What is a Staycation?

A staycation is a series of outings or strung-together itinerary of day trips and adventures that can turn any humdrum week off into a great cheap family vacation!

I don’t know what your family dynamic is when you’re all at home…but ours can be near disastrous!

We’ll find things to clean, areas to straighten up, clothes that don’t fit, appliances that don’t work, and cupboards that are bare (or rapidly on their way!).

Sometimes staying home for a week of relaxation can be anything but!

What can you do? Sky’s the limit!

We had a lot of fun with everyone coming up with their own ideas. It helps group common themes together and hit each type of thing that everyone wants to do.

For example, if a pizza outing is making its way into every suggestion from one of our children…the end result should have a pizza dinner one night.

Same goes for sporting events and family movie or board game nights. While we may not be able to accommodate every idea, we try hard to capture the essence of each of their ideas.

What to do

  • Look at a map and set your boundaries: For us it was 75-100 miles in all directions which ended up encompassing the mountains, the beach, and some farm-league baseball stadiums.


  • Set the budget: The whole idea behind a staycation is to maximize the fun on a minimum budget. So figure out what you can spend for the week and write it down.


  • Research the area: There are lots of things that come to mind when you start thinking of day trips, but there are likely many, many more ideas that you have yet to discover. Take advantage of the internet and start searching! As an example, I heard about a neat coal mine tour a few hours west of us (Pennsylvania). After some more searching, I found a chocolate factory tour, a Yuengling brewery tour, and a couple other neat sites on the way home…it was a really fun, full day.


  • Look at special event calendars: It’s amazing how many free concerts, outdoor movie nights, and other events occur in public parks during the summer. Check out the events calendars for your area parks, museums, and gathering places – you might be in for a treat!


  • Create a blank week-chart: This will be where you pencil in activities and try to best string them together on each day’s plan.


  • Set the ground rules: It’s best to let the kids know what’s within the realm of possible and those ideas that are not. Better to establish this early-on before they start day-dreaming up a trip to Disney or a week at the beach. For example, we told our kids that for the price of 6 tickets to a major league game, we could eat out, buy 6 minor league tickets, ice cream sundaes, and have some left-over change for the next day!

Our favorite Staycation ideas:

  • Board Game & Make Your Own Sundae Night


  • Minor League Baseball Game – pick a night with freebies or fireworks!


  • Home Water Fights – buy some cheap squirt guns & balloons – hours of fun!


  • Food Factory Tours – Interesting & Delicious


  • Family Hike & Picnic Lunch


  • Bowling (get an alley with a red pin game day & it’s that much more fun!)


  • State or Local Park – paddleboats, Frisbee, etc..


  • Rediscover your Hometown – we Rode the Ducks in our city, saw the sights, played tourist for a day…and had a blast!

One word of advice:

Too much driving can put a damper on a fun staycation.

One year, we had a couple tough back-to-back days that involved long days and 150+ miles of round-trip drives – this wore out our young crew pretty good.

You may want to consider spacing the drive events with some fun stay-home events to keep everyone fresh.

It can also be loads of fun to involve another family, friends, grandparents, or cousins in an outing or even as a surprise guest!

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