These days, the average cost of a weeklong vacation for just one person hovers around $1,500—and the price only goes up for larger families.
But summer vacation doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. There are countless ways to savor the season without stressing over the cost. Here are a few ideas for low-cost, high-impact summer fun.
With gas prices reaching record highs, you might be putting your summer road trip plans on hold. To save money, stay closer to home and plan a staycation instead—there’s an abundance of culture and nature to explore in Milwaukee and in the suburbs, or get a bit further out of town with a day trip to a Wisconsin state park. It’s never too late to discover a new destination right in your neighborhood.
2. Backyard camping.
Camping is an option for an affordable getaway, but you don’t even need to book a campsite or hop in the car to sleep under the stars. Set up a tent in your backyard, throw some wood into a firepit, try a campfire recipe and then roast gooey smores for dessert. Enjoy your meal by lantern light for the full effect. (No judgment if you sneak back inside at bedtime!)
3. Local festivals and concerts.
Southeast Wisconsin comes alive in the summer with a plethora of festivals and outdoor events. Pack a picnic for a free concert at a park or walk through one of many neighborhood makers markets or block parties.
In addition to free events, some events that charge admission—like Summerfest—run promotions and discounts that make it possible to attend on a budget, even with the whole family in tow.
4. DIY waterpark.
Set up the slip ‘n slide, turn on the sprinkler and fill up the water balloons to convert your backyard into a waterpark oasis without paying waterpark prices. For a more elaborate project, create a DIY splash pad and get creative with household items to turn your home into a destination for summer fun.
5. Think outside the box.
If you’re still stumped on how to have low-cost fun this summer, look to the internet for long lists of ideas to stoke your imagination, from date night inspiration to kid-friendly entertainment. Planning a summer filled with fun, affordable activities can be as simple as taking a hike on a new-to-you trail or spending a rainy day rediscovering the local library.