This summer, I have no vacation plans. Zero. Nada.
Why? …. you ask. Well, it’s a combination of factors (new summer jobs, new pet, changing work schedules, finally disposed of our leaky tent last year, etc.) that have lead our family to a no vacation zone this summer. And here it is, mid-summer, and we are all getting a bit bored with the same four walls. Which has lead me to do some thinking about how we can fit in some summer fun without going too far from home, without spending too much time or cash.
Here is some of what I came up with to finish off the summer in staycation-style.
Enjoy My Backyard “Oasis”
Ok, so, my backyard is NOT an oasis. Having a busy family and active dogs means my lawn is a mess AND I don’t have time to weed what few garden areas we have. A few years ago, we had to cut down the only two full grown trees in the yard because they were diseased and having a dead limb fall on someone’s head was just about the opposite to having a fun time in the back yard as you can get. You get the picture… Basically my backyard is a “fixer upper.”
Until we have more time to change the yard, what we have done is to create a few oasis-like zones. Basically, working with what we have to make some spaces to enjoy the yard. A small seating area with a table and chairs in this corner, a hammock in another corner. With music on a portable device and some patio lanterns strung around the place, we have a nice place to sit for a dinner, read a book, or take a nap.
Another idea is to explore local trails. A few summers ago I discovered some great local trails. They often have lovely quiet areas, perfect to stop for a rest and even a picnic lunch, without all the hubbub of a park. Not sure where your local trails area? Look into local biking clubs or even cross country ski clubs. They often have trails and paths that are accessible to walkers/hikers, so you can enjoy the outdoors while staying close to home.
Local Tourist Favourites
Often we take for granted the cool tourist spots we all have close to home. So, think like a visitor. Where do people from out of town go when they visit your community? Museums? Parks? Markets? Shopping areas? Historical sites? Really cool geographical sites? Try to look at YOUR town or city with a fresh eye and visit some places you may never have gone to before because they were just TOO familiar.
Another way to be a tourist in your own city is to think about what YOU like to do when you travel. Do you eat in unfamiliar restaurants, shop in unfamiliar boutiques, eat every meal at some sort of food establishment? Maybe you seek out experiences such as attending a live stage performance? Whatever your usual vacation style, try to bring a little bit of that into your daily routine during your staycation.
Complete the whole tourist experience by taking lots of photos, selfies especially, and posting them on social media so your friends from out of town can enjoy how cool your home town truly is.
Years ago, when my husband and I were young and on a budget, we plotted out a monthly road trip to somewhere we had never been before. The only criteria we had beyond visiting a new place, was it had to be within two hours of home. Really, think about all the villages, parks, tourist attractions that are within a two hour drive that you have never visited. We realized there were LOTS of places we “knew” but had never actually visited.
We have instituted this idea again, and have a few road trips to interesting, off beat places in the works for the next few months – and hey, why limit yourself to just a summer road trip? Autumn is a BEAUTIFUL time to tour around and check out fall colours, fall fairs and fall foods. Take this idea right up to winter (at which time you feel free to road trip all you like. I will be cuddled up at home by my fireplace).
Here are a few MORE ideas you can consider. Depending on the age and interests of your family members, the ideas are endless. It just takes a bit of creativity!
- camp in the back yard (bonus: bathrooms are very close at hand!)
- sleep under the stars – similarly, if you are guaranteed a dry night, why not try this one? Fall asleep looking for constellations and the milky way
- tournaments – you can plan a one day “event” or a summer long competition. Try some vintage games like croquet or badminton. OR maybe classic games like chess or backgammon will suit you better. Have a prize planned for the end of summer (preferably an outing in your community), and you will have a fun activity that takes you right to labour day. Keep it top of mind with a results poster on the fridge.
- art projects – if you aren’t up for tackling something on your own, many local libraries, art galleries or community centres will offer one day art project classes. Take this to the next level and have a gallery hanging party at home – hang everyone’s projects, cover them with a white cloth, and serve finger foods and sparkly drinks, followed by a “reveal” of the art.
- film festival – a day where everyone has a chance to introduce and screen a favourite film for the family. Get authentic and use a website like Canva to make a schedule and poster to get everyone in the mood. And, of course, you must serve popcorn!
- Unplugged – often on vacation, you don’t have cell service or wifi. Try a week disconnected from the digital world and go old school with your activities (okay, or just try a few days, if your family will rebel at the idea of a full unplugged week!).
- Cooking school – where is your DREAM vacation? Why not dedicate a day or even a weekend to recreating foods you might have eaten from that place. Decorate your table like they would at your dream destination, play the music of that location, and imagine yourself at a great restaurant.
- Housekeeping – when you are on vacation, the last thing that you want to do is clean. So why not hire someone to clean your home at the start and the end of your staycation. You will love not having to do the work for a change!
We have a few products that can help you with your staycation. Just a few:
Hopefully a few of these ideas sound like fun to you, or inspire you to come up with your own list of local staycation ideas.
AND, I can’t recommend a hammock enough! Bliss in a backyard.
From your Things Engraved Social Team,