10 Cheap (and Free) Ways to Enjoy the Fourth of July Weekend

Ah, summer is upon us.  The days are getting long, the flowers are growing strong, and the weather is getting warm and sunny.  (Well, where I am, it’s getting warm, at any rate; the last week has been rainy day after rainy day, with little let up in sight.)  It’s getting to be a great summer season, and with the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, you might find yourself with one of those oh-so-rare four day weekends to enjoy.  But how can you enjoy it without spending too much?

That’s what this article hopes to answer.  There are lots of things you can do, particularly in the nice weather that (should) come with this summer season, that will keep you entertained and happy while not breaking the bank. The Fourth of July weekend can be costly, as can any holiday, but you’re in luck, because here are

10 Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy Your 4th of July Weekend

1. Have a Barbecue: I realize, it might not sound very inexpensive, but if you ensure that all of your guests bring something to the shindig, you can have a lot of food available without spending a great deal of money yourself.  Plus, if your barbecues are anything like my family’s barbecues, there will be plenty of leftovers for you during the rest of the weekend…

2. Go See a Free Firework Display: You don’t need to pay a small fortune in order to see fireworks on the Fourth.  Many communities provide fireworks displays for their residents and nearby guests, and with a little bit of searching (Try typing ‘Free Firework display [Name of Your City/Sizable Nearby City]’ into Google to start your search), you will likely turn up one or more possible places to see some nice fireworks during the Fourth.

Let's be honest, it's just not really the Fourth without fireworks
And let’s be honest, it’s just not really the Fourth without fireworks

3. Create a Fourth of July Craft or Two with Your Children: Chances are that there are some children in your life, whether your own or some in your extended family.  Why not spend part of the weekend helping them have some fun and maybe even understand the holiday better by making a craft or two?  You’ll find plenty of neat crafts to do if you do some searching, and it’ll definitely make the children happy.

4. Play Some Baseball: With summer here, the baseball season is in full swing (pun intended).  You can get some of your neighbors together and have a game or two of your own.  Depending on who’s playing, you might want to go with some slow-pitch softball, instead, but the important point is, you can get some friends together and have some outdoor fun!

5. Play Some Board Games: If sports aren’t your thing (or you find yourself wondering if you are in monsoon season, as I have lately), you could try some board games, instead.  My family and I have been playing Monopoly quite a bit as of late; while not necessarily the best game to encourage family love (any game where the goal is to bankrupt everyone else is a little bit questionable), it is pretty fun, and any game you can play with friends or family can make for a fun afternoon or evening.

6. Go on a Walk: If you live close to a park or other nice open area, taking advantage of the Fourth of July to make a visit to enjoy the fresh air and foliage could be a very enjoyable time.  Admittedly, if other people have the same thoughts and/or the park isn’t that big, it could prove a bit crowded, but who knows, you might be able to meet some new friends among your neighbors who are out enjoying the park as well.

7. Do Some Reading: A pretty good way to spend any weekend, in my humble opinion, but when you (might) have an extra holiday off and possibly a free Friday to boot, well, you have to finish at least one book.  Heading to the local library today (to ensure that they aren’t, say, closed for the holiday weekend) can help you snag a good novel or three to finish during your long weekend, and there are other ways to get inexpensive books for your summer reading.

8. Get Some Goals Accomplished: Admittedly, perhaps it’s not strictly a fun way to spend the holiday, but as the Fourth serves as the halfway point between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and thus the summer is about half over.  Particularly if you are a student (or teacher) who is headed back to school in September, now is the time to get going on anything you hope to finish during the summer; you only have half the summer left, unfortunately.  Knocking a goal or two off your to-do list will make you feel much better when the weekend is over.

9. Learn Something New: In the same spirit, you can take advantage of the extra time this weekend to add to your wealth of knowledge, increasing what you know so you’re a smarter person by Monday.  Granted, a weekend, even an extra long weekend, is not enough time to truly master a new skill, but putting in a few hours a day between now and Monday can leave you with a good, running start toward learning something useful by the end of the summer.

10. Thank a Soldier: Any list of things to do for the Fourth of July (or any other holiday related to our nation’s history, really) wouldn’t be complete without a reminder to let at least one person who put their lives on the line know that what they did is appreciated.  If you can’t do it during any of the above events, you can consider spending an afternoon during the weekend visiting a veteran at a nursing home or a veteran’s hospital, to let them know that yes, they are remembered.

These are hardly the only things you can do this weekend, but they should give you a start on ways to have a good Fourth of July weekend (and in many cases, a good summer) without having to break the bank.  What do you have planned for the weekend?  How are you going to keep your costs under control?

Image Source: Morguefile

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