With gas prices and inflation on the rise, a lot of families are turning to staycations as a creative way to take a break without breaking the bank. A staycation is just what it sounds like: taking a vacation while you stay home or nearby. Staycation ideas include day trips and checking out fun local attractions—all the things you’d take an out-of-town visitor to do, but maybe never do yourself.

Here are some staycation ideas to help you put together memorable experiences for your family without the hassle and costs of long-distance travel. You can do all of these things while staying in your own home, or—to make it a little more interesting—see if any families you know in your area might want to do a staycation house swap!

1. Backyard camping adventure

Transform your backyard into a campground for the night. Pitch a tent, roll out sleeping bags, and build a campfire (as long as you have a safe place to do it). Boost the ambiance even more by stringing lights overhead… and you can even put on a nature sounds app if your backyard doesn’t have them already. Tell campfire stories, stargaze, and roast some marshmallows to complete the camping experience. It’s a perfect way to introduce children to camping, with the convenience of home just steps away. (Some of us would say that’s always the best way to camp!)

2. DIY film festival

Sundance. Cannes. Your own living room. You can totally create your own movie festival at home, and it’s one of the most versatile staycation ideas. Let each family member choose one of their favorite films, and then watch them back to back in a dedicated movie marathon. Elevate the whole thing by printing tickets, making popcorn, and setting up a cozy viewing area with blankets and pillows. For an outdoor twist, set up a projector in the backyard. Don’t forget to include intermissions for snacks and discussions about each movie!

3. Play tourist in your own hometown

Spend a day being tourists in your own city or town. Research and visit attractions you’ve never seen before or rarely visit, such as museums, historical sites, or parks. Take lots of photos, and maybe even dress like a tourist. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your local area and see it from a different perspective.

4. Around the world meal themes

Take a little trip around the world by exploring a different country’s food each day of your staycation. Choose recipes together as a family, shop for ingredients, and cook meals from various cultures. Decorate your dining area to match the theme of the country for the evening, and play music from that region to enhance the atmosphere. This can be an educational and delicious way to explore global cultures.

5. Put on your own art festival

Showcase everyone’s artistic side by coming up with a variety of art and craft activities to fit the ages and skill levels of your staycation crew. It can be painting and drawing or more complex crafts like pottery or homemade jewelry. Set up different stations for each activity, and rotate so that everyone gets a chance to try everything. When you return ‘home’ from your staycation, set up an exhibition of the created artworks in your house.

Making it memorable

The key to a successful staycation is breaking from the daily routine to make it feel fun, relaxing and special—like a true vacation. Here are some ways to maximize your staycation experience:

Plan ahead

Just like a regular vacation, planning can help make your staycation more enjoyable. Decide on activities in advance and make sure you have all the necessary supplies.


To get the full benefit of your staycation, try to disconnect from your regular routines. This might mean setting aside work emails, limiting chores, or even staying off social media.

Use themes to make it fun

Themes can add fun and anticipation to each day of your staycation. They can be based on activities, movies, foods, or any other interest that your family enjoys.

Capture the memories

Don’t forget to take pictures, write postcards, or maybe even keep a journal of your staycation. These memories will be just as precious as those from any international trip. You’ll definitely want photographic evidence to remember all the quality time together.