With summer approaching, it’s no wonder your thoughts are turning to warm islands and exotic locales. But if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, paying off debt, or saving towards a big goal, you might not have the funds to jet off for a getaway. Staycation it is, then!
But a staycation doesn’t mean binging Netflix on your couch all day. There are plenty of fun things you can do right where you live to enjoy your well-deserved PTO.
Check out our guide to staycations that won’t break the bank.
If You’re Feeling Adventurous
1. Visit a National Park
The NPS (National Park Service) doesn’t just oversee parks. If you buy an annual pass for just $80, you’ll also have access to national preserves, seashores, and monuments. Don’t want to splurge on a pass? They offer free days several times a year; check online for upcoming dates.
2. Plan a Photo Scavenger Hunt
We’ve all done scavenger hunts in school. Take it up a notch by making it a photo scavenger hunt with your crew. First one to snap all the pics wins!
3. Head Outdoors
Unplug and unwind for the day. Whether you prefer hiking, kayaking, or horseback riding, the time spent in nature will leave you relaxed and refreshed.
Download a sky app, head out of the city (and away from the light pollution), and spend some time watching the stars. Can you find your zodiac sign?
5. Camp Out
Go for the traditional camp-out experience: s’mores, bonfire, spooky ghost stories, all of it. KOA offers some great affordable campsites with plenty of extras (i.e. showers). If you prefer glamping, plenty of campsites rent cabins, instead.
If You Need Some Self-Care
6. Plan a Spa Day
Save your money; go DIY. Pinterest has all the recipes you need for homemade hair and face masks. Then head over to YouTube for a tutorial on cute nail art.
7. Learn to Meditate
If you’ve never meditated before, now’s the time to learn. There are plenty of guided meditation apps to get you started if you're having a hard time staying focused.
8. Host a Movie Marathon
Invite your friends over for an old-school, popcorn and pajamas, up all night movie marathon. Harry Potter, LOTR, or maybe it’s a Julie Roberts night. Whatever you enjoy the most - anything goes on your staycay!
9. Pick Up a Resort Pass
If you’d love a lux hotel, but can’t afford one, consider a Resort Pass. For as little as $20, you can spend the day lounging at an upscale pool in your favorite oversized sunglasses. Or, go in with your besties and upgrade to a cabana.
10. Take a Fitness Class
Exercise is a wonderful form of self-care. Use your time off to find a new way to move your body: hot yoga, Zumba, boot camp - have fun at a specialty class.
If You’re a Foodie
11. Host a Cooking Night
Do you have an entire Pinterest board full of recipes you’ve never cooked? Well, now’s the time to finally try them out. Invite your friends over, and have everyone contribute something delish to the feast.
12. Take an Online Cooking Class
Thanks to Zoom and other video apps, taking online classes of any sort has never been easier. With cooking classes, it’s even more fun because you can try out regional specialities. Follow along and learn how to cook Maryland crab cakes or real SoCal Tex-Mex without leaving your living room.
13. Visit the Farmer’s Market
Locally grown produce, homemade cheeses, and farm-fresh eggs. What’s not to love at the farmer’s market? Pick up some quality ingredients and spoil yourself with your favorite recipe.
14. Tour a Brewery or Winery
Tours are usually free or very low-priced, and offer some fun insights into how your favorite drinks are produced.
15. Eat Like You’re Out of Town
Just because you stayed home doesn’t mean you need to order from the same places you always do. Missing New Orleans? Order beignet mix from Cafe du Monde. Wish you were in Rome? Time to master the perfect meatball recipe.
If You Want to Play Tourist
16. Visit the Main Attractions
When’s the last time you visited some of the top tourist sights in your own hometown? Check out Groupon for possible discounts.
17. Explore a New Neighborhood
If you usually stay close to home, here’s your chance to wander outside of your comfort zone. If your city has a historic district, a walking tour is a must-do during your staycation!
18. Catch Some Live Music
Missing your favorite music fest this year? Don’t give up on live music. Check out local bands and concerts in the park, both summer staples.
19. Explore Art
Many museums have special resident prices or free days. Visit their websites for more information. Or tour some of the art galleries in town and support local artists.
20. Take Day Trips
Just because you’re on a staycation doesn’t mean that you can’t leave your city! Explore vibrant nearby cities for the day for a change of scenery.
Staycations don’t have to be boring. Make time to finally see and do all the fun things your hometown has to offer. Even with a small budget, you and your friends can still have a great time, make memories, and enjoy your well-deserved time off!