Summer is here and for the first time in a long while we can enjoy a full selection of activities! There are so many amazing ways to make the most of the warm weather, that we wanted to share our favorite free, cheap, and unmissable activities in New York, New Jersey, and Miami with you!
Summer Activities in New York
Big Apple summers are full of fun activities for people of all ages and budgets. Here are our favorites:
New York: Free Fun!
The Urban Park Rangers of New York have developed a very special FREE camping experience. There are camp sites in all 5 boroughs. Tents and campfire essentials likes'mores are free for people registered. There are also other activities like night walks and guided hikes for you to enjoy – all free! The only things you need to bring are your own sleeping bag and bedding (like a small bed roll or air mattress) and of course any extras like torches and snacks. Upcoming campouts include Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx (7/17), Prospect Park in Brooklyn (7/22) and Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan (7/23).
Did you know that New York Public Swimming pools are free? Most are open between 11am – 7pm with an hour break between 3pm – 4pm. They can get really busy so try to avoid the weekends.
Another really cool free activity is kayaking on the Hudson River. The Downtown Boathouse offers the world’s largest free kayaking program. Kayaks can be picked up at Pier 26. The Downtown Boathouse provides sit-on-top kayaks for public use in a protected area of the Hudson River. They also supply you with life vests, lockers with locks for your things, sun block, changing rooms and first aid if you get hurt. The only requirement to join is that you can swim. Kids under 18 must also be accompanied by an adult. More information can be found here.
Cheap Activities in New York
A great way to avoid the heat on those extra warm summer days is to escape into a museum! City museums are usually air conditioned or at very least climate controlled, making them a refreshing place to spend a few hours! There are many free or Pay-what-youwish museums in NYC. These include the American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cloisters.
Other museums have free days, so keep an eye on your favorite’s website for dates. Please be aware that some museums still require you to book your entry time in advance - even on free days. Sometimes you may also have to show proof that you live in NYC to take advantage of these offers. To be sure, please check each museum's website before you go.
So, what do you do if the museum you want to see isn’t free and you miss the free day? Well, the good news is that tickets to many New York museums are less than $25 and even cheaper if you have a valid student card or proof of residency and valid ID. The best way to secure tickets is online via the official museum website or the TimeOut link above by clicking “book online”.
Unmissable New York Summer Events
It is impossible to talk about summer in New York without mentioning the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. This year is the 46th Macy’s Independence Day celebration which in addition to the fireworks also has a wide range of musical acts. The show starts at 8pm. However, if you want a good seat, you will need to arrive much earlier. Keep an eye on the Macy’s website.
Another event that you simply cannot miss is the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Queens. The highlight of the festival is the Dragon Boat race which takes place on Meadow Lake North in Flushing Meadows Park. In addition to the racing, you can enjoy Chinese food and cultural performances throughout the day. It is truly a day of action and fun! The festival will be held July 30th and 31st and will not be canceled if it rains. Find out more here.
Things to do this Summer in New Jersey
Students at our Zoni New Jersey campuses can also enjoy a range of great activities without needing to travel to New York! Check out our recommendations for fun (and unique) activities in NJ!
Free in New Jersey
This is possibly the most unique free activity you will ever find! Do you like dinosaurs? Have you ever wanted to find your very own fossil? Well, you can, and it costs you absolutely nothing (unless you are with a group of more than 15 people)!
Big Brook Park is around 45 minutes’ drive from Newark and is a fantastic place to find fossils – that you can keep! The fossils at Big Brook date from 67 – 74 million years ago! The best place to find fossils is in the small river that runs through the park. Most commonly people find fossilized sharks’ teeth – you don’t even need special equipment to find these. Sharp eyes can spot them in the riverbed. If you wanted to, you could buy a small sieve and trowel (a small shovel used for gardening) cheaply online or at a hardware store. You can find everything you need to know about Big Brook Park and fossil hunting here.
Things you Should not Miss this Summer in New Jersey
If you live in New Jersey there is no need to travel to Manhattan for an amazing fourth of July celebration! Less than an hour’s drive away you will find the Ocean Fest on Long Branch. The biggest benefit of going to Long Branch is that you avoid the crazy crowds of NYC. The Ocean Fest is a combination of street food stalls, crafts, music festival and spectacular fireworks display. You can find out all you need to know about the Ocean Fest on this link: www.oceanfestnj.com.
Another unmissable summer event in New Jersey is the NJ State BBQ Championship. If you like BBQ, then you cannot pass up this spectacular event! The State BBQ Champs will take place from July 08 – 10 in Wildwood. Although Wildwood is a little further away (about 2 hours’ drive) it is well worth the trip!
The BBQ Championship is held as part of the Anglesea Jazz Festival meaning that in addition to eating spectacular BBQ food, you can enjoy live jazz music and a festival atmosphere too. More information can be found here.
Summer Fun in Miami
There are tons of great free activities going on in Miami year-round, however we wanted to tell you about some of the best things you can do this summer!
Free Activities in Miami
One of the most fun free activities in Miami this summer is the Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival. Held on the fourth of July this festival includes entertainment, food trucks, circus performers, live music, a magic show and an outdoor roller disco!
The festival starts at 12:00 and is located at 73rd Street and Collins Avenue. Fireworks begin at around 9pm. There will also be a free shuttle provided. For more information including the shuttle route and times, click here.
Cheap things to do in Miami
If you haven’t been to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and climbed to the top of the lighthouse, now is the time to do it! Climbing the Lighthouse doesn’t cost anything; however, you may need to book a time slot. Entering the State Park will cost you $2 if you are a pedestrian or $8 if you are in a car with up to 8 people.
The lighthouse is almost 200 years old, and the views are spectacular. While you are there you can also
swim in the beautiful warm ocean, hike, fish, have a picnic and much more. There is even a café if you
don’t feel like packing your own food. Be aware that it can be quite busy in summer and so taking a
picnic can save you a lot of time.
Read more about Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Unmissable things to do in Miami
If you haven’t been to the Everglades, now is the time to do it! They are a whole different world! The best way to experience them is on an airboat. There is no shortage of airboat tours. They start from $30 and may include things like a pick-up or a wildlife show. Here you can find
TimeOut’s list of best Everglades tours.
Zoni Niagara Falls Trip
Speaking of unmissable activities, Zoni is offering students the chance to visit Niagara Falls from June 30 – Jul 01. This amazing trip includes a Zoni T-shirt, accommodation for 1 night, transportation, dinner, breakfast, and a variety of activities giving you the best chance to view the falls in both the daytime and nighttime. More information can be found on this video.
At Zoni we always try to find fun activities for our students that allow them to make friends, practice their English, and learn about American culture. In the past we have visited Washington DC, Philadelphia including an Amish settlement, gone skiing and many more!
Summer is here! So get out and enjoy the great weather and get to know your city! Activities don’t need to be expensive to be fun! There are many great free or inexpensive things you can do near all our Zoni campuses. If you are stuck for ideas, we are always there to help.
If you want to learn more about studying at Zoni, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.zoni.edu