20 Fun Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family for Cheap

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THINK OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

Outdoor activities can breathe a little fresh air into family life, as well as become the stuff of priceless memories. Simple pleasures are often the most rewarding -- and the most affordable. These 20 activities range from light-hearted and laid-back to exciting and ambitious.

Related: 13 Cheap Family Summer Vacations

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PICK FRESH PRODUCE

Take advantage of U-pick days at a local fruit farm. Not only is it a fun way to pass the time, it can be cheaper than buying the same fruit at the supermarket. If you can't find a local fruit farm, head to a farmers market and stroll through, tasting samples and picking out what you like.
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PLANT A GARDEN

Instead of picking fresh produce, how about growing your own? Get everyone in the family involved in the planning, planting, and upkeep of a garden. Kids will delight in seeing their labor pay off in fresh produce. Don't have space for a garden? Many communities have garden plots that can be rented cheaply for the entire growing season.

Related: 15 Foods to Grow in a Container Garden

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HAVE A PICNIC

Enjoy all that fresh produce you've picked or grown by having a picnic with it. Pack up a meal, blanket, and paper plates and head to the nearest park. Take in the outdoors and a good meal -- no rushing allowed. Bring a Frisbee for an easy after-dinner activity.
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ENJOY SOME ICE CREAM

Warm weather warrants a summer favorite: ice cream. If an ice cream shop is close by, walk there and back -- you'll burn some of the extra calories on the trip. If you must drive, sit outside and enjoy your treat before you hop back in the car and head home.

Related: 13 Cheap and Easy Ice Cream Recipes for Summer

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VISIT A NATIONAL PARK

A visit to a national park can be a memorable family experience, and admission is free at many parks. At the ones that do charge, entrance fees range from $3 to $30 a vehicle. Several times each year, the National Park Service has fee-free dates, such as Aug. 25, which marks the birthday of the Park Service.
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TAKE A HIKE

Hiking is a great way to get out and get moving as a family -- and take in one of those national parks. If you aren't near a park, many towns and neighborhoods have walking trails that can be enjoyed for free.
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GO FOR A BIKE RIDE

A family bike ride is another exhilarating way to enjoy a nice day. Take a bike path or cycle through town, stopping to window shop or have a bite to eat. If the kids are younger, stop at a park along the way so they can play for a while.
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ATTEND AN OUTDOOR EVENT

While you're out for a bike ride, stop and see a local performance or attend a local event. Almost all communities have some type of outdoor activity on weekends. Parades, outdoor concerts, and festivals are usually free.
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PLAY A GAME WITH OTHER FAMILIES

Reach out to another family or two and set up a game of baseball or flag football. It's easy to arrange and a fun way to spend an afternoon outside together.
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HAVE A SANDCASTLE COMPETITION

This activity is perfect for the beach, but a beach isn't necessary. Plenty of local parks have ample sand. If you have a sandbox, you don't even need to go anywhere.
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PLAY SIDEWALK OR LAWN GAMES

Set up a dodgeball game or a jump-rope contest, or dig out the old badminton set and cornhole boards and make a day of playing games -- call it the Backyard Olympics. A quick search on Pinterest can help spur some ideas of other games you can set up with things you already have on hand.
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FLY KITES

Kites are inexpensive (many sell for less than $10) and flying a kite is a fun pastime for all ages. On a windy day, head to an open spot such as a park, beach, meadow, or even your own backyard.
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PLAY IN THE SPRINKLERS OR HAVE A WATER BALLOON FIGHT

Okay, so running through sprinklers is definitely more kid-oriented, but it may bring out the kid in you, too. And the whole family can get caught up in a water balloon fight. Make your own rules and have at it.
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GO STARGAZING

If it's too hot to go outside until evening, find a clearing (preferably away from city lights) and try stargazing. A library book or mobile app can help identify the stars and constellations. Challenge your family to pick them out.
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CATCH LIGHTNING BUGS

Catching lightning bugs is another fun nighttime activity. All you need is a jar with a lid. Just remember to poke holes in the lid so the bugs can breathe and be sure to let them go at the end of the evening. You can make a game of it and see who can catch the most.
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HAVE A YARD SALE -- COMPLETE WITH LEMONADE STAND

Instead of spending money, how about earning some? Everyone has things to get rid of. Have everyone in the family contribute a few items, spread them out on the lawn, and price them low. Hang a few signs to advertise, make some lemonade -- fresh baked goods wouldn't hurt either -- and you've got a nice setup for bringing in some extra cash.
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GO FISHING

Find some open water and toss your line. Unwind and enjoy each other's company. Pack some snacks and make a day of it.
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GO GEOCACHING

This high-tech treasure hunt can be fun for virtually everyone in the family. Using a smartphone and GPS coordinates, participants search for hidden objects. Sign up for a Geocaching account and download the app to start playing for free.
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MINIATURE GOLF

Try a friendly family game of miniature golf. Prices are generally reasonable, and players who hit a hole-in-one on the last hole are often rewarded with a free round.
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CATCH A BASEBALL GAME

Enjoying the great American pastime is a memorable way to spend time outside with the family. Many cities have minor league teams whose games are much cheaper to attend than major league games. And many ballparks offer more than just baseball, such as contests and other entertainment between innings, as well as play areas for kids.