10 Staycation Ideas for Families

Ahhhh…….sweet summer is calling our name!  The school year has almost ended, the weather is beautiful, and fun abounds! For some families, the lure of vacation is calling their names.  However, some years time constraints & budgets don’t allow for much travel.  So how do we add some excitement to the summer months?  A summer “staycation” of course!

What’s a “staycation” you ask?  It’s merely a vacation at home.  It’s a low crowd, low-cost fun experience.  I also love a staycation because it gives us an opportunity to do activities that we are often too busy for during the school year. A staycation has to have a few rules though.  Here are ours:

  • Minimal cleaning & chores – I wish I could say none, but that can never happen.
  • Outside distractions must be limited – This is hard for us.  We have to say “no” to a lot of things when we decide to stay at home.
  • Must be fun!

Now that we have covered the rules here are some of my top ideas for a staycation.  Pretend to pack your bags and get ready for some fun!

Are you planning a family staycation this year? If not you should be! Staycations are the frugal way to vacation. Check out these 10 ideas for a staycation that families will love!

1).  Staycation in another country

Always dreamed of visiting Paris?  Why not pretend to visit there?  Research some of the local customs, and plan a “Night in Paris.”  Dress up is optional.  If you are looking for more activities you can find a craft native to the area, do some virtual tours, watch a movie from the area, or listen to some music from the country.

2).   Hold an Arts & Crafts fair in your living room

Why not host your very own family Arts & Crafts fair?  You can spend the day creating fun projects or pieces of art, and then put them on display.  Maybe paint some pottery or try a guided drawing video online.  Right now our favorite craft projects are made using fuse beads like these.  You can always make some finger foods and have the grandparents over to visit your “gallery.”

3).  Create a staycation family sporting event

Is your family the competitive type?  Then create a family sports tournament.  If the weather cooperates you can hold Olympic style competitions outside.  Basketball, bicycling, and field day type races are all good ideas.  You can even create a family obstacle course.  Don’t give up this idea just because it’s a rainy day either.  You can always hold board game competitions or pull out the Wii.  Silly awards can even be handed out at the end of the day ceremony.  You could be the reigning crab walk champion.

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4).  Turn your home into a resort, or a cruise ship.

One of our favorite family vacations is a cruise.  However, these are rarely in our budget.  Why not create one at home?  Many cruise lines, as well as resorts, offer their daily activity schedules online.  Usually several of these ideas can be duplicated at home.  Why not assign everyone a “cabin” and set sail.  You can play games, lay out in the sun, and tie-dye t-shirts. Finish off the day with a fancy dinner that everyone helps cook.  Dress up if you want, or walk around in “resort wear” all day long.  It’s your choice!


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5).  Have a backyard camp-out.

Do you have a tent sitting in the garage?  Put it to use!  Grab your sleeping bags and head outside.  Of course, no camp-out is complete without a bonfire and some flashlight tag.  If you have availability nearby, you can even add fishing and hiking to your day.  Don’t forget the smores!

6).  Pack a picnic basket and go on a nature walk

I have found that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  There is nothing better than a picnic lunch on a pleasant summer day.  Be sure to slow down and examine what you find along the way.  My 7-year-old is especially good at finding the smallest things outside.  She opens my eyes to beautiful things that I would have otherwise failed to notice.  Another fun nature activity is geocaching, and most kids love it.  Not sure how to get started?  Check out this getting started guide from Misty at Year Round Homeschooling.

7).  Be a tourist in your town

Sometimes the best things are right under our noses.  Why not pretend like you are visiting your town?  What are some of the best attractions & dining closest to you?  If you have extra money available take in a movie or a game of bowling, maybe find a new restaurant that you have never tried before.  Make sure you take plenty of pictures along the way, you are a tourist after all!

8).  Have a staycation science day

If you have a science center or museum in your town, then that’s great, but what if you don’t? Then create one!  Spend the day doing fun & wacky science experiments.  There are loads of ideas on the internet for science experiments using household objects.  (Don’t forget to make slime, that’s a favorite here)  You can end the day at a huge “Planetarium.”  Just grab some blankets and head out under the stars.

9).  Hold a water day

My family LOVES a good water park, but during peak months they are usually crowded and out of our price range.  Thankfully there are tons of ideas for water fun at home.  If you have a pool, hold a summer Olympics competition.  If you don’t grab a couple of water guns or a pack of water balloons.  Maybe you can purchase a cheap slip & slide.  Then you can finish the day with homemade ice cream or snow cones.

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10).  Enjoy pizza and a movie

Any movie lovers in your family?  Why not make an evening of it?  A nice touch would be to let everyone create their own pizza beforehand.  Don’t forget to add the popcorn and the candy.

So there you go……my ideas for a “staycation.”  My final tip is to plan a recovery week.  A good vacation always wears you out!  How about you?  Do you “staycation” in the summer?

(If you loved this post check out this post on Frugal Family Fun.)


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