21 Fun and Inexpensive Recreation Ideas and Activities for All Ages

21 Inexpensive Recreation Ideas for Families and Individuals!

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Inexpensive recreation activities are easier to find than you might think.

Recreation doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun! How much are you willing to pay for fun and entertainment?

Where we live there seems to be an endless list of things we do, and most of them cost quite a bit.  There often seems to be an attitude that if you’re going to have fun, you’ve got to spend money, and the more money you spend, the more fun you’ll have.

We want to challenge that notion. You can have fun, lots of fun with inexpensive recreation. And lots of laughter and lots of great memories and still keep most of your money in the bank.

Where to Look for Inexpensive Recreation Ideas

We are convinced that meaningful memories can be created with little or no cost if you just know where to look. Whether it’s a date night, family get-together, or outing, we’ve found oodles of ways to have an enjoyable time without dropping a lot of cash.

Check your resources like CraigsList, Local Newspapers, High School, Community College, and University websites, Churches and community centers – and the list goes on and on. There are links to a few resources at the bottom of the page.

Here’s a list of some amazing year-round ideas that you and your family can do for little or no cost.

Try some of these inexpensive recreation ideas in your area:

Free Winter Events

Obviously these most likely take place during the winter months of December, January, and February. They can even sometimes happen in March depending on where you live.

  • Ice Skating
  • Sledding
  • Cross Country Skiing

Annual Recreational Events and Shows

These events usually take place in the Fall, Spring, or Summer.
Because we live in Arizona, these events take place in the late Fall, Winter, and Spring. Our Summers are too hot to do anything. 

  • Horse Show
  • Livestock show
  • Parades
  • Rodeos
  • Art Fairs
  • Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick Fil A – learn more about how we celebrate Cow Day here

High school / College Sponsored Events

These events usually take place around the school calendar from September through May

  • Concerts
  • Drama productions
  • Sporting events

Nature / Outdoor Events and Activities

These Activities are usually most common around the time of year when temperatures are the most beautiful. If you are an avid sportsman, and/or love to travel, you can do them just about any time of year.

Field Trips

Every major city will have similar production for bread, milk, eggs, etc.
Each city will also have unique things that folks will come to see in your area.

  • Factory tours—candy, bread and milk
  • Farms—dairy, egg, and horses
  • Tours—newspaper, post office, airport, and radio / TV station


Just about every city in America has a museum. These can be great places to go to when the weather is not favorable.

  • Many museums offer free admission days
  • Check out a City Pass from your local library
  • Local Historical Societies

Political / Patriotic / Historical Activities

Historical Activities are also present in every city and can be quite fascinating.

  • State Capitol Tour
  • Presidential Museums
  • Historical Reenactments

Holiday Celebrations

Holidays are on the calendar for every time of year. They have amazing activities associated with them. You or your family will enjoy these so much.

  • Easter—Church Musicals
  • Parades – Memorial Day, St. Patrick’s Day, MLK Day, Christmas
  • Fourth of July—Fireworks/Picnics
  • Christmas-Church pageants, Driving around to look at houses decorated in Christmas Lights

At Home Fun

And don’t forget that there is a ton of fun to be had at Home. Home activities can be low-stress, very economical, and a lot of fun.

  • Board Game Nights (see our favorite board games and strategy games here)
  • Charades
  • Volleyball / Basketball
  • Flag Football
  • Camping in your backyard
  • Roasting Marshmallows
  • Reading books aloud (we’ve got lists of our favorite books here)

Tools to use to find inexpensive recreation ideas

These are some of our favorite research tools for finding inexpensive fun.
If you have some to add, please send the info through our contact form on our website.

  • CraigsList
  • VetTixFree Tickets to Sporting, Music, and Entertainment Events for Veterans
  • AAA Tour Books
  • America the Beautiful Pass formerly the National Parks Pass
  • Local Newspaper websites
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau

For a more detailed list and explanation, read Chapter 10 of America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on The Money

21 Inexpensive Recreation Ideas for Families and Individuals!

Here are more ideas from interviews and newsletter articles that we’ve written. Watch the interview (KTVK TV in Phoenix – below) where we share lots of inexpensive recreation ideas—3 minute

In this interview, we cover loads of inexpensive recreation ideas. We outline even more in the recreation chapter of our book.

Just a few we mention are:

  1. Using the library for videos, audiobooks, fun times for kids, free internet access
  2. Free concerts at your local community college, university or high school
  3. Free days at local museums
  4. Outdoor activities: hiking or rollerblading (Related Article: Inexpensive Hobbies)
  5. Playing board games (the one we are playing in the video is Settlers of Catan — try it, you’ll like it!)

BTW: The board game we’re playing in the video is Settlers of Catan — try it, you’ll like it!

You will also love our money-saving tips page called Kids Play Savings.

And also one of our money-saving tips pages called Recreation Activities & Games.
You might want to read our blog on Family Game Nights.

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