A staycation can be a great way to explore local sites, save money, but still have fun and quality time as a family. If you’ve wondered how to plan a staycation, then you’ll love these summer staycation ideas. They’re the perfect way to make memories with the whole family.
Summer Staycation Ideas
Staycations don’t have to be boring! Here’s how to make them affordable, interesting, and even fun with kids of all ages.
What is a staycation?
A staycation is simply a vacation where you don’t leave home. Instead of a traditional vacation where you spend a lot of money on travel and lodging expenses, a family staycation allows you to enjoy the comforts of home, explore your local area and still have fun. Plus, you can splurge on some food or activities because you won’t need to travel far or pay for a hotel.
Staycations provide the perfect opportunity to become tourists in your own hometown.
How can I make my staycation interesting?
You can make your staycation interesting by planning ahead. Making a staycation plan is essential so that you’re not wasting your vacation time deciding what to do each day. Go ahead and make a plan for each day, including what you want to see, do, experience, eat, and where you want to go.
Get input from each member of your family so that each person can look forward to special opportunities throughout the week. Whether it’s getting some fresh air in a local park or throwing the sleeping bags into a tent in the backyard, there are many ideas for ensuring that your staycation is a lot of fun for everyone.
How do you plan an affordable staycation?
The best ways to plan an affordable staycation are to budget, look for free activities, and search for deals ahead of time.
Remember, you can eat out at everyone’s favorite restaurant, or you can still have good food at home around the fire pit. If you can plan ahead for the food you want to eat during your staycation, make meals ahead of time so the plan doesn’t require you to cook but is still affordable.
You really can do free activities during your staycation of you’re on a tight budget. Consider home activities that you don’t always have time for, like special family games, outdoor water activities, or a family movie marathon.
You can still have a good time on a tight budget if you plan ahead.
How do I have a fun staycation with kids?
The best way to have a fun staycation with kids is to make sure each family member has input into he fun things that you’ll do during the week. That way, every one will have something anticipate. A fun day starts without an alarm clock. Yes, let everyone sleep in and relax a bit!
Consider getting off to a great start for the week with a surprise new toy for each of the kids. But the most important thing to remember when you’re trying to find fun summer staycation ideas is to create a flexible yet organized plan for your week. That is, know ahead of time where you’ll be each day, what you’ll be doing, and how to fit in things like naps for your younger kids. But don’t over plan to the point where you can’t enjoy some free time.
The Best Affordable Summer Staycation Ideas for Families
Here are the best staycation ideas to try this summer. With a little creativity you can have a great experience this season even if you don’t take a traditional family vacation.
Summer Staycation Ideas
Explore these fun summer staycation ideas to help you make great memories this summer.
At-home Summer Camp
When you plan an at-home summer camp, you bring all the fun of a themed experience to your own yard and home. Whether your kids are into science or art, or maybe even cooking or sports, you can have extra fun bringing summer camp home. All you need to do is plan a few activities each morning and then enjoy free time in the afternoon. Summer Camp at home gives you a chance to do some fun hands-on projects that you might not get to throughout the year.
Sometimes we can forget to visit tourist areas that are close to home. But why travel half-way across the country if you have a national park nearby?
Visiting a national park is the perfect staycation idea for kids of all ages. You can even complete a national parks notebook for an easy and fun activity. If you’re not sure where to go, start by googling “nearest national park to me” and you’ll see a list. Or, check out the U.S. National Park Service website for their Find-a-park feature.
Families that really get into board games can have a relaxing time at home brushing off those favorite family games during the evenings. Or purchase some new ones that you’ve always wanted to try! Go ahead and make it into a board game tournament for the week, with fun prizes for the winners! Don’t forget to stock up on fun food and snacks for your week. You could even have fun with life size board games!
Kids of all ages love rides and amusement parks, so heading out to a fun park is a wonderful way to spend a day of your staycation. Some parks have campgrounds nearby, so you could also plan to stay and enjoy the park for several days in a row to extend the fun.
Try an outdoor or indoor water park for another wonderful staycation idea. Less time in the car is more time at the park. After a full day on the water rides, enjoy your favorite restaurants at night. A water park is an ideal place to go if you don’t have a local pool to access on a regular basis during the summer.
Consider a week of family movie nights if you’re planning a staycation. No matter what you decide to do during the day, make each movie night special. Go ahead and put it on the big screen outdoors and enjoy it that way. Or you could even go to the movie theater during your staycation to top off a fun week and watch the latest release.
If you love to cook, planning a staycation can be a great time to try new recipes. Make sure you have the ingredients ahead of time so you can spend the time making your meals. You could even theme the new recipes to go along with another staycation idea, like summer camp at home or based on different countries you want to learn about.
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Most of us tend to forget that our own city or town includes great tourist spots! So spend some time visiting the local ice cream shop or the local spa. Go ahead and window shop on your town’s Main Street and visit local businesses. Some of the best things are close to home if we just take the time to find them.
Does your town have some local museums? These might highlight local history or interesting people. You might not have to travel far to find some amazing local museums that could fill a whole week of a thrifty staycation.
Instead of spending your vacation budget on expensive gas and hotels, you can instead treat yourself to local restaurants and skip the dinner prep! This staycation idea pairs with many others. You could spend the day at local museums or a national park, then enjoy a local eatery for dinner. Go ahead and splurge if you want to and try an upscale restaurant that you might never pick on a normal day.
If you don’t normally head out to the trails near you, a staycation provides a great reason to do so. Plan ahead and find out where the trail begins and ends. How far will you need to hike and will your kids be able to do that trail?
Once you’ve done a bit of research beforehand, you’ll be ready to spend the day taking a nature walk. Don’t forget plenty of water, enough food, and safety essentials as well as a nature walk activity sheet. Then enjoy the time outside in nature! Who knows, your kids might even be able to identify some of the plants and animals you’re learning about in your homeschool.
Take a good book along and head to a local park. Bring a picnic lunch, then plan on spending an enjoyable afternoon with your kids playing on the playground equipment or walking the trails. Sometimes families don’t have time during the year to regularly spend time at local parks. If this is you, then remember that a staycation provides you a great time to check out your local amenities and enjoy them without having to worry about work.
Don’t neglect the idea of a staycation that really is spent at home in your own backyard! How many of us pay for a house and backyard that we hardly enjoy? Instead of traveling across the country to a new location, consider what you can do in your own backyard. Maybe it’s just to enjoy your pool, or yard, or hammock. Maybe it’s simple things like having no where to go for a week. Another fun idea is to set up your own obstacle course for your kids to enjoy in the yard. Depending on the age of your kids, this could be simple or challenging. Use what you have or splurge on a few unexpected items! Your kids will love it.
Plan a fun family bike ride on a biking trail near you. A great place to check out are Rail Trails. These are former railroad corridors that have been converted to public paths. They make a great place to take your kids for a bike ride because they tend to have a gentle slope.
Enjoy some water activities in your own yard. Set up sprinklers or slip-and-slides. Even if you don’t have a pool, you might be able to find a natural swimming spot near you. This off-the-beaten path swimming hole might provide the perfect staycation relaxation!
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Why not set up an outdoor scavenger hunt during your staycation? Or take it one step further and spend a day or two geocaching nearby. You might be surprised at how many local geocaches are hiding in your area. And you just might inspire a new hobby for your kids!
In addition to national parks near you, don’t forget about the state parks. Again, just google “state parks near me” to find a great list. You can enjoy gorgeous scenery and many outdoor activities right near your own home and without spending a lot of money.
Visit Different Countries Virtually
Maybe your kids would love to visit different countries during your staycation! You can do this virtually through planning a themed week. You could “visit” a different country each day, or visit one country for the whole week. Just plan your activities, favorite books, movies, and recipes to fit the country you’ll “visit” virtually.
For some more low-key and low-prep ideas, a summer bucket list is a great place to start. So no matter what you decide to try out of these creative staycation ideas, just remember to have fun and enjoy your family.
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