by Alyson Komyanek
Can you smell it? Spring is in the air and summer can’t come soon enough! But with the steamy temperature and longer days comes the task of trying to entertain yourself or the kids without spending a lot of money. Here are some fun and inexpensive ways to have fun with the whole family this summer:
It’s the only kind of camping I’m willing to try. If you have a tent and sleeping bags, a backyard campout and all the fun that comes with it, is free. It gives everyone a sense of what it’s like to camp, without really making the commitment. Plus if a storm rolls in or a fellow camper decides they’ve had enough, the safety and security of home is only a few feet away (and so is a clean bathroom and well stocked fridge). For a little added fun, buy some chocolate, marshmallows and gram crackers and make some delicious s’mores!
For you more adventurous campers there are plenty of areas to get in touch with nature within a short drive of Raleigh, here are just a few:
- Falls Lake State Recreation Area
- Offers: Fishing, boating, swimming, walking, mountain biking, camping
- Fantasy Lake Scuba Park
- Offers: Picnic area, scuba diving, wall diving, campsites, hiking
- William B. Umstead State Park
- Offers: Hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, horse-back riding, mountain biking
- Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
- Offers: Fishing, hiking, picnics, swimming, camping, boating
- Eno River State Park
- Offers: Camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, picnics
Tons of farms offer “Pick your Own” events throughout the summer. From strawberries to peaches there are tons of options of what to pick. It’s both a healthy and fun time. Added bonus: it’s educational for the kids.
Get your pickin’ on at some of these local spots:
Set up a visit of a local fire or EMT house
Firemen love this kind of thing, and almost always welcome it. Just call ahead to make sure that your local first responders know you’re coming. This event is especially popular amongst little boys (or older ladies depending on how attractive those firefighters are).
Raleigh has 27 fire stations staffed with 515 firefighters according to the City of Raleigh’s website. You could also take them out to the Raleigh Fire Museum at the Keeter Training Center where admission is free!
It’s a fun and unique way to watch a movie in the summer. You’ll need to rent a projector, but that can be done for as little as $100. If you have a flat space (exterior wall, garage door, etc) you won’t even need a screen. Make your own popcorn, get out the lawn chairs and invite the neighbors over for a fun screening under the stars. NCMA also starts their Summer Movies series in June and if you are looking for dinner a movie check out Raleighwood!
Why is this such a lost art? I can’t tell you the last time I saw someone flying a kite. Kites are cheap….go fly one!
Free Museum Days
It takes a little bit of work, but museums often have free days or specials where admission prices go down significantly. See if another family would like to tag along and split the cost of parking to one of the museums downtown or in Cary and Durham. Also be sure to pack lunch so you’re not paying for the overpriced museum dining.
Although the ride ticket prices can get a little out of hand, the price of admission is often pretty reasonable. Just limit the kids’ choices when it comes to rides or games, and eat dinner beforehand so no one is hungry for chicken fingers and fries; splurge on the funnel cake instead!
Head to the beach
Search around to find the free beaches near you. Grab the family, pack lunches and snacks and spend the day relaxing in the sun at either Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach or Kure Beach. At the end of the day, head home instead of walking the boardwalk where you’ll be tempted to spend on snacks and arcade games.[ct id="ct_Address_text_c29d" property="title | description | value"]
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