With summer 2019 officially upon us, we thought it’d be appropriate to give you some ideas on how to spend your time in the sun.
Unfortunately, just because summer’s rolled around doesn’t mean you have any more cash to spend than you did last month. The great thing about better weather is that there’s typically more stuff to do outside, and more places open in anticipation of family fun.
The even greater thing? A bunch of those places cater to service members. Here’s 7 affordable summer activities for military families that you might consider:
7. Go swimming
A simple, but easy and refreshing activity for kids and adults alike. If you don’t have a neighborhood pool, you can for sure find one at a gym on post or in an open community nearby. Maybe you even live near a lake or beach — all the more reason to break out the floaties.
6. Take a trip to the MWR
If you don’t have anything specific in mind, head over to your base’s MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) office. Generally there’s an Information, Ticket and Tours office or a Leisure Travel office.
There, you can find out about local events (music, sports and more), or get discounted tickets for amusement parks and other fun. They also rent outdoor equipment for things like kayaking, boating and biking.
You’re bound to find something to do at the MWR.
5. Get a YMCA membership
Military personnel and dependents may be eligible for a free YMCA membership if they meet this criteria. This includes access to a pool, workout equipment, sports activities and more.
Bring your family for group sports or just a splash in the pool. It’s a fun excuse to get some exercise and get your kids out of the house.
4. Tour museums
Blue Star Museums, run by Blue Star Families, gives you access to museums across the country for free. Not only will this make for an interesting day, but it’s educational too; find free museum tickets for things like art, history, pop culture and more.
Here’s our list on the best military museums in the U.S.
3. Plan your vacation on-post
Many military bases offer discounted lodging and campgrounds for your family. That means you can effectively road trip or fly just about anywhere in the country and have cheap accommodations along the way.
There are also Armed Forces Recreation Centers, that are essentially full-service hotels, and military campgrounds everywhere.
2. Visit amusement parks
It’s maybe an obvious choice, but amusement parks are one of the great summer activities for military families.
Busch Gardens is free, Disney World and Disneyland offer discounts, and just about any amusement park you go to will have something to offer military families.
Disney specifically has their Armed Forces Salute discount, which not only gives service members and dependents a discount on their tickets, but provides discounts on rooms for their resorts and cruise line. This extends to Reserve members and retirees as well.
1. Travel to national parks
The America the Beautiful Pass for military families will get you into over 2,000 national parks, seashores, forests, and more for free. Some of those parks may offer additional deals, like Yosemite National Park, which gives major discounts on ski equipment and lessons.
At the end of the day, it can’t get any better than pure old-fashioned site-seeing during the most beautiful months of the year. Maybe even add some hiking or camping into the mix.
For somewhere to start, here are our top 20 vacation destinations in America.