Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring On A Budget

Gas prices are sky high. You can't travel throughout the state like I keep telling you to. But you still want to be active? Here are 10 "Spring on a Budget" activities to get you started until these pesky fuel prices settle back down again.

1. Go for a Hike: As I defined hiking in my previous entry on hiking, "we walk because we have to, but we hike because we want to." Hiking doesn't just have to be in Hocking Hills, as we wrote about. There are 75 State Parks scattered throughout Ohio, and hundreds of Metroparks. And if you can't get to any of those, just make up your own "urban hike" around your neighborhood! Hiking is a fantastic and FREE OHventure you can do anytime of the year, especially in the Spring when everything is blooming and getting green again!

2. Feed the Ducks: Ducks are common in Ohio, especially with all the heavy rainfall we have been experiencing. There are certain ponds around me that I know ducks are native to (including Goodale Park and Mirror Lake at OSU Campus). I am sure if you do a bit of research, you'll know where to find these waterfowl nearby. But beware! DO NOT feed ducks bread! It is a common misconception that this is a good thing to help ducks by feeding them bread, but there are many reasons you absolutely should not. What seems harmless can lead to malnutrition, overcrowding, over dependence on humans, and the list goes on. Instead, feed the ducks grapes cut in half, oats, wheat, peas, or birdseed.

3. Grill Out: If you're fortunate enough to own a grill, or live somewhere where an outside grill is nearby (many parks have them available), take advantage of a sunny day and grill out! There is something about cooking outside that makes cooking 1,000 times more fun. As you can tell from the picture above, you can grill almost anything: shrimp, steak, bread, chicken, veggies, and the list goes on. If you need ideas for recipes for grilling out, visit this site, and if you are a beginner at grilling, check out these tips.


4. Fly a Kite: Don't laugh. This seems childish and not at all manly (as opposed to the very manly grilling), however, kite flying is a serious sport to many people throughout the world and the state (for instance, the Cleveland Kite Festival). It brings back memories for me going to the Berkeley Kite Festival with my late brother where there were literally thousands of kites flying, some as big as a house. We have a kite now in memory of my brother. Give it a try. It will if anything bring out the inner child in you!

5. Enjoy a Margarita: As if I have to twist your arm on this one. The margarita is the quintessential spring drink! Refreshing lime with tequila and salt, on the rocks or frozen. There's nothing like having a margarita on a patio at the bar, at a Mexican restaurant, or at home with your own concotion. Don't limit yourself to just Cinco de Mayo on this one!


6. Play Volleyball: We live in a state where unfortunately, we can't experience the splendor of beach volleyball. However, many parks around the state have sand volleyball courts available that make for great one-on-one or team games! The concept of volleyball may be simple, but it is surprisingly challenging with a great deal of hand/eye coordination, communication with your teammates, and stamina. Moving around in the sand can be difficult, but being able to dive for the ball and land in a bed of sand is super fun. Some bars even offer sand volleyball leagues, such as Flannagan's in Dublin, Geeters Bar and Grill in Mason, and Holligan's Pub and Eatery in Cincinnati, to name a few. Volleyball and beer? Sign me up!

7. Watch Baseball: It's the great American pasttime and Ohio has tons of avenues for going to watch a good ol' baseball game! Our two professional MLB teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, have tickets ranging in price from just a few bucks to even a couple of hundred of bucks (I was in a dugout suite before at an Indians game and it was awesome). But since this is "Spring on a Budget," I digress. You can get super cheap seats to minor league teams such as the Akron Aeros, Columbus Clippers (photo above), Dayton Dragons, Mahoning Valley Scrappers or Toledo Mud Hens. If you're real cheap, head to a college, high school or even a little league game! It doesn't matter on what scale you go watch baseball: no matter what, it is the perfect spring activity!


8. Go Stargazing: It may seem silly, but on those rare nights where there's clear and open skies, stargazing can be a pretty awesome activity. We are lucky in Ohio to have many rural country areas where you can see stars best. Bringing along a late night snack, blanket, telescope, and maybe a cocktail will make it a relaxing treat (and romantic if you'd like to make it so). It goes without saying that it's free too! The Dark Sky Site Directory shows which places in Ohio are found to have the least amount of light pollution for optimal stargazing!

9. Perfect Your Golf Game: I am no big fan of golf, but I come from a city where golf courses are plentiful. In fact, golf courses are plentiful all across the state of Ohio. It's so popular, in fact, there are 840 public and private courses in the state! Since I am not much of a golfer, nor would I ever try to give advice on how or where people should golf in Ohio, I will leave it to the site Golf In Ohio. However, I will say that golfing can be pretty inexpensive if you borrow, rent, or already own your own equipment, and if you go to a cheap golf course. Personally, I enjoy going to the driving range on rare occasion, because it is much cheaper and not nearly as boring!

10. Go Bike Riding!: May is National Bike Month and we have been dedicating recent posts to biking in Ohio. Check them out here!

Feel free to comment and add your own cheap or free Spring OHventures!

All photos taken by OHventures.

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