Here are several easy and practical ways to find cheap or free things to do while RVing…
Traveling by RV can be costly, so any opportunity to save money is a good opportunity to take! You can save a substantial amount of money by finding cheap or free things to do in any place you take your RV.
Thankfully, it’s easier than you think. There are several “go-to” activities and strategies that will help you tighten your purse strings.
Let’s go ahead and jump right in! The sooner you learn, the sooner you can save money!
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How to Find Cheap or Free Things To Do While RVing
Just think, every dollar you save is a dollar you can put towards your next road trip! Granted, you still want to enjoy your current trip to the fullest.
But, thankfully, most free activities are actually worth good money! So, here are ways you can find cheap or free things to do on your next RV road trip.
1. Go Straight to the Visitor Center
Jennifer and I are BIG FANS of visitor centers. They are packed with useful information, including brochures and self-guided tour maps.
Plus, there is always a helpful docent itching to tell you about their local knowledge and wisdom. If anyone is going to know about the best free and cheap things to do, it’s the visitor center staff.
2. Visit City, County & Federally-Run Museums
We are so incredibly lucky to live in a country that takes great pride in making history and knowledge available to the public. The United States is packed with FREE museums that are run on the city, county, or federal level.
The Smithsonian Institute is the best example, with incredible museums, galleries, and zoo. While it is surely the grandest, it is by no means the only one.
Most cities and even little towns have some sort of public museum you can enjoy for free. Many do ask for a donation, but in most cases, you’re more than happy to give it!
3. Use Reciprocal Memberships
If you don’t know what reciprocal memberships are, you’re not alone. It was a while into my RV lifestyle before I learned about them. Boy, do I wish I had known about them sooner!
A reciprocal membership enables you to use one membership at multiple places in a city, state, or even across the country. For instance, becoming a member of one zoo may give you free or discounted entry to many affiliate zoos.
Three great examples of reciprocal memberships for travelers are:
- Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
- Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
- North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM)
4. Google “Free Things to Do in ______”
Fill in the blank with your destination, and Google will take care of the rest. You’ll get plenty of lists for you to explore.
Another great search resource is Tripadvisor. Users rank the best things to do in any place, which you can easily skim through. You can download the Tripadvisor app on Google Play or in the Apple Store.
5. Check for Local Factory Tours
Local business or factory tours provide not only a unique experience but also a great way to connect with a local community. It gives you real insight into the area and often a glimpse into the local history.
Many of these tours are free with the unspoken expectation of you making a purchase. For instance, many local breweries offer a free tour and end it with a sales pitch to buy their best brews.
If not free, the best factory tours are usually cheap. In many cases, you can take the tour for less than $10 each. In those cases, it’s nice if you buy something but not expected.
6. Find Free Walking Tours
Many cities across the U.S. have guided or self-guided walking tours for free or cheap. You can simply google “walking tours in ____” and fill in the blank with your destination.
There are also a few apps and websites dedicated to walking tours. A popular one for U.S. destinations is GPSMyCity. It has thousands of self-guided walking tours, many of which are created by users.
7. Visit the Local Historical Society Website
Most cities, big or small, have some kind of historical society. If you visit their website, you’ll often find visitor guides to historical sites in the area.
In many cases, you can visit these historical sites for free, a donation, or a small entry fee.
Simply google your destination with “historical society” and see what pops up in search results.
I hope these tips for finding cheap or free things to do while RVing has helped. I have one more recommendation for you…
Bonus Tip: Use an RV Adventure Guide
This may seem self-serving since Jennifer and I author these guides, but they truly are an excellent resource for RVers. We pride ourselves on planning these itineraries so as many RVers can enjoy them as possible, which includes highlighting cheap and free things to do while RVing!
Having a tried-and-true itinerary can save you from wasting time and throwing money at something, anything to do.
We have an entire library of RV Adventure Guides that we have carefully crafted for a dozen locations.
- Florida’s Atlantic Coast
- Florida’s Gulf Coast
- Florida Keys
- Great Lakes Shoreline
- Natchez Trace
- Southern Utah
- Upper Peninsula
- Lower Peninsula
Or, for the best deals, you can buy a bundle:
- Ultimate Michigan & Great Lakes Bundle
- The Great Lakes & Upper Peninsula Bundle
- Florida Adventure Guide Bundle
- Southwest Adventure Guide Bundle
- First 10 Adventure Guide Bundle
If you're looking for ways to save while RVing, in general, I also recommend our Boondocking and Free RV Camping bundle.
So, at the risk of sounding self-serving, I hope you will check out some of the guides. If you've followed RV Lifestyle for any amount of time, you know we strive to provide only the best recommendations.
It just so happens that those recommendations include our Ebooks this time around 🙂
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