30 Staycation Ideas for Summer

Carrie Lowrance

Crosswalk Contributor
Updated Jun 14, 2024
30 Staycation Ideas for Summer

There are lots of things you can do to make sure your summer is a hit.

Being frugal with our money is one of the most important things we can do to keep our households running smoothly. However, it can be hard when the price of everything around us is skyrocketing. Are you disappointed you won’t be able to take that yearly vacation with your family this summer? I understand. It can be a bummer, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your summer fun. There are lots of things you can do to make sure your summer is a hit.

Here are some ideas for staycations that the whole family will enjoy:

1. Carnivals or State Fairs

Go to the carnival or the state fair. Also, check out low-cost amusement parks in your state. For example, there is a great amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania called Knoebels Grove. They have free parking, free admission, and lots of rides, games, and other fun things for the whole family. I have fond memories of going there when I was a kid. See what version of Knoebels Grove is near you! 

2. Camping 

Have a campout in your backyard with a bonfire, tents, spooky stories, hot dogs, and s’mores. You could also go to a campground close to your home.

3. Animal Theme Fun

If you want to do an animal-themed staycation, you can volunteer at your local animal shelter, cat cafe, or rescue group and also go to the zoo. Also, watch some animal-themed shows at home. Visiting the dog park with your furry friend is another great option.

4. Cooking Class

If you love to cook, take a cooking class to learn how to make some new dishes. Follow along with your favorite cooking channel, or let the kids check out a cookbook from the local library and pick a recipe to try. 

5. Green Thumb Staycation

Plant a garden, visit a local botanical garden, join a local botanist group, and read books about different plants. Another idea is to get involved in a community garden in your area. See if there are any strawberry or blueberry farms where the family can pick fresh fruit to bring home. Yum!

6. Spa Day

Get out your spa supplies and enjoy the day pampering the family with manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, etc. (Don't forget the fun cucumber eye patches!)

7. Fitness Staycation

Try a new fitness class and spend time as a family doing fitness-related activities. You could take an exercise class together, take a daily walk around the neighborhood, or have push-up and sit-up competitions. 

8. Sports Staycation

Go to local sports games or set your living room up like a sports bar and enjoy sports at home. (There are lots of minor league baseball teams that offer theme-based nights of family fun throughout the summer.)

9. Hit Local Tourist Attractions

Go to the tourist attractions in your hometown. You might be surprised at what sort of history, petting zoos, or unique restaurants are only miles from your home.

10. Go on a Hike

Choose a local place to take a hike. If it's an easier trail, consider packing a picnic.

11. Foodie Staycation

Only eat at local, family-owned restaurants. Small businesses will appreciate your patronage and you may find your new favorite place to eat. If this is out of your budget, you can opt for cooking at home but check out a local ice cream shop or smoothie place. Another idea is to look for local producers like microbreweries and cheese makers. Visiting your local farmers’ market is another great idea. 

12. Volunteer

Choose a few charities to volunteer with on your staycation as a family. Have everyone sit down together and pick out 2-3 charities to work with. 

13. Host a Potluck Party

Have friends over for a potluck party. This is a great way to socialize and try new foods. (It's a great way to make new friends and meet new neighbors too!)

14. Take a Picnic

Enjoy a picnic by packing a lunch and heading to a local park.

15. Get Away at a Hotel

Get away by renting a hotel room for a night or two and send the kids to visit a family member or friend. This is a low-budget way for married couples to get some one-on-one time away from the house.

16. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Set up a scavenger hunt in your town and have fun following the clues. 

17. Visit Locally Owned Shops

Go online and search out areas of your town that have locally owned shops. These are great places to find unique products and gifts. Examples include cooking stores, themed stores, and antique shops. 

18. Go to the Beach

If you live near the beach, go enjoy it for a day. If you don’t live near the beach, see if there is a man-made beach nearby that you can go to. Or check out a local lake. 

19. Hit the Pool or Water Park

Go to the local pool or spend a day at a water park to help beat the heat. (Don't forget to pack lots of snacks.)

20. Have a Movie Marathon

Gather the family together and plan a movie marathon over a few nights. Let your kids and teens pick out movies they want to see and then you and your spouse can choose some to watch after they go to bed. Try making homemade popcorn and other fun snacks to enjoy for the marathon. 

21. Go to a Matinee

Take an afternoon and go to a movie matinee. For extra savings, look for a locally owned theater in your area and skip the national chains like AMC. Our locally owned theater movie tickets are much cheaper than the big theaters.

22. Try Something New

Choose something new that you want to do and give it a try. You could go to the local rock-climbing gym, a trampoline park, or go white water rafting for the day.

23. Take a Walk in Your Town

Take some time and walk aimlessly through your town. You never know what you may find, like a new coffee shop, park, or shopping center that you never noticed before. 

24. Learn Something New

Take time to learn something new. This could be about your ancestry, a country you want to visit, or any other topic that you are interested in. 

25. Start a DIY Project

Chances are, there is a DIY project you have wanted to start but have been too busy with work. This is the perfect time to do it, so start painting that antique dresser, building that new deck, or planting that garden.

26. Start a New Hobby

A staycation is also a great time to start a new hobby. You will have time to learn about it and put it into practice, so try your hand at jewelry-making, put that 1000-piece puzzle together, or write that book. 

27. Sleep

Yes, that’s right. Take some time to get some extra sleep. If you feel you need to take a nap, then do it. Having a life full of stress because of schedules and jobs can cause us to lose sleep, so take some time to let your mind and body take their own mini vacation.

28. Explore the World

You don’t have to physically travel to explore the world. Find some videos on YouTube about a country you want to visit or stream a travel show. For some extra fun, make a meal from this country and decorate your kitchen with symbols and colors of the country you want to visit someday. 

29. Reading Staycation

Spend some time at the library or spend the day browsing local, independent used bookstores. You can usually find great deals on books at indie bookstores. Sometimes they have sales where every book is a dollar on a Saturday or run other specials. If money is an issue, you can still satisfy your craving for books. Sites like The Fussy Librarian and BookDoggy offer both free and discounted books (e-books only) daily. You can choose the categories you like to read and they will send you a newsletter about what is on offer. If physical books are your thing, Thriftbooks is a magnificent site to find your favorite reads.

30. Play Games

Spend some time as a family playing games. You could break out the old-school board games like Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Sorry, or you could have a video game competition. Another idea is to get outside and play a game of pickleball, basketball, or another outdoor game that your family enjoys. 

There are lots of fun ways to spend your staycation this summer. Start planning now so you can look forward to days filled with sun and family fun. 

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