Fun and Inexpensive Staycation Ideas

Our family loves to travel and vacation but it isn’t always practical. Sometimes finances are tight, sometimes there are life events that make traveling more difficult, other times it just doesn’t work out with work schedules. When you need a fun break, but can’t get away it is time for a staycation.

Day Trips

If you need to keep it inexpensive and close to home, but are willing to drive a little bit you can be a tourist in your own home town. heck out local parks, aquariums, museums. You might even take a tour of your town if there is one offered. It can be fun to see things from a different perspective. To save a bit of money you might look at memberships that will allow you year round access or might even be reciprocal. For example, we have a membership to our local aquarium that also gets us in free to another local bird park and our state zoo.

You could also plan a picnic at a local park, a day at the pool, or a trip to a local bakery for some special treats. All fun, different, and reasonably inexpensive (compared to traveling for vacation). Since you are staying close o home you could make it even more special by inviting friends to join you.

At Your House

In some cases, you may want to plan to completely stay home for your staycation. You can still make it a special time full of family memories.


When I think about family memories, food is often a special part of them. A little planning can allow for your staycation food to be a fun experience and also give you a little break.

Picnics are lots of fun and as a bonus they tend to not make a big mess in the kitchen. Win-Win

Campfires can make some glorious memories and are a great opportunity to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, or even get a bit fancier with a full meal cooked over the fire. Our family loves chicken fajitas or hamburger foil meals for campfire cooking.

Nothing screams summer fun like an ice cream sundae bar. I highly recommend setting this up outside for less clean up. You can get a carton or two of ice cream and all your favorite toppings. By doing it this way you can save money over going to the ice cream store.

Another fun and simple meal is pizza! You can order delivery or buy frozen crusts and make your own. It can sometimes get a little messy but it is so much fun.

You could also pick a different location and make food from that location. For example, you might choose Mexico and make mexican food. Then you could do a virtual trip to Mexico with some fun online videos or books about the country.

A staycation is a great time to buy all your favorite junk food and maybe relax your eating standards just a bit. We planned ahead and added some great snacks to our subscribe and save orders for the summer, to save money while adding in some special treats. A few of our favorites were Zevia, Dye-Free Ice Pops, Veggie Straws, and these individual packs of Oreos.


Water fun is always a big hit with my children in the summer. If you do not have a pool, there are still plenty of inexpensive options. For younger children a splash pad or small inflatable pool can be loads of fun. Sprinklers are great for younger and older children.

These water shooters are inexpensive and have provided hours of fun for my children. We also like them better than water balloons because there is less clean up.

A staycation is the perfect time for family bike rides. Since you have ore time that you might normally have, you can go for longer rides, explore your neighborhood, and maybe even find a new picnic spot.

Stargazing can be a lot of fun and might be easier on a staycation when you can stay up later and not have somewhere to be the next morning. If you have a telescope you can certainly use it, but you can also see plenty with just your eyes. You can grab a blanket and lay down in your backyard and see what you can see. There are free apps available for most phones to help you determine what constellations are in the sky above you. If you want to learn a little more you can check out this free summer astronomy course from Journey Homeschool Academy.

For a break from the sun or a bit of rainy day fun, you can set up a fun craft station. You could try a new craft like latch-hooking or paper quilling if you have older children. Younger children might enjoy a play-doh station or some new watercolor pictures. Even just breaking out the coloring books and coloring a picture with your children can be a special memory.

You could even just pick a fun family movie, pop a bag of popcorn, and settle in for a relaxing family evening. We enjoy using Prime Video for free movies or our subscription to Up Faith and Family for some inexpensive family friendly options.

Have you ever had a staycation? What fun things did you do on your staycation and what recommendations do you have for other families? Be sure to check out what other Crew Members had to say about Staycations!

More Summer Fun Posts

Savoring Summer

Toddler/Preschool Summer Day Camp Ideas

Our Summer Bucket

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