Guide to free family activities this summer

We’re now a few weeks into the summer of 2019, but it can feel like months to the moms, dads, and other caregivers who are home with their kids this summer looking to find ways to keep their kids entertained.

While a week or two of summer camp and a family getaway can help with the monotony, many families will still struggle to fill the rest of the time without going berserk or spending a ton of money. We’ve compiled a list of free (or nearly free) activities that will keep your kids entertained — and you’ll still be able to afford to feed them once you’re done.

Going to the park every day can get tedious to even the most patient parent. Even with over 200 parks, nine of them including a splash pad (plus one wading pool) summers in the park can lose their lustre after a few weeks. Although you can maybe change your park routine by finding a great picnic spot!

There are plenty of places in the area for a hike right in the city: The K&P Trail and the Rideau Trail to start, plus Lemoine Point and Little Cataraqui Creek under the umbrella of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Area. The Rideau Waterway Land Trust has a couple of great options, too.

Taking the Wolfe Island Ferry can be a great way to kill a couple of hours. It’s free to walk on, and although Marysville is pretty small, there are a couple of places to grab a quick treat, and there are some playgrounds within easy walking distance of the ferry.

Downtown Kingston has a few ongoing free activities during the summer, including Movies in the Square and five different live music series. You can also take a free tour of city hall!

History buffs can check out the Penitentiary Museum. It’s also free, but donations are encouraged. On the history theme, Sir John A Macdonald’s gravesite is in Cataraqui Cemetery, which in itself is a beautiful place to go on a quiet, tranquil walk. Free tours are available here as well, again with donations accepted when possible. 

If a summer stroll in a cemetery is not your thing, there are also free tours available at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Military Communications and Electronics Museum, and the Miller Museum of Geology.  If you’re up for a drive, the Jones Falls lock near Elgin has a blacksmith’s shop, a lockmaster’s house and more to take a wander through.

There is all this to do, without even mentioning Breakwater Park and other swimming holes, and more in Kingston in the summer with kids of all ages. Let us know here or on social media how you’re entertaining your kids for free (or cheap!) this summer!

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