For many families, summer and other breaks have gone from being time for a vacation to time for a staycation with kids. Even if you are hitting the road a bit over summer vacation or school breaks, parents are finding weeks that they need to fill.
While families would normally find themselves on weekend jaunts in the fall or over school breaks, staycations are still very popular this year. So how can you give your children an EPIC staycation?
Not to worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are 18 awesome staycation ideas the whole family will love that will allow you to experience new things.
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Staycation Ideas For Families
Though you may not be able to travel to the beach or abroad, there are many ways to make a staycation feel like a vacation. You can even travel the world from home!
Here are some of our family’s favorite staycation ideas.
1. Multicultural Activities
You may not be able to travel the world, but you can bring the world to your children. You can teach your kids about other cultures with multicultural educational activities on rainy days, outdoor breaks, or just an alternative to too much screen time.
Check out these amazing multicultural activities to inspire your kids’ wanderlust and invite them to travel from home.
2. Travel Subscription Boxes
Another way to travel from home and to make a staycation with kids fun is to surprise them with a travel subscription box. Whether you buy a one-time box or keep an ongoing subscription, these boxes definitely inspire children’s wanderlust.
You can get them to remind them of a favorite place, like Disney, or you can get a world travel box-like Little Passports. Little Passports even has art projects everyone can do together for a unique travel experience at home.
The best part is they keep them busy, teach them about other cultures, and are great family staycation ideas. Plus, they may give you a new idea for a destination for your next trip.
3. Embark On A Culinary Adventure
One of the best parts of traveling to other countries is to discover the delicious cuisines and treats of other cultures. In fact, food plays a significant role in most cultures.
During your staycation, why not take a culinary trip around the world and learn about a new country while you are at it.
In my post 101 Kid-Friendly Recipes From Around The World, you will find many recipes and ideas kids love that will inspire their wanderlust during your family staycation. It’s a great hands-on way to experience other places.
You can also consider adopting a local routine for another country even if just for a few days. Have afternoon tea like they do in England or afternoon cake and coffee like they do in Germany.
4. Explore Your City Like A Tourist
Oftentimes we are so busy living in our towns or cities, we forget to learn about where we live. During a staycation with kids, you can become a local tourist in your town or city and go exploring new and old things!
Most towns and regions have a fascinating history that could be very interesting to children of all ages! Visit the local library and check out books on your city so you can learn a little more about the great place where you live. You’ll be surprised at how much you didn’t know and you can find new activities to do.
Last summer, during “mom camp” a.k.a. our family staycation, I took my children to the city of Boston where we learned all about the history of the American Revolution on The Freedom Trail walking tour. It was a great way to discover more about our area and is one of my favorite staycation ideas for families.
If historic activities like museums aren’t open, take a short road trip to a nearby beach, or lake, or go on a family bike ride! A short drive to the ocean if it’s close allows you to spend a few beach days are a family-friendly way to enjoy some time in the sand.
Though I will say, many museums and other similar places are giving virtual tours which can be just as fun.
You can also see if there are special events going on like fairs or festivals. Going to a festival or fair is a fun place everyone will love and there may even be some with free admission so you can save money and have fun at the same time.
5. Visit A Local Amusement Park
If you decide to have an awesome staycation and live semi-near an amusement park, it is a great way to entertain your youngsters. This was another family staycation idea we took advantage of last summer, and our kids had a blast. It is a wonderful way for them to feel the joys of summertime a great staycation idea for any family!
Ride epic thrill rides our family loves and see the shows at the amusement park for the perfect staycation. Go to a local water park this summer and float in the lazy river or relax in lounge chairs near the pool. And don’t forget the ice cream if it’s hot outside!
If you living in a place like Orlando with Universal Studios or Disney you can spend the day on the kid’s activities your family loves. This makes an epic family vacation at home.
6. Play Outside Games
“Go play outside” is the catchphrase for most parents during the summertime, but how can you make it different during a staycation? By introducing some unique outdoor games kids play around the world, you can introduce your children to another culture AND keep them entertained.
With these new games, they will be connected to youth around the world and the novelty will keep them busy for longer. This is one of my favorite family home vacation ideas.
Or you can let each child pick a favorite outdoor game for some classic backyard fun. It’s a way to get your kids involved in outdoor activities and away from video games for a day.
7. Water Fun
During the hot days of summer, if pools are not accessible, there has to be a way to cool down. From water balloons, to slip and slides, sprinklers, and the good old-fashioned hose, it is a great way to cool the kiddies down during your family staycation.
But, did you know that you can also rent water-slide bouncy houses from local companies? Of course, you will want to check on the company’s safety and sanitation practices. And you can buy your own.
But, we recently did this for our twins’ birthday and it was a HUGE hit. For the cost of a birthday party at the local kids’ entertainment center, it kept my children busy for hours in their own backyard. Turn on the music, and make it a big backyard party.
8. Camp At Home
During your vacation at home, why not spend a night camping in your backyard? It is a great way for the children to get the camping experience but within the comfort of home.
There’s nothing more fun than roasting marshmallows or cooking dinner over a campfire in the evening.
Backyard camping is also a great way to introduce them to the idea of camping and practice, so you will be ready for when the real thing comes. It is a great family staycation idea and you don’t even have to leave your backyard to rest and relieve stress.
9. Travel Movie Time
From outdoors to indoors, you could spend a night or even a week focused on a new family movie during your staycation with kids. You could even project one outside, under the stars, during your camping at-home adventure.
Each child could pick a travel-themed family movie like Moana, Coco, or Ratatouille to name a few. Pair it with your culinary adventure above, in addition to your popcorn, and you have a very unique staycation idea!
If your city has a local drive-in movie theater, add that to your list of staycation ideas for families. Any teens or little ones will LOVE this unique experience of seeing a movie in this way.
If there’s no space outside to watch movies outside at your own home, you can go to the movie theater and see a travel-themed movie.
10. Play Travel Games
Another way to inspire your children’s wanderlust is to play travel-themed games during your staycation. From Disney to Hogwarts, and all around the world, there are so many travel-themed games to entertain your kids for the best staycation.
Taking the time to play games is a great way to spend family time together. My complete list of travel games will help you find some of the best ideas for your family staycation.
11. Read Travel Books
During most vacations, our family uses it as an opportunity to find quiet and unwind. We are often found reading on a vacation, and you could do the same on your hone vacation!
But rather than reading any old book, why not read travel books that inspire your youngsters’ wanderlust. My list of the best travel books for kids gives you options from tots to teens. It is another fun staycation idea for any family.
12. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
We all remember going our scavenger hunts as children. Well, it’s one of the best family staycation ideas you can do at home. Scavenger games are a fun activity for the spring and summer months. It’s a great way to infuse fun and turn the staycation into a really neat experience!
You can start by creating a themed scavenger hunt – perhaps something based on your favorite place to go for family vacations. We love visiting Hawaii as there are so many things to do in places like Maui with kids.
This is one of those family staycation ideas that would be even more fun with all the neighborhood kids or you can gather all your friends and their children.
13. Have a Disney Day
If you’ve been around my blog for half a second, you’ll see that my family loves Walt Disney World. You can create a Disney experience at home for even more family fun!
Even toddlers will love this idea. You can spend the day watching your favorite Disney movies as a family and even dress the part like you would on your Disney trip.
You could even eat like you do at the theme park if you can get your hands on your favorite Disney snacks.
14. Go on a Local Food Crawl
Why not do a restaurant crawl in your own city? It’s a fun way to get to know your city better, especially if you’re a foodie. Each local restaurant represents your town in a different way and you may just learn something you didn’t know!
It’s a great way to experience a new cuisine or even experience a restaurant you’ve been to multiple times differently.
Take it a step further and see where the restaurants source their ingredients and then you can visit a local farm and learn more about these ingredients. You may even be able to do activities like fruit picking or stomping grapes.
I think a food crawl is the perfect staycation idea and we plan to do this too as it provides a new perspective of your town. If you can, do it on foot as the walk will give you good exercise.
15. Visit a National Park Close to Home
Do you have any national parks close to where you live? If so, visiting a national park close to home is a fun way to do a staycation.
Honestly, most people don’t visit a lot of the attractions in the city they live in because it doesn’t seem that special. But, visiting a national park in your home state is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and there are activities that each family member will love.
Enjoy hiking or even a short walk while you explore this national park in a whole new light.
16. Take a Hike on Park Trails
Most localities have a town or city park with hiking and biking trails and other activities. Make it a family affair and go on a hike in your local park. Taking a hike allows you to experience the natural world up close and personal and a chance to teach your children about the local animal and plants.
See this list of essential hiking gear if you plan on making a day of it.
Or if you live within walking distance from your city park that doesn’t have hiking trails, you can still make it a grand outing and pack a picnic lunch. Bring along games the whole family can play even if it’s just fun board games to create a unique experience close to home.
17. Stay One Night in a Local Hotel
Why not get the vacation experience by spending the night in one of your local hotels? There’s something magical about staying in a hotel – even if it’s close to home. Take an ordinary day and make it a special staycation with kids.
Go all out and order room service and spend a night watching movies. You can hit the pool and enjoy the breakfast buffet. Even a short stay at a hotel may be just what your family needs to unwind a little and eliminate stress.
If you have a thematic hotel like Great Wolf Lodge nearby, you can book one or two nights there and it will feel like a full-on fun-filled family vacation!
Plus, it gives you the opportunity to create a new experience closer to home.
18. Spend a Day Doing Arts and Crafts
Another fun way to relax at home if your family is creative is to do art or craft projects. You can even take a field trip to the park or some other pretty place close to home and paint what you see.
If you have a little photographer in the family, make it a day of animal and bird watching or taking scenic pictures of water, trees, and flowers.
Looking for more ideas?
Another favorite idea is to take a family bike ride! Kids love to ride bikes, and getting them outside and getting some exercise is a great staycation activity. Bike trails are often found in most towns and it can be a great full-day activity.
Stumped for more ideas? Think of the things you like to do on your trips to other places and see if you can do similar things at home. There are so many reasons to explore your own hometown, and you may be surprised by the activities you come up with.
Final Thoughts On Staycations With Kids
Staycations can be a wonderful way for families to connect and spend time together at home. But they don’t have to be boring. There are so many ways you can travel from home with your children, and continue to inspire their wanderlust.
Staycations with kids can be full of fun, and create the best memories, just like traditional trips. This list may even help you come up with other ideas for fun staycation adventures.