The summer bug has hit me & all I can do is day-dream about hiking, camping, bar-b-queing, swimming, and lounging in the sun while I’m sitting inside at my desk. Summer is the best time in the Seattle area; everyone is always out and about, the days are nice and long, and there are literally hundreds of outdoor activities to do within 50 miles of Seattle.
Some of those activities can get pretty pricey due to all the gear that’s required, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and back packing. However, there are some awesome resources online that have pointed me in the direction of free, or super inexpensive, ideas and outings that I’m going to fully partake in this summer.
First off, there’s free national park day on August 25th (one day after my 30th birthday!), which I plan on fully taking advantage of. There’s also a handful of free state park days throughout the summer in nearly all states. I love hiking & definitely want to move beyond my normal distance of 4-5 miles so that I can explore even more of the beautiful mountains and lakes that surround us. Last summer we went on a road trip down to the Bay Area of California & spent a couple of nights camping in Humboldt Redwood State Park. It was awesome being down there, and such a good way to a) save money on hotel rooms and b) connect with nature while disconnecting from technology.
If the summer heat is just too much I’ve also scouted out when our city puts on free museum days. They’re usually the first Thursday of every month, which is awesome since I love to go to museums but don’t love to pay the price for them. Yes, I know funding for the arts is poor right now, but as a broke graduate student I’m going to take advantage of these free days. Once I have a little bit more disposable income I’m happy to support the arts.
Seattle also has awesome parks and lakes to walk, jog, bike, kayak, or canoe around. A few of the girls from my program & I have started a running club around a nearby lake loop that takes us about 3 miles. I’ve also taken advantage of kayak rentals on Lake Union, which only run about $10 per hour, and at max we’re out there for 2 hours. The UW also offers free canoe rentals to its students, which I definitely want to check out once the weather gets a tad bit warmer.
A few other thoughts that have popped into my mind for free summer activities include playing tennis on public courts, starting up a pickup soccer or softball game at public fields, swimming in the surrounding lakes, taking a picnic to our favorite park – potluck picnics are even better!, and playing tourist in my own town by heading to Pike Place Market or the Ballard Locks.
All of these ideas are getting my super pumped for a fun & frugal summer! Now all I have to do is pass the biggest exam of my graduate school career on June 25th, and the rest is smooth sailing.