Cheap things to do this summer

So you’re cheap. Nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a proud Yankee tradition that Granite Staters have developed into a fine art. In fact, fine art can even be found on your cheap list.

No need to battle the traffic or spend $50 to park at Fenway, never mind the cost of the game, food and beer. See the stars of the future – for cheap – at a Fisher Cats game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. Photo by Wendy Wood.

Manchester’s world-class Currier Museum of Art is free to NH residents on Saturdays from 10 a.m.- noon. Museums in general tend to be bargains. A few that we recommend are the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, New Hampshire Farm Museum in Wilton, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth in Hanover and the Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center in Peterborough. See our guide to museums for more.

Catch potential future major leaguers for only $6-$12 at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, home of the Toronto Blue Jay’s AA team the Fisher Cats. Keep your eye out for days they play the Red Sox’s farm team, the Portland Sea Dogs.

But it’s summer and you really want to get away from the town centers and explore the wilds. Fortunately, hiking in the Great North Woods or White Mountains may only cost you parking fees, though you might want to invest in some good shoes and a couple of layers in case we get a mid-summer cold snap (they happen).

No need to spend big bucks to fly to another country to hike a famous mountain. Right here in NH you can ascend Mount Monadnock, which has been designated a National Natural Landmark. This gorgeous spot once inspired the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and continues to be a magnet for hikers and is said to be the third most-climbed mountain the world after Japan's Mount Fuji and China's Mount Tai.

If a day in the woods leaves you hot and sweaty, you can probably cool off for free at one of the state’s many official (and secret — shhh) swimming holes such as Sawyer Rock on Sawyer Brook or Diana’s Bath in North Conway.

Summer is filled with inexpensive food fests such as the Rock’n Ribfest at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Merrimack from June 16-18, Annual WOKQ Chowder Festival on June 3 in Portsmouth, Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest at Pats Peak in Henniker on August 20 and many more.

As movie ticket prices continue to climb, catch a free outdoor flick on Tuesdays at Settlers' Green Outlet Village (July -August), Mondays at Hampton Beach (July -August) and during the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth. The Milford Drive-in isn't free, but it sure is a bargain at just $27 per car load for up to six people (that's just about $4 per person).

Pick your own fruit at many New Hampshire farms and enjoy the best of summer's bounty for a low price. Find blueberries and strawberries at the excellent Lull Farm (locations in Milford and Hollis). Brookdale Fruit Farm, also in Hollis, is a berry lover's dream with pick-your-own strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries. With 1,300 bushes on the 12-acre farm, you're sure to find your fill of blueberries at Blueberry Bay Farm in Stratham. Click here for a directory of pick-your-own farms that also includes orchards for the fall.

All you need is gas money to take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway (or "The Kanc" as it's known to locals), a 34.5 scenic mile drive along NH's Rt. 112 in Northern New Hampshire. It's famous for leaf peeping in the fall, but this designated American Scenic Byway offers plenty to see in the summer as it winds through White Mountain National Forest with breathtaking views of the White Mountains, the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge.

Categories: Summer Planner