Traveling is exhausting—whether by plane or car, you can’t overlook packing bags and getting everyone ready on time. Money is spent on tickets, or gas, and sleeping arrangements in a foreign place. By the time you’ve begun looking for a house-sitter, exhaustion has already set in, and you haven’t even left your front porch!
In striving to make this summer special, you may have overlooked the possibility of a “Staycation.” A stay-at-home vacation, with all of the site seeing, family time, and picture perfect moments of a getaway right in your home town. And if you think that sounds like it couldn’t possibly live up to a trip to the Bahamas, you might be wrong.
Has The Local Food Always Tasted This Good?
A huge part of an exotic location is taste-testing the local cuisine, and most people think to do that when they’re in a different place. But what about right where you live? If a local tourist were to ask you, “what’s the best place to eat around here?” what might you say?
Every town has that one restaurant that’s been there since ’89. Or maybe it’s a new joint you’ve been dying to try. Either way, treat you and your loved one or family to a taste-testing event and do a little pub hopping.
A Staycation could be the perfect time to use the kitchen again, too. Life can get busy, but when the world takes a collective sigh around summer time, you might find yourself with a bit of free time and some new found creativity. Have a family cook night, where everyone pitches in to make a dish you haven’t before or an old favorite. You will create plenty of memories and picture-perfect moments to cherish, and you didn’t even have to pay for airfare.
Try grilling some veggies, having a theme night, or having a giant salad bar for dinner. Food can be so fun and exciting, use your staycation to try something new!
A Neighborhood Festival
If what you enjoy about vacationing is meeting new people or spending time with friends outside of the family, this summer staycation idea should be right up your ally. Host a classic summer dinner party, with the grill, the sparklers, red solo cups and volleyball tournaments, right in your backyard! And if you don’t have room outside, bring the party indoors, with festive decorations and board games.
Getting together with your community is great because, unlike friends you meet on a get-away vacation, your neighbors will always be right next door! Building relationships with the people in your own community can provide you with a long lasting support system throughout the rest of the year too. Plus the laughs and inside jokes a classic party group game can inspire will feel like a long-distance escape from reality.
Museums, planetariums, aquariums oh my!
Your city might have one of these just 20 minutes away, or maybe a neighboring city does. You and the family can enjoy a short road trip to your local attraction. A classic “day at the zoo” is a guaranteed memorable, picture-worthy summer staycation including everything you might experience at an exotic destination — without having to deal with out-of-country currency.
For older kids, or for you and your loved one, look into fun “VIP” programs that host a behind the scenes look at caring for and feeding the animals. Planetariums and museums often have a special presentation or movie feature worth seeing.
Aquariums frequently have touch pools or offer up-close-and-personal experiences with animals like sea turtles, dolphins and sting rays. Here’s a list of the country’s best aquariums, just in case one might inspire a mini road trip this summer!
Back Yard Camping
Who needs camping in Yosemite when you’ve got the same set of stars above your back porch? Not to mention, if you forget anything or have to go to the bathroom, you have the convenience of your own home.
Pitching a tent in your backyard or local campground allows you and your family to experience all of the classic joys of camping while staying close to home and saving a bunch of money. If you’re not up for the full camping experience, go on a hike to experience the best of both worlds—enjoying the great outdoors, while sleeping in your own comfortable bed at night.
But if making a family campground sounds exciting to you, pick up some roasting sticks and a lantern to get started! The thrilling experience of building a fire from scratch and roasting marshmallows or hot dogs is a lot easier to recreate than you think. Summer might even be the perfect time to look into taking on a backyard fire-pit DIY project.
So pitch the family tent, bring out some quilts, afghans, playing cards or a few good books to read aloud and enjoy a night under the stars. The best part is you don’t have to get up early to drive home in the morning.
Your Very Own Waterpark
Why spend a fortune on renting a hotel and traveling to a giant water resort when a slip and slide and some dish soap can do the trick? Welcome to the fun and entertaining experience of an at-home water park.
Not owning a pool is hardly a setback. Check out Amazon’s best outdoor water play sprinklers or these family fun slip and slides. With just a hose, soap and a sunny day, you can create the perfect water getaway for you and your family.
And to reference back to a few other summer staycation ideas, the more the merrier! Invite a few neighbors to join in the fun. Have everyone make their favorite summer dish, and bring it along to share. Summer days are long and hot, so there is plenty of time to do a host of other activities like going to the movies, feeding the giraffes or hosting a bonfire.
Skip the airfare and the traffic baby! Your summer staycation might be your most memorable one yet.