10 Fun Things to Do on a Sunny Day (for Under $10!)
Growing up in a famously foggy city has conditioned me to spend those rare, sunny days outdoors, but let's face it—sometimes it can seem tough to have fun without breaking the bank. Don't fret; it doesn't have to be that way! Check out my ten suggestions below for awesome sunny day activities that cost less than $10, if anything at all.
10 Budget-Friendly Sunny Day Activities
- Go to the Park
- Go for a Hike
- Take Your Pup (or a Friend's) for a Walk
- Set up a Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Take a Trip to Your Local Pool
- Go Window Shopping
- Go on a Sample Safari at the Farmers' Market
- Give Your Garden a Little TLC
- Ride a Bike
- Go Fly a Kite. No, Really.
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1. Go to the Park
This is an obvious one, and for good reason. I'm lucky to live in a place with many gorgeous public parks to choose from, but even smaller cities and towns should (hopefully) boast at least a few. One of my favorite things about parks is how versatile they are. Here are a few ideas for your sunny day at the park:
- BBQ: Why not get some friends together for an impromptu BBQ? If everyone pitches in, it'll be easy to spend $10 or less.
- Dance: Grab your speakers and get your groove on!
- Yoga: Roll out your mat and work through a few poses. Being out in the fresh air will make this experience totally different from your usual sessions at the studio.
- Games: From frisbee and croquet to charades, there is no shortage of outdoor activities you can enjoy at the park.
- Relax: Who says you have to do anything in particular when you're at the park? There's no shame in going just to get some much-needed R&R, whether that mean a nap in the grass or listening to music and staring into space.
- Read: In all honesty, a good book is all I need to enjoy a day at the park. I find few things as enjoyable as reading in the park with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair. Plus, provided you're reading a paperback rather than using an e-reader, you'll get some precious time away from screens. A rare treat, these days!
- Taste Test: whether it be coffee, chocolate, or something else entirely, a little blind taste test can be an amusing way to spend an afternoon. Have each person in your group of friends bring a different type of whatever edible item you choose, and let the taste test begin!
Next time the sun is shining and you have the urge to go outside, head to the park!
2. Go for a Hike
When I'm craving a little more activity than a trip to the park would offer, I like to stretch my legs with a hike. It doesn't have to be a long and arduous one, either. No matter what kind of trail you choose, it will feel good to get away from the daily grind and breathe some fresh air, and it's amazing how much you'll notice about your surroundings when you're not just rushing from one place to the next. Personally, I'm a sucker for a good view, so hilly hikes are my favorite (even though the climb can be rough!).
If you have a car, why not get out of your usual area and hike somewhere new? If hiking really isn't your thing or you live prohibitively far from any hikeable areas, just taking a walk is a great way to get a little exercise and appreciate the sun. Really want to make the most of it? Put on your headphones and jam out while you walk. Singing along is optional (but recommended).
3. Take Your Pup (or a Friend's) for a Walk
Studies have shown that taking a walk with your pup boosts your oxytocin, seratonin, and endorphins—thereby majorly reducing stress—and dogs will listen to you no matter how long you rant for or how many times you just 'can't even.' There's a reason dog therapy is a thing, people.
Nothing beats spending time with your favorite four-legged friend, so even if you don't have a dog of your own, see if anyone you know wouldn't mind a little dog walking assistance. There are even apps where you can get paid to walk other peoples' dogs (as if doing it for free isn't awesome enough). Still, it could be a pretty nice way to make a buck, get active, and bond with Fido all at the same time.
4. Plan a Photo Scavenger Hunt
This idea requires a bit more setup, but the payoff is worth it. A photo scavenger hunt is a fantastic way to spend a sunny day with your friends and have plenty of great photos to remember it by.
The idea is simple. Create a list of photos that each team must take to complete their mission, and let the fun begin. Depending on how much space you have, your photos can either be simple or more complex. For example, taking a mock marriage proposal photo could be done anywhere, whereas taking a photo with someone drinking a coffee might take a little more time and exploration. Be sure to create your list with your specific time/space limitations in mind.
Here are a few photo ideas:
- Something with the letter "Y"
- Group photo making funny faces
- Secret agent photo with a stranger
- An animal (humans don't count)
- Something sharp
- Group jumping photo (everyone's feet must be off the ground!)
- Mock marriage proposal
- A green car
- Something smooth
- The opportunities are endless!
5. Take a Trip to Your Local Pool
Come summer, when the mercury starts climbing like there's no tomorrow, a visit to your community pool is a great way to cool off. Plus, unless your local pool is at a country club, entrance fees are likely to be very low, so this is a great budget activity. Don't forget your book, a fluffy towel, and lots of sunscreen. (And maybe some earplugs, too, just in case!)
6. Go Window Shopping
Want to get outdoors, but not the super outdoorsy type? Grab a coffee and go for a walk down your town's main shopping street. Even if you don't buy anything, window shopping can still be a blast, and it'll give you great ideas on everything from how to decorate your living room to what book you should pick up next. This is also a great winter activity on a sunny day, as most stores put tons of effort into their holiday displays.
7. Go on a Sample Safari at the Farmers' Market
Head over to your local farmers' market for a fun (and cheap!) way to spend an hour or two on a sunny day. On top of being visually appealing (who doesn't appreciate those bountiful stacks of rainbow chard and little cases of cheeses?), most vendors will offer samples of their goods, giving you a fun, free way to have a nibble and enjoy the sunshine. Just remember to be courteous in between your slices of blood orange and brie, and consider buying a little something here and there if the taste and price are right.
8. Give Your Garden a Little TLC
Gardening is a major de-stresser and makes for a relaxing and productive sunny day activity. There's something about getting your hands into the soil that's very grounding, especially if you live in a big city or your job keeps you indoors for most of the day. Whether you plant pansies or peppers, it's satisfying to keep track of their progress and watch them grow.
If you don't have a garden, why not take a stroll through your local nursery and pick out a small houseplant? If you don't exactly have a green thumb, try a succulent like aloe. They're hardy, easy to take care of, and useful to boot (fresh aloe is great for soothing scrapes and burns).
9. Ride a Bike
This is a great way to see your area and get fit at the same time. Plus, if it's a hot day with no breeze, a little wind in your hair (under your helmet, of course) will be welcome. You don't have to go on a 40-mile ride, either. Even a short spin to the store or the park will get your blood pumping and boost your mood.
10. Go Fly a Kite. No, Really.
Who says this activity is just for kids? This underrated diversion is a great sunny day venture, no matter how old you are. If you want to make this activity even more entertaining, try making your own kite. It's simple, fun, and super budget-friendly.
Must-Haves for a Day Outdoors
- Sunscreen: Honestly, this is one you shouldn't forget even when it isn't sunny, but it's especially important when it is. Do your best to lather up 20 minutes before you go outside, and remember to reapply throughout the day. (Bonus tip: grab a lip balm that has sunscreen as well. Nobody likes having sunburned smackers! SPF 30 is plenty.)
- Water: Like sunscreen, this one should already be on your radar, but be sure to hydrate even more than you usually do when you're spending time out in the sun.
- Towel: It doesn't have to be a huge beach towel (or a towel at all, for that matter), but it's never a bad idea to bring something to sit on if you go to the park, take a hike, or visit the pool. Dewy grass + you favorite new jeans = certain disaster.