5 Free or Low Cost Things to Do This Summer Within Driving Distance of the Bronx

Ready for summer in the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring


What I love about living in the Bronx is while there is so much to do locally, it’s also easy to jump in the car and explore so many different directions. In just a car ride you can be upstate, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania- you get my drift. While there’s so much to see and do, that also means a lot of money that can easily be spent. Gas and tolls alone can eat up a big part of your budget- so I’m all about finding free and low cost fun in the summer. And with a car like the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring, it’s even easier to save on gas but still be comfortable for the ride.

To help kick off summer, I’m sharing some of my go-to favorite free and low cost things to do over the summer that are within driving distance of the Bronx- and some of my favorite features of the Mazda3. 




Pleasure Island Beach

Bridgeport Connecticut

This island located in Bridgeport Connecticut recently re-opened after years of being closed. Now, visitors can park in a free parking lot, take a free ferry across to the island- where a golf cart takes you right to the beach (yes, it’s free!). Simply pack lunch and enjoy a day on what feels like a secluded island- just don’t forget water shoes because it is very shelly like many of the Connecticut beaches. www.bridgeportct.gov


Mazda Fact: When traveling at speeds of 37 mph or higher, the available Lane Departure Warning System gives you audible and visual warnings when it detects that you’re unintentionally switching to another lane- making those long car rides down 95 safer.



Coney Island Fireworks

Coney Island, Brooklyn

Every Friday in the summer, Coney Island’s night sky lights up with fireworks. While you can easily spend a fortune on the boardwalk- we like to pack food (and our favorite adult beverages) and enjoy an afternoon at the beach before the sun sets and the fireworks begin. It’s the perfect way to meet up with friends, let the kids run around, and create those lifelong summer memories.


Mazda Fact: When traveling at speeds between 2 and 18 mph, the standard Smart City Brake Support helps detect objects and prepares the vehicle by moving the break pads closer to the disc- making coming home in that Brooklyn traffic easier.



Pick Your Own

Multiple Locations

While there are many farms that are most popular among Bronxites, I love finding small farms or roadside surprises that aren’t overcrowded. In the summer, you can stop to pick fresh strawberries or blueberries- or even pick your own flowers. For me it’s more about the experience than spending a lot- we’ve even found flower farms where we cut 4 flowers for a dollar. The farms usually have a fun playground for the kids to enjoy, and picnic tables to enjoy lunch. We’ve found some great roadside options in South Jersey, Long Island, and upstate NY- simply choose how far you want to go and search some options in that area.


Mazda Fact: The available High Beam Control on the Mazda3 makes it easy coming back home on those winding roads at night. The system automatically switches to low beams when it detects oncoming traffic and/or a vehicle ahead.



Lake Canopus

Putnam County

Many Bronxites have memories heading to the 7 Lakes every summer- but there are plenty of other lakes to explore in the region. One option is Lake Canopus inside Fahnestock State Park in Putnam County. This 14,086 acre park includes a beach, hiking trails, campground, boat rentals, and more. Parking is $7 and you can rent a boat for $10 for an hour- but bring your own food to grill and you can spend the day at this beautiful lake. www.parks.ny.gov


While it’s smaller than the other Mazda models- the 60/40 split fold down rear seatbacks give room for even more cargo space- especially for smaller families- making it easy to fit more beach or camp gear.



Pictured: Pierson Park in Tarrytown

Explore New Parks

Kids are simple, it’s usually us adults who make things more complicated than they need to be. My kids just like to play outdoors and have fun- they could care less about the other details. A great way to change things up a bit while still keeping it low cost is to simply explore parks in other neighborhoods or towns. Most parks have a website- making it easy to see photos and what is located nearby. Pack lunch and grab ice cream nearby after- it will still feel like a fun summer adventure.



Getting There with the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring



The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring is a great vehicle for families in the city who want to still be able to take road trips. It’s great on gas since it’s compact- but the 5-door option also provides the much needed cargo space when it comes to travel. At 35/MPG highway, you have more to spend on fun than refueling.

And if you’ve followed along over the years, then you know how much we love the Mazda Connect Infotainment system. Everything is easily done with the Commander control on the center console or by using the 7” full-color touch-screen- making it easy for both driver and passenger to change the music, enter a destination, and make calls.



Overall, I’ve continued to be a fan of Mazda and their entire family of cars. The Mazda3 5-door is perfect for a family in the city who is looking for a smaller car that is great on gas but still needs some of that cargo space occasionally. While our family would prefer one of their larger options due to our lifestyle- the Mazda3 is a great choice for many. For more information on the 2018 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring, visit www.mazdausa.com.






We spent in a week in the Mazda3 for review purposes. As always, all opinions are our own.






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