A vacation is a fun way to break away from the responsibilities and routine of daily life. Unfortunately, traveling far away to your dream destination isn’t always possible due to tight budgets, schedule limitations, and, in current unprecedented times, pandemic-related restrictions. Fortunately, there are still countless ways to experience your much-needed vacation escape—even without jet-setting out of town. 

A staycation is a vacation at or near home, and it can be just as relaxing as lounging on a beach in Mexico. Plus, there are many benefits to staycationing: you can plan a staycation with little to no notice, pack lighter, save on travel expenses, forgo boarding pets, and much more. You can even staycation now to save up for a big trip next year. 

But how can a staycation at home possibly equal a fun or quality vacation? With the staycation ideas below, you’ll know. 

Ideas for a Staycation at Home

To have a successful staycation, approach it like you would any other trip. Set expectations with your office, turn off your ringer, be open to trying something new, and, most importantly, remind yourself that you’re on vacation. 

You wouldn’t mow the lawn, do the laundry, or paint that chipped door while on a typical vacation, so resist the urge to tackle your chore list while staycationing—even if tasks are within eyesight. 

Instead, focus on finding your preferred balance of relaxation and recreation. Here are some stay-at-home vacation ideas, along with some tips to make them vacation-worthy. 

Relax With a Stay-at-Home Spa 

Self-care enthusiasts often consider spa services to be therapeutic. Massages, body treatments, facials, and manicures can improve your sense of well-being. For a romantic couple’s staycation, create an at-home spa retreat to soak up well-deserved rest and rejuvenation. 

Here’s how to create a luxurious and calming spa environment: 

  • Comfy space: Prep your living room, bedroom, lanai/back porch, or master bath. Ensure that the room is tidy and clutter-free. 
  • Aromas: Ignite scented candles or infuse your favorite essential oils. 
  • Appropriate attire: Wrap up in a plush robe with fuzzy slippers, and stock the bathroom and bedroom with fresh towels and linens. 
  • Tune in: Add mood music by playing soft music or soothing nature sounds—anything zen that inspires you to relax. 
  • Supplies: Fill your spa space with facial masks, foot soaks, massage oils, bubble bath, and so on. Include champagne, green tea, or fruit-infused water if desired. (Pro tip: a cup of cold water can help you enjoy a hot bath for longer.)
  • Keep the appointment: Let your fellow staycationers know when you’re taking your at-home spa time. Commit to having a romantic connection with your partner or, if preferred, embrace the tranquil solitude with quiet solo time. 

Have Fun Camping at Home

From primitive camping to glamping, local and state parks offer options for outdoorsy staycationers of all levels. 

For a fun staycation with kids, channel childhood nostalgia and create new family memories right at home. Forget packing the cumbersome camping gear, forgo prepping mediocre grub, and skip the drive! 

Here’s how to make this family staycation idea a winner:  

  • Choose a site: Love the idea of sleeping under the stars surrounded by the sounds of nature? You don’t need to trek into the dreary woods; rather, open the backdoor to camp in your beautiful yard. Seriously, it’ll be fun! Or, for families in cooler climates, an indoor camping venture within the comforts of your cozy living room or bedroom will be just as memorable. 
  • Make your shelter: Remember building forts when you were little? Channel your inner kid. You can erect a small camping tent in the yard or in the house or simply grab a couple of sheets to drape over high-backed chairs and surfaces. Toss in some sleeping bags and lots of pillows, and your makeshift shelter is ready for staycation snoozing. Prefer an air mattress? That works too.  
  • Light it up: Add some spark to your at-home camping trip by incorporating lanterns and flashlights. If possible, light a contained campfire either in your fireplace or outdoor fire pit. (No matter the method you use, follow proper safety guidelines to prevent a fire outbreak. Always put your campfire out completely, and if you live in a state with wildfires, like Arizona, check current fire restrictions first.) 
  • Picnic it up: For lighter nibbles, opt for sandwiches, chopped veggies with dip, and sliced fruit. For heartier bites, nosh on crockpot chili with warm cornbread. Either way, s’mores will sweeten this staycation idea. A bonus to camping at home is that you can bake your smores in the oven if you can’t have a fire.     

Explore With a Foodcation Staycation

Feasting on local cuisine while traveling is a great way to get a taste of different cultures—literally and figuratively. While vacationing at home, you can treat your taste buds to the same regional or international delights. 

Here’s how to plan a delicious staycation to satisfy your destination-specific cravings: 

  • Setting: First and foremost, turn your dining room into a restaurant-style experience. Add a special touch with a new table cloth, formal dishware, fresh flowers, or travel-inspired décor. 
  • Delivery: Treat yourself to a vacation-themed meal by ordering in grape leaves, sushi, tapas, or whatever foodcation yummies work for your staycation concept. Consider ordering something you know you like and something you’ve never had before. And don’t forget what you’ll be drinking! If you’re feeling particularly luxurious, you might even consider hiring a personal chef. 
  • Perfect pairings: Create a staycation menu that combines food and fun. For example, for an Italian-inspired evening, feast on giant pizza followed by a Bocce ball match in your yard. Let your imagination transport you.   
  • Hands-on: Forget the slogan “don’t play with your food.” Eat up interactive meals, such as Swiss fondue, a New England seafood boil, and so much more. Or, try a romantic staycation breakfast-in-bed, wine tasting, charcuterie board, etc. 

The best part of a foodcation is that you can combine it with other staycation ideas, like your at-home spa, and completely make it your own.

Create a Staycation Based on Your Favorite Books and Movies

Looking for something totally unique and right up your alley? You can easily create your own staycation ideas by using your favorite movies and literature as inspiration. 

Create a star-studded staycation by binging your favorite movie or TV series, but make it interactive by mixing in some flick-inspired food, attire, and activities. Alternatively, use your favorite novel or book series to theme a staycation that sucks you into the lands of your favorite characters and their journeys.

What To Do on a Staycation Around Town 

Chances are that your town is full of hidden gems you’ve yet to discover, and a staycation grants you the time to explore your city like a curious tourist (with insider’s knowledge).

Here are some fun staycation ideas for exploring locally: 

  • Resort rendezvous: A quick change of atmosphere (even in the same time zone) may be all you need. Book a weekend at a resort to slumber in lavish bedding, order room service, and float around a lazy river. 
  • Park it: The National Park System encompasses 423 parks in the U.S. You can use their Find a Park tool to find one near you. Prefer manufactured thrill? Consider visiting a local theme park or water park.   
  • Dive in: Take the plunge with a trip to a nearby beach, lake, or spring. No matter where you live, there’s a place to take a swim and enjoy the local touch. In Florida, snorkel alongside manatees. In Arizona, enjoy the water in the presence of giant, natural red rock formations.
  • Visit a capital: Your state capital may be a fun place to visit, but if you’re looking for something a little more exciting, consider a world-famous locale. We’re talking about places like the Sharks Tooth Capital of the World (Venice, Florida). 
  • Itch Your Niche: Plan a staycation around your personal interests. For example, space enthusiasts can head to a local planetarium or observatory, while art lovers can try local museums and art shows.

Unique Ways to Staycation Close By

Who says vacation accommodations have to include fancy hotels or all-inclusive resorts? For your next vacation, transform your home into your personal oasis or book adventurous accommodations that feel worlds away…even though they’re within a 20-minute drive. 

Thanks to convenient rental sites like Airbnb, Bookings, and VRBO, you can easily find unique staycation-worthy lodging. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try a cabin, RV, tiny house, yurt, or other glamping option. You may even be surprised to know that you can book a houseboat, lighthouse, or treehouse. 

Depending on where you live, you could have staycation fun via beach camping or a bed-and-breakfast nestled on a working farm or vineyard. 

What are you waiting for? Start planning your well-deserved home vacation!