Has your family made the decision to stay at home for vacation this year? Well, the Misadventures family has! With the high cost of gas, airfare, food, and lodging you will be far from the only ones making this choice right now.
While a staycation might not always be your first choice of a vacation destination it doesn’t mean that you and your family can’t have an amazing time. There are lots of great activities that you can do while on your staycation!
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If you are looking for some staycation things to do, check out my ideas for creating adventure without leaving home, or at least not going too far!
So you aren’t able to go far this year but what about a few days spent in the great outdoors? If there are some campgrounds within driving distance of your home they can be a great alternative to a hotel and they are fairly inexpensive as well.
Many campgrounds offer fun amenities for the whole family like swimming pools, tennis courts, miniature golf, and arcades in addition to opportunities for hiking, fishing, and exploring.
If you aren’t able to head to the campground, you can still camp out in the backyard or even in the living room if the weather isn’t cooperating. Just set up your tent in the backyard and make a fire in your fire pit, or charcoal grill if you don’t have one. Get some hot dogs, and all the makings for s’mores and have an amazing weekend.
This is one of my favorite things to do, even when we aren't staycationing! I have some lists of cool camping and beach camping gear that you might want to take a look at as well as a simple camping planner that might come in handy!
“Tour” Your Community
Have you ever taken the time to “visit” your hometown? No? Then now is your opportunity! Look on a travel website, find local bloggers (or hit type in your town in MY search bar!), check out hashtags for your town or city and Instagrammers on Instagram, and see what there is to do in your hometown!
Chances are, you will find museums, parks, activities, and restaurants that you didn’t even know were there. You don’t have to be from a big city to find interesting things to do close to home.
Stay at a Hotel or Airbnb for a Night
A change of scenery can do everyone some good, and even if you can’t go for a week-long vacation out of town it doesn’t mean that you can’t get out of the house for a night or two.
Try to pick a location with a pool or access to a lake or river so that it “feels” more like a vacation. If you can, book this stay during the middle of the week so that the nightly cost will be less than it would be during the weekends.
Visit a State Park or National Park
Is there a state or national park within driving distance of your home? If so, you might consider taking a day or even a couple of days trip to check it out. If you would like to stay for the night chances are they have some campgrounds available.
Even if you are only able to go for a day trip, state and national parks offer all kinds of fun things to do and see. You might be able to spend the day swimming, hiking, biking, boating, visiting a nature conservatory, seeing a museum or local historical landmark, and just learning more about a park near you.
Do you and your family like scavenger hunts? If so, you might enjoy geocaching together on your staycation. Geocaching is where people all over the world hide treasures or caches and then leave the coordinates for them on the official geocaching app.
There are more than 300 million geocaches around the globe with more being added all of the time, and that means that there are probably some caches near you! All you need to do to participate in the search is the app, and your phone or another GPS-enabled device. Don’t just look for other treasures, make sure to leave some of your own too!
Find a New Playground
When it comes to visiting playgrounds for the kids we often stay close to home, but chances are there are some other awesome playgrounds in your town that are a little further from home. Look up your county website and see what other parks and playgrounds your community has to offer.
Pack up a picnic lunch or some snacks and let the kids enjoy a new playground and maybe even make some new friends!
Looking for a fun way to spend a few hours? Head to a local farm and go berry picking. Generally, you are offered a discounted price on the fruit if you pick it yourself. The types of fruit available to pick will vary from season to season, but during the fall there are apples and pears that you can pick.
During the summer you can pick strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches (like for us right now in North Carolina!). Once you get home with your freshly picked fruit you can wash it and freeze it for later use, share it with friends and neighbors, make jam or jelly, or use it to make baked goods.
Visit a Sunflower or Lavender Fields
July and August are the prime times for sunflower and lavender fields. Depending on the farm or field there could be mazes, education tours, you-pick harvesting, and food and beauty products for sale. It is a great location for a photoshoot too!
Make sure to bring your own gardening sheers (most places don't offer them). Make sure everyone has plenty of sunscreen as well!
Here is a list of sunflower fields in and around Raleigh and 5 unique lavender fields in the United States.
Have a Spa Day
Have a spa day and pamper yourselves all day long. You can go to a local spa and schedule a day of treatments or you can set up a spa at home. You can find recipes for face masks, body scrubs, and massage oils online if you don’t already have those items on hand, and you probably have everything you need for manicures and pedicures already!
Make sure that you pick up a few special snacks for the day and enjoy a day of relaxation at home.
Family Movie Night
You don’t have to head to the theater with their exorbitant ticket and snack prices to enjoy a family movie night. Look and see if your community offers a movie under the stars event, and if so go with your family. Many communities offer these types of events for free several times throughout the summer.
If there isn’t an upcoming movie under the stars type of event near you, just set up your own movie night at home. Pick a couple of movies the whole family will enjoy, grab some snacks from the store, or let the kids help you make a few special treats and you will be all set!
Organize a family game night for one evening of your staycation. Pull out your family’s favorite board and card games for a night of family fun. Bored with your board games? Then create some of your own games like balloon table tennis with paper plate paddles, or bowling with a ball and empty two-liter bottles.
The possibilities and the laughs are endless! You could even let each family member pick and or create one game for the family to play together. Pick up some snacks the whole family will enjoy and spend the night at home with your family.
Backyard Splash Park
Get some water balloons, spray bottles, sprinklers, squirt guns, and spray bottles, and turn your backyard into a water park! You can pick up all of these items at your local big-box store, or dollar store fairly inexpensively and the whole family will have a blast!
Look online for water games that you can all play, have a squirt gun war, and a water balloon fight. The memories from an afternoon like this one, especially if mom and dad play too, will last a lifetime.
Do you or your kids love getting creative and making things? If so, your staycation offers the perfect opportunity to have an art day. Pull out your arts and crafts supplies, pick up a few extras or something new, and spend the day as a family getting creative.
I also love the kits where you get everything you need to create a project in a single box. One of my favorites is Craft-Ease, which offers Paint by Numbers and Diamond painting kits.
Once your art day is complete you will have new art pieces that you can place around your home to remember your staycation!
Puzzles are not just fun to do, they're good for your brain! Puzzles can help kids learn new skills and improve their intelligence. For adults, puzzles are a fun way to exercise your brain. They improve short-term memory and problem-solving skills, visual-spacial reasoning, increase IQ, delay dementia and Alzheimer’s, lower stress levels and improve your mood! That's a lot for a little box of pieces!
There are so many types of puzzles, everyone can get their own and enjoy or team up and do it together. I love Paris-themed puzzles and am currently working on several!
Put Your Crime-Solving Skills to the Test
Are you a true-crime fan? Love a good murder mystery film or book? Deputize yourself as a detective and well, Be The Detective! If you get the monthly subscription, each month a package of evidence is mailed to your door from a detective on the case. It is up to you to spot the liars, unravel the riddles and crack the case.
If you just want to buy a single month, you can do that as well! The boxes are perfect for date nights, family game nights, and you guessed it, a staycation!
Oftentimes, a big part of vacation is the meals that you get to share. A staycation doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on great food at all, in fact, quite the opposite.
Let each family member pick out a favorite dish and work together in the kitchen to prepare them all. Or, attend a virtual cooking class and learn to make a dish or meal from a cuisine you've always wanted to try.
Once everything is prepared, sit down at the table as a family and share an amazing meal together.
No one should have to cook for every meal of their staycation, so treat the family one night and order take out or pick up an order from your family’s favorite restaurant. Find a movie or TV show the family will enjoy and watch it while you enjoy a delicious meal that you didn’t have to cook or clean up from!
Who says you have to leave home for some amazing desserts? Set up a dessert bar for the family to enjoy. You can make ice cream sundaes, or have everyone decorate their own cupcakes or cookies, or you can make all of them…you ARE on vacation after all!
A few flavors of ice cream and frosting, flavored syrups, chocolate chips, sprinkles, candies, and some whipped cream and you are all set. If your kids are younger, you may want to do this in the afternoon and have some physical activities planned for afterward to help avoid a grumpy sugar crash.
Do Nothing Day
Every vacation should include a do-nothing day, but especially a staycation. So what do you do on a do-nothing day? You guessed it, nothing! Stay in your pj’s and lounge around the house doing whatever it is that you like best.
Read books, play video games, take a nap, watch tv…whatever you like, but no leaving the house and no cleaning or chores. Pick something easy to make for dinner or use your do-nothing day as a perfect opportunity to have dinner delivered and enjoy your day of doing nothing.
Consider taking some of your time together to volunteer in your local community. There are lots of ways for you and your family to help your community out. You can volunteer at the animal shelter by playing with animals, participating in a stream or park clean-up, helping to cook at a local shelter, or sorting through donations at the local food pantry.
If you look around there are lots of ways to give back to your community with a little bit of your and your family’s time.
Staying close to home in no way means that there will be less fun, laughter, or memories on your vacation. In fact, by staying close to home you may find things to do that your family will enjoy going to or participating in regularly.
How about you? What are some of your favorite family staycation ideas? Do share!
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