Summer is here and it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine, but there’s no reason to break the bank while you’re having fun.Â We’ve put together our top outdoor bargains in New England from the pages of our 2012 “Best of New England” Editors’ Picks.
BEST CHANCE TO STRIKE GOLD
Coos Canyon — Byron, ME
For a whopping $3 (plus $5 deposit), rent a pan, screen, and trowel from Coos Canyon Rock & Gift Shop; then pad across the street to try your luck panning for gold in the Swift River.
472 Swift River Road (Route 17). 207-364-4900; cooscanyonrockandgift.com
BEST OUTDOOR FLICKS
Ballard Park Movies on the Rocks — Newport, RI
A path of tiki torches lights the way to a meadow where free movies are screened on Wednesday nights in August. Films are family-friendly PG- or G-rated, splashed against the rocks, with couples and families spreading their blankets and picnics at this three-acre nature preserve.
Jct. Hazard & Wickham Roads. 401-619-3377; ballardpark.org
BEST SURFING DEMO
Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Company — Hampton, NH
If you’re in the market for a new surfboard or paddleboard, every Tuesday and Friday night in June-August you can paddle around and test out boards for free, with an expert on hand to see which board is best for you.
931 Ocean Blvd. 603-929-7467; cinnamonrainbows.com
Newport Pedicab — Newport, RI
Circumvent congestion with a customized tour or destination ride, or opt for one of the regular routes: Cliff Walk, Goat Island, The Point neighborhood, or Thames Street. Pedicab is also a reliable designated driver after a night on the town.
BEST FREE HIKING GEAR
Appalachian Mountain Club Highland Center at Crawford Notch — Bretton Woods, NH
Don’t let any lack of equipment stop you from exploring the White Mountains: Free gear from L.L. Bean is offered to all guests. Rest assured, these aren’t your older sibling’s hand-me-downs. We’re talking top-of-the-line goodies like sleeping bags, backpacks, hiking boots, and more. Rates vary by lodging type (communal bunkroom, lodge bunkroom, private lodge) and meal plan.
Off Route 302. 603-278-4453; outdoors.org