50 Summer Fun Activities In Chattanooga


SUMMER is officially HERE! I’m sure by now you have heard the dreaded phrase, “I’m borreeeed” a million times or the question, “Can we get out of this house PLEASE?” As parents, we know how quickly expenses can add up when we take our kids to fun places! Thankfully, there are a lot of fun and beautiful places in and around Chattanooga where you can go for some cheap and affordable fun! 

What if there were ways to give your child a summer filled with FREE activities? Check out my top tips and tricks, along with everyday activities to banish boredom, and free or really cheap activities for some Chattanooga family fun. Take a look at the 50 summer activity list below to get some fun ideas!

50 Summer Fun Activities In Chattanooga
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Family Outings:

  1. Go to the lake at Chester Frost — there’s sand, water, and a playground!
  2. Go camping. Here are some great spots near Chattanooga!
  3. $1 summer movies at Regal Cinemas! Please check out the theater’s website this summer for more information about ticket prices, promotions, and new regulations.
  4. Walk downtown Chattanooga to check out the scenery and end up at Coolidge Park with an ice cream from Clumpies or gelato from Milk & Honey!
  5. Creative Discovery Museum Family Night (every 2nd Thursday night from 5:30-8pm is FREE).
  6. Go on a family friendly hike (e.g. Soddy Gulf, Volkswagen Trails)
  7. Play at the library (they have tons of fun toys, crafts, electronics, and books!) and check out their upcoming events for toddlers, kids, teens, and even adults. Be sure to check out the Chattanooga Public Library’s Facebook page for online classes.
  8. Grab an ice cream cone and visit your local park or playground!
  9. Explore the Hunter Art Museum on its free day (1st Thursday of every month from 4pm-8pm).
  10. Tour a farm like Crabtree Farms (an urban farm) or Lorenzen Farm, where you can pick strawberries during the summer months, and learn about where your food comes from.
  11. Give each child $1 and visit the Dollar Tree.
  12. Visit a thrift store to find hidden treasures or even show your kids how to donate items.
  13. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo. Recently, the zoo has added a playground, and just last week, the giraffes arrived!
  14. Ride bikes or scooters on a trail like the Riverwalk. There are lots of break points along the way and gorgeous views of the city!
  15. Neighborhood block party — invite neighbors over to your backyard and enjoy a neighborhood potluck. You can turn up some music and inform your neighbors to bring a lawn chair! You don’t really need much else, but you can always add simple party games (kickball, corn hole toss, charades, etc.).
  16. Make a picnic. Have your kids help you pack sandwiches and simple sides. You can enjoy a picnic in your living room, yard, or a local park!
  17. Have a family game night (board game or video game)! Check out this recent post about board-dom busting games for kids.
  18. Get cooled off at the splash pad at Warner Park Pool. Cost is $3 per person or $5 per family on Mondays from 5pm-8:30pm. There’s a splash pad, pool, and an obstacle course in the pool!
  19. Visit a local swimming hole or pool.
  20. Plant a garden. If you have good soil, then all you really need are some seeds (packets or use seeds from leftover veggies or fruit) and add a good fertilizer.
  21. Go fishing on June 6th (free day, no license needed). Your child (15 and younger) can continue to fish without a license from June 8th-16th, however, adults can only fish without a license on June 8th.
  22. Family “field day!” Spend the day outside filled with bubbles, squirt guns, playing ball, and a picnic!
  23. Farm Play Days at Hidden Hills farm are filled with horse rides, petting farm animals, and learning how a farm works! Farm play days are on the 2nd Friday and 4th Thursday of each month from 10:30am – 12:30pm. Cost is $10 for the first child, $5 for each additional sibling.
  24. Play a sport together like tag football, Frisbee, or t-ball.
  25. Splash around in the fountains in front of the Tennessee Aquarium.
  26. Take a drive to Athens, TN to tour Mayfield’s Dairy Farms and see how their products are made, including their delicious ice cream! At the end of the tour, you get your own scoop of ice cream to enjoy.
  27. Go bowling — kids bowl for free (sign up here) during the summer at Splitz Alley.
  28. Attend a DIY Workshop at Home Depot. Learn more here and register with your local store.
  29. Travel to Dunlap, TN to splash around at Harris Park (a park that includes a pretty nifty splash pad) before grabbing lunch at the Cookie Jar Cafe, which is known for their superb country cookin’ and mouth-watering pies. The Cookie Jar Cafe is the perfect stop with kids because the restaurant has a petting zoo for the customers to enjoy.
  30. Explore Dayton, TN! Dayton is filled with beautiful parks, hiking trails, and fun restaurants like Cookies & Cream ice cream shop (complete with a kids’ toy room and coffee for parents), the highly rated sandwich and ice cream shop, The Rustic Lunch Pail, Master Donuts, or even a local pizza joint that offers pizza, books, and treats, 1st Avenue.

Kid Activities:

  1. Write a story or a play!
  2. Make slime.
  3. Rearrange their bedroom.
  4. Play charades.
  5. Nature walk/hunt.
  6. Make a treasure hunt (inside or out). You or your child can hide small goodies around the house for them or their siblings to find.
  7. Build an outside fort.
  8. Study bugs or plants found outside! Your kids could take notes or pictures and then research more about them at the library or online.
  9. Play hopscotch with sidewalk chalk.
  10. Teach your child how to cook a meal together or bake a new treat together. Or try these kid friendly “cooking” recipes.
  11. Have an old camera? Let your child photograph what he sees as he goes on a nature walk or plays outside.
  12. Create your own water table with buckets of different sizes and bath toys or small containers.
  13. Make a memory book or a scrapbook from the past school year.
  14. Set out a puzzle. Your child or whole family can work on this while eating snacks.
  15. Create a homemade piñata (all you need is a balloon, flour, water, and newspaper!). If you don’t want to add just candy, you can put snacks like wrapped granola bars or small boxes of raisins.
  16. Art project; search Pinterest for a million +1 ideas! Or just set your child up with the basics. If your child needs ideas, she could create a card for a neighbor, grandparent, or make artwork for her room.
  17. Wash the car (if you have a toddler, they’ll love the bubbles).
  18. Draw a cartoon or comic.
  19. Paint the fridge or fence (just use water!).
  20. Attend Vacation Bible School (VBS). Check out this list of local VBS.
  21. Join a summer book club or create your own!
  22. Stretch it out with Cosmic Kids Yoga! Your kids’ favorite character is sure to be on this fun channel.
  23. Create homemade play dough.
  24. Make a reading tent.
  25. Invest in activity books (word search, puzzles, mazes, stickers, drawing pages). These can be found anywhere because everyone loves them!
  26. Let your child volunteer in his local community or brainstorm a way he can help others (collect canned goods, send cards to shut-ins, donate toys or clothes, etc.)

Top Tips For a Smooth Summer:

  • Set a schedule. Okay, it’s summer, but kids thrive on routine! So feel free to set a loose schedule that your child can understand and even write it down for them, if that helps! You can include mealtimes, what chores to complete that day, reading time, screen time allowance, or whatever else may be helpful to remind your child.
    • Note: An individualized and visual schedule helps kids know what is expected of them. Also, let your child help make the plan. This will allow your child to learn personal responsibility and what to expect for the day (e.g. do the dishes, feed the dog, park play-day when he completes his chore for four days in a row).
  • Rotate Toys. Separate toys into containers. Give your child one container per day. Every day or every few days, give your child a new container.
  • Special Family Time. Set aside a day/night for a special family time each week, like a home movie night with popcorn or a board game night after dinner. These nights will truly be the memories your child remembers for a lifetime.
  • Make a “Bored Jar. When your child feels bored, they can pull out a fun idea from the jar like a play with [ThatAwesomeChristmasGiftTheyForgotAbout], a fun game, or even an exercise! 

Do you have any free or fun ideas to share with us? What do you plan on doing this summer with your kids? Be sure to share your summer pictures with us on Instagram @chattmoms!

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Shannon Hartin
Shannon is a social worker (MSW), a writer, and aspiring to be a front-end web developer. As a new mom pursuing her goal, Shannon hopes to encourage other moms and women to learn how to code. When she's not chasing her toddler, you can find her watching The Office with her husband for the billionth time, tackling a home project, or striving to be a strong and healthier mama. Follow along as she hopes her experiences can help make your life seem a little less crazy or at least a little more normal.


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