Did you have to put your family’s summer vacation plans on hold? You aren’t alone—whether due to travel restrictions, limited time, or strained budgets, many people are opting to staycation. A staycation is a great chance to appreciate and discover local attractions, hang out with your family, and revel in the luxury of relaxing at home with no responsibilities.
With no expensive airplane tickets or hotel rooms to pay for, staycations are a budget-friendly way to take some time off. Looking for cheap staycation ideas? Try a few of these tips for a summer vacation to remember.
1. Spa Day
Start your vacation with a relaxing spa day. Tell everyone in the family to turn off their alarms and sleep in. Book an appointment at a local spa or nail salon, or save money by doing DIY face masks, bath bombs, and mani-pedis at home.
2. Visit a Museum
Staycations are a great way to play tourist in your hometown. Start with some local art, historical, or science museums and discover or rediscover a local treasure. Try hitting as many museums as you can in one day, or spread them out over the week.
3. Go Geocaching
Hidden treasures abound out in the wild, some even in your neighborhood. Find them all by downloading the geocaching app on your phone and tracking down nearby caches. Geocaching is a perfect cheap staycation activity. You may discover some beautiful new hiking trails, walking paths, and scenic views along the way. Bring a few small knick-knacks you can leave behind in the caches you find.
4. Backyard Camping
Set up a campsite in your backyard. Pitch a tent, cook outside or have a picnic, play card games, and sleep under the stars. If you are a short driving distance from a campsite, spend the night there.
5. Movie Night
Rent a projector and host an outdoor family movie night, or just camp out in front of the TV. If you have small kids, let them decorate and pass out movie tickets to each family member. Make popcorn and get traditional movie treats to munch on. During your staycation, don’t limit yourself to one movie night—make it a nightly treat if you want, with each family member taking turns picking the feature.
6. Go to the Park
One of the best staycation ideas is to check out a local state or national park. Go hiking, boating, picnicking, or sightseeing. If there’s no state or national parks nearby, find a local city park you’ve never been to before and spend the day or afternoon there walking around, throwing a frisbee, flying kites, feeding ducks, and letting your kids play.
7. Try a New Restaurant
Find a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant and try it out. For a true staycation experience, order takeout and eat at home. If you’re looking for a cheap staycation, eat out only once or twice during your time off at a restaurant you haven’t tried yet. This is your chance to find a new favorite spot.
We all have good intentions to do more for our community, and a staycation is a great chance to do just that. Look for local volunteer opportunities and sign up with your family. You can volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen, donate gently-used items to a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home, or help at the humane society.
10. Make Something
Is there a craft you’ve always wanted to try? Now’s your chance to learn a new crafty skill or pick back up an old favorite. Crocheting, knitting, and sewing are all great options. You could also make something for your home, or find fun DIY projects for the kids online.
11. Hit the Trails
Find a new hiking or biking trail near you and go check it out. Hiking makes for a great cheap staycation idea because it’s free (unless you have to pay land fees at the trailhead) and fun. There’s no need to spend the entire day hiking or do more than you are in shape for. Just being outside is restful and healing to the soul.
12. Try Yoga
If you don’t already practice yoga regularly, your staycation is a great time to learn how to enjoy this exercise and reap the rewards of relaxation. Follow along with a video online, or splurge a bit and attend a class at the gym or a local yoga studio.
13. Be Lazy
Treat your staycation like an actual vacation. Don’t check your work emails, and don’t set an alarm in the morning. Don’t feel guilty about spending time on the couch reading, relaxing, and watching TV. This is your chance to sleep in and enjoy being home without the pressure to be productive.
14. Go Bowling
Bowling is a fun family activity and can add a change of scenery to your staycation. Don’t be afraid of a little friendly competition with your family members at the bowling alley.
15. Play Board Games
Shut off the screens and dust off some of your board game favorites like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Scattergories. Challenge your family to a board game tournament, and have fun teaching your kids how to play your favorite games. If you are feeling extra creative, try inventing your own family board game!
Your staycation doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. These cheap staycation ideas will have your family enjoying some time off together without breaking the bank.
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