10 summer activities that cost almost nothing

By Anne Long
For Linglestown Gazette

The weather is warmer, the sun is back in the sky, and the temperatures are rising. It is the most relaxing and refreshing time of the year: SUMMER!

Now, not only is the sun out and myself with it; but it’s also around longer, adding hours onto our days. With this seemingly “extra” time, you might not know how to spend it and really take advantage of the nice weather; you might even think it costs too much money to really have fun. But that shouldn’t deter you from getting out of the house. It’s time to get outside and soak up some necessary Vitamin D! And, you’d be surprised about how much you time you can spend without spending too much cash.

#1 … Cleaning Out

If you must stay inside, whether from rain or stormy weather, you can still get moving and relax with cleaning out. Make it a scavenger hunt or a game with your family! See who can recycle, donate, or trash the most unused and discarded items. The one with the most gets to choose a treat or place for dinner that night. Or, if you don’t just want to get rid of your extra things, hold a rummage or yard sale. With less clutter in the home, not only will everything be clean, but your mind will be less cluttered as well.

The same works for outside! A fresh look does wonders for peace of mind. Whether it’s the garden shed, the garage, or the garden, the outside of your house could use a facelift after a long winter and turbulent spring. Do your flowers and cluttered spaces a favor by putting in a few hours to make them look as good as the weather feels.

#2 … Gardening

If you don’t have a garden to clean up, you should get a garden, and fill it with whatever plants you want. You can plant annual flowers that only require a couple seeds and a lot of love. Walking around my neighborhood, and even in the city, I see all different kinds: tulips, hyacinths, pansies, daffodils, daylilies, and lavender.


#3 … Walking or Jogging

My mother and I love to take walks when the weather’s nice, and I usually walk to work all the time. You get to see and smell all the fragrances from all the flowers and take in the beautiful clear skies and blossoming trees.

Taking a walk or light jog not only gets you working off some of the comfort food eaten during
the winter, but it gets your moving and also lets you see the world in a new way. Everything seems to be in bloom and rejuvenated, even the people you see along the way.

Summer and sunshine just makes everyone smile.

#4 … Hiking

Nothing gets you more in touch with nature or outdoors for a prolonged period of time than hiking. If you live in Central Pennsylvania, you’re lucky. A quick search for nearby trails is only a web search away. Or, even if you don’t have a mountain range close by you, there are parks and nature centers dedicated to celebrating the outdoors and all its beauty, where you can spend an hour or two.

My favorites in Harrisburg are Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area, just over the mountain in Fishing Creek, and Wildwood Nature Center, located just off Cameron Street and Industrial Drive.

#5 … Running a Race

If walking or hiking is too slow for you, there are plenty of charity or fun 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons to take part in. It’s a great way to bond with a community of runners and people who just like to enjoy moving their bodies outside. Plus, it’s something you can do with the entire family, regardless of fitness level. One of my favorites is the Color Run.

#6 … Backyard Reading

If you still don’t feel like moving, take your leisure activities to the backyard. There’s nothing like a good afternoon spent in the sun reading a book. You can take your favorite chair or just set out a blanket/towel. It’s a great opportunity to get a soft tan without the crowding of the pool or the beach.


#7 … Have a Picnic

Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, your family will appreciate a fresh change from the normal take out or formal evening dining scene. Picnics are so easy to put together as well! Just pack a cooler of your favorite drinks or bottles of water; pick up some of your favorite snacks: chips, pretzels, granola bars, veggies, fruit; and make sandwiches or salads for the main dish.

#8 … Chalk

Another great family activity, no matter how old you are, is chalk! Go beyond the hopscotch design and allow yourself to get creative. See how many colors and stories you can create before the rain showers come and wipe them away.

#9 … Car Wash

If cooling down instead of working up a sweat is something you would rather do, then hook up the hose and get out the sponges. Washing your car or vehicle in the driveway saves you money and gives you something to pass the hot daytime hours. And, in the end, you have a shiny vehicle looking like it just drove off the lot.

#10 … Festivals and Markets

There are so many springtime festivals full of fresh flowers, fruits, crafts, vegetables, and other creations. Flea markets are moving outside, like the Harrisburg (HBG Flea), which is the first Saturday of every month. Farmer’s markets are getting in more produce than ever, like Strites Orchard. And, more often than not, somewhere nearby there’s a music or festival of some kind that you can go to for just the day. Harrisburg’s Independence Day Celebration on July 4th is one event that is a great option for spending the day with the family.

Enjoying the nice weather and longer days doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet. There’s so much to do as long as you get creative and just look to relax. The possibilities are endless, even if summer is not.

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About Anne Long

Anne Long is a writer, born and raised in Harrisburg, and student at Shippensburg University set to graduate this winter with a Bachelors degree in English. In addition to writing, she's an avid reader, runner, gym-goer, and coffee addict. You can read more of her work on her blog: alonglifesite.wordpress.com and you can follow her on Facebook at Anne Long - Writer and Blogger and Twitter and Instagram @anne.eliz.long.