The Shady Porch: Staycation Ideas for the Family!

6.17.2013

Staycation Ideas for the Family!

What is a Staycation?
30 Staycation Ideas for the Family by The Shady Porch
Staycation is a term (since 2005) for a vacation that takes place at home or within the local area.

Pros
You can save $$$ (food, gas, lodging).
No check-out time! (Owning the 'inn' allows for sleeping in without adding to a bill.)
Spend quality time experiencing new things together that are in your own "backyard".

Cons
The planning is all yours. If you prefer to leave the organization to someone else, have another family member take the reins on the planning.
Eating at home requires some clean-up (splurge and go with paper!)
You could end up doing nothing (which might be a Pro for some!) 



Stay-cation Suggestions
• You are your own "un-travel agent". Activities and planning are up to you. This might take more time as there are few commercial packages set up for staycationing, and it can be surprising how MUCH there is to do within a short distance. 
• Each member of the family plans a day! 
• Be as unavailable as you would on a traveling vacation. Don't get lured into work because you're staying local.
• Turn off your electronics - set email to out-of-office settings; decide NOT to log-in to facebook/twitter for the duration. The old saying 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' is true. There is a life off-line!
• Planning helps avoid making a StayCay into a long weekend of home jobs. Don't get into the job jar or to-do list that you usually do on weekends. No sharpening of the lawn mower blade!
• Make the same arrangements you would had you gone away on vacation - stop the mail/newspaper, hire a lawn service, etc.
• Break the routine - Have a nightlife...catch a late movie, go star-gazing, or have a bonfire and s'mores; sleep in a little later, and/or stay up past your normal bedtime.
• Take pictures/video just like you would on a vacation...you're still making memories.
• This is bears repeating - so many of the options below require a thoughtful attention to when you will take your staycation. This kind of experience puts the 'personal' back into personal time.

Inspiring Ideas for Your Stay-cation
1. Plan a family-style outdoor Olympics or Minute to Win It challenges at home. In case of weather issues, an indoor event like Wii Family Olympics means the fun still goes on! 

2. Inquire about local walking-tours of historical neighborhoods. These can include historical markers, restored homes and significant landmarks.
3. Cook dinner as a family one night. There are a lot of cooking with the kids cookbooks available.
4. Stay at a local hotel that has a pool/hot tubs and new release pay-per-view movies.This serves two purposes - one - a night 'away' from home, and two - you gain some information about the quality of local accommodations.
5. Find a nearby state park and camp or stay at the lodge/cabins. Many state parks offer discounts during the week or to particular groups - teachers, seniors. http://www.americasstateparks.org/
6. Visit local attractions - One of our local villages has a classic small-town amusement park that features rides and games that hearken to another time, and the restored Depression-era theater in our own town features a summer film/concert series in its restored and updated auditorium.
7. Go hiking-http://www.americanhiking.org. We live within short drives of several outdoor rec areas that have nature trails. The hours spent along these wood-lined paths are healthy for both mind and body.
8. Start a garden - flowers, veggies...or both! This might seem to break the "No to-do list items," but only if it was on your 'to-do' list...and it IS your staycay, anyway, isn't it?
9. Check out the activities at the local library - movie night, scavenger hunt, etc. The local library in our town sponsors a "drive-in movie night," where the film is projected on the wall of the library while patrons sit on the grass outside under the stars.

10. Do something you've never done - horseback riding, canoeing, laser tag, fly a kite, etc.
11. Visit a Water Park or your local YMCA. The Y is a terrific resource for activity and community.
12. Visit a zoo - http://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/zoos/ Our town does not have its own zoo, so this would be a day trip for us. Of course, the day trip could go in one of two directions...and each has its own wonderful options.
13. Visit a local festival or county fair.This will depend on the planning and scheduling of your staycay. The festival season around our house ramps up from Memorial Day through Independence Day, then the calendar is fairly empty until fall brings local harvest celebrations.
14. Check out the Museums or Art Centers - for example, our town has a foundation dedicated to a local author and it is across the street from an arts center and museum. Any one of them might be its own day trip; or they could be a single day around a picnic lunch at the city park. For information in your area - http://www.museumlink.com/
15. Make something together - crafts, art, a tree house, solar oven or fire pit.
16. Camp in your own backyard or local camp grounds. Maybe you'd like to invite some of your neighbors/friends, too.
17. Look into the possibility of taking an area Riverboat tour.
18. Take a bike trip http://www.railstotrails.org/index.html
19. Stay at the local Bed & Breakfast.

20. Marathon Movie Night with yummy homemade concessions (if you're really on a tight budget, watch old home movies!!) Some Suggestions for those Homemade Concessions - Mozzarella SticksPizza Pops, Salsa & Chips, Saltine Toffee, Eggrolls, & No-Bake Cookies!
21. Have a cookout and try things you've never had before just like you might do on an away vacation...like seafood or buffalo wings.
22. Story Night - everyone in the family tells a story; it can be true, or make believe; funny or scary,etc.
23. Go Geocaching - this global positioning scavenger hunting activity has potential to keep the whole family involved. For more, go to http://www.geocaching.com/
24. Attend an outdoor drama or local theatre show.

25. Start a genealogy quest to fill out your family tree. Local libraries and/or historical societies often host seminars to get new investigators started.
26. Take a scenic train ride - Great Scenic Railway Journeys - http://gsrj.com/
27. Check out Sightseeing.com for ideas - everything from balloon rides to ATV Tours.
28. Adopt a pet and train it as a family. Visit the local dog park, if available.
29. Go on a nature quest - identifying and/or collecting leaves, insects, flowers, etc.
30. Get your license and go fishing. 

Relax and have Fun!