Ten Awesome Ideas for a Staycation with Kids

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Not going anywhere during your school holidays? Why not try a staycation with kids!

Now that my daughter is a school-ager, our vacation days are often determined by the holiday schedules outlined by our daughter’s school district. Gone are the days of taking impromptu road trips or overseas trips. We are now confined to planning our vacations based on the following schedule: a week in February, a week in April, two and a half months in the summer, a week in the fall, and two weeks at the end of the year. Parents of school-agers, does this sound similar to your situation?

Having fun at the Seattle Aquarium (May 2016)

Planning a staycation with kids

While adding up those days gives you over three months’ worth of travel days, it also happens to be pretty much the same time that almost every other family is traveling, which means that prices for most travel destinations are through the roof! We often prefer to travel during off-peak days, but now that we can’t do that we have to think of other ways to save money on travel.

To top it off, we just bought a house late last year, so our availability of travel funds for this year is a bit on the low side.

So what’s a family to do when they’re faced with a school holiday and not a lot of money to spend on travel? Plan a family staycation, of course! A staycation with kids is a great option for the budget-conscious, travel-loving family. And they can be a great way to get to know your city.

If you’re planning on staying put during your next school holiday, here are ten awesome staycation ideas for families.

Visiting the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market (May 2016)

Visit the tourist spots

We’re lucky to be living in Seattle. It’s already a fun tourist destination for many families. But even if you live in a small town, there are most likely one or two spots that are meant to draw out of town guests.

Spend the day playing tourist and visit places you wouldn’t normally visit as a local. Here in Seattle, we like visiting the Space Needle or Pike Place Market.

Take a foodie tour

Speaking of markets and food, another great family staycation idea is to take a foodie tour of your city. If your city’s listed on Yelp, you can check out the top rated restaurants in your city.

You can also build an itinerary of restaurants to visit in your city based on a theme. We love frequenting restaurants that are recommended by local magazines like Seattle magazine or Seattle Met.

Go swimming

If the weather is warm enough, why not visit a local pool? One of the things I love about Seattle is that there are several different places to go swimming.
Many of our city’s community centers have swimming pools open to the public.

There are also several public beaches with areas for swimming, as well as public parks with wading pools for the little ones. On those hot summer days when all you’re wanting is a place to cool down, head to a local swimming area and let your kids splash around during your family staycation.

Kids playing in a splash park during a staycation
Enjoying water play at Ballard Commons Park (July 2015)

Get cultured

Another great thing about Seattle is the abundance of museums, from art to pop culture, natural history to technology. A staycation with kids is the perfect time to visit one of the museums in your city.

If museums aren’t your thing, why not try attending a live theater show or a concert? Seattle has a great Children’s Theater that offers shows for young audiences. How about checking out your local cultural scene?

Stay at a hotel

Who says that you need to stay at your home for a family staycation? Why not treat it like a vacation and stay at a hotel? Check in to a hotel for the night with your family and pretend like you’re actually visiting the city.

If you want to add a bit of luxury to your staycation with kids, splurge and stay at a fancy hotel. Or you can choose a hotel that’s in an area that you’ve always wanted to explore.

Rent an Airbnb or vacation rental

Another option is to rent an Airbnb or vacation rental. It will give you a chance to get the feel of another neighborhood, and maybe even give you ideas for how to decorate your own home.

Unique accommodations, like tiny houses or houseboats, make it fun for your kids. We love Airbnb, and think staying at these properties make for some memorable staycation ideas for families.

Inspecting the view from our Airbnb in Seattle (April 2016)

Explore a new-to-you neighborhood

A family staycation is an excellent opportunity to spend time in a neighborhood that’s new to you. If there’s a part of town that you’ve never really been to, take a day to explore it and get to know it.

You can look up the popular restaurants and attractions in the local area, just like a tourist would do. Or you can spend an afternoon strolling through the streets and frequenting the local businesses.

Park-hop

If your city is like Seattle, there are probably plenty of local parks with playgrounds for your kids to explore. Spend a day visiting public parks in your city that you haven’t been to before.

We’re still just discovering the parks in our new neighborhood, and it’s been a blast exploring the local park scene. We think “park hopping” is a fun option for staycation ideas for families.

Camp in your backyard

If you have a big enough backyard, why not set up a tent and have a backyard camp out? Pitch a tent, roll out the sleeping bag, and eat some s’mores under the stars. The best part is, you still have access to your house for late night bathroom breaks.

Backyard tent setup during a staycation
Our backyard tent setup (June 2016)

Ride the local transport

If your city has a good public transportation system, spend the day exploring new routes. We love riding the bus, and on long bus rides, it’s fun to look out the window and see the changes in scenery as you go through town.

These are just a few of my staycation ideas for families. So the next time your kids have a school holiday, why not take some time to explore and get to know your city!

Do you have any awesome family staycation ideas? Share them in the comments below!

Staycation with kids

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10 Responses

  1. Oh these are such great tips! It’s definitely harder to just get away when kids’ commitments start taking over. I love a good staycation and Seattle is such a fantastic city!

    1. Thanks Leanne! I’m sure you’ll have plenty of fun activities for both your vacation and staycation.

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Hi, I'm Astrid

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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