Looking for fun, cheap, or free ways to escape the ordinary? Explore 50 of the best and fun staycation ideas for your family where you will be glad you never left home or your town.
Cheap & Fun Family Staycation Ideas
Explore a state or national park near you
Get outdoors and enjoy a day in nature. It’s a great way to get some fresh air. Social distancing is easy and stepping foot into nature is a perfect getaway.
You may need to make reservations to get a park pass and entry time, so make sure to plan ahead.
Check out this fun way to see the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Stay at a Local Resort
I bet you anything that your city or a city near you has some amazing resorts that you have never stayed at because when you travel you always leave town.
Pack your bags for a night or two and support your local city and business and enjoy time away from cooking, housework, and the ordinary day-to-day. Go spend a day at the pool and spa and enjoy the amenities the resort has to offer.
If you are looking for a great deal, my FREE travel & lifestyle membership has up to 65% off hotels. (On average, savings over public online booking engines like Expedia and Priceline are around 25%. It depends on the season and day of travel.) I am sure you will find some great deals for fun staycations for your family.
Visit Local Tourist Attractions
I am going to guess that your are near a city that has museums, aquariums, zoos, theaters, bakeries, seasonal tourist shops, historical sites, and more.
Sometimes when you are local, you go on with your day-to-day activities and never get to see or enjoy your city from a tourist perspective.
This is a great opportunity to find the charm and fun things your city has to offer.
Magical Little Life membership offers lifestyle benefits, too. Search for your city to find local deals as well as discounted tickets to shows, concerts, movies, theme parks, museums, and even shopping.
Rent a Fun Car for the Day
Depending on the time of the year, this could vary.
- Rent a convertible and drive with the top down
- Rent a jeep and go off-roading
- Rent an RV and go for a short road trip and camping
- Rent a snowmobile and enjoy the winter snow
The possibilities are there for the imagination. Go have fun, safely of course!
Take a Mini Day Road Trip
I bet you have some really amazing places nearby within 2-3 hours that you can go explore, enjoy and still make it back home all in the same day.
For example, in Arizona, there is the Grand Canyon National Park, Bearizona, out of Africa Park, Sedona, Flagstaff, Prescott, Scottsdale, and Payson all within 2-3 hours of each other. Every state has many amazing things to do such as hiking, unique dining, watching wildlife, enjoying nature and so much more.
Do a Google search on things to do in your area and plan a day trip around something fun.
Take a Train Ride
Most places I have visited and even in my own state, there is an opportunity to take a train ride. Who doesn’t love a peaceful train ride in nature?
Visit a Neighboring Town
We get stuck in our daily routines and never leave our own town except if we do get a chance to travel which usually is away from home. Your neighboring town has unique things to offer, too. Go visit and enjoy what they have to offer. Maybe it’s an ice cream shop, a restaurant, or a park?
Order a Science Kit or Lego Set and Complete It
Amazon, Lego Store, and KiwiCo have some fun projects. Take time to explore science or building something together as a family.
FREE & Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family at Home
Camping in your back yard
I will admit, I am not a huge fan of camping in general. Dirt and sleeping on the cold ground don’t sound fun to me. I am more for glamping. However, the convenience of running water and a shower within a few steps, I can handle. How about you?
Time to unplug from technology and spend quality family time together. Tell ghost stories with a flashlight, share your biggest dreams while star gazing, and roast marshmallows over the fire pit. Family memories don’t get any better than this.
Take a Drive Through Your Hometown
When was the last time you took time with the family for a Sunday Drive? Does that even exist anymore in the hustle non-stop society we live in? Take time to drive through your hometown and reflect on memories, see what has changed, what is new, and take it all in and appreciate your town for what it is.
Take a Hike or Go Bike Riding on a Local Trail
Take a hike or go bike riding on your favorite trail or find a new trail to explore.
Dress Up and Take Family Photos
How often do we take the time to get family photos? This is a great opportunity to take a day to clean up, enjoy family time together, and capture the moment. Hire a professional photographer to meet you in an outdoor setting to capture the moment or set up a tripod or a use a table and those Amazon boxes that just arrived, set the timer, and smile.
Watch an Online Concert
All you have to do is a Google search and you will find all kinds of online concerts of all styles and artists.
Download Geocaching App and Go Geocaching
Watch the Sunrise or Sunset
Take time to watch a sunrise or sunset. I don’t mean from the kitchen window as you eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast or as you wind down from the day on your sofa. Pack up the family and go someplace to really enjoy it to its fullest.
Create an Obstacle Course
I am sure you have things laying around the house to create an obstacle course in your backyard.
- Pool noodles
- Hula hoops
- Laundry baskets
- Jump ropes
Get creative. Incorporate exercises such as jumping jacks, tie string around trees, chairs, etc. and crawl under them, hula hoop and use them as jump ladders, balance and walk across a board plank. The ideas are limitless.
Book & Plan Your Dream Vacation
Start planning that magical vacation. I promise you it will lift your spirits and give you something to look forward to. Download the Vacation Budget, Save, & Prepare Planner to help you get started.
Create a Bucket List of Things To See & Do
Every year I try to cross off at least one major thing from my bucket list. I am sure your family has dreams of places they want to go and things they want to do. Create a list and make a dream board and then start prioritizing what you are going to do first and how you are going to make it happen.
How Can I make My Staycation Fun?
Staycation Theme Days
Instead of planning a big vacation away, how about keeping the fun at home. If you are like us, we love Disney. The theme parks and cruises. Give your family a little magic at home by planning a theme day.
Ideas could include Pirate’s, Disney, Movies, Mexican Fiesta, or a field day.
Pirates: Dress in costumes, set up a scavenger hunt for treasure, walk the plank, watch pirate movies.
Disney: Do Disney-themed arts & crafts, play Disney theme park music and have a dance party, watch virtual Disney rides on YouTube, bake a favorite copycat recipe, and end the day with a Disney movie with favorite Disney treats.
Movies: Have a drive-in movie night. Project a movie on the side of your house or garage. Back up your vehicle and watch from the car or invite friends over and watch on the driveway. OR binge watch favorite movies all day long.
Mexican Fiesta: Get a piñata and fill it with candy, listen to Mariachi music, and cook your favorite Mexican meal(s) with sopapillas for dessert.
Field Day: Set up your back yard with hula hoops and yard games and challenge the family to some fun active outdoor time competing against each other.
With the hustle of work, school, activities, and housework, the days run together and there never seems like a good time to take a break. Create a spa day for yourself or do it together as a family. A restful and relaxing day can be good for everyone.
Create a relaxing atmosphere first. Clean the house, pick up clutter, and turn off technology. Turn on some calm and relaxing music, light a candle or wax burner, and dim the lights. Don’t forget a soothing beverage like fruit or cucumber-infused water or coconut water.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Facial: put a warm washcloth on your face for 5 minutes to help open up the pores, use eye masks to help with puffiness and dark circles, use a mask for your face, and use a lip scrub and lip balm to finish it off.
- Hands: give yourself a hand massage and then a manicure.
- Feet: soak your feet in bath salts and then give yourself a pedicure.
- Body: Soak in the tub with a bath bomb or take a shower doing a dry brush first and then use a scrub. End with splurging on your favorite lotion.
Make a Family Video
Animoto is free and easy to use. The free version does have a logo watermark though. If you have an iPhone or MacBook, you can use iMovie. There are phone apps, too.
Check out our memories captured in this fun weekend getaway with a quick iMovie video. Tip: You can get free Royalty free music like the one in this video from YouTube Studio. Read the terms & conditions first before using it.
A fun staycation for your family in the backyard may be all you need. Well, maybe not in the winter. However, during the summer, what a fun treat and way to cool off. Buy a slip n’ slide and fountain and maybe some super soakers or did you know you can rent giant inflatable pools or slip n’ slides?
Turn on some happy upbeat tunes and you have your own waterpark.
Have a Picnic at a Local Park or In Your Backyard
Sometimes planning a meal outside of the house and getting some fresh air is enough to change the scenery up and recharge. Pack up a picnic, grab the frisbee, and head outdoors to your local park or even your backyard.
Create a Photo Session With Props
Make a photo booth at home and create props. Have a fun photo session together. Use it to show your family’s personality for your Christmas cards or post on your Facebook page or Instagram account.
Take it one step further and create a family themed party together for a full day of fun.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Create a checklist for what you need to find. Ideas for difference scavenger hunts could be: things in nature, things of certain colors, things of certain shapes, or maybe even a trip to the zoo to find different animals.
For nature, things could be like a leaf, flower, bug, butterfly, rock, etc. For colors, you could find an item of each color like red, blue, green, yellow, pink, brown, white, black, orange, purple, etc.
Determine the difficulty level as well as the location whether this is a fun staycation for your family at home, at a local park, or around your hometown.
Create a Family Olympics Event
Nothing like some friendly competition among your family as well as some movement and exercise. Some ideas to help you create your event (depending on the size of your family could be:
- Wheelbarrow races (like the picture below)
- Balloon pop or water balloon toss
- Hula hoop
- Ring Toss
- 3 legged race
- Long jump
- Potato sack race
- Ultimate Frisbee and other sports games
Have a Pool Day at a Local Pool or Waterpark (or in your backyard if you have a pool)
A day at the pool or waterpark is a perfect way to spend a fun day in the sun with your family.
Can’t make it to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or go on a Disney Cruise at this time? You can still create Disney magic with a day of Disney. Here are some fun Disney staycation ideas for your family:
- Dress up as a character
- Watch a Disney movie
- Create your own Disney parade
- Listen to Disney park or movie music
- Have a Disney Sing-a-long
- Wear Disney t-shirts and Mickey ears
- Play a Disney board game
- Watch virtual rides on YouTube
- Build Disney Lego sets
- Explore Disney on Google maps and map out a future vacation or talk about your favorite things to do, see, and eat
- Make your favorite Disney copycat recipe
- Eat dessert and watch Disney fireworks online via YouTube.
What can families do for a fun night?
Family Game Night
A little healthy competition never hurts, right? I always enjoy family game night with my own family. Our favorite is a card game called, Phase 10. This game can last for hours.
Other favorites include Monopoly, Uno, Clue, Life, Pictionary, and Jenga. What’s your favorite?
Order a pizza and make it game night at your house.
Plan an evening or weekend to watch all your favorite movies back-to-back. Have everyone choose their favorite or choose a series and watch them all.
Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family – Drive-in Movie
If you have drive-in movies, pick a night and grab tickets and go. If there is not a drive-in near you, make your own. Either set it up on your garage or in your backyard. Make sure to pop some popcorn, grab your favorite candy, set up some chairs or back the truck in and open up the tailgate and enjoy.
Build a Fort & Watch a Movie or Read Books
There is something about fort building that kids of all ages love. (yes, even the big kid adults) Time to test your fort building skills and see if you can build your best fort yet. Make this the best staycation yet camping out together as a family and watching movies or reading books.
Create an Escape Room
Go to Amazon and buy an Escape Room Kit. Set it up and see how long it takes your to figure out the clues and escape.
Dinner with a Chef
Want a break from trying to figure out what’s for dinner or how to prepare an actual meal your entire family will like besides spaghetti and meatballs?
Hire a chef and skip a night of having to figure it out on your own. Prepare a meal together as a family and maybe learn a new skill in the kitchen or find a new meal that your entire family loves.
Fun Family Staycation Ideas for Your Family – Order In
If your family can’t agree on something to eat and you are ready to take a break from cooking, time to order in. Grab the menu from your favorite restaurant or try a new local restaurant and enjoy a quiet family meal together without having to worry about the clean-up afterwards.
Make a Dessert Bar and Watch a Disney Fireworks Show on YouTube
One of my favorite ways to watch the Disney fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is the Tomorrowland Dessert Party. Wether you have never been to Disney World or missing the park and shows, make your family a dessert bar and enjoy your desserts and watch the fireworks show together. I bet you will end your evening with a smile on your face and feel like you are living your Happily Ever After.
Have a Backyard Barbecue and Make S’mores
Grill some burgers and hotdogs or smoke some brisket and ribs. Enjoy some fruits and veggies or baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, or make it easy with some chips and enjoy time outdoors together. For dessert, nothing better to go with this meal than homemade s’mores.
TIP: Make your S’more with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup instead of a Hershey Bar. Yummy!
Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family – Try a New Restaurant
Typically when you travel, you are more adventurous and explore and try new things. Why not while you are at home? Either ask around or look at online reviews and find a new restaurant to try and support.
Fun Staycation Activities for Your Family
Have a Bake-Off
I am not sure I know anyone who doesn’t enjoy baking or at least eating baked goods. One of my favorite childhood memories is making cookies with my family. It must have rubbed off on my own sons.
Divide into teams or keep it at an individual competition, but have a bake-off and see who can bake up the best dessert. Are you going off of taste, presentation, or both?
Have fun and enjoy the results!
Take a New Course & Learn a New Skill
I know learning can sound scary or like extra work, but when you are learning something new that you enjoy, it can be refreshing and recharge your energy.
Is there something you always wish you knew how to do? Now is the perfect time to learn how and go do it! Here are a few things to consider:
- Entrepreneurship and start your own business
- Crochet or knitting
- a new language
- graphic design
Virtual Visits to an Aquarium, Zoo, or Museum
If you can’t go visit in person, the next best thing is to be able to still go virtually. Google virtual visits zoos (or aquarium or museum) and choose the one you want to visit.
Have projects around the house that you want to start or maybe even finish but have been putting it off? Want to plant a garden, plant flowers, or maybe even rearrange, redecorate or repaint a room? Have a family project day where everyone chips in with a task and enjoy doing it together.
Acts of Kindness
Take a day to do acts of kindness. Some ideas are:
- Pay for someone else behind you in line
- Compliment people you see
- Send a positive message to someone
- Donate towels, sheets, dog & cat food to your local shelter
- Surprise a neighbor with fresh baked cookies
- Send cards of gratitude in the mail
- Give a big tip to a server
- Take flowers or treats to your local heroes
- Email or write a teacher who made a difference in your life
Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family – Instagram Tour
Do you have an instagram account? If not, did you know you could have a private account where only those that you invite or accept can see your photos. You can also have a public account where anyone can see you photos and follow you as well. It’s your choice.
What’s great about instagram is that you can organize your photos and memories like a giant photo album.
Take a day to explore your hometown or find your favorite vacation and post images to Instagram. You can follow me on Instagram here @magicallittlelife.
Fun Family Art Day
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.” ~Pablo Picasso
A day of art is just as good as exploring nature or new places. Get your supplies out or plan ahead and buy some. Consider a day of painting or pottery or take an art class.
Make a Physical or Digital Scrapbook
What is the next best thing of escaping the ordinary of the actual vacation? The memories you created on the vacation. Time to get the photos off your phone or computer and do something with them. Pick a memory whether is is an actual vacation, staycation, or holiday and make a scrapbook.
Fun Staycation Ideas for Your Family – Paint Rocks
Have you heard of painting rocks? Yes, it’s a thing. Go pick up some rocks, get out your paint supplies, and get creative. When you are done, take your rocks and leave them at a local park along trails to brighten someone’s day who finds them.
Make & Enjoy Family Brunch
You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant or resort to start your day off right. Make and enjoy brunch with your family. Some things you can make:
- Breakfast casserole
- Overnight oats
- Eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and toast
- French toast
- Breakfast sandwiches
Put Together a Puzzle
Buy a puzzle of your dream destination and put it together. While you are putting it together, talk about the things you want to do when you get to visit and make a list.
Daily Activities or Gratitude Jar
Buy a jar and paper or large popsicle sticks. Create a jar for the year by writing out 365 days of staycation activities your family wants to do, an act of kindness, or something you are grateful for. Each day, randomly select an item. Do the activity or reflect gratitude for what you have.
Have a Magical staycation,
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