1. Grab some popcorn and catch a free indoor movie.
2. Take a walk to one of these spectacular waterfalls. They’re especially impressive the day after a rain storm.
4. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Spend some quality time with your kids’ favorite animals at the Cape May County Zoo. Admission and parking are both free.
5. Try out a brand new playground. Here are some of the most unique playgrounds in NJ.
6. Let loose at a good, old-fashioned 4-H fair where admission is free, like the 101st Annual Mercer County 4-H Fair (Aug. 3-4 in Lambertville).
7. Check out birds, mountain views and more on a beautiful hiking trail near you.
8. Give back to the community by volunteering as a family.
10. Score a free dinner for the kids at one of these spots with Kids Eat Free deals.
11. Learn what all the fuss about pickleball is at a court near you (think a cross between tennis, badminton and ping-pong).
12. Channel your inner marine biologist at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center where you can get your feet wet and rescue a stranded (mock) dolphin or sea turtle.
13. Have you been to a sprayground yet? Grab bathing suits and pick a great one near you.
14. Explore the great outdoors, indoors at the Warren E. Fox Nature Center.
16. Catch a free movie under the stars.
17. Go on an art scavenger hunt at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Family First Sundays on the first Sunday of every month means you can take part in a host of hands-on activities and take a guided tour. The Princeton Museum has great free art programs, too.
19. Grab your helmets (and a picnic lunch) and go for a family bike ride at Duke Farms in Hillsborough. You can bikeshare for a small fee if you don’t own a bike, as well.
20. Catch a free outdoor concert.
21. Pack a picnic (and some sunscreen) and enjoy a day on the beach at one of these free NJ beaches.
22. Bowl for free at one of these local alleys.
24. Flex your crew’s STEM muscles on August 17 in Trenton at the NJ State Museum’s Small Explorers Program. Tune in for storytime, visit a crocodile exhibit and hit the STEAM center.
25. Have a game night at home with the squad (they’ll love this new JAWS board game from Ravensberger!).
26. Build something by hand at one of the free Home Depot Workshops every first Saturday morning of the month.
27. Go crabbing at the Jersey Shore.
28. Get in on the fun at a National Night Out celebration by you, where the kids can meet local law enforcement plus see helicopters in action.
29. Enjoy a warm summer night with a backyard campfire and some s’mores (try these special treats, too!).
30. Make the drive to Lehigh Valley for the epic MusikFest, a free, three-day music festival. You’ll have to splurge on the big name acts and food.
31. Hit up a lake in NJ to cool off (all you have to pay is parking!).
32. Take a pretzel factory tour, and grab some on your way out.
33. Check with your local Barnes and Noble for storybook readings schedules.
34. Join a book club at your local library. Many libraries have summer programs with prizes, scavenger hunts and more.
35. Try geocaching in a local park.
38. See New York City from the water in a kayak; borrow one for free from The Downtown Boathouse.
39. Tune into Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which runs July 28-August 4.
40. See nearly 5,000 different species of seashells at the Discovery Seashell Museum in Ocean City.
41. Check out the Frog Pond at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area and try to catch one!
42. Build an amazing sandcastle. We’ve got tips!
43. Catch a free Kiddie Beach Show concert every Monday night on the Jenkinson’s boardwalk
44. Spend a rainy day with Mickey and friends at your local Disney store, doing arts and crafts, and listening to stories.
45. Head to the air conditioned mall and free storytime on Tuesday at some Pottery Barn Kids locations.
46. Catch some waves at Crystal Beach, Downtown Beach or Manasquan Inlet, the best beaches to body surf in New Jersey.
47. Hit a state park for everything from hiking to history to beaches.
48. Try your hand at kite flying on the next windy day at one of these flying hot spots: Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, Van Saun County Park in Paramus and Terhune Park in Teaneck.
49. Go to a craft fair and get inspired for your own DIY projects.