25 Lowcost (& Local) Family Fun Ideas

Bill EickhoffFamily Who Saves, Personal Finance

Plaza Park Bank encourages families to set goals and get active, but any liability involved with the following suggested activities remains the responsibility of the individuals participating.

Get out and have fun with your family this summer! Most of the ideas below are free, low cost or just require some equipment  you may have at home.  Set your family activity goal and then use some of these ideas to get it started!  Below are just a few ideas, but if you’re ever wondering what is going on in our community, the St. Cloud Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau site is full of ideas.  And, if you want to get out of town we recommend trying the Explore MN site!

  1. Family 5K: The first 50 Families who take the Family Who Saves & Plays Together pledge before August 19th will receive a FREE Family Pass to take part in the YMCA Bernicks Family Fitness Series Anderson Trucking “Rock Your Sole” 5K Trail Run on August 22nd. Take the pledge and we’ll email you a code to use when registering for this event. Plus, we’ll have a booth at the event and you can stop by for fun giveaways and prizes.
  2. Summertime By George:  There are only a few weeks left, but Summertime By George music series is a great way to spend a night with the family. Enjoy the outdoors, plenty to do for the kids, listen to live music and be a part of a great community wide gathering.  Free, Wednesday evenings all summer long.
  3. Music & Movies In The Park in Sartell:  Music most Thursday nights and Free Movies once a month during the summer months.
  4. Y-M-C-A!  so much to do at our local St. Cloud Area Family YMCA–play in the pool, attend classes, kids can hang out in the Rainbow Room while you try Yoga.  Get a day pass if you want to check it out and there are membership scholarships available for families with need.  Plus, with their new building coming soon they’ll have even MORE to offer families!
  5. Benton County Fair:  Free admission and lots to do and see!  Held in Early August, see website for details.
  6. Quarry Park:  hiking, fishing and swimming, this local attraction is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family!
  7. Kids Bowl Free:  sign your kids up and get 2 free games of bowling everyday all summer long at Great River Bowl & Partners Pub (and for a minimal fee, you can add a family pass to bowl with them).
  8. Visit to the Great River Regional Library: open year round and sometimes have fun kids events.
  9. Munsinger Gardens:  A great place to explore! Create a little scavenger hunt and see who can find the items on your list first!  Plus they have music in the park events throughout the summer.
  10. Wobegon Trail: biking, hiking and birding! A great way to spend a few hours with the family. Plenty of organized walks, bikes and other events throughout the year or just get on for a ride any time. And now that Fisher’s is reopening, you can bike up to Avon and hop off the trail for dinner with the family!
  11. River Tubing at Two Rivers:  Float down the river on a sunny day! Located just north of Sartell, this is a fun (and relatively low cost) day of family fun! (see website for cost and hours)
  12. Snow Tubing at Powder Ridge: Winter time fun! Located south of St. Cloud near Kimball, hit the snowy hills for a great day of fun (see website for cost and hours)
  13. Splashpads & Wading Pools:  Got little ones? The St. Cloud area has numerous splashpads and wading pools to choose from!
  14. Fishing:  There are several publish fishing piers in our area and throughout the state.  If you have a pole and bait, it’s a quick and easy family adventure.
  15. Millstream Arts Festival:  Arts, crafts, music, kids activities, food booths and more! Usually the last Sunday of September in St. Joseph, MN.
  16. Maple Syrup Festival:  sap collecting, horse-drawn rides and hot maple sundaes! Fun for the family at St John’s University Arboretum. Usually help in late March/early April.
  17. College Sporting Events:  With three major universities in our community (Saint Johns, Saint Bens and SCSU), there are plenty of opportunities to take in an action packed game at reasonable prices.  Huskies Hockey and Bennie Basketball and Johnnies Football are some of our staffs favorites.
  18. The Rox Baseball:  A collegiate summer league that calls St. Cloud it’s home. Great community get togethers at every game and plenty of games have fun family themes!
  19. Como Zoo:  A quick trip to the cities and there’s a FREE zoo to entertain the family.
  20. Parks: Did you know there are over 100 parks in St. Cloud alone totalling over 1,400 acres of land?  Make it a goal to visit EACH one this summer and pick your family’s favorite!
  21. Geocaching: speaking of parks, geocaching lets your kids be modern day treasure hunters.
  22. Potluck:  host a themed potluck at your home and invite the neighbors, the ball team or your kids friends’ families.   Potluck parties are low cost for all involved–just have to be willing to host!  Here’s a site with some creative potluck themes!
  23. Water Balloon or Snowball Fights: whether it’s just the parents vs. the kids or getting the entire neighborhood involved, these are cheap and easy ways to run off energy!  Just be sure to make it age appropriate so no one gets hurt.
  24. Capture The Flag: Inside or outside, capture the flag can be fun for the whole family!  Just be sure to lay groundrules so no one gets hurt!
  25. Living Room Camping! Build a fort in the living room with your kids–chairs, a few blankets and a little imagination and you have memories to last.  Netflix, Redbox or just an old favorite–pick a movie and picnic from your fort . .