Mention summer vacation, and you probably start daydreaming about exotic locales and sandy white beaches. If you’re lucky, you have the time — and the resources — to start planning that luxurious trip today. But for most of us, a fancy summer vacation doesn’t fit into either the schedule or the budget.
Staycations: The Summer Vacation Alternative
We can’t all jet off to Tahiti with a Mai Tai in hand, but there are still plenty of ways to relax this summer. Get inspired with these 23 summer staycation ideas, and enjoy the the good, old-fashioned family fun that’s waiting for you right outside your own front door.
1. Go fishing. If you’re lucky enough to live near a lake or ocean, rent a boat and spend the day on the water.
2. Visit a local waterpark. Forget the plain old pool — head to the biggest, coolest waterpark that’s within a reasonable driving distance.
3. Go on a float trip. If it’s a family float trip, you might want to leave the jello shots at home.
4. Camp in the backyard. Pitch a tent, roast some marshmallows, tell scary stories, and look for constellations. Added bonus: indoor plumbing is only a few feet away when nature calls.
5. Recreate the tropics in your own home. Decorate your house with fake palm trees and bright tropical flowers. You could even add an aquarium filled with tropical fish.
6. Book a room at a local hotel. Swim in the pool, order room service, and pretend that home and all the responsibilities of everyday life are more than just a few minutes away.
7. Visit a pick-your-own farm. Fruits and vegetables are ripe for picking during the summer months. Pick some of your own, then bake a fresh cobbler to enjoy together as a family.
8. Organize a block party or neighborhood picnic.
9. Don’t underestimate the value of a blow-up pool. A few inches of water in the pool, water balloons for the kids, and summer cocktails for mom and dad make for simple summer fun.
10. Tour the world from home. Can’t travel abroad? Go virtually instead! Bring another culture to life by reading books, practicing the language, and cooking authentic dishes.
11. Turn your home into a spa. Light aromatherapy candles, turn on soothing music, and pamper your family with massages, facials, and other relaxing spa treatments.
12. Plan a family field day. Go old school with games like tag, kickball, and of course, relay races.
13. Be a tourist in your own town. What popular attractions draw visitors to your city? Explore the parks, museums, and dining destinations that your hometown has to offer.
14. Host a family game tournament. Whether you play board games or cards, make it more fun by having awesome prizes.
15. Bike along local trails.
16. Go geocaching. All you need is a GPS to participate in this popular global treasure hunt.
17. Visit a local winery or vineyard.
18. Have a movie marathon. Drama? Romance? High crime? Whatever your family’s favorite genre, pop some popcorn and curl up on the sofa to enjoy the films together.
19. Take advantage of local festivals and carnivals.
20. Throw a luau. Or a Mexican fiesta. Whatever it takes to make you feel like you’ve actually traveled to some exotic destination.
21. Visit historic landmarks. Sure, you can fly to Washington D.C to see the White House, but there’s probably history right outside your front door. Challenge your family to find it.
22. Start a family book club. Spend time hanging out at home, reading the same books, and having discussions over snacks and treats. This is a great activity for families with tweens and teens.
23. Have a pajama party. Take a break from the fast pace of life, and let the whole family lounge around the house in pajamas. Warning: this may be the most relaxing vacation you ever take!