Investing in Family: Cheap Summer Hangouts

Investing in Family: Cheap Summer Hangouts

Sweet summertime. The long days of school-free fun beg you to ditch the house in favor of heading outdoors. Yet even as we strive to keep cool and stay entertained, we also endeavor to maintain a budget. So, fellow MomVesting reader, what do you do with your family in the summer to fill the days with maximum fun without completely draining your wallet? Give us your local hang outs that are perfect for your family of two, four or more.

I'll start things off with a charming small town that my family and I visit at least a few times each summer. Olcott Beach, New York, is situated about a half hour northeast of the mega tourist-attracting Niagara Falls and is perfect place to spend some time and not a fortune.

Cheap Rides for the Little Ones

If you have munchkins who love rides (as my girls do), then you have to check out Olcott Beach Carousel Park. This small park is big on charm with its six fully-restored, old-fashioned kiddie rides. Designed for kiddos under fifty-two inches, the rides are a nod to years gone by and are sure to provide an hour or two of fun for your family's younger members. Make sure to check out the large, covered carousel with its fabulous lake views.

Did I mention the price yet? That's the best part! Each ride will set you back a mere quarter. That's right: kids need just one ticket to ride, and a single ticket is twenty-five cents. At this price, you can afford to have your kids ride everything at least once – if not three times!

For more info, including the seasonal schedule, give the official website a try.

Shop and Eat – With a View

You'll definitely want to head over to the boardwalk shops at some point during your venture to Olcott Beach. This eclectic collection of cute shops is situated right by the lake and truly has something for everyone.

In addition, the little boardwalk even boasts a few eating selections. A small grill serves up reasonably priced fare that's ultra-kid friendly (think grilled cheese, chicken fingers and PB&J's) and appealing to grown-ups as well. You might want to save room for ice cream; there's a small, yummy stand right next to the grill with a surprisingly long list of frozen treats to choose from.

Bring Your Suit

A short stroll from the Carousel Park and boardwalk will bring you to a beach and swimming area. If you're adventurous, you can don your suit and brave the waters (and seaweed) of Lake Ontario. It's totally free and even has a lifeguard. The beach is open during the summer months; for more details and a complete schedule of dates and times, check out the official site.

If you're in the Western New York area, Olcott Beach is definitely worth a visit. Lots of cheap and free stuff to do in a small, walkable space equals one great family hangout.

We're looking to launch this new series on "cheap-yet-fun" family hangouts and events across this nation, and we need your help! Have a post on a place that fits the bill? Give us a shout!

Photo Source

jeff @ Sustainable life blog's picture

jeff @ Sustainable life blog wrote:

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 19:56 Comment #: 1

This looks like an interesting spot. I'll have to remember this next time I'm in NY

MoneyCone's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 21:15 Comment #: 2

Where I live, we don't have a beach, but I do attend free concerts when possible!

femmefrugality's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 22:04 Comment #: 3

This is great! I know this doesn't work for everyone, but I love doing my vacations during off season if I can...before Memorial Day/after Labor Day. It's less crowded AND a ton cheaper. Gets hard if you have kids in school, though.