Family Staycation Ideas – 2023
25 Family Staycation Ideas
Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or engage in fun-filled activities, there are plenty of family staycation ideas that can help you make the most of your time off. From camping in the backyard to exploring nearby museums and parks, the options for family staycations are endless and can be tailored to suit your preferences and budget.
Here are 25 of the best family staycation ideas …
Family staycation ideas for anyone!
This first part of the list would be perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy a staycation for family – no matter if your kids are toddlers or teens, they’ll enjoy the staycation ideas for families here! Many would even be terrific staycation ideas for couples.
1. Scavenger Hunt
What kid doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Scavenger hunts are an excellent family staycation idea that can be customized to suit the age and interests of your family members.
This activity involves searching for hidden objects or clues, which can be located in your home, neighborhood, or local park. You can create your own scavenger hunt by hiding items around your home or using clues to lead your family to different locations around your neighborhood.
👉 Check out my Esty Store where I created a road trip games package that includes several scavenger hunts ready to print and play!
Alternatively, you can find pre-made scavenger hunt kits on Etsy or Pinterest that offer different themes, such as nature or history, to make the experience more educational and engaging. Scavenger hunts are a fun way to encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity, all while spending quality time with your loved ones.
2. Check out a new park
Personally, I love checking out a new park – staycation or not – but why not make a strategic effort to find a new one during your next staycation?
Checking out a new park is an excellent staycation idea for families that can provide an opportunity to explore the outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. There are many parks to choose from, each with unique features and activities.
Some parks offer hiking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas, while others may have a lake for swimming or fishing. Researching different parks in your area and planning a day trip to explore them can be a fun way to discover new places and create lasting memories.
You can also pack a picnic lunch or bring some snacks to enjoy while taking in the scenery. Checking out a new park is one of the best affordable family staycation ideas that can offer a break from the daily routine and a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature together.
3. Look at the stars
We don’t look away from our devices and up to the sky often enough! So make a point to do it on your next family staycation. Checking out the stars is a unique and exciting family staycation idea that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own backyard.
Stargazing can be done with minimal equipment, such as a telescope or binoculars, or simply by lying on a blanket and gazing up at the night sky. You can use stargazing apps to identify constellations and planets, and even track the movement of satellites and space stations.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to spot shooting stars or meteor showers. Stargazing can be a great way to bond as a family while learning about the universe and the wonders of astronomy. It’s a peaceful and relaxing way to spend an evening, and a great opportunity to disconnect from technology and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us.
4. Stay overnight at a local hotel
Splurge a little (hey, you are probably saving THOUSANDS by enjoying a staycation this year), and stay overnight at a local hotel. Staying overnight at a local hotel is a fun and unique way to enjoy a family staycation.
It offers a break from the usual routine and provides an opportunity to explore your local area from a different perspective. You can choose a hotel with a pool or a hot tub, or one that’s located near attractions and restaurants you’ve been wanting to try.
Many hotels offer packages for families that include breakfast and other amenities such as bike rentals or movie nights. Staying at a hotel can also provide a sense of luxury and relaxation, giving you a chance to unwind and spend quality time together as a family without the distractions of home.
👉 Check rates and availability for your area at Booking.com
5. Visit your local museums
Visiting a local museum is an enriching and educational family staycation idea that can provide an opportunity to learn about history, art, science, and culture. If you live in a small town, look for a local county historical museum or check into a larger city nearby. You can research different museums in your area and choose one that aligns with your family’s interests.
Many museums offer interactive exhibits, workshops, and guided tours that can make the experience more engaging for children and adults alike. Visiting a museum can be a great way to inspire curiosity and spark new interests, all while spending quality time together as a family. It’s a perfect way to escape the mundane routine of daily life and discover something new and exciting in your local community.
💥 Related post: 5 Ways to Save Money on Museum Visits
6. Pick up a new book at the bookstore or library
As an avid reader, spending time at the library or bookstore is one of my favorite fun and educational family staycation ideas. Hopefully, it will help inspire a love of reading and learning. It’s also a great way to explore new books and discover new authors while spending time together as a family.
You can research different books and create a reading list, or simply browse the shelves and choose books that catch your eye. Many libraries and bookstores also offer children’s reading programs, storytime events, and workshops that can make the experience even more engaging for children.
Spending time at the library or bookstore is a great way to disconnect from technology and get lost in the pages of a good book. It’s a perfect way to encourage a love of reading and lifelong learning in children while enjoying quality time with the family.
So grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and spend some time browsing the racks on your next family staycation.
7. Find a U-pick farm
Visiting a U-pick farm is always a lot of fun and would be a great family staycation idea that can provide a unique opportunity to experience agriculture and learn about where food comes from.
Head to a nearby farm and pick your own fruits or vegetables. You can research different U-pick farms in your area and choose one that offers the produce you want to pick.
Depending on the season, you can pick strawberries, blueberries, apples, pumpkins, and more. U-pick farms also often have other activities for families to enjoy, such as hayrides, corn mazes, and petting zoos.
Visiting a U-pick farm is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the beauty of nature, and teach children the importance of agriculture and healthy eating habits. And, when you get home you can do a little cooking or baking to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
💥 Related posts: Strawberry picking near Indianapolis
8. Try a science experiment
Doing a science experiment as part of a family staycation is a fun and educational activity that can engage both children and adults. This activity involves choosing a science experiment to do at home and performing it as a family.
There are many easy and exciting experiments that can be done with common household items, such as making a homemade lava lamp, creating a baking soda and vinegar volcano, or even just building a paper airplane. Pinterest is a terrific resource for finding fun and easy options.
Performing science experiments can help children develop critical thinking skills and an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. It’s also a great opportunity to bond as a family and learn something new together.
Doing a science experiment as part of a family staycation is an affordable and fun way to spark curiosity and inspire a love of learning in children. They’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realize you’ve snuck in a little education!
9. Build a fort
Building a fort as part of a family staycation is a fun and creative activity that can provide a sense of adventure and excitement for children and adults alike. This activity involves using household items, such as blankets, pillows, and furniture, to build a fort in your living room or backyard.
It can be a fun way to encourage teamwork and creativity, as you work together to design and build the perfect fort. Once the fort is built, you can use it as a cozy space to read, play games, or watch movies together.
Building a fort can also help children develop problem-solving and spatial reasoning skills. It’s a simple and affordable family staycation idea that can provide hours of entertainment and create lasting memories.
10. Play miniature golf
Playing miniature golf is an engaging family staycation idea that can provide a mix of competition, skill-building, and quality time. Miniature golf courses are often designed with colorful and imaginative themes that can capture children’s imaginations and provide a fun and unique experience.
If you can, find a course that’s got some unusual holes – with windmills or water features. Playing miniature golf can help children develop hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning skills, as well as encourage teamwork and healthy competition among family members. It’s also a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Many miniature golf courses offer additional activities, such as batting cages, arcade games, and snack bars, that can add to the fun. Playing miniature golf is a low-stress and affordable family staycation idea that almost guarantees some fun and laughs.
Staycation Ideas for Families with Teens
Enjoying a family staycation with teens can be challenging, as they may have different interests and priorities than younger children. However, there are many family staycation ideas that can appeal to teens and provide an opportunity for quality time together.
The key to enjoying a family staycation with teens is to involve them in the planning process and encourage open communication about their preferences and interests. This can help create a sense of ownership and engagement in the activities and ensure that everyone has a good time.
11. Explore a new neighborhood
Exploring a new neighborhood with teens can be an exciting and fun family staycation idea that provides an opportunity to discover new sights, sounds, and experiences. Find a neighborhood that is unfamiliar to your family and take a leisurely walk or bike ride through its streets, shops, and restaurants.
Teens may enjoy exploring unique boutiques, trendy cafes, and street art that reflects the neighborhood’s culture and identity. This activity can provide a sense of adventure and independence while still allowing for quality time with the family. You’ll get extra bonus points from the teens if there are colorful murals for Instagram photos!
As a family, you can research the history and culture of the neighborhood in advance and plan a route that highlights the most interesting and memorable sights. Exploring a new neighborhood with teens as part of a family staycation is a great way to bond, have fun, and create lasting memories.
Take it up a level with a food tour! We had a great time learning all about Ybor City on a recent vacation with a fun and engaging Viator tour.
12. Check out a new coffee shop
Checking out a new coffee shop as part of a family staycation can be a fun and cozy experience that provides an opportunity to relax, chat, and try new things. Finding and enjoying local coffee shops is something we do on every vacation, so it makes sense to include it on a staycation too!
Teens may enjoy trying out different types of coffee or tea, as well as indulging in pastries or other treats. Parents may appreciate the chance to unwind and catch up on reading or playing a game with the kids while sipping on a warm drink. It’s especially fun to each order a different drink and do a little taste test to see which one is the best!
This activity can also provide a sense of discovery and adventure, as you explore a new part of town or a unique coffee shop that you haven’t tried before. Additionally, checking out a new coffee shop can support local businesses and promote community engagement.
💥 Related posts: Coffee shops north of Indianapolis; 25 BEST coffee roasters in Michigan
13. Try kayaking or tubing
Kayaking or tubing on a family staycation can be a thrilling and refreshing experience that allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature and spend quality time together. This activity involves renting kayaks or tubes and navigating through calm or mild rapids on a river or lake.
Teens will usually enjoy the sense of adventure and independence that kayaking or tubing provides, while parents may appreciate the chance to unwind and connect with nature. This activity can also promote physical fitness and coordination, as well as teamwork and communication among family members.
Additionally, kayaking or tubing can provide an opportunity to explore new areas of the outdoors and discover hidden waterfalls, wildlife, and scenic views. It’s important to choose a kayaking or tubing location that is safe and suitable for all members of the family and to follow all necessary safety protocols and guidelines like wearing or having life jackets with you at all times.
Our favorite places to kayak are along rivers or lakes with houses or businesses – it’s really fun to see them from a different perspective!
14. Ride go-karts
Riding go-karts on a family staycation can be a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping activity that appeals to both parents and teens. These days it’s pretty easy to find at least one indoor or outdoor go-karting track in most medium size cities.
Go-karting can be a unique and memorable experience that provides a break from the routine of everyday life.
15. Spend a day at the ballpark
Spending a day at the ballpark can be an enjoyable and memorable family staycation idea that appeals to sports fans of all ages. Attend a baseball game, (professional or amateur) while indulging in classic ballpark food, and spending quality time together.
Teens often get a kick out of enjoying the social and cultural aspects of attending a baseball game, such as participating in the wave or joining in with the crowd’s cheers and chants.
This activity can also promote teamwork, strategy, and coordination skills as family members analyze the game and cheer on their favorite team. Additionally, spending a day at the ballpark can provide a sense of community and belonging as family members join in with the shared experience of being a fan.
It’s important to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance, as well as to dress appropriately for the weather and bring sunscreen or rain gear. Spending a day at the ballpark on a family staycation is a fun and exciting way to create unforgettable memories and enjoy a classic American pastime together.
16. Shopping & lunch
Shopping and lunch can be a fun and relaxing family staycation idea that allows your family to bond over food and fashion. Just visit a local mall or shopping district and spend time browsing through stores, trying on clothes, and finding unique items to purchase.
It can be fun to explore new fashion trends and express individuality by just trying on unique clothing choices, or you could even give each family member a budget and let them pick something for themselves or someone else in the family. We like to check out different stores too – like record stores or vintage shops.
After a morning of shopping, take the time to sit down to a leisurely lunch at a nearby restaurant, sampling local cuisine and catching up on each other’s lives. This activity can also promote communication, negotiation, and budgeting skills as family members make decisions about what to purchase and where to eat.
17. Create a friendly competition
Creating a friendly competition is always a fun family staycation idea as it can be an engaging way to spend time together and encourage teamwork and healthy competition.
Design and then participate in a variety of games or challenges that your family can compete in, such as board games, card games, sports, trivia quizzes, or scavenger hunts. Make it as in-depth or as simple as you’d like.
Teens may enjoy the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge, while parents just appreciate the chance to bond with their family members in a lighthearted and entertaining way.
Creating a friendly competition can also promote communication, problem-solving, and strategic thinking skills as you work together to complete tasks or win games. Additionally, this activity can provide a sense of excitement and adventure if you engage in a bit of friendly rivalry and strive to come out on top.
It’s important to choose games or challenges that are suitable for everyone and to focus on having fun and building relationships rather than winning at all costs.
18. Play yard games
Playing yard games can be a fun and active family staycation idea that promotes outdoor recreation and friendly competition. Set up and play a variety of games that can be enjoyed in a backyard or outdoor space, such as frisbee, cornhole, croquet, or horseshoes.
💥 A fun yard game we discovered last summer while vacationing in Michigan is called Quub – definitely check it out!
Teens may enjoy the chance to show off their physical prowess and athletic ability, while parents may appreciate the opportunity to relax in fresh air and exercise.
Yard games are a great way to create memories while having a lot of fun together as a family!
19. Enjoy a progressive dinner
Don’t just plan on a few normal dinners out, instead, how about a progressive dinner? Having a progressive dinner at local restaurants is one of the more unique family staycation ideas because it allows your family to sample a variety of cuisines and explore the local dining scene.
Choose a few different restaurants in the area and enjoy a different course at each one, such as appetizers at one restaurant, entrees at another, and dessert at a third.
It’s a great way to sample new dishes without having the mess of preparing them at home. Having a progressive dinner can also promote conversation, cultural exploration, and a sense of adventure as family members sample different dishes and explore new neighborhoods.
👉 If you don’t want to create your own progressive dinner, how about a food tour? I’ve found (and enjoyed) several through Viator – do a search for your location and see what pops up!
Staycation Ideas for Families on a Budget
Are you looking for some budget staycation ideas for families? The following ideas are all ones you can enjoy without spending much (or anything!) at all. Mix them in with some of the more expensive ideas to keep your staycation affordable.
20. Create the ultimate movie night
Creating the ultimate movie night can be a cozy and relaxing family staycation idea that allows family members to bond over their favorite films and snacks. Set up a comfortable viewing area, such as a cozy living room or even your backyard, and choose a selection of movies that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Older kids may want to choose movies that reflect their interests and tastes, while you can introduce classic films or family-friendly favorites. To make the experience even more fun, set up a snack bar with a variety of movie snacks, such as popcorn, candy, and soda, or even make a full dinner or themed snacks based on the movies being watched.
21. Travel the world at home
Traveling the world at home can be an exciting and educational family staycation idea that allows your family to learn about different cultures and explore the world without leaving the house.
Pick a country or region and plan activities, meals, and decorations that reflect its culture. For example, families can research and cook meals from different countries, learn about the history and traditions of different regions, or even create crafts or games that reflect their culture.
Traveling the world at home can promote creativity, curiosity, and a sense of adventure as your kids immerse themselves in different cultures and customs.
You could even use this family staycation idea to jumpstart talking or planning about a future trip to the selected country!
22. Try a new craft
Trying a new craft can be a fun and creative family staycation idea that allows everyone to explore their artistic side and learn new skills. Decide upon a craft or project that everyone in the family can enjoy, such as painting, knitting, or scrapbooking. Pinterest is a great resource for finding simple but interesting craft ideas.
If you want to go all out, set up a craft station with all the necessary materials and tools, or even take a trip to a local craft store to browse and buy supplies. You’ll end up with a sense of accomplishment and pride as you see your creations come to life.
It’s important to choose a craft that is suitable for all ages and skill levels and to provide guidance and support where needed. We do a different craft over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks and it’s always fun and memorable!
23. Game night
Having a game night is a classic and fun family staycation idea that allows family members to bond and have a good time together. Pick games that are suitable for all ages and interests, such as board games, card games, or video games.
It’s fun to showcase your skills and compete with each other, while as a parent you can reminisce on your own experiences with classic games. To make the experience even more enjoyable, you can set up a game station with snacks, drinks, and comfortable seating.
Having a game night can also promote communication and laughter as family members engage in friendly competition and conversation. Additionally, this activity can provide a sense of nostalgia and tradition as families continue to enjoy classic games that have been passed down through generations.
💥 Related post: The 8 BEST Family Games
24. Indoor or backyard camping
Both indoor and backyard camping can be creative and fun staycation ideas for families that allows family members to experience the fun of camping without leaving the comfort of their own home.
This was a staple summer staycation activity at my house when the kids were little. We’d set up a tent in the backyard and create a camping atmosphere with sleeping bags, lanterns, and plenty of pillows.
Take it to the next level by cooking camp-style food, playing camping-themed games, and telling stories around a campfire (real or simulated).
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, set up a tent inside – or even just a fort of blankets and pillows, sit around the fireplace and pretend you are in the great outdoors. Little kids especially love the novelty of indoor camping.
25. Family bike ride
Taking a family bike ride can be one of the healthiest family staycation ideas that allow you to explore new places and enjoy the outdoors together. Choose a scenic bike path or route that is suitable for all ages and skill levels, and borrow or use your own bicycles that are appropriate for each family member.
This is a great way to encourage healthy habits and spend quality time with your children. To make the experience even more enjoyable, consider packing a picnic lunch, stopping at local landmarks or attractions along the way, and taking breaks to enjoy the scenery.
Bike rides provide a sense of adventure and exploration as you discover new places and enjoy the natural surroundings. It’s important to ensure that everyone is comfortable and safe while riding their bike and to follow traffic rules and guidelines.
💥 Related post: Rails to Trails – many converted railways are paved and perfect for biking!
What is the difference between a staycation and a vacation?
A staycation is a type of vacation that involves staying close to home and engaging in leisure activities within your local area, while a vacation usually involves traveling to a different destination for a period of time to relax and explore new places.
While both types of breaks aim to provide rest and relaxation, staycations are often more affordable and can be more convenient for families or individuals who are unable to take extended time off work or travel long distances.
Staycations can also offer the opportunity to explore and appreciate local attractions, which can be overlooked in the day-to-day routine. It’s amazing how many cool things are nearby that you never even realized because most people don’t take the time to explore on a daily basis.
The main difference between the two is the location, as staycations allow for a break from the usual routine while still being close to home, while vacations involve exploring and experiencing new destinations.
How to prepare for your family staycation
Preparing for a family staycation can involve many of the same steps as preparing for a vacation, but with a focus on creating a relaxing atmosphere and planning local activities. Here are some tips to prepare for your staycation:
1. Pick your dates
Choose a timeframe for your staycation that works best for you and your family. Make sure to block off this time on your calendar and notify your employer if needed. School breaks are obvious choices when planning a staycation for your family, but if you homeschool you might be able to enjoy off-season days that are less expensive.
2. Set a staycation budget
Determine how much you can spend on your staycation and create a budget. Since you’re staying local, you can save money on transportation and lodging, but you should still factor in costs for activities, meals, and other expenses.
3. Plan your itinerary
Research local attractions and activities that interest you and plan out a daily schedule for your staycation. Make sure to include time for relaxation and downtime as well.
👉 Consider filling out a daily itinerary to help everyone know the plan for each day – create your own or download this one from my Etsy store!
4. Prepare your environment for your family staycation
Prepare your home for a vacation-like atmosphere by decluttering, cleaning, and decorating. Set the mood with aromatherapy candles, music, cozy blankets, or other elements that create a calming atmosphere.
5. Stock up on useful necessities for family staycations
Buy groceries, snacks, and drinks ahead of time so you can avoid the stress of shopping during your family staycation (unless that shopping is one of your fun staycation ideas!). Make sure you have everything you need for your planned activities, such as sunscreen or hiking boots.
6. Be “out of office”
To fully relax and enjoy your staycation, consider unplugging from work and social media. Set up an “out of office” message on your email and let colleagues know that you’ll be unavailable during your staycation – just like you would do for a regular vacation.
7. Relax and have a fun family staycation
Remember that the goal of family staycations is to unwind and enjoy your time off, so be sure to relax and have fun! Be present and enjoy the local experiences and attractions you have planned.
Family staycation benefits
There are many benefits to taking a family staycation. For most of us, it can be more affordable than a traditional vacation, as you can save money on transportation and lodging costs.
Family staycations can also be more convenient, as you don’t have to worry about packing, long travel times, or adjusting to a new time zone.
Staycations allow you to explore your local area and discover new places and activities that you may not have otherwise known about.
Additionally, it can be a great way to spend quality time together as a family and create lasting memories.
Lastly, a family staycation can provide a much-needed break from daily routines and work stress, allowing you to relax and recharge without the pressures of travel. In fact, you’ll find yourself well-rested and not worn out like you might end up after a busy travel day back home from a typical vacation.
How to make a family staycation special?
Want to make your family staycation special? Plan a variety of unique and fun activities, while still allowing downtime.
Disconnect from work and other obligations during your staycation, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience and enjoy quality time with your family. It helps to have a family cleaning or prepping session a day or two before your family staycations to get the house in order.
Kick it off with a special start
Starting a staycation for family with a special breakfast or another unique activity can set the tone for the rest of the vacation. Consider making a breakfast dish that is out of the ordinary or indulgent, such as homemade waffles, pancakes, or breakfast sandwiches, or even going out for a big brunch!
This will create a celebratory atmosphere and get everyone excited for the day ahead, and it’s often something you’d do on a regular vacation.
Another option is to plan a special outing, such as visiting a nearby attraction or going on a hike or bike ride to kick off the family staycation. Whatever you choose to do, starting the staycation with a special breakfast or activity can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for the whole family.
Conclusion: Family Staycation Ideas
In conclusion, a family staycation can be a fun and memorable way to spend time together without the stress and expense of travel. With so many great family staycation ideas available, you can easily create a unique and enjoyable experience for your family.
From exploring your local area to trying new activities and indulging in special treats, there are endless ways to make your staycation special and unforgettable. By disconnecting from everyday life and spending quality time together, a family staycation can help you create lasting memories and strengthen your family bond.
So why not plan your next staycation today and start enjoying all the benefits of a family vacation right in your own backyard?
👉 Need some ideas for fun things to do with your family now? No need to wait for your next staycation, grab your FREE copy of 5 Fun Family Experiences and pick one to do this week!