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7 fun family staycation ideas

Reconnect with loved ones using these tried and true family staycation ideas

What is a staycation?

For starters, it’s an oxymoron. 

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines staycation as “a vacation spent at home or nearby.” It’s a head scratcher since many of us were taught that the whole point of a vacation is to get away, jet set, or take off on an adventure 5,000 miles from home. However, vacation does not need to be associated with extensive travel, luxurious excursions, and high-end self-care treatments. At its core, vacation is simply leisure time that can be spent doing anything enjoyable—and with a little creativity, you can recreate all of your favorite activities and experiences from the comfort of your own home.

What are the benefits of a staycation?

In this age of information overload and amidst the need to feel constantly busy, it is becoming essential to actively commit to time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily routines. In many cases, vacation serves as a way to prevent overwhelm and burn out. A staycation, however, trumps the benefits of a vacation in various ways. Here’s why.

You'll save money

The most obvious benefit to a staycation is financial. Booking flights, hotel accommodations, day trips, and restaurant reservations can take a toll on your wallet. With a staycation, you could still incur costs from staying at a local spa for a few days or purchasing spa equipment to treat yourself from home, however, a staycation is a great option for those looking to stick to a carefully crafted budget while making the most of their time off the clock.

You'll feel less stressed

Reductions in stress is the second benefit to vacationing at home. There are often many stressful moments when traveling, including feeling stressed about making it to the airport on time, to worrying about remembering a passport, to obsessing over how many items to pack. But, if you vacation from homeor in your own neck of the woodsyou’ll never feel rushed for time and you’ll have immediate access to everything you need.

You'll get more quality time together

But, by and far, the biggest benefit of a staycation is quality time. A study by Visit Anaheim found that one in four parents say lack of quality time outside of chores, work, school or TV is a problem. And because the average U.S. family only gets seven days a year to use on vacation, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of your quality time with loved ones. The good news is by taking a staycation, you can recommit to participating in fun activities that strengthen connections with your loved ones. In fact, research shows that when families spend quality time doing activities together, everyone benefits, especially children who use these interactions to develop important social skills and a higher sense of self-esteem.

mom and dad playing chess with daughter

How to create your perfect family staycation

So are you ready to begin planning your perfect staycation? Before you get started, here are some tips you can use to create an experience you and your family won’t soon forget:

  • When considering ideas and themes for your staycation, make sure you have buy-in from your whole family. It’s also critical to ensure your kids are involved in the decision-making process because if they are enthusiastic about the activities, it will be easier for them to embrace their imaginative sides and feel as if they’ve been whisked away to adventureland while they’re at home.
  • Spend at least some of your staycation time in relaxation mode. It is a vacation after all!
  • Make sure to take a break from your family habits. Prevent your getaway from becoming just another typical weekend at home by allowing some flexibility on house rules you’ve established.
  • Try new activities together. Learning a new skill as a family only serves as an additional way to reinforce the special bond you have with each other.

Most importantly, your family staycation should always include an element of fun! Any staycation is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing, so be sure to weave new and exciting activities into every day to keep your family happy and smiling.

Ideas for your family staycation

Now that you have a better understanding of what makes a family staycation successful, here are some of our favorite family staycation ideas. Each one is designed for a unique kind of family, since there is no one-size-fits-all household dynamic. Take a look at each idea and discuss them with your loved ones to determine which staycation is right for you.

For families with uncontrollable wanderlust….recreate a visit to another state or country

While traveling to exotic destinations opens us up to immersive experiences and provides clarity on the differences in daily life across cultures, you can create a similar adventure from home. For example, instead of booking a plane ticket to Hawaii, you could just as easily pick up some luau decorations, enjoy a traditional Hawaiian meal, and judge your very own at-home hula contest, of course. Even if you are miles from the islands, there are so many ways to incorporate local traditions into your staycation and discover an appreciation for different ways of life.

For families that love their roots…explore your hometown

Staycations can challenge and teach us to find pleasure in the ordinary. By staycationing in or close to home, you can get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the charm and that swayed you into putting roots down in your city or town. Using your staycation to visit your neighborhood hot spots—restaurants, museums, zoos, spas, parks, etc.is a great way to reaffirm why your neighborhood is the perfect fit for you and your family. And, if you like, you don’t even have to set foot outside your door to explore. You could bring local cuisine, for example, directly to your door by ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant.

For families that hear the mountains calling…get acquainted with nature

Is there a better way to refresh the body and mind that doesn’t have to do with spending time in nature? Debatable. Camping in your backyard (or even your living room) is increasing in popularity and provides a sense of escapism from the noise of daily life. Switch up your regular nightly routine by planning a night under the stars, complete with a tent stocked full of sleeping bags, plenty of s’mores to go around, and activities like fishing or swimming (regardless of whether they take place at a nearby lake or out of your inflatable kiddie pool!)

For families that enjoy rewatching Disney classics...set up an at-home drive-in movie theater

This is a classic idea the whole family will love. Set up a projector in your driveway and decide on a few movies you can show at your very own drive-in. Once you’ve chosen which movies to show, distribute tickets for your screening, have the whole family pile into/sit around your car, pop some popcorn, and get excited to see your favorite characters come to life on the big screen!

For families of foodies…cook a meal together

You can’t deny it. There is something about food that has the power to bring people together. If your family absolutely loves dishing about great meals, it might be time to make some magic of your own in the kitchen. For the duration of your staycation, you could work together to make each family members’ favorite meal, try a new recipe every day, or highlight a dish from a different region each day. The possibilities are endless!

For families that don’t believe in participation trophies…create a friendly competition 

A little friendly rivalry never hurt anyone. If your family craves competition, there are many ways you can get everyone exhilarated about chasing sweet, sweet victory. A few examples of easy competitive events to set up include:

  • A scavenger hunt
  • An obstacle course/relay race
  • A baking competition
  • A sports game (basketball, baseball, hockey, football, tennis, mini golf, etc.)
  • A card game or board game tournament
  • A trivia competition
  • A talent show
  • A singing/karaoke competition

And, if naming winners is not your thing, that’s okay! First and foremost, these activities were designed to be fun and bring your family closer together during your time together. First, second, and third places don’t matter. Smiles do.

For families that love reflecting on memories…put together a staycation scrapbook

At the end of it all, you’ll want to look back fondly on your staycation and remember how amazing it was! That means you’ll need to dust off your camera and start snapping candids of everyone, making sure not to miss the time your husband lounged in the living room kiddie pool or the time your kids took first prize in a parents vs. kids house-wide mini golf tournament. 

Once you’ve taken a number of photos and compiled your favorites, sit down with your family and begin creating a scrapbook that contains each person’s favorite memories from the week. This is one strategy for making sure that every family member’s ideas and memories are included in the final product. The other strategy is bringing in a helping hand.

The Rosy Go app and Rosy Home console make it easy for you to record your favorite family staycation memories and store them in one convenient location. Each system is also designed with top-notch search capabilities that help you locate photos and documents when you want to share them with family members, take a trip down memory lane, or use them to begin planning your next staycation.

For more information on Rosy Go and Rosy Home, join our waitlist.