A staycation is a way to have fun this summer — without all of the planning and expense. But, what do you do on a summer staycation?
The kids will all be on summer vacation soon. That means sun, fun — and family vacations. However, if your budget won’t allow you to get out of town this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have lots of fun together. Before you plan your staycation, don’t forget that you still must have a staycation budget!
WHAT IS A STAYCATION?
A staycation is a vacation at home. Rather than packing your bags and traveling somewhere for a few days, you spend your time away from work at home. You can do things that are free, or might be more cost-effective.
A staycation is a perfect way to enjoy time off of work without blowing your budget. It is perfect for anyone, no matter whether you are trying to get out of debt or just don’t want to spend money this year.
WHAT TO DO ON A STAYCATION
Below you’ll find a list of fun and unique staycation ideas. These will work on any budget and are perfect for families or couples. You might even get inspired to come up with your own ideas along the way.
Visit local museums / Be A Hometown Tourist
Many times, there is little to no admission to these venues. They are a great way to add a little culture to your life — plus they are air-conditioned and can keep you cool! As an added perk, you have a chance to really get to know your city and often, the history that surrounds it.
Visit your city’s tourism page for discounts. For example, if you live in Kansas City, they have several 2-for-1 coupons offers anyone can use. Check out this link for great 2-for-1 coupon offers. Another great way to find discounts is to check GroupOn.
One of my favorite ways to save money is to purchase a Pogopass. You can find them for cities around the country and when you buy you get discounted admission to parks and other venues. It is a simple way to save money and still have fun with your family.
You could plan an entire vacation as if you were visiting your city for the very first time!
Set up your own water park
Another fun staycation idea is to make a water park at home! Use your own pool, slip ‘n slide and sprinklers. Arrange them in an obstacle course for the kids to run and play and stay cool. Be sure to make some popsicles because it isn’t a water park without frozen treats!
Take a family hike or cycling adventure (National Parks)
There are trails all around this city. You could plan a route and go on a short hike, complete with a picnic with the kids. It is an easy way to get outside and enjoy nature.
It is also a great way to take in your nearest national park. These parks are sprinkled throughout our country and the perfect opportunity to get outside.
Plan a neighborhood BBQ
Assign a food item to all of the neighbors, bring your chairs, coolers and have a great time. By each household providing one item, your cash outflow is minimal, and you get to have a fun party (and maybe get to even KNOW your neighbors a little better).
Bring the ballpark home
Let’s face it, baseball tickets can be out of your budget’s reach, so why not bring them home? Dawn your favorite team’s apparel, cook up all of the baseball park fixins’ such as hot dogs, nachos and soft drinks, and turn on the tube. Root for the home team from home (and think about how great it will be not to fight traffic when the game is over).
Read more: How to Save Money at Your Ballpark
Storytime at the library
Skip the busy venues and have a staycation at the library! Books are a great way to stimulate your child’s love of reading. Check out your local library for summer reading events.
Camp out in your own backyard
We have done this many times! We pick up the makings for s’mores, tell stores and try to catch a few fireflies before we climb into our tent for the night.
Picnic in the Park
My kids would live in the park if I let them. One thing we often do on our staycation is a picnic! We pack a lunch, head to the park and get out and play ball, run and just have a great time! Who says a staycation idea has to be elaborate? The simplest ideas can often be the most fun.
If you check out the Geocaching website, they say, “Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”
Visit a local theme park
Sure, your dream vacation may mean a trip to Disney or Universal Studios, but the reality is quite different. Look for adventure or theme parks close to home for a day of fun.
Sign up for emails or visit RetailMeNot to locate discounts for your tickets or check out a PogoPass. You might also check with your local grocery store, as they sometimes sell tickets at a discount too.
Paintball or Laser Tag
How many times do you drive by these establishments on your way to work? Grab the family and head out for a friendly game of tag or paintball.
Bowling is a fun family staycation activity that is affordable. And, if you register your kids for the Free Bowling Summer program, you’ll pay for just the shoe rental!
Work on a Family Project
Who says the staycation can’t be productive? Is there something you need to be done around the house? Does the shed need to be painted or do you want to re-decorate the family room? Get everyone involved together, and you’ll all enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Get Your Art On
There pottery and painting classes in many cities. Find one that you can do together as a family. When you get home, display your masterpieces together to remember the fun you had.
A fun idea to enjoy with your friends. Each of you selects a course for a meal. So, if you get the appetizers, everyone comes to your house and eats for a bit. You all jump in your cars and head to the next person’s house for dinner. It is a fun way to bring interest to a regular dinner get together.
Follow the Alphabet
I love this idea for a staycation (and even date night). Grab the Scrabble tiles and turn them all over. Then, draw out one letter. This letter tells you everything you have to do that day! So, if you draw an “H”, you may need to hike, play with the hula-hoop or play hopscotch. It can be fun to get creative!
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
You’ve probably done these at parties, and they can be a lot of fun. You can spin this idea around and create an outdoor scavenger hunt, where your kids have to find things in nature. It turns a regular walk into something fun!
Read More: How to Plan an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Get Involved with My Town Rocks
One of the newest sensations taking the nation by storm is my town rocks. Look for painted rocks around your city. The idea is that when you take one, you leave another. It is a fun way to explore the area where you live!
Read More: My Town Rocks
Most people do a lot of baking in November and December. Look for some simple summertime treats and plan a day of baking. You might even try making these fun watermelon krispie treats!
When the rain comes in (or the heat is too much for you to be outside), take the fun indoors with a family board game tournament! Get some snacks and drinks and settle in for a ton of family fun. If you want some new games to try, check out the Amazon Best Sellers list for inspiration.
Visit Your Farmer’s Market
Your local farmer’s market can be a lot of great family fun! There is good food, music and amazing vendors selling freshly grown produce and homemade wares.
No matter what you plan on doing this summer, the most important thing is just to have fun and do it as a family. Your children will love spending quality time with you – no matter WHAT you decide to do.