Fun Staycation Activities For Families
I can’t wait to share my favorite cheap staycation ideas with all of you!
It’s no secret that I love to travel…..I mean my very favorite sinking fund category ( by far!) is my vacation fund. However, as we all know, traveling can get expensive….very expensive.
Once you add up the prices for flights, gas, hotels, restaurants, etc there is hardly any money left for the activities! And we all want the activities!
Which is why I am SO happy that fun staycations are becoming more normalized.
What is a staycation?
A staycation is a vacation where you don’t leave your city, and in many cases you don’t even leave your house! Instead of traveling to a new location you stay home and take a break from your regular day to day routine, no going to school or work or anything typical. Instead you will spend your time relaxing, exploring your city, and doing fun activities you never seem to have the time for.
Vacationing the staycation way gives you the opportunity to have a vacation….frugally! You won’t need to spend money on flights, hotels, and every meal. Instead you can save that money for something more important (debt payoff maybe???) and enjoy all of the many fun things to do and see right in your own hometown!
Cheap Staycation Ideas
So, without any further ado! Here is my master list of the BEST cheap staycation ideas for families! I hope you are able to find the perfect activity to help you relax, have fun and make memories!
At Home Family Staycation Ideas
Let’s start with my at home staycation ideas. Some of the best family activities can be enjoyed right in the comfort of your own home!
1. Movie Marathon
If you are looking for a relaxing and cheap staycation idea you just might love having a movie marathon. Choose one of your favorites tv or movie series and spend a few days binge watching! Of course you should add in some popcorn and your favorite movie treats.
You can find some great deals on streaming services if you know where to look! Shop around and see if you can sign up for a few new ones to enjoy over your movie weekend.
2. Play Board Games
My family loves playing board games. It’s a fun way for us to spend time together, laugh, stretch our brains and make memories. Spending a day playing board games is the perfect staycation idea for families.
Board games can be expensive to buy brand new, but don’t let that deter you! There are so many budget board games that are perfect for families check out my list of favorites here! Instead of buying new you could borrow a few games from a friend, or buy some games from the thrift store (my fave place to purchase games).
- Related: How To Play Fish Bowl
3. Have A Spa Day
The entire family can join in on an at home spa day. Take some individual bubble baths, put on face masks, paint each other nails, and enjoy some R&R together as a family.
If you are looking for a cheap way for at home salon quality nails, my daughter loves this gel nails system!
Want to spend a little extra money on your spa day? Try a spa day out! Take the family to a local spa and enjoy some pampering for the day!
4. Learn A New Hobby
A staycation is the perfect time to learn a new hobby or work on perfecting one you already have!
You could use this time to take a cake decorating class, paint (my family loves to paint along with the Bob Ross YouTube Videos), learn to sew, sign up for a photography class, or anything else that sounds fun to you!
5. Yard Games
I am such a sucker for yard games! I love being outside with my family and yard games are the prefect way to make that happen.
One of my favorite things about yard games is that everyone can play. I’m not atheltic….so I always feel a little odd when I join in a game of softball, however a yard game….now that is something I can participate in confidently!
A few of my favorite yard games are:
6. Update A Room In Your House
Do you have a few house projects that you have been putting off? Use your staycation free time to get those projects done!
Maybe you are wanting to redecorate a room, update a bathroom, or organize a closet. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, just as long as it gets done!
7. Put Together A Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to relax and keep your mind sharp. I love setting out a puzzle on our kitchen table for my family to work on during long weekends at home. My favorite brand of puzzles are Dowdle!
8. Get Some R&R
One of my favorite cheap staycation idea is to rest and relax! The busy hustle and bustle of every day life can wear out anyone and everyone! You might enjoy using your time off of work to get some much needed rest! Spend the day in bed catching up on your sleep, there is no harm in that!
- Related: Free Self Care Ideas
9. Backyard Campout
Have a campout in your own backyard. You could lay out blankets right under the stars on your trampoline or a cot, or set up a tent with the kids.
If you happen to have a backyard firepit, try making dinner over the fire. We LOVE these tin foil dinners. Trust me, they aren’t your typical tin foil dinner…they are SO much better! Don’t forget to make the backyard campout extra special with some homemade smores!
10. Make A Craft
Use your staycation time to make a craft, or two or three!
Here are a few fun crafting ideas for the whole family:
- Toilet Paper Roll Crafts
- Christmas Ornament
- String Art
- Mason Jar Crafts
- Bath Bombs
- Halloween Pumpkin Decoration
Staycation Ideas You Can Do Around Your Town
There are so many fun activities you can do right in your own hometown! It’s easy to get use to living in the same place, becoming consumed with the day to day life and forgetting to enjoy all the fun experiences right in front of you.
One thing that has helped our family participate in more activities within our hometown is by using out Get Out Pass.
The Get Out Pass is an annual subscription that lets you visit attractions in your area for free! Last night my family went ax throwing, which is something we never would have tried without the Get Out Pass! It was so much fun to try something new right in our own city!
When buying your pass be sure to use my coupon code: SWEETFRUGALLIFE (code currently only available for Idaho, Utah, North California, North Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Washington and Colorado passes) for the best discount on your pass (promise, it’s always cheaper than the current deal).
Many of the things I will mention below are places that are included in most Get Out Passes.
1. Tour Your City
Try being a tourist in your own town! It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city or small town, there will always be something new to see or do!
You could try a new walking path, go window shopping in a different part of town, or try a new restaurant. Look at your city’s visitor website for ideas, or better yet. use the Get Out Pass to help you find new and fun things to do around town.
2. Rent Scooters To Tour Your Town
Over the past few years my city has been acquiring more and more Bird Scooters for the community to use. They are so much fun! You just download the app onto your phone, scan the scooter you want to rent and enjoy it for as long as you want! This could make for a very fun family staycation.
3. Visit Your Local Library
My family all loves to read, so a visit to the library to get new books is always a highlight in our housel! However, libraries offer SO much more than just books. Many libraries will loan national park passes, baking pans, board games, movies, and more!
Use some time during your next frugal staycation to see what all your library has to offer!
- Related: 10 Free Things At The Library
4. Visit A Local Museum
Spend an afternoon at one of your local museums. I just took my kids to the Idaho Potato Museum for free using our Get Out Passes. It was small and quick, but fun to get out of the house and to learn more about our states famous potatoes.
- Related: Get Out Pass: An Honest Review
6. Restaurant Tour
Are there some restaurants in your city that you’ve been wanting to try? A family staycation is the perfect time to try them! Use some of your budgeted money to take a little restaurant tour right in your town!
Spend a day or two visiting some of the top local restaurants. You could go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert…..or all of the above! You might just find a new family favorite!
6. Listen To Live Music
Many towns will have live music events throughout the week, especially during the summertime. We love sitting outside on a summer evening listening to free live music. Look on your city’s website to find any local live music events in your area.
7. Go To A Sporting Event
If you have a sports team in your town, a fun staycation idea would be to go to one of their home games. Sure, it might be a little pricy, depending on the league, but it’s much cheaper than a vacation out of the country!
Our Get Out Pass gives us a free pass to attend one minor league baseball game each year. It makes attending sporting events much cheaper and we look forward to it every year.
8. Have A Pool Day
My family insists that a pool must be apart of any sort of vacation….and I’m not arguing!
Consider adding a pool day to your frugal staycation plan! Spending a day at the pool makes for a great family friendly staycation! You could even pool hop, trying a different pool every day!
9. Attend A Paint Night
Check to see if your city has any paint studios. These are so fun and make planning a paint night easy. All you have to do is show up and then you’ll be taught how to paint a beautiful portrait! It’s a fun night out with friends or family.
If you are looking for something even cheaper, consider an at home paint night! We love these paint by number kits for at home paint nights.
10. Go To The Theater
Get dressed up for the evening and head to a local theater to see a new play, concert or comedian. Community theater can deliver some amazing shows and I love being able to support them whenever I can.
11. Go To The Zoo or Aquarium
Visit the animals living in your city with a trip to the zoo or aquarium…or both!
If you happen to have a Get Out Pass, there’s a good chance they include a free visit to your local zoo and or aquarium. We love using our passes each year to visit these attractions!
Don’t forget that if you purchase a Get Out Pass to use my code: SWEETFRUGALLIFE (code currently only available for Idaho, Utah, North California, North Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Washington and Colorado passes) for the cheapest price!
Fun Outdoor Staycation Activities For Families
Looking for some fun activities your family can do together in the great outdoors?? Check out some of the following ideas.
1. Go On A Picnic
Pack up a picnic lunch and go spend the day outside. You could picnic up in the mountains and take time exploring the forest. Or, maybe you would prefer a picnic at the beach playing in the waves and soaking up the sun. Another fun picnic place is a local park. Make sure to pack a few frisbees and spend time playing together as a family.
2. Go To The Beach
I do not live near a beach….but if I did it would be my first staycation activity!
Pack a beach bag full of food and sand toys and enjoy a beach day together as a family. You might enjoy exploring a few different beaches, maybe a new beach each day of your staycation….or just stick to your favorite! The joy of planning your staycation is that the choice is always yours!
3. Go On A Bike Ride
If your family owns bikes, going on a few bike rides is the perfect cheap staycation idea. Make a day out of it by packing a picnic and trying out a few new trails.
You could also rent some bikes if you don’t own any. The bike rental shop should have some recommendations of good bike trails to try! It’s always fun to try something new!
- Related: 50 Fun Summer Activities For Kids
4. Take A Day Trip
I love to see new places, so a fun day trip is right up my alley. Try taking a day to explore a few nearby towns. You can try out a few restaurants and enjoy some of the activities the town has to offer.
5. Visit a U-Pick Farm
Take your family to a local U-Pick farm and enjoy the fresh grown produce. After you are done picking, bring it home and, depending on what you picked, you can can it, freeze it, or make some homemade treats!
My family loves driving up the mountains every summer and picking huckleberries. We always bring them home and make huckleberry pancakes for dinner!
- Related: Easy Huckleberry Muffin Recipe
6. Have A Lake Day
Another cheap staycation idea is to enjoy a day with your family at the lake. You could rent a few kayaks, pack a picnic and enjoy relaxing in nature!
7. Go Hiking
Hiking is a great way to disconnect from life (including phones!) and spend time connecting with each other. It gives you the time to talk, share stories, and make memories. I love taking my family into nature to teach them a different way to relax and relieve stress.
8. Spend A Day At A National Park
I’ve lived within 2 hours of Yellowstone National Park for the majority of my life…..but I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t go to the park as often as I should.
If you are like me and live within driving distance of a National Park you might enjoy using your staycation time to finally go enjoy it for all it’s glory.
National Parks allow free entry to everyone about 4 days each year. They also have a pass for 4th graders to get in free. Make sure to look up details about both of these awesome opportunities to make your cheap staycation even better!
9. Play Your Favorite Sport
My family loves going outside and playing a sport together. Honestly, none of us are all that athletic, but we just enjoy being active and having fun together.
We love to play about anything! But our favorites are soccer, baseball and kickball.
Playing a sport together as a family is the perfect cheap staycation idea.
10. Go Bird Watching
Help your kids learn more about birds through a bird watching activity. Get a bird watchers book for the library, or this one from Amazon and learn all about birds!
Afterwards you could come home and play my favorite boardgame, Wingspan. It will add to the bird watching theme day!
Nothing Wrong With Cheap Staycations
I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with taking your kids on a staycation. I know that the flashy vacations you see on instagram look like the ideal family time….and those are great! But really, the most important things is spending time together as a family.
Don’t feel guilty if all you can afford is a budget friendly staycation….feel proud that you are taking the time to plan special memories for your kids.
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