15 Staycation Ideas for Families on a Budget in 2022

Article by BlissLights LLCMon, Jul 11, 22
family having beach picnic

As lovely as it can be to head out on a week-long family vacation, expensive travel tickets and jam-packed schedules may be the opposite of a relaxing time. If this sounds like you, a memorable family staycation might be just what you need – plus, there’s no packing involved. All you need is a main theme and an itinerary filled with activities. Read on to discover 15 staycation ideas for families that can transform your home into the getaway of a lifetime.

What is a staycation?

A staycation is a fancy term for taking time off without needing to book a flight, hotel, or another elaborate excursion. This term originated in the U.S. during a time when travel was so expensive that people had to find creative ways to take vacations. Nowadays, families often choose to take staycations to unwind in a whole different way.

How can I make a staycation special?

You have the power to make your staycation feel like a tropical paradise. To help, choose an overall theme and create a set itinerary that will keep you and your children entertained each day.

Additionally, your staycation should reflect your family’s interests. That could mean a relaxing at-home spa weekend or an adventure-packed trip filled with scavenger hunts and action movies.

How can I make a staycation fun at home?

You might initially think that being stuck at home doesn’t sound anything like a fun and exciting vacation. While your home might not be a tropical island, you can transform it into your own little paradise – here’s how.

  • Set up your space in advance. The best way to make your staycation feel like a five-star hotel is to spruce up your everyday living space. Decor such as fancy placemats, unique lighting, and floral arrangements can bring your staycation spot to life.
  • Create a playlist. Every vacation – whether thousands of miles away or at home – is a next-level journey with a good playlist on deck. Whether it’s country jams or Margaritaville vibes, your playlist should match and enhance your theme.
  • Set an itinerary. Create an itinerary to give your vacation some structure. Each day should have a set schedule with activities included so that everyone knows what to expect.
  • Get inspired by your favorite destination. Do you love camping deep in the woods, or do you prefer lounging by the ocean? Let your favorite destinations be your inspiration for your at-home vacation. Set up your space to mimic your favorite spots with colorful, unique decor and your favorite vacation snacks and activities. You’ll feel like you’re at your favorite vacation spot without having actually gone anywhere.

15 staycation ideas for families

Once you choose your staycation theme, you’ll need a set of activities to take your family fun to the next level. Search through the below list of staycation ideas to gather inspiration for your own at-home getaway.

1. Make a splash with your own water park

Bring the water park right to your backyard with a water play day. For this activity, you don’t need a large pool. Instead, you can create an immersive theme park experience with an inexpensive kiddie pool, tarp, and sprinklers.

First, lay down the tarp with the blow-up pool on the end like you would with a slip-and-slide style outdoor toy. Then, challenge your family to see who can slide down the tarp the fastest and reach the pool first. This game is the perfect way to cool down those hot summer days.

2. Plan a DIY yoga retreat

Relax and unwind with a DIY yoga space right in the comfort of your own home. Start the day off with a relaxing sunrise yoga session in the backyard. Once that wraps up, rejuvenate your body with delicious smoothie bowls for the whole family. You can also set up different activities around the house, such as DIY facemasks, a no-phone zone, and a meditation space.

mom and child laughing doing yoga

3. Host the ultimate movie night

Instead of simply watching a movie as you would on a typical weekend, take things up a notch with a themed movie night. Have each family member dress as their favorite movie character, and decorate the living room with streamers, balloons, and treats that match the movie’s theme.

For the ultimate movie night experience, close your curtains and turn on an ambient mood light such as the BlissRadia. This light can shine in every color of the rainbow – deep green for your Jurassic Park or Matrix night, deep red for horror movies. Through the BlissHome app, you can transition through different colors and ambient effects to illuminate your movie space in a whole new light.

blissradia smart mood light in grassland green
blissradia is an led ambient light with app control that shines in multiple colors

BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light


From desktop to bedside, light the way to concentration, stimulation, or relaxation.

4. Travel virtually across the world

If you can’t travel to your favorite destination, you can always bring paradise home. First, decorate your living room to match your favorite destination. Then, set up a family-friendly cook-off where each person creates a traditional dish from the area. For example, a trip to Spain might call for some homemade gazpacho and paella, whereas a night in Italy might call for a pasta cook-off.

family cooking together

5. Set up a backyard cinema

Bring the old-school drive-in theaters to your backyard with an outdoor cinema night. Hang a clean white sheet over the side of your garage to create your screen. Then, set up your projector and grab some pillows, sleeping bags, and soft blankets to create a cozy lounge area. And don’t forget your movie theater snacks – buttery popcorn, colorful candy ropes, and soda bottles can create the ultimate movie theater experience.

6. Try your hand at a new art project

A great kid-friendly staycation idea for families is to set up your own art studio. All you need is a few blank canvases, colorful paint sets, and brushes. You can even change things up and find some clay to create your very own molds. This activity can spark the kids’ imagination and lead to some great keepsakes you all can enjoy for years to come.

7. Organize an epic A to Z scavenger hunt

If you’re looking for a staycation activity that’ll last a few hours, an A to Z scavenger hunt is a great option. A few weeks before your vacation, go on a hunt around your neighborhood and search for things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Then, during your staycation, set out and hide each clue with some treats for your children to find. Your scavenger hunt can be fun for the whole family and bring you closer to the stunning world beyond your four walls.

8. Create wall chalk murals

On a beautiful summer day, instead of creating art inside, take it outside with some chalk murals. Grab some colorful chalk and give each person in your family some space to create their unique art piece. You can even up the ante and set a timer to see who can create the best design in the allotted time. With a stunning enough mural, you can mentally transport your whole family elsewhere for a brief moment.

9. Construct a massive pillow fort

For a little escape from what home usually looks like, transform your living room into a massive pillow fort hideaway. Grab as many pillows and blankets as you can to create your pillow fort, then start building.

Once you’ve built your structure, make it cozy with some string lights and fuzzy blankets. Then crawl in with your children and enjoy a good book – and maybe even a nap. Your fort is the perfect getaway for daydreams and other vacation fantasies.

10. Build an indoor obstacle course

You can always set up an indoor staycation obstacle course to let your kids’ energy run loose – and let your creativity fly. For example, you can set up a bunch of pillows for a thrilling game of “don’t touch the lava.” These activities can fill up your afternoon and make you feel like you're truly enjoying family time away from your usual life.

11. Design a cooking competition

One of the best parts of vacation is enjoying other places’ delicious food. To bring this experience home with some family-friendly competition, set up your own reality cooking show right in your kitchen.

Give everyone two to three ingredients they must use in their dish, then let their imagination run wild. Set a timer and have everyone judge each other on three categories: overall presentation, use of ingredients, and taste. As a bonus, you’ll get the luxury of indulging in a delicious multiple-course meal made by each family member.

mom and child decorating cupcake

12. Inspire a read-a-thon

Sometimes, you need to take a little time off to rest, relax, and enjoy a good book. Your family staycation is the perfect time to catch up on your favorite reads and ignore reality for a bit. Pour yourself a refreshing glass of ice tea and nestle into the warm covers of your bed for some soothing you-time.

dad and child reading a book

13. Propose a picnic

Your staycation is all about family time, and there are few better ways to catch up and bond than with a delicious picnic feast. Grab a blanket and a large picnic basket and fill it with some mini sandwiches, fruit, and your favorite picnic treats. Don’t forget to pack a tote with a few games and activities for your relaxing afternoon at a local park.

family beach picnic

14. Host a game night

A night full of board games can be a fast-paced yet heartwarming way to bond with your family. First, lay out an arrangement of card and board games you know the whole family will enjoy. Then, grab some of your favorite snacks to munch on as you hide your poker face. These long family game nights can take you back to days spent playing cards on the boat at your family cabin.

family playing card game

15. Set up an indoor camping trip

The idea of camping may sound perfect, but you can’t always make it happen in the great outdoors. In that case, try creating your own indoor camping experience right in your living room. A comfy camping setup starts with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and tents. Setting up not too far from your fireplace is a great way to enjoy some s’mores too.

Simulating the night sky indoors can truly bring you the full camping experience. The Sky Lite Evolve can add an unforgettable night sky right onto your ceiling – or anywhere else thanks to its unique rotating design. Drift away under the floating nebulas and twinkling stars, which you can adjust to your liking via voice control or the BlissHome app. It’s the perfect way to make camp right under the starry night sky without leaving home.

man reclining under sky lite evolve multicolor galaxy projector in pink
sky lite evolve smart multicolor galaxy projector

Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector


The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.

Use BlissLights to create the ultimate staycation vibe

Whether you’re hosting a relaxing yoga retreat or creating an obstacle course for your family staycation, you’ll need proper lighting to set the mood. BlissLights’ galaxy projectors and ambient mood lights are perfect options to add a pop of color and life to your staycation. Browse the BlissLights collection now to transform your family time at home into a five-star stay.

About BlissLights

BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing ourpatented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

View all articles by BlissLights LLC

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