Cross-Canada ideas for frugal and fun summer activities
As spring came to an end and school let out for the summer children and adults alike anticipated the lazy, hazy days of summer. For many, the first week of summer was nothing short of glorious – but as the weeks wear on summer can get, well, kind of boring!
After a few weeks (or weekends) of sleeping in, catching up on your PVR, and getting a little fresh air – chants of “I’m bored” can quickly creep in to your much anticipated summer fun. But boredom is not the real culprit here – instead, our mid-summer blues often stem from not knowing what to do without constantly opening our wallets.
When it comes to beating summertime boredom, the key to planning affordable family fun is making common sense choices that keep costs down. You don’t have to break the bank to have an epic summer. You just need to do a little research, plan ahead and budget wisely.
To help Canadians plan for some frugal summer fun, Consolidated Credit offers this eclectic list of activities to help create incredible family memories – on a budget:
Make a summer bucket list- Sit down as a family and create a list of all the things you wish to do this summer. Set a budget for your summer fun and plan activities that won’t break the bank. For those with kids, give them each their own summer spending limit and allow them to create their own bucket list. Allowing them to plan their own summer fun within a budget will go a long way towards teaching them the value of money.
Hit the beach – Nothing says summer quite like a day spent at the beach. Canada is home to some of the world’s most beautiful fresh water lakes and longest coast lines, making beaches accessible in almost every region of the country. Pack a lunch; lather on the sunscreen and head on out for a fun day of sand, sun and surf. And for those looking for a little more excitement from their day on the beach, try picking a day when there is a festival or event happening on the sand. Events like the Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition in Parksville, B.C. offer even more excitement at little to no cost.
Pick a festival. Any festival – When it comes to festivals, there is no better place to be than Canada in the summertime. From Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival to Edmonton’s International Fringe Festival, our country hosts some of the most incredible outdoor events in the world. While many of the countless festivals held across the country come with a nominal fee, families who do their research can find a number of events that will easily fit their budget.
Go for hike – Did you know that our country has countless hiking trails that offer spectacular views of our beautiful landscape. Whether you hit the Fundy Trail, Killarney Park, Cape Breton National Highlands or the West Coast Trail, it doesn’t cost a penny to lace up your shoes and hit the path less taken.
Explore our natural wonders – Nothing quite matches the raw beauty of Canada’s natural wonders. With admission fees ranging from free, a small donation to a nominal fee, visiting Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, Ontario’s Niagara Falls, Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park or Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy will leave your family with memories that will last a lifetime without haunting your bottom line.
Get cultured – From museums to art galleries there are plenty of budget-friendly places to expand your knowledge and learn a little bit about our distinctly Canadian culture. For those in PEI this summer, celebrate 100 years of Anne at the Anne of Green Gables museum, or if you are in Ontario this summer, you can learn about our pioneer past at Midland’s Saint Marie Among the Hurons.
Pack a picnic – You don’t have to “go somewhere” to make the most of your summer vacation. Some of the best family memories are created when you simply spend time together. Pack a lunch, leave your wallet at home and hit up a local park to eat al fresco. Even better, lay a blanket out in your own backyard and eat dinner under the stars.
Go camping – You don’t have to go far to find a spectacular camp site in Canada. From coast to coast, our provinces have a number of provincial and national parks that rent sites at an affordable price. Manitoba Beach and Shediac, New Brunswick are home to some of the most spectacular camping locations in the country. Visit Parks Canada’s website to reserve your plot of paradise!
Take the 100 mile challenge – The hundred mile challenge offers a great opportunity to support local farmers and eat produce grown within 100 miles of your home. Farmer’s Markets happen 7 days a week in communities all across Canada. A little research of markets in your community can lead you to a hidden gem of great food, wonderful people and budget-friendly prices. St. Jacob’s Market outside of Kitchener is one of the best in the country
Watch a movie under the stars – With the death of the drive-in theatre, many communities are hosting outdoor movie nights that are fun for the whole family. Cities like Edmonton and Regina host weekly outdoor movie nights that are appropriate for all ages. And if you can’t find an outdoor cinema series in your community, consider hosting a backyard movie night. All you need is a white sheet, a projector and a bowl of popcorn to watch the stars….under the stars.
Go park-hopping – For a little daytime fun, consider a tour of your local parks. Log on to your city’s parks and recreation page to find maps of local community parks you can visit. For extra fun, have your kids rate the parks based on the best monkey bars, slides and climbing apparatus. Or take it even further by having your little ones create a blog to share their local park experiences.
If echoes of “I’m bored” have started filling your home, there is no need to fear. Frugal summer fun is easy to achieve if you willing to set a budget and make a list. Don’t wait for summer to go from hazy to lazy. Sit down as a family tonight and make a plan to beat the mid-summer blues.
Summer activities can put a tremendous strain on a family’s budget. If you are having difficulty keeping a grip on your finances, and the pressure of summer spending is keeping you up at night, call to get expert advice from a trained credit counsellor. You can also try our online debt analysis to see where you stand.