Don’t let money stand in the way of creating precious family memories. Take a staycation this summer! Staycations are a great way to save money while still having fun with the family.
Though the kids will be back in school soon, there is still plenty of time to make summer memories. Family vacations are a great way to connect and make memories that can last a lifetime, but they can be pricey. Having fun as a family is possible at a fraction of the cost by taking staycations — vacation activities close to home that reduce the need for hotel stays and travel costs. Staycations = vacation fun for less money.
Because home is often considered base camp, it may be helpful to set some ground rules as a family to help your staycation feel like a true vacation. Consider the following:
Decide on a budget. Deciding ahead of time how much you can afford to spend can help you decide what activities will fit into your summer without creating financial stress or debt.
Make a plan. Decide when your staycation is beginning and ending and what activities you will be doing. Aim to incorporate something that will be fun for everyone. No matter what you choose to do, just remember that staycations are about spending time together and making memories.
Pretend you aren’t home. Although you may sleep or eat some meals at home, pretend you are not at home. For example, if you were on vacation you probably wouldn’t be doing house chores, going to a friend’s house, or checking work emails, so the same rules should apply to the designated time for your staycation.
Unplug. While it can be fun to share pictures and memories with others, set boundaries about electronic use in order to focus on each other rather than the outside world.
Keep it simple. While staycations may mean a full day of travel and activity or even staying overnight somewhere, it doesn’t have to. For families with young children, going to a museum or waterpark close to home and then coming home for naptime or nightly routines may make a much more enjoyable vacation than full day adventures.
Staycation ideas are virtually endless and really depend on your location, interests, and budget, but consider these 11 ideas to get you started:
- Get beachy at Bear Lake. Relax on the beach, play in the water, make sandcastles, or rent a kayak. While you are in the area, watch a play, go for a bike ride, check out the Minnetonka cave or get a famous raspberry shake.
- Go river rafting on the Colorado River, Green River or other river close to home. There are many guided tours available and lunch or admission to other attractions are often included.
- Enjoy free tours, museums and parks or activities organized by your local library. For a great listing of ideas see http://www.enjoyutah.org/2011/12/free-utah-events-activities-and-places.html
- Turn Salt Lake City into a large scavenger hunt as you complete challenges and solve clues to discover overlooked gems in the city and learn about local history. See http://www.visitsaltlake.com/listings/Amazing-Scavenger-Hunt-Adventure–Salt-Lake-City/62850/ for more information.
- Play in Park City for the day. Take a tram to the top of a mountain to enjoy the view and then hike, zip line, or slide down. Check out the Utah Olympic Park freestyle shows and museum or go shopping at the outlets.
- Enjoy a tasty day on a Cache Valley food tour https://www.explorelogan.com/food-tour.html. While in Logan, check out some historical sites, go for a hike in Logan Canyon, or visit the Willow Park Zoo.
- Plan a year worth of fun with the “Connect Pass” which allows entrance to 13 select attractions including Discovery Gateway, Thanksgiving Point, Hogle Zoo, Clark Planetarium, The Leonardo, Natural History Museum of Utah, museums at Thanksgiving Point and more. See http://www.visitsaltlake.com/things-to-do/connect-pass/ for more information.
- Visit Heber Valley to snorkel, swim, or soak in the geothermal spring. While you’re in the area, take a tour of the Heber Valley cheese factory.
- Check out reduced price days at local arcades/fun centers or movie theatres. Many have special pricing on attractions for the summer months.
- Enjoy local free offerings such as movies, art, science, or music in the park, farmer’s markets, or free days at local attractions. Check out these links for additional information in the Ogden area: http://ogdenamphitheater.com/#, https://scienceintheparks.org/, http://www.webercountyutah.gov/County_Commission/ramp/2018/RAMP%20tax%20summer%202018.pdf
- Enjoy the great outdoors. Utah is full of state and national parks, not to mention all of the beautiful canyons, lakes and mountain areas. Go for a hike, a bike ride, have a picnic, and explore what people come from all over the world to see! Check out the free entrance days at the national parks https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm
Staycations are a wonderful tool to connect with each other and strengthen family relationships while playing and creating treasured memories. Wishing you a wonderful summer of family fun and adventures.
Naomi Brower is an Extension Associate Professor in Weber County specializing in helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships. She earned her master’s degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State University and she is a Certified Family Life Educator. She enjoys hiking, traveling (especially anywhere green) and playing with her husband and adorable little boy. Contact Naomi at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out videos and other content at relationships.usu.edu.