30 Free Summer Activities to Try in 2024

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Free Summer Activities

If you’re looking for ideas to make the most of your summer without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of warm-weather activities that are completely free, and to save you time and energy so you can get right to the most enjoyable parts of summer, we’ve compiled a handy list of 30 of the best ones below. Keep reading to embark on an exciting journey filled with unforgettable experiences that won’t cost you a dime!


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How to find free summer activities near me

Discovering free things to do in the summer in your local area is easier than you might think. Start by checking your local newspaper or community event guides for listings of upcoming events and festivals. Don’t forget to ask friends and neighbors for recommendations or visit your community center to inquire about free programs and activities. 

Additionally, a simple online search with keywords like “free summer activities” and your city or town name or search “free summer events near me” to find many options. You can also check Meetup for local activities related to your interests. 

30 free summer activities 

Get ready to fill your summer calendar with exciting and budget-friendly adventures! From outdoor movies to free concerts and more, these free summer activities will surely create lasting memories without breaking the bank. Not all the activities are free, but many are low-cost options that could become long-term hobbies. Find new opportunities, starting here:

1. Watch an outdoor movie in the park

Many cities and towns host free summer events like outdoor movie screenings. Pack a picnic blanket and some snacks, and enjoy a classic film under the stars with family and friends. For upcoming movie nights, check local activity sites, the newspaper, or your town’s website. If there aren’t any scheduled, you can invite friends and host a screening in your backyard. 

2. Attend a free concert series put on by your city or town

Immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene by attending free concerts organized by your local municipality. From live bands to orchestral performances, these events offer an unforgettable experience for music lovers of all ages. If your town doesn’t offer many free concerts, check nearby cities and make it a day trip to be a tourist nearby. 

3. Have a game night and play board games or card games

Gather your friends and family for a good old-fashioned game night. Board games, card games, and even outdoor games like cornhole or frisbee can provide hours of entertainment without spending a dime. If you like team competitions, consider dividing into teams and competing in different games as a group, or totaling points for a “games Olympics”. 

4. Go stargazing and try to identify constellations

On a clear summer night, spread out a blanket and gaze up at the celestial wonders above. Challenge yourself to identify different constellations and make it a fun learning experience for the whole family. There are now free apps to identify stars and constellations, like Star Tracker Lite-Live Sky Map, Star Walk, Star Map Tracker, Sky Tonight, and Star Gazer.

5. Check out free days at local museums or art galleries

Many museums and art galleries offer free admission days or discounted rates during the summer months. Take advantage of these opportunities to immerse yourself in art, history, and culture without the financial burden. Some museums offer one free day a month year-round for locals, such as the last Sunday free. You can check with individual museums and art galleries to see free options. 

6. Attend free events at your local library like book readings or writers’ workshops

Local libraries often host various free events, such as book readings, writing workshops, and storytelling sessions, making them a fantastic resource for literary enthusiasts and budding writers. Many libraries offer weekly events so you can build community and pursue your literary interests. 

7. Have a backyard campout and tell ghost stories

Create a cozy camping experience right in your backyard. Pitch a tent, roast marshmallows over a fire pit, and share spooky ghost stories or sing campfire songs for an unforgettable night under the stars. While this is especially fun with kids, there’s no reason you can’t host an adults-only evening around a campfire with favorite stories or memories. 

8. Go for a hike and explore nature trails near you

Hiking is usually free, especially if you already have a good pair of hiking boots. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors by hitting nearby nature trails. Not only is it a great way to exercise, but it also allows you to appreciate the beauty of your local surroundings. 

9. Visit a free public beach

In many coastal areas, beaches, and nature preserves are often free. If you live near a coastline or lake, take advantage of free public beaches for a day of sun, sand, and swimming. Pack a picnic lunch and make it a fun-filled family outing.

10. Take a free workout class outdoors like yoga in the park

If you want to try new exercise classes, summer is a great time. Many cities and towns offer free outdoor fitness classes like yoga or Zumba sessions in local parks. Join fellow fitness enthusiasts and enjoy a rejuvenating workout session in the fresh air. Meetup, city activities websites, or online exercise groups, all may offer information on class dates. 

11. Check for free festivals, fairs, or street performances

Summer is often filled with free festivals, fairs, and street performances celebrating music, art, culture, and more. From farmer’s markets to art walks, towns and cities of all sizes offer free outdoor summer events. Keep an eye out for these events and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

12. Go window shopping or people-watching downtown

You can have an amazing day or half-day in your hometown or nearby town or city without spending a dime. Consider exploring your city’s downtown area by window shopping and people-watching. It’s a great way to discover new stores, appreciate urban architecture, and observe the colorful tapestry of city life. 

13. Host a potluck barbecue or picnic in the park

Gather your friends and neighbors for a potluck barbecue or picnic in a local park, or rotate houses and make it a weekly tradition. Everyone can contribute a dish, and you can enjoy a delicious meal while soaking up the summer sunshine. For a successful potluck, consider having everyone sign up for a category like main course, dessert, snacks, etc. to avoid everyone bringing drinks (or chips). 

14. Learn a new skill like juggling or skateboarding

Challenge yourself to learn a new skill, such as juggling or skateboarding. Not only is it a fun way to spend your summer, but it also provides a sense of accomplishment and personal growth. If you need the juggling balls, skateboard, or other supplies, you can usually find them on Facebook Marketplace for free (or at a low cost).

15. Play classic outdoor games like frisbee, cornhole, or horseshoes

Revisit your childhood by playing classic outdoor games like frisbee, cornhole, or horseshoes. These timeless activities are budget-friendly and great for bonding with friends and family. You can also consider games like kickball, wiffleball, softball, volleyball, or other outdoor games with a local group of friends. 

16. Go birdwatching or try to identify plants and trees

Embrace your inner naturalist by going birdwatching or attempting to identify different plants and trees in your local parks or nature reserves. It’s an educational and therapeutic way to connect with the great outdoors. There are many free apps available, like iNaturalist, Audubon, PlantNet, Leafsnap, and BirdNET.

17. Stargaze during a meteor shower

Mark your calendar for upcoming meteor showers and plan a stargazing night with friends or family. Pack a blanket and some pillows to set up a cozy evening. Then, lie back, relax, and witness the celestial spectacle unfold right before your eyes.

18. Explore free art walks or outdoor sculpture gardens

Many cities and towns host free art walks or feature outdoor sculpture gardens showcasing the work of local artists. This often includes local galleries and possible free nights at botanical gardens or private gardens. You can immerse yourself in the creative world and appreciate the beauty of public art installations.

19. Join a neighborhood sports league

Get active and connect with your community by joining a neighborhood sports league. Whether it’s softball, basketball, or soccer, these leagues provide a fun and competitive atmosphere without the hefty fees. Don’t worry whether you have previous sports experience, usually, all levels are welcome, and practice makes a difference!

20. Go for a free walking tour around your city

Discover the hidden gems and rich history of your city by taking a free walking tour. Many cities offer these guided tours led by knowledgeable locals, allowing you to explore your surroundings from a new perspective. Note that most free walking tours require a tip, so this is not technically free, but still a low-cost fun activity. 

21. Check out free community gardens or arboretums

Visit local community gardens or arboretums to appreciate the beauty of nature and learn about sustainable gardening practices. These serene spaces often offer educational programs and volunteer opportunities. Look for private gardens, botanical gardens, community garden projects where you could volunteer, or other nature preserves. 

22. Organize a neighborhood talent show

If you love performing, it’s not too late! A talent show is fun for all ages. Gather your neighbors and showcase your unique talents in a fun-filled neighborhood talent show. From singing and dancing to magic tricks and comedy routines, it’s a great way to unite the community and celebrate local talent.

23. Have an outdoor photography day exploring your area

While you used to need a professional camera to take photos, most smartphones now have excellent cameras. Grab your camera and embark on an outdoor photography adventure, capturing the beauty of your local surroundings. From scenic landscapes to urban architecture, the possibilities are endless. You can also find free tutorials online to help improve your techniques or experiment with different perspectives. 

24. Start a boot camp workout group in the park

If you love exercising (or want to get into it), and your city doesn’t offer many free workout classes, you could start a group. For example, you could gather a group of fitness enthusiasts and start a free boot camp workout group in your local park. Find circuits you can do online, or let everyone pick a few moves. Not only will you stay active, but you’ll also foster a sense of community and accountability.

25. Go creek or river walking and explore nature

Embrace the great outdoors by going creek or river walking, exploring the natural beauty surrounding you. This is a great activity with kids, as even reluctant hikers often enjoy splashing in creeks or watching sticks float under bridges. When you make a point of getting outside, you can discover hidden gems, observe wildlife, reconnect with nature, and improve your mental and physical health at the same time.

26. Host a backyard movie night with a projector

You can set up a projector and screen in your backyard to transform it into an outdoor cinema. Invite friends and neighbors to enjoy a movie under the stars, with popcorn and cozy blankets. While a projector and screen aren’t free, you can now get low-cost projectors or buy a used one for less. 

27. Join a free running club and explore new routes

If you love to run, it could be time to take it to the next level. Consider joining a free running club in your area. Not only will you stay motivated, but you’ll also have the opportunity to explore new routes and make friends with similar interests.

28. Take a free online class

There are so many low-cost or free online classes. Expand your knowledge and skills by taking advantage of free online courses offered by reputable educational platforms. The possibilities are endless, from coding and design to language learning and personal development. Consider free classes on Coursera, or even take top-tier university classes on platforms like edX or directly with universities like Harvard. 

29. Explore open mic nights or poetry readings

Do you want to support the arts, or explore your creative expressions? Consider supporting your local artistic community by attending free open mic nights or poetry readings. It can be an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of spoken word and discover emerging talents in your area.

30. Check for free wine/beer samplings or tastings

If you want to learn more about alcohol or even kombucha production, many local brewers host periodic tastings. Watch for free wine or beer tastings hosted by local breweries, wineries, or liquor stores. Not only will you have the chance to sample new flavors, but you’ll also learn about the craft behind these beverages.

Embracing free things to do this summer

As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, the world around you becomes a canvas for adventure. Whether you’re seeking solace in nature’s embrace or craving the excitement of urban exploration, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without breaking the bank. Imagine hiking through lush trails, picnicking in picturesque parks, or losing yourself in the rhythms of a free outdoor concert. The possibilities are endless, and the memories you’ll create will be priceless.

Summer is a season of endless possibilities, and with a bit of creativity and an open mind, you can embark on a thrilling journey filled with unforgettable experiences for less. From exploring the great outdoors to immersing yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of your city, the opportunities for free summer fun are boundless. 

Research options, join some local groups, and be ready to try new things. The summer can be a chance to embrace the joys of warm weather and create lasting memories with your loved ones, all while keeping your wallet intact. Want to have more summer fun? Check out this savings calculator, learn to start a rainy day fund, or find ways to save more money this year

FAQ 

What kinds of summer activities are typically free?

Many outdoor activities, such as hiking, picnicking in public parks, visiting beaches, and attending free community events like concerts, movie screenings, and festivals, are typically free during the summer months. You can also consider activities like walking tours, art walks, and visiting public gardens or arboretums, which are often available at no cost.

What are some fun free summer activities for adults?

Adults have a wide range of opportunities to have fun in summer. Consider attending outdoor concerts or theater performances, exploring local art walks or sculpture gardens, joining hiking or running clubs, participating in free fitness classes in the park, or simply taking a stroll through scenic neighborhoods or nature trails. You can also check out free wine or beer tastings at local breweries or wineries, which can be a fun and budget-friendly option.

What are some fun, free summer activities for kids and families?

Families with kids can take advantage of free summer activities like outdoor movie screenings, free community events or festivals, free museum days, and activities like public playgrounds or splash pads. 

You can also consider going on nature scavenger hunts, hosting backyard camping adventures or talent shows, or participating in free library programs or workshops. These activities not only provide entertainment but also create lasting memories. You can also find free activities for kids on state websites or free food for kids

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