Your home is a more interesting place than you think. Instead of traveling for spring break or summer vacation, check out these 15 ideas for a family staycation that you can enjoy in your hometown!
By Elsie Callender, Contributing Writer
Most of us are far too busy to explore what our little corner of the world has to offer. We zigzag through town to get to commitments and activities, rarely taking the time to discover what’s of our own beaten path.
When we’re at home, we have infinite tasks and to-do lists to work through. We squeeze leisure time into the cracks in our day, hoping it will be enough to fix our frazzled lives and give us the glue to stick with our hectic schedules for another week.
As summer break approaches on the calendar, we’re desperate to get out of town and leave our busyness behind. Unfortunately, travel isn’t always possible. Preparing for a vacation can be a cause for stress in itself, and trips always put a strain on the budget.
The good news is, you don’t have to leave home to enjoy a relaxing vacation and reconnect with your family.
Since the Recession, “staycations” have jumped in popularity, and for good reason. A staycation is a simple, frugal way to enjoy time off with your family and live deeply right where you are.
The ground rules of your staycation are up to you–how much cooking you’ll do, which household chores you’ll keep up with, whether or not you’ll install a “no Internet” policy, etc. Figure out as a family what you want your staycation to look like, and put the dates on the calendar.
A staycation is the perfect time to cross some items off your summer bucket list! Here are 15 ideas for things to do on your next staycation, whether you have kids or you’re just hanging out with your spouse:
1. Explore a new park
Check the website for your city or state to find local park listings. Bring a picnic or take out, plus blankets, summer reads, and a soccer ball or Frisbee.
2. Play in the water
You might not have a resort pool at your disposal, but you can visit a local splash pad or aquatic center, or just play in the backyard with hoses, squirt guns, and water balloons.
Image from pixabay.com
3. Splurge on an activity you wouldn’t normally do
Since you’re not spending money on traveling, do something fun that wouldn’t normally be in your budget, like renting kayaks, going to an indoor climbing wall, or taking everyone to see a movie in 3D.
4. Make a doughnut run
Check yelp.com to find the best doughnut shops that are local to you, and then go out for breakfast or dessert. Growing up, it was a super special treat to take our doughnuts to the beach for breakfast!
5. Play really long boardgames
A staycation is the perfect time to play those epic boardgames you remember from childhood! Make milkshakes and spend an afternoon introducing your kids to Monopoly and Risk.
6. Go stargazing
Gather blankets, a thermos of cocoa, binoculars, and a stargazing guide (see if your library has this one), and head to the backyard. If you can get away from light pollution, (for instance, a friend of yours owns a farm!), even better!
7. Film a movie
Act out and film a movie together, using whatever props, costumes, and locations your creativity can allow. You can have a script-writing session at the kitchen table with everyone giving input to a designated writer. If you’re not sure what story to film, try a modern retelling of a fairy tale.
8. Camp out
Pitch the tent in your backyard…or just your living room! Pile it up with blankets and cushions and then tell scary stories by flashlight.
9. Have a progressive dinner
Go to three different restaurants to get your appetizer, entree, and dessert.
Image from pixabay.com
10. Have a “build your own” night
Let family members pick their favorite ingredients, and set everything out on the table for a “build your own” pizza, burrito, baked potato bar, ice cream sundae, etc.
11. Visit a quirky museum
There may be some hidden gems you haven’t discovered! Google “museums near YOUR CITY, YOUR STATE” and it should pull up a map with listings.
12. Go geocaching
Image by Richly Rooted
13. Go fruit picking
Find out what produce is in season in your area (here’s a spring produce guide and a summer produce guide), and then find a farm near you where you can pick blueberries, peaches, or whatever is growing! Go early in the day before it gets hot, and then use your pickings to make a simple dessert for supper.
14. Have a theme night (or two)
Let each family member come up with a theme, and then vote on them or draw one out of a hat. Everyone dresses up to fit the theme, and all of the evening’s food and entertainment tie in. For instance, on “alien night” you create your own alien costume, watch E.T., and eat Milky Way bars!
15. Make a time capsule
Fill a shoebox with pictures, letters to your future selves, filmed interviews (you can put them on a flashdrive), mementos from your staycation, and predictions about what each family member will be doing in 10 or 15 years–or however long you plan on waiting before opening the time capsule. You don’t have to bury the box, just put it in an out-of-the way spot in a closet or the attic. Write the current date on the lid, as well as the date you’ve set for opening the capsule.
Your souvenir from this staycation? I hope it will be inspiration to love the place you live, and never stop exploring!
Have you ever taken a staycation? What are your favorite staycation activities?
Want more ideas for a family staycation? Read these posts next:
- 8 Summer Activities to Do with Your Kids
- 12 Ideas for Dates with Your Kids
- 17 Free or Frugal Summer Activities for Kids