As yet another summer rolls around, you may find yourself scrolling aimlessly through Instagram, seeing posts of beautiful beach resorts and fancy vacations in Europe. Although these trips are admittedly pretty awesome, we’re college students after all and no one wants to break the bank just to have fun. Despite popular belief that you need a yacht and stay in a 5-star hotel to have the best time ever, there are countless cheap ways to enjoy your summer. Here are 6 cheap summer activities to try out this summer for under 20 dollars!
Go on a hike and have a picnic
There’s nothing quite like being outside in nature on a sunny day, breathing in that fresh air and soaking up the sun. Grab a friend, your running shoes, a big blanket and head to a local park or hiking trail. Hiking is a completely free activity (it’s also an easy way to work out while spending time in the great outdoors). You can also kill two birds with one stone by packing a bag with snacks to have a delicious picnic as a reward for all of your hiking.
Okay, okay, hear me out on this one. Yes, summer is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. Museums are a great way to educate yourself about a totally new subject without ever having to hit the books. From the MoMA in San Francisco to the Natural History Museum of LA, it’s easy to find an exhibit you’re interested in for cheap summer activities. Not to mention the guaranteed photo ops you’ll have. During the summer, some museums also have special free days and most give student discounts year-round.
Have a beach/pool day
This list wouldn’t be complete without one of my favorite ways to spend a summer afternoon: cooling off at the beach. When you bring your own snacks and gear, a beach day is virtually free. If the beach is not really your scene, or just plain inaccessible, going to a pool is also a great alternative for cheap summer activities.
Go fruit picking
This one may seem a little out of the blue, but trust me, fruit picking is a super cute way to spend a summer day. Put on a gingham dress, a floppy hat and head to a fruit farm for the day. U-pick farms a great way to get some fresh, affordable summer produce. They also provide the perfect opportunity to escape hectic city life for a couple of hours. Prices vary depending on the farm and the type of fruit you’re getting, but it’s easy to stay within budget with cheap summer activities like this.
Go to the pier/boardwalk
Spend the day going on rides or eating your bodyweight in cotton candy at the pier! The pier is a fun way to hang out with friends while staying under budget. Places like the Santa Monica Pier and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk are admission free, so you only pay for the food and rides that you want.
Go to the farmers market
My final tip during the summer is to go to your local farmers market. From trying out delicious locally-sourced food to picking up unique jewelry pieces, you can do it all at the farmers market. Most markets set up every weekend, so it’s a perfect thing to do with a group of friends on a lazy Sunday morning. Plus, most vendors have samples of their produce you can still have some fresh watermelon or ice cold lemonade even if you don’t want to spend money.