Staycation Ideas for Families When Money Is Tight

Backyard camping, day trips and family projects make this list

Staycation ideas for families make sense to consider when money is tight. Even cash-strapped families need breaks from everyday routines. While such families may not be able to take vacations, they can take advantage of local getaways or even find ways to relax and escape at home. Enjoy the following staycation ideas.

Work on a Family Project

Father and son working on school science project at home
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The whole family can take part in fun and challenging projects. You can conduct experiments and then compile the reports you've written about them into a book.

Not into science? Consider exploring your family's genealogy, working on a painting or a play or composing music. The project chosen depends on the interests of your family members.

You can share the family project with others once it's complete. For example, if you choose to work on a play, invite your neighbors or friends over to watch the performance scheduled at the end of the staycation. Don't get carried away, though. The idea is to have fun, not add more stress!

Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

Mother and young son watching night carnival
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Imagine that you live across the country from your hometown and you're going to drop by for a visit. See your community and its  surroundings as a tourist might see it. Visit historical sites, attend a festival or check out the local attractions you've yet to get around to seeing.

Plan Day Trips

Day by the water
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You can plan day trips for the whole family. Let each family member choose an activity and then do one activity each day. They need not be expensive activities either. Here are some suggestions:

  • Go to the beach
  • Visit a museum
  • Visit an amusement park
  • Visit a water park
  • Go to the library
  • Have a picnic
  • Play miniature golf
  • Go bowling

Camp Out in the Backyard

Boy looking at tent with flashlight
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If you already have a tent, why not pitch it in the backyard? After taking a day trip to a museum or other attraction, return home and spend the night in the backyard. If you're uncomfortable sleeping outdoors, pitch the tent inside. But, remember, this is time away from normal routines, so no sitting at the computer or in front of the television. Instead, do all the activities you'd engage in on a camping trip. Just don't build a campfire in your living room unless you have a fireplace!  Play some games, tell some stories, read some books.

Take Part in Community Programs

Families sitting in theatre seats
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Many communities have summer programs, including classes on a variety of topics. Find courses or programs appropriate for the whole family. Be sure to find out which activities are taking place at the community theater in your area. These theaters often host summer shows. See if you can take part. If it's too late to audition for a role, you might be able to help with preparations. If your kids aren't old enough to do behind-the-scenes work, just take the family to the theater for a performance and enjoy.

Go on a Nature Adventure

Young couple carrying son and daughter in field
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If you live near a nature preserve of any kind, take your family for a visit. Go on a nature walk and observe the sights and sounds. Learn about the species that live in the preserve. If you live too far away from such sites, take your family for a walk around the neighborhood and observe the trees, plants and birds in the area. Make the outing a biology project.

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