Staycation Ideas If Going Out Of Town Isn't in the Budget This Summer

Staycation Ideas If Going Out Of Town Isn't in the Budget This Summer
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Learn a skill together

Sometimes, it feels like everyone else in the entire universe is on vacation -- especially when we look at Instagram. Who are all these people we went to high school with (or met once at a party, or just follow because we apparently love nothing more than to feel constant FOMO) who can afford to fly to Europe all the darn time?! 

But the truth is, life isn't like an Instagram feed, and while our lives may not be quite as glamorous-seeming as the way some other people choose to fabricate theirs on the internet, they're still fantastic -- and they're better because they're real and true. We'd rather live our actual lives than spend more time coveting the fake ones we see online, and the truth is, we don't know what else is going on when that camera shuts off, or what other problems are in their lives. Sure, it would be fun to take a big vacation, but since we can't, we're going to choose happiness at home. 

Family budgeting isn't always the easiest thing to get a grip on, especially when things are constantly changing with the kids, but saving up for a summer vacation can be part of the annual budget. Saving money on baby Items may help get the budget on track, especially when babies start to feel like just absolute money pits (that we love and would never exchange for anything, of course). Saving money takes plenty of creativity, so tap into that to help this summer. While summertime parties are so much fun, they can also get expensive, so it's important to save money on food and other birthday party items. Saving money is just one part of making smart money moves that will help the family prosper in the future!

But just because there's no room in the budget for a vacation this year doesn't mean that there's no enjoyment to be had this summer! It may take some more creativity (and may involve dipping into next year's vacation fund a tiny bit) but it's so worth it. We came up with 20 great ideas for fun staycations at home. 

  • Take a Class Together

    Take A Class Together

    This can be a cooking class, a dance class, a painting class ... name it! It's a good experience for kids to watch their parents learn something, and it shows them that grown-ups don't all know everything but are willing to stick it out and try, too! Plus it's a bonding activity and the results can be fun, too!

  • Take a Mini Road Trip

    Take A Mini Road Trip To A Place You Haven't Explored (Or Haven't Been Back To In A While)

    Visit a place the family hasn't been to before, or a spot it hasn't visited in a while. What's a town that's an hour away by either train or car? We have so many towns that are just an hour's drive from us that we haven't ever explored -- or if we did, it was years ago. Check out a map and pick one to drive to for lunch and to look around!

  • Go Rock Climbing 

    Go Rock Climbing

    Rock climbing in a rock climbing gym is a new way to stretch our boundaries, and is honestly a good choice for kiddos because of the kind of strength that's needed. And trying out a new skill like this together is super fun!

  • Take a Ropes Course or Go Zip Lining

    Take A Ropes Course And/Or Go Zip Lining

    The views are gorgeous, it's a trust and bonding activity, and there's just something that feels so freeing about soaring over the treetops! It's definitely not free, but also way less than a vacation -- and a great time for older kids and teens. 

  • Go Backyard Camping

    Go Backyard Camping

    We love camping at a proper campsite, but if a whole trip just isn't in the cards this summer, backyard camping almost certainly is! We can almost always borrow equipment from a neighbor, and then it's just about imaginations, spending time unplugged, and s'mores!

  • Drop the Kids Off With Friends & Have a 'Me Day'

    Drop The Kids Off With Friends And Have A

    Not every staycation idea has to include the kiddos! Enjoying time on our own -- especially when the kids are out of school and hanging out all summer -- is totally valid and valuable, too! Take a day to be quiet in the house alone, and maybe do some enjoyable things that have been put off.

  • Set Up a Scavenger Hunt

    Set Up A Big Scavenger Hunt

    We love a scavenger hunt because they're so super fun, but also because they keep kids of all ages occupied and engaged. For younger kids, the clues can be simple and around the house. For older kids, this can involve the whole town and complex clues! Make sure the prize at the end is a good one, but it doesn't have to cost a thing -- extra hours of technology time, choosing dinner every night for a whole week, a get-out-of-chores-free card ... whatever!

  • Hit the Water Park


    So there may not be room in the budget for a full-blown vacation this summer, but there may still be room to enjoy some vacation-like fun! Hit the local water park with the family for a good cool-off this summer -- and check sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot before going! They often have package deals.

  • Play Tourist in the Hometown

    Play Tourist In Your Hometown

    When was the last time we experienced our own hometown like tourists do? Take an official tour or do an unofficial one with a friend who's an expert in local history. Also consider taking a ghost tour, especially with older kids! 

  • Visit a Petting Zoo or Farm

    Find A Local Petting Zoo Or Farm

    Who doesn't love the chance to pet some farm animals? Bond with goats at a local petting zoo or family farm that allows kid visitors. This is both fun and can be a learning experience for kids, too!

  • Go Ice Skating

    Take A Day To Go Ice Skating

    When it's just too hot out to do anything at all outside, spend the entire day in a literally ice-cold place. It doesn't matter if the whole family are beginner ice skaters -- it'll be a fun time for everyone involved!

  • Have a Full-On Movie Marathon

    Have A Full-On Movie Marathon

    Sure, sitting around watching TV is kind of basic, but having a full-on movie marathon is different! Get everyone in their PJs way too early, pop a ton of popcorn, and get everyone ready to watch all the Indiana Jones or original Star Wars movies -- or have everyone in the family pick their favorite to share with the crowd. 

  • Go Swimming in Nature

    Go Swimming In Nature

    There's usually a swimming hole around somewhere -- whether it's a lake, a river, or the beach! We love swimming in nature, and it's good for kids to get used to swimming in places that aren't "perfect" like a swimming pool!

  • Do a Big Family Project

    Do A Big Family Project

    This can be a really big project, like building a tree house, which will takes days (if not weeks!) down to something small and manageable in an afternoon, like building a model airplane or a birdhouse. 

  • Set Up a Games Day

    Set Up A Games Day

    If the weather isn't too hot, set up a games day outside with lawn games like bocce, badminton, and croquet. If it's too hot to play outside, make it an indoor games day with Twister, board games, and card games!

  • Put Together a Family Talent Show

    Put Together A Family Talent Show

    Everyone in the family can come together and show off a skill -- whether it's karaoke, playing an instrument, telling a few jokes, dancing, or whatever other skills we have to offer. Do a couple of days of practice to get good at it, and then host a show!

  • Have a Volunteer Day

    Have A Volunteer Day

    Volunteer as a family at a local retirement home, animal shelter, or soup kitchen. Who knows -- once we get started with something like this, which is a great family bonding activity, we may end up choosing to do it more often! 

  • Learn About Astronomy & Go Stargazing

    Learn About Astronomy And Then Go Stargazing

    Assign kids to learn about different constellations that are visible in the night sky at this time of year and in this hemisphere, and then go stargazing to find them all! It's also a wonderful excuse to pack a big thermos full of something delicious (lemonade if it's too hot, hot chocolate if it's cool at night). 

  • Have Breakfast for Dinner Night

    Have Breakfast For Dinner Night

    It's everyone's favorite, isn't it? And it's so cheap and easy! Make pancakes and put out a bunch of toppings and batter mix-ins kids can choose from, like chocolate chips, strawberry slices, chopped pecans, and blueberries.

  • Go Fishing

    Go Fishing

    For families that aren't vegan or vegetarian, going fishing or crabbing is a great way to spend the day together -- and can lead to a delicious dinner that evening, too! And a lot of places rent fishing gear for families that don't have it. 

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