People all over the world look forward to a yearly vacation as the time to get away from their everyday lives and do something different! For some, it means traveling to a new city, a new state, even a new country. But sometimes health, personal, or financial circumstances hinder travel. When that’s the case, don’t give up and go right back to work! It can be just as relaxing and refreshing to take a vacation at home, and there’s no reason it can’t be just as fun.
If you have vacation time coming up but aren’t planning to travel, let our staycation ideas give you some inspiration on how to spend your time off!
What Is a Staycation?
Staycations are popular for a variety of reasons, but what exactly are they? A staycation is simply a vacation where you stay at home instead of traveling somewhere else. If a vacation isn’t in the cards for you, why not have a staycation instead? There are plenty of benefits to vacationing at home:
- You get to enjoy all the comforts of a vacation while you relax and take a break in a familiar place.
- Going on vacation means planning for at least a half day of travel, if not more. When you have a staycation, you get to spend that time relaxing or having fun instead.
- No need to worry about arrangements for taking care of pets and plants.
- Budgeting should not stand in the way of some time off. A staycation is a great low-cost way to relax and rejuvenate.
- When other circumstances mean travel is out of the question, you still get to have the feeling of being on vacation.
Fun Staycation Ideas to Enjoy at Home
Once you’ve decided a staycation is right for you, the next thing to tackle is what to do! If you prefer a relaxed approach, just take each day as it comes, and do whatever you feel like. That could mean sleeping in, treating yourself to ice cream for breakfast, taking a long walk around a new part of the neighborhood.
But if you want your staycation to feel more like a real vacation, try picking a theme or idea to base it on:
1. Tour a New City
Seeing the sights in a new city is a fun way to spend a vacation, and you can definitely capture the same vibe without traveling far—or at all.
See the world from your couch.
Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to explore cities all over the world, right in your own home. Just pick a city, then use online resources like Google Earth and Arts & Culture to check out museums and art galleries, parks and city streets, and even tourist attractions.
The World – Go on a world trip, exploring locations such as the Rose Red city in Petra, the Grand Canyon, Everest Base Camp, and the status of Hawaii’s volcanoes in real-time at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park!
Explore a city or town nearby.
There’s bound to be a city or town not too far away that you haven’t explored yet. Do some research beforehand to find a museum or two, the shops of local artists, and delicious food from the area. Or just hop in the car or on your bike, and take the day as it comes, spontaneously building your vacation.
2. Go Camping at Home
Camping is a popular staycation idea not just because it’s affordable and easy to achieve—but because it’s fun! For a staycation that helps you unplug and enjoy the great outdoors, backyard camping is a great option.
- Spend one or more nights sleeping outside – If you have a tent, pitch it in the backyard to sleep outside. Or roll out your sleeping bags on the lawn, or sleep on patio furniture.
- Each day make a point of spending as much time as possible outdoors – You can read; listen to music; or just enjoy some family time, playing cards or lawn games.
- Set up a bird feeder station in your yard, and use a bird-watching book or app to identify birds that come to feed. Identifying insects is fun as well!
- Play backyard games like horseshoes, beanbag toss, or bocce ball.
- Grill meals outdoors, or prepare food in the kitchen to eat outside.
- Make a campfire to roast hotdogs and make s’mores, and spend some time telling family stories, singing, and playing cards or board games.
- On a clear night, try your hand at stargazing – Use a book or app to help you identify stars and constellations—and even planets—in the nighttime sky.
3. Take a Hawaiian Island Getaway
If your idea of the perfect holiday is relaxing on a hot, sunny beach, you can create the beachy vibe at home! Having a pool at home will definitely add to the experience, but if you don’t, there are lots of fun alternatives:
- Create the right atmosphere with décor accents, such as faux palm trees, a sun umbrella, and deck chairs. Don’t forget to buy an aloha shirt or two and maybe some lei!
- Buy an inflatable pool or an above-ground frame pool and set it up in the backyard. Perfect for staying cool in the hot sun.
- Grab your favorite beach reads, and cue up some relaxing music or Hawaiian ocean waves.
- Set up a drink and snack bar outside to keep you refreshed while you’re enjoying your relaxation time. Don’t forget the Mai Tais!
- Try foods we like to enjoy in Hawaii, such as fresh poke bowls, fish burgers, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, and authentic Kona coffee.
- Explore the beautiful tradition of hula by watching a few clips from the Merrie Monarch Festival.
- Complete the Hawaiian experience with a virtual tour of locations such as the Shangri La Museum, visit Hōʻailona the monk seal at Waikiki Aquarium, learn about the legacy of voyaging from the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and witness a Maui sunset on a live webcam.
4. Institute the First Annual Backyard Family Games
Start by holding an opening ceremony with music and a parade around the house. Don’t forget the torch! Then begin the fun with different games scheduled for each day of your staycation. Pass out prizes for the winner of each game, then have a closing ceremony at the end of the whole event.
Some ideas for games include:
- Distance jumping – Measure everyone’s height, then see who can jump the furthest relative to how tall they are.
- Play a game of “the floor is lava” by scattering cushions and other objects on the floor. People are eliminated when they touch the floor, and the winner is the last person standing.
- Set up a scavenger hunt where each contestant must collect objects from around the house – Make it harder with a theme, like “only collect pink objects” or “vacation-themed items.”
- Have a stuffed animal race, where everyone has to “ride” a stuffed animal around the backyard.
- Have a friendly family competition of table tennis, H.O.R.S.E., or another family favorite.
Did you know native Hawaiians had their own version of the Olympics? They were called the Makahiki games, and there are a few that might be fun for your family to try:
- Konane – A two-person strategy game like checkers. It starts with all the holes or impressions on the board filled in an alternating pattern of white and black. Each player takes turns hopping over one another’s pieces and capturing them. Every move has to be a capturing move, so the first player who can’t capture his opponent’s piece loses.
- Ulu Maika – A game that will remind you of American bowling but uses two stakes and a stone shaped like a disc. Set the stakes in the ground a few inches apart, then try to roll the stone between them.
- Hukihuki – The Hawaiian version of tug-of-war. Two teams tug on opposite ends of a strong rope until the losing team gets pulled over to the opponent’s side.
5. Bring Vacation Cuisine Home
One of the things people look forward to when they go on vacation is the chance to try new foods that they wouldn’t ordinarily eat or to get a hold of old favorites that they only indulge when they’re vacationing. Thanks to the internet and delivery or shipping—even internationally—you can bring this vacation joy home!
- Visit new restaurants or order takeout from places you haven’t tried before. Choose cuisines or foods that are new to you.
- Use Google Earth and other online resources to learn about cuisines you’re unfamiliar with, and pick some new dishes to try.
- Cook gourmet at home with a service such as Home Chef or Hello Fresh.
- Create a chocolate-tasting station. Pair with wine or coffee for an even more elevated experience!
- Order a selection of treats to enjoy while you’re on staycation. Delicious baked goods and candies can all make the end of a home-cooked meal feel luxurious.
Your Vacation at Home Will Be One to Remember!
Going on vacation is fun, but there’s no reason you can’t have just as much fun with a great staycation. Do a little bit of planning, but remember to relax—and take plenty of photos! That kind of home vacation will give you and your family lots of great memories.