Jetting off to exotic destinations might not be in the cards, but fear not! With a staycation, the perfect adventure is right at home.
Summer is a time when many of us yearn for adventure, relaxation, and new experiences. (Which usually means taking vacations overseas and spending lots of money.) But work and finances often get in the way. Perhaps your boss won’t let you take three weeks off, or perhaps you just don’t have the budget for a super luxurious vacation.
While jetting off to exotic destinations might not be in the cards for everyone, fear not! You can find that sense of adventure and relaxation right at home with a staycation.
A staycation is just as it sounds: a vacation wherever you are. It can be just as exciting and fulfilling as visiting the trendiest location on the other side of the hemisphere, offering a chance to rejuvenate, bond, and create lasting memories with your family right from the comfort of your own home. No worries about hotels, food, or safety, and you can still do all the same fun activities. It might even be more relaxing than a vacation away from home.
Down below, we’ll explore fifteen incredible staycation ideas that will transform your summer into an unforgettable season filled with fun, relaxation, and exploration—all without the need to travel far from home. And you can adapt these ideas to your family’s interests and ages to make the most of your staycation.
So, get ready to embark on an incredible journey as we delve into staycation inspiration that will ensure you have an amazing summer right at home.
1. Backyard (or Living Room) Camping
Set up a tent in your backyard or living room and enjoy a camping experience with your family. Roast marshmallows, tell stories, and stargaze. Whether you’re under the real stars or a star projector, a camping night will make for the perfect bonding time with your family. Soon, it will become a special annual tradition that your kids never stop talking about!
2. Family Game Night
Family game night is a classic that will add just that little bit of spice you need to keep your summer from being bland. Have a dedicated game night every week with board games, card games, or even video games that the whole family can enjoy together. And if game night is just another Tuesday to your family, you can buy or invent a new game to make these summer game nights special.
For some game inspiration, check out the Big Book of Family Games.
3. A Scavenger Hunt
Design a scavenger hunt around your house or neighborhood, with clues and hidden treasures for your family to find. You can involve your neighbors, friends, museums, historical sites, and more to make it a thrilling, educational adventure for your kids. And bonus points if you end it somewhere fun, like the community pool or ice cream shop, for a cool treat to beat the heat.
4. Movie Marathon
On days too hot to go outside, staying in with the curtains closed, the TV on, and the smell of buttery popcorn is pure indulgent paradise. Choose a theme or favorite movie series and have a movie marathon with popcorn and snacks. And if your family are true movie lovers, you can do this every week (after some educational activities, of course). Turning your house into a personal movie theater is the best way to pass the hot summer days and give your family something to look forward to.
5. DIY Crafts
There’s no sense of fulfillment quite like making something on your own. Not only are you doing something creative, but you’re teaching your family life-skills and promoting their mental health and well-being. It’s as easy as doing creative DIY crafts like painting, making homemade jewelry, or building models together as a family. Who knows? Your kid could be the next Picasso, and your summertime crafts will be their inspiration.
6. Family Cooking Challenge
One of the best parts of vacation is the food. And although you might not be able to travel the world and try exotic delicacies, you can always make them at home. Challenge your family to make something new every week of summer, and turn cooking into a fun activity. Pick a recipe and have each family member contribute to the meal preparation. This is a fun way to start teaching your kids some important kitchen skills and give them a love for cooking.
And if they’re ready for a bit more responsibility in the kitchen, you could even challenge them to a family cook off! Each member makes their own chili or pie, and everyone votes for their favorite. The winner puts their recipe in the family cookbook and gets bragging rights until the next contest.
For some food-spiration, check out our diverse cookbook collection.
7. Explore Local Parks
Staying inside all day—while it’s probably novel at first—can get boring. For everybody’s sanity, you need to get the whole family outside and moving. You can visit nearby parks, playgrounds, or nature reserves for a day of outdoor fun and exploration. Bring frisbees, balls, games, food, and even the family pet!
8. Family Talent Show
Showcase your family’s talents by organizing a talent show with singing, dancing, magic tricks, or any other special skills. Not only will you get to bond and laugh more with your family, you also get to encourage your kids to keep learning and doing the things they love. You can even invite the neighborhood to participate, which will grow your family’s community. The more family and friends who join, the better!
9. Family Scrapbook
You could have the best vacation in Machu Picchu or Hawaii, and you still wouldn’t remember any of it if you didn’t take pictures. Use your staycation to spend time together reminiscing about past vacations or events and create a scrapbook to capture those memories. You could even create a scrapbook especially to document all the fun things you’ve done during your staycation. This will encourage you to keep your summer break adventurous and scrapbook-worthy, no matter if it’s at home or overseas.
10. A Home Tour
If you’ve lived in the same place for a while, you know to avoid all the tourist traps. You get stuck in your own routines, going to the same places you always have. This summer, liven up your staycation by exploring your hometown like a tourist would. Go to all those places and events that you avoid; try visiting a place you haven’t been to for years. Visit the local museum, aquarium, or zoo; take that family-friendly tour; do the activities; go to the parades and concerts. You just might discover a new love for the place that you call home.
11. Family Bike Ride or Hike
If you live in the city, it might be time to immerse yourself in the outdoors. Plan a bike ride or hike in a nearby scenic location where the whole family can enjoy nature and get some exercise. This will encourage healthy practices and give your family a chance to go explore new places in their own backyard.
12. A Picnic in the Park
We’ve already talked about how important food is to a vacation, and we know that the outdoors is good for you. But food and the outdoors together? Summer perfection! Pack a delicious picnic lunch and spend the day enjoying outdoor activities, games, and relaxation in a local park.
13. Science Experiments at Home
No matter how tempting it is to take a vacation free of worries about school or learning, you can’t let your kids slip into the summer slide. Conduct simple science experiments at home using household items, encouraging learning and exploration in a fun way for summer break. You can find these experiments online, or check out Extreme Garage Science for Kids! for a huge collection of irresistibly nerdy science projects.
For more educational activities, read our article, “12 Educational Activities for a Summer That Kids Will Love.”
14. Family Karaoke Night
Sing your hearts out and have a karaoke night at home. Encourage everyone to choose their favorite songs and perform. If you’re a musical family, you can accompany them with your favorite instruments and give them the Grand Ole Opry treatment. But if you can’t sing or play a lick, don’t worry; you can find karaoke versions online. And the cheesier you sing, the better! You’ll get to learn more about your family and laugh (with them, definitely with them) at the same time.
15. Family Read-a-thon
Over here at Familius, we can’t talk about books enough. Escaping into the world of words is our favorite summertime activity. You can create reading goals together as a family and plan days where you just sit together and read your favorite books. Or you can spend a day at your local library, exploring books, reading together, and participating in any family-friendly events or workshops they may have. No matter what else you have going on in the summer, you can always squeeze in time for a book; it’s the perfect boredom buster on the go or at home.
Explore our library to find the perfect books for your staycation.
Books to Inspire Your Staycation
- Aguas Frescas & Paletas
- Called to Be Creative
- Why Can’t We Just Play?
- Big Book of Family Games
- Extreme Garage Science for Kids!
- Marcel’s Mouse Museum
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.