I don’t know why, but summer always seems to fly by. It’s often the most highly anticipated season of the year and it’s also a busy time for most people. I’m not going to lie, it’s fun to create an affordable summer bucket list including all the fun things you plan to do over the next few weeks.
However, it’s too common to not even get the chance to cross many of those items off. Most of us still have to work during the summer. If you have kids, you need to make childcare arrangements for them.
Plus, summer activities and vacations can be costly. Before you know it, those 2-3 months will have come and gone if you don’t devise a realistic plan to optimize the time while sticking to your budget.
The best thing you can do is come up with an affordable summer bucket list so you can enjoy this season without overspending. When money is no issue, you’ll likely be motivated to get out and do more. Check out this list of affordable summer bucket list items that you can check off your list easily.
1. Hike Through a State Park
State parks are usually free. Plus, every state has them. You can plan a day trip or even stop at a nearby state park for a refreshing evening hike. This could be a great date night option or even a fun activity to do with kids.
While hiking is great exercise, you can also make it a solo venture where you catch some amazing views and take the time to reflect and meditate.
2. Explore Every Bike Trail Within a 25 Mile Radius
If you have a bike, why not check out all the nearby bike trails? Make it a challenge as it will likely help you improve your fitness level as well. Just like hiking, you can catch some beautiful sights on the trail with this free and laid back experience.
3. Watch a Sunrise/Sunset
Get up super early one morning to catch a summer sunrise. Or, you can simply hang out in your yard in the evening to watch the sunset. You’ve probably seen a sunrise or sunset but didn’t even realize it. We tend to get so busy that we take beautiful natural elements like this for granted. Make this attempt official by deliberately taking time to unplug and soak it all in.
4. Go Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is one of those things that got added to my bucket list every summer, but I never got around to doing it. I used to take horseback riding lessons when I was younger and I always wanted to try it again as an adult.
The cost to do this in your area may vary so the trick is to plan everything out. Locate any farms or places in your area that offer horseback riding lessons or simply a riding experience. See if they offer discounts and deal during certain times of the year. Better yet, you can check out sites like Groupon to find a discount.
Budget for the experience in advance and actually put a date on your calendar detailing when you actually want to go. Setting a deadline will ensure you get it done.
5. Go on a Zipline
This is another fun summer bucket list item that can actually be budget-friendly. I did this in Vegas but there are also plenty of other zip line options depending on where you look. I’ve found outdoor options at adventure parks and even indoor options as well at different gyms.
You’ll also want to research this one carefully to see which options are available in your area. You can also use Groupon to search for discounts and mark your calendar so you don’t procrastinate or skip out completely.
6. Have a Picnic in the Park
You don’t need a lot of money to get out and enjoy the summer. You can literally plan a relaxing picnic at the park on any warm day. Pack some sandwiches and prepare a refreshing drink along with a dessert like some fresh fruit or homemade cookies.
Choose a nice park to stop by and people watch or read a book for a few hours.
7. Outdoor Movie Night
This is another bucket list item I usually fulfill each summer. Some towns show outdoor movies during the summer for cheap prices like $1 or even for free. In that case, all you’ll need is some chairs, a blanket and some snacks.
8. Go Camping
Camping is the ultimate frugal summer bucket list activity. It’s relaxing, cheap, and you don’t even have to go far to get the full experience. We’ve been camping locally a few times and it’s cheaper for us because some campgrounds charge a discounted nightly rate for area residents.
The most you’ll spend is probably on the supplies upfront. However, once you have a tent and a few of the basic staples, you can work with what you have for everything else. Set up activities like fishing, hiking, and outdoor games to ensure you enjoy the time.
If the supplied you’ll need upfront sound too overwhelming, you can always borrow a few things and add on to your inventory each year.
9. Visit a Festival or Carnival
Summer festivals can be pricey but if you really want to attend one, you should plan ahead. Some events are actually free or low-cost, but you should always set a budget and prepare weeks in advance.
My weakness at festivals includes food and activities. Some events that have free admission may even charge for parking along with some of the activities. You can also expect food vendors to be there and you don’t have to avoid the delicious aroma from all the meals and treats they’re serving up.
10. Start a Garden
Gardening is a lot of work, but it’s also super rewarding. You can always start small by buying a few packs of seeds or plants. You can shop used for some of the supplies and materials. Then, all you’ll really need to spend is your time as you work on your garden.
These are just a few ideas to help you get your affordable summer bucket list going. Take some time to narrow down what you would truly enjoy to do and experience this summer. If you have a goal that seems pretty big, break it down and do your research so you can prepare your finances in advance.
Have you created your summer bucket list yet? What’s on the top of your list?