Affordable summer fun in Utah

Hello to all my new friends who saw me on Studio 5 yesterday! I was thrilled when they asked me to do a segment on how to have affordable, cheap, or free summer fun in Utah! What a perfect way to kick off June as Focus on Summer month, eh? Today I'm sharing how to find cheap and free summer activities to take advantage of, and how to even make those expensive (but oh so fun!) activities much more affordable.

Not from Utah? We love you too! Whether you live in Utah or not many of the principles and tips can be used to find affordable, cheap, and free activities in your own area as well.

Watch the TV segment online or click and watch below:

Pssst…information on my outfit at the bottom of this post!

So, without further adieu, I introduce to you:

Affordable, Cheap, and Free Summer Fun

Here are some great ways to have fun with your family this summer:


There are a few fabulous, and pricey, attractions in Utah that everyone knows and loves. But sometimes the expensive adventures are hard to take advantage of because of the steep price-tag! Here are my top 3 recommendations for Utah and how to make it MORE AFFORDABLE for your family.

How to get Lagoon discounts

1. Lagoon

Aaah Lagoon. Who doesn't know and love it? It's a pretty amazing amusement park for little ol' Utah if you ask me. But the price tag! Oh the price tag! One day pass is $47.95 plus tax and it hurts my soul. But have no fear, here are some tricky ways to make it more affordable for your family:

  • Bring a coke can and save $7 on a regular day-pass if purchased before noon. One can is valid for up to 6 people. Not valid on Saturdays (info HERE)
  • Sign up for the “Fun Time Club” email list. They send out special offers & discounts to their email list, like this Memorial Day coupon from a while back.
  • Discount coupons at Deseret Book. Lagoon coupons are linked to specific products within their catalog. For every product you buy you get a discount coupon, whether you buy online or in the store. The coupon is for a day pass price of $38.95, savings of $9. The eligible items can be found in the store and in their online catalog.
  • Discounted passes at Costco. Costco is a great place to buy passes to anything from ski resorts to Disneyland and, yes, Lagoon! You can currently get Lagoon day Passes for $39.99 (vs $47.95)
  • Bounce-back passes. The last time we went to Lagoon we got bounce-back passes which allowed us to return to Lagoon (within a certain window of dates) for a discount. So be sure to ask them at the ticket counter and/or check the back of your tickets if you don't hear anything about it at the park.
  • Buy a season passport. If you buy BEFORE JUNE 8 you get a season passport for just $96.95 (for 4 or more passports in one transaction). You only have to go 2x to make it worth the cost! After June 8 it goes up to $107 which is still a better value if you plan to visit multiple times this summer.
How to get Cowabunga Bay discounts

2. Cowabunga bay

If you remember my ravings last year, I have always been a fan of Cowabunga Bay. If you live in Utah you probably know you can get a 7 Peaks Pass for dirt cheap. TOO cheap if you ask me…7 Peaks is so crowded now it's a nightmare to go! Cowabunga Bay is my little oasis in the summer. It's right off the freeway in Draper (which happens to be 10 minutes from my house) and has a fabulous kid area. Again, it can be super pricey if you don't know the tricks:
  • Kids 2 and under are free. So if you have young kids it's perfect (see HERE for how little-kid friendly it is).
  • Pay for the time you need. You can buy just a 4-hour pass for as low as $12.95, just over $3/hr. This is an affordable option for those who can't or don't want to commit to a full day.
  • If you go after 5:00pm it’s as low as $9.95. It closes at 7 most nights so you're paying closer to $5/hr, but it's still nice if, again, you want to swim without committing to a full day.
  • Buy a daily-deal deal! Cowabunga Bay is going CRAZY on daily deal sites right now! On Groupon you can get a season pass for $64.99 instead of $109.99 price. On KSL deals you can get 4 all-day passes + pizza and drinks for $59.99 ($15 per person), which is 52% off.

Cowabunga Bay discounts

Cowabunga Bay discounts

  • Keep your eyes peeled. I just got an email from my local gym that THEY are offering discounted Cowabunga Bay tickets to members! Call Cowabunga Bay and ask them what offers they have out and I bet they'd be able to point you in the right direction.

Cowabunga Bay discount

  • Buy a season pass. Again, if you plan to visit more than a few times this summer, a season pass will save you money. Their passes are pretty creative too – their flex pass is transferable between two adults. So our family friend split that pass with my husband, since he can only go with us on the weekends. So our friend bought passes for her kids, split the flex pass with Bubba, and saved money that way. Their plus pass (included in the Groupon deal above) allows you to bring in one friend each time you come. I bought a discounted plus pass for my son this year (see how below). His name will be on the pass and I will have myself be his guest each time I go, but if he wants to go to Cowabunga Bay with a friend or with my husband for a father-son outing, his pass will work to get whoever he's with in for free!
  • Buy off-season. I bought a plus pass for my son in March, when it was only $149. Get on email lists and keep your eyes peeled in the winter for screaming deals.
  • SpongeBob Square Pants is coming June 14 – 10-11 for pass holders only 11 – 1

How to get discounts on Salt Lake attractions

3. Salt Lake Connect Pass

There are so many incredible things to do in Salt Lake! But…if you visit them individually it's bound to break the bank. One great way to afford seeing the major attractions in SLC is to get a Salt Lake Connect Pass. Here's how it works:

  • It's available as a 1 day ($24), 2 day ($34), 3 day ($46), or 365-day ($63) consecutive pass (more for adults and kids over 12).
  • The pass is activated the first time you use it and remains active for the number of consecutive days purchased.
  • It allows you to visit as many of the 13 major Salt Lake City attractions as you like while the Connect Pass is active (but you are limited to only one (1) visitation at each participating attraction). Attractions include Red Butte Garden, This Is The Place Heritage Park, Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, Olympic Park, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, and more.


Who doesn't love movies?! Especially in the summer when your kids are bored, it's hot outside, and entertainment is needed to keep you and your kids sane. But why pay $8-$10+?? That's highway robbery! Here are two ways to see movies this summer for cheap:

Cheap summer fun

1. Drive in movies

  • HERE is a great site that shows all the drive-in theaters in Utah. Yes, there is probably one near you!
  • You can watch the movie from your car, or you can bring blankets, camping chairs, or bean bags to watch outside.

cheap summer fun

  • Go early to get a good seat. Bring a picnic dinner and a frisbee or glove/ball to play around before the movie.
  • Pets are basically never allowed and you'll be turned away so don't even try to smuggle in your dog. Not saying that I've tried…he'em…cough, cough…is it hot in here?
Cheap summer fun

2. Cinemark dollar movies

Every summer Cinemark theaters has a movie club where you can see kid-friendly movies all summer long for just a buck (or less!).

  • The Cinemark club is $1 per show, or $5 for 10 movies.
  • All over the country at Cinemark theaters (see the list HERE)
  • All movie rated G or PG
  • At the Cinenark theater by me in Draper, for example, the movies are all summer long, Mon-Thurs at 10:00am, and goes until end of August.
  • Many movie theaters do this, Cinemark is just one example. Check your local theater to see if they have a summer club too!


Why spend a dime when you can have a blast for FREE? Here are two fun freebies that you definitely should know about:
Free summer fun in Utah

1. Rooftop Concert Series

Who don't love concerts? This summer take advantage of the Rooftop Concert Series in Provo.

  • Concerts are held on the first friday of every month, May – October
  • Opens at 6, concert starts at 7:30
  • Free for the whole family, but check out the band online first because some concerts are more kid-friendly than others.
  • On top of the Provo Town Square parking terrace, 100 West and 100 North in Provo.
  • Bring your own chair, and prepare to have a great time!

Free summer fun in Utah

2. Movies in the Park

We LOVE movies in the park! In Utah there are free movies ALL OVER the state, all throughout the summer! I found a great list of where, when, and what movies are playing HERE, but here are some to take note of:
  • “Friday Night Flicks” – Every Friday June 6 to July 25 (not including July 4) in SLC parks
  • Friday night movies at Snowbird
  • South Jordan free movies: Friday nights in June, July and August, at various parks throughout the city.
  • Draper Amphitheater, one night per month in June, July and August. Free musical entertainment begins before the movie at 8 p.m., and the movie begins at 9:15.
  • Riverton movies in the park: Riverton will offer a free outdoor movie once per month in June, July and August, at various parks throughout the city. June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, 2014, movies start at dusk
  • Gallivan center retro movies: Mondays, July 7-28, 2014, Dusk-11 p.m.
  • Sundance movies at Red Butte Garden: free summer screenings of Sundance favorites, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre. July 8 and 15, Aug. 13, 20 and 27, 2014, 9 p.m.
  • Utah State Capitol: Fridays, July 18, Aug. 1, 15, and 29, 2014, Movies begin at dusk
  • Pioneer Park classic James Bond films. August 1, 8, 15, 22, 2014
So there you have it! You don't have to break the bank to have a fabulous summer.
Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to sign up for our newsletter list so you don't miss another one!
P.S here's a full outfit shot (sorry the lighting was HORRIBLE!…so was my hair. Ugh waking up at 6am does NOT agree with me apparently…)
Affordable outfit
  • Shirt: Fred Meyer clearance, $12 (which was more than I normally pay for tops but it was just that cute…)
  • Skinnies: $12 Old Navy sale forever ago
  • Booties: Free using refer-a-friend credits at Zulily (but they were for sale on their site for around $20)

Hope you have the best summer ever!