What is a Staycation + 31 Best Staycation Ideas

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What is a staycation?  The phrase staycation is somewhat new and not everyone understands its true intent.  A staycation is when you take time off work and other routine chores but stay at your home to have fun and unwind. 

This is different from a typical vacation where you stay at a hotel or resort.  The intention of a staycation and vacation are the same though.  You should feel relaxed and refreshed at the end.  

what is a staycation

Before we dig into all the fun and exciting staycation ideas at home, it’s a good idea to understand all the benefits of staycation along with how to staycation. 

The Why and How of a Staycation at Home

Why are staycations popular? 

There are many benefits of staycation ranging from mental health to larger pocketbooks.  Here are some of the many benefits of staycation:

  1. Save time – Think of all the time you waste traveling to your vacation destination.  The amount of time you spend driving or flying to your vacation spot could be used to just relax at home. 
  2. Less stress – If you are an anxious traveler, vacations might be more stressful than enjoyable.
  3. Save money – At a minimum, you won’t have to pay for room and board if you stay home.  This could easily save $100 to over $200 each day of your staycation.  You may also save money on rental cars, gas and flights.
what to do on a staycation

How to staycation? 

There are a few guidelines to follow for a truly fantastic and relaxing staycation.  You want to set your staycation up for successful so here’s a few tips for how to staycation:

  1. Clean your house and complete any repairs the weekend before your staycation starts.  This is only necessary if you are the type that can’t relax unless everything is in its “spot”.
  2. Complete all grocery shopping the day before the staycation begins.  Stock that fridge so you don’t have to run out.   
  3. Set your frame of mind.  The night before your staycation starts remind yourself your staycation starts tomorrow and that means relaxing and having fun.  Don’t let yourself get sucked into work issues or household chores.

Now that you know how to prepare for your staycation, let’s review what to do on a staycation.

Best Staycation Ideas at Home

#1 – Have a bon fire

Gather some wood and light a fire.  Tell scary camp stories or get lost in thought as you gaze up at the stars.  Oh, and don’t forget the smores!  Safety first though.  Make sure you have a good set of smores skewers

#2 – Pamper yourself

Whether it’s soaking in a bathtub or going the whole 9 yards with facial treatments and massages, take time to rest during your staycation.  At a minimum, grab some Epsom salt to add into your bath water.  Epsom salt relaxes your muscles and smooths your skin.

#3 – Watch a movie

Take advantage of the discounted rates most theaters offer earlier in the day.  With any luck you could see the latest hit for half the price.

Alternatively, you could watch some of your favorite movies.  Dust off those DVDs or check streaming platforms to see what they have available. 

#4 – Binge watch the latest hit on Netflix or other popular streaming devices

There are so many great shows available that it can be hard to keep up.  A staycation is a perfect time to watch that show you’ve been meaning to get around to watching.

#5 – Reminisce about the past

Pull out some old family videos or photo albums and remember all the good times.

#6 – Scrapbook

While you are reminiscing about the past, you could start organizing all those loose photos into memory books that you can enjoy in the future or pass onto loved ones.

#7 – Turn your backyard into a water park

Start a sprinkler, fill up a small pool and bust out with squirt guns.  As a mom with young boys I have tried many different squirt guns and these are hands down my favorite.  All the other ones seem to break quickly.

#8 – Play board games

There are endless amounts of games to play ranging from Clue to Monopoly to Candyland.  Another classic family game that almost everyone can play is Uno.  You might want to pick up a card holder to help those small younger hands hold all their cards though.

#9 – Put a puzzle together

Challenge your mind with a 1,000 piece puzzle.  Work on it a little here and there.  Just make sure to finish before your staycation is over, so it’s not lingering over your head once you return to normal life.

#10 – Make a fancy dinner

If cooking isn’t your thing than this probably isn’t for you.  However, anyone who does enjoy cooking might find it nice to slow down and take the time to make a proper meal.  Find a recipe for one of your favorite dishes and give it a try.  You may find out it’s easier to cook than you thought.

#11 – Throw a potluck

Invite family, friends and neighbors over for a gathering and ask everyone to bring a dish to pass.  Most people are happy to bring something.  Plus, this will keep the costs down.

staycation at home

#12 – Stargaze in your backyard

There are several free apps available to download on your phone that helps you identify planets, satellites, constellations and more.  My personal favorite is called SkyView Lite.

#13 – Tell stories

If there’s more than one person with you on your staycation, unplug from life and talk to each other.  Some of the best stories can be told over and over again without ever getting old.

#14 – Build an obstacle course

While adults can certainly do this themselves, it’s probably more fun if you have kids in your home.  Turn those old cardboard boxes and extra sheets into tunnels to crawl through.  Build small structures to jump over.  Then, have a nice treat (like ice cream) at the end of the obstacle for all to enjoy.

Related Article: 25 Fun and Free Activities for Kids at Home

#15 – Go camping in your backyard

Pitch a tent, grab some sleeping bags and brave it in the wild of your backyard.  This 2 person tent is easy to setup and is relatively inexpensive.  Perfect for kids to sleep in over night even if the adults would rather sleep in their own beds.

#16 – Read a book

Book lovers unite during a staycation where there’s plenty of time to lay back and enjoy a good book. 

#17 – Sleep in

Don’t set that alarm, instead let your body wake you up.  If that biological clocks tries to wake you up at your normal time lay back down, even if it’s jut for 10 more minutes.

#18 – Build a mini Zen garden

A mini Zen garden will help set a relaxing tone for your staycation and hopefully carry forward into the weeks and months that follow.

#19 – Watch the sunrise or sunset

Even if your front or back yard doesn’t have the perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset, give it a try. There is something very calming about this activity.

Best Staycation Ideas – Outside of your Home

#20– Take a day trip

Visit a city or town near you.  Find a place with a great downtown area for walking around or a national park with good hiking trails.

#21- Explore your local community

Is there a nature preserve or park you’ve been meaning to check out?  Now’s the time.  You’ve got no excuse not to do it any longer. 

#22 – Take a hike or bike ride

Find a nice path that’s new to you, in or near your town, to get in some physical activity during your staycation.  Fresh air and new scenery are always refreshing.

staycation at home

#23 – Attend your town’s festival

Plan your staycation around the activities going on in town.  Most towns, small and large have a few days of fun activities scheduled for the local communities to indulge in so take advantage while you can.

#24 – Have a picnic

Pack up some sandwiches, grab a blanket and over to a local park.  Eat lunch surrounded by greenery and sunlight.

#25 – Go to a museum

Support your local community and visit a museum in the area.  There’s always so much to learn at a museum.

#26 – Visit the local zoo

Take a stroll through the zoo and get lost watching the various animals moving about their day.

#27 – Dine out

Is there a restaurant or place you want to visit in your city or town but it’s just a tad too expensive to do on your ordinary weekend?  Now is the time to splurge a little and finally go.  You’re saving money with a staycation vs vacation so you should treat yourself. 

#28 – Relax at the beach

Lather up the sunscreen, load up the car and then head to the beach.  Take a walk along the shore, swim in the water, build a sandcastle and sneak in a nap.

Don’t forget the mesh beach bag that allows sand to fall right thru and stay at the beach where it belongs.

Another great idea for the beach is a sand free, waterproof beach blanket with 6 stakes to hold it down.

#29 – Go to the community pool

If the beach isn’t your thing but you enjoy swimming, go check out the local pool.  Physical exercise releases endorphins which helps you sleep and reduce stress.  Exactly what you want on a staycation.

#30 – Take a class

There is wide array of classes to choose from depending on your interests.  Check your local area for jewelry making classes, cooking classes, art classes and even fitness classes.  A staycation is a time to indulge in your hobbies and a class is a perfect place to get inspired.

#31 – Visit Friends and Family

A staycation is a perfect chance to catch up with your friends and family that you don’t always see. So, take some time to visit with them. Play some games with them or invite them on one of your staycation activities.

Related Article: 41 Tips for Conquering Your No Spend Challenge

What is a Staycation to You?

A staycation will look different for everyone just like a vacation looks different for everyone. We all have different likes and interests but the overall idea is you should feel relaxed at the end of your staycation.

Hopefully, you now have a few ideas for what to do on a staycation that will leave you feeling happy and restful. Remember, a staycation is meant to feel like a vacation. So, don’t get sucked into household chores or work tasks. Just relax and enjoy your time off!

what is a staycation and best staycation ideas

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