Staycations can be a wonderful way to take some time off, recharge, and save money by exploring your hometown. They are also much more environmentally friendly than long road trips or flights to far-away places. With the economy in bad shape the last few years, many families have turned to staycations to spend time together without breaking the bank. The government has even gotten on board, with some states offering discounts on popular places and activities to residents.
1. Visit a Pick-Your-Own Farm
Summer and fall are the high season for fresh fruit. Picking your own at a local farm is a fun, healthy activity that can appeal to the whole family. Many farms raise fruit throughout the whole growing season, so you may be able to find one that offers a variety of fruit.
You can find PYO farms in your area through word of mouth, sites like PickYourOwn.org, or just by driving down the highway and looking for signs.
2. Visit a county fair
County fairs are great fun for families. Where else can you find petting zoos, amusement park rides, and meat on a stick, all in one place? Many county fairs don’t charge entrance fees, so they can be a thrifty way to entertain a large bunch. Squeeze in some educational fun by visiting the livestock and craft areas.
3. Take advantage of deals in your area
Often times, you can find last-minute deals on events and activities in your area. Many venues offer cheaper pricing during the week, so you can
By being flexible, you can score cheap day-of tickets for professional sports events, plays, amusements parks, and concerts. You can also save money on fun activities by keeping an eye on Groupon and LivingSocial deals for all kinds of family staycation fun.
4. Explore your town
Going on a staycation means you can be a tourist in your own town. Visit the local tourist bureau or chamber of commerce for a list of recommended sites and activities. For extra fun, organize an urban scavenger hunt around interesting sites and compete with each other to see who knows the most about local trivia. Keep it green by walking, biking, or taking public transportation around your area and leave the car at home.
5. Go on a family bike ride
If you live in a bicycle-friendly area, chances are good that there are trails or designated bike routes running through your area.
6. Screen movies in your backyardIf the weather’s nice, don’t go to a movie theater, bring the movies to you! Setting up an outdoor theater doesn’t require anything more than a white sheet hung against the house and an LCD projector. Projectors can often be found in offices, university AV labs, or sometimes rented from a movie store. Consider dragging out the stereo or surround sound for the ultimate viewing experience.
You’ll have to wait until dark to see anything, so invite the neighbors or keep the movie night short to avoid any noise complaints. Lawn chairs, bean bag chairs, or blankets make great seating.
Depending on the age and interests of your viewers, a couple of ideas for fun movie nights could be:
- 80s teen movies
- B horror movies
- Broadway musicals
- Hitchcock movies
- Cartoon night
7. Go camping one weekend
State and national parks abound with low cost weekend camping. If your family enjoys camping, splurge on an annual national park pass and enjoy free camping all year long. If you family is into outdoor activities, you can organize hiking, canoeing, or mountain biking excursions. Otherwise, many parks have pools, lakes, volleyball pits, or rec centers to keep the family entertained.
8. Organize a block party
Get to know the neighbors by organizing a neighborhood block party. It doesn’t take much to get the whole block together for a BBQ or movie night. Make it easy on yourself and make the event a potluck. You could combine it with a movie night and screen after-dinner movies for the whole neighborhood.
9. Go on a picnic in a local park
Local parks and playgrounds offer the perfect setting for a family picnic. If it’s adults only. Consider finding a conservatory or garden site for a romantic backdrop. If the kids will be tagging along, a playground or large park will allow them to run themselves ragged before lunch or dinner, making for a quieter meal.
Ashyia Hill is a social media advocate helping families compare hotel rewards credit cards this summer at CreditDonkey. Remember, staycations don’t have to be boring – in fact, they can allow you to get to know your own town better and provide for low-cost family entertainment. We hope these tips have given you some good ideas for your next staycation.
If you’ve taken a staycation, we’d really enjoy hearing your tips in the comments!