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Free or low-cost ideas for a staycation

Karen Morales
Free or low-cost ideas for a staycation
Biking is a budget-friendly activity for a staycation. Photo: Chris Benson/

For those who find themselves with time off work but don’t have a budget to plan an elaborate vacation, they can alternatively take a staycation.

A staycation is when you spend your vacation at home, taking advantage of your immediate surroundings, as opposed to booking a flight out of state or out of the country. It’s a chance to deviate and escape from the usual routine at a much more budget-friendly cost. With Boston’s lively summer scene, there are no shortage of free options for fun.

Hop on a bike

Explore new corners of the city on bike or go for a leisurely ride down the Charles River at sunset. If you don’t own your own bike, they are available to rent through Boston’s public bike share system, Blue Bikes. It costs $2.50 for a single trip, and $10 for unlimited access to two-hour trips in a 24-hour period.

For more information about Boston’s Blue Bikes, visit: or

Go on a nature walk

Seek out an urban oasis like the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. There are walking trails to enjoy the lush trees and diverse plant life, as well pond views and tranquil gardens. There are also guided tours, talks and workshops on specific calendar days.

Arnold Arboretum:

Take a beach day

Living in a coastal city provides the opportunity for a day in the sun and sand. There are no shortage of beaches as close as Carson Beach or as far as the Cape.

Have a picnic at the Public Garden

Invite friends or loved ones for a picnic in the city’s beloved Public Garden. A homemade lunch on the grass surrounded by ducks and weeping willows is a lot more peaceful and economical than a crowded restaurant.

Check out museums on free-entry days

Museums such as the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts are open to the public for free every Thursday and Wednesday evenings, respectively. With a revolving door of new and exciting exhibits each season, visitors can discover something new each time they go.

ICA Boston:

MFA Boston:

Find a free class

From yoga classes to salsa dancing, there’s a good chance someone is offering it for free. It’s a non-committal way to try something new and out of the ordinary. Search for free classes on social media or your local news source.

Go to a local festival or parade

During holidays or cultural observances, there is always a free parade or festival to go along with it with food, music and entertainment. For example, Fourth of July firework displays or the annual Caribbean Carnival event are widely loved by Bostonians.

For more information about the Fourth of July in Boston, visit:

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