Free and Frugal Fun at the Beach

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices.

You know your family needs a vacation, but you are trying to hit the beach on a budget. You know from past experience that if you let it, the activities and stores at the beach can drain your wallet dry in no time at all. So, now, you’re on the hunt for inexpensive things to do at the beach; beach activities that will keep the family entertained but won’t break the bank in the process.

What are some of these free and inexpensive things to do at the beach? Check out the following list for some advice.

Hunt for shark’s teeth

I’ve personally never had luck finding anything here, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. I know they’re out there, and someday I’m going to find them (hopefully, not in my leg).

Look for ghost crabs at night.

This is an absolute blast. If you can grab a flashlight and head on out to the beach after nightfall, you can often find these little guys skittering around in the sand. Kids love to chase these things, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them try to catch them.

Play board games with your friends

This is a given. Even if you didn’t bring any games with you, pretty much every beach house/condo or Air BnB out there will have some type of game present. Just play what you find in the place.

Hang out on the boardwalk

Walking the boardwalk is fun even if you don’t have any money to spend there. Just being out and seeing what’s happening is entertainment. Oftentimes, you can find live music while you’re out there as well, and it won’t cost you anything to listen.

Catch up on your reading

inexpensive things to do at the beachGrab a book and place your butt firmly in the sand. You’re all set.

Go running

Apparently, half the country thinks this is a good idea as well when you’re at the beach because it always looks like a 5K is taking place every morning. Wake up before the sun has turned vehement and go for a run down the coast.

It’s not only good for you but is probably one of the most enjoyable places to run as well.

Bodyboard in the surf

Walk into any beach store out there, and you can easily find a body board for $15. They’re fairly cheap, last forever, and provide hours of entertainment for everyone.

Search the tide pools

You have to be at the right beach to find these, but tide pools are an absolute blast to search through during low tide. You can often find fish, crabs, seashells, and other fun discoveries.

Look for sea glass

inexpensive things to do at the beach

Boats attract beer like blood attracts sharks. One way or another, these beer bottles find their way into the ocean, where they crumble up and are ground down into smooth pieces of glass by the sand. If you walk along the edge of the surf, you can often find these little glistening pieces of glass lying atop a mass of shells.

They’re a lot of fun to look for and look pretty cool when collected in a mason jar in your house.

Photograph the birds

Of all the birds in the world, I believe that sea birds are some of the most entertaining to watch. Gulls have zero morals whatsoever, and watching them antagonize some poor toddler with an ice cream cone is comedic gold.

The same goes for watching sandpipers run along the beach. The rapid movement of their skinny little legs is hilarious. Grab your camera and try to capture some of this wildlife (maybe not the antagonizing part). It’s free, the birds are everywhere, and you can capture some great shots.

Go fishing in the surf.

inexpensive things to do at the beachSkate (a stingray-looking guy), porcupine fish, sharks, and a host of other fish can easily be caught just from tossing a line in off the beach. As long as you have a fishing pole, a license, and a little bit of bait, you’re set for hours. Seeing what you can pull up is part of the fun.

See what you can pick up in a cast net.

You can easily pick up a cast net at your local Walmart or bait shop for around $25. Kids love tossing these into the surf to see what kind of little critters they can pull in. Typically, they’ll end up with a bunch of minnow-sized fish, but they’ll enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the rare crab or larger fish with these as well.

Go crab fishing with a chicken neck.

A license, a string, and a chicken neck from the grocery store. That’s all you need. Head on down to where the calmer water lay, and plop in your string. Then, all you have to do is pull up the string every couple of minutes.

If a crab has found your bait, it’ll hang on until you can grab him and put him in a bucket for lunch.

There’s a lot to do out there. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. 

What are your thoughts on our list? Are there other fun activities you do at the beach that don’t cost a lot of money? Let us know what you’ve discovered in the comments below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Free and Frugal Fun at the Beach
Aden Tate

Aden Tate

About the Author Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,,,, and Along with being a freelance writer he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

4 thoughts on “Free and Frugal Fun at the Beach”

  1. The only money we ever spent at the beach was for seagull food (bread). I absolutely love the beach and miss it dreadfully. We’re 350 miles from the Gulf coast and a few days there isn’t cheap (my Motel 6 days are over; especially in a beach town).

  2. I’ve never understood the lure of the beach. IMHO, marketing makes people think they are “missing out” because they are not at the beach. Reading, running, bird watching can be done anywhere, anytime (though I admit I see the least amount of birds on sub-zero temp days in the winter). FOMO – fear of missing out – is a major contributor to financial insecurity/problems, especially in the US.

    1. Well, as a grown normal man, I love to see the Venezuelan beauties in their bath suits, LOL.
      We are far away the beach, too. Beach is good for kids to grow healthy, according to our doctors. I’m sure my immune system is stronger thanks to that.

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