35 Totally Fun & Free Summer Activities

Summer isn’t over yet! Check out this list of 50 free summer activities that are fun for everyone!


free summer activities

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Christmas decorations and DIYs are popping up all over my Pinterest feed. Hallmark is playing Christmas movies all month long. Hobby Lobby has their Christmas stuff out.

I’m starting to see fall and Halloween crafts popping up, too!

And while I love both the fall and Christmas seasons, summer isn’t quite over yet.

Last year, I enjoyed watching the Christmas movies at the beginning of July and pinning all the Christmas crafts I was going to make in November (and never did!). But this year it’s just stressing me out and making me feel rushed and behind. Summer just started and we have until September 22 to enjoy the long days before they get shorter and colder! Let’s enjoy it!

Because of the pandemic, schools in our area only got a very short summer break. Luckily we homeschool so I don’t have to worry about that. But that doesn’t mean that the summer fun has to end. There’s always the weekend!

I’ve put together a list of totally free summer activities for you that everyone can enjoy! This list is full of free summer activities for families, friends, kids, parents, and more!

Free Summer Activities Everyone Can Enjoy

Outside Activities

Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray while enjoying these fun free outdoor summer activities!

  • Picnics: It doesn’t matter what age you are, picnics are fun. Make some sandwhiches, deviled eggs, and potato salad, and head outside with a blanket. You don’t even have to go far! Picnics in the backyard are just as fun as in the park.
  • Parks: Chances are there is a park near you that you can visit for a nice quiet afternoon walk. Or just find a bench and birdwatch.
  • Swimming: Some pools offer free swim days during the summer so check to see if there’s one near you. Or find a lake, beach, or swimming hole nearby to swim for free.
  • Playgrounds: Swingsets aren’t just for kids. Adults can bring out their inner kid and have fun swinging, too! And who doesn’t love sliding down the big slide?
  • Stargazing: Download a free stargazing app, grab a blanket, and head outside on a cloudless night to look up at the stars. This is so relaxing when it’s quiet!
  • Camping in the backyard: Did you realize you have a free campsite right behind your house? It’s your own backyard! Set up a tent and camp out for free!

Free Summer Activities In Your Community

Even though some vacation spots are opening back up after the pandemic, you may be like me and still not feel comfortable traveling too far from home. This is a great opportunity to stay local and get involved in your community.

  • Tour your town: Pretend that you’re just visiting your town for the first time. What sites are most interesting in seeing? Go out and explore! Or if you’ve seen everything your town has to offer, visit and tour the surrounding town(s).
  • Window shopping: Just because you’re not spending any money doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy shopping. Plus, this is a great way to explore a new neighborhood! Just resist those impulse buys!
  • Farmers markets: This is another one of those free summer activities where you’ll have to have some self control to not buy anything. However, check to see if your local farmers market has free entertainment you can enjoy.
  • Public library: I personally cannot enjoy summer without a good book! Check out your local library for free books, movies, music, and games.
  • Community events: Check the local newspaper or community calendar for free community events.

Entertainment

Here’s a list of free entertainment activities to keep you busy for the whole summer!

  • Summer concerts: Free outdoor summer concerts are coming back! Check to see if there are any free summer concerts in your area.
  • Museums: Most museums offer free museum days, so find a day at a local museum that you can visit for free. Some museums require you to register on their website for a timed ticket entry – which means you can only go during your scheduled time. So plan ahead!
  • Outdoor movies: Around here, free outdoor movies have made a comeback this summer. Check to see if your area is offering these free summer activities. If so, grab a blanket and head out early to claim your spot.
  • Outdoor theater: Some cities offer free outdoor theater in the summer. Check with your local parks department to see if your city offers these. Maybe you can enjoy a free summer musical or Shakespeare in the Park.
  • Public lectures: If you enjoy sharpening your mind and learning new things, maybe a free public lecture would be fun for you.

Free Summer Activities for the Family

Grab the whole family – kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – for these free summer activities for families.

  • Craft night: Turn recycable goods into fun family craft projects. If you need ideas for a family craft night, check Pinterest, or here’s a fun post full of 1,000 recycled craft ideas!
  • Parent date night: Leave the kids with trusted friends or family and go out for a free parent date night. Have a picnic under the stars or enjoy a free outdoor concert.
  • Kid dates: Take each kid seperately for their very own day out with you. Enjoy free summer activities together such as playing on the playground or visiting a museum with a free ticket.
  • Family sports day: Round up the family for a few games of HORSE or parents-vs-kids soccer.
  • Family band: Grab any instruments you have (or make your own) and spend the day recording your own music videos. You’ll enjoy these fun memories for years to come!
  • Yes day: Spend one full day saying yes to your kids’ requests. If they want a chocolate ice cream cone for breakfast, say yes. If they’re asking for one more hour of screen time, say yes. They’ll remember this day for years!
  • Slumber party: Grab your pj’s and sleeping bags and gather in the living room for a family slumber party! Don’t forget to pick up a free movie from the library.
  • Family book/movie club: Choose a family-friendly book for everyone to read and then spend time discussing it. Or let everyone take turns choosing a free movie to watch weekly.
  • Family game night: Family game nights are great ways to spend time together having fun without spending a dime.
  • Family cooking club: Let each family member choose their own meal and let them make it themselves or help you in the kitchen!
  • Make a time capsule: Let everyone decide what to put inside a time capsule (school photos, list of favorite foods, etc.) and then bury it in the backyard. When your kids are adults, they can dig it up!

Free Summer Activities Just for Kids

kid playing in water
via Canva

Believe it or not, there are quite a few free summer activities for kids.

  • Virtual zoo field trip: Some zoos are opening back up, but you can also enjoy a free zoo day at home. Check out this list of the best virtual zoo field trips for kids.
  • Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge: With the Scholastic Summer Reading Program, kids can join a community of readers where they’ll be able to attend weekly author events, play book-based games, and win virtual prizes.
  • Camp Book It!: Camp Book It! is a free summer reading challenge offered by Pizza Hut. Young readers (ages 4-12) have the opportunity to win coupons for free pizza. Who doesn’t love free pizza?
  • Barnes and Noble Summer Reading: Kids in grades 1-6 can earn a free book by signing up for the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading program. The only requirement is that they read 8 books and journal about what they read.
  • Run through sprinklers: Set up the sprinklers in your back and let your kids spend an hour or so running through them.

For You & Your Friends

Suggest these free summer activities to your friends and have fun spending time together.

  • Clothing swap: While decluttering your bedroom and cleaning out your closet, put clothes no longer want into a box. Then gather all your friends together for a clothing swap. This is a great way to get rid of your old clothes and get new ones for free!
  • Game night: Spend a few hours playing fun games like Clue or Monopoly with your friends.
  • Babysitter swap: Swap free babysitting with a friend. You will babysit their kids one night and they’ll watch yours the next.
  • Hang out: You don’t need to go out and spend money to have fun with friends. Just gather together and hang out!

Just for You

  • Go for a walk: Head outside or visit the local park for an hour to walk. You can listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook while getting healthy.
  • Declutter your home: Take time to declutter your home this summer so your home will feel refreshed for fall. Go through every room in your room and get rid of items you no longer use or need. Don’t forget to declutter your phone and your papers, too!
  • Refresh your home’s look: If you’re getting tired of seeing the same things sitting around your home every day, give them a new look. Turn old pieces into new using leftover paint or reframe your photos. Or just rearrange your furniture for a new look.
  • Finish your to-be-read pile: Make a goal to finish reading the pile of books you have to be read next by the end of summer. Go outside and read!

Which one of these free summer activities will you enjoy before summer is over?

If you are looking for more ideas for fun summer activities, check out my friend Holly’s list of 100 Fun Summer Activities Everyone Will Love! She’s shared some amazing outdoor activities that are sure to help you beat the heat and have fun outside all summer long.

Looking for more ways to save money? I recommend reading these posts next:

Here are some great ways to make extra money:

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26 thoughts on “35 Totally Fun & Free Summer Activities”

  1. We have a neighbor who has friends / family camp out in his backyard in tents, every so often. My husband and I thought that was the neatest thing! I think I would be scared to commit to a yes day! LOL. These are all great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    1. How fun that they camp out in the backyard! I think it would be neat to do. I’m not a camping person, so if I’m in my backyard I can just run in the house whenever. haha!
      The yes day can be pretty scary – especially if you have kids that wait for yes day to ask for a $500 toy! LOL
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I agree. And then when winter comes, we’ll be rushing into spring. I miss the “slower” times where we could enjoy the day and just relax.

  2. These were some great ideas, Michelle! I’ve always wanted to tour my whole town and go in every store and just look around. Take a few pics, of course. Thanks for sharing these ideas. πŸ₯°πŸš—πŸ‰πŸ”₯

  3. This is a really great list Michelle. I do have a pile of to be read books, I actually have started each one of them and then started another, I can’t seem to stick with one book to the end, so I have accumulated a pile. Thanks for all of the suggestions in the list, have a wonderful weekend. xoxo

    1. Thank you! I’ve done that, too. I finally had to force myself to finish one book before starting another. Sometimes the book is boring or I’m just not in the mood to read that type of book. 😁
      I’m glad you enjoyed the list! Have a wonderful weekend! 🌻

  4. Michelle, I’ve got to be honest with you; my first reaction when I saw your title was a smile and a chuckle. Why’s that, you ask? Because I have literally been working on the exact same post for the last week for Wholeness Haven! πŸ˜€ Each time I’ve sat down to work on it, something else requires my attention. (sigh) Mine is 100 summer activities – 50 indoors and 50 out – but it tickled me how much our minds think alike sometimes!

    I hear you though! Summer isn’t my favorite season either, but like you said, why go crazy rushing it out of here? I’m still looking forward to cooler temps but there is a lot to be said for summer too, right?

    I love the way you’ve broken this post down. It’s so easy to digest and has so many great ideas for everyone in the family! The “yes day” was adorable. I’ve never heard of it and think it’s pretty fun, so long as it’s reasonable! πŸ˜‰

    Tour your town is a lot of fun too. It’s true – most of us haven’t tapped into the true charms and sites of where we live fully; especially if it’s a big area! Who knows, there could be some really fascinating history, even in our small areas!

    Farmer’s Markets are another favorite here. There are so many amazing ones out there with small businesses offering some unexpected goodies!

    Do you have a favorite on this list?

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. This was a lot of fun and I just might be linking to your post from mine for some additional activities to try out… when it’s finally done that is! πŸ™‚

    Sending lots of love your way. I hope you are feeling great today and enjoying some relaxation! β™₯

    1. Great minds think alike! How cool is that?!
      I agree that we need to slow down and just enjoy the moment. I have a feeling all this rushing is causing all the anxiety people are experiencing nowadays. I know it affects me.

      I love learning about a town’s history. It makes it so much more interesting. Being from Franklin County, there was a lot of interesting history there. And I became proud of most of it after I got older. Funny how we never really appreciate things when we’re younger. πŸ™‚

      I think my favorites are visiting the farmers market and of course relaxing with a good book!

      When your post is complete I’d love to share a link here! 😁

      Thank you!! I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing, no-stress week! Hugs! πŸ€—β€οΈ

      1. 😁 Great minds do think alike! And I agree with you, the madness around us definitely has a way of creeping into our own hearts & minds. Like you said – slowing down and just taking a moment to appreciate the here and now works wonders!

        I also know what you mean about appreciating things as we age that we did not in our younger years. Guess that’s what they mean by hard-earned wisdom, huh? πŸ™‚

        I’ve linked to your post on the one that is now live on Wholeness Haven. Fingers crossed that it’s working? I had MAJOR technical issues with my website last night (was up until 3am working on it!) and I had to unpublish, delete, re-publish the post, and repeat that process about …. oh…. 20 times. What a mess! The post that is now live should be okay. Let me know if you get any errors, etc. Thank you for even considering linking to it. You are so sweet! β™₯

        Sending hugs and hopes for your week to be stress-free too! πŸ€—

        1. Thank you for including my link! That was so sweet of you! I didn’t have any problems with it at all. Everything worked great! I’m so sorry you had so many problems with it last night. That can be so frustrating! 3am? Ugh! I hope you got some sleep!

    1. I love the farmers market from my hometown. I haven’t had a chance to visit the one near our new place yet but hopefully soon. I wish you had one, too!

  5. This is such a great list! I love that there are so many ways to have fun that don’t need to cost an arm and a leg. I’ve never been to any of the outdoor movies near me, but that’s one I really want to do πŸ™‚

  6. lynnmumbingmejia

    Great list! Lake and beach days are a must for my husband and I during the summer! Other than that, I do have to admit, I don’t love summer haha. I’m a Fall/Winter type person so I’m super excited for Fall! Thanks for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    1. Thank you! Relaxing by the water during summer is nice. When you get hot you can jump in and cool off!
      I have to agree with you 100%. I’m a fall girl all the way! πŸ˜€

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