Outdoor summer activities for the brokest college students

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Nikhar Arora/Staff

When the warming weather of summer comes, so do opportunities to explore the outdoors! Whether you’re staying home, taking classes or interning in a new city, getting outside and doing something fun is important for enjoying the season. Still, participating in outdoor events can be pretty expensive after totaling admission, transportation and any other costs. Instead, save some money and try these ideas for outdoor activities on a budget.

Hiking

A great option for an outdoor activity is going on a hike — most of the time, it’s free! In addition to the minimal cost of transportation to your hiking spot, this activity has tons of other benefits. It’s a great way to work out, especially if you don’t have the money for a gym membership or workout classes. Depending on where you hike, you may also find some amazing views of the landscape. Plus, who doesn’t like nature? Just remember to bring some bug spray and water!

Swimming

Another way to combine physical activity and fun during the summer is to go for a swim. For some students, finding a pool is as easy as walking into the backyard or down the street. If this is the case, grab some friends for a pool party or relax in the hot tub. You can, however, also take a day trip to the beach or a lake to get your swim on. If none of these are possible for you, you can buy a kiddie pool for as cheap as $10 and recreate your summer childhood memories. Regardless of your situation, enjoying the water is a cheap and relaxing way to celebrate the arrival of summer.

Fruit picking

Whether you’re going solo or with a group of people, picking your own seasonal produce is a great way to enjoy the fruits of summer’s labor. A variety of produce will be in season soon depending on your area, so now is the perfect time to find a local farm. Not only will you be able to buy healthy foods, but you’ll also be supporting local farms by purchasing your fresh-picked fruit and vegetables. And at some farms, admission and parking are free! Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce and the summer sun all at once.

Photo shoot

Whether you need new headshots or want to channel your artistic side, organizing a photo shoot at an outdoor location is an amazing idea. Now that students are returning home, it will be easier to find a group that wants to take pictures together. All this activity requires is a location, a few friends and a camera — you can even use your phone! We suggest finding a spot at your location with a relatively clean background as well as shooting during sunset for the perfect lighting. Say cheese!

Drive-in movie

If you live close to a drive-in movie theater, what are you waiting for? Admission prices for drive-ins are often cheaper than traditional theaters, and the only other expense is the gas it would take to get there and back. There aren’t many drive-ins left, however — check to see if there’s one in your area here. If the drive is too far, you also can make your own outdoor theater. Fill the trunk of your vehicle with blankets and pillows, grab some extra chairs, and select your most trustworthy friend to hold your laptop as your favorite movie plays. And don’t forget the popcorn!

While some of these activities do cost some money, all of them are great alternatives to more expensive outdoor outings that are often advertised during the summer. Don’t feel pressured to spend your paycheck on surfing lessons or music festivals (unless that’s your thing) — you can make summer just as fun for a little bit less.

Contact Erin Haar at [email protected].