There are a lot of expensive summer activities out there from camps to amusement and waterparks. Even if you’re not heading out on a vacation, summer fun can be an expensive proposition. That is unless you keep an eye out for great deals and freebies available in your own community.

Start by looking for a local calendar of events. Many cities and communities will put these monthly calendars together and note any special events, festivals, concerts, community theatre performances and the likes throughout the year. There are often special summer events as well including plenty of fun and free stuff to do with the kids.

For example, many cities will have summer concerts in parks that are free to attend. Bring some lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on along with your own drinks. You may even want to pack a picnic dinner to take along.

Or, pick up a pizza on your way to the concert and you’re good to go. A whole evening’s worth of entertainment under the stars and it didn’t cost you a penny.

Get in touch with your local movie theaters. Many have special daytime shows that are either free or very inexpensive. Often they will show older family-friendly movies.

If your local theater doesn’t do this, look for a movie theater in driving distance that specializes in low cost shows of older films and find something you’d like to see. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon when it’s raining, or you need a break from the heat and the sun.

Many museums will also have special events and exhibits during summer break. Give your local history or art museum a call and see what they have to offer and if there are any discounts for kids or special free events. Living history activities are always a big hit around here.

Don’t forget about the various parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas that are within easy driving distance. Make it a point to check out a few different ones this summer. Many will have water features and splash pads during the hot summer months.

You can spend the summer doing a lot of fun activities as a family without breaking the bank. Look for fun stuff to do that won’t cost anything and talk with other parents to exchange more specific ideas. Just hanging out with another family at the park is always a good idea as well.

Wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, bring your own food and drink when possible. It will save you a small fortune over the course of the summer.