9 Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy Summer (No Matter Where You Live)

Updated 04/15/19
things to do in the summer
Badlands

Summer is about to bloom and with it comes an unspoken license to sit back and take life slowly. This is in large part thanks to picturesque weather and a range of outdoor activities fit to be enjoyed as the temperatures rise. You don't have to break the bank to enjoy the season either. Even if you're not switching your phone to airplane mode this summer while you travel to some far-off locale, there are plenty of activities available within your own city limits to keep you busy. Keep reading for nine things to do in the summer that can be enjoyed regardless of your budget.

Take a Dip

Time to break out that new swimsuit you bought during spring. Whether poolside or beachside, there's no better way to spend summer than along the water. Gather up a spread of your favorite snacks and enjoy a picnic—don't forget the champagne. The best part? Soaking in the ocean sun is one of the most inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer heat, not to mention the most relaxing.

Herbivore Botanicals After Sun Skin Soothing Aloe Mist $20
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Explore on Bike

The outdoors are the most welcoming during the summer, and there's no better way to enjoy a wide scope of land than on a bike. Dust off the ride that's been sitting in your garage and enjoy the sights. Take a trip down to the local park along with the latest best seller for a leisurely read, or ride along a local trail for a scenic way to get in some movement.

Serena & Lily Riviera Bike Basket $98
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Host a BBQ

One of the most fun and inexpensive ways to gather with friends during the summer is with a classic BBQ. Host it potluck-style and have guests bring sides, snacks, and sweets. A hamburger and hot dog bar makes serving guests easy—lay out a spread of toppings and let guests build their favorite variations on these classics. If you have access to a poolside setting, that's even better.

Food52 Briefcase Barbecue $375
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Attend a Drive-In

The drive-in tends to be one of those activities that everyone enjoys but is often overlooked. Change that this summer by rounding up a group of friends and your favorite snacks, and experience a retro way to take in the silver screen. One major perk of the drive-in is its low price point compared to the budget-breaking prices of the theater.

Cheeky Lunch Napkins $4
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Go For a Hike

For the athletically inclined—or for those just trying to get their fill of the summer air—opt for a weekend hike. Take the hike at your own pace and stop to enjoy the lush greenery. Avoid peak sunlight hours, and make this an early-morning excursion instead; the temperature will be prime for outdoor adventuring. No matter what time you go, don't forget to load up on sunscreen before you leave the house.

Soleil Toujours SPF50 Mineral Based Sunscreen Mist $36
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Browse the Local Farmers Market

Now that everyone's favorite ingredients are in stock, it's time to take a stroll through your local farmers market. Pick up local produce, a fresh bouquet of flowers, and enjoy some good eats served by local vendors. The farmers market is a great place to discover new ingredients and experiment with your cooking. Go ahead—change up your usual dinner routine with a new recipe.

J.Crew Striped Straw Market Tote $55
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Break Bread Outdoors

In case it hasn't been made abundantly clear already, the outdoors is the first place to turn to in the summer for idyllic, affordable activities. An alternative to playing host at a BBQ is holding a picnic with friends. Choose your favorite scenic spot and have everyone bring their favorite snacks. Have your picnic at a local spot, or take a mini road trip to a charming destination.

Food52 Wine & Cheese Picnic Basket $78
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Satiate Your Sweet Tooth

Choose your favorite juice and fruit and get ready for the easiest way to satisfy your sweet tooth: homemade popsicles. A popsicle maker is the easiest way to prepare these, but an ice cube tray will work for bite-sized treats. To get you started with a little inspiration, try these Hibiscus and Mint Watermelon Popsicles from Half Baked Harvest or Minimalist Baker's Piña Colada Popsicles for an adult take on this summer classic.

Zoku Quick Pop Maker $50
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Have a Yard Sale

There's no better time to get your closet sorted than summer. After all, it's yard sale season, a time when your neighbors may be on the hunt for a good deal. This is not only an inexpensive way to enjoy summer but a productive one too. Host your yard sale with a friend if you don't think you have quite enough to sell on your own.

Threshold Wire Large Straight Milk Crate $19
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Next up, keep reading to see our picks for the best summer vacations in the U.S.

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