It’s the time of year where we all crave escape, but what about those of us who don’t have an all-inclusive to Mexico on the calendar? One word: Staycation! There are so many ways to relax, unwind, and reconnect with loved ones without leaving home, much less the country. Here are my tips for the ultimate staycation.
Don’t waste the first few days of your holiday scrambling to make plans. Spend an evening drawing up an approximate budget and thinking of a few activities you want to enjoy. Consider days of the week that restaurants and museums might be closed, and release dates for games or movies you want to catch. Want to dive into a good book or gather around the table for a fun family game? Order them ahead of time so you’re stocked for your staycation.
Let It Go
If you’re staying home but want to really feel like you’re on vacation, the first key is to lower the bar a bit with household chores and responsibilities. Give yourself a break and take a week off of cleaning and laundry. Let this be a week of unmade beds and PJs until noon . We usually keep our family’s diet fairly healthy, but staycations are the time to allow a few extra treats, an afternoon cup of coffee (or two), and late night snacks.
Explore Your City
Isn’t the whole idea of a staycation that you’re staying in? Not exactly. You may not be traveling, but there are lots of exciting things to do in your community that you might not otherwise have time for. Catch the latest exhibit at the museum or science centre, go to the movies (bonus: if you’re off work you can capitalize on Cheap Tuesdays!), or plan get-togethers with friends. Or be a tourist in your own city. Go somewhere or do something you’ve never tried before – most people have never been to the tourist attractions in their very own city!
While winter isn’t always the easiest season to enjoy, a staycation is the perfect time to bundle up the family and enjoy the snow and ice. Go skating at your local rink, get ski passes for the day, or find a toboggan hill and be a kid again, racing to the bottom. You’ll feel great after the exercise and fresh air, and then snuggling up at home will be all the more pleasurable.
Take a lesson from the Nordic concept of Hygge and make your indoors an oasis of coziness. Light a few candles, put on comfortable clothes, and enjoy time inside together. Help the kids with a puzzle, play a round of UNO, or gear up for a long round of Settlers of Catan, Blokus, or chess. Put in a movie and let the kids stay up extra late. Staycations are all about resting and indulging in the best place on earth: home.
17 Other Staycation Ideas!
With this list of staycation activities on hand, we’ve got endless possibilities for fun and frolicking without straying too far.
1. Thrill yourself. Who doesn’t love a haunted house or a ferris wheel? For the older kids (or us kids-at-heart), hit a big park and spend the day (and night—don’t forget the fireworks!). For the littles, go to a smaller park and spend just a few hours letting them run wild. Everyone will sleep well that night–full of snacks, sunshine and smiles.
2. Roll with it! Find a local roller skating rink or a bowling alley and while away the hours in a very hip way. Indulge in some greasy snack food while you’re there to truly make it a vacay.
3. Go to the movies (or bring them to you). Go see a flick at a first-run theatre, and order all the trimmings. Or, in the summer, hit an outdoor theatre, or a special event like a sing-along movie presentation. Or, stay in and watch a few family faves–again, in the summer, maybe even set up a simple outdoor screen with a sheet in the yard. Make popcorn and make sure to have blankets and pillows on hand.
4. See live music. Enjoy local music in a park, at a coffee shop, at a local pub, or visit a local festival or fair. Summer is the best time for outdoor concerts— they’re happening all the time.
6. Hit up the farmers’ markets. Print out our tips, and then you’ll be all set to load up on the finest and freshest of veggies, herbs, fruits (and even wine!) from a local market. Make brunch with your fresh finds. Or throw a BBQ party (see #12).
7. Go to the spa. Need we say more? Take a day to relax!
8. Eat at a new restaurant. Grab a bite to eat at a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try or where you wouldn’t normally go. Bonus marks if you sit in the sunlight on a patio (brunch is awesome for this)!
9. Put down roots. Even if it’s just buying a thyme plant for your kitchen counter, spend a few minutes with your hands in the dirt. Trust us, it will renew you.
10. Catch some Z’s. Seriously. When else will you have the chance to sleep in? Stay in bed and read? It’s your staycation, so if sleep is what you love, far be it for anyone to separate you from it.
And, weather-permitting (perhaps save these for the July long weekend…):
11. Root for the team. It doesn’t even have to be a pro game—kids will even enjoy a minor league game in a local park (there’s one in pretty much every park every night all summer long). Cheer them on, you’ll find yourself enjoying it more than you may have thought you would.
12. Host a simple backyard BBQ. Make a few quick calls (invite Ingrid from down the street who makes her awesome 7- layer dip!) and fire up the barbecue. Pour some wine, grill up something delish, let the kidlets run on the lawn and put your feet up. Enjoy the summer with your friends and neighbours.
13. Go camping…in the backyard. Set up a tent with sleeping bags and flashlights, make some hot dogs and s’mores, and attempt to ban all electronic devices (we know it might not be possible). Stay up late telling scary stories, playing cards and looking at the stars.
14. Go canoeing, kayaking, sailing or heck, on a huge ship! Any city with water access has all kinds of paddling options, including kayak, canoe and sailing lessons and rentals. Is there a ship docked in the harbour? Chances are you can get a tour or have dinner there. Check it out and indulge. Dinner on the “high seas” is lots of fun.
15. Hit the beach. The beach is such an easy day trip – just pack a picnic and your swimmers in their suits and hit the sand!
16. Have a picnic. Choose (or vote on) a favourite picnic destination and pack a simple meal (even take-away works!). Head to a park, the zoo, or even a favourite area of your city. Spread a blanket and enjoy. Bring toys, books and colouring supplies and make an afternoon of it.
17. Go on a hike. Whether it’s through a mall or through the woods, a hike is good for the heart and the mind. Enjoy nature (or natural sales) and get away from it all.