Fun doesn't have to be expensive

Jul 2 2012 - 9:30am


Illustration by WINNIE CHOW/Clearfield High School/
Illustration by WINNIE CHOW/Clearfield High School/

As teenagers, summer vacation is the perfect chance to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend or friends who you may not get to see as much during the school year. Between homework, extracurriculars and family obligations, we often don't get to spend as much time with our friends as we would like.

Now you can finally see one another as often as you want, but it can also mean spending a lot of money to have a good time each day you get together. But summer doesn't have to mean going to the movies or Lagoon every day. Fortunately there are many fun and inexpensive things to do during the summer whether you are going out or staying in.

* Bonfire and marshmallows. Making s'mores and sitting around a campfire in your backyard is one of the best parts of the summer. Roasting marshmallows is always a fun way to spend the evening with your date or friends, and if it gets cold, you can even snuggle close under a blanket.

* Play board games. A great way to avoid the summer heat is to stay inside with board games or card games. It can make a date less awkward or can liven up a day with your friends by creating some healthy competition.

* Go for a motorcycle ride. If you or your significant other have a motorcycle, this can be a thrilling way to see the sights and be close to each other too.

* Start a water fight. This is the perfect way too cool off during the hottest days of the summer. "A water fight is fun because you could turn it into a fun, outdoorsy, low pressure, group date," said Kailey Thompson, a junior at Syracuse High School.

* Wash each other's cars. This is an inexpensive way to do something nice for each other and spend time together.

* Hiking. The Ogden area offers so many hiking trails that make it a great way to spend time with your date.

Alexandra Gardner, a junior at Northridge High School, says, "I think a hike to Waterfall Canyon would be a fun date because it doesn't cost anything and you could bring a picnic to share at the top."

Becki Wright, a senior a St. Joseph Catholic High School, agrees: "Hiking is a free and exciting activity for the more adventurous date. It lets you spend time getting to know each other and experiencing the scenery around you."

* Day out in the park. "Going to a park is a relaxing date where the possibilities are endless. You can play music, sports or even have a picnic, all giving you a great chance to get to know the things that you're date is interested in," said Caity Nielsen, a junior at Bonneville High School.

Being at the park gives you a chance to channel your inner 5-year-old, whether you are climbing on the monkey bars or running in the grass playing tag.

* Bake cupcakes. Making any kind of food together, from cupcakes to popsicles to homemade pie, gives you a chance to have fun cooking and decorating, with a great dessert to enjoy at the end.

* Hogle Zoo. "The zoo is great summer date ... You get to check out all the interesting animals and it gives you great conversation starters so that you and your date are never bored," said Sami Rae Page, a junior at St. Joseph Catholic High School.

* Boy Scout Ropes Course. Usually rented out by companies looking for a good team-building activity, the Boy Scout Ropes Course in South Ogden will be open to the public for free twice during the summer, on July 21 and Aug. 25. Physically the ropes course is quite a challenge but it gives you a unique chance to spend time with your date while also climbing, jumping and hoisting yourself through the course.

* Twilight Summer Concert Series. These annual concerts, held each Thursday at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City, starting on July 5, cost only $5 for admission and feature two performers each week. This year the lineup includes musicians such as Beach House, Raphael Saadiq, Nas and Iron & Wine. Salt Lake City is not the only area with outdoor concerts; many other local venues, like the Ogden Amphitheater, regularly have music and other events.

* Play "musical corners." You know those musicians who set up on street corners and play music for passersby? Well, this may sound crazy, but why not grab some musical friends and set up a street corner gig for yourselves? Jamming with your friends to your favorite songs, watching people's reactions and being outside would be enough to make anyone have a good time.

* Picnics. A low-key lunch at the park can be a great chance to have one-on-one time with your date and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

"Picnics are always fun, especially when your date makes the food! And they're nice because you can take them practically anywhere," said Schuyler O'Neil, who just finished her junior year at Clearfield High.

* Volunteering. Volunteering in the community gives you a chance to spend time with your date while also helping others. You could visit a nursing home, help clean up the Ogden Nature Center, or help set up for any community events going on in your area.

For Tyler Randall, a junior at Northridge High School, some of his favorite dates have been low key with little planning.

"Going to one of our houses, making a meal together and playing a board game or something," he said. "Really just doing whatever we want, there doesn't need to be a set plan."

Summer gives us more free time to spend with our friends and endless opportunities to have some inexpensive fun.

Katie Byrd is a recent graduate of DaVinci Academy. She was editor of her school paper and will be attending Weber State University in the fall. Email her at

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