Here in Denver it seems as though the snow has finally stopped for the year – knock on wood – and summer is just around the corner.
For a lot of us, that means warm weather and more daylight. It also means more weekend activities outside of the house, which comes at a cost.
Unfortunately, affordable summer activities no longer includes packing up a swim bag and cooler and walking up to the neighborhood pool. Many neighborhoods are charging a separate pool fee to local residents and a steep fee at that.
However, there is a plethora of fun activities for the whole family that don’t break the bank. If you live in a state as beautiful as Colorado, there is no excuse for not taking advantage of some of these great options.
- Ride Bikes
I hate to be the when-I-was-your-age guy, but as a kid I remember riding my bike everywhere. I’d get home after school, throw my backpack on the floor, and head to my neighbor’s house. We’d grab our bikes, find fellow riders throughout the neighborhood, and stay out until dark.
Riding bikes is a great opportunity to get out with the whole family for little to no cost. You purchase the bike upfront, which can be a high overhead cost, but maintenance is relatively cheap throughout the life of the bike. You can even find cheap used bikes at the local thrift store that just need some new wheels or a fresh coat of paint.
You can spend a nice evening riding around with the family. You can also make an afternoon of it. Pack up a lunch, load the family on the bikes, and ride to a local park. Enjoy a picnic, play at the park, and ride home at the end of the day.
Around here camping is a staple in summer activities. If you ask three Coloradans about their weekend plans, one is bound to be camping.
Again, this has some upfront cost with the tent, sleeping bags, etc., but the gear lasts a long time. There are no reoccurring charges besides gas and food and the food is generally the same stuff you’d eat at home – if you eat hotdogs and s’mores at home.
Some camp sites will charge fees if you want amenities such as showers, washers/driers, and so on. However, at these sites, you’re generally camping right next to other families. And, if you have the same luck as us, it’s the loud stay-up-all-night families.
Camping in wilderness areas allows you to camp wherever you want. Of course, you’ll have to check with the site first.
You can even throw up a tent in the backyard and camp without leaving your house. Fire up the grill or roast hot dogs in the fire pit – depending on fire danger of course – and spend a night under the stars.
Obviously, hiking is on the list.
In a state as beautiful as Colorado, we are blessed with miles and miles and miles (literally) of great hiking trails. Some are gravel paths that your young ones will be able to conquer, and some are more expert terrain; there are options for everyone.
Whatever your level of expertise, there is most likely a trail near you. If not, you only have to drive 30 minutes from the city for some great options. If you don’t believe me, here is an article to prove it: Day Hikes Near Denver: 30 Minutes From the City.
- Basketball and Other Sports Camps
If you haven’t caught on yet, most of these activities have one up-front cost and offer more than just a one-time opportunity to participate.
If your young ones like sports, sign them up for a team or just a local camp. Many camps will offer multiple days/weeks of lessons along with the opportunity for your kids to learn sportsmanship and camaraderie.
This is also a great chance to sit outside and watch them play.
You may live in a neighborhood with a school or park. Buy a basketball and take them to the court after dinner. If you live near a field, grab a soccer ball, football, or volleyball net. Most sporting goods stores now offer a plethora of outdoor games that are fun and affordable.
Heck, take your kids on a journey back in time. Give them a crushed up can and teach them how to play Kick the Can with the other neighborhood kids. That’s about as affordable as it gets.
At the end of the day, it’s more about who than what. Spending time outside with your family and friends can be easy and cost effective.
Grab some cheap meals and hit the mountains to camp or hike.
Check your local clubs for youth sports camps or take the kids to the park.
Whether it’s riding bikes or camping in the backyard, make this summer a fun one and an affordable one with the whole family.
For more on affordable summer activities, check out the Mind of a Millionaire podcast.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
No strategy assures success or protects against loss.