Memorial Day Family Fun on a Budget


Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff to summer, is this weekend and it’s time to start having big fun without spending big funds!


Attend your local Memorial Day parade, celebrate those who’ve served our country and have some no cost fun, all at the same time. Be sure to bring some snacks and drinks along to both avoid long lines and high costs.

Throw a Cookout

Plan your menu around what’s on sale at your local grocery store. If ribs and chicken are on sale, that’s what you’ll be serving – along with some low cost and yummy sides such as sweet corn, cole slaw, and potato salad. Consider a potluck BBQ so you can split the costs (and the work!) with your friends and family.

Water Fun

Many communities have pools that are either free or low cost and most will be open over Memorial Day weekend. If you don’t have access to a private or community pool, water games at home can be just as fun. Running through sprinklers, water balloon fights or dousing each other with a hose can both provide hours of fun and keep the kidlets cool.

Get Back to Nature

Pack a lunch at home or grab a baguette, some apples and a hunk of cheese and head to your local (hopefully shaded!) park. Take a nature walk, hike a trail or go shell hunting on the beach. Take advantage of all your local environment has to offer.

Have Fun at Home

If the weather isn’t great or you’re not up to fighting the crowds, Pinterest has a TON of ideas for crafts and activities that are big on the fun but small on the cost for kids of all ages. If you’re not feeling particularly DIY and crafty, low cost craft kits can be found at any discount store, craft/fabric store, or online at


Many museums and zoos offer memberships with reciprocal arrangements. By becoming a member of the local zoo you might be able to visit the local science museum. Some zoos and museums even offer reciprocity with out of state locations, scoring you either free or discounted admission.

National Parks

265 out of 398 national parks never charge an entrance fee year round. There is a pass offered for FREE to all active duty military and their dependents. If you’re not active duty, there’s also an annual pass you may want to consider should you live near a national park that happens to charge an entrance fee. Click here – for more info.


A short overnight or weekend trip can be had without breaking the bank. Stay within a few hours of home and minimize the travel time and gas expense and maximize your time on vacation. Most hotels will offer a reduced rate to in state residents, even on holiday weekends. Check to find some last minute hotel deals.

Rather than renting a hotel room, consider a vacation rental instead. Not only will the rates generally be lower than a hotel, but are also more likely to have a kitchen so you can make some meals, or at least have some snacks at home, saving you from having to dine out for each and every meal. Use or to search for unconventional lodging. Both sites have reviews and most listings have extensive descriptions and photographs of the amenities.

Split a larger property with another family or two and you might have an upscale vacation at a mere fraction of the cost that a hotel would normally run you. Especially now that’s it’s at the last minute, many properties are slashing prices to not have any vacancies over the holiday weekend.

Have a safe and memorable Memorial Day!



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