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Winter Staycation Ideas and Tips

Updated on October 9, 2011

Let's be honest. It's 7 degrees here in my neck of the woods today. There is nothing I would like more then to fly south for our vacation this winter. Far, far south. Aruba, Costa Rica south. The closer to the equator, the better.

That's not happening. Not this year. Traveling with three kids is not only difficult, it's expensive. Considering the economic uncertainty, it seems unwise to spend such a large sum of money - even if we had it to spare - on a luxurious tropical vacation.

If you're in the same boat, there are options. Plan a staycation this year. There is plenty of family fun to be had right in your own home town. You just need a plan. A well thought out plan. I would never suggest a week at home with the kids without a solid plan for survival!

Your staycation can be more than survival. It can be genuine memory making fun!

Plan a winter staycation this year!
Plan a winter staycation this year!

CNN Report About Staycations

How To Plan A Winter Staycation

Start planning early. What are your goals for your Staycation? Do you want to have relaxing family time? Fun and adventure? Do you want to learn something new or try out a new family hobby? Would you like to work on a family project that has been put on hold for a while?

Quality time is a priority for us. Having fun as a family brings us closer together. We do this at home all the time - why not just kick it up a notch?

Pick A Theme For Your Staycation


You can pick a theme for each day or for the entire week. Rent movies and visit the library for related books. Go all out with your theme! Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Pioneer Adventure: Cook, play and dress like a pioneer. Build a fire, light candles and if you are really brave, turn off the electricity for a while and see what it would be like to live without our modern conveniences. Read Laura Ingalls Wilder's books by candlelight. Bake bread the old-fashioned way.
  • International Adventure: pick a country that you always wanted to visit and learn about it. Watch tourist guide movies about it to see the sights or go online to google earth and get a close up look at the cities you want to explore.
  • Create a Hometel: Turn your home into a hotel for a couple of days! Just relax and order takeout as much as possible!
  • Hometown Tour: Become a tourist in your own town or nearby city. Take pictures, buy souvenirs and indulge in your favorite treats just like you would if you were away.
  • Tropical Escape: Create a tropical paradise in your living room complete with food and little umbrella's in your drinks.

Remember, the point is to relax and have fun with your family. don't get too stressed out by the details. Involve your kids in the planning.They will be thrilled to share their ideas!


Create a Wildlife Staycation

If your budget allows, consider buying a few special things for your staycation, such as new sporting equipment that you can all enjoy together, new board games, or extra craft supplies.

If you can fit it in to your busy staycation plan, schedule some time for a treat for yourself! How about a trip to the spa or a romantic dinner out with your spouse? We all know that no one needs a break from the daily grind like mom and dad! 


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    • pinkdaisy profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I need a sleepcation as well! :) Great hub!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Claudia - I have to admit, I would love a sleepcation myself! I feel like I haven't had a decent night's sleep in years! I hate the winter too and spend most of it hiding out inside, so a staycation is the perfect solution for us this winter. Thanks for reading - hope you got some good ideas to add to your winter hibernation. :)

    • ClaudiaP profile image


      11 years ago from California

      Staycation? Great idea! When I first saw the title I thought it is an English word I don't know, but then I got it. My brains seem to work very slowly today. I feel like I need a sleepcation. I sometimes wish I were a bear -go to my cave in the fall and sleep for some months to wake up in spring. I want to hibernate!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi G-Ma! I know I will miss this time when the kids are older! Right now it seems like a challenge to keep them well occupied and happy. I wish we could get outside more!

      Rgraf - 25 below? I think I would go crazy! The colder it is, the more difficult to get around, even to the local sites. We spend half of our time bundling everyone up to go out as it is. Glad this helped. Stay warm!

      Foxility, that is one of my favorites too, and for the same reason! If I ever get to go to one of those countries we are learning about, I will be prepared. Thanks for reading!

      Hi Madison, You know I'm jealous of your California lifestyle, right? There are great things to see in New England, but I hibernate in the winter!

    • Madison Parker profile image

      Madison Parker 

      11 years ago from California

      I think you have some great ideas here, but the best one is that all you really need to have fun is the WILL to have fun with your family and the time set aside to do it.  The kids will probably never forget a planned-at-home-vacation time like that.  I most love the idea that when you're young and broke, you can have so much fun for free!

      When our kids were really little, we would spend our 1 day off together with them going to the warf, climbing on the rocks at the coast and checking out the tide pools at Asilomar, hiking the free trails along the magnificent coastline at Point Lobos.  I know, not everyone lives on the coast of California, but wherever you DO live, there are sights to see and things to do right in your own backyard that are amazing.

      Good Hub for thought!  Loved it.




    • foxility profile image


      11 years ago

      Learning about other countries is my fave. Besides I will be prepared in case I run into some money and get the opportunity to travel.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      11 years ago from Wisconsin

      This is great. It is 25 below here and we are really craving a warm vacation. This has given me some ideas.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      11 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      We've done that before and set up a tent and only ate outside and cooked on our camping gear...went to the river and played on inner tubes and found a trout pond and took them was great...great ideas my dear...I miss the kids being little...G-Ma :o) Hugs & Peace

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Joe - I wish you luck with that! It sounds like a potential to get your wife to wear a hula skirt in February. :)

      Thanks MamaCoots and Julie-Ann!

      Hi Dottie -themes can be fun -especially if the kids get really into it! Who knows what kinds of things they will come up with!

      Hi Bruce - I've spent far too much time with Facebook and Twitter myself, so I think it's time for some fun all around! (I don't think Joe will let you in)

      LOL Sally's Trove! I like the combo - maybe a pioneer style hotel? Hmmm..maybe not. The pictures that come to mind are not very appealing. :) I probably heard the term hometel somewhere...

      Thanks Steph! I'm sure you guys will have a great time!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Marshall 

      11 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      We're going to have a staycation for Spring Break this year too! Loved your ideas! :)


    • Sally's Trove profile image


      11 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      My favorite of your ideas is a tossup between pioneer and hometel. I don't have young children at home, but both ideas appeal to me, a lot. I can bake a lot of bread, read up on pioneering diaries, and order a lot of takeout, too. I'll be missing only Sven at the hometel, my maido...but then, he has been on TV, so I guess I can watch and dream. Super ideas!

      Did you just coin "hometel"?

      Thumbs up.

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 

      11 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Great, Amy Jane. I had a staycation here over Christmas, but I didn't plan it very well, and spent almost the whole time trying to learn about Facebook, Twitter, and redoing all the Hubs I'd done wrong first time around. I'm thinking I'll use your tips next time. Or go visit Joe, if he does get his wife to wear a hula skirt. Cheers!

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      11 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Nice idea I never thought of staying home that way

    • Dottie1 profile image


      11 years ago from MA, USA

      Stay at home and learn something new this year is very practical advice. I love how you suggest picking a theme and going all out with it. Thanks Mary Jane for this great hub.

    • mamacoots profile image


      11 years ago from Louisiana

      Great idea! My kids would love this. Thanks for the ideas. ;-)

    • rockinjoe profile image

      Joseph Addams 

      11 years ago from Standing right behind you!

      Thanks Amy Jane. Great hub and fantastic ideas. LOL. Loved em'. I'm only one state up from you, so I know the cold you're feeling.

      Maybe I can get my wife to wear a hula skirt.


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