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Activities To Do as a Family: Playing Tourists at Home

Updated on January 2, 2013

  • You couldn't get time off work to go on holiday this year?
  • Maybe finances are a little tighter than what they normally are.
  • Perhaps, you've already been away on holiday recently and now you need to save before planning that next big family holiday.

That's rough...but that's life sometimes, isn't it?

It can be hard watching friends and co-workers planning exciting getaways to the coast, to a fun amusement park or to a fancy lodge; or packing to go camping out in the wild for a few weeks while you're stuck at home.

But, that doesn't mean that you can't have just as much fun with your family.

Because, guess what?

You can!

And the best news?

You don't have to pay for any overnight accommodation, and you don't even have to drive that far!

You can have your very own family holiday in the space of one day....right at home!

Putt Putt or miniature golf is a great way to spend an hour or two.
Putt Putt or miniature golf is a great way to spend an hour or two. | Source

I bet this sounds a little impossible, or maybe a bit silly, but trust isn't.

What's great about this idea, is that you can have dozens of "mini holidays" throughout the year.

You can plan one for the beginning of the year, mid-year, and at the end of the year.

You could even centre them around a theme, or to celebrate a holiday such as Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, or whatever day you feel like celebrating.

You can plan a mini-day holiday just because you feel like it.

It's ideal not only for families, but for couples wishing to explore their adventurous side, or who want to find out more about their partner as well.

It's also a fun activity for a group of friends to do together.

Checklist For a Fun Day Out

  1. A good attitude
  2. For Warm Weather: Sunblock, cold bottled water, hats, changes of clothes, swimming costumes, towels, sunglasses, hats, etc.
  3. For Cold Weather: Coffee flasks, gloves, scarves, blankets, hats, etc.
  4. Music for the car ride
  5. A full tank of petrol
  6. A map book or GPS co-ordinates
  7. Spending money
  8. Unlimited time for the day
  9. A basic first aid kit in case of emergencies if you're not going near a town
  10. Games you can play in the car on the way

Visit craft stores or markets as if you were on holiday.
Visit craft stores or markets as if you were on holiday. | Source

Choosing Where to Go

Deciding on where to go can be a fun surprise that you could make yourself, or it can be something that the whole family can decide together.

You could even write ideas on pieces of paper, fold them up, toss them in a hat, and draw out the winner.

It's important to keep in mind what types of things members of your family like to do, and what they don't like to do.

It's no use going to a theme park for the day when little Timmy is terrified of heights, or going to the beach for the day when Jane is as white as snow and prone to sunburns.

Think carefully about a day trip to suit your family - the idea is to have as much fun as possible together. You can always surprise your partner with a separate romantic trip doing something else at another time, if what you want to do isn't something that the rest of the family would enjoy.

A Few Mini Holiday Ideas

Things to Do
Visit a nearby town
Spend the day in a new town - have a picnic, visit museums, play in the park, etc.
Park off at the beach
Build sandcastles, play beach games, eat ice-cream, swim, etc.
Take a drive
Hop in the car and see where the journey takes you. Stop off along the way for pictures, to eat, etc. As if you were on holiday.
Go to an amusement or theme park
Eat cotton candy, go on rides, have pizza, laugh, relax, have fun.
Have a movie and arcade day
Go watch a movie, visit the mall and play arcade games against each other.
Visit an animal sactury
If you live near an animal reserve, go pet some animals, hold a snake, view different birds, etc.
Get creative and come up with something fun that the whole family will enjoy together.

The idea to having a great day out and a "mini holiday" rolled into a day is to simply have FUN.

Whatever you normally do on holiday is what you should be doing during this day.

If this means rolling the king size mattress into the lounge, buying a few snacks and chilling together for the rest of the day watching movies or series together - then do it!

Not all of us can afford time wise or money wise to go away on holiday, but we can afford to give up a couple of hours and pretend to be on holiday.

You can do this anytime, and all year around - Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter!

Make a Theme of It

  • Be artsy and visit art galleries and taste hot chocolate from different coffee shops to see which one makes the best kind.
  • Be adventurous and do everything outdoors: games, picnics, ball games in the park, etc.
  • Be geeky and try and learn as many new things as possible in one day by visiting museums, bookshops, libraries, etc.
  • Be sporty and go see a live sports game, while enjoying hot dogs and sodas, or play a marathon of sports and board games throughout the day together at home.

Involve the Whole Family

  • If you're planning, mark off days off on the calendar throughout the year that suits everyone in the house.
  • Allow each family member to arrange the activities of a specific day, or give everyone a chance to choose something to do on the day.
  • Ask everyone what they would like to do.
  • Ask everyone what they don't enjoy doing.
  • Write these down on piece of paper and put them in a jar. These can be pulled out a few days ahead before the start of every family fun day.

There are many, many fun activities to do as a family. All you need is a bit of imagination, creativity some free time, and a great attitude.

This is how I spent my 30th birthday celebrations - pretending to be on holiday with my husband and a few close friends. I didn't want a party, and we couldn't afford to go away on holiday anywhere, so this was perfect.

The great thing about this is that you can do this anytime, and with as many or as few family members as you like.

Go altogether, go on your own, go with your partner, go with a group of friends.

You decide.

The point is to have fun and create good long-lasting memories.

Have you ever planned and had a fun "mini-holiday" rolled into one day before?


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    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      So glad to hear that teaches12345 :) It's so easy to go out and have fun without spending a lot of money. You just need to be creative!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      We do this once a week as a date and have found your ideas to bring great enjoyment. It is a holiday indeed! WEll done and very interesting.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Denise! Thanks so much! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      What a cute and clever hub full of ideas of a stay at home holiday! Well done. I enjoyed the table and all of your tips on how to have a fun time. :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you so much carter06 for stopping in and your lovely comment! Made my morning :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Bill, you guys have a holiday every day, because you choose to be happy and embrace life. It's inspirational and encouraging. Thank you friend! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Janine ;) I can't imagine what the weather's like over there, and I yearn for snow, but sure there are lots of fun things to do indoors, or playing in the snow, etc. Nothing quite like board-games with hot chocolate in front of the fireplace :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Now that sounds like a great idea shiningirisheyes! :) You're so lucky to have snow where you are....something we can only dream about over here.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      The beach and the park are two of my favourite places too. Thanks peachpurple!

    • carter06 profile image


      5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Love your innovative take on a holiday at home the creative thinking here and so nicely set out...Up & shared...cheers

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev and I haven't been on a real vacation in four years, so this is the sort of thing we do all the time during the summer. Great suggestions, Mel; right up our alley. :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 years ago from New York, New York

      I loved this and seriously need to try when the weather gets nicer here again. Thanks for the wonderful ideas here and have voted way up and tweeted, too!!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      What a great way to have a holiday retreat without the large expense or added time off from work. The winter is upon us but a wonderful day of sleigh riding with a warm mug of jo hits the spot.

      Fantastic job my friend

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love the beach and a visit to the park since hubby has a tight schedule. A great way to spend family time together. Great ideas and useful too


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