Free Family Activities That Offer More Than You Pay For
Free family activities are doubly fantastic because they bring your loved ones together without abandoning your family budget. If you're looking for thrifty ways to spend some quality time together, consider these day and weekend trip ideas.
Enjoy Nature's Playground
Public lands are terrific places to view wildlife, hike, bike, canoe, kayak, swim, stargaze and just escape from the sprint of the workweek. There are more than 400 national park sites. While many people only know marquee names like Yellowstone and Yosemite, there are likely fantastic parks in your area.
All but 117 national parks are free to enter, but even those with an entry fee won't cost you a dime on designated free entrance days. And don't forget about state parks. Many are free every day.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
People all over the world have hidden notes and trinkets for others to find as part of an activity called geocaching. To play, download the free official app onto your iPhone or Android device. Then navigate to specific locations where geocaches are waiting — perhaps in a tree stump, under a bench or behind a street sign.
Some geocaches are hidden around historical markers, which commemorate important events, locations or individuals. You can use geocaches to form a historical tour for your family. It's a fun way to get your kids some fresh air and get them interested in local history. For a taste of what markers are in your community, visit the Historical Marker Database.
Take a Tour
If you'd rather someone else play tour guide, there are likely free and low-cost guided tours in your area. Municipal governments, local historical societies and other community organizations may offer tours.
Factories in your area may also offer free tours that take you behind the scenes. You could learn about tea production at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, for instance, or shoemaking at SAS in San Antonio. Factory Tours USA highlights available tours, many of which don't charge for admission.
Many venerated museums across the country are free, and those that aren't may offer free admission on special days. The same goes for botanical gardens and zoos.
Likewise, free concerts, plays and outdoor movies are probably offered in your community. Check for listings in your local newspaper. Universities often host such events, so browse their websites, too.
There are likely free family activities all around you, just waiting to be discovered. By taking advantage of the options in your community you can make some treasured memories, get some fresh air and enjoy the state of your savings account.