Simple Staycation Ideas

With family budgets stretched to the max, parents need inventive spring break and summer fun ideas that don’t break the bank. Staycations are an excellent way to give everyone the rest and fun needed without spending a lot of cash.

If you’ve never tried a staycation, there are many ways to go about making the best from home. From booking a hotel in your hometown to reduce travel costs to house swapping with a friend in another city or state to staying in your own home, there are many ways to make a staycation memorable!

Here are some of our top recommendations for a low-budget or no-budget staycation!

1. Be a Tourist in Your Town

Being a tourist in your hometown is likely what most people think of when they hear the word staycation. Depending on where you live, there may be numerous things to explore and do, or you may have to dig a bit! Look for museums, nature centers, historic sites, or even a popular restaurant you’ve always wanted to try but never have!

2. Stay a Few Nights at the Closest City

If you live within driving distance of a major city, book a few nights in town to reduce travel costs. You won’t have to deal with the hassle of airports and extra fees, and you can wait until you see the perfect deal and book last minute! Midweek hotel prices are often lower, so if you can swing a few days of work or school, take the kids downtown for a Tuesday through Thursday and avoid the weekend rush!

3. Visit a Farmer’s Market or Local Farm

Farmer’s Markets are everywhere; they have much to see, taste, buy, and look at! From fresh flowers to book vans to delicious bakery treats and local honey, a Farmer’s Market is an excellent way to while away some weekend hours. Fall is the ideal time to visit a local farm, especially if they offer apple picking, a pumpkin patch, or other fall fun like hayrides and a corn maze!

4. Have a Home Spa Day

Head to your local Target or Walmart and stock up on facemasks, manicure and pedicure supplies, aromatherapy, and foot scrubs! Pamper yourselves at home for a fraction of the cost! Kids love painting their nails, and pedicures and manicures are men, too; forgo the polish if that’s not your thing! Play relaxing spa music on your Bluetooth speaker, light some candles or incense, and spend the day relaxing!

5. House Swap 

Have a friend or relative who lives far enough away to make it feel like a vacation? Then do a house swap! You’ll both get a chance to visit somewhere new without the cost of hotel fees! Even if you do nothing but sit around the house relaxing, the fact that it’s not your house will make it feel like a vacation! Just remember to treat their home and belongings respectfully!

6. Head to a Local Show or Sporting Event

Take the kids to see a show or watch your favorite team play! For kids, the excitement of going somewhere like a huge stadium or theater is enough for most to feel like they’re on vacation. Throw in a meal at a restaurant downtown, and if you have the funds, splurge for a one-night stay at a nearby hotel!

7. Home Movie Festival

Load up on your favorite movie snacks and foods and have a movie festival at home! Then, have everyone pick one movie, or you do a theme like Classic Disney Films or the Harry Potter series. 

8. Have a No Electronics Day

Put the phones away, turn off all work alerts, and don’t check those emails! Play games with the kids, set up an obstacle course in the backyard, or set up some sprinklers and have fun splashing in the water! The simple act of not looking at your phone all day or dealing with work messages will make you feel like you’re on vacation!

9. Indoor Camping

Set up some tents or build a fort and camp in your home for a low-budget staycation! Then you’ll have the modern conveniences of a bathroom and running water but with the feeling you’re somewhere new! If you have the space, consider pitching a tent in the backyard for a more realistic camping vibe!

10. Head to a Local Amusement Park or Carnival

One of our summer trips every year is a few days at Hershey Park! It’s a two-hour drive from our home. We stay mid-week, so hotel costs are lower. And since we can drive, transportation is efficient as well. Even a one-day trip to a local theme park or a night at the local carnival is a fun escape from reality and a great staycation idea! For something even less expensive the kids will still love, head to Chuck E. Cheese or Dave and Busters for the afternoon.

11. Picnic in the Park

Traditional picnics have fallen by the wayside, so why not revive the tradition by taking the kids on a picnic at your local park? You can pack games to play, a Bluetooth speaker for some music, and, depending on the size of your park, enjoy a hike or bike ride! In winter, some parks offer ice skating and other holiday fun, like markets, Christmas tree farms, and visits with Santa!

Want more staycation ideas? The Piglet has a list of 62 different staycations you can do with kids.

Updated March 22, 2024, by L. Elizabeth Forry

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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