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48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

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Collage of some of the best 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Here are 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.  Spring break, summer break, winter break, or even a long weekend are the perfect times for everyone to explore the area around them. There are all kinds of reasons to have a list of staycation ideas– time off, school break, rainy days, a new baby, or saving money.

It’s time to celebrate your local area and find some exciting things to do around town. Even your living room can be a fun place to play games or have a movie marathon. The good news is that you don’t need to travel far to have a blast. There are plenty of activities near you to create a fun experience.

I hope you are inspired by these awesome family staycation ideas!

Go Out To The Movie Theater

Outside photo of a movie theater as part of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

Go out to the movies, it’s the perfect gift. Indulge yourselves with popcorn and lemonade. Going out to the movies as a kid is always an epic adventure. The big screen and loud speakers combined with the awesome reclining chairs make this an out-of-this-world experience. How about 3D? Wicked.

Check your local listings and find something the whole family can enjoy. Some theaters offer showings of older children’s movies for free! Celebration Cinemas

Sleep Over At Grandma’s House

3 suitcases standing up near the front door.

A sleepover at a grandparent’s or another loved one’s house is a great way to spend time with those special to us. Children get to spend time with grandparents one-on-one, and they get a whole new experience. Different foods, different activities, and a fun place to sleep. They get to share a special bond and make memories to last a lifetime. 

Get some child-size suitcases (or hand luggage) and pack them with their favorite pjs, a water bottle, a stuffy, and a photo of you so they don’t get homesick. (It’s me who misses them more.) 

Have A Child Hosted Dinner Party

Little kids with a shopping cart at the store - part of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

Set the date and send some invites. Have your child plan, shop, and cook a meal right in your own kitchen. Pick a day and invite your guests. Plan the menu with some simple recipes. I have some great recipes for inspiration here.

Take them to the grocery store, let them select the produce, and teach them what to look for. Show them how to select meats and cheeses. At home put on some aprons and cook together. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I love it when my kids participate. They can learn so much from you. 

Set the table with some fancy dishes and have a toast with some apple juice. Take some photos because there will be tons of smiles!

Puzzle Fun

Shelves with puzzle boxes for sale - part of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

Puzzles are so fun and entertaining. Everyone from kids to adults can enjoy this activity. There are so many awesome themes and colors not to mention piece count – we love the 100 to 300-count puzzles.

Book A Hotel Room With A Pool

Hotel with an outdoor pool

Have a local hotel staycation! Kids love to swim in pools. It’s probably their favorite thing. Start saving a couple of bucks here and there and book a stay in a local hotel with a pool. Spending even one or two nights could be a grand adventure. 

Order some room service and relax with the whole family. Look for either an indoor or outdoor pool depending on what the weather looks like. Watching the kids splash and learn to swim is awesome. They will have the biggest smiles that warm your heart.  This is one of my favorite of the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Plant Some Seeds

Seed starting stuff on a table as part of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

Plant some seeds for this summer’s garden. Choose veggies, herbs, or flowers. Order special seeds online or shop your local dollar stores – ours sells seed packets 4 for a dollar! Get your seeds, potting soil, and any container to start them. (Toilet paper rolls cut in half work great.) Gardening and seed starting books have lots of helpful tips.

This is a great opportunity to teach your children how food begins. Teach them the life cycle of a seed.  Show them how to tenderly care for the little seedlings from misting them with water to blowing on them gently to simulate wind. Watch how the sprouts reach for the sun and how we need to turn them to strengthen their stems.

This is an activity that they will benefit from for months to come. When the ground is warm show your children how to transplant the seedlings and how to care for them. There is no greater value than when harvest time comes around – they will be so proud to hold that first tomato.


White rollerskates on feet.

Check around your area for local roller-skating rinks. They have walkers that help younger kids with their balance. It’s a truly charming way to show off that 80s nostalgia.

I fondly remember Friday evenings at the local roller rink. The fun music and funky lights made it the best hang-out spot with friends. I feel like this could be a great comeback activity straight out of the 80s. You could give your kids gift certificates to share with their friends.

Go On A Hike

Family hiking up north Michigan for 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Check around for local parks with trails, maybe you live by a national park or forest. You’d be surprised at what you can find. While you are there have the kids go on a mini scavenger hunt. There are all sorts of treasures to be found. I love this part of the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

And be sure to check out the local flora and fauna. Birds are everywhere searching for a meal. In the winter you can find lots of seed pods just waiting to burst open come spring. Teach your children about some of the local trees and plants you observe.  Show them how to respect nature by staying on the marked pathways and not leaving anything behind. 

Backyard Bird Watching

Birdwatching stuff on a table

Break out the binoculars and your bird books and spend a day with your neighborhood birds. It’s a good reason to fill up your feeders, put in a suet cake, and watch the magic happen. In no time at all your feathery friends will take notice, and soon you’ll have a flurry of activity right in your own backyard.

What’s even more fun is to create a list of all the birds you see in a day. We’ve done this many times and have counted over 20 bird species in just a few hours. Springtime (right during spring break) is a really exciting time of migration. 

Many new birds make their way through our area here in the Great Lakes and we like to have our yard as a restful pitstop.  Full feeders and a birdbath with clean water make your backyard a great landing stop along the way. Get a good book or two about birds in your area.

Visit The Airport Viewing Area

People watching a plane take off as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Our closest airport has a great spot to come and watch the air traffic. Set up with picnic tables and restrooms, it’s a great family-friendly place to have lunch or just let the kids run around. Watching the different airplanes take off and land is an exhilarating backdrop. If it’s too cold to be outside, just cozy up in your car and relax. 

Let your imaginations run wild. Ask your kids where the plane is going…Hawaii? Chicago? Italy? The North Pole? Share stories of airports that you’ve been to and what cities you have visited. Bring up Google Maps and learn some geography together. 

Have Your Child Be King/Queen For A Day

2 kids looking away wearing crowns.

Crown your child king or queen for a day. Let them choose the itinerary. Who you will visit or have over (playdates with friends)? What you will eat for lunch and dinner? Or maybe a craft they have wanted to do for a long time. Board games are a great family activity. 

How about a puzzle, going bowling, getting a pedicure with your daughter, building a bird feeder, or painting some pictures? There are endless crafting and art-related activities for you and your children.

Go On A Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect opportunity to get creative. Make a list of items around your home or outside for your children to find. Give them a bag to collect the items and reward them for completing it. Scavenger hunts are a fun and exciting way to get kids outside and explore their surroundings. They can also be a great way to learn about new things and have some family bonding time.

To create a scavenger hunt, you’ll need to come up with a list of items that kids can find in their backyard. You can make the list as easy or difficult as you like, depending on the age of the kids. Some ideas for items to include on your list:

  • leaf
  • flower
  • bug
  • bird
  • rock
  • stick
  • dandelion
  • pinecone
  • piece of bark
  • acorn
  • pine cone

Here are some tips for creating a successful scavenger hunt:

  • Make the list of items age-appropriate.
  • Hide the items in places where kids can easily find them, but not too easily!
  • Give the kids clues to help them find the items.
  • Make the hunt fun and exciting.
  • Give the kids a prize or a treat for their hard work.

Camp In The Living Room 

Child in a purple sleeping bag

Break out the sleeping bags and the twinkle lights. There are so many great ideas to make this an awesome campout. Tell stories by lantern or flashlight and have plenty of snacks to last into the night. This is a great part of the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families – the kids love it!

Visit A State Park

 Tahquamenon Falls state park as park of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

If you live near a state park whether it is a beach or forest, consider planning a trip there for the day. Bring along a nice picnic lunch and find a quiet spot to have some family fun. Get back to nature and appreciate what is around you.

Visit A National Park

Beautiful view of tree and water for 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

If you are lucky enough to live near a national park then a day trip there is one of the best staycation ideas. Get out of doors and breathe in the fresh air, take note of the abundance of wildlife all around you, and spend some time without electronics. This is especially great to bond with your older kids away from distractions. 

Have A Family Game Night

Kids playing a board game.

Board games! Oh man, there are some awesome old and new games to be played for family game night! From Monopoly and the game of Life (we have the Jurassic Park addition– it’s Awesome), Yahtzee, Sorry, and Clue – to Pictionary, Charades, and old-fashioned card games….there is something for everyone. Set up a drink and snack buffet to graze at while laughing it up because Dad sounded the alarm on Operation.

Movie Marathon

Stacks of DVDs for movies night as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Pick your favorite movies and binge away! Make popcorn, get some snacks and drinks, and have a great time with friends and family. Movie night is a great time to relax and get cozy. We recently purchased a projector and it makes you feel like you are in the theater. You can use it indoors or out to make the movie screen huge! This is the one we bought.

With so many to choose from I’ll list our family favorites:

Backyard Kiddie Pool Party

Child in a kiddie pool.

This is a perfect treat in warmer weather. Water balloons are a lot of fun and so is a slip and slide! Have a luau with music and tiki-style torches. Set up some tables and chairs and dine al fresco. This is an awesome part of the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families during the summer months.

Trip To Local Museums

Kids learning in a museum as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Most cities and towns are near or close to a museum. There are all different kinds from historical and memorial museums, to kid’s hands-on and art museums. Whatever tickles your fancy – go and make a day of it. Stop for lunch and buy a souvenir at the gift shop. Enjoy a day of learning about something new with your family. 

Dine At A Local Restaurant

Family dinner at a local restaurant as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Everyone loves to eat! Check out local restaurants that aren’t part of a chain. Diners and dive bars serve up some delicious foods. Explore all the culinary treats that your hometown offers. My hometown is host to a ton of global eats from Indian to Japanese, local diners, and southern BBQ. There is truly something for everyone. And if you can’t agree get take out from several spots. Be together and have fun!

Have A BBQ

Beautifully grilled shish-kabobs.

A backyard BBQ is a tradition here in America. We love big grills and grilling up all kinds of meats and vegetables. Piled high plates with salads and sides, this is a great staycation party. Invite friends and family to bring a dish and spend the day relaxing and enjoying the company of others.

Local Attractions

Outdoor market - local attractions as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Read the local events page for your town or city and find out what fun things are going on in the area. There might be some special events going on right under your nose. Every month of the year hosts some pretty great events such as concerts, art displays, festivals, fairs, expos, farmers markets, marathons, and so much more.

Check out surrounding areas as well for part of the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Hit Up Some Food Trucks

You can try all kinds of delicious cuisines from food trucks. They offer so many different choices that will please the whole family. I work the outdoor markets in the summer and we host an awesome variety of food trucks (Falafel truck – I’m waiting for you). Check out your city or town’s website to find out where the trucks might be serving next. It is fun, tasty, and homemade. 

Ice Cream Social

Big turtle sundae in a woman's hand.

Going out for ice cream is a super fun activity that everyone can agree on. With tons of flavors, what’s not to love? Or if you are feeling creative – set up an ice cream bar at home. Get all your favorite flavors and toppings and arrange them with pretty bowls and spoons. This would be a fun idea to accompany a movie marathon.

Visit A Local Farm or Petting Zoo

Go to a petting zoo as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Kids and adults can have some fun spending some time with the 4 legged variety. Check online to find out when and where you and your family can pet or visit some farm animals. My kids do this with their grandparents and they always have a blast. This is a must on the list of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Go Bowling

Get the whole family together, rent some cool shoes, and pick your lanes. Some bowling alleys offer disco bowling under the lights and kid-friendly lanes (no gutter balls!). Even if you have no idea what you are doing a good time is sure to be had.

Play Some Competition Video Games

Mario Kart competition.

I don’t know about you, but Mario Kart can get competitive at our house. 4 players can compete at a time and I’ll say my 4-year-old can give you a run for your money. Ha ha. Even Minecraft and other Mario games can get a bit crazy. Pick your favorites and have some friendly competition. 

Create An Obstacle Course

Check out YouTube for some awesome inspiration in setting up an obstacle course. Do it indoors or outdoors and offer up prizes at the end. Dollar Tree has some fun cheap gifts. This is a great way to tire out those kids (and you) while having a fun experience. With a bit of creativity, you can make something amazing.

Scary Night

Spooky food treats as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Light a fire and tell spooky stories, watch some scary movies, dress up in your Halloween costumes, and laugh until you drop. Set up an awesome “spooky” food table for your little goblins to nibble on. It’s so fun to be creative in the kitchen!

Play hide and seek with all the lights off – it gets pretty crazy here. Having a scary theme night is a great way to spend an evening. 

Bonfire With Smores

Bonfire in front of a lake.

If you are lucky enough to have a fire pit – build a big fire and roast some hotdogs and smores. There are many local parks and state recreation areas that also allow you to have a fire. Check out the rules in your area.

Craft Time

making wind chimes

Craft projects can be a fun way to bring the family together. And a great thing to challenge our kids to use their creativity.

Here are some craft ideas:

  • Paint windchimes
  • Build a birdhouse
  • Make birdseed ornaments
  • Weave friendship bracelets
  • Make candles
  • Make homemade greeting cards
  • Gather and press flowers or greens
  • String together pasta necklaces
  • Color pictures with pastels
  • Learn to crochet or knit
  • Make a wreath with whatever items you like
  • String beads to make a necklace
  • Make and decorate a cardboard for

Playdates With Friends

Make plans with friends! Go to their house and explore all of the fun things they do at home. And then have your friends over with a bunch of fun ideas to do together. You can play with toys, and video games, cook together, listen to music, watch movies, plan a tea party, take a walk, or do a craft. The possibilities are endless when you are spending time with friends. 

Thrift Shopping

crochet tops on upcycled jars

Going thrift shopping is always a fun activity. Give your kids a project or unique object to find. Maybe have them select an item and upcycle it. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Turn old jars into candle holders
  • Buy a picture and use the frame for another one at home. There are some cool frames to be found.
  • Make a fort with an old tablecloth.
  • Transform an old skirt into an apron.
  • Cook a meal in a new dish.
  • Pot a plant in a cool tea cup or bowl.

Beach Day

Beach day as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Going to the beach is the best. Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks – are all a good time waiting to be had. Pack up a cooler with drinks and snacks and head out for an adventure by the water. You can go hiking, walking, swimming, sunbathing, rock collecting, fishing, wading, and just simply playing. 

Trip To The Spa

Take the whole family to get pedicures! Nice feet look great on everyone even the husband. Maybe a couples massage or a manicure with your daughter. Check out your local salons and have a spa day. 

Online Subscriptions

National Geographic subscription as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

-National Geographic, Little Passports, and KiwiCo all have wonderful subscription magazines and boxes filled with age-appropriate activities. These would be great activities to do with your children when you have some downtime. Let your minds be open to learning, building, and creating. 

We love this addition to the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families. Fun and educational!

Sporting Event

Baseball game fun as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Check your area for local sporting events. Catch a baseball or football game. Maybe soccer or basketball is more your thing – whatever you are into I bet you can find it with a little research.  Sporting events are a must on the list of 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Visit Historical Sites

Historical museum as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Check local guidebooks or start with your area’s welcome center. You might be surprised as to what historical events or landmarks are right at your backdoor. Learning about the history of your hometown can be inspiring and exciting. 

Have A Backyard Campout

Red tent in a backyard as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

This would be an epic staycation for the entire family. Set up your tent, and grab your flashlights and sleeping bags. Tell stories and laugh into the night. Listen to all the neat wildlife noises you don’t normally hear and don’t forget the bug spray!

Sidewalk Chalk

Pink heart with Love you with sidewalk chalk on a driveway

​Draw out some awesome patterns and creatures, have your child lie down on them, and take a photo. Try a bouquet of balloons, butterfly wings, or a swing. Get creative and have fun with the kids!

Amusement Park

There are lots of smaller and less known amusement parks that might be closer than you think. If spinning around in circles and soaring from the heights is your thing then look around and see what you can find. Even an hour or two away can be a great staycation idea. Roadtrip!

Visit A Water Park

A lot of areas have indoor and outdoor water parks. Great Wolf Lodge is one near us that offers year-round water fun. Check your city or town guide to find one near you. There might be own near your town or just a short drive away. 

Go To A Local Park

playground with kids playing as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Whether it’s a city park, walking trails, or a playground these are great places to get some fresh air no matter what the season. Parks give us all a chance to let out some energy and stretch our legs. Full of activities from walking your dogs to swinging on the swings, parks are loads of fun. Maybe make a goal of visiting 3 

Day Road Trip

Gift shop fun as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Spend a little time and map out a fun road trip – maybe go in a circle from where you are. Hit up different landmarks, shopping places, food joints, and scenic views. Explore nearby towns and check out some local markets. The world is your oyster. 

Spend A Day In The Garden

Garden sanctuary.

Being in the garden is one of my favorite things to do during the spring and summer months. Pick out some flowers with your kids and have them plant a small flower garden. Teach them about soil, watering, and respecting the Earth. Spend time together in a relaxed and quiet atmosphere, and hear the birds chirp around you. 

The tranquility and peace you can find in a quiet garden make this a perfect addition to the 48 Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families.

Go On A Bike Ride

Bike on a biking trail with the lake behind it as part of 48 awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families.

Weather permitting, pack a surprise picnic lunch and ride the trails with your favorite people. Bike riding is a great activity especially when the scenery is beautiful. Check your local guidebooks or online tourist info to find trails and bike paths in your area. 

This is the best bike for cruising. It is comfortable, stylish, and easy to operate. I had a blast last summer.

Take A Virtual Tour

This is an awesome way to explore museums, zoos, and other far-off locations. There are so many webcams these days that offer the user a glimpse into different worlds. Try out locations in different countries or search for a certain animal to watch (Eagle cams are cool!). The world is at your fingertips on the keyboard. Get exploring!

Visit The Local Library

Check out your local library for not just books but for other events. Maybe there is a book sale or even a special story hour that you can bring your children to. Libraries open up a world of imagination and creativity. 

Wrapping Up Awesome And Inexpensive Staycation Ideas For Families

I hope I have inspired you with these awesome and inexpensive staycation ideas for families. You don’t have to spend very much money to have some priceless quality time doing things the whole family loves. These awesome staycation ideas are some of the best ways to spend time together. With just a little creativity you can have so much fun in the comfort of your own home and around your local area.

I hope you enjoyed these fun staycation ideas for the family!



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