Staycations don't get enough credit. While many people associate summer time off with exotic travel or last-minute getaways, there's always a load of fun awaiting in your community or even just in your backyard. It's a matter of knowing where to look and what to do.
If you're feeling stumped, grab your sunscreen and get inspired with these easy, and mostly inexpensive, local and backyard staycation ideas so you can celebrate summer all season long.
- Hit the nearby trails for a family hike and keep an eye out for birds, flowers, and wildlife along the way.
- If you're near the coast or a lake, river, or other body of water where you can spread out from others and have some space to yourself, spend an afternoon and have a refreshing retreat.
- Get some kites and pick a windy day in a local park to let them fly.
- Hop on your bike for a cycle through the neighborhood. Adding flair to bikes like tassels and bells can make the adventure more exciting for little ones.
- Dig out the tent and sleeping bags for a backyard camping adventure. Bring along those s'more ingredients and tell some scary stories to make it feel more authentic!
Explore Your Curiosity
- Do a neighborhood safari to scout out local wildlife and write down all the animals you're lucky enough to see.
- Travel the world at home by picking weekly destination themes. Find the appropriate accessories and foods so you can have celebrations like a Hawaiian luau with leis and coconuts or a German Oktoberfest with sausages and root beer for the kiddos (and the real stuff for the grownups).
- Let the kids entertain you with a backyard soiree. A talent show, puppet theater, or play could easily take care of afternoon boredom.
- Take a nature walk through the neighborhood and snap pictures of all the interesting finds, from flowers and bugs to wildlife. Compile a photo book of the best shots for a lasting keepsake of this special time with loved ones.
- Try something new with a backyard festival. Look for livestreams from your favorite local musicians or symphony concerts.
Make Something New
- Get some sidewalk chalk and head to the driveway to draw your favorite characters and sayings or play tic-tac-toe and hopscotch.
- Paint rocks with soothing pictures and inspiring messages and put them next to your front yard or door for neighbors and passersby to enjoy.
- Use the free time to do good for others! Try volunteering and taking on tasks like helping to build houses for families in need.
- Start a backyard garden. You don't need a lot of space—even just a few potted herbs like basil or thyme can be fun to maintain, water, and watch as they grow.
- Get crafty with a backyard project like a DIY bird feeder or a giant tic-tac-toe board.
Embrace the Magic of Childhood
- Play a fun round of frisbee golf in your backyard (if you've got the space) or in a local park. One person picks a nearby target like a tree and everyone takes a turn throwing frisbees until they all hit the right spot. To score, count up the number of tries each person takes.
- Tickle that nostalgic itch and play those favorite backyard games from yesteryear. Red rover, red light-green light, bean bag toss, and hide-and-seek are classic options!
- Turn your backyard into a private water park with waterslides, sprinklers, kiddie pools, and water guns.
- Put up some colorful banners and host a backyard carnival, complete with games like ring toss and a duck pond. Add in some cotton candy for a little treat.
- Pack sandwiches, snacks, and drinks and head outside for a backyard picnic. Don't forget to bring along a speaker so you can play your favorite summer playlist at a neighbor-friendly volume.
Stay Safe, No Matter Where You Go
Keep in mind that whatever you do, you'll still need to stay hydrated and keep the sunscreen nearby. Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and reapply about every two hours or sooner if you get wet.
If you do plan to get wet or sweaty, choose sunscreens that won't wash off in the water or sting your eyes if you perspire. Some options are EltaMD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ and EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50. For fidgety little ones or an afternoon touchup, a spray-on product like EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 can help get them covered when they won't sit still.
So what are you waiting for? Step outside and have some safe summer fun. Those family memories won't make themselves!