It seems as though summer has hit its peak. Parents are ready for school to start, and kids are getting bored doing the same thing day in and day out. Summer camp is only entertaining for so long, and at some point you need a week off from work to enjoy the nice sunny days. The only problem is being on a budget. Well, we scratched our heads and came up with some good ideas keeping the cost down and the fun at a max!
- Movies on the Beach/Lawn
The summer season is known for its blockbuster hits. When I think of summer movies of the past, I always think of hits like Independence Day, Men in Black, Jaws, ET, Star Wars and so many more! Many townships will host movies on the beach/lawn once a week at night. In New Jersey, there is a site that lists the different counties and towns hosting movie nights. You can check the site out here: http://www.njfamily.com/Where-to-Find-Free-Outdoor-Movies-in-NJ-this-Summer/.
For those wondering, the movie nights are free! Just bring your snacks and a blanket or chair and enjoy the film! Plus, it isn’t only beach towns that host the events. Even some small towns have a movie night once a week! See you at Jaws!
- State Parks
State Parks are always great fun for the whole family and inexpensive! They offer fishing, hiking, boating, picnics and much more! Core Creek in Bucks County (Pennsylvania) allows you to rent boats of all sorts for as little as a half an hour, or as much as a whole day. This will keep you and the kids occupied for hours on end. You can end your day with a picnic and then take a walk afterwards.
One of my favorite state parks is Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. It is located in Berkley Township along the Atlantic Ocean. You pay by the car, and have access to the beach with lifeguards, clean showers and bathroom, and a snack bar! Since there are only so many spots in the parking lot, it’s never too crowded. Be sure to get there early though since they fill up quickly!
- Ice Cream Crawl
As soon as the first day of summer hits, I am all about the local ice cream shops! When I think about summer vacations, an ice cream shop is one of the first places I find for some night time refreshments and a way to keep the kids occupied. Sampling a different shop each night is the way to go if you are spending more than one or two nights on vacation!
The great thing about an ice cream crawl is that it doesn’t have to be limited to your vacation; you can also have a fun crawl where you live! If you have a Saturday afternoon free, why not enjoy a bit of ice cream for lunch, snack and dinner? There is something great about having ice cream for dinner instead of your lima beans!
- Children’s Museum
Every city seems to have one, and they are often priced just right. Most museums even have an option of becoming a member which will pay for it after a couple of visits! While visiting a children’s museum, kids are able to explore, touch and interact on all of the exhibits unlike at typical art museums.
At the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, you are entertained with exhibits about Culture from Japan to local Roadside Attractions and even a Healthy Me exhibit, and everything in between! There aren’t enough hours in the day to spend at the museum, so you are sure to go back!
- Factory Tours
There are numerous food factories that offer tours of their facilities! Two of our favorites are Herr’s Snack Factory and the Turkey Hill Experience. The Herr’s Snack Factory Tour is an inexpensive way to keep the entire family entertained. For a family of four (2 adults, and 2 kids under 17), it only costs $14. (If your children are under the age of 4, they are FREE!) And remember, they call it the Tastiest Tour for a reason!
With the Turkey Hill Experience, you have 4 different options for your tour. You are able to choose whichever one suits your family the best. You can do a basic tour that offers unlimited samples of your favorite ice cream, to the ultimate tour package. This triple threat option allows you to not only sample ice cream flavors, but also create your own! To conclude the tour, you even get to sample their iced teas at the Iced Tea Discovery! What a great day that would be!
- Story Time
Yes, sometimes you hear the phrase Story Time and you automatically think of someone’s grandma reading the Velveteen Rabbit. This is not always the case! There are so many places to attend a story time, that you can cater the kind of books you and your children are interested in.
One option is your public library. During the summer months they often have fun activities for children and teens. One of my favorites is story time when a book is read to them and afterwards they have a craft to complete that is associated with the story.
Your other option is visiting your local bookstore and seeing if they have any story time activities. When it comes to an independent bookstore, or a larger chain, they have a different assortment of books to read. Some of them are top sellers, while others are recently published. It all depends on your preference.
- The Zoo
One of my favorite zoos is the Cape May County Zoo. This county park and zoo run completely on donations which make it budget friendly. And parking is free too! With the county park, you are able to make a day of it. You can bring your lunch, have a picnic, and enjoy time with the animals.
All of my experiences with the animals have been positive. They never seem lethargic or upset to be there because they’re in encounters which are similar to their own habitat which keeps them entertaining and happy. I personally love the giraffes and kangaroos!
As you can see, there are still plenty of ways to keep the family entertained for the rest of the summer, and it doesn’t have to break the wallet. Summer only comes once a year, you mine as well take advantage of all that it has to offer!