Whether you are short on time or on funds, sometimes Staycations are the way to go. Our Blogaholics and parent testers show us that you don’t need a plane ticket to have fun and give you the best advice for staying sane and having a blast this summer. To start with, you need to ask yourself what your ideal vacation would be and accomplish that without actually going anywhere. Was it quality time with the family you were after? Try a series of “Family Days” that encourage reconnecting and good times. Were you looking to relax and get away from it all? Maybe a weekend in a tent is in order! Maybe you just like to explore new territory? Head out on foot, bus, or public transportation, which are the best ways to enjoy your surroundings and the vacation pace. Want more great ideas for “getting away”? Check out their Staycation tips below that help you make the most of your summer and make every day feel like a vacation. 1) Make your own campground. No place to camp? No problem, simply set up camp right at home! Whether you take it outdoors or simply in your own living room, sleeping in a tent makes any day a special occasion. The bonus? Working plumbing, down comforters… oh, and a refrigerator! Deborah Lowther “Our Weekend Getaway… in the Backyard!” 2) Park tours. Set a goal to visit a new park every week and once you’re there you can explore different neighborhoods around the parks like a local. Have a national park near you? Take a roadtrip to see the sights and enjoy a cheap weekend away. Tyler – Rave and Review 3) Have a cupcake party. Invite over 12 of your “sweetest” girlfriends for a Cupcake Party Exchange. Everyone makes a dozen Cupcakes and get as creative, fun or wacky as they can and then arrives at the party with their “sweets” as well as the recipe for everyone to have a copy. Then you begin swapping and everyone leaves with a dozen assorted cupcakes. Tairalyn – Little Miss Mama 4) Vacation in your own neighborhood. Maybe you don’t have time off from work or your budget is tight and a week away in an exotic locale is not possible. Why not visit a neighboring town for a night and play tourist in your own city? Simply find one or two points of interest and book a room (or stay with a friend) for a night or two so you can enjoy a night away without having to travel. Leanne – Rave and Review 5) Take advantage of local services. Check out your local parks departments, community colleges, rec centers, libraries, and senior centers to see what kinds of classes and events they have planned this summer. Not only will you meet new people and have a blast, you can also squeeze in a little educational fun, too! Glenn, PTPA parent tester 6) Create your own oasis. Design your backyard to be the ultimate in relaxation and add touches that will make you never want to leave. Whether you are a sunbather or a sleep in a hammock type, find ways you can add comfort and usability to your outdoor spaces inexpensively. Leanne – Rave and Review 7) Visit a Farmer’s Market as a family. Schedule to visit one or more markets in a weekend and show your kids the value of food and learning about local produce and their farmers. Plus, most markets have fun activities for the kids to keep them busy. Erica Ashmore – Everything Mom and Baby 8) Have an ICED tea party. Host an afternoon high tea on ice this summer for your friends and family, which is a perfect event for a sunny afternoon. Set up your backyard as Wonderland and dust off your China, pull out your grandma’s old lace table cloths and mix and match chairs from your house. Steep some of your most fabulous teas in the sunlight the day prior, leaving them in the fridge to cool overnight. Serve mini sandwiches, mini sweets and scones with jam – it’s bound to be the perfect afternoon to catch up with your ladies, while enjoying the sun. Tairalyn – Little Miss Mama 9) Eco-adventures. Find a trail and explore the greenery and your surroundings! Raining? Even better! Go look for worms or go on an eco-adventure that is better than any science lab. Erica Ashmore – Everything Mom and Baby 10) Picnic in a park. Any meal is more fun outdoors, and this is especially true for kids. If there’s a park nearby, or some woods, or even just a place to run, grab some snacks and drinks and enjoy them outdoors and as a family. Even PB & J tastes special when it comes from a picnic basket! Sue Kirchner from Chocolate Cake Club tells us how to picnic like a pro 11) Urban exploration. Kimberly Lee Dougherty, a PTPA Parent Tester, suggests geocaching, which is like a big scavenger hunt you can do in just about any town. All you need is a GPS unit and a printed out list of “caches” and you will see how incredibly fun it is for both kids and adults. 12) Build a water park. Set up a sprinkler or three, get yourself a slip n’ slide and/or a wading pool and don your beach wear in your own backyard. Make and serve ice pops and cold beverages with some light snacks and you have all the makings of wonderful childhood memories. Erica Ashmore – Everything Mom and Baby Have another Staycation tip you’d like to share with readers? Comment below and share!