7 Simple Staycation Ideas for Families

Staycations are quickly becoming one of America’s most popular ways to take a family vacation. Why? The first reason is that your wallet will love you! By vacationing at or near your home, you can save money on travel, lodging, and the purchase of items you sometimes forget when you’re travelling, such as extra clothing, sunscreen, and over-the-counter medicines. And, don’t forget about those restaurant bills totaling hundreds of dollars. You won’t have those while on a family staycation!

Staycations are an excellent alternative to traditional vacations because the “vacation” grass isn’t always greener. Chances are that you live in an area that is filled with nature, beauty, history, and fun things to do. Exploring your own city might be an actual eye-opener. When you start looking and really observing your surroundings, you’ll be surprised and amazed by what new and exciting things there are to do. That’s definitely another reason to plan a family staycation this year! The greatest benefit of organizing a family staycation is to create memories while spending time with your loved ones and experiencing new things!

To start planning, schedule a family meeting so you can discuss when you would like to travel and how long you would like your family staycation to be. Depending upon your geographical location, you may elect to take your staycation when your kids don’t have school during the summer months, or during a different school break. If your children attend a school with student vacation times that differ from the traditional public schools or are homeschooled, you might want to schedule your family staycation during the off-season, especially if you want to avoid crowds.

Another point to consider is the radius of your staycation. In other words, how far are you willing to travel? Are you looking to take several day trips with a possible hotel stayover, or would you rather stay within the circle of your everyday surroundings? Once you have established the dates and locale of your family staycation, start making a list of possible places you would like to visit. Will your family staycation include indoor or outdoor activities, physical activities, or concerts and the arts?

If you are still wondering why a staycation might be a good idea, read through the following list for some more tips and pointers about the best places for a family staycation:

1. The Great Indoors.

Just in case it’s a rainy day, or even if it’s is not, you can include a visit to your local bowling alley, roller or ice skating rinks, indoor gyms or rock climbing venues, or other indoor fun places in your family staycation. Don’t forget the movie theater, arcades, and escape rooms, too. Visit your local library to read and check out books and movies, and to do puzzles, play interactive reading games, and do other hands-on activities. Many libraries offer classes, demos, and informative talks geared to family interests.

2. Outdoor Fun.

The great outdoors is a relaxing place to start your family staycation. Discover local hiking, biking, or horseback riding trails in parks, on trails, or along the beach. Do you live near a lake or river with amenities such as paddleboats, canoes, or kayak rentals? Swimming, tubing, boating, and jet skiing are also fun ways to explore your natural waterways. You can also elect to go green. Enjoy kicking a ball on the soccer field, playing mini-golf or going to the driving range, or having a family baseball game, all with a picnic lunch! Or, take an urban hike or bike ride to your favorite pizza place!

3. The Arts.

Look for free family concerts in your area. Many local bands and orchestras hold them free of charge, depending on the time of year. Some are held in area parks or amphitheaters where blankets and picnic lunches are part of the fun. Attend a live play or musical and get pictures with the cast afterwards. Visit your local art museum or get hands-on at a science center or a children’s museum. Schedule a painting or photography class together.

4. Just for History Buffs.

Most areas are filled with national landmarks, such as monuments, homes, and even settlements or battlefields, some of which even host reenactments. Many cities offer free self-guided walking tours that focus on history. Visit your local library or visitor center to learn more about your area’s history or search online. You might be surprised at the history you’ve been missing out on and have never had time to learn about.

5. Feeling Festive at Festivals.

What would a family staycation be without going to a festival? Festivals abound, especially in the summertime. There are corn festivals, strawberry festivals, and maple syrup festivals, all of which offer delicious samplings. There are also ethnic festivals where you can “travel” to another country and experience its food, culture, music, and dance. Check out Native American festivals, Renaissance festivals, and other festivals which offer demos, music, history, food, and fun.

6. Get Back to Nature.

What would a family staycation be without experiencing local outdoor beauty? Visit nature centers, butterfly gardens, arboretums, botanical gardens, zoos, and aquatic parks. Other staycation ideas include taking a family hike in a city, state, or national park to observe nature. Make sure to snap photos of animals, forests, flowers, trees, and other points of interest. And, don’t forget to take that family selfie!

7. Really Stay Home!

Your family staycation might be just staying at home and relaxing. Plan a family beautification project, such as planting an outdoor flower or vegetable garden. Paint the outside of your house as a team. Work on redecorating your family’s entertainment area to make it a friendly place to gather for your get-togethers. Then, slip in a DVD and watch a family movie. Don’t forget the popcorn!

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