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When most people are hitting the road to go on an expensive holiday, frugal families are considering staycations instead. Some of the financial benefits of a staycation include:
- You don’t need to board the pets at a kennel, saving you anywhere from $20 per day and up.
- You don’t have to pay for hotels and meals out for a week straight.
- You can focus your money on your local economy and have more freedom with your budget.
Be a local tourist.
One great way to enjoy a staycation is by becoming a tourist in your own town or area.
- Look online for local events happening during your staycation. These may be concerts, fairs, or church events that you can enjoy with your family.
- See what’s happening at the library. From story hour to crafts to fun classes, your local library can be a fantastic resource of free stuff to do.
- Go jump in a lake. What is the local body of water where folks go swimming? Put together a picnic, grab your swimsuits, and make a day of it with the family.
- Are there any museums or tourist attractions nearby? Often, we overlook the cool things that are close to home. Sometimes people have never even been to the museums in their own hometowns.
- Hit up a movie. I absolutely love going to the movies and watching a show on the big screen, although I don’t go often due to the price. (I made an exception for you, Deadpool.) Find out when your local theater has “cheap night” and take the family out to a show. Optional: Smuggle in snacks and drinks if your local cinema doesn’t have strict rules against it.
- Go to the park. Do you have a nice park, nature trail, or splash pad nearby? This is another great way to spend a day outside with the family.
- Take a family bike ride. A great way to add to the fun of heading to the park is to go for a family bike ride. Don’t forget the helmets!
- Go to a local amusement park. If you don’t mind spending a little bit of money, spend it on an outing to a local amusement park. It will be a funfilled exhausting day for all involved.
- Go to a concert. Whether free or inexpensive, chances are there will be some kind of outdoor concert in your area this summer. Go enjoy the live music.
- Check out a festival. Many towns, even small ones, have a summer festival of some sort. Eat before you go (or budget for a dinner of festival food) and go enjoy the fun.
Or stay home…
It may not sound super-exciting, but I love staying home.
- Hang out in the back yard with a book. Hang up the hammock or sit in a comfy chair and read a book outside. Consider putting the book over your face and taking a nap.
- Host a barbecue. If you aren’t having people over for the 4th, use some of the barbecue ideas and recipes in this issue to host friends and family for a cookout.
- Run through the sprinklers. Get out your swimsuits and play outside in the sprinklers. Drinking from the hose is optional. Okay, it isn’t advised these days, but it probably won’t kill you.
- Have a photo scavenger hunt. If your kids are old enough that they have phones, create a scavenger hunt list with things like something red, a bird, an amphibian, etc.
- Pitch a tent. If you have kids, you may find that putting up your tent and camping in the backyard is just as much fun for them as going away. One of my daughters had a sleepover in a tent on our trampoline and it’s one of her favorite childhood memories.
- Cook over a campfire. If it is legal where you live, build a fire in the firepit, tell stories, and roast marshmallows and hotdogs while watching the fireflies. (Recipes in this article)
- Do some stargazing. Lay outside on a dark night and look at the stars. Bonus points for checking out a book about constellations from the library and trying to identify them. There are quite a few apps available that turn smartphones and tablets into AR viewfinders for identifying stars, planets and constellations. SkyView Free is a good one.
Disconnect to reconnect.
I think the key to a staycation is to disconnect from your everyday responsibilities, so you can reconnect with the people you love.
- Take a break from social media. It will be there when you’re ready to reemerge.
- Remove work notifications from your phone.
- Better yet, turn off your phone completely.
- Don’t check your email.
- Don’t sit in front of the television the whole time.
- Put your laptop away.
Make your staycation special by making it different from everyday life. Use this time to make memories with the people you love.
What are you doing this summer?
What are your favorite summer staycation ideas for kids and adults? Share them in the comments and give others some creative ideas.
6 thoughts on “Welcome to Your Frugal Backyard Staycation”
“Have a photo scavenger hunt. If your kids are old enough that they have phones, create a scavenger hunt list with things like something red, a bird, an amphibian, etc.”
It’s a cool idea – but the kids could also do that with… a camera. Like, just a cheapo digital camera even. LOL. Makes me want to create a life drawing version!
Being a freelancer, the only actual vacation I get is when there’s no paying work in-house. At that point I get caught up on house work and other exciting things. After work however, there are plenty of ways to amuse myself at home. I can work in my garden or take a bike ride. There are parks, museums, and restaurants close by. There are even cheap amusement parks and a few beaches! I have plenty of choices when it comes to getting Out of the House and Away from the Computer-on the cheap!
There are some pretty parks near me with water flowing through them. There are picnic tables and at least one of them has a gazebo. One of them is having a couple of summer concerts for free. Also there’s another area close by where the town I’m in has created a pretty public space near a creek. There’s bicycle/walking trails and some seating. People ride their bikes and walk their dogs so it’s a fun place to people watch and/or take a book and some water/coffee and read. There’s a couple of parks that I haven’t explored yet that I plan to explore. Also there’s a new ice cream/pizza place that just opened close by. And there’s the libraries and getting together with friends for coffee. There are back yard BBQ’s so there’s plenty to do nearby and for a very frugal amount of money. I will visit the ice cream/pizza place and spend a few dollars there, I will contribute a dish to the backyard BBQ’s and I will meet some friends for coffee. Other than that my additional spending will be a little bit of gas to get from place to place.
Out nearest little country town has free summer concerts with an in a state artists. I missed last months on July 4th but if my husband is up to getting out this summer I’ll aim to attend one.
I’m making cool sandwhices or wraps for dinner this summer. Simple meals. Today was lettuce, ham, roast beef, cheese wraps on flour tortilla, a small bag of chips, and we shared a 34 oz cold Gatorade. We get “meals on wheels” type free hot lunches delivered to our front door. Tomorrow we have vanilla icecream and root beer for a desert float. Just looking for easy and cool dinners. Tomorrow won’t be a cool meal. Pasta with a bit of ground beef and wild amaranth in the sauce. A simple lettuce and purslane salad, then desert.
I need milk, bread, sandwhich meats, and sliced cheese from town. I’ll be making pancakes for dinner one night this week. I’ll add a few chopped pecans to the batter and thicken blueberries I canned recently to top them. I may get some whipped cream to top the pancakes. Planning quick, cool, and or easy meals feels like a vacation for me. I usually cook more involved meals.
I’m putting my extra time Into the garden. That’s my joy. Husband watches a lot of tv. But that Iets me work outside. He can’t walk outside much anymore. So I’m aiming for a more relaxed time with cooler meals. That comes off feeling relaxed and refreshed. Isn’t that what a vacation does for us?
I just want to say Daisy that I really love your articles..
You are such a talented writer and I get so much useful information. You have totally enriched my life.
I have just bought one of your books on Amazon to help support your work and I am really looking forward to reading it too!
Thank you so much for your kind words and your support. 🥰