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6 Cheap Day Trips Your Family will Enjoy this Summer

The following post is from Linsey of Wise, Lille Punkin’ and The Freelance Farmer:


I don’t know about you, but I need my summers to have some zing to them. That’s why I’m creating a master list of fun activities for my family of seven to do that don’t cost much more than the cost of getting there.

Check out my list of favorite, frugal day trips that your family will never forget!

1. Library Book Sale

Maybe it’s just the homeschooler in me, but I can’t pass up a good book sale. Many libraries depend on these sales to boost fundraising efforts and clear their inventory. Lucky for you, many of them offer refreshments (or at least some lively conversation with other book lovers.)

Allow your kids to peruse through the children’s section while you scout out a rare book you’ve wanted to own.  Fine literature doesn’t get cheaper than this, especially when you follow these helpful tips.

2. Holiday Parades and Festivals

The 4th of July is a no-brainer, but a town near you may also be celebrating holidays that are unique to their heritage during other times this summer. Local towns near us have activities to honor their founding members, complete with candy-filled parades, small carnival rides, and craft tables.

You can drive to a town outside of your area for even more adventure.  (And remember, most of these events have cheaper rides and activities than the larger, more notable events.)

3. Vacation Bible School

Regardless of your religious affiliation, most kids can appreciate the finer points of a good VBS. These week-long events are usually five half days of fun, including games, crafts, and a light snack.

While I don’t want to say that they should be treated as free daycare, many parents do just this. To be honest, it is one of the highlights of my summer, as well.  Search your community listings to find out about programs in your area.

4. Local Food Bank

Trips with a charity aspect always seem to resonate with my kids.  We recently took a trip to our regional food bank, and learned so much about the way food is donated, stored and distributed.

Call ahead of time to see about getting a tour of the facility, and make sure to teach your kids their manners before you go (some warehouse equipment can be dangerous if not respected.)  Make sure you bring some canned donations so the kids can see their gifts at work!

5. Elderly Community

You don’t have to have a Grandma or Grandpa in a nursing home to be let in.  Most of the time, if you call ahead, you can bring your entire family in for a visit.  Just be sure that everyone is healthy, and bring some handmade cards for the residents that you visit.

It will brighten their day to spend just 5 minutes or so with everyone you see, and it may be the only visitor that many of these folks get all summer!

6. Local Farm

Where we live, farming is all around us.  Interestingly enough, there are many kids who live just 2 minutes from a farm and have never touched a horse!  If you have a farm anywhere near you, see about arranging just an hour for your family to tour the acreage.

Most farm families welcome visitors (provided you give ample notice and respect their busy schedules.)  Kids can get an up-close encounter with chickens, ducks, cows, and goats for free!

Summer should be as much about adventure as it is about getting stuff done. We often work way too hard during the months from May – August, and it can be stressful to not take a break.

What types of activities do you look forward to doing with your family this summer?  Are any of them free or low-cost?

Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mom of 5, the Community Manager for Wise, and a freelance blogger and writer. She co-authored the recent 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and you can read more about her at Lille Punkin’, the 1099 Mom, and The Freelance Farmer.