Due to economic circumstances many people will be opting for a staycation this year. If you are unfamiliar with the term, this is where you take time off and do things close to home rather than traveling to a distant place. If you get creative, these can be great fun. The trick is to remember you are on staycation! So, put your mail in a pile, your laundry too, and eat lots of meals out until you get "back". After all, with no airfare or hotel costs, you can spend a little extra on food and admission to local attractions. Here are some fun ideas.
- Pitch a tent or sleep one night on your deck, patio, or balcony if possible. Cook on the grill only. In other words, go camping in your own back yard! Got kids? Challenge them to notice things in your yard/neighborhood they usually take for granted. Have a contest for who can collect the most different species of leaves or flowers.
- Have a camera scavenger hunt in the nearest town/city. Make a list of "things" to find and be creative. A church steeple, someone in uniform (keep in mind this could be a statue), something historic, something unfinished - you get the idea. You can use throw away cameras and one hour developing so you can all share your entries and the day's events over dinner.
- Have a progressive restaurant dinner. Start early to allow for travel time and to let your food settle between each course. Pick a different restaurant for each course - appetizers one place, salad/soup at the next, entree at another, and dessert at a fourth.
- Take day trips and visit area attractions you've never been to before. I had lived in Indiana for over 30 years before I ever set foot in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Think amusement park, water park, museum.
- Spend a day hiking at a state park. Some have other fun ammenities available like horseback riding or swimming.
- Take one day and just "go for a drive". Remember when people did that? Anyway, don't have a destination planned, just get up in the morning and pick a direction in some random way (coin toss, etc.) then head out. Take highways and back roads (no interstates) and keep going in that general direction until lunchtime or a little after. Then head back home trying to find a different route.
- Pack an old fashioned picnic and go to the park. Take a Frisbee. Swing on the swings - yes, you, the adult! Take a tablecloth so you can eat on the ground and then use it to lay on and read after lunch.
- Spend a day getting pampered. Either go to a day spa and get the works or just do it yourself at home. Trade massages with your partner. Give yourself a facial, a manicure, a pedicure. Got daughters? Trade manicures and pedicures then do each others hair in some new way.
- Sign up for a class in some art form you've never tried before. Who knows, maybe you have hidden talents just waiting to be discovered. Check local art museums, cultural centers, libraries, and universities for possible options.
- Go to the local mini golf/go cart place, a bowling alley, a skating rink, a laser tag place or a local festival. There is at least one going on almost every weekend in most areas.
- Go to the farmers market in your town, or a nearby one, and shop. Take time and enjoy being outside and all the different bounty the vendors are offering. Try making dinner that evening with nothing except what you purchased at the market that day.
- Have a movie marathon. This is great for a bad weather day. Rent lots of movies or go through your collection and pick ones you haven't watched in ages. Let all family members pick at least one flick. No meals today, just have snack type foods to munch on all day. This doesn't have to be unhealthy - think veggies and dip, hummus and flat bread, salsa and chips, cheese and crackers, lunch meat rolls, and, of course, popcorn!
- Go to a local race track, minor league baseball game, or a county/state fair. Introduce your kids or yourself to something they've never done/seen before.
With a little planning and a commitment to remember you are on staycation (no falling into your normal routine) you may have more fun than if you'd vacated!