50+ Staycation Ideas For Kids And Families

I may receive a commission if you sign up or make a purchase after clicking a link on this page. Read the full disclosure policy here

Would you like to take the entire family on vacation to some fun and exotic locale?

Do you find that your budget and idea for a fun getaway simply do not jive?

If this is you, how about some staycation ideas for kids and their families that can be well within anyone’s budget?

These are suggestions that any family would enjoy. And the good news is many of these ideas are free!

Some cost a little bit, and some cost more. But they are all excellent family staycation ideas.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions will turn out to be the best ideas for your family.

50+ Cheap Family Staycation Ideas

1. Go to the beach

Is your family one of the fortunate few that can live near an impressive body of water, like a lake or an ocean?

If that is you, why not spend some time at the beach. Assemble a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day.

Family staycations near the water are relaxing, fun, and an activity you all will enjoy.

2. How about a movie marathon night

Are you movie lovers?

If so, how about making some popcorn or ordering a pizza and picking out some family favorites for movie night the entire family will enjoy!

3. Go shopping

Budget a small amount of money for some retail therapy.

Make a day trip to your favorite mall, and be sure to hit at least one of everyone’s favorite stores.

If you are a little short on currency, go to the dollar store. Kids love them and can always find something fun to buy for a dollar.

Then perhaps a snack or lunch at a family favorite.

4. Go camping

Picture of family with heads looking out of tent for blog post about staycation ideas for kids and families.

You don’t even need to leave the house.

Why not put up a tent in the backyard, get out the sleeping bags and other camping gear, and sleep under the moon and stars. The whole family will love it!

These tips are a must-read before your camping trip.

5. Have a talent competition

The kids will love this idea! Mom, Dad, and each child works on a talent — it can be anything — a magic act, something musical, or even something culinary in the kitchen.

Parents can surprise their kids with a hidden talent!

6. Go for a hike

What a perfect way to have some fun and get some exercise too!

Pack a picnic lunch, the bug spray, make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and head to your favorite local hiking area.

7. Read together

Gather some books you have available at home, set up a cozy reading nook in your living room, and read.

The young kids will enjoy being read to by the older children in the family.

Or take turns reading the same book, everyone reading a page and then passing it on—what a wonderful way to have the time go by in the evening.

8. Game night


Family nights are great when you get out the board games.

Gather the snacks and beverages and play your favorite games.

Have the winners accumulate bonus points, and whoever gets the most gets an ice cream treat.

9. Have a scavenger hunt

Create a list of items that could easily be found.

Then have an outdoor scavenger hunt going around in your neighborhood, local park, or playground and look for things on the list.

Perhaps allow the winner to choose their favorite flavor of ice cream as the prize.

10. How about searching for a local landmark

Landmarks are usually everywhere in our cities or even rural areas.

We almost forget they are there. Explore the area for a historical building, a local monument, or climb up the staircase of a cool bridge.

Become a sightseer in your own town.

11. Museum


How about exposing the kids to art or science?

Museums encourage a love of history. A museum offers connections to history that can be overlooked in the classroom.

A visit to a museum encourages new ideas and thinking while developing creativity.

One of the most essential things a museum can do for a child is to create a lifelong love of learning.

As the reality of our world continues to change, we need to learn and change with it.

Why not give your child an advantage by encouraging curiosity in them that promotes learning.

Museums offer children the opportunity to contrast and compare what is important to them, leading to higher critical thinking skills.

For example, an art museum has various types of art that have differences in style, subject, and techniques that encourage exciting conversations.

There are local museums with exhibits or activities that appeal to young children or online activities for the entire family.

12. Have a sports competition

If the family loves sports, have a tournament.

Play any game you all enjoy — parents vs. kids or males vs. females.

The winners get to choose what they want for dinner that night.

13. Fruit picking

Does your family like apples or strawberries?

If the time of year is right, go to an apple orchard or a strawberry patch and gather some fresh fruits.

Then go home and make apple pie or strawberry shortcake for the perfect treat after a perfect day.

Don’t forget the whipped cream!

14. Yoga or exercise

Yoga is a lot of fun and a way to relax at the same time.

Go to a studio for some professional ideas or do it from your own living room.

Develop an exercise regimen for the entire family.

It is healthy, fun, and something you can do together without cost.

15. Volunteer

Community service can really be a fun way to spend time together and give back to the community.

Charities of all types are always looking for volunteers to help them.

Charity work is a good way for children to learn that there are less fortunate people in the world.

Get your children involved by using some of these suggestions.

  • Be a good role model. If you volunteer to help, they will want to as well.
  • Find something easy and fun. Community service should not be hard.
  • Fit it into your family’s schedule and make it part of your routine.
  • Think beyond the volunteering opportunity. Use a field trip to expose your children to animal rescue, homelessness, or other important social issues. Show your child who and what needs help. Let them decide how they can make a difference.
  • Learn from other generations by taking your children to a senior center to visit with the elderly. They can spend time talking, watching TV, reading, playing games, and interact with them in other ways. Meal delivery to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels is a great volunteer opportunity. Most seniors do not get to see anyone during the day, and a visit from a smiling, lively, and loving child can really brighten their day.

16. Do some gardening

How about spending some quality family time growing vegetables or flowers?

The kids can get dirty and hands-on with the plants without Mom getting angry.

If you don’t have a yard, do some pot gardening on your deck or patio, or find a community garden.

17. Yard games

Does your family enjoy ladder toss, croquet, or badminton?

If so, use your own backyard to set up your best games. Invite neighbors for multiple games and even more fun!

18. Spa day

How about a spa day at home to relax.

Give each other pedicures or manicures, facials with cucumber slices, or face masks.

19. Do some crafting

crafts and projects make great staycation ideas for kids and families
There are some great ideas on Pinterest full of crafting ideas and projects that would be fun for the whole family.

Things such as making greeting cards for the kids’ grandparents or friends or starting a family scrapbook to document memories.

20. Water fight

How about having a water balloon fight in the backyard!

Just fill up a bunch of balloons, tie them shut, and have a water fight—especially fun on a sweltering summer day.

21. Bake cookies

Rainy days are perfect for baking and decorating cookies. Buy some sprinkles, frosting, and small candies to decorate.

If you prefer, you can also bake cupcakes instead of cookies. This activity is fun and yummy.

You need to have lots of milk on hand to enjoy your creation.

22. Write a book

Have the whole family participate.

Each member tells part of a story, one person writes it all down, then the kids can illustrate it.

Maybe then the kids can turn it into a play when it is all done.

23. Build a fire pit

Draw an outline of the fire pit.

Place a row of rings consisting of stones on the bottom in the grass where you want the fire pit located.

Then dig the fire pit using a shovel or whatever digging tool you have available to dig out a circle 6″ deep.

Fill the fire pit with gravel until it is level with the ground.

Then build the fire pit.

Place a ring of stones around the outer edge of the gravel circle and use a rubber mallet to tamp the stones in place.

Placing masonry adhesive on the bottom of each stone, continue with the second and third rows, staggering their placement.

Then build a fire, starting with a small amount of newspapers, dry leaves, or sticks piled up.

When that starter pile is lit, add bigger branches, then move on to bigger pieces of wood as those catch fire.

Then bring on the marshmallows for smores!

24. Go to a movie

If there is a movie theater locally showing a family-friendly film, put the kids in the car and see it.

Don’t forget the popcorn and candy, though.

25. Card games

Do you enjoy card games like Old Maid, Go Fish, or Uno?

This would be a fun way to entertain the kids for an entire evening.

Mom and Dad would probably enjoy it too.

Those are the first 25 ideas for the perfect staycation ideas for kids and their families.

If there are no ideas in the first 25 that you find intriguing, keep reading for more great staycation ideas for families!

26. Amusement park

Do your kids enjoy thrill rides, hot dogs, and ice cream?

If so, how about spending a day at the local amusement park for a day of fun.

Many have water rides, so make sure you dress accordingly!

27. Family vacation

If it is in the budget, plan a family vacation to a nearby place of interest.

Perhaps spend one night in a hotel, eat in a restaurant, do a little sightseeing.

28. Board game tournament

If your family loves games, how about a family board game tournament.

See who can win the most games and let them have the treat of their choosing!

29. Build a treehouse

If your kids are adventurous and enjoy climbing, how about building a treehouse in the backyard?

If you have a big, strong tree that would be perfect for a treehouse, gather some wood, hammer, nails, and whatever else is needed and get building.

30. Stargaze

Become stargazers in your own backyard.

If you have a telescope, and it’s a clear night, look into outer space and see what constellations you can find.

Compete to see who can identify the first one.

31. Obstacle course

Build an obstacle course in your backyard using wood planks, logs, ropes, or any other material that would work.

Look for ideas on the Internet on how to build one and have family competitions. And don’t forget to include the dog!

32. Road trip


Does your family enjoy road trips? Have you ever been to any National parks?

Depending on where you live, get the family together and decide which ones to visit.

Decide together to visit one or two nearest your home or choose a park further away if you want a longer road trip.

Don’t forget the camera and walking shoes for the entire family.

33. Waterpark

Get the swimsuits and head to the nearest waterpark.

A waterpark is an amusement park with water play areas such as swimming pools, splash pads, water slides, lazy rivers, and water playgrounds.

They also have floating areas, swimming, bathing, and other fun things to do while barefoot.

What an enjoyable and fun thing to do on a hot summer day!

34. Have lunch out

Maybe for the noon meal, eat at a local restaurant.

Most eateries have specials during the noon hour or a kid’s menu with fewer things that kids love.

35. Treasure hunt

On a rainy day, have an indoor treasure hunt.

Perhaps go to the local dollar store and buy a few things the kids would enjoy and hide them around the house.

The kids can have a great time finding them.

36. Ghost stories

How about sitting around the fireplace on a rainy night and tell ghost stories.

They can be made-up stories, so they won’t frighten the little kids, but use your imagination to come up with a story to entertain them.

If you have little kids, remind the older children to remember them when they tell their stories.

37. Spring break vacations

If it is within the family budget, how about a trip to Disney World or Disneyland?

This is a trip each of the family members will love and one that none of you will ever forget.

If it is not in the budget, do the next best thing.

Take a virtual trip to one of these fabulous parks.

38. Nature center

Do you have a local nature center?

How about spending the day there looking for various trees, insects, or other things that can be found there.

Perhaps do some research first on some things the kids can find and get a little competition going.

Most nature centers have bird watching, hiking trails, and in the winter, some have cross-country skiing.

39. Children’s museum

Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.

For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.”

How about taking the kids to a local children’s museum to see what ideas their imaginations can foster.

With fun activities for toddlers to teens, this is the perfect place to spend time with the kids while giving them the opportunity to discover new things, develop new interests, and create a lifelong love of learning and discovery.

Who knows — maybe you have an Einstein in your midst!

40. Go on a bike ride

Hop on your bicycles and ride through your neighborhood, to the local park, or through your own town.

It’s great exercise and fun, too. Stop along the way for lunch, ice cream, or some other treat. Make sure all the bikes have enough air in their tires!

41. Summer camp

The local YMCA or other organizations hold summer camps for kids of all ages.

Some are just day camps, and others are sleepaway camps, which are fun for older kids who won’t be afraid to be away from home.

42. Go to a baseball game

If you live in a city with a major league baseball team or if there is one in a nearby city, attend a game.

Now that the weather is warming up and restrictions are being lifted enjoy the sunshine, a hot dog, and watch a ballgame.

It is an excellent way for the entire family to spend the day together and develop a love for a great game.

43. Library

Go to the local library and spend the day researching a topic preselected by Mom or Dad.

Choose a different topic for each child.

It is a perfect time to be together and learn a few things at the same time.

44. Explore local turf

Be a tourist in your own city.

Spend the day exploring your own city or a nearby city.

Find interesting old buildings, shops, or other places of interest.

Take an inner-city tour on a bus or other mode of transportation that has a knowledgeable guide.

The number of things you don’t know about your own town will surprise you.

Then have a snack or meal at a restaurant of the kids choosing.

A great staycation idea, and you don’t have to go too far.

45. Spend the night in a hotel

Just for the fun of it, spend the night in a local hotel.

You don’t need to leave town, and the kids will find it fun to sleep somewhere else for the night.

Find one that has a swimming pool, video arcade, and other fun activities for the kids.

Have one of your kids bring a friend along and for an extra cost, you can have a rollaway bed brought to the room for an added guest.

Some hotels have good deals during the summer months to attract guests.

If the budget allows a family staycation at a hotel can be great fun

46. Let the kids cook dinner

Are you brave enough to let the kids loose in your kitchen to make dinner for the family?

Cooking can be a fun learning activity for the kids, and it will give Mom a reprieve until cleanup time — in fact, it is a good time to teach the kids the easiest way to do the cleanup too!

47. Do an art project

Research the Internet to find some great paper mache projects.

Most families have the basic supplies at home, among them cardboard, masking tape, and toilet rolls.

You can make all kinds of neat and useful things for no cost and have fun too.

48. Create a home office

If you have extra space somewhere in your own home, create a home office where the kids can do homework, Mom and Dad can work, or where you can do fun activities together.

Create a mini-library in the office. Keep all the families’ books on shelves in the office.

If you have room, create a small reading nook in the corner, but make sure there is sufficient lighting.

49. School breaks

How about allowing the kids to decide what the family will do on a spring break staycation.

Kids have great imaginations.

You will be surprised at the fun ideas they will come up with.

50. Relive a favorite experience

As a family, did you do something last summer that proved to be a great family staycation idea?

If so, why not do it again. Doing new things is always great fun, but there is nothing wrong with repeating your favorite things or activities.

51. Create a new family memory

Consider adding extended family members to make a memorable staycation.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — perhaps a family reunion at a park or some suitable location. It may take a little planning, but it will be worth the time spent to create memories the entire family will forever cherish.

52. Put on a play

See if you have a budding actor among your kids.

Write a play or perform an existing one.

You can have other neighborhood kids involved and hold auditions for the best parts.

Then perform for friends and families.

53. Train a pet

Do you have a dog?

Or would your kids love to have one? If you don’t have one, and your children have shown a responsible nature, allow them to get one.

Either go to a local shelter, a pet supply store with “Last Chance” pets, or a local adoption center to choose a dog together.

Using book or magazine resources or information found on the Internet, train the dog as a family.

You all will be surprised at how fast a dog can become an essential member of your family, showing love, loyalty, and devotion to each one of you.

Hopefully, a few of the suggestions on this list will become favorite staycation ideas for your family.

They are all easy ways to promote quality family time and keep the kids engaged with something other than the computer, television, or iPad.

There are many benefits of a staycation, such as:

  • They are affordable
  • Reduced travel time
  • It supports the local economy
  • You can staycation from anywhere
  • There is no jetlag
  • Become an interested tourist in your own city, town, or country
  • It is guaranteed you will feel recharged and refreshed afterward
  • And the most important — your pet can come too!

Staycations also have the added advantages of:

  • Strengthening family bonds
  • Quality family time has been shown to improve a child’s academic performance
  • More quality family time results in fewer behavioral issues
  • Good parenting role models help kids to develop parenting skills themselves
  • Family time results in less violence

Create a happy and healthy family by planning a staycation today!

Like it? Pin it for later.

 

 

Related guides:

About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.