I have thought about this and trying to do a hard task for an entire year is mentally daunting. So why try and do a year challenge when you could do a bunch of easy and fun weekly challenges? More than that, isn’t New Years Resolutions about being the best version of yourself and having fun doing it? That’s where my idea began. Things that I wanted to do, but would be too hard to continue doing. Or things I wanted to try but never had enough motivation.
So this year my New Years Resolution is not a scary list of things I need to do all the time, but instead are just weekly challenges. I encourage you to read over the weeks, save them, and try to do as many as you can.
These challenges vary on difficulty, but all promote self-discovery, kindness, fun, and the YOU that you’ve always wanted to be.
1. Early Week
Wake up early all 7 days of that week. Try and watch the sunrise and just breathe. Enjoy your morning. Whether you are making breakfast for yourself or finishing work you didn’t do the night before. Remember, the hardest days are the second and third! Early Bird Gets the Worm!
2. Natural Beauty Week
“Natural Beauty” can mean a lot of things do a lot of different people. It can mean: you go take a hike, go to the zoo, watch sunsets or sunrises. It can also mean not wearing makeup or trying to show your inner beauty and being your best self that week. I encourage you to try and see what the words “natural beauty” mean to you and perform this challenge.
3. Game Week
End each day by playing a game. Yes you can do this easily on your phone, but I challenge you to find a game you can play with other people. Play cards with your family or get Monopoly out with your friends and ruin your friendships(just kidding). Just play and have fun.
4. Favorite Color Week
Try each day to wear something of your favorite color…it can be your t-shirt, your jacket, a bracelet, your socks. Anything. Just wear the color that makes you happiest for 7 whole days.
5. Compliment Week
By now you should be up to/near Valentines Day…this is the perfect opportunity to share your love and joy with other people. The challenge is to give 5 compliments EACH DAY and mean them. Compliment that random lady on the street with the blue jacket you like, compliment that kids sweet shoes. Small random things like that can have huge impact on someones day. Share the love:)
6. Music Week
Your challenge this week is to listen to at least 30 minutes of music each day. I am personally going to attempt to listen to a different genre each day. Rock and Roll, Latin/Salsa, Popular Hits, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Classical, and end the week with whatever I like the best. I think its important to listen to music we like and to reach out and try new genres. So often I find that we tend to dig in with our “type” of music and refuse to branch out and try anything new. Well, here’s your chance to see what you like listening to.
7. Horoscope Week
Read your horoscope for each day. They are usually completely ridiculous and so vague that they are “scary accurate.” If you wanted, at the end of the week you could try a psychic reading…giving a fake one or going to a real one.
8. No News Week
This challenge is harder than it appears…you can’t read the news, watch it on TV or look at it on social media. All too often the news plays up all the horrible things in the world and then does silly lighthearted stories to make it up. Go without news for one whole week and see what happens.
9. Meditation Week
All you have to do is spend 10 minutes every day meditating and 10 minutes doing yoga. The most relaxing and easy 20 minutes ever. Trust me, doing this once a day for a whole week will make a huge difference.
10. Wonderful Week
When someone asks you how you are, instead of saying “good”, “fine”, “okay”, or “tired”, you have to use a happy descriptive adjective such as “Wonderful” or “Fabulous” or “Awesome”. I have learned the more you answer with a word such as “tired” the more actually tired you become. If you answer with a happy descriptive word like “Amazing”, you are more likely to feel amazing too. Try it!
11. Clean Week
Happy Spring Cleaning! This weeks challenge is to clean 7 different areas (like your car, a bookcase, your fridge, your room, your backpack/bag). Just 7 small areas. That’s it.
12. Fruits and Veggies Week
This is definitely a tougher challenge…you have to eat fruits and veggies at every meal. Unfortunately for me, that means no Nutella toast for breakfast. I want to try and live a healthier lifestyle and this is a good place to start. More healthy foods should make one’s whole body feel better.
13. Note Week
Write and leave nice notes on cars, in your favorite library book, on someones locker/desk, or even in a bottle and throw it into the ocean. Just put some nice words into the universe. With Easter here, its important to put some love in “Easter egg” like notes.
14. Dressy Week
This is a week I am looking forward to a lot because when I dress up, even when I’m not going out, I feel powerful and get a lot of work done. The goal is to dress up and look nice every day of this week…this boosts confidence and makes you feel like you can take on the world. Although it might cost a few extra minutes in the morning, it might help you feel more prepared for your week than sweatpants.
15. Donation Week
Go through your house and find 7 items to donate to good will(this can be anything–clothes, toys, cans of food). Just a simple one item a day donation could even lead you to find other things you want to donate!
16. Cold Shower Week
I love hot showers, so this will definitely be a difficult challenge for me. Cold showers are supposed to be better for your skin and hair though…just keep in mind flawless beautiful Pantene hair as you suffer through the cold showers.
17. Inspiration Week
Watch a TED talk each day or write a quote of the day somewhere or figure out who inspires you. With Finals nearing, it is important to get inspired and stay motivated. I find that TED talks are highly motivational and educational as well as something as simple as changing your phone background to an inspirational quote can really help get you through the day so you see it all the time.
18. Fitness Week
What better way to cut down on stress than a little exercise? This challenge was two parts to it. First Part: Work yourself up to 25 pushups throughout the week(5 the first day, 10 the next, and so on till the 7th day is 35) and working yourself up to 70 sit-ups(start with 10 the first day, 20 the second, and by the last day you should do 70 sit-ups). Second Part: 1 ADDITIONAL HOUR of exercise. (It can be walking or running on a treadmill, swimming, or anything else you want.) Best of luck and have fun!
19. Self-Affirmation Week
Self-image is very important…its a thing we always think about, but rarely do anything about. This week the challenge is to only think positive things about yourself. Every time you look in the mirror you should think “Wow, I am beautiful just being me” Write positive things on your hand or in your planner or on your fridge. Say things to yourself like “You got this” and “You rock. Keep up the great work” and “Its truly is amazing that you made it through the day. I am proud of you.” Mean every single one. Its very important.
20. Family Week
Treat your family by taking them out to dinner or ice cream. Do something that they want to do. Spend time with them and most importantly, tell them how much you care.
21. Chopstick Week
This is a fun silly challenge….you should try to eat everything with chopsticks. I MEAN EVERYTHING!!!
22. Color Week
Put some color in your life and everyone else’s. Get out your creative side and pull out your coloring supplies. Color on Sidewalks! Books! Your hair! Pop some color on everything, everywhere! The sky is the limit!
23. Late Week
So we already had early week, but now its the opposite: sleep in late and stay up late. Enjoy that extra snooze in the morning and use that time at night to recharge or do more fun things.
24. Ride Week
Take the car and go for drives. You don’t have to have a destination in mind…then on the weekend take a little trip or go to an amusement park for some Thrill Rides.
25. Water Week
The challenge for this week is to drink only water and a lot of it! Its easier said than done, but if you can learn to like the taste of water, you should be golden. The second part of this challenge is to try and go to the pool at least once. I am going to try to swim as much as I can.
26. Christmas in July Week
The Christmas Spirit is a contagious joy that spreads only in the holiday season. Why not start that during Santa’s off-season as well? Get a small gift for your friends or family, have some hot-chocolate and ham, sing Christmas carols and spread joy to everyone you talk to. Even put up a tree and some decor if it helps you get more in the mood. It gives you one more use for those decorations and that ugly holiday sweater you love. Plus, Santa hats in bathing suits make for a really cute picture.
27. Book Week
With Summer, comes Summer Reading and the challenge for this week is to read one book each day(for a total of 7). Now, you can spend time re-reading your favorites, reading classics you have always wanted to read but never got around to, or just reading a Dr. Seuss book to get the challenge done and a laugh while doing it. You can read a comic book, or a poetry book…Just Read!!!
28. Tourist Week
Go around your city or nearby city acting like a complete tourist and taking artsy pictures. Do all the dumb funny things you see tourists do and dress up in your best Hawaiian or “I <3 ny" shirt. this summer i got to do a "tourist day" with my friends in ocean city, maryland and we wore ridiculous bucket hats other funny things. spent money on over-fried food had an absolute blast. if you've never done highly recommend it. its one of the most fun things you will all year.
29. Movie Week
Watch a movie from a different genre each night(action, comedy, romance, drama, musical, foreign) and then end with a drive in movie or one in the theaters. This is a great challenge to go out of your comfort zone to watch things you might not even like. You can starting knocking down the AFI list(100 Greatest Movies).
30. Park Week
Visit 7 parks in 7 days. Just go throw a Frisbee or walk around a trail then leave. It’s easy. Here’s your chance to go take pictures of that pretty tree at the park you pass everyday to work.
31. Adventure Week
This challenge is important to those who are easily talked out of doing crazy, fun things. So this weeks challenge is to do something fun, something fearless (Go Geocaching–a worldwide treasure hunt, go camping in your backyard, go explore a cave near you….here’s a fun one….go test drive a fancy car without intention to buy). Do something you wouldn’t do. Have an adventure–get away for the weekend–just something that will embody the adventures spirit.
32. Beach Week
For those who live near the beach, go to a different beach each day…and for those who don’t….make your own beach. Go to the pool with a bunch of toys or a local water park, lather up in sunscreen, and have an outdoor picnic. Be sure to take lots of photos!
33. Unplug Week
This may be the most difficult challenge yet. Can you do it? Are you brave enough to try? No Netflix, no phone, no computer. Leave your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and the only thing you can do on your phone is make emergency calls/work calls. No fun-browsing or social media. See what happens….can you break the addiction you didn’t know you had?(I think this will be very fun, but also really annoying) Try and spend your “browsing” time doing something else like reading, exercise etc…
34. Writer Week
The challenge for this week is to write a short story every day for the week(7). It can be a paragraph long or 10 pages. Or, if you’re not into short stories, try 7 poems. They can be about anything and there is no length minimum or maximum. So get those creative juices flowing and put that pencil to paper. Write away.
35. Try New Foods Week
Go to your local grocery store and pick out 7 different foods you’ve always wanted to try but were too scared. Try one each day. Who knows? You could have a new favorite(or least favorite) food! (I am going to try random fruits like dragon fruit because it has a cool name).
36. Pointless YouTube Challenge Week
Pick a random YouTube Challenge (ASL ice bucket, Blindfolded drawing, baby food challenge etc…) and just have fun doing something totally fun and pointless. I also TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU to take a video, post it online, and tag me, so I can see it:)(NOTE: the dare has nothing to do withe the 50 week New Years Challenge….I just like watching funny, pointless videos).
37. Selfie Week
This may seem like a strange challenge, but seeing how its Pumpkin Spice Latte Season, its the perfect time to act like a “stereotypical white girl” by taking selfies with no shame. Your challenge is to take 10 selfies a day without shame. You are not allowed to delete them or edit them in any way. You have to take all 10, no matter how bad you may think you look at the time. I promise you look beautiful/handsome.
38. Black and White Week
This is a fun, creative challenge….for this week black and white are your colors. You can only wear B&W. Additional things you can do to embrace this challenge is watch a black and white movie (Citizen Kane is great) and only take photos in black and white.
39. Sing in the Shower Week
Need a way to get over the mid-semester blues? How about singing at the top of your lungs in the shower. Bring your phone, put on your favorite playlist and jam with no shame. I love singing in the shower(in fact I am pretty sure I reenact entire musicals in the shower). Just sing in the shower and just live in that moment.
40. Chef Week
Cook or bake something everyday whether it be cookies or steak. Just spend some time in the kitchen and try and make Gordon Ramsey proud.
41. Thankful Week
Contact one person each day(total 7 people) and tell them how thankful you are for them. It can be your parent(Thanks Parents), your best friends(love you guys), or even your second grade teacher who inspired you (Thank you Miss. Glass).
42. Creatives Week
This week you should do one super creative thing each day (paint something, draw/doodle something, tie dye, oragami, sew) The world is your oyster!
43. TREAT YO SELF WEEK
If You have ever watched Parks and Recreation, you know exactly what this means. If not, it means that after a year of working hard and taking care of business you deserve a week where you can relax and “Treat Yo Self”. You can buy that thing you’ve been eyeing, get your nails done, purchase that giant cookie cake and eat it all by yourself. Treating yourself goes deeper than this too…its making sure you’re mental health is accounted for and that you are happy. Taking some time to say no to other people and Yes to yourself can be a huge help to anxiety, stress, and having good mental health. TREAT YO SELF
44. Stop and Stare Week
Spend time looking around at the nature near you. No phone no camera. Just spend some time to sit and enjoy. Stop, Stare, Listen, Think. It can last for 5 minutes or an hour…you only have to do this once as long as you think the rest of the week about How lucky you are to be alive right now and how truly beautiful earth is to just exist.
45. Smile Week
This week’s challenge involves brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing at least once a day, and trying to smile as often as you can. Smile at random people. Smile at babies and dogs. At your family. Show off those pearly whites everywhere you go:)
46. Letter Week
Choose 7 friends to write 7 completely hand-written letters to. Not only are letters really fun to receive, but its a great excuse to mail your friends presents as we enter the holiday season.
47. Laugh Week
The challenge for this week is very easy….look up a corny joke each day and go around telling it. Tell it to your pastor, your teacher, your friend’s mom, your coworkers. Just spread some laughs and some holiday cheer.
48. Alphabet Week
This is a photography challenge…a giant scavenger hunt. You have 7 days to take photos of things as you go through the alphabet. (for instance, for A you might take a picture of an apple, B, a balloon, C, a cat….you continue down the alphabet until you have all 26 letter. Additional rules are if you see a letter in a sign, it counts). The main rule of the Alphabet Tour is that you MUST go in order of the alphabet(start with A, end with Z). This is a great opportunity to hang out with friends or family and drive around your city to places you haven’t been for a fun game.
49. Catch-Up Week
This one is a necessity…its too easy to go throughout your day, your life, scrolling through friends posts, and not actually talking to them. Not checking in. Call, text, email, message 7 old friends you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are. Get together for coffee and catch-up on all the things you’ve missed since the last time you talked. See what happens!
50. Goal Week
Plan for next year. New year new you. You can be whoever you want, do whatever you want, as long as you put your mind to it. If You liked these 50 One-Week Challenges…do it again or make your own. Make it harder…make them two week challenges. Remember, things like this start with just the first day.
I truly hoped you enjoyed this article and try to do these one-week challenges. While they are short, they can be easily done, and they nurture positive life-changes. I hope you share this article so other people can read and attempt these challenges as well. Do one challenge or do all of them, either way you will have fun and learn something about yourself.
Silly and fun, deep and meaningful, helpful and encouraging, these challenges can replace your “New Years Goal/Resolutions” all while advocating self-discovery, fun, kindness, and above all, being the YOU you’ve always wanted to be.
— Update: 04-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 22 Fun & Best Things to Do in a Small Town from the website viatravelers.com for the keyword things to do in a small town as a teenager.
Big cities are all well and good, but visiting smaller towns is a real treat too. Unlike the metropolitan areas that are jam-packed with people and activities, these tourist destinations are relaxed and beautiful. The pace of life slows significantly in small towns, so visitors can enjoy quaint city centers and small-town living without too much hustle or bustle.
Whether you prefer to golf, hike trails at nature preserves, eat delicious local cuisine, enjoy music festivals, or drink at your favorite watering hole, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Here is a list of the top things to do in small towns across America.
Best Things to Do in a Small Town
1. Visit the Historic Downtown Area
Many small towns have preserved their original architecture and design, making them perfect for people who love history and beautiful buildings.
A town’s main square is usually the hub for most tourist activity, featuring eateries, retailers, and local businesses at the heart of the community. You’ll likely find other things here too like the fire and police station, the local coffee shop, local museums, perhaps even a movie theater or local newspaper.
A stroll around this area will give you a sense of the community’s history.
Participate in Local Traditions
Taking part in local clubs, traditions or festivals is an excellent opportunity to learn about small-town life and interesting things about the community. For example, in the charming mountain city of Abingdon, Virginia, art is a big part of their history and is still celebrated today.
We had the opportunity to visit the downtown area, which is home to many galleries that display originals from established artists and students from nearby colleges.
In West Jefferson, North Carolina, the main street has been transformed into a drive-in movie theater for tourists! In fact, they project movies onto a screen right on Main Street every Saturday night throughout the summer months!
Attend a Summer Festival for Locals
Summertime brings all kinds of wild and crazy festivals, whether there be crazy food, rides, or even a fireworks show to end the day.
Whether you’re looking for something easy or exciting, there will be something you’ll enjoy about these festivals, which are typically located outside if the weather is good!
A festival is an excellent opportunity to experience all that the small town offers in one place. If you’re looking for a place to learn about their rich background, this is where you’ll find those questions answered. A great example of this is the Virginia State Fair.
All of the local restaurants, shops, and even music venues show up in one place to give you a taste of what’s offered in the state.
See Related: Unique Bucket List Ideas
2. Visit a Historic Landmark
Small towns have plenty of history to share with visitors who want to learn more about how their ancestors lived centuries ago.
Antique shops may even be located inside some of these landmarks for shoppers who love vintage finds from years past. Many of these antiques are likely from the area and can help tell the small town’s story. So make sure you bring along some extra cash to take advantage of any special deals available at these stores when you visit.
On our visit to Adamstown, Pennsylvania, we discovered that they were one of the antiquing capitals of America. There were dozens of antique shops located on a strip that spanned over seven miles. The scavenger hunt to find fun things and antique object was a great way to learn more about the area’s history.
See Related: 21 Tips for Beating Post-Travel Blues
3. Try Out a New Sport
Cities are typically noted for having outstanding professional sports teams. But small towns have perfected some sports too!
Many towns host annual cycling races or marathons that bring an opportunity to fall in love with something new and stay active. It’s also a fantastic way to explore the town.
For example, Breckenridge, Colorado is a great little town to ski or snowboard. Breckenridge Ski Resort has some challenging slopes for more experienced winter sports enthusiasts, but it can still be a fun thing to do in a small town for beginners too.
There are plenty of other things to do as well in this idyllic small town. Breckenridge has a number of great restaurants and a plethora of national and local stores for shopping!
See Related: Best Things to do in Yellowstone
4. Go On a Nature Hike at a Nearby State Park
Since small towns often lie right outside major cities, they’re located near natural landscapes that offer amazing views and trails to explore. Hiking is popular among all age groups who love the fresh air and exercise.
Some areas even supply guided tours by rangers who know the best spots to find wildlife and enjoy scenic waterfalls or panoramic views.
Most cities have a park for visitors to enjoy no matter the season, but these are especially popular during the spring and summertime.
Hot Springs National Park
For example, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is a well-known tourist destination perfect for people who love to hike through natural landscapes.
The park features trails that meander past bubbling hot springs and waterfalls, including an inn built within the rocks! We got to touch the hot spring water at their Hot Water Cascade. It’s not what you expect to see in a small town. It was amazing.
See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November
5. Try Out Local Cuisine
Small towns often have some of the best local restaurants because each specializes in making food from local ingredients.
Small businesses are often more invested in bringing you the freshest local products because they’re easier to access, and they rely on repeat customers to stay afloat financially – customers who may also be supplying the restaurant. And if their reputation doesn’t bring customers in, their mouthwatering dishes will!
A great example of this is the small town of Franklin, North Carolina which has become famous for its barbecue!
Franklin Barbecue is a trailer located right off the side of the road that opened its doors in 2010. Their food quickly gained notoriety due to their perfectly smoked meat and even won awards from Texas Monthly Magazine.
6. Have Some Time at a Local Café
Visiting mom-and-pop shops is one of the best things to do in a small town.
The owners know their patrons by name, so with the proper introduction and patronage, they’ll greet you warmly when you stop in for your morning coffee or afternoon snack break. This warm atmosphere adds to the hometown feel that attracts so many visitors to small towns.
Coffee and a baked treat are always a great way to start any day, but you don’t have to rush out the door in small towns.
See Related: Best Traditional Cafes and Brassseries in Paris
7. Take a Class at an Art Center
The creative aspect of small towns makes them perfect for people who enjoy painting, sculpting, or taking photographs. Many art centers offer workshops where participants can explore different mediums with fellow artists.
It allows everyone to learn something new about this craft. At the end of each workshop, you can often take home the masterpieces you created!
8. Enjoy Some Local Live Music
A big city may offer multiple live music venues, catering to all tastes, but small towns can elicit the same excitement with one small bar or coffee shop. Music lovers love these places because they can see some of their local favorite bands in a casual atmosphere.
They also get to mingle with people who share similar tastes in music, sparking up conversations about new tracks and old classics.
The Heist is an excellent example of this. It’s a bar and restaurant located in a 100-year-old bank building in Bowling Green, Virginia. Jason Manns and his wife Krista are Bowling Green natives that aimed to revitalize the town, and they sure succeeded.
The food and ambiance at the Heist were terrific, and there was an ice cream truck up the street. Once we left the bar, we walked up the street and got to experience why so many people choose to live there even though the closest Walmart is 30 minutes away.
9. Go Wine-Tasting at Local Vineyards
Forget heading out to Napa Valley for this activity.
Some of the smaller wineries located on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas are perfect for tasting different types of wines that visitors often overlook.
Wine-tasting specials allow customers to taste new blends without having to invest too much money in an entire bottle that they may not like the taste of.
Take a Tour of the Area’s Best Winery
Vineyards aren’t just a great place to taste a variety of wines- they’re also fun places to learn about different styles that you might not be familiar with yet. It’s also possible to book tastings at some vineyards, so this is an activity that can be enjoyed alone or as part of a group.
Checking local vineyards is easy when you book a rental car, local transportation is also a good option to save money.
Take a Tour of the Area’s Best Winery
Vineyards aren’t just a great place to taste a variety of wines – they’re also fun places to learn about the area and the process that goes into making grapes from the vine into wine.
It’s also possible to book tastings at most vineyards, so this is an activity that can be enjoyed alone or as part of a group.
See Related: Best Wineries in Temecula to Visit
10. Check Out the Best Farmers’ Market in Town
Were you hoping to find fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for your next dinner party?
Small towns offer several options for buying top-quality ingredients at reasonable prices.
Farmers’ markets are growing in popularity each year, so plenty of small towns offer one on a weekend morning or afternoon during certain seasons of the year.
Some even have booths with arts and crafts made by local artists that make great gifts for friends back home.
Bowling Green Farmers Market
The farmers market in Bowling Green is every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. It’s located within walking distance from The Heist. They’ve got fresh cucumbers and tomatoes to snack on while waiting for The Heist to open!
This little town is full of history but still has everything you need to make your visit unforgettable.
11. Have a Picnic by the Lake
A small town is perfect for people who choose relaxation over excitement when spending their vacation days. Pack up some food and drinks in a basket (maybe from a farmer’s market), then head out into nature for an afternoon of quiet contemplation.
Many towns near lakes or rivers will allow visitors to bring their own boats, so this is another bonus if you enjoy fishing or boating activities on your day off from work or school.
12. Rent Bicycles for Local Touring
Some small towns will have bicycles for visitors to rent. This way, you can explore the sights at your leisure without spending money on a rental car. Finding activities outside to do is so much better than sitting in a stuffy vehicle all afternoon anyhow.
What better way to see the town and get some fresh air than by cycling around?
See Related: Tips for Riding a Bike in Amsterdam
13. Explore the Town at Night
Some of the most beautiful scenery can be seen after dark when small towns light up with festive decorations and family-owned shops keep their doors open until midnight.
Visitors can stroll down the streets together while taking in all of these unique sites without having to worry about waking up early for work or school in the morning.
Be sure to pack a camera so you can snap some shots of unforgettable local landmarks and unique storefronts.
14. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
Visitors who want to enjoy an intimate vacation in a small town should look for accommodations that offer more than the usual hotel amenities.
B&Bs provide spacious rooms with comfortable beds so people can relax after having breakfast together in the morning and playing tourist during the day.
Some of these locations may even have a dock for guest use so that you can enjoy the beautiful water views from your own private yacht.
The Equestrian Estate
It’s located in Amish country and sits on 8 acres of farmland. I loved feeding the horses and visiting the chickens. It was an incredible experience. Families can even pay for mini horse and cart rides.
15. Watch the Sunset at a Local Beach
Connect with nature and watch the sunset at a nearby local beach. You can enjoy the ride to the beach and even pack a picnic for two.
The best part about dusk at the beach is that you can watch the sunset in silence together. There are no cell phone sounds or distractions that make the moment special.
Assateague Beach was much different from the beaches we experienced before. It’s located near the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for horses. I loved the beach because it wasn’t noisy or crowded. While there were people there, everyone was relaxing. There were no shops or other establishments, just sand and water.
See Related: Best South Carolina Beaches
16. Try on Some Fashions at the Local Shops
If you’re someone who enjoys trying on different outfits every time you head out for a night on the town, then small towns are perfect for your next shopping spree.
Even if you don’t make any purchases, it’s still enjoyable to see what everyone in the community is wearing when you stop by these stores during your travels.
Indulge in some retail therapy at an outlet mall or shopping center that features deals you won’t find anywhere else. Many small towns have signature malls that aren’t just fun to shop at but have a lot of local flairs.
They often have unique stores that sell clothes, accessories, and homemade goods from the area. Whether you want to build a new wardrobe or stock up on gifts for friends back home, these shops are worth checking out!
17. Go Shopping at a Local Thrift Store
If vintage shops aren’t your thing, but you still love finding great deals on clothes and accessories, then a small town is where you need to go.
Local thrift stores always have fun selections of clothes from local residents who change their styles often.
It’s always worth checking out what they have available before purchasing elsewhere. It’s an awesome opportunity to buy things for less, allowing you to save more money for things that matter.
You can always find something unique and fun at these stores, so it’s the place to go if you’re looking for a bargain!
19. Go Camping in the Woods
If you love taking naps under a shade tree and listening to nature’s native sounds, then there is no better place to spend your vacation than at a campsite surrounded by trees that stretch out into the distance as far as you can see.
Camping is a fun weekend thing to do in a small town.
Pack up all of your outdoor gear and enjoy an extended weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You may also camp using an RV or rent an RV on Outdoorsy.
Camping lets you connect with nature in a way that’s not possible to do anywhere else. Few activities are as relaxing and peaceful.
See Related: How to Pack for a Camping Trip
20. Visit a local Petting Zoo
Local farms and petting zoos are a staple of many small towns in America, and an excellent experience for the whole family, because everyone loves taking pictures with animals! Some zoos will have tours, so you can see how their caretakers look after them.
Often visitors can purchase special feed for the animals and get a first-hand experience with them. Don’t forget to snap that perfect picture while you are there.
21. Try a U-Pick Venue
Some small towns have local farms, gardens, orchards, and vineyards that are perfect for taking pictures if you’re into rustic photography. You can also pick your fruits or vegetables during the fall season, so it’s a win-win situation for all involved!
Whether it is strawberries, apples, or blueberries, U-Pick venues are among the best things to do in a small town because everyone loves fresh fruit and veggies.
22. Talk to the Locals
You may be surprised at how friendly local people can be when they find out you are visiting their small town – especially if you show interest in their hometown.
Residents love to share information about where they think the best spot is to hike or who makes the perfect dish. Maybe you will find out some history or urban legends about the town that you didn’t know before.
Locals can be a wealth of information and a fun way to explore a small town – and you’ll definitely learn more than you would from any guidebook!
- Best Sabbatical Destinations
- Best Unknown U.S. Places to Visit in the US
- Must-Have Tips to Avoid Having a Boring Vacation
— Update: 04-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 40 Things People Who Live In Small Towns Do from the website thoughtcatalog.com for the keyword things to do in a small town as a teenager.
1. Watch TV at home and/or take advantage of Netflix and OnDemand.
2. Go to the gym. Want to get in really good shape? Live somewhere where there is nothing better to do. Results guaranteed. It is also pretty nice to see the same friendly faces at the gym every day.
3. Go to the movie theater (if you’re lucky enough to have one). The town where I live actually has a pretty nice movie theater. Unfortunately, it’s inclination to play any type of foreign film, “racy” film, etc., is usually not strong. They also ALWAYS opt in for whatever Jesus/God documentary is currently out, even if they haven’t had the Oscar contenders. Beggars cannot be choosers, and I often times find myself seeing things I would never normally see.
4. Drive around. When you’re a teenager, this is way up there. The older people call it “dragging Main.” Normal people might call it physical trolling. Young people are usually just bored and want to be obnoxious, as is their right.
5. Walk/run around. I am an avid runner, and sometimes it is quite the challenge to create a route LONG enough for my runs. Walking around a small town is wonderful, but can actually sometimes get a bit dull. We are fortunate to have beautiful trails and hiking, but there are only so many places you can walk in town before the scenery becomes disenchanted. The changing of the seasons adds beauty and variety, though.
6. Go to Walmart. This is a real hobby. I’m better about it now, but there were times when I would go to Walmart about every other day. Before you sneer, keep in mind that for some towns, there is NO other option for basic necessities. Walmart facilitates Redbox, buying DVDs, food, walking around, browsing beauty projects, ideas for home improvement. It’s like a mall if you have your rosy-tinted glasses on.
7. Walk/run around with your dog(s). But you better clean up the mess or 15+ people you know are bound to see you.
8. Go “down town.” Look in the stores whose inventory most likely hasn’t changed since you were in three months ago. Buy coffee from your sister, the barista. Sigh in disappointment when there is nothing to purchase.
9. Go out to eat at the restaurants you have eaten at 1000+ times. Even the ones you’re not crazy about will rope you back in somehow occasionally. You’ll find yourself saying; “Well, we haven’t been to Dingo’s BBQ in forever…” while in the back of your mind, a nagging suspicion arises that there is a reason you haven’t been. You’ll be sitting there eating a terrible $16 salad with frozen shrimp on it and half way through you’ll ask, “Why did I come back here?” C’est la vie.
10. Go to the bar. Shocking, I know. The town watering-hole is not a myth. It is very real.
11. Have people over to your house to eat. “Grilling out” is always popular among the males, and girls night in are ever being planned. Always fun. And luckily, when things start to get a little loud, the bars are walking distance away.
12. Open bar fundraising events. These seem few and far between, but everyone will be there.
13. High school sporting events. It’s real. Tim Riggins, thankfully, is not real.
14. Driving to other, bigger towns. “Getting out of town” can mean just about anything. The draw out is even stronger if places nearby have Costco, Target, or any semblance of a non-Walmart mall.
15. Go camping. The majority of the time is spent planning and coordinating these ventures, buying food from Walmart, and gathering the troops. The actual camping is home, but sometimes we all secretly can’t wait to be back home in our real beds.
16. Go to whatever lake or river is nearby. Think of it as grilling out, only next to a body of water that may or may not have swarms of mosquitos.
17. Have children’s birthday parties. I realize that people do this everywhere, but there is different meaning in a small town because it gives everyone an excuse to buy lots of alcohol and cook decadent food that is not acceptable for grilling out.
18. Get hair/nails done. It’s something to do.
19. Book trips to civilization. Having trips out to civilization to look forward to is really important.
20. Go to K-Mart. I never said that there weren’t moments of desperation.
21. Go bowling. People still do that. It’s actually pretty fun to get your friends together and see who can throw the most gutter balls. And is there any bowling alley without a bar?
22. Go to the bizarre drug store that carries things that you didn’t know were still sold. My sister and I call one of these places the “Weird Shit That No One Wants” warehouse. Their stock is straight from the 1980s.
23. Play board games. A new board game is cause for celebration. We have found ourselves ecstatic over new, less boring versions of Monopoly.
24. Imagine all of the businesses you would bring to said small town and much it would improve the place. We all do it. A business closes down and everyone has 10 suggestions of what they would put in its place.
25. Collect jobs. Most people I know have at least two jobs, usually three. Even people who make really good money find themselves with loads of spare time, so what better to do with it than spend it making bonus money? It funds those trips to civilization, or at least to Costco a few hours away.
26. Be on every committee/board ever for everything you’re even sort of interested in or connected to. If you’re a professional in a small town, you understand this.
27. Put on community theater productions. Involves as many people as possible and if you’re not in it, you can go watch. Even if you’re not interested.
28. Watch sports religiously. All sports. All levels.
29. Read the local newspaper (twice a week) just to see the pictures of everyone you know. It’s like everyone’s famous.
30. Complain about the local paper.
31. Talk about people who have moved away and what they’re doing.
32. Talk about people who have moved back and what they’re doing.
33. Have garage sales. Because if you don’t want your old stuff, someone else might not be going to Costco this weekend.
34. See obscure bands that come to the local bar. Apparently they had three #1 hits? You don’t recognize them though. Regardless, you’ll be there.
35. Attend every conference possible. Again, if you’re a professional in a small town, professional development (IN OTHER PLACES) is of paramount importance… for your sanity.
36. Buy businesses in town. Because why not? You need another (additional) job anyways. What’s one more thing?
37. “Get coffee” or “get a drink.” These are actual activities. I’m aware that people do this in cities, but in small towns, this is cause for an excursion. We will go out of our way and pay $6 for a latte that isn’t even good just because it is something to do. And you’re supporting the local coffee place.
38. Join the local Crossfit gym. Even though it’s $90/month and you’re already a member of the rec center. What else do you have to do?
39. Support the community. This means showing up for every fundraiser, continuing to go to restaurants you’re lukewarm about, and buying things from stores you don’t really need or want. One of my favorite things about small towns is everyone’s willingness to keep small businesses afloat. Sure, we go to Costco for bulk Cheerios and mouthwash, but when we want pizza, we damn well order it from our childhood buddy’s parents’ business. We support each other and we show up to events.
40. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Small towns can be maddening at times, but the peacefulness they harbor on a summer’s day or a frosty winter night is pretty fantastic. You are safe, you’re at home, and chances are, you can hoof it to the hospital or police station if anything goes awry.
Like this? You’ll like this: Rob Fee’s memoir of childhood in a small town.
— Update: 05-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 28 Cheap Things to Do with Teenage Friends when Bored from the website www.moneyprodigy.com for the keyword things to do in a small town as a teenager.
What are the COOL and CHEAP things to do with teenager friends when bored? Glad you asked. Budget-friendly and teen-approved options.
What do teens do for fun…especially if they (or the friends they like to hang out with) don’t have a lot of money to spend?
Keep your teen’s budget intact using this resource of really cool and cheap things to do with your teen friends.
Skim over the fun activities listed below with your teenager, figure out which ideas work for you and your family, then let them invite their friends over for some fun!
Things to Do with Teenage Friends when Bored
I think every single teenager on earth gets bored at some point (and, typically, several points throughout the day!).
I mean – I was a teen once, and I even remember sitting around wondering what the heck to do with myself.
That’s why I’m creating the list of COOL and CHEAP things to do with teenage friends when you’re bored.
1. Host a DIY Escape Room
Your teen can use these free escape room printables (they even come with audio files for the missions) to create an escape room to invite their friends to.
Using materials like scissors, pens, single-sided printed copies of the free missions, etc., they’ll get to solve puzzles, decipher Morse codes, and deactivate bombs.
2. Compete with Minute-to-Win-It Games
Want to send a group of teens spiraling out of control into giggles? Pick from a few of these 200 Minute to Win It Games.
Your teen just needs one other person, and a group of teens is even better.
3. Ask Parents for their Gym + Guest Pass
Do you have a guest gym pass you could use to take your teen plus one of their friends to the gym?
They can workout, hit up the café, or just talk while stretching – beats being bored at home!
4. Set Up a Building Challenge
One of the cheapest and most fun things to do with your teenager’s best friend? Is doing a building challenge.
Help your teenager gather the supplies needed (things like toothpicks, marshmallows, and jelly beans), and race against their friends with this building challenge, or this spaghetti tower building challenge.
5. Set Up a Star Gazing Area
Your teen can host a sleepover night when there’s supposed to be something happening in the sky – meteors, shooting stars, eclipses, whatever you can find. Set up an outside area with a tent, or even a blown-up kiddie pool or mattress, and include pillows and blankets to keep everyone warm.
Help them set the alarm for when the big show starts and stay up a little later than normal!
6. Host a Chocolate Tasting
Have you ever been to the gourmet chocolate area of your grocery store?
There are only…oooohhhhh 1,937 different chocolate bars to try. The cacao percentage changes, the variations on ingredients, and much, much more.
Let your teen and their friends meet up at the grocery store and pick out 6 different varieties, print out these free chocolate tasting printables, and enjoy some gal-pal time while figuring out their faves (and not-so-faves).
7. Join a Flash Mob
Look for local flash mob announcements (you can search in google for this), or use this page to see if there are any flash mobs near you. What a memorable thing to meet up with friends and do! Could definitely go on your bucket list.
8. Do Spooky Fire Pit Readings
Does your teen love a good scary story? Grab several short scary stories that are either local to your area or are completely fiction (your choice!), help them light the fire pit in the backyard, and let your teen’s group of friends take turns reading the spooky stories out loud.These are my personal favorite from my childhood.
9. Cook Dinner for Your Parents
What if your teen and a few of their friends completely took over the kitchen for a night and cooked dinner for you (and themselves)?
Make sure there’s a parent-approved checkpoint, once they figure out what they’d like to cook from your pantry/freezer/cupboards.
10. Create a Time Capsule
My childhood friend, Michelle, and I created a time capsule one afternoon when we were totally bored. We decided to bury it in part of the woods on my family farm, and vowed to meet there when we turned 25 to dig it back up.
Spoiler alert: we made it to about 16, when she asked us to dig it up so she could retriever her items…
It was a special bonding experience that I won’t forget. Perhaps your teen and their friends would like to do the same?
11. Make Friend Portraits
Looking for activities to do with friends?
Your teen can pop on some tunes, and set up paper or posters or canvases with paints so that their group of friends can each paint the person to their right. No artists in their posse? Even better – they’ll turn out to be hilarious.
12. Meet Up for a Mall Scavenger Hunt
You might no longer think of malls as one of the cool places for teens to hang out. But stick with me here.
No need to buy lots of things to make a mall a good teen hangout. Teens can print out this free mall scavenger hunt printable and compete with their friends (or, do it together).
13. Build Frozen-Yogurt Cups
Here’s a teen hangout idea: places like Menchie’s are a great place for teens and their friends to hang out in because there’s usually a cool fire pit on the patio, and you pay for frozen yogurt by the pound. If they don’t have a lot of money? They can just get less toppings.
14. Go Keychain Shopping
Your teen and their friends are either driving now, or will be soon. How fun would it be for them to go out shopping for cool keychains to use with their first car? Also, it’s a super cheap activity to do.
Things to Do with Teenage Friends When Bored At Home
So, your teen and their friends are staying in. What are some cool things to do with teenage friends at your home (or theirs)?
15. Eat Snacks with Chopsticks
Save a bunch of chopsticks from Chinese take-out nights, and then when your teenager has friends over, have everyone eat with ONLY chopsticks (no matter what snacks or food you’re serving up!).
16. Play Tag-Team Twister
Looking for fun things to do with a group of teenage friends?
Twister is a fun game in and of itself, but it becomes wayyyyy more fun when you play what I like to call the Tag-Team Edition.
Get your teen’s group of friends together, and pair off.
Set a timer for 5 minutes, and every 5 minutes they’ll need to tag their partner in – the partner must then go into the exact position they were in when they left.
Then, the game continues!
17. Do a Building Challenge
The supplies for these are super cheap – think a few boxes of $0.99 spaghetti noodles, toothpicks, and marshmallows – and your teens can easily pair off into groups of 2-3 to compete against one another.
18. Come Up with their Own “Code”
Your teen can grab a dictionary in another language, and learn how to say a word that their buddies will instantly recognize as something special between them all. If nothing else, trying to pronounce all those words can be kinda hilarious.
19. Color in Mandalas
Coloring is trendy at any age, so why not help your teen print out some really intricate, free Mandala pages, and ask their friends to each bring a set of coloring pencils to share while gabbing away around a table? (My favorites are the Native American Dream Catcher coloring pages).
20. Take the Blindfold Drawing Challenge
Need spontaneous things to do as a teenager?
Your teen and their friend can either draw/paint portraits of each other (with blindfolds, of course), or pick something the whole group has to attempt with their blindfolds on.
21. Make Personal Pan Pizzas
The host can sit out all the ingredients (or even pre-make the pizza dough), plus the topping choices, and everyone gets to build their own mini-pizzas!
22. Compete Against Each Other in this Entrepreneur Challenge
Basically, each teen is given the task of coming up with a new beverage for a local ski-resort. They’ll need to measure out ingredients, taste test, and price things out so that they can at least make a $1.00 profit.
Then, each new beverage goes through taste-testing by a panel of judges (could be the adults?), and a winner/awards are given out.
Looking specifically for girl group activities? I hope these won’t disappoint.
Activities for Girl Groups
What can your teen do as a bored teenage girl at home with friends?
Building on what’s already listed above, here are a few specific activities for teenage girl groups:
23. Create their Own Signature Perfumes
This one can get a bit more expensive than the other suggestions, but what a cool activity to do together! Here’s an article outlining how to choose a base, and how to get different perfume scents using various materials.
24. Take the Thrift Store Challenge
Let your teen meet up at a local thrift store with their friends – or snag a ride in someone’s mini-van – and bring $5. Each of them needs to buy one piece of clothing they’ll be wearing to school on Monday with that $5.
25. Play Tag-Team Twister
If your teen has a group of teen girls, then playing Tag-Team Twister is the way to go! Pair off into teams of 2 or 3. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and every 5 minutes they’ll need to tag their partner in – the partner must then go into the exact position they were in when you left.
Then, the game continues!
26. Help Build a Home
Is your group of teen girls 16 and over? Then they can volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity construction site. I did this several times in my early 20s and really liked it.
27. Host a Teen Craft Party
What’s cool about hosting a teen craft party? Everyone leaves with something! Here’s tons of teen party craft ideas that have pretty cheap supplies. Decide on one or two, get supplies, and invite your teen’s group of girl friends over for some craft time!
28. Figure Out Each Person’s “Colors” or Season
When I was a kid, I had my “colors” done. It helped me with getting dressed for the last few decades – that’s because it turns out that each person’s complexion and eye colors and overall tones lends itself to certain color palettes over others.
Use this free tool, colorwise.me, to take turns uploading pics of each other and figuring out what color palette you are.
Wow – so many cheap and fun activities for your bored teen and their friends to enjoy some together, right? I’d love to hear your own ideas for things to do with teenage friends when bored. You might just make someone’s day who’s searching for this exact thing!
— Update: 06-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 13 Things People In A Small Town Do For Fun from the website monarchcamps.com for the keyword things to do in a small town as a teenager.
especially when you live in a teeny tiny town, like, population less than 2,000 town. We are about an hour from the closest big city, and at least 20-30 minutes from the closest city that has amenities such as a YMCA or public pool, gym, etc. Even the closest decent grocery store and department store is 25 minutes away (Yes, we pretty much live on Amazon Prime). So like I said, finding things to do for fun can be hard!
So, because Mama doesn’t feel like spending her life in the car, driving all over creation for the next activity, we have to get a little creative sometimes about finding things to do to keep the kids busy while staying close to home.
Here’s some strategies we use to find local events to participate in. Maybe your town has locations similar to our tiny town and you can use them to find things to keep your kids busy too!
1. Public Library
Yes, we have a public library, and although it’s slightly outdated in some areas, it’s a nice one. They often have events for our kids, including reading for kids, book clubs, and even computer coding events. We are constantly checking their schedule for anything the kids can do after school.
2. State Park
We have a lovely State Park here in town. They don’t have a TON of events, but things like birding or guided hikes or fishing with a ranger are fun things to do that they don’t usually get a chance to do with Mama and Daddy.
3. Art Studio/Textile Studio
There’s a small art & textile studio in town that occasionally offers an art class or workshop for kids. Most of the time, these are geared towards children who are older than my kids, but at least it’s a place to keep an eye on.
4. Music Lessons/Events
We are fortunate to know a sweet lady who gives my oldest son piano lessons. We know her through our church. This is the one thing we can count on week after week and we’re to the point now where my son actually looks forward to his lessons. Plus, this gives him a daily goal to work on… learning those songs on the piano.
Related, our piano teacher also is the coordinator of our local chamber music series (YES! We even have a Chamber Music series and we’ve had people all over the world come to perform for us!). Look out for concerts or music workshops, because even the youngest kids can benefit from just listening to public performances.
5. After School Programs
Unfortunately, our public school does not have the funds or the resources to offer much in the way of after school programs, but when I was growing up, I participated in a lot of them through my school. I was a library helper, I was in the school choir and video clubs. I also was on the math team and the Gifted & Talented Program, which kept me occupied a lot of the time.
Related to this, if your middle or high school ever puts on musicals or plays, GO SEE THEM! They’re inexpensive and usually a lot of fun. Any money raised usually goes right back into the program, so it’s always for a good cause.
This is a big one for our town. Our church is pretty much the Wednesday night hub here in town. We have probably 1/10 of our town at our church on any given Wednesday night as we have programs for kids up through high school (and areas for any college kids to help at or attend if they’re interested).
My kids also do events through other churches too. They’ve been in the Methodist Kids’ Christmas Program, and we do the VBS “tour” every summer. We’ve gone to most of the community meals at one of the Lutheran Churches as well. We try to go to other church’s choir specials or plays too.
Yes, there’s always high school and middle school sports and sometimes even elementary sports. Another organization that reaches a lot of the kids in our community is extra curricular sports programs. Both of my boys have participated in fall soccer for the past couple of years, and if our springs weren’t already so busy, we’d enroll them in spring baseball/Tball and/or soccer as well. When my oldest reaches 8 years old, I’m going to enroll him in the “Little Dribblers” basketball program.
Also, go to the middle school sports games. Middle school basketball and football are a LOT of fun and the athletes LOVE seeing people cheer them on.
Unfortunately, we do not have a gymnastics company here in town, but we DO have a wonderful ballet/dance company. My oldest son is actually really interested in doing dance, and we are seriously debating signing him up for dance lessons, depending on the time and the cost.
9. Mothers Day Out Programs
My 3 year old participates in Mother’s Day Out 2 days a week. It’s through our elementary school, and so far, he absolutely loves it! He’s even recently attended his first birthday party for a classmate! (Growing up soooo fast!)
10. Senior Centers
Occasionally, our senior center will have an event open to the public. Also, our groups at church try to visit them from time to time. When I was volunteering for our church’s Children’s Choir, we visited them about every 6-8 weeks just to sing for them. Once in a while, they’ll have a game night or a movie night, and we try to go when we’re available.
11. Community Center
We do have a small community center. It has a bare bones fitness center with a few treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights, weight machines, and a room to do yoga, fitness balls, etc. There’s also a room available for yoga classes or events such as birthday parties, BINGO, Bridge, etc. There used to be a self-defense class for youth, but my kiddos were too young at the time to participate. Check into their schedule to see if there’s anything that your kids can do. Some community centers have arts & crafts, fitness, science, etc. that kids would really enjoy doing.
12. Volunteer Opportunities
My kids are old enough now to start appreciating the concept of volunteering. We have a local Good Samaritan center and food bank, and I’m looking into having my boys and me volunteer once a month, just sorting through the donations or helping with the food bank.
Our other volunteer opportunity is the animal shelter we adopted two of our dogs from. They always need helpers to walk and play with the dogs, help fix equipment and cages, etc. I think this would be more lined up into my boys’ interests, but it’s definitely important to help teach them the act of volunteering early in their lives.
13. Do it Yourself
When all else fails, do it yourself. Pinterest and social media are FULL of easy and cheap and fun crafts you can do with your kids.
Call up a friend/classmate and visit the school or a church’s playground (get permission first, of course). Pack a picnic lunch and just let the kids run around and play with their friends.
Take a walk around town. Go down some streets you haven’t seen in a while. Let the kids ride their scooters or their bikes.
Create your own kids activity. One of the moms in our town hosts a rotating “kids stop” where moms and kids get together at a rotating location every couple of weeks. The host mom provides the snacks and the kids just goof around and play and eat (and sometimes watch a movie or play Wii depending on the weather). Sometimes there’s crafts, sometimes there’s a science experiment… it’s up to the host mom to decide. They kept it small… to about 6-8 kids, but really, it was a fun way to give the kiddos something else to do.
That’s really about it for our town. We often have to make our own fun, but we also try to participate in any community events as we can, because it’s important to be involved in your town, whether it’s big or small.
“Mama” from www.mamawritesreviews.com is a mom of 2 boys, 3 dogs, and whatever other stray animals happen to come along. She loves crafting and playing music and enjoys her jobs as Kindergarten Classroom Mom, Suzuki Piano Mom, Soccer Mom, and organizer of a Preschool/Kinder Church group.
— Update: 06-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article The Top 15 Fun Things to Do in a Small Town from the website centsai.com for the keyword things to do in a small town as a teenager.
If you’re living in a small town like I am and want to find fun things to do on a budget, you’re probably more than a little tired of the generic advice to visit museums or go to free outdoor festivals.
While the options may be different from those found in larger cities, there’s plenty of free and cheap entertainment to be found in smaller communities. We may just have to get a little more creative! Here are 15 free and cheap things to do in a small town:
1. Enjoy Downtown
Small towns in rural America are known for their downtowns with “heritage” buildings, quaint streets, and charming local shops. Though an earlier generation of shops and their owners are gone, today you can still find antique stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Bonus points if you only browse and don’t buy, making the experience totally free.
2. Go Out for Coffee
Yes, this is actually a thing. It’s common to find groups of friends sitting at local coffee shops for hours on Saturday mornings. Coffee shops are also popular hangouts for the older, retired crowd. For the price of just one cup of coffee, you could experience several hours of fun with your friends.
3. Work Out
Because what else is there to do? At least you’ll be in good shape after that coffee and rich homemade pastry you couldn’t resist.
If you’re looking for a place to work out, 24 Hour Fitness gyms offer some of the best pricing around, including a free trial and a variety of classes. There are over 35,000 gym locations across the United States, so see if there’s one close by for you to join.
Even if you don’t want to spend the money on a gym membership, working out can be easy and free! Apps like C25K, Nike Training Club, and Touchfit can help keep you in shape without any equipment necessary. Who needs a treadmill with all that open space?
Start Your Free Trial
4. Drive Around
Driving around town for hours might not sound like fun, but when you’re a teenager, it’s pretty exciting. I spent many Saturday nights during my teen years cruising around with friends.
Even now that I’m an adult, I still find myself driving around town. Only these days, it’s usually to see if there’s anything new going on — like a home renovation or a building going up. When a whole new street was added a couple of years ago, it was the talk of my town.
5. Host a Get-Together
Since you can eat at the local restaurants only so many times, it’s more common for people to get together at each other’s houses for meals and entertainment. Outdoor grilling is popular, as are potlucks. The entertainment portion of the evening may be spent watching sports on TV or playing board games or cards.
If you want to make your get-togethers more regular, you can even start a club. A poker, painting, or book club can be a great way to pass the time and get a chance to hang out with friends.
6. Go Hunting or Fishing
Although hunting and fishing equipment isn’t cheap, you probably won’t need to buy much if you or your family has lived in a small town for years. These items are usually passed down from generation to generation.
Even if you’re not originally from a small town, friendly locals might share their equipment with you. Avid hunters and fishers love introducing their hobby to new people.
7. Go Hiking
One of the benefits of a small town is that there can be a lot of open space not too far away. Sometimes, it can be a ton of fun to pack a bag and head outside of town. If you have kids, hiking can be a chance to spend some time together, while you teach them how much fun it can be to explore!
8. Go Garage Sale-ing
Attending garage sales is almost like a sport in small towns. It’s a good way to take up an entire Saturday during peak garage-sale season. They are also a great way to find inexpensive holiday gifts for family and friends. If you find that you’ve collected too many treasures from other people’s garage sales over the years, you could even try hosting your own.
Start For Free
9. Join Committees and Boards
Every big community event or organization has a committee or board of some kind. Whether you are interested in technology, planning, or just getting to know more people around town, these organizations can be a great way to get involved and make a difference in the community. But if you’re looking for something to do, don’t say so too loudly, or you might end up serving on all of them!
10. Support Your Community
There are always fundraisers going on for one group or another. Pancake breakfasts, hog roasts, and soup suppers could conceivably fill every weekend of your social calendar for the entire year. Community support is a hallmark of small-town life.
11. Become a Dog Walker
Being in a small town can be a lot of fun if you have a dog to run around with. Taking the dog for walks in the neighborhood can give you an opportunity to stay in shape, have some fun, and even meet some new people and pets in town.
The problem is dogs are expensive. That’s why taking on a side hustle as a dog walker can be a great idea in a small town and is an excellent way to turn a costly activity into a paying one.
12. Start a Garden
Though there is not much space for gardening in the city, a small town offers a lot of extra room to start your own vegetable patch. Even a small garden can be a fun (and cost-effective) way to spend some time. It can also help you fill up your fridge with fresh carrots, peppers, strawberries, and anything else you could want, all while saving money on food!
13. Learn to Cook
Now that you have a garden, it would be great to do something with all those extra fruits and vegetables you have. Learning to cook can give you a skill that will help you save money and will satisfy your taste buds for years to come! To get started, just check out websites like Yummly and The Food Network, or try apps like BBC Good Food and Tasty.
In the big city, all the light in the air means that the night sky is usually dark, cloudy, and empty. A plus of small-town living is actually having the chance to see the stars! Some evening, why not try to spend some time with friends as you gaze up at the night sky? Like with hiking, kids can enjoy the experience too, as you teach them all about the constellations — providing you know what you’re talking about!
15. Relish the Peace and Quiet
Although you may sometimes find yourself bored or frustrated with the lack of things to do in a small town, the sheer serenity you’ll find there more than makes up for it. And it costs nothing, either!
The Bottom Line:
There are many ways to pass time in small towns, and they don’t all have to break the bank! These cheap and creative solutions can be a great way to enjoy yourself just as much as you would in the big city. They may not seem as grand, but they can be just as fun!
Additional reporting by Lauren Shayo.