34+ Free and Awesome Weekend Outdoor Activities to Help You Save on Entertainment

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Have you ever sat there on the weekend and wondered what you should be doing?

I know I have. When you are bored or feel like all the activities people suggest cost money you don’t want to spend, just hop on over to this helpful list of free outdoor activities you could be doing and enjoy the great outdoors.

The weekend is the perfect time to get outside and do something. After a long week of work, most of us are inside at work nowadays, it is a great way to let go and relax.

Personally, I am always astonished that the only things people want to do together cost money. Suggestions seem to be, let’s go to the movies, let’s get lunch/dinner, let’s go meet for coffee, etc, etc.

Why can’t we just meet for a stroll along the river or meet at the local park and go for a hike? Let’s go for the alternative, free weekend activities with friends and family.

The Benefits of Activities

When you enjoy an outdoor activity with friends or family you really get to enjoy each other more than you would just eating together. Being outside together releases the endorphins that make you feel better and have a better time.

You get the wonderful feeling of sun on your skin and fresh outdoor air to replenish your energy. Humans all came from living outdoors. That is why we feel so good when we go enjoy some time in the clean, wide-open spaces of nature.

You can also head outside solo freeing up your mind to solve all kinds of problems or to just ponder the meaning of the universe. I know when I am cycling my mind traverses hundreds of topics and solves many of the problems I cannot fathom while at home or at work.

Besides the relaxation, most outdoor activities are exercise which will help you live a healthier life. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be a bit healthier?

Without further ado, here are 30+ fun and engaging outdoor activities you can participate in this weekend for free:

1. Road Cycling

bike riding

I am a road cyclist at heart, so I would be remiss to not put road cycling first on the list of fun things to do on the weekend. Yes, there is definitely a cost to buy the gear to go on a bike ride. But honestly, who does not have a bike sitting in their garage collecting dust?

Take it out and go for a bike ride. Invite your friends and go for a group ride around the neighborhood. If you are more adventurous, you can venture out on to the open road and go for as long as your heart desires. Just please, obey the traffic laws of your locale.

Road cycling is about as convenient of an activity as you can have since it starts and ends at your front door.

2. Mountain Biking

Scared of riding your bike on the road? What if a car comes out of nowhere?

Instead of road cycling, you can hit up your local trails and ride to your heart’s content. Do not for a second think you have to follow all the advertising and have the “best” bike available to go ride mountain bike trails. It is all marketing hype.

I will be the first to admit that expensive bikes are very nice. Obviously!

However, you do not need one. Take whatever you have, be it an old beater from Wally World or a road bike and go ride in the woods or the wild.

You can ride offroad trails on any bike if you have the desire and the skill.

Chances are there are trails around you somewhere if you just know where to look. Head on over to your local bike shop and they will gladly point you in the right direction for getting started.

Mountain biking is a wonderful way to escape into the woods and enjoy a day or an hour of peace (or adrenaline… your choice).

3. Hiking

Go for a hike. Hiking is absolutely free for everyone. All you need is a pair of shoes and you can head out the door to go for a hike. You can take a stroll on the trails around your local park head off into the woods and do some bush-whacking… Just make sure you are not trespassing on someone’s property.

It’s a bad end to a day when you accidentally trespass on some rednecks land and then they pull a gun on you to show you. (This didn’t happen to me, but has happened to friends of mine)

Breath in the fresh air and the quiet as you escape the sounds of the city and forget the worries of life on a nice hike in the woods.

4. Picnic

Pack a lunch a take it to a spot outside where you can enjoy the day. You can take it and set up in your local park, you could even just go into your backyard and enjoy the evening.

The idea of a picnic is just to get outside, breath in the fresh air, and listen to the sounds of nature. Your kids will love a picnic because it is something different.

Bonus: There is nothing for them to break when playing outside in the grass.

5. Kayaking / Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are a blast. You get to take a boat out on the water and float and paddle around your local lakes or streams.

If you desire an easy paddle take your boat to the lake and paddle around. If you desire something with a little more adrenaline you can take your boats out on rivers and streams that flow faster and have some whitewater.

Please be prepared when you go out on a boat and take a life jacket. If you cannot swim, you should not be out on the water.

Now, these activities are only free if you personally have a canoe or kayak already. If you participate in the Boy Scouts and possibly the Girl Scouts you can probably borrow them from your troop. Chances are you know somebody that has a pair of kayaks or a canoe sitting around that you can borrow.

6. Swimming

Like above you need a source of water to go swimming. Of course, you could always go swimming in your bathtub, but that is neither outside nor much fun.

All kidding aside, going for a swim or just hanging out at the pool or lake is a very fun time. A lot of local parks in the US require you to pay to go use the swim areas, however, if you show up early enough you get in before you have to pay and you can hang out all day and enjoy.

Learning to swim is a huge milestone growing up and one that everyone can and should achieve.

There is just nothing quite as refreshing as going swimming on a nice hot summer day and then getting out and relaxing by the pool/lakeside.

7. Shoot Hoops

Basketball is one of the best free sports out there to play. You can shoot hoops by yourself.

Drive for the basket pretending to be Lebron James or Michael Jordan (whoever you would like).

You can play 1-on-1 games like the real deal or play the classic game of Horse with trick shots.

Basketball really is one of the cheapest sports to get into since hoops are available for free at almost all parks and you can set one up in your backyard or in your driveway for next to nothing. You don’t need the fancy ones.

Even Michael Jordan grew up playing on a dirt court.

8. Walk

Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes I just go stir crazy sitting at home. I know other people have this affliction too. There is no way it is just me.

When nothing else seems reasonable, just go outside and go for a walk. It is easy.

It takes little effort.

You can go for however long or short as you want. We all know the general advice these days is 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week.

If you simply walk 5 times per week for 30 minutes you are meeting that, burning calories and quite possibly feeling better about yourself.

The best part of walking is that pretty much everyone can walk. Go walking with your friends and family and you can have wonderful discussions as you stroll through your local area.

9. Run

Go for a run. To me, running is the most efficient form of aerobic exercise.

By this, I mean that in the shortest amount of time and least amount of prep-work you get the most exercise.

There is no hiding that cycling is my favorite sport to participate in, however, it is not efficient because a good ride for me is 3+ hours long and I like to ride 10-15 hours per week.

Running, on the other hand, gives a good workout in a 1-hour long run.

Once again, you already have everything you need to go running. There is no need to go buy fancy workout clothes. Just use what you have and enjoy the run.

10. Parkour

This is one of my favorite activities to watch. It is so awesome and ridiculous at the same time. If you do not know what it is, check out the below video:

You watch the masters at work and it looks like you can do anything without hurting yourself. Trust me you can hurt yourself.

I watched a cousin of mine run straight into a brick wall because her foot didn’t land in the right place.

This sport is not for the faint of heart, but it is very cool and fun to watch. I am sure if you spend the time to learn how to do it properly from experienced athletes, then it is as safe as it can be.

Enjoy the concrete jungle. The world is yours!

11. Skateboarding

To go along with more dangerous activities, pull out that old skateboard you have tucked away under your desk. Plop it down on the road and skate around.

They are still cool even if you do not think so. Just look at all the cool kids in middle school and you will know the skateboard is king!

12. Roller Blading

Like a skateboard, I bet you have a pair of roller blades stuck in the closet somewhere as well. They are fun and easy to take out and enjoy in the neighborhood or at a park. You just need a paved path and the appropriate safety gear.

If it has been a long time since you have been on roller blades or roller skates, chances are you are going to dump it. So wear your helmet and enjoy the day as you relearn the fun you had as a kid skating around.

13. Photography

There are so many beautiful things outside that you never take the time to appreciate. Take your camera outside, be it your phone, point and shoot, or DSLR, and take some pictures of regular things.

Try different angles and see if you can make things look cool. Trust me, if you think you have already explored everything there is to explore in a place, you haven’t. There is always something else to see and experience in a place you live.

Taking the camera out and photographing things is a great way to slow down and enjoy nature. You can experience the natural beauty once again and truly relax.

14. Play a group game like dodgeball

Organize a group of friends to come together and play a good game of dodgeball. I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t enjoy a good game of dodgeball.

2 teams, one goal, be the last man standing.

Simple rules and all you need is a yard or a field and some soft rubber or foam balls.

If you haven’t played dodgeball in years, that is okay. Everyone remembers quickly how to play and everyone will have fun. Just lay down the ground rule of no headshots. Headshots are grounds for disqualification.

15. Go Camping

Bust out your camping gear and go spend the night outside. Lots of campgrounds require payment to stay there, but did you know that you can camp for free in any National Forest in the US?

Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with camping out in your backyard. Build a fire, roast some marshmallows and enjoy the outdoors for an evening while you relax away from technology.

16. Play sports (Ultimate)

Get your friends and family together and play a sport together. There are so many to choose from, but one of my favorites is ultimate. If you have the room, you need a pretty large field to play, ultimate is an amazing game. The only gear it requires is a good frisbee.

This is definitely a game for those that are in shape and athletic as it requires lots of running. It also requires at least 6 people, but preferably 10 to have a solid game. If you have never played before, check out this link for the official rules.

I highly advise this sport as it is my favorite to play outside of riding bikes.

17. Go Caving

Have you ever gone underground and explored a cave?

It really is out of this world.

It may not be outside, but it is natural, fun, and can be free if you know where to go. Through college, I was a member of the VPI Cave Club, the oldest club at Virginia Tech and also the gateway and access point to all of the cool caves in the area. All the caves were available to go into for free if you just knew the right people. They would even loan gear to you for free.

Spelunking clubs and caving is a fun way to expose you and your kids to a whole new world that you didn’t know existed. If you have never been before, you really should go with a guide because it can be very dangerous getting lost inside.

The National Speleological Society lists all local cave clubs, known as grottos, and also provides lots more information on caving safety and responsibility.

Have fun and get muddy!

18. Climb a tree

What kid doesn’t want to climb a tree?

I mean really. The most fun thing you probably did in your backyard growing up was climb the biggest tree in it!

But really, it is okay to climb trees. It is not overly dangerous as long as you are careful. Find a big sturdy tree and start climbing. Always keep in mind how you plan to get back down while you are headed up. It usually is more difficult to go down than it is up (safely anyway).

If you are worried about letting your kid climb that tree, you can go up first to make sure it is safe.

There are many types of trees out there. Some better than others for climbing. My personal favorite to climb was the Eastern White Pine which lined my yard growing up. It grows in layers of limbs that are about 3-4′ apart making it perfect for climbing.

19. Go sit in nature

Go outside and find a quiet place away from the traffic, away from technology, away from it all and let your mind wander. Enjoying nature is a beautiful thing.

You can listen to the sounds of the forest, desert, mountains, streams, wherever you may be and use them to help you relax.

Open your eyes and watch the animals as they start to move around you again after you are still. When you first sit down they may not come out, but if you remain there for awhile, they will forget about you and continue with their lives. When this happens, you have become part of nature. Enjoy.

20. Yoga

If you think yoga is just for girls you are wrong.

Yoga is an excellent way to relax and unwind from the stresses of life along with stretch out all of your muscles. Besides that, it is also an excellent core workout and can help to build overall fitness that so many of us need to improve.

Yoga can be done anywhere there is room for you to lie on the ground. If it’s a hard surface you will need a mat. Search out a spot of soft grass and you can do it there.

Bring along your phone/computer and watch one of many Youtube videos to guide you through yoga. There is no need to pay unless you want to.


21. Meditation

Meditation is the art of removing all the external and internal influences of your mind and freeing it. It is extremely difficult but is a very interesting and enjoyable exercise.

Find a nice quiet place outside with just the sounds of nature around and begin. Watching some Youtube videos on the art of meditation first will start you on your way. You can even find some to guide you through the process of meditation.

The goal is to free your mind. When you reach a completely blank mind it is free to go where it will and is a magical state.

22. Watch a sunrise

Get up early, ugh!…

I hate getting up early, but rising and getting outside in time to watch the sunrise, and possibly even photograph the sunrise is a wonderful experience.

Dress warmly for even in the summer time it may be cool in the early morning as you wait for the sun to rise.

Find a good spot to watch it. Remember the sun rises in the East and sets in the West (more or less). You can use tools like the Photographers Ephemeris to help you to determine the best spots to watch a sunrise if you have never been there before.

23. Watch a sunset

This is one is pretty much the same as watching the sunrise, but this time you don’t have to get up early or stay up late (unless of course, you live way up North in the summertime).

Watching the sunset is always fun. Check out the clouds as time rolls towards sunset and you can tell whether it is going to be a good one or not. You are looking for intermittent rolling high clouds that really help to spread the color across the sky.

A perfectly clear day doesn’t make for that good of sunsets. You need some interspersed clouds to really set it off.

An absolute classic date should include watching the sunset from some romantic spot.

24. Go stargazing

Lay back and stare up at the stars. There is so much out there in the universe. It truly is amazing that matter came together on Earth in just the right configuration to support life. So far we have the only planet that is known to support advanced life.

Are we the only planet in the universe that supports life?

What is the meaning of life in the universe?

These are only a sampling of the questions that may pass through your mind as you stare up at the stars.

You just need to find a spot away from the city and the away from the lights to lay back in a field and look up. If you are too close to the city you may get light pollution that washes out some of the visible stars.

It is also best to go star gazing while the moon is not up either on a new moon or before moonrise.

Enjoy the time to relax beneath the stars and let your mind wander.

25. Climb a mountain

Have you ever driven past a mountain and wondered what the view was from the top?

Just stop and go for a hike up it and check it out. Hiking is normally about following the trail, but on smaller mountains, there is no need. Just head on over and up you go.

Once again just make sure you are not trespassing on someone’s land while you do. As long as there are no obvious signs you are not trespassing until someone tells you that it is their land.

Be a good steward of nature and no one should mind. Basically, leave no trace.

Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but photos. ~Anonymous

26. Go free climbing

Mountains are fun to walk up to the top, but what if they are steeper and covered in rocks?

This is when it becomes free climbing as opposed to just hiking up a mountain. The difference between free climbing and normal rock climbing is the absence of ropes, harnesses, and gear.

It’s just you and the mountain.

It is a blast to head up the mountain and climb up a rock face towards the peak.

Like climbing a tree, always make sure you keep in mind how you are planning on getting down from these dizzying heights and if you ever feel uncomfortable, you should turn back.

If you are careful free climbing can be an excellent way to explore a mountain and gain a new perspective that most never get to experience. It takes you away from the hoards of people and gets you in the backcountry to experience nature in all of its glory.

Enjoy and be careful.

27. Go rock climbing

Now, for those of you that are a little less daring when it comes to climbing without ropes, you can always climb with ropes.

No doubt this is an expensive sport full of specialized equipment, but you may have it already and all it takes is being in the right place. Like so many other activities the sky is the limit on the amount of money you can spend, but you do not have to spend any to start.

Go out with friends that have the gear or with a club on a free trial to get a taste of rock climbing and see if you enjoy it.

Never feel guilty about using all the free trials that are out there for the taking. If you use them all you will never have to pay for anything (though you may spend all your time looking for free trials…).
Many rock climbing gyms will give you one or 2 free weeks of membership to test out the gym. This can be an excellent way to try something new and have a good time without spending money.

28. Fly a kite

Flying a kite can be a fun activity when you are at the beach or in a nice big field on a windy day.

Stunt kites are especially fun to fly as you can make them do loops back and forth and draw patterns in the air as you pull on the strings.

There is no need to shy away from the activities you did as a kid. You may even find out that you still enjoy them. To boot, I know your kids (if you have them) will love it!

29. Lay on the beach

Go outside and head over to your local lake or beach and just lay out on the sand. It is nice sometimes to just lay outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Too many of us feel that we need to go, go, go all the time in order to have a fulfilled life. Sometimes all we need to do is lay back and relax on a beach.

Find yourself a nice fresh patch of sandy beach, put down your towel and lay down. Just don’t forget the sunblock ūüėČ

30. Play catch (baseball or football)

Toss a ball in your backyard. a simple game of catch can teach you hand-eye coordination and gets you outside enjoying yourself.

31. Jump on the Trampoline

Jumping on the trampoline just brings back memories of your youth. There is no other way around it.

It is simply pure joy to jump up and down and have the sensation of flying, weightlessness, and falling every time you make a bounce.

Go outside and jump on a trampoline if you have one. If you don’t one of your neighbors likely does and would have no problem letting you jump. It’s not like they get that much use anyways.

Let your inner child out and bounce away!

32. Jump on Pogo Stick

Much akin to jumping on the trampoline you can jump on a pogo stick. I’m not even sure if they still have these around, but it was a blast growing up. They have large and small ones designed for different weights of people.

Challenge yourself to jump on it for as long as possible. Most people can hardly get 5-10 bounces before falling over. However, it is possible to go on indefinitely.

33. Acroyoga

Similar to yoga, but acro-yoga is a partnered exercise where the 2 of you balance and flex off of each other into various poses.

My sister was the first person to expose this activity to me and it is quite fun and really works out your core, just like yoga.

34. Become a Hipster and Ride Your Fixed Gear

I will leave you with this one. Hipsters are those “cool” people that wear skinny jeans ride fixed gears around. Well, you don’t need to look the part to play with fixed gear bicycles.

Tooling around on a fixed gear, riding backward, popping wheelies, and doing tricks are all very cool things to do.

Just take a look at the possibilities in this video.


I hope you were able to get some ideas for activities to participate in or do outside for free this weekend.

Now get out there and enjoy!

What is your favorite free outdoor activity? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Nice list! I do 24 of these on a regular basis!! I don’t own a pogo stick, fixed gear, trampoline, or a kite… but I’m gonna look to change that.

    1. Pogo stick will bring back the feelings of youth for sure. So will the trampoline. Just be careful when on them. So easy to hurt yourself when you are out having fun!

    1. I know the feeling. Some days I look outside, and it just doesn’t do it for me. Most days, though, even if I head out into bad weather I still have a good time.

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34+ Free and Awesome Outdoors Weekend Activities to do with friends and family or solo. Enjoy the great outdoors, let go and relax.