Summer is a season with lots of free time that needs to be filled. But if you are a student and money is tight, you’ll have to look for fun on the cheap. Fortunately, summer also means a lot of opportunities for exactly this kind of entertainment. Sometimes it’s right in front of you – but other times you have to dig a little deeper to find it.
Concerts tend to be more frequent during the summer than at other times of the year. This is at least partially due to the fact that the warmer weather opens up the possibility of outdoor concerts. These often provide an opportunity for new bands to perform than may have been available during other times of the year.
Many of these concerts are free to attend, or charge a small fee at most. They are often promotional events put on by communities, universities, churches or other organizations that are looking to promote themselves. Find out what concerts are going on in your local area and plan to attend a few.
All kinds of festivals take place during the summer months, often put together by trade groups. For example, artists and art organizations will get together and sponsor a festival that will promote their art. You may also see county fairs and farmers markets spring up in different places. There are also craft fairs and ethnic food festivals. All are usually free to attend, and they usually offer abundant free samples.
Public parks and wildlife preserves
You’ve been cooped up in your home, apartment or dorm room during the school year, so now is the time to get out to enjoy the great outdoors. Visit public parks and wildlife preserves in your area as frequently as you can. You can hike or bike through them, and bring along a picnic lunch when you find an attractive spot.
A long bicycle trip
Most of us are so used to the areas that we live in that we don’t even bother to explore anywhere in the local vicinity that we haven’t seen. But summer is a great time to hop on a bike and take in as many of the local attractions as you can. It’s great exercise and an opportunity to enjoy the summer weather.
Launch a fitness program
If you’ve been putting off getting a fitness program going during the school year – because you simply didn’t have the time – summer is the perfect time to put that plan into action. The weather is nice and your schedule has opened up; by taking on a fitness program now you will be giving yourself a new routine to carry into the new school year. And in the meantime, it will help you to get some much needed exercise and connect with your body after spending the school year working almost exclusively on your mind.
Water, water everywhere…
Water activities are almost a cliché during the summer months. But there are more of them than we might imagine. Not only is there the local pool, but there are also lakes, rivers and streams. Even if you’re not much into swimming, there’s always canoeing, white water rafting, and tubing to take advantage of. And if there is a local water park, plan on taking advantage of that least a couple of times during the summer. Many will offer discount tickets, especially late in the season.
Have a backyard barbeque and invite everyone you know
This sounds expensive, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be. If you think of a backyard barbecue in terms of a potluck supper, you get the idea. Invite a bunch of friends over, and either ask them to bring food items, beer, or wine, or to chip in $5 or $10 to pay the cost. It’s an outstanding way to get together with friends, food and fun without spending a lot of money. You can do this several times during the season by moving the party to the homes of different friends.
Look for municipal events
Local communities often sponsor events during the summer months, either to promote the community or simply to provide additional activities for local residents. The possibilities here are endless, and can include fireworks, parades, downtown festivals, food festivals or activities based on historic events. There may even be a charitable event or two that might be fun to participate in. Find out what’s going on in your community and get involved.
Connect with old friends and family members
During the school year you get busy and lose touch with people. Summer is an excellent time to revive those relationships. It can be great fun to get together with someone you haven’t seen in a year or more (high school friends come to mind quickly here). Use the free time you have now to reconnect with as many people as you can that you haven’t had time for during the rest of the year.
Free (or cheap) bowling
Bowling is one of those activities that has lost popularity in the past 20 or 30 years. During the summer months bowling alleys often offer discounts in an attempt to bring people back into the sport. They might have something like bowling at one dollar or two dollars a game. I can be a fun way to pass the time – without spending a lot of money – on a hot summer afternoon
In truth, there are lot of free and inexpensive activities available during the summer months. Communities, organizations, and businesses know that people have free time on their hands, and they arrange events in an attempt to draw them in. Find out what is going on in your local area, and take advantage of any activities that interest you, but won’t drain your bank account.