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Backyard Vacations

Updated on December 17, 2008
Is spending a huge amount of money like this the only way to have a good vacation?
Is spending a huge amount of money like this the only way to have a good vacation?

Your Own Backyard Vacations

The economy has crashed. There's no way around that. If you're anything like me, whether you head a family as a parent or are one of the children, you're wondering whether your family can go on a vacation this year, to somewhere, ANYWHERE, to escape just for a bit the economic hardship facing us all.  Well, the simplest solution doesn't seem to occur naturally, so I'll present a great low-cost idea right here.  Read on...

All the families I know will now be having to penny-pinch even tighter just to manage every day costs.With such daunting economic prospects ahead of us, a vacation can take quite a toll on your family's remaining savings. This article is to provide you with some low-cost alternatives you can do in your own backyard (figuratively and literally), saving you countless dollars. What I have here is a really simply idea for a great vacation, at a total cost to you of under $200, for the entire family.

Camping out doesn't nee to be thousands of miles away to have fun!
Camping out doesn't nee to be thousands of miles away to have fun!

Prepare for your Backyard Vacation

Before you do anything you'll need to set a up a few things for you and your family to agree to by if this "backyard vacation" is going to work:

1. For all intents and purposes, you are a tourist in your own city/town. During your vacation you cannot go back to the house for any reason save an emergency.

2.  Your cell phones, emails, pagers, blackberries, and ANYTHING electronic are 100% off-limits, parents included! 

3. Go to your area's Chamerber of Commerce/Visitor Center before you go and get some brochures on museums, parks, and all sorts of historical site you've never been to.

4. The Internet is a great way to augment where you can go in your area. Great tools like Mapquest and Google Earth will alllow you to find just about anything you could ever want in your local area, without even leaving your computer.

5. Whenever you stop for food, go to a non-regular restaurant with your family. Make it a unique one, maybe an old mom and pop restaurant. Have this planned out in advance for a more smooth and enjoyable journey.

6. You'll need to buy a few items that will make your backyard vacation infinitely more enjoyable: A no-bug net, a(few) tent(s), some sleeping bags, and a portable stove. If you have a yard, prepare to set them up there. If not, there are likely campsites within a 50-mile radius of your house. This would be a great use of Mapquest or Google Earth.

7. Do a Google search for famous restaurants, museums, historical exhibits, amusement parks, and other fun places to go near your home. You will certainly be surprised how much there is to do in your own yard that you've nver even thought of. Make sure to write down directions to all of them so you don't get lost and waste time.

Alright, you got this? Now we're on to actual things to do on your backyard vacations. I have an example schedule for a vacation that a family with kids especially will highly enjoy. Obviously, you should make modifications as necessary to your own family's vacation as the situation warrants, but this should provide a general guideline for a succesful day(s) on a backyard vacation.

It's tough to get the family up at 6:30 AM but I know you can do it!
It's tough to get the family up at 6:30 AM but I know you can do it!

Schedule for Backyard Vacations

This is a brisk schedule for your backyard vacations. Please take all the ideas you can from it.

6:30 AM - Wake up everybody early, like any vacation would begin.

8:00 AM - Everyone's dressed and ready while you head out to a breakfast in a new restaurant within 50 miles, and preferably on the way to your next few destinations.

10:00 AM - Breakfast is done and you head to Destination #1. You'll have to discover this yourself. If you're able to read this article, then you can easily find a place nearby to take the family on a google search. This can be anything. a museum, a restaurant, a quaint shop, a coca-cola factory.

12:30 PM - Go have a picnic in the park. It's a fantastic feeling to eat meals outdoors every now and then.

3:00 PM - Picnic is done and you head out to Destination #2. Same rules apply as above.

6:00 PM - Head back home. Make sure that you've purchased a nice meaty dinner than can be made over a portable gas stove. Also make sure you've bought some marshmellows, chocolate, and graham crackers for some S'mores in the evening. Don't forget to set up your No-bug net to scare away any potential flying invaders.

8:00 PM - Dinner and S'mores are done. Now, set up a "projector" for a campsite nighttime movie. The projector can either be a projector (if you own one), or just any laptop with an extension cord, speakers, and a dvd.

10:30 PM - With the kids nicely tucked in and sleeping in the Kids Tent, the parents go back to their tent and have "fun"...


A Few Additional Ideas For Your Family's Destinations

-Fly a kite in the park.

-Go on a family bikeride.

-Look for some local historical monuments or museums.

-Find some one-of-a-kind shops in your area. They're everywhere in the country, and the children should have a fun time exploring around.

Remember: Take lots of pictures! For all intents and purposes in your scrap book, this WILL be a vacation!

If you're still lacking some of the tools you need to make this backyard vacation successful, check out below as might have some useful items in stock for you. 

Wenzel Pinon Sport 7-by 7-Foot Three-Person Dome Tent
Wenzel Pinon Sport 7-by 7-Foot Three-Person Dome Tent

Buy two of these, one for the parents and one for the children. When you're in bed privacy is appreciated :)


Some Additional Ideas for a "Staycation" from CNN

Useful Items to Buy for a Backyard Vacation


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