Summer To-Do List (Fun on a Budget!)

You are sitting at home in your comfiest loungewear, scrolling on Instagram or tapping through Snap stories. You see bikini pictures from cruise destinations, food photos from European restaurants, or scenic views from mountaintops.

We have all been there, biting back our jealousy, but those days are over. This summer’s goal is to be so busy with our own fabulous summer plans that we simply do not have the time to spend wondering what could have, should have, would have been if we had the means.

You don’t need to be rich to scratch your adventurous summer itch. Don’t get me wrong– you probably can’t spend six weeks in Italy taking wine tours without dropping some serious cash. But your summer doesn’t have to be screwed. Here is your summer to-do list if you want to have a fun season on a conservative budget.

  1. Road Trip!

Road trips are a classic option for summer trips– not to mention one of the most budget-flexible. Yes, gas prices may be steep right now, but the best part about a road trip is the destination is wherever you choose, whether that means a day trip to the beach or a group pitching in on an Airbnb.

A photo my friend took on a road trip last summer

  1. Picnic

Everyone brings a dish! Picnics can be a great destination for the above-mentioned road trips, too.

A picnic on the beach 🙂
  1. Sunsets

Sunsets are one of those little beauties that make life worth living. Challenge yourself this summer to seek out as many sunset watching spots as you can. Try tops of parking garages, clearings in woods, and of course anywhere with water to cast a reflection– get creative!

Sunset collage
  1. Pool Party!

Get your friends together and bring this childhood classic back to life. Maybe add some fruity cocktails (or mocktails) and don’t forget snacks. Summer is the best time for all things frozen, so break out the popsicles!

  1. Read

If you think you don’t like reading, I’ll bet the real problem is that you haven’t found the right book for you or you haven’t found the right reading spot. My personal favorite reading spot is in a chair by the pool, soaking up the sun. If summer makes you think of relaxing and recharging, this could be the time for you to discover (or rediscover) a love for reading.

  1. Movie Night!

If reading really isn’t your style, have no fear. Movies are a summer activity too! Here in Florida, afternoon storms are characteristic for any summer day, and a great opportunity to load up Netflix. But when skies are clear and a nice breeze cuts through the warm summer air, shake up your movie nights by bringing them outside. Hook up a projector and enjoy it with friends, family, or a date. I got this one from Amazon.

  1. S’mores

No summer to-do list would be complete without this toasty treat. If you haven’t tried variations of the classic, you don’t know what you’re missing. (Hint: Swap the chocolate for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. You won’t be sorry.)

  1. Outdoor Sports

How else are you going to sustain a diet full of S’mores? The possibilities for outdoor summer sports are endless, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Group sports with friends (volleyball, basketball, soccer, etc.)
  • Beach volleyball
  • Surfing
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Paddle boarding
  • Yoga on the beach (especially during sunrise or sunset!)
  1. Camping

I have camped at both National Parks and Water Management District Campsites. In general, National Parks cost a bit more money, but have more accommodations. Camping locations and the activities/amenities they offer are expansive, so do your research and be sure to obtain any required permits. Above all, be safe!

I bought an inexpensive tent from Amazon. I would not recommend it if you plan to camp in severe weather conditions, but it’s perfect for summer weekends when skies are sunny.

  1. Side Hustle

Last but not least, if you find yourself longing for more options when it comes to summer plans, now may be a good time to make some extra cash in some fun ways. Hold a car wash. Find a friend as broke as you and DoorDash together with a great playlist and the windows rolled down. Make something cool and sell it on Etsy. Maybe next summer you can go to Italy…

Final Thoughts

Money can make it much easier to do fun things, but you can absolutely do fun things without spending much money! With a little creativity, planning, and appreciation for the truly important parts of life, a summer with minimal spending can still be a summer well spent.

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