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52 Staycation Ideas for Families That Are Fun & Affordable

52 Staycation Ideas for Families That Are Fun & Affordable

When you can’t take a family vacation then Staycations are the next best thing. All you need are some fun and easy staycation ideas for families to plan the ultimate vacation at home. You’ll be amazed at what great family memories you can create even if you don’t leave your own zip code. 

Whether you’re saving money or just want to explore your own city learn how to make the most out of your at-home mini-vacation. It’s the perfect time to explore a new local park, local museums, or simply do a scavenger hunt in your own backyard. You’ll find tons of entertaining things to do at home to have a great time and make your family staycation feel special.

Follow along and find out what there is to do on a staycation near you and at home. I’ll show you how to make it feel like you’re on a mini-vacation with these 52 fun family staycation ideas to use any time of year. 

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Fun Things to Do on a Family Staycation

Plan the Best Family Staycation with these fun ideas & activites the whole family will enjoy doing. Affordable things to do at home and in your area to make your vacation at home feel special and memorable whether it's over the summer, winter break or spring break. Use this list to inspire your unforgettable Family Staycation!

Let’s start planning with unforgettable Staycation ideas for your family. Find great things to do at home and great places to go in your local community to make it memorable and special for your entire family.

The first section is things to do in your local community and the second is things to do at home on a staycation.

Staycation Ideas in Your Community

Just because you’re on a staycation doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time at home. There are tons of things to do with kids in your local area.

Make it a mini-vacation by exploring your own hometown and getting to know your city better.

1. Local Library

Visit a local library near you on a family staycation.

Visit your local library to check out new books or DVDs for the staycation and attend kids’ programs. Most libraries have kids programs planned whenever children are out of school and they are usually free.

Check your local library website to find out what’s going on at a library near you.

2. Park District Events

Local park districts often have movies in the park in the summer or free concerts to attend. This is a great free way to spend an evening with the kids.

Check your local park district website to see what other fun and free events they have going on while kids are home.

3. Visit Local Museums

Visit local museums while enjoying family staycation in your area.

We love to explore museums with the kids when they are not in school. Take a day to visit a local children’s museum or history museum in your area.

Don’t forget to check out any small-town museums showcasing the history of your area. Often these are free and a great way to spend an hour or two out with the kids.

If you are in the Chicago area here are our favorite Chicago Museums to Visit with Kids.

4. A New Park and Playground

Try visiting a new local park or playground in your are on family vacation in your local community.

Visit a new playground or local park you have never been to. Often in the summer, we try to plan and visit a new park each week. It’s always more exciting than the one you go to all the time. Bring a picnic and make it a full afternoon out.

In the winter months bundle up and go down the slides into the snow. Or find a local park with a hill you can sled down. You’ll be amazed how much fun even on a cold day the kids can have exploring a new playground.

5. Hike Your Local Forest Preserve or National Park

Head out on a family hike in a local park or National park with your kids. It's a great way to explore the outdoors with your family while on a staycation,

Go on a hike in your local forest preserve, State Park, or National Park and explore the great outdoors. It’s a great way to spend quality time together as a family and away from electronics.

Make sure to check the park’s website before you go to see what free events they have going on while you’re on your Staycation. We love to go on guided nature hikes with the kids at our local state park.

Get some tips on taking a family hike in my Ultimate Guide to Hiking with Kids which includes a free hiking scavenger hunt for kids.

While you’re at the park consider taking a bike ride with the entire family too.

6. Be a Local Tourist

Be a local tourist on your staycation and visit local museums, monuments, resturants and other cool tourist attractions in your own city.

Pretend you’re a tourist in your own town and visit the local attractions. Often when we live in a city, we forget how many cool things there are to see in our town. Do a little exploring and go somewhere you haven’t visited before.

If you’re in the Chicago area, here are 7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids on Staycation.

7. Local Book Store

Visit a local bookstore and find some new books to read on vacation. Look at their calendar of events to see when they have story time for kids. This will give you an extra activity to do while you’re there.

8. Go to the Zoo

Head to the Zoo and visit animals from your local area and from around the world.

Do you have a zoo to visit? What kid doesn’t love seeing new animals and learning all about their habitats? If you don’t have a big zoo, see if there is a local petting zoo you could visit.

Zoos usually host events for Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. So check out what they have going on even in the winter months. We’ve found we can stay warm in the winter by just popping in and out of the buildings looking at animals.

Free Printable Kids Daily Routine Schedule. Get organized when school is out this summer with an easy to follow routine. Make your summer stress free! #kidsschedule #dailyschedule #kidsroutine #freeprintable

9. Head to a Local Farm

Have you ever gone to a local farm with U Pick produce? It’s a really fun experience to pick your own fruit and you leave with some yummy food.

In summer, you can pick blueberries and strawberries while in the fall there is apple or pumpkin picking. Let the kids experience a day on the farm while picking their own food.

10. Water Park Adventures

Water parks are a great local adventure for familes while on a staycation.

Visit a local waterpark or spray park on a hot day in the summer. Nothing is better than playing in the water on a warm day.

If you need a winter staycation, see if there are any nearby indoor waterparks to visit. We love the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and find tons of fun Attractions in Wisconsin Dells to do all year long. If you’re in the Midwest this is a quick getaway.

11. Visit the Beach or Community Pool

Go Swimming on your Staycation at a local beach or local pool.

Another great way to stay cool on a summer staycation is to visit a local beach or community pool. What better way to spend a summer day than swimming!

12. Amusement Park

Feel the thrills of a roller coaster visiting an amusement park in your area.

Do you have a local amusement park in your area? Who needs to go to Disney when you have a fun park near you to ride roller coasters and kiddie rides?

The amusement parks all host holiday events too. So check and see if over Winter Break you can see Holiday light displays at your local Six Flags.

13. Go Sledding & Skiing

Over a winter break head to a local snow hill and take the kids sledding. If you live close enough to a Ski Mountain take the kids to learn to ski or snow tubbing. They’ll love the thrill of racing down the snow hill.

14. Enjoy Ice Skating Together

In the winter months take the kids to an outside ice skating rink. You could rent skates or I usually buy the kids some used skates to use for the winter from somewhere like Play it Again Sports.

If you’re in the Chicago area try the outdoor ice skating rinks at Maggie Daley Park or Millenium Park.

In summer months head to an indoor skating rink and enjoy the break from the heat.

15. Take a Train Ride

Take a train ride for a day trip or just to head to the city fo the day.

Do you have a local commuter train in your city? Kids love getting a chance to ride a train. It doesn’t even matter that much where you go, it’s just the fun of riding the train.

If you live in a bigger city, ride the train to town and have lunch or visit a local attraction, then ride the train back home.

16. Try a New Local Restaurant

Make it feel like you’re on a mini-vacation by trying a new restaurant with your kids. It would be fun to try an ethnic restaurant in your area with a new type of food you have never tried before. You could read together about the country before you go and pretend you’re visiting another country.

The worst thing that can happen is the kids don’t like the food and you pick up McDonald’s on the way home. But at least they get exposed to something new and different and you don’t have to leave the country.

17. Find Food Trucks

Try some local food trucks in your area that have good food your family might enjoy eating. It’s something unique to try and your kids might really enjoy it. 

18. Local Events

Check out your city’s local events calendar for festivals in the area. See if there is something your family would have fun attending.

19. Hotel Stay

Plan a local hotel stay on your next family staycation.

If you want to get out of the house a great staycation idea is to book a local hotel room for a night.  Let the kids swim in the pool and order room service. Your whole family will feel like you’re away on vacation for the night.

Use our Hotel Hacks to clean your room, babyproof, keep out the noise, tips to eat in your room, and more. Quick ways to make staying at a hotel a vacation for everyone.

20. Volunteer at a Local Charity

Have a day for your family to help others by volunteering together at a local charity. Make sure when you research your local charities to check if they accept kids as volunteers.

We love to volunteer at our local food bank and help at a used book donation place for kids.

21. Go Fishing

Families will have a blast fishing on a staycation at a local lake or pond.

Find a local lake or pond to take the kids fishing. It’s a great way for the family to hang out for the day and chat while you wait for the fish to bite.

22. Go on a Local Ice Cream Tour

Do an Ice Cream tour and visit all the local ice cream parlors.

Want the kids to be really excited about your staycation? Do a local ice cream tour with the kids. Check out over a couple of days all the local ice cream shops in your area. What could be sweeter than that?

In the winter months test out hot chocolate and cookies at different shops.

23. Go to the Movies

Head to your local movie theatre or plan a movie night at home as a fun family activity.

See a new movie at your local movie theater. Find the day or time with the discounted rates and head over with the family. Don’t want to leave the house plan a movie night at home by watching something new on Netflix or Dinsey+. 

Tip: In the summer months or winter breaks, many theaters run kid’s movies that have been out for a while at discounted rates.

24. Video Games

If your kids love to play video games find a local place video game spot to visit and try some new games. If you have older kids see if there is a local video game tournament they can enter. This would be an exciting way to spend a day of your staycation. 

25. Play or Musical

Go to a local play or musical with your kids. It can be a big production or just a local one the kids at your park district are putting on.

26. Go to a Sports Tournament or Baseball Game

Go to a local ballpark to watch a baseball game with the kids.

In the summer or during spring training, head to a baseball game. It doesn’t have to be a major league game, the local minor league team can be just as exciting for kids.

TIP: Look for family deals that include food or days when the kids can run the bases. Running the bases is always a huge hit with the kids!

27. Bowling

Go bowling with the kids on your next staycation.

Head to your local bowling alley to play. This is a fun activity for both kids and parents to play together.

Tip: If you have some younger kids, make sure to ask for the bumpers to be put up. This will keep the balls out of the gutter.

Staycation Ideas at Home

When you’re not exploring your city on a staycation, keep busy with these fun things to do with kids at home.

Everything from camping in your backyard, relay races, family game contests, and arts and crafts. Find a staycation idea everyone in your family will enjoy.

Get more ideas in 20 Stay at Home Indoor Activities for Kids.

28. Backyard Campout

On your next staycation plan a fun backyard campout with a tent, sleeping bags and a fire pit to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.

An awesome staycation idea at home is backyard camping. It feels like a traditional vacation but you’re in your own yard. Set up the tent, sleeping bags, and a fire pit to roast marshmallows. Do everything you would on a real camping trip with all the convenience of being at home. This is a great way to try camping with little kids.  

In the winter months throw up a tent in your living room and roast marshmallows in your fireplace. Kids will love camping out in the house too! 

29. Family Game Night

Plan a family game night with board games, card games or minute to win it games. A fun way to spend an evening on a family staycation.

Have a family game night with fun board games, card games, or Minute to Win It competition. Keep it exciting by buying one new board game to play and use a few you already own. If your kids are a little bit older and like competition, make it a family challenge.

You’ll find tons of ideas in our Favorite Family Game Night Ideas.

Another idea is to play a bunch of hilarious Minute To Win It challenges. Create a chart with each family member’s name and see who wins the most games. You could even have a small prize for the winner.

Need Some Family Game Ideas?

20 Hilarious Minute to Win It Games

Quick Minute to Win It Games for Teens & Tweens

Cooperative Board Games the Whole Family Will Love

43 Board Game that Teens & Tweens Will Play

Detective and Mystery Games for Kids

40 Awesome Family Game Night Ideas

Rainy Day Family Game Night Ideas

Grab your free printable Summer Bucket List ideas and plan your whole summer with your kids. Fun Indoor & outdoor kids activities, crafts and things to do in your local community. Your family will love checking off all the fun things to do this summer.

30. Indoors Scavenger Hunts

Free printable Scavenger hunt at home is a great kids activity. send the kids searching for the items around your house. Compete to see who can find all the items first or just play for fun.

Create a fun scavenger hunt in the backyard or around the house. A scavenger hunt can be as simple as giving the kids a list of things to find around the house or in your backyard.

If you want more of a challenge, you could hide a few things and give them clues on how to find the items. I find giving some type of list makes it easier and they can do it on their own.

Grab these free printable Scavenger Hunts for kids to play Indoors and Outdoors.

31. Outdoor Scavenger Hunts

Get the kids outdoors with a Nature Scavenger Hunt to use on family hikes.

A Neighborhood scavenger hunt is a great way to get out and take a walk around your neighborhood with a purpose. Or use a Nature Scavenger Hunt to hike in your local forest preserve.

Stay close to home with a backyard scavenger hunt kids can run around and do on their own.

Want those difficult tweens and teens to go on a walk with you? Use this fun Tween Scavenger Hunt made just for them.

32. Plan a Treasure Hunt

Plan an Awesome scavenger hunt with these free Treasure hunt clues & answers. The printable has 20 clues which you can use all at once or break up into two scavenger hunts. Your kids will love the thrill of this indoor scavenger hunt.

Plan an exciting treasure hunt throughout your house. Have your kids follow the clues and riddles to find the treasure you’ve hidden. Great last-minute game idea for rainy days on your staycation.

Grab your free printable Treasure Hunt Clues & Answers.

33. Water Balloon Fight

The kids will love an exciting water balloon fight in your backyard. Make sure to buy a bunch of water balloons that are easy to fill on a hose outside. Then divide them into two larger bins so that each team has the same amount of water balloons. We like to use the Bunch O Balloons brand as they are super easy to fill. 

34. Bake Together

Baking is a fun thing to do on Staycation with your kids, They'll love baking cookies at home.

Find a new fun recipe the kids want to make and bake or cook together. Create a great new dessert or snack they will love to try after working so hard to make it. The fun and memorable part is creating this new recipe with you.

Two snacks we like to make together are Peanut Butter Energy Balls and No-Bake Apple Slice Cookies. Two favorite desserts are our Cake Mix Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Oreo Balls.

35. Indoor Laser Maze

Indoor DIY Laser Maze for kids to keep them busy on rainy days when your stay indoors on Staycation.

Create a Hallway Laser Maze for the kids to climb through. All you need is streamers and tape to make this fun indoor obstacle course.

36. Relay Race or Obstacle Course

Create a relay race or obstacle course in your own backyard. Use things you have in your garage for the obstacles such as old boxes, cones, a piece of wood to balance on, or a swing set. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something the kids can run around and laugh.

Have your kids get involved by coloring old paper towel rolls for the relay sticks or helping to figure out how the obstacle course should run. When we do this, we usually invite over some neighbor kids to join in on the fun.

Get more ideas in Easy DIY Outdoor Games with Dollar Tree Items

37. Arts and Crafts

Do Arts and Crafts at home with this kids on your vacation at home.

Have an afternoon of creating arts and crafts. If it’s something messy like painting, have them do it outside or line a table with newspaper indoors. Get ideas on our Kids Crafts Pinterest Page.

Coffee Filter Butterflies are a fun Craft for Kids at home.

A fun at-home craft is making Coffee Filter Butterflies. All you need is a few coffee filters, markers, and pipe cleaners to make these creative butterflies.

If you have old Amazon boxes to get rid of create these cool recycled cardboard butterflies.

38. Build a Fort

Fun things to do on Staycation - Build a fort at home. Entertain the kids building a fort and using it as the kids reading nook.

Do you have fond memories of building forts as a kid, too? Use blankets and furniture to create your own little getaway. Let your kids use their imagination and create their own cool fort.

Bonus, tell them it’s their reading nook while they’re out of school. It’s so much more exciting to read in the fort you built.

39. Paper Airplane Race

This includes two parts of fun for the family. First, you need to create your super-fast airplane and color it. Next, line up and race your airplanes. See who in your family can make the fastest plane.

If you need some help creating your paper airplanes, here is a great paper airplane kit. It comes with easy-to-fold planes with a bunch of different designs to make it a little more exciting than just folding your paper at home.

40. Paper Airplane Targets

Airplane toss is a fun indoor activity for kids at home with streamer and paper airplanes. An easy DIY Game kids will love to play.

Aim and throw your paper airplanes through a target made of streamers. Have a family contest to see who can get the most paper airplanes through the opening.

41. Water Gun Targets

A fun thing to do at home is make DIY Nerf Targets for the kids. You can play this indoor or outdoors.

Kids love to play with water guns on warm sunny days. Creating a target is a great way to make a game out of it. You can easily create DIY Targets with what you have around your house.

It can be anything lightweight such as empty pop cans, Pringles cans, or cut up a pool noodle (shown above) from the dollar store. Make different heights for the targets by placing them on a ladder or boxes.

In the winter months use your Nerf guns to make indoor Nerf targets.

42. Science Experiment

Make an exploding volcano at home. A cool science experiment to entertain your kids while learning STEM.

Do a family science experiment together. It’s a great way for the kids to see something cool and learn a little science while they’re not in school. Pair it with a visit to the Science Museum and you have a perfect day out.

One of our favorites is making a Volcano at Home. It’s really easy and you only need a few ingredients to make it.

43. Lego 10-Minute Challenge

Families can compete in a fun Lego Challenge at home.

We love to do a Lego challenge at our house. It’s perfect for those times when the kids are bored and you need something to do last minute.

There is no preparation needed, just box up a bunch of random Lego pieces you have around the house and give the kids 10 minutes (or however long you want) to build. You will be amazed at the cool creations your kids come up with!

44. Lemonade Stand

Teach the kids to be an entrepreneur by making a lemonade stand. This is an entertaining way to take up an afternoon with the kids.

They will need to color a big sign, set up a table, make the lemonade, and then help customers. The kids will have fun and learn what it takes to make a business run.

45. Movie Night

Plan a fun movie night for your next staycation at home.

If your staycation is in the winter months or on a rainy day, plan a movie marathon with the kids. Let everyone pick out one movie they want to watch. Order some pizza, pop some popcorn, and settle in for a relaxing day. They’ll love a movie night at home.

46. Dance Party

Want to get everyone up and moving? Have a fun Dance Party! Crank up the tunes and dance around laughing and having fun.

47. Gardening

Enjoy an afternoon of gardening and planting flowers while on Staycation.

While on staycation, get some work done in your garden while having fun with the kids. Let them plant some seeds, pull weeds, and look for worms and bugs. Enjoy being outside as a family while getting your yard work done.

48. Sports Tournament

Play sports with your kids on your min-vacation at home.

Are you a family that loves to play sports? Have a family sports tournament. Choose a few sports they like and create short games out of them, such as a basketball shooting contest, a catching contest for baseball, sprinting contests for track, and most soccer goals made. Anything that the kids love to play can be turned into mini-competitions.

If you want something other than sports, here are a few outdoor games our family really enjoys playing. All four will keep both kids and adults busy for hours. Perfect games for kid’s parties and barbecues, too.

49. Chalk Art on Your Driveway

Sidewalk Chalk is a fun things to do on Staycation with kids.

Do you have a budding artist? Break out the sidewalk chalk and let the kids color the driveway. We love to do Sidewalk Shadow Art on the driveway or on paper. It’s a fun way to do art outside.

50. Take a Virtual Vacation

Take a virtual vacation to another country. You can look at pictures to learn what is special about that city from the architecture to the food and history of the country.

51. Order In

Try a new restaurant without leaving your house. Order in for the night and try a new meal. Add this to a family movie night and your evening entertainment is set.

52. Set Up an Ice Cream Bar

Set up the ultimate ice cream bar at home with all the toppings. Your kids are going to love this!!!

More Fun Things to Do at Home

Here are a few more fun ways to spend time at home with your kids. Find tons of ideas on our Kids Activity Page.

I hope out of this list of 52 Staycation ideas for families, you found a few fun things to do with your kids. All you need are a couple of new kid’s activities to keep your time at home exciting.

A staycation can be so much fun you won’t even miss out on taking a real vacation this year. Or at least you’ll still make some great family memories together. So get out and explore your hometown and plan some fun games at home with the kids.

Did you enjoy this article? At Happy Mom Hacks, we are always striving to find ways to make a mom’s life easier with activities for kids, fun family travel destinations, and easy meal ideas.

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Karen Quinn

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Great tips! I'll be saving these for the upcoming summer holidays, thank you!


Thursday 27th of June 2019

Thanks! Hope it helps you keep busy on your summer holiday.