Fun Season on a Budget

Fort Ontario

By Melissa Stefanec

The warm-weather months beg to be capitalized on. However, seasonal outings and activities can quickly add up. If you are looking for some wallet-friendly activities to amuse yourself this time of the year, here are some fresh ideas.

Photo contest: If you are getting together with a group of people, have a photo contest. Pick a subject category (a tree, animal, children or flowers) and let everyone in the group take pictures of that subject throughout the day. At the end of the day, choose a winner. You can also purchase or make some inexpensive gifts for the winner.

Forts on the lake: It’s no secret that kids love forts. If you are going to be waterside for a while, work with your kids to build a fort that will last for the day. The kids will have somewhere to escape the sun and play together. Don’t limit fort fun to playsets and trees, capitalize on the magic of forts wherever you go.

Fly a kite: Kite flying can be an incredibly relaxing activity. There are all sorts of kites and kite-flying devices. You can get trick kites, box kites or gliders. You can put your kite string on a reel and save your fingers. You can fly alone or with friends. Just find an open area and a little breeze and lose yourself in the moment.

Best in the sandy show: Whether you are young or old, building sand castles can be a lot of fun. Get a group of people together and assign one person as the judge. Give all the teams the same sand tools and let them face off in a friendly competition. Purchase small prizes ahead of time or spray paint a shovel and bucket gold and award the winner of the competition.

Snorkeling: You don’t have to be in tropical waters to snorkel. You can purchase a relatively inexpensive mask and snorkel at most department stores. If you want to kick it up a notch, you can also purchase fins. Then, you can go snorkeling in fresh water and admire fish and underwater structures. Wear a life preserver and you can veg out while taking in the scenery.

Sunset chasers: If you are into prolonged events, you can be a sunset chaser. Designate a certain number of places to see sunsets during the summer and fall. Then, put those destinations on the calendar. Making a sunset bucket list and completing that list is a great way to make road trips even more exciting.

Rent a boat: Boats can expensive to buy and maintain, but there are plenty of places in Upstate New York where you can rent motorized and non-motorized boats. State parks are great places to start, but there are also private places to rent from as well.