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9 Awesome Staycation Ideas For Families On A Budget

Written by Liz Brown

Spending a ton of money on a fancy vacation isn’t always practical when you have a family. These staycation ideas are perfect for families with a modest budget.

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We all love a good vacation every now and again. But, have you ever needed a vacation so badly that you would drop everything, hop on a plane, and fly off into the unknown at the snap of a finger? Same, girl… same. Sometimes all it takes to send you off the rails and into vacay mode is the barista at Starbucks spelling your name wrong for the hundredth time or the traffic monitor at the school drop off zone blowing her whistle at you just a little too loud, am I right? The only problem is that every time you desperately need a vacation, you never have anything planned—and when you have a family, planning a vacation is not only time consuming, but expensive.

But don’t fret, it’s still possible to enjoy a nice family vacation at the last minute without having to spend an arm an a leg at places like Disneyland. All it takes is a little creativity, and a shift in perspective! Here are 9 awesome staycation ideas the entire family can enjoy, all while keeping a modest budget. 

staycation ideas

Things To Do On A Staycation

If you’ve never planned a staycation, you’d be surprised just how fun and memorable they can be, not only for you but for your whole family! There are a lot of awesome things to do on a staycation, so here are nine summer staycation ideas that won’t break the bank.

1. Go camping or “glamping” in your backyard

Having a campout in your backyard is one of my personal favorite staycation ideas. It’s the perfect activity for kids and adults alike. You can set up a hammock and watch the stars, roast marshmallows over a portable fire pit, tell scary stories in the tent with your kids, or just play games! The best part about having a campout in your backyard is that you’re literally right next to your house, which means you get to have a hot shower in the morning, a real toilet, and if you forgot anything, you’re covered! 

If sleeping in a tent is simply not an option for you, don’t worry, you can still enjoy this fun staycation idea! All you need is a set of walkie-talkies. When you head back to the house for some quiet time at the end of the night, invent a fun call-sign with your kids and keep in touch via two-way radio! Trust me, the kids will love it and you can enjoy some quality time with your S.O. and maybe even a glass of wine.🍷*echh, roger that!*  

camping in your backyard

2. Go to an outdoor movie theater and dress in theme

The summer months are a perfect opportunity to enjoy an outdoor movie with your family. Lots of towns and cities show movies on large projectors at local parks or community areas. So, grab your blankets, a thermos of hot cocoa, and a couple of lawn chairs and enjoy a movie under the stars! These types of events often play classic movies that most people are familiar with—so why not dress up in theme? Whether it’s The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Sandlot, it’ll be fun for the whole family to dress up. Halloween shouldn’t be the only time of year you get to wear a costume!

outdoor movie theater

3. Have a pizza making night

Pizza is a crowd favorite and whether you’re a ham and pineapple person, a meat lover’s combo person, or “a lovely cheese pizza just for me” type of person, pizza never disappoints.🍕But, when you have a family with a bunch of different pizza preferences, pizza night can often turn into a WWE match over whose pizza is ordered and who’s going to be stuck picking off toppings. Instead of letting World War III break out in your kitchen, try a build-your-own pizza night! This way, everyone gets to make their own pizza and everyone’s happy. Just pick up a couple of frozen pizza doughs from the supermarket and an assortment of toppings, and voila!

If you prefer to make your dough from scratch, try this cauliflower pizza crust recipe instead. It’s healthy, low-carb, and keto-friendly! So far, this sounds like a fun staycation idea if you ask me. But, if you really want to make a night of it, put on a playlist with some classic Italian music and then watch Ratatouille while enjoying your pizza masterpieces!   

4. Host a family reunion potluck

If you’re fortunate enough to have some extended family within driving distance of where you live, try hosting a family reunion potluck at a local park or recreation area. The spaces are usually free to reserve, and everyone can pitch in with food and bring their favorite dishes to the party! It’s a great opportunity to catch up with family, spend some quality time together, and maybe even play a competitive game of kickball. Need a simple recipe for the occasion? Try these delicious frozen chocolate-covered bananas

family reunion potluck

5. Plan a scavenger hunt

Another one of my favorite staycation ideas is to create a fun scavenger hunt for the family. This activity only requires about 30 minutes of your time to plan but everyone will have loads of fun! To keep things simple, plan your scavenger hunt in a place your whole family is familiar with, like your house, and select prizes that really motivate your players! I’ve found that for kids, candy or money always seem to do the trick. 🍬💰

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a list of places throughout your house you plan on hiding your clues and your treats. This could be inside cabinets or drawers, under furniture, or behind picture frames, wherever is within reach but somewhat concealed. Think of it like an Easter egg hunt—the better the hiding spot, the more fun it will be!
  2. Next, you’ll want to write out your clues. When the players get their first clue, it should hint at where the next clue (and treat) are hidden. Try making them into riddles that are a little tough to crack at first, but once the light bulb goes off, they’ll know exactly where to look! 💡Your clues should hint at the next hiding spot until all the clues have been solved and all the prizes have been found.
scavenger hunt

6. Go hiking at a local trail

Spending some time with Mother Nature is a great experience for anyone to enjoy. People often explore local hiking trails when they go on vacation, so why not enjoy some in your own backyard? There are plenty of resources, like AllTrails, to help you locate a trail that best fits your needs and desires. They offer hiking tips, trail guides, and even offer information about overnight trails for backpacking if you and your family are up for an adventure!⛰ 

family hiking on a trail

7. Visit an amusement park

Not everyone can afford a Disney vacation. I mean, tickets to get into the parks are pricey as it is, but when you consider the cost of fights, a hotel, food, and general spending money for an entire family… that really adds up! Instead, visit a local amusement park. It can be a theme park, a water park, or even a zoo! Whatever it is, it’ll be a fun-filled day to remember. 

family at amusement park

8. Dine at a new restaurant

Sometimes something as simple a dining at a new restaurant can really shake up your routine and make it feel like you’re on a vacation. Instead of making dinner at home or ordering take out, get the family dressed up and head to a new restaurant! Because you’ve never been there before, it will feel like you’re dining out on vacation. Better yet, order an island drink with your meal to make it truly feel like you’re on holiday.

family dining at restaurant

9. Hit up the beach or a local pool

Nothing says summer staycation like a day at the beach or pool. Even if you spend the day napping on a lounge chair in the sun, it can still feel like a vacation! So grab your favorite book, a pair of cute sunnies, and make yourself a healthy summer cocktail and you’ll be good to go.  

family having fun at the pool

Staycation Ideas For Relaxing & Alone Time

Staycations aren’t only reserved for those with families. In fact, if you’re in desperate need of a vacation but are really looking to get some alone time and decompress, here are a few staycation ideas to help you relax, that don’t involve your family at all. 

1. Book a day at the spa

Every once in a while, a little pampering goes a long way. Schedule yourself a facial, massage, or even a man-pedi and enjoy some tranquil time with numero uno. Practicing self-care is shown to improve our immunity, increase positive thinking, and make us less susceptible to stress, depression, anxiety, and other emotional health issues [1]. If a spa day isn’t in your budget, give yourself a spa day at home! These easy, DIY face masks are all-natural, take less than five minutes to make, and require ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen.

at home spa day

2. Practice yoga before bed

There are more benefits to yoga than meets the eye. People often mistake a yoga practice as something to simply improve flexibility—and while this is true, it’s not the only benefit. Yoga can help relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, increase awareness, sharpen concentration, and calms the nervous system. Every night before you go to bed, drink a high-quality tea for sleep, like SkinnyFit ZzzTox, and try this 5-minute yoga routine to improve sleep quality and finally get the vacation Zzzs you deserve. 

SkinnyFit ZzzTox for a calm staycation

3. Marie Kondo your house

They say cleaning can be very therapeutic, which makes sense because if you’ve ever seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, you’re familiar with the transformative powers of keeping a tidy home. Marie’s philosophy about tidying up is to surround yourself with things that spark joy for you and if they don’t, get rid of them! So, next time you’re looking for unique things to do on a staycation, try tidying up! It’s a simple way to transform the energy around you so you can feel calm and relaxed, and feeling like you’re on vacation 24/7. Here are 11 common places that clutter builds up that can increase your stress level. It’s out with the old, and in with the new—energy that is.🧘🏻‍♀️

young woman tidying up her home

About The Author

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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