Summer Fun on a Bargain

summer fun, affordable activities for families

Affordable, Creative—& Local—Activities for Families

The early days of summer hold such promise and excitement—and plenty of grand schemes to do “new and fun” family activities. But it doesn’t take long for everyday life to set in and repeated “I’m so bored” choruses echo through your home.

Have no fear—here’s a variety of activities that are sure to give even the most stubborn child a new adventure. Bonus: these are local and won’t break the bank either.


Venue Cinema
If you haven’t been following Venue Cinema’s Facebook page, go “Like” them now. Not only do they feature recent movies at a discounted rate (think $2.25 for a matinee), they are also offering a Kids Summer Film Fest with $1 tickets to popular flicks. More info at

Riverfront Park Concert Series
This summer marks the first season of what will hopefully become a new tradition in the Hill City: live concerts downtown. From June through September, you can catch a variety of musical acts at these monthly concerts with the first one (June 10) being free. With the remaining three shows only $10 a ticket, we can think of worse ways to invest in some cultural experiences. More info at

Movies in the Park
Lynchburg Parks and Rec has returned with this popular event series—this time spanning two city parks. Read more on page 48.

First Fridays
If you haven’t experienced this community event yet, then you’re missing out. Another free option that’s held on the “First Friday” of every month, you can enjoy complimentary trolley rides (a huge thrill for young kids) and hop off and on at will to explore new art exhibits, shops and eateries all around the Downtown district. More info at

Lynchburg Hillcats
The Hill City’s beloved team has a new look this year—and lower ticket prices too. Bleacher tickets start at just $6. Or for $17, you can sign up your child for Southpaw’s Kids Club to guarantee their free admission to all 70 home games. (There are also perks such as getting to run the bases and autograph sessions with players.) More info at

Water Fun

Smith Mountain Lake
Visit Smith Mountain Lake. Enjoy the beachfront at the state park where you can bring lunch or purchase food on site, or even find a family to split the cost of a rental boat; pontoons are a great option for a relaxing and slow afternoon of floating, swimming and soaking in some rays. More info at

Splash Pads
You can find a small, toddler-friendly splash pad bordering one end of Riverfront Park along Jefferson Street, or, for the more adventurous and older kids, check out the much larger and more exciting splash park at Riverside Park. More info at

Miller Park Pool
As the only public outdoor pool in Lynchburg, this may be one of our best-kept secrets. Open weekdays and weekends from May 29 to August 14, it features an Olympic size pool complete with a twisting water slide plus a separate wading pool for young kids. At only $2-$3 daily per person —or $120 for a seasonal family pass—and the option to sign up for swim lessons, you’ll find us poolside more often than not. More info at

Outdoor Exploration

LU Monogram / SnowFlex
For older kids and those more adventurous, spend a summer evening catching an amazing sunset from the top of the monogram (Have some extra energy? See who can climb up to the top first!). Then, head over to SnowFlex where you can “hit the slopes” under the lights. More info at

Blackwater Creek Trails
Another treasure hidden in the middle of Lynchburg is our trail system, which intersects all throughout the heart of the city. More info at

Community Involvement

Civil Service Tours
Give your kids the chance to interact with some of the our community’s best civil servants and sign up for a tour at a neighborhood fire station; for those a bit older, attend a city council meeting or go a step further and schedule a meeting with your local representative. More info at

Lynchburg Humane Society
Let’s not forget some of our favorite furry friends; our community has a wonderful humane society where you can play and interact with the animals in their community and themed rooms. You may even find one (or two) to take home! More info at


One of the most impactful things you can do as a parent is model the importance of giving back. Read about more ideas on page 12.

History and Education

Point of Honor
What was life like for those in the early 1800s? Find out with a visit to Point of Honor, the restored home of Dr. Cabell, where you’ll see firsthand what they would eat, how they entertained and what daily life consisted of. At the end of the tour, you’ll also appreciate the focus on medical practice during that time where a skeleton is displayed! Bonus: take advantage of the gorgeous river and city views to snap some family photos. More info at

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill
Virginia’s first governor and one of America’s founding fathers lived a surprisingly modest life on his idyllic family spread just south of today’s Brookneal. Take a day to travel back in time where you’ll learn about this remarkable man and even step inside his office where he practiced law and worked on his writing. Bonus: be sure to visit on July 4 when they throw a huge celebratory festival! More info at

Amazement Square
On Thursdays only from June to August, this downtown gem lowers admission prices to $5. Read more about the educational fun at Amazement Square on page 11.

By Jennifer Redmond