Where to Find Free and Inexpensive Summer Fun

picnic summer

The heat is on! As the summer gets into full swing there are plenty of opportunities for fun and also free or low-cost events to do with the kids. And there are plenty of weeks remaining to enjoy finding free things to do!

While gas prices and groceries seem to still be high, that does not have to stop your family from participating in these free events. Many are close to home and  can provide a free or affordable way to have fun with the kids!

Movies, Music, and More!

Regal Theaters know where the action is  – on the big screen! Every Tuesday, Regal Crown Club members are treated to Regal Theater Value Days where it is only $6.50 per ticket to see the latest summer blockbuster and 50% off popcorn. It is free to join, so sign up today! Visit their website for locations.

Additionally, Regal Theaters offer their Summer Movie Camp on Wednesdays and Saturdays where the whole gang can enjoy $3 plus tax or $5 plus tax family movies. Check theaters near you for movie selections.

AMC Theaters offer their own discount on Tuesdays with AMC Discount Tuesdays available to all AMC Stub members. Join for free and start earning reward points.

Want to watch your movie for free outdoors? ‘Tis the perfect season for viewing films under the stars at area parks. Many local township parks and recreation centers host Movies in the Park, so bring a blanket and get cozy with the kids. See our guide to townships near you that offer outdoor summer movies.  

Possibly music is more of your family’s jam. Your local parks and rec centers have you covered there too by offering, you guessed it, FREE outdoor concerts in the park. Talented local musicians and cover bands are typically featured. Check here for free family concerts near you.

Plus, there are plenty of fun free things to do throughout the summer including upcoming peach and sunflower festivals, street carnivals, and sandcastle displays. The majority of these events are free to attend while others that do charge admission offer discounts for kids. Check out our events guide for some super summer activities.

Bowling has always been a favorite pastime, but during the summer months, it just got more exciting! Register children age 15 and under for $9.95 and they receive two free games at participating locations all summer long. Check out the locations at Kids Bowl Free to join in the fun. There is also an option to add an adult or older sibling. 

Leisurely Library Lounging 

Summer reading is a right of passage, so why not hop over to the local library which provides both a respite from the heat and a quiet place to plunge into a book. Add it to your list of free things to do this summer!

Also, check your local library for free events that may include storytime, clubs, games, and crafts, or even guest authors. While you are there, check out the Library Museum Passes offered at your library. The passes can be “borrowed” much like a book with your library card for entrance to local museums, area attractions, and gardens.

The latest craze does not even require a visit to the library but just your library card to access apps such as Hoopla, Libby by Overdrive, and Kanopy app. These cool apps allow you to watch TV shows and movies, listen to audio books, and read books or magazines for free by being a library member. Additionally, these sources work across devices, so download today for your vacation getaway or weekend road trip.

Stay Cool on a Hot Summer Day

If you are looking for access to some free and affordable water fun, your search is over. Sprinkler Parks and Splash Pads are all the rage; easy to access and easy to cool off without a commitment to being at a pool all day. Check out the link to our directory for sprinkler parks near you.

Go BIG this summer by renting a private pool for an hour or a day! Gather a gang of like-minded friends and/or family to enjoy this one-of-kind experience your kids will never forget. Check out Swimply if you are “all-in” for this outing but keep in mind the cost of the rental may be worth splitting. 

Head “down the shore” for the day where you can purchase daily beach tags ranging from $5-10 or access some beach destinations for free. Do not forget to pack the sunscreen!

Local township parks and recreation centers also offer discounted tickets to water parks, amusement parks, and area attractions, so be sure to check there first  before you buy your tickets while making fun, economical summer plans.

The Great Outdoors

There is so much to explore! Mother Nature has been kind by offering hiking, biking, and running trails all for free and extremely accessible. If your family craves a morning of hiking or an afternoon of biking, click on the links for a list of amazing places to discover. 

Another gift from Mother Nature are the various environmental centers which are easy to access and most offer free admission. “Be one with nature” within the tri-state area by enjoying time in the great outdoors – bird-watch, boat, or hike at self-guided tours at the Schuylkill Center Saturdays usually from 9:30 am – 10:30 am.

If your family is planning a day trip or even overnight camping, there are even more inexpensive and cool destinations within a few hours drive or less. Go chasing waterfalls throughout the state or select another exciting destination in scenic Pennsylvania to create summertime memories.

Fishing for free can be very refreshing this summer, so if you are angling for a catch and release adventure, stop by Bartram’s Garden on Wednesdays from 5:00-8:00 PM. No experience necessary plus equipment, bait, and instruction are provided.

Much Ado About Museums 

Museums are amping up the vacation fun by providing free events on certain days throughout the summer.

Check out Free Family Days at the Please Touch Museum, a public health and awareness series being offered for free on one Sunday each month. The purpose is to instill healthy habits and practices through play-based learning, and who doesn’t like to play!

The Barnes offers PECO Free First Sundays each month featuring a different theme and event each time. There are plenty of activities and adventures for the entire family. Advance registration is required as space is limited.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is keeping it real by offering free admission to kids under the age of 18 everyday. Additionally, attendees can be part of Enjoy Pay What You Wish admission on the first Sunday of the month and every Friday night from 5:00-8:45 pm. What a cool way for kids to be exposed to free art exhibits.

Remember, visit your local library to participate in the Library Museum Pass Program. Library members can borrow passes to museums and other popular attractions so you can savor this summer treat with your kids for free. 

Whether you want to stay indoors to beat the heat or venture outdoors for entertainment, there are a plethora of affordable and free activities for the family. There is no time like today to make summer plans.