Family Friendly Summer Activities that are Free

When summer break rolls around, it is time to start thinking about what to do with all of that free time. The good thing is that there are never a shortage of family friendly activities available. Most communities offer a wide range of things like sports, swimming and arts and craft classes. 

There may not be a shortage of summer time activities. However, it can get a little expensive keeping your family busy. The solution is to compile an itinerary of free or super cheap activities that the whole family will love. 


Many communities have different types of museums, some are themed and center around the area’s history. These themed museums can be really interesting for adults and older kids while offering fun and unique items for younger children to look at and investigate. Many themed museums do not charge admission, but do accept donations that go toward maintenance.

Many museums offer free days throughout the summer to encourage interest in the museum. These are great days to pack up the family and enjoy a day at the local museum. You can pack a picnic lunch and eat at a park before heading to the museum. 


Some theme and amusement parks offer free admission days during the summer. Check with your local theme and amusement parks to see if they offer this and on what days. Sometimes kids can get in free and accompanying adults get tickets half price. 

The other type of park that can be loads of fun is your local city park. You can have picnic lunches there and then organize a family game of football, volleyball, frisbee golf or other fun games. Most city parks have equipment for kids to play on like swings and slides which can also be fun for adults too!

Water fun

There are many ways to enjoy some cool water during the summer. For example you can take the family to community pool. Most public pools offer free or half price days throughout the summer. Check with your local pool for information and dates. Another way to go swimming is at a nearby lake. Most lakes are free of charge to swim in. However, some do require a pass. Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department for details about your area lakes.

One final way to have some water fun is at home in the front/backyard. You can get some water guns and toys (inexpensive at discount and dollar stores). With the water guns, you can split into teams and attack each other or have “everyone for themselves!” You can also turn on the lawn sprinklers and have a blast running through the water. 

Book programs

Even if your family is not a group that enjoys reading, these programs can still offer a great family activity. Sign everyone up for the program and then make an event of reading each book out loud to each other. You can basically have story time in the evenings when everyone has settled down a bit. 

Most book programs are free to join and are put on by bookstores and public libraries. Not only are the programs designed to encourage reading, they usually offer great rewards for accomplishing certain goals. Rewards usually include free books, bookmarks and other related items.


This is a family adventure waiting to happen. You can pick a spot somewhat close to home, pack up the tents and hit the wilderness. Kids can have a great time exploring everything around them in the great outdoors. If you camp near a lake, the family can enjoy fishing and swimming and the beauty surrounding the lake. Please note that some areas require a fishing license and, in those areas, fishing without that license can cost you a pretty hefty fine. Please check with the area Fish and Game office for more information. 

Family camping trips can be fun, bonding experiences. Be sure to pack a camera to capture nature at her best and your family at their best and maybe even their funniest. The nice thing about family camping trips is that there is no busy schedules, TVs, computers or any other distractions from having fun together.

Parks and Recreation Department

You can always call your local Parks and Recreation Department and ask for a list of their free or cheap activities for the summer. They can probably give you a list a mile long and a mile wide! They are to ones to call regarding city and state parks and local community sports and other family activities.

Getting involved with your local Parks and Recreation Department can be a real benefit because then you can meet other families with similar interests and find out about activities held throughout the entire year.

No need to worry about your kids getting bored this summer with all of the fun, free activities available. They can enroll in reading programs, go swimming, visit a park and even explore the great outdoors on a camping trip. All of these activities are free (or almost free) and things the family can do together.

Nothing beats quality time spent together as a family. Sit down together and make a list of activities that the whole family can enjoy. Planning your family summer activities can be almost as much fun as the activities themselves.