How to Plan the Perfect Staycation

How to Plan the Perfect Staycation

You don’t have to travel far from home to enjoy a wonderful vacation with your family. You can save both time and money by playing the part of a tourist right in your own hometown. The following tips will show you how to plan the perfect staycation.

Finding Local Fun

  • Poll your kids to find out how they’d like to spend your staycation
  • Take in local museums, zoos, parks, and gardens
  • Search out historical homes, markers, and other points of interest
  • Check with your Chamber of Commerce to see if any festivals, concerts, or movies-in-the-park are planned during your days off
  • Go hiking, ride bikes, or take a walk around the block
  • Play Putt-Putt or disc golf or go bowling as a family
  • Visit a trampoline park, escape room, or other local attraction
  • Host a family reunion — invite your relatives to come to you!
  • Invite friends over to play board games or toss the Frisbee

Game Night

If your budget allows it, you might even check into a nearby hotel for a night or two. Go swimming in their (preferably heated, indoor) pool and enjoy a free breakfast buffet the following morning.

I’m sure you can think of other fun things to do close to home. Keep a list of all your options for future reference. Your first staycation may be so successful that you’ll want to plan another.

Plus, your list will be a great resource to share with any out-of-town guests who visit you throughout the year.

Consider Camping Out

Although adults seem pretty polarized over the prospect of tent camping, I’ve yet to meet a little kid who doesn’t thrill at the thought of sleeping out under the stars.

When it comes to “roughing it,” you have lots of options. You can camp out at state parks, in national forests or grasslands, and even on some beaches. Try googling “where can I camp for free?” to find a good place to pitch a tent near you.

If your children are very young, however, I would suggest first giving it a trial run in your own backyard. That’s what we did as soon as we bought our first tent, and our kids loved it!

We dragged our pillows and sleeping bags outside, zipped ourselves in for the night, then listened while Dad read Watership Down aloud by lantern light. That just happened to be the book we were reading at the time, but a better choice might be Swallows and Amazons.)

Our kids enjoyed backyard camping so much that, when they were older, they would pitch a tent under our
trees the first of June and sleep outside all summer long.


Take a Day Trip

If you can’t find enough to do in your own back yard, try traveling just a few towns over. A distance of one to two hours away from home will allow you to go and come back in a single day.

Get out a map and draw a circle with a one-hundred-mile radius with your town at the center. Investigate every dot inside that border. Do you spot any places that pique your interest? Some city you’ve wanted to visit in the past but never found time to do so?

If so, Google the town’s name. Find out what they have to offer in terms of sightseeing, museums, or other attractions. Then load up the car and go for it!


Want more tips for fun family vacations — at home and abroad? Then grab a copy of my book Pack Up & Leave. It’s jam-packed with money saving, memory making ideas for traveling with children — whether you’re planning the perfect staycation at home or some extended adventure on the other side of the globe.

Pack Up & Leave: Travel Tips for Fun Family Vacations

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