Finding everyday family adventure ideas doesn’t have to mean traveling, lots of planning, or spending a lot of money. How can you be adventurous every day? Sometimes it’s as simple as walking around your neighborhood and turning down a street you’ve never turned down before!
We compiled this list of everyday family adventure ideas because they are all things we have either done in the past or they are on our bucket list. They are easy adventures to do and most of them are free or very low cost family-friendly activities.
Now get out there and start your next adventure!
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Free Adventure Ideas
- Go geocaching. This is a great way to explore your own town, neighboring cities, or even towns you are vacationing in! Be sure to read my Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching before you start!
- Visit your local city parks. Just about every city web site has a list of all its parks. Jot down a few or all of them and make it a challenge to visit every one. Maybe even keep a score card to remember which ones you like best!
- Explore a new library. You probably always go to the same library, so why not try one in a neighboring city? Not only will you find different collections of books but possibly fun exhibits and play areas as well!
- Go camping in your own backyard. Set up the tent, grab some sleeping bags, and enjoy a night out in the fresh air! Make it extra fun by pairing it with the next idea….
- Backyard campfire and smores. Whether you have a gas firepit, a portable firepit (we have this one!), or can just make a wood fire in your backyard, making smores and sitting around a campfire is something all ages can enjoy. We recently discovered these marshmallows with chocolate inside — less mess and less to buy!
- Visit your local farmer’s market. Support local farms and small businesses, and make it a point to buy a new fruit or vegetable to try at home!
- Find a local cultural show or event. Many of these events can be found on your city’s local tourism web site (try googling “visit (your city name)” or “(your city name) CVB”) . Here in Arizona we have events such as the Aloha Festival celebrating Hawaiian culture, and Native Trails which celebrates the art, music and dance of Native peoples. Both events are free!
- Hold a mini-triathlon in your neighborhood. Whether you want to invite friends and neighbors or just do this with your family, map out a safe path for the run and the bike, and use your own pool or community pool for the swim portion. No access to a pool? Get creative! Maybe switch that portion to a skate or some other challenging athletic activity!
- Chase a hot air balloon. Really! You will navigate through new roads, discover new areas of town, and hopefully watch a hot air balloon land!
- Play the left-right-straight driving game. My son actually made this one up, and it was a really interesting way to explore outside of our local area. Grab some snacks or maybe even a picnic lunch, fill up the gas tank, and hit the road! Each family member takes a turn saying “left, right, or straight” when you come to a stop sign or stop light. Just be sure to give plenty of warning to the driver if the light is green :). If deciding is too difficult, consider buying these dice that can do the deciding for you! Since everyone has to pay attention for their next turn, everyone in the car will see all the new sights on your journey. Who knows what you will find?
- Go for a hike! Find a new trail or rediscover an old favorite. Maybe even challenge yourself to complete a series of trails, or take the 1000 hours outside challenge. Don’t forget your geocaching supplies, since caches are quite common on hiking trails!
- Watch a marching band practice. While this is something you can probably only do in late summer and fall, check out your local high school in the evenings to try to catch the marching band practicing. Free entertainment at its finest, and you may even inspire your kid to take up an instrument!
- Drive to a new neighborhood and go for a walk or find a new playground. Looking to burn some kid energy but tired of the same walking path and playgrounds? Try a new neighborhood! We have found some of the coolest playgrounds this way.
- Walk your own neighborhood and play “which way?” Maybe you don’t have time for exploring a new neighborhood, so why not explore your own? Whenever you get to a crossroad ask your kids, “which way?” and let them decide your route.
- Explore a local resort. Here in AZ we have a ton of resorts that cater to tourists escaping their cold winters. But in the summer they discount rates for locals, because really, who wants to visit when it’s 112? We love to take advantage of these discounts but first we want to check out which resorts are best, so we might take an afternoon to wander around different resorts. If you keep to your best behavior, no one is going to question you walking the grounds. Even if you aren’t planning a stay, it’s still fun to check out what these resorts have to offer!
- Go on a local outdoor art walk. Many cities commission artists to display their artwork around town, as sculptures, murals or even structures like decorative fences. Check your city’s web site or the local tourism site, often there will even be a map to follow of all the artwork around town.
- Trade houses. It’s like going to an Airbnb but free! Ask friends or family members if they’d be willing to trade houses for a night, or maybe a weekend. Try to trade with someone who has something you don’t, like a pool, hot tub, or maybe just an amazing collection of movies!
- Participate in local library activities. Check your library’s web site for a list of free events. In the past we’ve attended magic shows, storytime, learned about Bald eagles (and got to see one in person!), made crafts, built Lego, and played Minecraft.
- Play a new board or card game. If you’re looking for an easy night in, pick up a new board game at Target, or borrow one from friends or your local library. Don’t forget the popcorn!
- Explore artwork at an airport. If you live close to a major metro airport, pick a time when the airport might be less busy and go see all the artwork! Our local airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor, has artwork throughout as well as museums displaying artwork in each terminal. Even better, they have corresponding lessons to go with the artwork! So definitely go check out your local airport web site! Best of all? IT’S FREE.
- Fish local lakes. Even here in the desert of Arizona we have small lakes that are stocked with fish, usually in city parks. Take an afternoon to teach your kids to fish, and enjoy the time spent outdoors! Just be sure to check with your local city/state for fishing license requirements. In AZ kids are covered under their parents license until they are 10, then they need to get their own!
- Watch planes take off and land. While you’re at the airport, or if you only have a smaller regional airport, take an afternoon to sit somewhere near the landing strip (legally of course!) and watch airplanes take off and land. This is entertaining for younger kids especially, and can be educational as well. Bring a list of different types of airplanes and see if you can spot each kind!
- Watch a movie outdoors. Whether it’s in your own backyard, in your pool, or in a nearby park, outdoor movies are a fun new way to enjoy a show. All you need is a projector, a white sheet, and something to hang it up with! (try clothespins or chip clips) If you don’t already have a projector, ask friends or see about renting one from a local camera shop.
- Go stargazing! If the lights of the city are too bright, try driving out a bit until you can get away from all the light pollution. Our favorite app to use is called Star Chart (Google Play, App Store), it’s free and easy to use.
- Chalk the walk. Grab your favorite sidewalk chalk, head to a common sidewalk area or a park, and decorate with uplifting art and messages for your neighbors.
- Paint and hide rocks. Looking to inspire with art that will last longer than chalk? Try rock painting! Whether you buy a kit or just use rocks that you collect in nature and some acrylic paint, you can paint beautiful pictures or inspire with words. Hide them around your neighborhood or the next time you’re out hiking! Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration!
low cost adventure ideas
- Have a family taste test. We were recently inspired by Rhett and Link to do a Pringles taste test. My husband tracked down 25 cans of different flavors and we tasted them all! We scored each flavor and tallied the results at the end. It was a lot of fun! Next up? Frozen pizzas!
- Try a new type of cuisine. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to dining out, so a fun adventure idea is to try a new restaurant that serves a type of food you’ve never tried. Indian, Tai, Korean, Ethiopian, or just try a new type of sweet treat like custom donuts, Italian ice, or a cannoli bar.
- Ride the light rail. Or any other type of different public transport in your area. My kids love riding the light rail, and it’s also a great way to get to the airport and not have to pay for parking! Of course there is a slight fee to ride, although often times kids are free. Our light rail takes us to another transport at the airport called the Sky Train, which is totally free to ride.
- Explore your state parks. Find a list of your state’s parks and try visiting each one! Depending on how many there are, maybe you can see them all in one summer, or maybe it will take a year. If you plan on visiting more than a few, be sure to purchase a state park pass.
- Eat at a restaurant in a town 30 minutes away. It’s close enough that you might visit again if you like it, but far enough that it probably gets you out of your “restaurant comfort zone.” While you’re there, have fun discovering a new area!
I hope these adventure ideas have inspired you to get out there and find adventures every day! I’d love to hear what your family tries or other things your family likes to do. Follow us on Instagram for a peek into our everyday adventures.