15 Inexpensive Yet Amazingly Fun Things To Do During Summer Vacation

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School is out!!! You're off the clock.The stress that has been looming over you has receded. You want to go places and do things, with all your friends and family...but you don't want to go broke in the process. College is approaching and your parents are telling you to save up your money. Stumped when it comes to ideas for hangouts that won't break the bank?

Well...you're in luck!

Growing up with an über-frugal mother, I had (and still do to this day!) to find fun ways to get around the expenses. So I hereby present this list of 15 inexpensive yet amazingly fun things to do with your friends and/or family this summer. I hope that you can make all of the priceless memories you want without the gargantuan price tag.

1. Picnic together!

Gather a blanket, some food from home, and your friends and hit a sunny, grassy, shady, (but not too shady!) spot to just relax, eat food, and maybe throw a Frisbee around. There's just something about the outdoors, food, and friendship that makes the laughs longer and the memories richer.

2. Watch–not light–fireworks!

Everyone loves big fireworks. Sadly, setting those off could get you arrested, depending on where you live. The best time to do this would probably be near the 4th of July, but some places have firework shows throughout the summer that are free to the public. Round up your friends and a few chairs and spend the night watching the sky light up with bursts of celebration.

3. Have a movie marathon.

Not a fan of the outdoors? No problem. Instead, pick a few (or a lot) of movies, settle on a location, bring along some popcorn and get comfortable with some pillows and blankets. You can bring movies you own, rent some, or just binge on Netflix–whatever you and your friends think will be the most enjoyable!

4. Break out the board games!

...Or the cards–whatever floats your boat–and spread out on a table or floor with your nearest and dearest for a night of classic fun. Games such as Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity (they're basically the same thing, but the latter is the adult version) are great for large groups of people, while Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble fare better with smaller groups.

5. See what's in theaters ...for much less!

Who says you can't go to a movie early on a Tuesday afternoon? Many movie theaters offer matinee prices earlier in the day, so seeing the newest blockbusters won't necessarily leave your wallet empty.

6. Hit the beach!

...For those of you who live near one, anyway. Just grab your towel, sunscreen, swimsuit, sunglasses, and friends and spend a few hours in the sun.

7. Have a bonfire.

Making a fire pit is easy with dirt, rocks, and firewood or use one that you have at home! Take a trip to your local supermarket and pick up some graham crackers, marshmallows, and hot dogs, then settle around the flame and sing a C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E song.

8. Take a hike!

Strap on your hiking boots, grab the insect repellent and hit a park or nature preserve near your town for a hike through Mother Nature's splendor. Take pictures and relish the Vitamin D.

9. Listen to some local live music.

Check out what your community has to offer and spend a night out with your friends on a lawn with some food to hear the locals jam out. Who knows, a less-than-known group playing could become your next music muse!

10. Visit a festival or fair.

Corn dogs, popcorn, pizza, shaved ice and homemade crafts are calling your name! Round up some friends for a day of amusement and classic Americana atmosphere as you stroll through one of America's oldest traditions.

11. Go swimming.

Whether you have a pool in your backyard or there's a body of water nearby, grab your swimsuit and your friends and dive in! (NOTE: Be safe-- make sure everyone you're with can swim.)

12. Stargaze while camping.

A campground, an open field, or even your backyard-- all are great places to pitch a tent with friends and spend a night out in nature. Lay on a blanket together as you watch the sunset melt into darkness and the twinkling dots appear and try to point out the constellations. When you're finished, head inside the tent with a flashlight and tell the creepiest stories you know.

13. Take a bike ride through your town.

Pump up your tires, grab your helmet, gather your crew and hit the streets (or sidewalks, or paths-- whichever is safest and most legal) on a tour of your town. Cruise by in the open air and see your town from a different perspective. Hungry? Pack a lunch or make a stop along the way.

14. Put up a lemonade stand in your community.

Relive those days of your childhood! And make bank (for college, perhaps?) at the same time! Get your ingredients, your friends, a money box, a table and some chairs and participate in another old American summer tradition. You'd also be surprised at how many new people in your community you meet.

15. Volunteer in your community together!

Cost? $0. The experience? Priceless. Volunteering together at your church, your school, the library, or an animal shelter can be a fun and rewarding experience that lasts you long after the summer is gone.

Stay safe, and enjoy your summer!

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