Maybe you have heard of them, maybe you haven’t. But planning a family staycation is a fun way to connect with one another, especially during summer and long breaks, but doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! It’s also just a way to destress and “get away” without getting away. Young families with babies and toddlers I know could especially use these staycation breaks, but anyone could benefit from the fun and relaxation!
Inexpensive Staycation Ideas, fun for the Whole Family
First and foremost, with children, you can make any experience an amazing one. So any of your family staycation ideas are great. Even if you are just doing basic activities, the fact that the family took the time to plan out an entire week of activities and is looking forward to doing them has the potential for awesome. So embrace it and talk up the family fun!
- Build indoor forts or camp in your backyard. This is a fun way to make the mundane a little more exciting. You can read together, watch movies together, or just nap together in your special little in-home vacation spot. Or pretend the backyard is Africa and go on safari. Let your imagination take over! Pull out the headlamps, make a campfire or just use your grill, and have fun.
- Go to a sporting event. Especially in the summer, there are some many major and minor league sports that have family nights and are just plain fun for the whole family. Even if you’re not a fan, just enjoying the time outside, eating stadium food that’s so not good for you, and laughing with family means a great time!
- Enjoy a Movie Marathon. Whether you pick out your family favorites to have an all day movie day or one for each day… or more, find some family movies to watch and enjoy. In fact, many libraries have movies you can check out so you’re not buying or paying for them in any way!
- Make outdoor & backyard games. This is SUCH a fun variation on playing games with the family and the perfect idea for any summer and nice weather staycation. (Plus who wouldn’t want to play giant scrabble, or grass twister?)
- Visit a local attraction. Something like paddle boating at a nearby pond or lake or maybe even a ropes-course that’s family friendly is a fun way to see your home town while experiencing a new “first”.
- Go on a Hike! It does have to be a long one, especially not with toddlers. But get out and enjoy the weather, have fun, and explore the local landscape! Even if it’s a “city hike”, make it something fun and memorable. If it means making a scavenger hunt that is unique to your town or city, then that’s a great way to engage your kids!
- Have a Board Game Night. Invite over some friends and family and enjoy some fun all together. You can make it a pot luck where you provide a simple main dish and everyone that comes brings a side, a snack, a drink, or a dessert.
- Build Something. A tree house, a hammock, a bird house, a swing, or anything!
- Play in the water. This means you can go to a water park, a local swimming hole, have a garden hose fight, stay a night in a hotel, play on a sprinkler or slip and slide, or just take a dunk in a kiddie pool.
- Find a festival, clean-up event, or get-together. One of my favorite aspects of summer is getting to enjoy music festivals, eat at food trucks, and sit in the night breeze. Last summer we even drive a couple of hours to go to a nearby hot air balloon festival. You might be surprised what’s within two hours of you!
- Have a PJ day. Talk it up and make it a big deal that all day you’re staying in our jammies, eating breakfast meals, and practicing the art of doing nothing.
- Tour a nearby factory or farm. See how ice cream is made or something else. Maybe even go see how a cow is milked. possibilities are endless here.
- Don’t cook inside. This means grill out every night or save up to make every meal one that you eat out. You can make a restaurant schedule and menu. This is especially fun if your family eats every meal at home for a month and you reward yourselves!
- Map out local, non-chain places. Whether it’s a food hop or just a time to explore stores and resources that are local to you, it’s an adventure and a way to get to know your area. For instance, love eco-friendly products? Find stores or manufacturers that make/sell those kinds of things and ask to visit or tour! Be creative and think outside of the box.
- Find the most epic local park/playground. Enough said.
- Go for a bike ride. Even if you don’t own a bike, your nearest big city, probably has somewhere the rents them. This is just a fun activity the whole family can participate in!
- Make a pledge that you only sleep in your home for a week. This means get out and about. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get out of your four walls.
- Enjoy a Picnic. Even if it’s on your front porch or in the middle of the living room, a picnic is a great way to spend special time together. Spread out a blanket, lay out a bunch of fruit, a pitcher of lemonade, and tasty sandwiches and enjoy one another. Tell stories, tell riddles, and play twenty questions.
- Go Berry Picking. Many places give you the berries free or at a discount if you pick your own and it’s a fun adventure for kids.
- Unplug. Time seems to go by slower when we’re not consumed by electronics. Make a pledge to spend quality face time with those you love and disconnect with the outside world or a night, a day, or do you dare try a week?!
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!