Make summer special, even if you’re staying in town, with this big list of staycation ideas for families! Thank you to Willie’s Grill and Icehouse for sponsoring this post – all opinions are our own.
How to Plan a Family Staycation
However, this summer we are moving into a new house, so we didn’t have the opportunity or time to take a traditional vacation. Instead, we planned a summer “staycation” and still had a blast!
What is a Staycation?
A staycation is a vacation in the sense that you get to take a break from work, school, and everyday life.
However, instead of traveling to a distant locale, a staycation takes place in your hometown. Staycations are perfect when you’re on a budget or don’t have the time needed for traveling out of state.
Even though you’re staying close to home, it’s important to make togetherness a priority. These “staycation rules” from Becky at Family Budgeting offer lots of helpful tips for making your first staycation a success.
Staycation Ideas for Families
When we plan a staycation, we always designate one night to hit the town together as a family and let someone else do the cooking (and clean up!)
One of our favorite local spots is Willie’s Grill and Icehouse — there are 9 Houston-area locations, as well as locations in San Antonio and College Station.
We love Willie’s because there is something for everyone and they’ve gone out of their way to make summer special with their “Summer of Kids” promotions. In fact, there is a free Sandbox Treasure Hunt at each Willie’s location every day this summer (though August 15th).
The sandbox at Willie’s is always a hit with the girls, but this time it was extra exciting because there was the opportunity to find one of the 10 treasure coins hidden each day!
We sure had a happy crew when they found a coin and claimed their prize. It was an awesome way to end the evening!
Another reason Willie’s is our go-to family dinner spot is that since the kids like to stay and play, Mom and Dad actually have time to enjoy their meal. This pretty much never happens otherwise!
I’m definitely glad that we had time to savor their new Sweet and Spicy Baja Fish Tacos!
Houston friends, check out these fun summer activities happening at Willie’s Grill and Icehouse:
- Sandbox Treasure Hunt (daily through Aug. 15) – Kids can hunt for tokens buried in the sandbox and redeem them for free prizes! (10 tokens buried per day, limit 1 prizer per day per child)
- Free Arcade Day (Aug 6) – Kids get $1 in coins for the arcade with each Kids Meal purchased (at locations with arcades).
More Budget-Friendly and/or Free Staycation Ideas for Families
Here are more of our favorite staycation ideas to do at home or in your hometown, as well as tips from some of our blogger friends:
- Hit the Beach — If you live in a coastal area, you’ll definitely want to bookmark this list of 50 budget-friendly things to do at the seaside from Baby Budgeting!
- Go Geocaching — This global phenomenon involves hunting for hidden treasure “caches” that other enthusiasts have set up around the world. Find out more about how to get started with this handy guide from Explore More Clean Less.
- Visit the Zoo — The local zoo is always a favorite and if you check the schedule you can find special days and activities for kids. Ours has a free entry day once a month for kids!
- Giant Tic-Tac-Toe — Take family game night to a new level with this BIG version of the classic game for all-ages, with an easy tutorial by Beth at Days with Grey. All you need is painter’s tape and scrap cardboard to create your board and get started! Days with Gray
- Cookie Relays — Everyone is a winner with this series of cookie-themed games from Meaningful Mama!
- The Flour Game — This game is sure to get everyone laughing, and you probably have everything you need to play at home already! Katelyn at What’s Up Fagans will show you all the ins and outs of this hilarious game!
- Indoor Scavenger Hunt — This is a snap to set up with free printable clues from Laura at Sunny Day Family!
- 34 Backyard Games for Kids — Get outside and get moving with this big list we made of our favorite outdoor games that families can do together! From pool noodle obstacle courses to balloon archery, there are so many unique ideas!
- Family Yoga — We love yoga because it is an activity that everyone can do together and it relaxes the kids.
- Clothespin Paper Puppets — Use the example provided by Menucha at Moms & Crafters or customize your own puppets! You can make animals, use photos to make puppets of the family, or anything your imagination creates!
- Make Slime — Slime is one of our favorite boredom busters and it is easy to make at home! We have tried LOTS of different slime recipes over the years, even taste-safe edible slime recipes!
- Blow Giant Bubbles — Kids will delight in creating BIG bubbles with this easy recipe. We’re talking bubbles that are even bigger than people! Wow!
- Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets — This is one of my girls’ favorite low-mess crafts! We create different goofy creatures each time!
- Stomping Bubble Wrap Painting — The ultimate sensory art activity and perfect for summer days!
- Plant an Indoor Herb Garden — I can’t say that I have a green thumb, but herbs like basil are actually pretty easy to grow. An indoor herb garden is perfect to start with kids and they can enjoy the fruits of their labor all year long!
- Learn to Sew — Learning a new skill together as a family is a great way to spend a summer day! This collection of sewing ideas for kids from Red Ted Art is the perfect place to start!
- 100 “Would You Rather” Questions for Kids — This big list of conversation starters from The Best Ideas for Kids will get the whole family talking! You might even learn something new about each other!
- Family Game Night Ideas — Get the scoop on the best games to plan a family game night from Artsy Fartsy Mama!
Have you ever planned a staycation with your family? Share your favorite staycation ideas in the comments below!