Summer Fun In South Florida On a Budget

Jan Lashbrook
Budget-friendly activities for the family spending the summer in South Florida!

Summer is almost here, whether you’re ready or not! Most of us don’t have a lot of money to throw around over the summer months, and it can sometimes be a challenge to keep kids entertained when they’re out of school. If you've already registered your child for summer camp but still want some activities you can do as a family, here are a few free and cheap things to do in South Florida:

  • Harvest some locally grown veggies.
    Visit Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market and pick some fresh produce. Cucumbers, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and sunflowers are ripe for the picking until June. There is also a fun gift shop on the property, and usually lots for the kids to do outside on a lazy summer day.

  • Take a trip to the zoo.
    There are a couple of really great zoos in South Florida. If you don’t want to drive all the way to Zoo Miami, the Palm Beach Zoo is only 45 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale and pretty shady on those hot summer mornings. Lion Country Safari, a unique drive-through safari experience in Loxahatchee, always has coupons that make it an affordable day of family fun. There is also a water park and two water slides at the end of the safari that will cool you and the kids off on those hot summer days!

  • Backyard camping.
    Let the kids have a camp out in the backyard or in the living room. Kids don’t need much to make a fun tent — some rope and sheets work quite nicely. Add some special snacks, like homemade puppy chow and trail mix, and they’ll think they’ve been on vacation!

  • Visit the beaches.
    South Florida boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in America, but us locals don’t often get to enjoy them because we're so busy with the hustle of everyday life! Besides parking, hanging by the beach is free and can be so fun. Our family favorite is where Atlantic Blvd meets the Atlantic ocean at Pompano Beach! There is a snack bar and a splash pad — great fun for the kids and a good way to get the sand off your little one’s before you get back in the car.

  • Make a DIY slip-n-slide.
    Make an epic slip n’ slide for as much or a fraction of what you’d pay for a dinky store-bought one, then enjoy all summer long! Here is a great step-by-step guide to making your own massive slip n’ slide.

  • Create a treasure hunt.
    Simply hide a few items in the backyard like an Easter egg hunt, or create a treasure map with riddles and clues that will take your kids on a wild adventure. Your imagination is the limit! Maybe they’ll discover a gift card to their favorite store or ice cream shop! For big kids, geocaching could be a really fun option for exploring the local community.

  • Take a road trip to nowhere.
    There’s a lot to see along the coast or on Alligator Alley, and a day trip won’t break the bank. Stop and have lunch by the beach and enjoy a lazy day just being together.

  • Family movie nights.
    Designate a weekly movie night with the whole family! Pop some popcorn, make some homemade milkshakes or smoothies, build a fort, and watch all the movies your kids love all summer long. After a busy work week, it will relax you too!

What are your go-to summer activities on budget? Please share them below! And enjoy having your kids home for the summer — their teachers are really going to miss them! 


Jan Lashbrook is the Early Childhood Program  Director at Calvary Christian Academy. She and her husband are “empty-nesters,” having raised three children who are all grown and married. Their youngest attended CCA for 12 years, graduating in 2016.
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