17 Fun (And Cheap!) Field Trips for Military Families

Fall afternoons offer time for families to bond, explore and enjoy time together.

by
Posted in Oct 18, 2016

Hanging out as a family is key to staying connected. This is equally true for military families with a spouse who serves and for those of us with a child in the military. When our son was serving, I used to wrack my brain coming up with fun things to do when he was home on leave. 

Today I’m going to share 17 things we can do together—without spending a ton of money. Most of them are right in front of you, but maybe you just haven’t had time to think about trying any:

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

1)  Go to your local farmer’s market. 
These are always great places to go for ideas about what to cook as a family. Right now many places are bursting with apples, assorted root veggies and deep greens. Homemade apple pie, anyone?

2)  Take a walking tour.
Walking with a guide is a great way to see your town in a new light. Guides can often highlight something you didn’t know about your community.

3)  Spend a few hours geocaching.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt using the GPS part of your smart phone. Find out more here. https://www.geocaching.com/play

4)  Take a trip on a local river or lake.
Go kayaking, canoeing or even paddle boarding if it’s not too cold where you live.

5)  Go old school and show some community spirit by watching a local football game.
So what if you’re not related to anyone on the high school team? Local football games are fun to watch. So bundle up, have some popcorn and cheer!

6)  Visit your local zoo.
Always a good way to entertain and educate your kids about animals. 

7)  Take a bicycle ride or hike.
There’s a good chance you’ve already got bikes stashed in the garage, or there’s a place you can rent them. In any case, bike rides make for a great family outing. And look for trails or walkways in your area. 

8) Pack a picnic and a Frisbee and head to the park.
If you visited the farmer’s market, you might have goodies for a picnic. On a crisp fall day, nothing beats eating outside and playing together as a family.

9)  Listen to some live music.
Often you’ll stumble across a group playing for free in a park or at a fall festival. 

Read More About Our Military Outreach Program!

THE GREAT INDOORS

10) Visit your local history museum.
In some communities, it might be a small, tucked away place that you’ve always meant to check out. Now’s the time! You might be surprised at the interesting nuggets of information you’ll come away with about your town.

11)  Try a different cuisine at home or dining out.
Ever tried Thai? Indian food? Vietnamese? These dishes are delicious and typically inexpensive when eating out.

12)  Visit a local art gallery.
Nothing can restore or stimulate the soul like looking at art. And you don’t have to buy a thing.

13)  Get tickets to a play at your local community theater or even a school production.
These productions support the arts in your community and are very reasonably priced. Plus you might tickle the interest of a future theater fan in your family. 

14)  Spend the afternoon people-watching at the local mall. 
Make up creative stories about the people you see. It’s a great way to spend some time talking without the pressure of finding something to talk about.

15)  Visit a corn maze or a haunted house.
This time of year, many communities offer family-oriented ways to explore or be scared!

16)  Go to a local bookstore.
Browsing is free though you might not be able to leave without a book, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Plus lots of bookstores have author readings or free story hours for kids.

17)  Stroll through a local flea market or antique mall.
It’s fun to find quirky treasures (you don’t have to buy them) or admire handmade quilts and baskets at your local markets. There’s entertainment in browsing. 

How do you spend a free fall afternoon with your family? Please share your ideas in the comments field below.

View Comments