This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Merry Maids. All opinions are 100% mine.
Vacation calls but maybe your schedule or wallet won’t allow for an extravagant destination vacation. Plan a staycation instead. So many of us overlook what is “literally” in our own backyards. With a quick readjustment we can see that our own towns are full of ways to staycation for free.
I don’t know about you, but the constant upkeep in my house can make it difficult to plan times to relax or play- much less a staycation. Merry Maids has come to my rescue before, so I knew they’d save me again by deep cleaning my house in the middle of summer (peak mess time) so that I could enjoy some downtime with the kids. Once again, they exceeded my expectations. Their team accomplished more than I could have in a full week in just a few hours. I was so thankful to save that time and headache.
Here is a list of free ways to staycation in your own town with all that free time, and what we recently did!
Camp in Your Backyard
Depending on the climate, letting the kids camp in your backyard can be as simple or elaborate as you make it. Pitch a tent or throw a bunch of blankets and pillows on the trampoline and sleep under the stars. Download a stargazing app and impress your kids with all the constellations you can name. Stay up late telling ghost stories and eating all the yummy snacks.
Big Screen/Projector Movie Night
We love a good outdoor drive-in movie night. Let the younger kids decorate and sit in their own “car”, which could be a toy car or even a cardboard box. You and your big kids can cozy up on outdoor furniture or lay down on a blanket with lots of pillows. Set up a projector with a family flick and enjoy all your favorite snacks. Movie night charcuterie anyone? Fill a large tray with popcorn, pretzels, fruit, and everyone’s favorite movie candy.
Host a Game Night
Invite your best family friends over for games and goodies. Set out a bunch of munchies and drinks for everyone to nosh on throughout the night. Set up an area for the kids with a selection of games and puzzles. Bonus points if you have a teenager willing to earn some extra money by keeping them entertained. Adults don’t have to miss out on any of the fun. Some of my favorite party games are: Hearing Things (12+), One Night Ultimate Werewolf (8+), and trivia. Another idea is to have your guests each bring their favorite group game to play.
Take a Hike
I love hiking. It’s probably my favorite thing to do outdoors. Visit AllTrails.com or a similar site to find trails near you. You can search by city or park to find the best trails for kids and families. Read thorough descriptions and reviews to find new-to-you locations for your family to enjoy. The best part about a staycation is experiencing things you haven’t yet in your own hometown. Engage younger children by downloading or creating scavenger hunt type lists to search for on your hike.
Family Field Day or Water Play & Picnic at the Park
This one is our personal fave! When it’s hot outside, kids (and adults) love a little water play. It can be as simple as running through the sprinkler or filling the kiddie pool. Set up the slip in slide in the yard and watch the laughs, but don’t forget the sunscreen! Not quite hot enough for water play? Set up an outdoor obstacle course with things from around the house like cardboard boxes, pool noodles, balls and more. (Check Pinterest for tons of ideas.)
Need to get away from home for a bit? Pack lunch, snap a leash on Fido (in our case, Fable) and head to the park for a picnic and some time on the playground. We often take our local parks and backyard for granted, but they can be turned into unique and fun “destinations” for your staycation.
Themed Family Night
Themed family nights are a lot of fun. To choose a theme, sit down with your family and brainstorm ideas. Put the ideas in a jar and randomly select which one you’ll do next. Give yourself a little time so that you can prepare a menu and activities. Theme nights can be as simple (or not!) as you’d like and can include a meal, activity and/or a movie. Under the sea theme? Watch The Little Mermaid and have sushi! Kids will love getting dressed up and going full theme for no occasion at all.
With the cleaning taken care of by Merry Maids and that amazing feeling of being in your own inviting space again, try refreshing/redecorating a room! This is always sure to lift my spirits and help me fall back in love with my home.
DIY Spa Day
One of the best parts of a vacation is the relaxation. You don’t have to head out of town to pamper yourself or your family. Plan a spa day and soothe yourself with a variety of treatments. Turn off the phone, dim the lights, light a scented candle or get the diffuser going, play relaxing music and give yourself (or each other) facials, manicures, pedicures and even massages. Break out those luxury bath goodies you may have been saving, enjoy a glass of wine, and allow yourself a specific amount of time to stay in and relax.
Paint & Sip
Typically you and your friends would go to a studio for a Paint & Sip event. Everyone in your party is set up with a canvas and paints, you bring your own wine, and an instructor teaches you how to paint a specific design. You can DIY this for free (if you have supplies already) or super cheap if you hit up the dollar store. YouTube is full of step-by-step tutorial videos. Serve cocktails and mocktails and it’s a fun time for all ages.
Attend a Movie, Concert, or Family Festival in the Park
Check your local convention & visitors bureau for your city’s calendar of events. Chances are you can find movies, concerts, and yoga in the park in the summer and family festivals year around. These are always free events to attend and make for such a fun staycation idea. Be sure to bring money in case you luck upon any food trucks!
Bonus, specific to Atlanta residents:
If you’re local, there is so much to do in Atlanta, many of it free or cheap. If you want to get a ton of fun photos for the ‘gram and get to know the city a bit better, consider touring the Living Walls murals (you can download a map online). These large scale public artworks create a great backdrop for your staycation photos. Kids will especially love visiting any of the Tiny Doors ATL , an Atlanta based art project featuring tiny artistic doors placed throughout the city.
For staycation ideas specific to the hotter months, check out these 8 free things to do outside of the house with kids this summer.