Vacations can be expensive, especially during the most popular times of the year such as Spring Break. Between jacked-up airfare prices and hotel rates, this time of year is just too much for most families to bear. We once went to Walt Disney World for Spring Break and the crowds were too much to handle. Although we knew we were going back, we couldn’t help but feel like we spent a ton of money for a whole lot of stress.
Due to all of this, we tend to stay close to home during Spring Break. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have any fun. Spending time at home and making day trips to local attractions, or having a staycation, helps our family experience our area in a whole new way. Staycations help you see the great things your town or city has to offer, rare gems that you may have overlooked before. It also gives kids the opportunity to be creative and engaged, while saving you some money. Another benefit to taking a staycation is you don’t have to have plans everyday. Staycations fit easily into busy schedules. They can be one day, a weekend or an entire week. Plus, with little to no packing involved, you can get up and go at a moment’s notice.
There are a ton of family friendly activities and excursions you can do, even if you don’t have a budget. I’ve compiled a list of staycation ideas to meet all budget types. Each suggestion will be sure to create some happy family memories.
Free (or almost free)
- Library– Browse for books to read during the week. Often libraries will offer free classes for kids during the school break or free movie days.
- Read– Make this everyday activity more special by having a family book club. Set aside time for the family to read. Then meet together to discuss the books you are reading.
- Game Day/Night – Pull out the game boards and have an all day competition. If you don’t have a whole day, have a family game night.
- Visit the Park- Head to a local park. Hike, spend time at the playground, explore or have a picnic. Make time to see things that you haven’t had time to do before.
- Play Outdoor Games– With the weather getting nicer, your kids will appreciate time outside. Set up some outdoor games such as badmitton, corn hole or volleyball. Kids could also blow bubbles or do sidewalk chalk.
- Have a Movie Night- This is one of our family’s favorite things to do. Pick a movie and come up with a themed dinner and activities to go along with it. You could also have a movie marathon on a rainy day.
- Make Crafts- Finally find time to put together all of those craft kits you have laying around the house. Take inventory of your craft supplies and challenge your kids to come up with their own craft. Since Earth Day is around the corner they could also make crafts using recycled materials.
- Camp at Home- Set up an indoor campout complete with tent, sleeping bags and plenty of camping treats. Weather permitting, take your campout outside.
- Be a Tourist in Your Own Town- Take a walk through your town. Window shop, grab a bite to eat and take in the sights. You’d be surprised what you can find when you take a closer look.
- Cooking/Baking- Try out a new recipe. Challenge your kids to create their own recipe using only the ingredients at home. Give your kids a small budget and have them shop for and prepare their own meal.
- Go on a Food Adventure- Take your kids on a culinary tour. Visit unique eateries such as gourmet doughnut shops, grilled cheese restaurants or fondue restaurants. If open, take your kids to the local farmers market. Have them sample. It’s a great opportunity for them to try new foods.
- Visit Local Museums/Aquariums/Zoos- While your instinct may be to visit big name museums, aquariums and zoos, don’t overlook your local ones. The smaller ones can offer a more personalized experience. They can also teach kids about the history of your area and the animals that live there.
- Play Sports- Go bowling, play a round of mini golf or hit the local batting cages. Trampoline and bounce places will often have open play hours during school breaks. You could also go skating or bike riding.
- Go to the Movies- Matinees or smaller movie theaters are your best bet for making taking your kids to the movies a budget friendly experience. Some theaters will even have movie times just for kids.
- Take a Class- Taking a class based on their interest can be a fun and enriching experience for kids. Craft stores, such as Michaels, will offer art classes for kids. Many places also provide cooking classes or science classes. Libraries also have special kids classes. Lowes and Home Depot offer building classes for kids on the weekends.
- Gardening- Spring is the perfect time to start a garden. Have your kids research and plan which plants they’d like to grow.
- Spend 1 Night at a Hotel- If you have the means, get away for one night at a local hotel. Take advantage of the amenities such as an indoor pool and room service. It’ll be just like being on vacation.
- Visit a Nearby City- Since our closest city is New York City, taking a day trip to the city is a splurge for us. You could do many of the ideas mentioned above (food adventure, museums, be a tourist) when exploring the big city.
- Community Theater- Local theater can be just as good as Broadway these days. Musicals especially are a fun way to expose kids to theater for the first time.
- Go to a Sporting Event- Take the kids out to the ball game (or any sport you like). They will love the experience of being up close and personal with their favorite sports team.
Planning a staycation can be fun and inexpensive. What suggestions can you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.