwave, and voila – soap clouds for all your kids to enjoy.
- Make an Obstacle Course: Obstacle courses are such a fun activity. Have a blast using pool noodles to make an epic course that your kids will want to do over and over.
- Squirt Gun Painting: If you want the best summer activity, then you need to combine all your kids’ favorites – water guns and paint. They will be able to create to their heart’s content!
- Exploding Chalk Art: Make this your kids’ favorite summer activity by making sidewalk chalk liquid, putting it in baggies, then throwing them on the ground. Let them see their creations explode in front of their faces.
- Sugar Writing Tray: Make your own box, fill it with sugar, and let your kids create! This is also a great learning tool for writing and math. It’s just awesome all around!
- Go to Your Local Library Reading Time: Most libraries have group reading times for kids. Call your local library and find out when your reading times are. Your kids will not only develop a great love of books but will grow in other ways as well. This is a must-do free summer activity!
Cheap or Free Summer Crafts
I am not a crafty person, but my kids LOVE crafts – so once in a while, I do them just for them! This list of summer crafty ideas made me so excited to get my hands messy and create something new. All the items on this list seem like something even I can conquer and have fun doing! Without a doubt, your kiddos will love you for these fun crafty activities!
- Make Play Dough Recipes: These little recipe cards are so fun to print out and have your kiddos help make some playdough! What kid doesn’t love making a mess with play dough!?!
- Make Cloud Dough: Similarly, get your hands dirty this summer. Create your own cloud dough and just have a blast with it!
- Make a Fabric Sunprint: I love that with this idea you can create your own fabric using nature! How cool is that? Then make a throw pillow using the pattern you design! This is summer bucket-list-worthy for sure.
- Make Tie-Dye Shirts: I know tie-dye shirts are a bit old school, but they are still just so awesome. Make a bunch and wear them to your next family reunion, or plan a fun group date and wear them! Whichever you choose, have a blast and add this to your summer activities list!
- Home Depot Craft Day: Go to your local Home Depot and participate in a fun craft day. Build your creative skills by being taught by the masters of creation themselves – Home Depot and their employees. You will have a blast doing this summer activity!
- Make a Hot Air Balloon: This is a to-die-for craft to do with your kids. What I love even more is that they are adorable decorations for your kids’ rooms. Love it!
- Make a Paper Sunprint: Find some amazing looking leaves or other items from nature, get some light-sensitive solution and watercolor paper, put your fun items in the shape you like, put out in the sun, and voila – gorgeous and beautiful art. Awesome!
- DIY Wind Chimes: I love wind chimes, but one that I can create myself would make it extra special. This is so much fun and I can’t wait to add it to my summer bucket list.
- Build a Balloon Powered Car: Oh my goodness, seriously, not only do you get to build a car, but it’s powered by a balloon! What more could you ask for in a great summer activity?
- Make a Suncatcher: Get your creative juices flowing with this fun (and free!) summer activity. Create some awesome and gorgeous art with this fun idea.
- Make Your Own Butterfly Feeder: Attract some amazing creatures with this fun summer activity. Butterflies are fascinating so if I could get them to come to my house with this feeder, that would put a cherry on top of my summer!
- Pick Wildflowers: Pick some gorgeous flowers and make an amazing arrangement for your table. Gorgeous!
Get your heart racing this summer with this summer list of thrills! My husband and I love adrenaline rushes. These ideas are full of adrenaline and make the best summer activities! Additionally, we were sure to include some free adventurous summer activities, in case you’re watching your budget!
- Ride Go-Karts Date: My family loves to ride go-karts. They are so much fun! Find a complex close to you and get your fun summer thrills going! If you are stuck at home with no place to go-karting, grab your Mario Kart and print out these cute printables for a fun summer date at home!
- Go Cliff Jumping: Cliff jumping can be such a huge adventure. I grew up cliff jumping in Lake Powell and have jumped ever since. If you are looking for an amazing adrenaline rush doing something that doesn’t cost a lot of money, then this free summer activity is for you.
- Go Zip Lining: Seriously, zip lining has always been a want of mine. This exciting, fun event is a must-do for your summer bucket list!
- Go Rock Climbing: Nature is a gorgeous thing, so being able to climb and enjoy it up close and personal would be amazing, which makes it a must for my summer bucket list.
- Go Geocaching: Everyone at some time wants to go hunt for treasure, so why not do it this summer? I can’t wait to try this!
- Go for a Hike Date: I love being able to go into nature and enjoy all that it has to offer. Enjoy a nice hike this summer and have a fun adventure with your family. You can make it a date and print out these adorable printables!
Totally Free Nostalgic Summer Activities
Dancing in the rain, merry go rounds, skipping rocks….sometimes reminiscing on the good ‘ole days is just what is needed to bring a smile to your face. You will have a blast trying out these fun ideas this summer and keeping the traditions alive for your kids. Some of the best summer activities are just one click away with this awesome list. 😉
- Flashback Date: Have a flashback date with your sweetie this summer with these cute printables! Remember the good old’ days together!
- Race Popsicle Sticks Down the Gutters: I know that this sounds crazy, but my sisters and I couldn’t wait for it to rain so that we could decorate popsicle sticks, wait for the rain to clear a bit, then go outside and race our sticks down the gutter’s currents. It was a blast and a definite must for everyone to do.
- Catch Fireflies: I have to admit that I have never actually caught fireflies, but have always wanted to. What a fun and exciting summer activity to do.
- Sleep Outside Under the Stars: Forget camping with tents – have an awesome adventure out in the open! Just grab your sleeping bag, some cushions, and sleep in your back yard, maybe on a rooftop, a deck, or trampoline. Whatever you choose, you’ll have so much fun! This is one of my favorite summer activities for adults OR kids!
- Sprinkler Under the Trampoline: If you have a trampoline (or a neighbor does) then this is a definite must on your summer bucket list. Throw on some swimsuits, put the sprinklers on, and have a blast with water and jumping! It’s a great combination, I promise!
- Ride a Merry-Go-Round: Merry-go-rounds are simply the best and it’s so sad they are so hard to find nowadays! What I love about them is you can have someone push it while you lay down in the middle and let all your cares go while spinning round and round. There’s nothing better. No matter your age, this is a great summer activity to do.
- Skip Rocks: Go to a pond or lake, pick out a smooth flat rock, and see how many times you can skip it across the surface of the water. If you are like my husband, you can skip it 10-12 times, if you are more like me, then you are lucky to get 4 or 5. It doesn’t matter how many times you can skip it, it’s just a blast!
- Dance in the Summer Rain: As a kid, I loved dancing in the rain. I don’t know why I grew out of that, but I decided it’s time to bring back the good ole’ days and dance in the rain once again. I think this is a must for everyone’s summer bucket list. One of the most perfect free summer activities!
Out & About Summer Activities
Once in awhile, it’s great to just get out of the house and have a blast out & about! We have linked up TONS of fun, free summer activities that will get you out of the house! Roller skating, strolling around the farmers market, going to a baseball game, you name it – we got it here! You sure won’t be bored thanks to this list. 🙂
- Go on a Road Trip: Road trip! Who doesn’t love a good road trip? It doesn’t have to be far to be a fun road trip. Plan a short trip or a long trip. It doesn’t matter! All that does matter is that you have fun doing this great summer activity. Make sure you check out our Road Trip Adventure Box to make it really fun! We also have tons of tips to make your trip nice and smooth!
- Go to a Farmer’s Market: If you have never been to a farmer’s market, you are totally missing out! A farmer’s market is not only filled with delicious food that you can sample, but also full of local entertainment, music, art, etc. It’s a great place to be in and the bonus is you can leave with healthy fresh fruits, vegetables, or amazing other food to stock your home with. It’s definitely a must-do this summer!
- Go on a Scavenger Hunt: Try out our Service Scavenger Hunt, Mall Scavenger Hunt, Zoo Scavenger Hunt or Romantic Scavenger Hunt! What I love about any of these is their spontaneity and ability to surprise the participants. They are tons of fun, bring in lots of laughter, and can be used on a date, a group date, or as a family activity. It doesn’t matter how many people you have partaking in the hunt, you will all have a blast. Enjoy!
- Go to a Baseball Game: Going to a baseball game is a great summer activity. There is an energy surrounded by baseball games that you just can’t get anywhere else. Whether you go to a major or minor league game, a local community game, or a game your child is in – you will have tons of fun doing this great summer activity.
- Go Roller Skating: Honestly, roller skating is so old school, but yet still so much fun.
- Go to a County Fair: County fairs are tons of fun. I love that there are tons of yummy food, lots of people, fun rides and games to play, all in one place. What more can you ask for?
- Visit a Planetarium: Oh my goodness, going to a planetarium can be mind-blowing. Being surrounded by the stars and planets up close really puts things into perspective. You can learn so much from going to a planetarium.
- Go on a Canoe Ride: Have fun on a relaxing canoe ride this summer. Find a pond or lake close to you, and go ride a boat. Maybe even have a picnic while on your canoe ride. Whatever you choose, make sure to just relax and have fun.
- Go to a Flea Market: Flea markets have a captivating energy that is easily spread. Get a taste of what your community has to offer while at a flea market. Additionally, get amazing deals on clothing, food, or art. You name it and it’s probably offered at a flea market. If you have never been to one, this summer is your chance!
- Go to a Classic Car Show: My husband and I have a dream to buy a classic car and restore it to its glory days. Classic car shows fascinate me. I am awed by the work people put into their car, the craftsmanship that is on display, and the love they show. Check one out this summer and be prepared to be blown away.
- Explore a New City: It’s safe to say that even if you have grown up in the city you currently live in, there are always going to be small towns and cities close by that you don’t know about. Search Google Maps to find your next adventure. Pick a place that you have never been to and go explore. You are bound to find some amazing things.
- Collect Sea Glass: I have heard of sea glass, but have never actually seen it myself. As a kid, I would always collect seashells when we went to the beach. This summer, my family is going to search for sea glass instead!
- Walk Barefoot on a Beach: Come on! Out of all the free summer activities out there, this is the absolutely best! Who doesn’t love to walk in the sand on the beach barefoot?! Take time for yourself and enjoy feeling the warm sand between your toes and the soft feel of it underneath the soles of your feet. If you want to have a relaxing time this summer, this is a must-have for your summer bucket list.
- Build a Sandcastle: I have never had a knack for building sandcastles, but I think that’s because I didn’t have the patience for them. Let your imagination flow and create an awesome sandcastle this summer. Even if you aren’t talented at it like me, it’s still a fun adventure to be had.
- Go Snorkeling: Snorkeling can be tons of fun, even if you are at a local swimming pool and not in the ocean! There is something to be said about being able to put your face in the water and witness a whole new underwater life. If you can make it to the ocean, great – because the ocean is full of life and awesome creatures that only snorkeling allows you to enjoy. If not, have fun snorkeling in a swimming pool. Dive for objects or simply spy on your kids, but just enjoy it, no matter your environment.
- Summer Outdoor Concert Date: I love to go to concerts, but outdoor concerts are the best! The atmosphere is just different at an outdoor concert. Bring a blanket, sit on the grass, and enjoy the music! Or, be up and close in the crowd dancing around. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be a hit!
- Do Outdoor Yoga: I love yoga and the calming energy that it gives, but outdoor yoga sounds awesome! Find a spot near you and get your zen on this summer!
- Visit a National Park: Our nation is filled with National Parks that are just gorgeous. Look up one that is closest to you and go off on an adventure. There are some you can hike in, some that are filled with water, and others that are filled with wildlife. Whatever park you choose, it is sure to be a great time that will be filled with amazing memories.
- Dig for Sand Crabs: Finding sand crabs is great fun. They are so hard to spot and even harder to catch. I love the excitement my kids and I feel in the heat of the moment. It’s captivating!
- Tour a Fire Station: Firefighters are true heroes in today’s time. Call your local fire department and set up a tour that you and your family can go on and learn more about what firefighters do for us every day.
Didn’t this free summer activities list just blow you away?! So many of the best summer activities all in one place! You can’t ask for anything more!
Have a great summer!