62 Ways to Beat Summer Boredom on a Budget
Summer brings warm weather, extra hours of sunlight, and free time to fill. Take advantage with these cheap or free ideas to keep everyone busy this summer: parents eager to occupy their children; couples keen to spend time together; and singletons with the freedom to pursue whatever tickles their fancy.
Charyn Pfeuffer contributed to this report.
Tanning safely can be tricky and requires a little more effort than simply lying in the sun. Start by exfoliating before going outside, protect eyes with a hat or sunglasses, and don't skip the sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend reapplying every two hours.
Related: 11 DIY Solutions for Summer Skin Care on the Cheap
National parks are usually inexpensive -- fees range from free to $30 a vehicle for a seven-day pass -- but the National Park Service also offers fee-free days during the year. This summer plan a visit for Aug. 25 to 28, the Park Service's birthday weekend.
Related: Explore One of the Best National Parks in Every State
Who says you have to have a pool to throw a pool party? Turn on the sprinklers in the backyard and set up a DIY version of Slip 'N Slide by staking a roll of plastic sheeting into the lawn and letting water spray onto it from a hose.
Related: 11 DIY Activities to Keep Kids Occupied All Summer
Fireworks are traditional on the Fourth of July, but prices are usually lower after the holiday. The best deals often come when buying in bulk online, although shipping restrictions make this impossible for residents of some states -- and some states ban all fireworks.
Related: 12 Dangerous Mistakes People Make Around Fire and Fireworks
A summer picnic at a local park can gather friends and family together. Don't forget bug repellent, sunscreen, a blanket or sheet, and a cooler. Keep things cheap: Use washable cutlery and make inexpensive foods such as a green salad and deviled eggs, complemented with some fresh fruit.
Related: 10 Tips for Packing a Budget-Friendly Picnic
Airbnb rentals come in all shapes and sizes, so take a weekend this summer to explore a different kind of lodging. Book a stay in a yurt, an off-the-grid cabin, a treehouse, a houseboat, or even a school-bus-turned-apartment.
Related: 50 Unique Vacation Rentals for $85 a Night or Less
For a timeout from the sun, head to a local movie theater for a few hours of air-conditioned entertainment. Matinees are generally the cheapest way to go, although some theaters offer two-for-one ticket deals or deeply discounted prices for older films.
Related: 10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies
To get together and eat with friends or neighbors without doing all the work, plan a potluck. Holding it in a nearby park frees you from having to host or getting saddled with all the cleanup.