Memorial Day weekend signifies to many, the beginning of summer.  But during travel bans and stay at home orders, the idea of vacations and summer breaks seems disappointing. It may seem strange to plan a vacation when you’re stuck at home. As one VOX journalist writes: “How do you plan a fulfilling break in a space you’ve occupied every hour of the day for the past couple of months?” The answer?  A little bit of research and a little bit of creativity and you can still have a fulfilling staycation. (Read his full article here). We’ve done a bit of research on our own and have come up with 5 ideas to create your own fabulous Staycation!

#1  Backyard Campout

Camping is a great way to get out in nature, take a break from technology, and breathe in the fresh outdoor air. Even though most campgrounds are closed, you can create a campsite in your own backyard. (Or living room, for that matter). Just follow the simple tips below for an awesome home campout experience:

  • Set up your tent – find a smooth spot to set it up, then make it cozy inside with yoga mats, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattresses if you have them. Don’t have a tent? You can make a shelter by tying rope or thick string between two trees and draping a tarp over it. Just make sure you have a waterproof tarp underneath your sleeping area to stay dry!  Add string lights or outdoor lantern/lamps to make it magical.
  • Make your chow – many meals you make on a campfire can be recreated at home on a grill or over a fire pit (if you have one). Check out Taste of Home’s 40 Easy Camping Recipes  or 30 Wrap and Cook Foil Recipes to get you started.
  • Plan some games/activities – There are so many fun adventures to be had outside! Create a backyard/neighborhood scavenger nature hunt. Make a list of plants, animals or objects you can find in your yard, neighborhood, or even close park.  Pack a backpack with a camera, journal, and snacks. Then hit the “trail” looking for items to cross off your list, collecting small objects like a fun shaped rock, twig or leaf, and record animals or birds you see along the way.  Night time activities like stargazing or flash light hide and seek are also fun.
  • Head to bed – finish up the evening with S’mores (Check out these s’more inspired treats that can be made without a fire) and some ghost stories around a flashlight “Campfire”.

Need a little more help planning your campout? This article includes a free printable check list and tips to create your own home camping adventure.

#2  Around the Globe in 3 (or 5 or 10) Days

Missing your trip to Europe? Had to cancel plans to go overseas or south of the border? Many of the best parts of a vacation like the food, culture, and tourist sites can still be experienced from home with the help of the internet.

  • Pick your countries – Decide how many days you want to spend in each country, or continent. Maybe you take a tour of Europe with England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy. Or spend all your time in Brazil.
  • Do some research – Pick a few tourist spots from each country and see if they offer virtual tours, or pictorial guides online. Explore the culture: do they have a native dance, or unique holiday? What is the traditional dress? Get the kids involved by having them choose topics to research.
  • Plan some activities – Learn a dance, make art or a craft, watch a travel video or take a virtual tour. Like Architecture? Recreate some famous buildings from each country with Legos, blocks, or other household supplies.  Like rope courses or zipline tours? Create a mini obstacle course in your home.  Think “Amazing Race” and get creative!
  • Cook (or order) traditional foods – Find some recipes of traditional food from each country and make it at home. Or have it delivered! Make it complete with drink pairings and dessert.

 #3 Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Even though some parks, restaurants, and major tourist attractions like zoos and museums may still be closed, there are several ways to still learn more about the city you live in (or nearby). This article on “How to Be A Tourist in Your Own City” provides some great ideas. You might still need to check with your city/county restrictions before venturing out, but many of these ideas will still work while social distancing:

  • Take a hike – get some exercise, enjoy spectacular views, and support local parks. Make sure to check with the Washington State Parks and Oregon State Parks for regulations on social distancing and which parks are open. Visit your city and county parks and recreation pages as well.
  • Go for a drive – google “Things to See in (insert city here)” and then make a list of places you can visit in the car. Plan your route, pack a picnic and eat in the car or open park along the route
  • Order take out – take some time to explore the finest restaurants your city has to offer. From breakfast/brunch to dessert, support your local businesses and enjoy not having to make a meal or wash dishes.
  • Learn about history – do some research and discover the local history in your town. What is your city’s claim to fame? Any entries in the Guinness Book of World Records? Did a major battle or event shape your city’s history?  Do the research, make a list, and if able, visit the sites on your list.  This link provides maps and instructions to take a self-guided auto tour of the Lewis and Clark trails.

#4 Have a Hawaiian Luau

A traditional Hawaiian Luau is one of the highlights of any Hawaiian Vacation.  But you can still participate in the Luau from home, even if your trip was cancelled.  With the help of this article from Travel and Leisure Magazine, you can create your own Luau experience to hold you over until you are able to enjoy the real thing! It includes tips on researching the traditions, planning a menu, setting the scene, and even how to make paper leis for the event.  Take a Hula lesson on YouTube, create a paradise inspired playlist (or find one on your music streaming site) and let the fun begin.

#5 Self Care Day

Not all vacations need to be multiple days. Sometimes we just need one day to ourselves to regroup.

  • Plan an at home spa day – complete with facials, a soak in the tub, and manicure/pedicures. Find recipes for DIY spa treatments here.
  • Have a movie marathon – binge watch your favorite TV shows, the complete Harry Potter series, all the Lord of the Rings, your favorite monster movies, etc. Don’t forget the drinks, popcorn, and snacks. Pajamas optional.
  • Curl up with a good book – whether it’s outside in a hammock or swing, on a blanket at the park, or in your favorite chair by the fire, grab a beverage and snacks and read the day away.
  • Start a new (or continue an old) hobby – painting, crafting, baking, journaling, or a combination of all of the above. Whatever suits your fancy, allow your creative expression to help ease anxieties and stress of the pandemic. Read more about the benefits of having a hobby here.