Making Memories at Home: A Family Staycation Guide

Have you ever thought about taking a family staycation? A family staycation is a fantastic option for spring break, summertime, or really any time of year!

In this family staycation guide, I will provide you with the steps needed to plan your staycation as well as tips and advice to make the most of your family staycation.

Family Staycation 1 - Mother and daughter coloring together

What is a family staycation?

A family staycation is a vacation spent in your own home or in your local area without traveling to a distant destination. It involves everyone taking off from work and school to relax and enjoy leisure activities while staying close to home. 

You could spend your entire staycation at your home or visit various places in your town and surrounding area. For your staycation, you could even stay at a hotel or vacation rental in your local area.

Why Staycations Are Good Options for Families

Taking a family staycation has so many benefits!

For one, it is more cost-effective. Staycations eliminate expenses such as traveling, accommodations, dining out, and attractions. Even if you are spending some money on supplies, eating out once or twice, staying in a hotel in your own town, or going to local attractions, the amount of dollars being spent is still less than traveling to another vacation destination.

Another benefit is convenience. Staycations require way less planning and even less stress than a traditional vacation. No need to book flights, pack a suitcase, or deal with challenges in regards to navigating to and from a vacation destination.

Isn’t a staycation sounding better and better by the second?!

Some other benefits include the opportunity to explore your own local area and quality time spent as a family in the comfort of your own home or town.

Family Staycation 2 - Mother and daughter working on the computer

Planning for a Staycation

It is important to plan for a staycation just as you would for a vacation. This will ensure that you actually do the activities you plan for and avoid any disappointment. You do not want to take time off for a week with the idea that you are going to “vacation at home” and then end up not doing anything special but instead doing housework and having bored kids.

For your staycation, you should plan out the following items:

  • Setting a budget (this can be a daily budget or simply a budget for the overall staycation)
  • Plan out the dates for your staycation
  • Make an itinerary for each day (this itinerary does not have to have every hour of the day planned but make sure to have at least one or two activities planned for each day) as well as meals
  • Make a list of supplies you will need and any reservations you need to make

To start planning your itinerary, I would suggest brainstorming a list of ideas with your whole family. Make sure everyone participates and provides an activity or outing that will interest them. From there, depending on the age of your children, you could even have each child plan a specific day or at least have them take the lead in planning it.

Family Staycation 3 - Colored pencils, notebook, toy car and cup of coffee

Guidelines to Make the Most of Your Family Staycation

You may want to put in place some guidelines or boundaries for your staycation to help you make the most of it.

I suggest encouraging your family members to put away their screens and refrain from doing any work during the staycation. Of course, there can be some time for screens but in general, I would limit it. 

Additionally, I recommend that you make it a priority that everyone should participate in the staycation activities and meals. Letting the kids have some decision-making responsibilities will give them a feeling of ownership of the staycation activities as well as increase their overall excitement.

Also, make sure to embrace flexibility and spontaneity. Although it is important to have some activities and outings planned out, leave a little bit of space for something spontaneous. Be open to try new things and make adjustments for different family members’ moods and preferences. 

Keep in mind that the goals of the staycation are to spend quality time with your family, do something as a family that you may not normally do on a daily basis, and to unwind, have fun, and make some new memories.

Family Staycation 4 - Two boys playing legos

10 Fun-filled Ideas for Your Family Staycation

I will get you started with some of my favorite ideas for a family staycation. I hope this inspires you to tweak some of these activities and outings so they meet the needs and interests of your family as well as to come up with some new ideas that your family would like to do!  

One of the easiest ways to plan an itinerary for your staycation is to think of a theme for each day. Most of the following ideas are broken down into themes.


Backyard Camping Day

For a backyard camping day you could pitch a tent and gather some outside games such as bags/cornhole, tossing a ball around, or a nature scavenger hunt.

As part of the camping theme, you could go fishing somewhere near your home or even on a hike. In the evening, you could cook a meal over the campfire and have a smores bar. Additionally, tell some ghost stories and play some flashlight tag when it gets dark. You could even get a projector and do an outdoor movie!


Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

It would be super fun to create an itinerary of places to visit in your own town or local area that you have never been to before. Plus, consider finding a restaurant or two to dine at that is new to you.

As part of being a tourist in your own town, make sure to take pictures of your local area just as you would if you were on vacation.

Family Staycation 6 - Mother and daughter cooking together


Family Cooking or Baking Challenge

Another unique thing to do is to divide your family into two teams and each pick a recipe to cook or even bake something. There are many different ways you could structure this. 

You could have one team cook lunch and the other dinner. Or some family members could be in charge of the main dish while the other is in charge of side dishes. Alternatively, you may want to do a cookie baking challenge.

Be creative and have fun with this!


Massive Lego Building Session

I have all boys, so we are huge fans of building with legos!

Another idea for a staycation theme for your family is legos. Your family could build a huge city or just a humongous conglomeration. Don’t forget to take a picture of your creation!

If you wanted, you could even go to the store to buy the kids new lego sets to build as part of Lego day.  Plus then add in watching the Lego movie for your Lego-themed staycation day!

Family Staycation 7 - Unbirthday cupcakes


Have an Un-Birthday Party

Another activity that our family LOVES to do is to have an un-birthday party.

Your family can purchase some birthday decorations and buy or make a cake. Every family member can have a turn to blow out the candles. You could even do a birthday present exchange, pinata, and play other party-type games.

The ideas for this family birthday party are endless!


Ice Cream Bar

Ice cream is one of our family’s favorite treats!

As a family you can plan out all sorts of toppings and unique flavors of ice cream. You could even create some fun names for your ice cream creations. 

Also, consider incorporating some other food bars into your staycation. Some other possible food bar ideas include a pizza, hotdog, pasta, baked potato, and taco bar.

Family Staycation 8 - Landscape view of the Louvre in Paris, France


Go on a Virtual Trip

Another unique and fun activity is to pick a destination to go on a virtual trip to it. It could be a location in the United States or even one anywhere in the world. Learn about the location, visit some of its attractions virtually, and even eat some food at home that is unique to that location. 

I would pick for our family to virtually visit Paris, France. You could watch some YouTube videos on Paris or find some virtual tours.

  • Then find some French food to make, and you will have a perfect virtual trip to Paris!
Family Staycation 9 - Boy using binoculars outside in a field


Have a Themed Day such as Space, Spy, or Pirates

When we were stuck at home during COVID, we had a few different themed days that the kids absolutely LOVED.

Space Day was one of our favorites. We did a space puzzle, watched a space movie, read some books about space, and even built our own humongous rocketship out of a box. The kids played in the giant rocketship for hours! They even dressed up as astronauts.

Themed days such as these are a great opportunity to be super creative and playful!


Do a Scavenger Hunt

There are so many awesome possibilities for a scavenger hunt. You can do one at your home or throughout your town.

The scavenger hunt can revolve around a theme, coordinated colors, or require finding objects starting with each letter of the alphabet. I personally think doing one around your town would be super fun!

Family Staycation 10 - Girl & Boy hiking through forest


Go on a Family Nature Walk

A family staycation is an excellent time to enjoy the great outdoors and encourage some healthy family exercise, too! We love going on nature walks as a family.

To get the kids excited, you can look for some walking sticks, have them bring some binoculars, or even create a nature-themed scavenger hunt. You can pack a picnic lunch or even bring a ball to toss around.

Don’t forget to take some photos and take a moment or two to enjoy all that nature’s beauty has to offer! 

Enjoy your Staycation!

I hope this family staycation guide inspires you to make some memories at home while taking your own family staycation.

As much as I love to travel, having a family staycation is also super enjoyable and has so many benefits, too!

Comment below to tell me about your family staycation. What was your favorite memory you made with your family?

Author Headshot - Katie

Featured Author

Katie of Loving this Adventure

Hi, my name is Katie. I love traveling, reading, running, and spending time with my husband and 4 energetic sons. On my blog, Loving This Adventure, I share our journey of traveling with kids. Join us as we navigate through trips, dining out, and exploring landmarks and attractions with our lively bunch in tow. Traveling with kids is a whirlwind of excitement, but we have learned to embrace the chaos, create memories, and love every adventure that comes our way. Come along for the ride!

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