25 Budget Friendly Homeschool Field Trips

One of our favorite homeschool field trips is visiting our local farm! Image shows a young boy sitting on a pink tractor in a farm field.

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Trying to figure out some budget-friendly homeschool field trips and need some tips? I can help! Whether you’re looking for low-cost or even free homeschool field trips, I have a bunch of ideas and resources for you to check out! Homeschool field trips certainly don’t need to cost a lot of money to provide a lasting impact!

Ok, so, before we get to all the homeschool field trip suggestions, let me just give you a virtual high-five for even thinking about planning some homeschool field trips! The whole process of planning and then actually DOING the field trips isn’t for the faint of heart and can sometimes be overwhelming. I mean, you have to figure out the timing, the budget, how to relate the field trip to the content area that you and your kids/students are working on. It takes time and effort.

You know what though? All that time and effort spent planning your homeschool field trips certainly won’t go to waste. When I was a student in the public school setting, we’d go on one or two field trips a year. I can 100% tell you that the few field trips my classes went on have left a lasting impact on my life. When I think back to my education, I don’t remember all the spelling tests or the math reviews (I do remember that time I got a 26% on an essay in 7th grade, though…holy moly). I remember the field trips.

On of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I get to allow my kids to experience hands-on learning as much as they want. It’s the way I learn the best, it’s the way they learn the best, and I’m willing to bet so many of your children learn best with hands-on activities, too. Homeschool field trips are PERFECT for hands-on learning!

In our home, we tend to do our book learning Monday through Thursday. Every day, the kids will get their lessons done and then they’re free to play outside, play in our toy room, and might even join me in running some errands. Many of their lessons are hands-on activities, but they can be done at home, so, unless there’s a change in schedule, we’re really not doing any homeschool field trips those days. Friday, though? Friday is “Fun Friday!” We’ll try to venture out of the house to do some sort of activity on Friday. It’s a day we all look forward to!

Where do we go? On one of our homeschool field trips, of course!

25 Ideas for Budget-Friendly Homeschool Field Trips

Here are some of our favorite field trips that won’t break the bank! Be sure to check out our tips for saving money on these homeschool field trips (and more) at the end of the list!

25 budget friendly homeschool field trips
  1. Visit a Local Historical Location
    • You know how I said I remember the field trips from when I was in school? Well, truth be told, I currently live within walking distance of a cemetery I visited on a 4th grade field trip…almost 3o years ago! Find some locations that are important to the your state or town history and visit them! Towns will often have websites with tourism information, so go check yours out and learn about where you live!
  2. Tour your State Capital
    • Most state capitals will offer free tours and some will even let you sit in on legislative sessions. What better way to learn about local government than to experience it first hand? Check the website of your State Capital for more information. If you don’t see information about tours or how residents can witness decisions being made, give them a call!
  3. Visit a Local Farm
    • This, of course, will depend on where you live but chances are that there is a farm within driving distance of your home! Check their social media or website beforehand for hours and any hands-on experiences they may offer. I know our farms are usually more than happy to accommodate a class or homeschool group as long as plans are made in advance. The kids will get to see where their food comes from and might get to see a farm animal or two!
  4. Visit the Grocery Store
    • I promise, this is NOT as lame a field trip as it sounds! You could plan a special meal and then let the kids shop for the ingredients, give them a budget and let them do the weekly family grocery shopping, or even do a scavenger hunt through the grocery store. Some grocery stores offer free or reasonably priced cooking classes, will have a free family movie night, or could offer some sort of behind-the-scenes tour if planned ahead.
  5. Enjoy a Meal at a Restaurant
    • When I was a special education teacher, visiting a restaurant was one of my favorite life and social skills outings to do with my class. Give the kids a budget and let them make their own meal choices at the restaurant. Kids can order their food on their own and be in charge of paying for their meal when they’re done.
  6. Visit the Pet Store
    • When my kids were tiny and I didn’t feel like making drive into Philadelphia to their zoo, I’d take them to our local pet store. They’d get to see animals of all sorts, would visit the adoption section to see the available cats, and got to interact with the employees at the store. Before we got our first family pet, I took my kids to the pet store so we could do a mock shopping trip for a hamster and a dog. We went through the store and would write down the price of each item we’d need to purchase for “our” pet and, at the end of the trip, we compared the approximate cost of having a hamster versus having a dog. I like to think that doing this helped them to realize what a big financial responsibility it would be to get a pet.
  7. Visit a Factory
    • I’m telling you, my kids would probably be super happy visiting a different factory each week. It’s fun to get to see how some of our favorite products and such are created. Among many, we’ve visited the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, PA (the brand that makes my favorite ice cream!) and have learned about the process of making chocolate in Hershey, PA. The Utz Potato Chip Factory and the Jelly Belly Factory are definitely on our list for the future!
  8. Hike a New-to-You Trail
    • When we need a moment to reconnect with nature, my boys and I hit the trails! As much as I love my flip flops, closed toe shoes are a must! Wear a hat to prevent ticks from moving in their new home (aka: your body) and fill up a water bottle to stay hydrated. You could identify native plants and animals, look for signs of termites or erosion, look for (and stay away from) animal homes and more. I always make sure my phone has a full battery charge so I can Google photos of leaves and, not gonna lie, so I can use the GPS to find my way out of a trail if need be!
  9. Visit a Bakery
    • Contact a local bakery ahead of time and see if they might be able to provide any sort of tour for a homeschool field trip! Some bakeries may offer decorating classes, too!
  10. Visit a Museum
    • There are museums of ALL sorts all across the world. Find one that is local to you and check their website for pricing information and specials. Some might offer educational discounts or even have a designated day/time for reduced price entry.
  11. Visit a Theme Park
    • Ok, this one is probably more fun than educational, but I distinctly remember going to Six Flags in 8th grade for a field trip! You could work in some sort of mathematical equations about the speed or height of roller coasters, do a competition to see who can walk the most steps throughout the park, or even have a photography challenge (photograph representations of certain letters throughout the park for a project?). However you decide to make a visit to a theme park educational, it’s pretty much a given that the kids will have a great time!
  12. Visit an Assisted Living Home
    • When I was in high school, I participated in the “Adopt a Grandparent” club. Every week, we’d take a bus over to an assisted living location to chat with the residents and play games with them. The residents enjoyed these visits so much! Call ahead to an assisted living home and see if they accept visitors and, if so, ask about their visiting hours. Maybe you could host a game or crafting event?
  13. Take a Trip to the Library!
    • Don’t forget about the library! In addition to borrowing books, so many libraries offer free or reasonably priced community events. Some even have recurring classes for kids! Check your library’s website or information desk for details and make some plans!
  14. Visit the Animals at a Shelter
    • Whether you’re in the market for adopting a pet or not, it seems that the shelters near our home can always use some help! Many of them have an age minimum for volunteering, but that doesn’t mean your younger kids can’t crochet blankets for the animals or collect food and supplies from the community. Call the shelter ahead and mention that you’re a homeschooling family – they may be able to provide a tour of the facilities and let you (safely) interact with the animals.
  15. Visit a New-to-You Playground!
    • When the warmer weather arrives in our area, my kids would be completely happy spending their days at the playground. Not only does it provide them with some physical activity, but, when other kids are around, it could result in some problem solving, critical thinking, and more. Plus, a visit to the playground is a great way to get some energy out!
  16. Tour a Bank
    • Take a visit over to your local bank and learn all about money! Of course, call ahead to schedule your visit and make sure that they can accommodate your visit, but how much fun would it to be to see the giant safes in the bank? The kids can learn all about the various ways to save and invest money and, while you’re there, you might even consider opening bank accounts for the kids if they don’t already have them.
  17. Walk around a Cemetery
    • A bit morbid, I know, but death is a part of our lives, and one way to learn is to visit a cemetery. If you’re not familiar with the history of tombstones, there’s a lot to learn! Some tombstones have figures or such that could have a surprising meaning behind them, some caskets are buried underground while some are above ground, etc. You could teach the etiquette of visiting a cemetery, look for the tombstones or monuments of local figures or people of historical significance, and even see the results of erosion over time.
  18. Visit your City’s Public Works Facilities
    • Garbage and Recycling? Water Treatment? Electricity? All are services we often take for granted, so it’s totally worth it to go to the source and learn about these important services! Of course, call ahead and make sure they can accommodate your homeschool field trip. I have been meaning to contact our local Garbage and Recycling services to schedule a visit because trash pickup day (Friday) is pretty much a weekly holiday over here – my boys LOVE seeing all the vehicles come by.
  19. Find some Deals at the Flea or Farmer’s Market
    • It’s a place we we find treasures…for less! You never know what you’re going to find and it’s always a good time! Give everyone a set budget and set off to find a certain something – you could require everyone purchase something to be used for a holiday, something in a certain color, something to be flipped for profit, etc. Try your hand at refinishing furniture to sell or use in your home. Some flea markets even encourage making offers/haggling, so the kids could learn the art of the haggle first hand.
  20. Visit your Downtown
    • Make it a day to shop small! Visit those little boutiques on Main Street, eat lunch at a mom & pop shop, enjoy some candy from your local candy shop, and more.
  21. Attend a Food Festival
    • These are often seasonal, but, as a self-proclaimed foodie, these are the events I look forward to each and every year. When we lived in Florida, we’d enjoy fresh Strawberry Shortcake at the Strawberry Festival each year. In NJ, we can’t wait for the Cranberry Festival and Apple Festivals in the fall. Have a taste test “event” with the kids and try out a few different foods while at the festival. Some festivals will even have cookbooks for sale at the event – consider purchasing one and trying out the recipes with the kids at home.
  22. Visit a Planetarium
    • One of our local universities (my alma mater!) has a planetarium on site and will host very reasonably priced events. Sometimes the events are your typical “let’s look at the sky” events, but sometimes…sometimes…there are laser light shows set to music. The light shows are my favorite and, bonus, every time we’ve attended, there has been a more “typical” educational aspect at the end of the show when a college student will show us how to find constellations in the night sky and such.
  23. Spend the Day on the Water!
    • Of course, your options will certainly vary depending on your location, but we are 100% the family that’ll visit the beach whether it’s sunny, raining, or snowing. It’s one of our happy places, so we try to visit often. Whether you spend the day at the beach or a lake, there’s plenty of native wildlife that could be observed and most likely picturesque scenes that could inspire some artwork or poetry!
  24. Go Inside a Cave!
    • Here in South Jersey, we are within driving distance of so many caves. Make a day trip out of it and explore what’s beneath the ground. So many caves offer reasonably priced educational tours and, since you’d be going underground, it could be a great way to beat the heat of the summer sun.
  25. Visit the Post Office
    • Sure, we get our mail delivered daily, but do we really know how a piece of mail gets from one location to another? Contact your local Post Office and see what they can offer for a homeschool field trip.
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3 Ways to Save Money on Homeschool Field Trips

Now that you have a ton of ideas for homeschool field trips to take your kids on, I bet you’re wondering how to make these field trips as cost effective as possible, right?

When I’m looking to save money on field trips, these are three things I look for:

  1. Homeschool or Educational Discounts
    • Some locations will offer a homeschool or educators discount on admission. If a website or social media site do not list any discounts, don’t be afraid to call and ask them directly. It never hurts to ask!
  2. Check Groupon!
    • We have enjoyed SO many family-friendly activities and homeschool field trips by purchasing tickets through Groupon. Even better? If you have a Rakuten account you can earn a percent back on Groupon purchases. Gotta love when we can double dip on savings!
  3. Visit During Select Times
    • Many places requiring admission will often offer “night hour” pricing or have a certain day of the week where admission is a little less. While planning your homeschool field trips, be sure to check websites for this info. As I mentioned previously, if this information is not available, call them and ask!

I hope you enjoy taking a bunch of homeschool field trips with your kids! If you have some fun suggestions that should be added to this list, as always, send me an email and I’ll add them! I’d love to hear about the homeschool field trips you and your kids have gone on so I can plan for even more adventures with my own kids!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your families!

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