With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, you might be feeling that urge to get out of the house and play! Even grown ups want to be out and about in the fresh Spring air, even if it means fighting a little pollen and hay fever. But for those of us who are trying to watch our pennies, the temptation to spend money when leaving the house is enough to keep us hunkered down indoors, even though we’d rather be out enjoying the sunshine. The good news is there are a number of free or low cost ways to enjoy springtime.
1. Go to the park.
Public parks are free to enter and are perfect locations for walking, jogging, picnicking and playing. Kids and adults alike can take advantage of this admission-free attraction, enjoying anything from a few games of Frisbee to snapping a few pretty spring-theme photos – after all, this is the perfect time of year to see robins, bluebirds, azaleas, daffodils and lots of other flora and fauna. Check your city’s and county’s websites for local park information.
2. Check out free festivals.
A lot of cities host annual spring festivals that are free to attend. Here in Wilmington, we have the annual NC Azalea Festival, which draws thousands of people from all over the country. A wildly popular weekend extravaganza, The NC Azalea Festival involves several different events (some of which do require admission fees) from concerts to pageants to home and garden shows and more. The street fair is a free family-friendly event that has arts and craft vendors, food, music and more. Check out what’s happening in your city and you’ll most likely find one or two festivals nearby that offer free events.
3. Host a pot luck barbecue.
Spring is a great time to cook outdoors. The weather’s not too cold, not too hot and the mosquitoes and other pesky insects aren’t coming out in full force just yet (especially if you live in the South). Organize a family barbecue or invite some friends and neighbors. Make it a pot luck dinner, so that everyone can help pitch in on the expense. It’ll not only be a lot of fun, it’ll be a whole lot cheaper than dining out!
Here are some inexpensive BBQ ideas to get the juices flowing:
4. Start an outdoor exercise routine.
Whether you’ve got a bicycle you haven’t used in a while or you just want to rely on your own two feet, getting outside is a great way to get motivated to exercise. When you’re biking, skating, walking or jogging outdoors, there are fewer distractions and therefore a higher probability that you’ll do the exercise longer. Find out if your city has running/walking trails or simply refer back to #1 and head to your local park. Here in Wilmington, we have a beautiful Cross City Trail that is popular among walkers and joggers. It runs throughout the city, taking you past several scenic areas.
Some tips for trail running: