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30 Ideas for Summer Fun, Staycation Style

   Lemonaide in the backyard on a summer day.

Staycations (a vacation based out of your home) are growing in popularity as many people can't afford to travel as much as they used to.

Staycations have gained in popularity these past few years. Whether you don't want to go away for your vacation due to cost, or you just want to avoid the stress of traveling, staying home and taking a break from your regular schedule is a great way to spend time this summer. It can even be your license to enjoy the lazy days of summer - literally, if you like. To keep your kids and teens busy, help them plan their own staycation and activities! There's really something for everyone when you plan a successful staycation.

How to Plan a Successful Staycation

To ensure a fun and relaxing staycation we recommend the following things:

  • Set a start date and an end date for your staycation.
  • Plan your activities ahead of time if you want to do certain things. If you don’t plan out your time, you’ll likely either end up cleaning out the garage, doing work around the house, watching television or doing nothing at all. Either way you won’t have created any lasting memories or felt like you got away.
  • Turn on your answering machine and leave emails and the mail just like you would if you were actually away at a destination resort.
  • Set a staycation budget but don't let this deter you from having a good time.
  • Act like a tourist in your own home town. What sights, scenes and activities would you recommend for any visiting family or friends? Try those out with the eyes and attitude of a tourist.
  • Take lots of pictures of you and your family having a wonderful time! 

Staycation Ideas

Become a Tourist in Your Own Town

A tourist town to visit on vacation.

  1. Find a guide book for your area or region at a local book store and see what activities interest you.
  2. Explore your own city and nearby areas.
  3. Look for festivals, fairs and free events and visit the ones that interest you. Local newspapers, libraries and the internet are good places to start your search.
  4. Visit local or regional museums.
  5. Visit interesting parks within a 30 minute drive.
  6. Buy an Entertainment Book for your city (if you live in or near a large enough city). They are cheap at this time of year, and offer tons of 2 for 1 coupons for activities and restaurants.
  7. If you live in a large enough city you can sign up for and get 50% to 70% off recreational activities and restaurants. Other daily discount companies include,, and
  8. If ferries are available to you, pack a lunch, hop on a ferry and go exploring. You might want to take your bike and explore a larger area when you arrive at the other end.
  9. Find a deal for a nearby hotel or bed and breakfast. 
  10. Create your own wine tasting tour if you live within driving distance of some wineries. Choose your designated driver for safety and good conversation.
  11. Spend a day picking fruit. If you pick berries, you can freeze them and use them throughout the winter. If you are into baking or canning, you can easily create another day of activity for yourself.
  12. Enjoy local pools or water parks.

Try a New Recreational Activity

  1. Rent a tandem bike and explore a park or scenic area.
  2. Try kayaking or canoeing. It’s peaceful, provides good exercise and it’s fun.
  3. If hiking is an option, try exploring some place within a 30 minute drive from your home. Hiking or just going for a walk is a great way to explore, enjoy nature, get some fresh air and relax. Don't forget your camera!
  4. See if your city offers recreation programs and consider enrolling in one.
  5. Take a class to learn a new hobby or skill. Ideas could include taking a gourmet cooking class, a woodworking course, a creative writing class or a short history course at a local university.
  6. Try exploring on roller blades. Start with somewhere flat so that it's easy.

Go to the Lake

  1. Spend a day at the lake. Swim, rent a small boat, explore trails, enjoy the scenery and the cool breeze or just soak up some sun.


  1. Volunteer for a cause, festival or event that interests you. If the volunteer work you do is completely different from your regular job, you may find this to be very refreshing and fun.
  2. Find a needy person or family to befriend. Do something nice for them like take them out for lunch or find out what they need and try to arrange to have that need met. This may not sound like fun, but it could easily become one of the highlights of your summer.
         A family camping in their backyard as part of their staycation.

    It's amazing how much kids can enjoy simply camping in the back yard or at a nearby campsite.

Go Camping

  1. Camp in your own back yard, or stay at a nearby campsite.
  2. If you’re adventurous, try camping for free along a lake or river somewhere off the beaten track.

Catch Up on Reading or Hobbies

  1. Visit your local library and find a bunch of books or magazines that you would really enjoy to read—or better yet, find a library that you have never visited before.
  2. Finish a project you put on hold, like organizing your digital photos to create a photo book, building a new patio, or redecorating the family room. A working holiday for part of your staycation can give you an immense sense of accomplishment.

Try Old Fashion Fun

  1. Go to your local drive-in theatre and see a few late night movies in your vehicle.
  2. See if you can find a drive-in restaurant.
  3. Organize a block party for your neighbourhood where everyone comes together for a big potluck BBQ, or just invite a few friends over for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Wait until September

  1. If you don’t have school aged kids, plan to take your staycation or mini-holiday once school has resumed in September. Activities and accommodations are cheaper in September, the weather is still nice and the crowds are much smaller.

Use Reward Points

  1. Use your credit card or grocery store reward points to fund part of your vacation. If you don’t have enough points for a plane ticket to go somewhere, you may have enough for free movie passes, free restaurant gift cards or free admission to local attractions or attractions in a nearby city.

For more help on how to afford a vacation, click here.


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