7 tips for enjoying your summer break without breaking the bank.
Story by Danielle Castonzo
After a long school year of early mornings, summer break in your hometown is fun, relaxing and a much-needed breather—for the first two weeks. Summer months can feel long and repetitive, especially if you’re working one or more part-time jobs. I went to high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I spent far too many summer nights hanging out on my high school football field or taking a late-night trip to Denny’s because everything else closed before the sun went down.
But there’s no need to spend every night eating Doritos and watching Netflix in your friend’s basement. Here are some fun, cheap ways to keep summer in your hometown fresh and exciting:
1. Attend a free concert or music festival. No matter where you live, you’ll find free music performances and concert series in warm-weather months. Beyoncé might not be headlining, but who knows? You might discover an awesome new genre or artist.
2. Take a day trip to the nearest tourist attraction. You might think that nobody in her right mind would consider your town a tourist destination, but trust me, you’ll find something new. When doing research for this article, I searched for destinations in my town and discovered that the world’s largest collection of mechanical puzzles is located two miles from my house. Tell me you’re not curious.
3. Learn how to cook something new. When I was in high school, I never cooked anything more exciting than scrambled eggs. Take advantage of this free time and ask your parents to teach you their favorite recipe or try making something from one of those Tasty videos on Facebook.
4. Stop by your local farmer’s market to try fresh produce. You can sample locally made cheese, delicious homemade pastries and tasty veggies and fruit, often for free. “The produce is fresher when it’s local,” David Smith, marketing specialist for the Delaware Department of Agriculture, says. “A lot of times, it was just picked that morning or the afternoon prior, where in the grocery store, it’s still probably several days old. You just can’t beat fresh local produce.”
5. Spend an afternoon at the nearest record store. “We actually have a lot more young people coming in the door than ever before,” says Rick Wojcik, owner of Dusty Groove records in Chicago. Wojcik loves record stores because they’re cheaper than concerts while still allowing people to meet and discover new tunes. “There’s a very social aspect to music. Even if you’re sharing music online, there’s nothing that can replace actually talking about it, holding it and showing it to someone else.”
6. Go on an outdoor adventure. There are 417 national parks and 10,366 state parks in the United States alone, according to the National Parks Foundation. Driving to the nearest one can be a great day trip. Hike, swim and spend a refreshing day away from technology.
7. Host a movie marathon at your house. It’s cheaper than going to the multiplex. Pick the genre and tell everyone who’s coming to bring a different snack to share.