12 Frugal Summer “Staycation” Ideas |

12 Frugal Summer “Staycation” Ideas

kristen burgess May 11, 2013

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer

I love summer just because it’s summer. It doesn’t really have to do much to please me: lots of sunshine and BBQ in the backyard and I’m a happy camper (mmm, camping, yes please!).

Many people are busily planning their summer vacation away from home. That’s all well and good for those who can afford it and want to go somewhere special. However, there are many of us who just can’t afford a fancy vacation to a far-off place, and are anticipating a summer of sprinklers and BBQ burgers and playing at the park.

Recently it’s come into fashion to skip the fancy vacation and just stay at home. It’s called a staycation. It was called broke when I was little, but let’s give it a fancy name – why not? 😉

Some staycations involve doing lots of touristy things in your own city, maybe even staying at a hotel. But in my world – a staycation involves lots of free activities and simple, fun things that are also close to home.

Here are some of the things we are planning to do this summer (I included some indoor activities for when it’s too hot to be outside!)

  1. If there’s any construction happening in your neighborhood, sit at a nearby safe distance and watch for a while. I have a nearly-5 boy and he would LOVE this.
  2. Ride the escalators and elevators at the mall for a while. and use the high-powered blow dryers. We seriously went to West Edmonton Mall last year with our kids and didn’t spend anything b/c they were entertained completely by those things. No joke.
  3. A scavenger hunt in your neighborhood.
  4. Bake some cookies and take them to a fire station to meet the firefighters (Call ahead).
  5. Tour the grocery store (Call ahead. In my small town last year the preschool got a guided tour of our little grocery store, and it was a huge hit!)
  6. Have a picnic at the park. Make it extra fun by eating special foods, packing it in a special bag, etc.
  7. Bookstores with play areas (My kids love playing with the train table and other toys at Chapters).
  8. Visit Daddy at work, bring homemade cookies for his co-workers.
  9. While you’re in the cookie business, deliver cookies to a neighbor or two.
  10. Go for a ride on public transit (the GO train station is a 10-minute walk from us, and my 4-year-old is obsessed with trains, so we took him for a ride and he *loved* it).
  11. Go for a family bike ride.
  12. Head to your church and give the office staff a little mid-week visit. Again, cookies wouldn’t hurt! While you’re there, maybe the kids could run around the gym for a few minutes (with permission, of course).

 What’s your favorite staycation idea?

This is the writings of:



  1. PItch a tent in your backyard!


  2. We used to have certain special days over the summer like book/reading days when we would do special book extensions like cooking/crafts from favorite picture books; board game day when we would pull them all out all over the living room and play all day; and even TV day (we don’t normally watch much TV) when we would pull out sleeping bags, stay in pajamas, and watch videos/DVDs all day. We would invite friends to any of these days. They are treasured memories for me :).


  3. Here in Georgia we can check out a state park pass from any local library for free access! We plan on using this wonderful resource at least once a month this summer!


  4. […] talking “local” at MAM this month: local farms, local learning opportunities, local businesses, local food. Perhaps you already value the geographical place God has put you in […]


  5. I love msny of these ideas, but playing on escalators is a really bad idea. People, particularly children, can be maimed or killed. Gooogle it.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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