Official summer vacations are the ideal, but what about those summers when money is tight and time is limited? What do you do then to make sure your summer is packed with family fun and lots of memory-makers?
Fortunately summer offers some unique opportunities and ideal weather for family fun. Here are 5 less obvious, but delightfully fun things to do with the family this summer:
1. Visit a You-Pick Farm and Bring Home Some Fresh Fruits and Veggies
I remember doing this in the summer when I was a kid and loving every minute of it!
Our family visits a favorite farm every May to do our strawberry-picking. (Check out last week’s post for ideas on what to do with those red gems!) Farms all across the country offer you the opportunity to pick your own blackberries, blueberries, watermelons, green beans, corn, tomatoes…. just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of! Kids love being able pick some of their own food, and you may be happy to actually see where your food is coming from!
Check out the Pick Your Own website to find a U-Pick Farm near you!
2. Attend an Outdoor Play
This is on my summer bucket list! My kids love a good play, and what could be more fun that attending an outdoor production? The Institute of Outdoor Theatre website offers a state-by-state, (or country-by-country!) list of outdoor theaters where you can enjoy story, dance, and song under the open sky. I discovered links to several outdoor theaters in my state I never knew existed!
Scores of historic sites across the country produce dramas or do reenactments that tell local history. Many more communities, colleges, and small theatre companies sponsor outdoor Shakespeare festivals. Do a little investigation and find out what sorts of productions might be available in your area and make plans to see a show with your family!
3. Ride a Train
There is a beautiful nostalgia associated with trains, and most kids, boys especially, are fascinated with the power of a locomotive. The United States has by far the largest rail network in the world, so the odds are very good there’s a railway near you offering brief excursions for the family. Some even offer in-transit meals, mystery productions, or railway robberies to add to the fun along the way.
4. Go for a Lake or River Cruise
Hey, a fishing or speed boat, or even a day on a 2-person paddle boat is likely to be a ton of fun to the kids!
But many lakes and rivers all across the country offer amazing day or evening cruises that are great fun for the family without breaking the bank. There are yacht cruises and ferry cruises, but my favorite are the steamboat cruises. Some even serve you dinner, stop at ports, or offer entertainment.
5. Visit a Local Town Festival
Honestly, this is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Town festivals are delightful little slices of Americana where you can really learn about a community and its people. Festivals are usually cram-packed with games and rides and regional foods, local arts and crafts, and music. The kids can collect balloons from a nearby church, key chains and coloring books from the local fire department, and cotton candy and pencils from a county insurance agency while you buy silky-smooth homemade goat milk soap and jars of local honey. And don’t forget the sugared pecans and fresh maplenut fudge! You might even catch the end of a singing contest, a juggling show, or a greased pig race.
Summer is upon us! Now is the time to start making plans for family fun in the form of some mini-excursions. Never underestimate their ability to be wonderful memory-makers for the entire family!
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