If only money grew on trees!
And not just so that I could buy adorable shoes and cute handbags.
I’m about more than cute things!
In fact, when it comes to my kids, I am not even about that life -I believe in living experience rich.
That’s not to say I don’t buy my children things -of course I do. But it is to say that I would much rather take them to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park (two places I have never been and desperately want to visit) than buy them $3500 in toys, shoes, and games they won’t care about or even remember six months from now.
It is a thing.
A thing I do not have a lot of, particularly as we invest in building a new home.
And, while summer is the time families are adventuring, we are only going on one trip this summer.
I hesitate to even call it a vacation because, instead of a leisure beach getaway or an urban adventure, we will be going to Disney (yes, again) so that Dude 3 can play in the AAU National Championship for a week this summer.
It is as exciting as it is exhausting and expensive and, because our time there is not fully our own, it is more of a working vacation than a true one.
So, it counts, but it also doesn’t count.
Since this will be my children’s longest summer ever (3 whole months!), we do desire to fill it with some other experiences that will allow them to grow their minds, fill their time, and enjoy themselves and each other without putting us all in the poor house.
We plan to put our season passes to Hershey Park to good use and enjoy a few good staycations right here in our own hometown of Frederick, Maryland.
If you too are looking for ridiculously cheap or entirely free things to do in Frederick Maryland with kids this summer, this list may help you plan!
15 Cheap and Free Things to Do in Frederick with Kids
Catch a Movie
Regal participates in a $1 Summer Movie Express each summer. You can catch older flicks for just a buck. It’s a great rainy day activity and it’s the best way for me to catch a midday snooze. Peep the schedule here: Regal $1 Movies
Visit a Battlefield
It’s kinda funny to me how much fun kids think this is. I find it kind of snore worthy outside of taking some cool pics, but my kids will run around for hours, pretending to be archeologists as they look for arrowheads or bullet casings or some other evidence of war that has long since been discovered by real archeologists and historians. There are a few in Frederick County, but the Monocacy Battlefield seems to be a favorite.
Go See a Waterfall
At Cunningham State Park. You will have to pay a fee to enter the park (take cash, it’s $3/per person during the week and $5 on weekends), but after that it is free sailing. You can climb to the top (it is a workout, Mom, prepare yourself) and look down on the people below. We usually spend a couple of hours in the area when we visit.
Visit a Farmer’s Market
Frederick County is home to many and we love visiting them to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, but also to enjoy wares from local artisans. Here a list of Frederick Farmer’s Markets to help you find one, or visit our favorite location -Lake Linganore (not on the list).
Play at a Tire Park
After you’re done with the falls, hop back in your car and drive down to the tire park. It is a fun place for kids of all ages to play. Note: The park is under construction to update it. It is expected to be completed in June of 2017.
Take a Dip in a Lake
You can round out your visit to Cunningham State Park with a dip in Hunting Creek Lake. During the summer months it is lifeguarded Tuesday through Sunday and visitors can swim in three designated areas of the lake. There are picnic tables and grills for you to make your own lunch but there is also a concession stand where you can walk up and buy goodies (THIS PART IS NOT FREE). Been to this lake already? Check out the one at Greenbrair State Park instead!
Listen to a Story
Or participate in another fun activity involving books and other media at a local library. The Frederick County libraries all have fun, engaging, educational offerings for kids in the summer. You can learn more here: Frederick County Libraries Summer Challenge
Watch a Movie Outside
Head out to the Carroll Creek Amphitheater every 3rd Friday night in summer (June through October) to catch a flick. See the schedule here: Movie Nights on the Creek.
See a Free Concert
Each Sunday in June, July, and August at 7pm you can enjoy the Summer Concert Series at Baker Park. All kinds of music, all kinds of fun.
Go on an Epic Bike Ride
Along the C&O Canal Towpath. It’s flat, road-like, and not super busy so your less than expert little riders won’t feel pressured to get out of the way too much. Awesome bonus: the scenery is great.
Head to the Pool
There are two public pools in Frederick, William R. Diggs Pool in Mullinix Park and Edward P. Thomas Memorial Pool at Baker Park. They each only cost $3 for residents to swim.
Feed Baby Cows
Head to South Mountain Creamery daily at 4pm to bottle feed the calves. Pro Tip: Go early! They run out of cows and bottles pretty quickly in the summer months.
Go to a Carnival
These can actually get pretty expensive if you factor in food and rides for the kids. The good thing is some nights they have specials that make it more affordable. They are serious hometown fun though, so kinda worth it. Want to know when there’s one near you? Check out this list: Frederick Volunteer Fire & Rescue Carnivals
There are a number of places to drop your line in the water in Frederick. Most places require a fishing license for adults ages 16-65, but your little people don’t even need one! Luckily, those are pretty simple to obtain. Once you do, maybe head to Fountain Rock Park where you and your fam can fish for free.
My kids used to LOVE visiting Surreybrooke. They are so much more than a standard garden center, with secret gardens and other places to explore as well as ponds, historic buildings, and horses too. It’s a great place to capture photos of your kids as they run around and explore. Added bonus: it’s free! Love this free things to do in Frederick with kids list? Check out my other blog, Pursuit of It All, where we share tons of Frederick County adventures.