Kyle and I are the epitome of a “20-something couple”. We pay our bills and are able to live together, but he’s working 2 jobs and I’m working and going back to school! So we’re broke, short on time, but always looking for something fun and adventurous to do. Especially this summer! We want to have fun, but traveling far away is sort of out of reach right now, so we have tons of plans, and no way to make them happen just yet! So in the mean time, we try to look for things that are fun but affordable, out of town but not crazy-far away, and totally adventurous! I went kayaking, we visited a state park, we went out on Lake Gaston, we drove an hour for breakfast in a different town, we go on trail walks close to home, and we love to explore new cities and towns that are close but we’ve never been to! With that, I wanted to put together a list of fun summer activities under $25/person for you guys to take and have your own adventures with!
1.) Go River Tubing!
Tubing is so much fun! It’s a pretty relaxing activity and gets you all into nature! Kyle and I bought some $4 tubes from Target and put them in the Eno River! You could totally just float around in a lake, the sound, or a river of your choice! You can find cheap tubes at Target, Walmart, and on Amazon!
2.) Pitch a tent + Camp!
Provided you already own a tent, which many people do, camping can be a relatively cheap activity! (especially if you go with friends and split the cost!) At Cape Point in Buxton, NC, renting a spot to put up a tent only costs you $20/night! If you don’t already own a tent, I think it’s a totally wise investment for whenever you get the itch to get outdoors! You can get a pretty decent 2-person tent for $40-$50 on Amazon! At the Goose Island Campgrounds, it’s about $20/night as well and I’m sure the price varies depending on where you go – or you can just throw a tent up in the back yard! Anything different from the normal can be exciting.
3.) Visit a State Park
Most state parks are free/very inexpensive to visit which makes them the perfect spot for exploring, day-trips, or family adventures! This was taken at the Eno River State Park (Our most recent park visit) complete with miles of hiking trails with access to many different swimming spots, a swinging foot bridge, and a 360 degree view of some beautiful scenery!
4.) Beach it!
If you’re near the ocean, getting to the beach is an awesome and free idea! It’s beautiful year-round so even when it’s a chilly day, it’s a good idea to visit! Less people, more photo opportunities, peaceful serenity… And when you do want to make a day of it, pack a cooler! Make some sandwiches, pack water, and voila! And not to mention the calming effects and health benefits of being near the ocean. It’s practically a free spa day!
5.) Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Depending on where you go, renting stand up paddle boards can come at an inexpensive price! At Carolina Paddle Board Co. in Wilmington, NC, It’s only $20/hour! Not a bad price for a quick little adventure doing something different! I have yet to try this myself, but it is definitely on my list! I think we are actually renting them for a week while on the OBX this summer, so I really hope I enjoy it!
6.) Hiking Mountains .. or Trails!
Another inexpensive and adventurous thing to do! Like I said before, state parks are usually pretty inexpensive to get into, if not totally free, and hiking is a very active and beautiful activity! You can search for hiking trails in your state, find something close to you, and then see what they are rated (easy, moderate, strenuous) Being a not-so-in-shape person right now, I’d probably stick to the easy/moderate trails – especially if you have children! But if you’re looking for something crazy-fun and absolutely beautiful, the strenuous trails usually bring you to or through some natural treasures and amazing views, so if you’re up for it, they are totally worth the hard work! This photo was taken at the Linville Falls in Marion, NC at the bottom of the Linville Gorge trail. The trail was steep and made up of rocks and roots. It was super narrow most of the way down and I fell maybe 15 times *gracefully* but when we finally got to the bottom – we were awe-struck! It was so beautiful and we spent a while taking photos, exploring, and just looking at the waterfall.
7.) Get Sporty! Disc golf, tennis, frisbee, whiffle ball, or biking!
Get outside and get active! Most supplies for sports are relatively cheap if you’re just playing for fun – go by the store and grab a whiffle ball set, a frisbee, a football, dodgeball, or soccer ball! Ride your bike or go for a run/walk!
8.) Restaurant Roulette
This is one of my favorite things – by far! I love eating at new places, but sometimes you just want what you want! But for times when you’re feeling a little adventurous, restaurant roulette is a fun game to play. Find several new places you have yet to visit, and write them down on separate pieces of paper. Throw them into a hat, cup, or bowl, and draw! Whatever comes out is where you go for dinner! Depending on where you go and what you get, the price will definitely vary – but you can make it as inexpensive as you want when coming up with ideas!
9.) Kayaking (My personal Fave!)
Kayaking is probably one of my favorite summer activities. It’s easy, fun, and you get to see the things around you from a different point of view. Kayak rentals are super inexpensive! On the OBX they are a bit more expensive because you’re at the beach, but if you opt to go in a small town or on a lake, rentals can be as cheap as $5/hour! In Edenton, NC, single person kayaks are $5/hour and 2 person kayaks (tandem kayaks) are $7/hour! Overnight rentals at this location are $20/hour which is just amazing! With prices like that, you have no excuse to not go!
10.) Museums = Educational + Fun!
Museums, along with State parks, are typically free and accept donations, or cost a small fee to enter. They are educational, air conditioned, and pretty common- you can find them anywhere! There are museums focused on entertaining children, museums for natural history, local town history, museums with a focus on a particular time in history, science museums, and more! If you can think it, it probably exists!
11.) Photo Scavenger Hunts
These are so much fun! You can organize them for a group of people, or just do them with yourself as photography practice or just for fun! There are tons of pre-made lists online that you can follow too!
12.) Zoo / Animals
General admission to most zoos are under $25! The zoo in Asheboro, NC costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for children, and is free for kids under 2. I’m personally not a huge fan of zoos because I don’t like to walk around in the hot sun all day looking at animals lay in their enclosures – but most children love zoos and lots of people find them to be very enjoyable. I just don’t – haha! I think I would like the one in Asheboro though because it’s so large and there is zip-lining and safari type-activities, so it’s more than just walking around in the heat. I do, however, love petting zoos and animals in general so I love visiting smaller farms (usually free/very inexpensive) and I would love to visit the Lazy 5 Ranch in Charlotte, NC. It’s only $11 for adults and $8 for children + seniors! You drive through the ranch and can feed the animals from your car windows! The ranch also has a small petting zoo and some super cute lemurs for guests to see as well!
13.) Farmer’s Markets
I LOVE a good farmer’s market! Small town or city-wide – they are my favorite! You can get produce and baked goods at such an affordable price and they are better than what you’d buy at the store! They are locally grown, and by purchasing them you are helping local businesses and farmers! It’s a win-win! They’re also a lot of fun to walk around and meet people at. Kyle and I have made several acquaintances and had awesome conversation with people we’ve met through perusing farmer’s markets!
14.) Explore Antique Shops Near You!
There are antique shops everywhere and many times you’ll find several in the same area! Take an afternoon to explore the vintage treasures of antique shops and see what kind of cool things you can find! Make a day of it and go to lunch, too. These stores are perfect if you’re looking for vintage decor or materials for a re-purposing project!
15.) Minor League Baseball
Minor league games are a pretty inexpensive activity so long as you eat before you go! We have the Norfolk Tides close, and tickets to one of their games will run you about $12 each!
16.) Cookout with Friends and Family!
There’s nothing better than a family reunion or a group of friends getting together for a barbecue! Everyone can bring their own dish and beverages, you just need the cooking tools and some good music!
17.) Explore local
Find a lake, park, or spot close to your home that interests you! If you’re intentional about finding something new, you’ll be surprised with what you come up with! Kyle and I have found swimming spots at the lake, pretty docks we can sit at, bird parks, state parks, gardens and breweries! And we thought we lived in the middle of nowhere!
Aquarium tickets can be inexpensive just like the zoo! Admission into NC aquariums are a little under $15/adult, closer to $10 for children, seniors, and military! There are usually fun activities involved with aquariums too, like sting ray bays where you can put your hands in the water, or other hands on tanks where you can hold starfish and sea urchins!
Planting and gardening are some of my favorite hobbies! It’s so rewarding to grow your own food or plant life – sort of like caring for a pet but with less responsibility. It’s a perfect activity for kids and can be so influential and educational! Right now, I’m growing basil, mint, jalapenos, and cherry tomatoes, along with several succulents, and a handful of various greens and flowers!
20.) Go Fly a Kite
Buy a kite. Get it in the air! I don’t know that I would stay too entertained with this for too long, but children love it and kites can be found at almost any large grocery store or shopping center!
21.) Water Balloons/Paint Balloons/Paint Water Guns or Bottles!
This was probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever done! We filled water balloons, water guns, and bottles with paint and just ran around for an hour chasing each other! It was so funny, messy, and awesome! Washable, ,non-toxic paint is pretty cheap and you can water it down to make it go further. The plastic containers can be bought at any Dollar Tree or Walmart!
If you’ve never heard of geocaching before, it’s like a world-wide scavenger hunt! Aka- tons of fun! You get coordinates off the website (here) after you sign up, and then you plug them into a GPS system. People hide these “geocaches” in small spots, and you usually have to walk up to an area and really look hard. My mom’s family loves doing these, and I’ve taken on a quite a liking myself! When you find your geocache, there are sometimes little “treasures” in them (small toys, coins, etc.) and you can take one out, but then you must put one in! So be sure to carry a few little things with you to exchange. Other geocaches are lists with the finder’s name and city of origin – which is really cool because then you get to see who else found the geocache and where they’re from!
23.) Have a Bonfire!
Hot dogs, smore’s, some firewood.. that’ll keep anyone entertained for a few hours! You can build a fire pit in your yard for a pretty decent price, here and here are just 2 of my favorite DIYs for this project! If you don’t want to build your own, you can buy one at Walmart for as little as $40!
24.) Mini Golf
Mini Golf is so popular – something I will never understand. (I can’t stand mini golf!) But again, it’s something children usually love, and a lot of other people love it too.. just not me. Haha!! It’s a relatively inexpensive activity, ($10-$15/person typically) and it’s a good family thing to do. It’s also a good idea because they’re everywhere. Like anywhere you go that has any kind of attraction that would bring in tourists, has a mini golf game. You will never be able to not find a mini golf game.
25.) Go Fishing
It costs $20 for an inland fishing license, so get to a river a throw your pole in! Most places (lakes are rivers) are okay with fishing so long as you have this license, and you don’t need a professional grade fishing pole if you’re doing it just for fun! Most beginner casting rods at Walmart are around $20, but for kids they are under $10! And if you’re not a big fisher, you can always borrow one from a friend or a family member!
I hope this helps with your fun-planning for the next couple of months – have a great summer!