Going to a state park may or may not be free. Most people don't live in walking distance, so may need to spend gas AKA money. Not all states have free state parks, either. I think the only state we've camped in with state parks that did not charge an entrance fee were in Missouri. Otherwise, we've had to buy an annual pass or pay a day use fee. I'd have to ask the accountant to double check if any others were free but I know the majority we've been to were not.
Camping requires some kind of gear, even in the back yard, depending on what you want to use. But simple gear can often be picked up very cheap at yard sales and of course used over and over again if it's cared for.
Craft supplies cost money, at least sometimes. But I get the point. Sometimes crafts can be done with found objects and recycled stuff.
I don't know about no-spend days. I've always felt most things require money somewhere along the line. But I think the list in its entirety is pretty good for suggestions of low cost activities and some freebies, too.
The state parks here charge $10 a day per vehicle or $30 for an annual pass. It couldn't be considered no spend for a family. I have a disabled pass so it is free for me. I go often to try and keep my dogs socialized.
The best take-away for me was her suggestion to stay out of the stores. I try to make few trips to the store and TRY to get everything I need when I go. I never stock up for a no-spend. I do make monthly trips to Costco so I usually have staples on hand.
Thanks for sharing the list. I am always looking for new ideas.
That's my other issue with no-spend challenges. It doesn't make sense to me not to buy something if it's needed. If I don't buy gas on Wednesday just because I decided for no particular reason it's a no spend day, I just have to buy it some other day. I haven't gained anything by buying a needed item some other day. Simply delaying something I'm going to buy anyway isn't saving me any money. However, I do recognize it's more about being mindful of spending than actually not spending, and I'm totally in favor of mindful spending even though I don't always practice that.
I think our state parks charge about the same as yours. They've gone up lately. We have great parks and lots of them, more than 80, and a state park pass here is a huge bargain if we go a lot.
I had to double check, but our state parks and historic sites are free (paid by tax dollars). There are fees for camping overnight or using pavillions. But even if your state park costs money, there are local and city parks where you can walk or bike for free.
I think the point of a no-spend day is to find other options. Maybe you can't put off buying gas, or medication, or paying utility bills, but you can find a substitute for that recipe, or something interesting to do if you apply yourself.
IIRC, you're in MO. I remember the first time we camped there. We came in after hours and searched and searched for info about how to pay the entrance fees. We couldn't believe it when the ranger told us the next morning there were none. It was a nice surprise and a beautiful park.
Our parks are supported by tax dollars, too, but supplemented by user fees. Pavilions are free to use unless you reserve them. Lots of programs are available and lots of those are free. I used to give Dutch oven demos free at ours.
Wisconsin doesn't charge for their pavilions either, unless you reserve. We like WI parks but not their short camping season or the fact their passes.re only good in the calendar year they're issued in.
Wyoming state parks are completely supported by the fees each park takes in. Consequently, the most popular parks have more amenities because they bring in more money.
South Dakota parks are owned by the state as I understand it, but are staffed and run by concessionaires. Custer SP should be a national park.
Oklahoma uses inmates to do maintenance in their SPs. They also had the weirdest payment system of any state we've camped in.
Arkansas lets people keep any diamonds they find at Crater of Diamonds SP, the only mine in the world that allows that. Too bad we didn't find any.
It's always part of our voyage of discovery to find out how each state runs their parks. Every state seems to use a different system.
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