14 Top Staycation Ideas

Staycations at home can be fun any time of the year.

U.S. News & World Report

14 Top Staycation Ideas

A home living room has been transformed to a tropical beach destination.
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Even if you've canceled a dream vacation due to the coronavirus pandemic, you still need time off to recharge.

The combination of sustained work and prolonged stress can lead to burnout, a condition in which you're emotionally or physically exhausted from work. Planning a staycation may be just what you need to help. Simply put, a staycation is a vacation spent entirely at or near your home. Lounging at home may not be as glamorous as visiting an all-inclusive resort, but it can be just as fun. To help you plan, U.S. News rounded up the best ideas to make your staycation more than a dayslong Netflix binge.
Cropped shot of a young woman cleaning the surface of a cabinet with cleaning spray and cloth at home during the day
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(Getty Images)

Clean Everything

Cleaning your entire home isn't technically fun (for most people), but it is something you should do before your vacation. Getting chores out of the way will afford you more time to devote to relaxation. Additionally, Psychology Today reports that organized, clean spaces can reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health. Instead of tackling your entire home at once, pick one or two rooms to clean each day leading up to your staycation. Save vacuuming for the day before your vacation.
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Even if you've canceled a dream vacation due to the coronavirus pandemic, you still need time off to recharge.

The combination of sustained work and prolonged stress can lead to burnout, a condition in which you're emotionally or physically exhausted from work. Planning a staycation may be just what you need to help. Simply put, a staycation is a vacation spent entirely at or near your home. Lounging at home may not be as glamorous as visiting an all-inclusive resort, but it can be just as fun. To help you plan, U.S. News rounded up the best ideas to make your staycation more than a dayslong Netflix binge.

Clean Everything

Cleaning your entire home isn't technically fun (for most people), but it is something you should do before your vacation. Getting chores out of the way will afford you more time to devote to relaxation. Additionally, Psychology Today reports that organized, clean spaces can reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health. Instead of tackling your entire home at once, pick one or two rooms to clean each day leading up to your staycation. Save vacuuming for the day before your vacation.

Don't Overplan

The best part of taking a vacation is having no schedule and doing what you want, when you want. While it may be tempting to take care of errands or schedule an overdue teeth cleaning, try to avoid doing those kinds of tasks as much as possible. You deserve (and likely need) some time to decompress from life's pressures. Put down your phone, take a nap or pick up your favorite easy read. Now's the time to rejuvenate.

Go Camping

Camping is a fun, affordable way to get out of the house while staying a safe distance from others. Around the U.S., you'll find mountain retreats, beachside sites and grounds that accept RVs. If you want a slightly more luxurious holiday, book a glamping trip or a treehouse hotel. No matter where you decide to camp, be sure to check out hiking trails nearby and treat yourself to some new gear before your trip.

Try a Local Winery or Brewery

One of the best ways to experience a new location is through its local food and drink, but have you done that in your own backyard? Wineries and craft breweries are cropping up across the U.S., creating locally made beverages for patrons to sample. Some places serve their drinks to go so you can do your own tasting at home. Other establishments offer socially distant indoor and outdoor seating for people to enjoy their tasting on-site. Know that you may need to make a reservation in advance. Plan to call before you go to find out what drinks are available.

Get Outside

Getting into nature is not only good for your health, but it'll also provide you with a much-needed change of scenery. Explore a hiking trail in your area, take a bike ride or try out a new lawn game. Hit the pavement for your daily run instead of hopping on the treadmill. If you're staycationing in winter, why not take a walk through the falling snow with a hot chocolate or hot coffee in hand? No matter what outdoor activity you choose to do, make sure you take care to protect yourself from the elements.

Plan a Movie Night

If a trip to a movie theater is out of the question, create your own theater experience at home. Pop a bunch of popcorn, grab an assortment of candy and fill a cup with your favorite drink. Then, curl up on the couch and start the film. If you've got a projector (and the weather is nice), take your movie viewing outside. You can watch movies with loved ones who live outside your home by hopping on a video chat and pressing play at the same time. Alternatively, both Netflix Party and Prime Video Watch Party allow users to watch content and chat online simultaneously with their families and friends. These options are only available for the Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services, respectively.

Taste New Foods

Part of the fun of exploring a new destination is sampling the local cuisine. Though you can't indulge in Mexico City's street food or Rome's handmade pasta due to current travel restrictions, you can make your own tasty dishes at home. You'll find plenty of recipes online for foods from all corners of the globe, or you can order a new cookbook to master one kind of cuisine. For a true vacation experience, let someone else do the cooking and order takeout from a local restaurant you're eager to try.

Have a Snow Day Indoors

Snowball fights are one of the hallmarks of winter, but you don't need to save them for the icy months. Several companies make artificial snowballs that are lightweight and the perfect ammunition for an indoor snowball fight. These snowballs feel like the real thing, sound like crunchy snow and look perfectly round. Plus, artificial snowballs are made from polypropylene fiber, so they don't explode when they hit someone and won't make a slushy mess in your house. You can get your own set here. If you'd rather play instead of fight, so to speak, you can make your own snow out of baking soda and shaving cream or hair conditioner. The moldable mixture is ideal for building miniature snowmen.

Pick Your Own Produce

Farms around the country give locals the opportunity to visit and pick their own produce. Many venture out in fall when apples and pumpkins are at their peak; however, some farms may offer picking opportunities in spring and summer for goodies like strawberries, peaches, squash, blackberries and corn. Combine your outing with a hike by the farm for a full day of outdoor exploration. Be sure to call the farm ahead of time to see what's in season and to check operating hours. Due to the coronavirus, some farms are requiring advance reservations from patrons.

Hit the Road

Taking a scenic drive is one of the best ways to maintain social distancing while also getting out of the house. In spring and summer, hop in the car and go for a drive to admire the landscape. If you're traveling in fall, have your drive double as a leaf peeping opportunity. Be sure to switch drivers so everyone gets a chance to gaze at the beautiful foliage. Driving with kids in the car? Get them involved, too, by allowing them to choose which direction to turn at traffic lights and stop signs.

Visit New Places Virtually

Staycations may not fully scratch the travel itch, but you can still explore the globe from the comfort of your couch. On Netflix, check out "Ugly Delicious" for a worldwide culinary trek or "Instant Hotel," an Australian competition show that pits vacation rental property owners against one another. Anthony Bourdain fans can access some of his shows on Amazon Prime. Alternatively, you can explore cities, museums and art galleries virtually with the help of Google and a computer.

Plan a DIY Beach Day

If your yearly seaside vacation has been derailed, you can still plan a relaxing beach getaway at home. Slather on some sunscreen, grab a book, get your towel and head out to the next best thing: your yard. Soak up the sun's rays while listening to beachy music or a waves soundscape to set the vibe. To add the water element, set up the sprinkler, an inflatable waterslide or a splash pad. Purchase kinetic sand so the kids can still make sandcastles while keeping mess to a minimum.

Enjoy an At-Home Spa Day

Part of the fun of staying at a fancy hotel when you travel is indulging in a treatment or two at the on-site spa. Recreate this experience at home by giving yourself some spa treatments. First, set the tone by lighting a soothing candle or using a calming scent in an oil diffuser and playing some relaxing music. Then, apply a moisturizing mask to you hair, buff away dead skin with a body scrub and give yourself a scalp massage or hand massage. If you choose to soak in the tub, complete your bath with salts or a bath bomb. Remember, nails are softer after a shower or bath, so don't forget to trim and file your nails before you wrap up your spa day.

Admire Holiday Displays

Seeing your neighborhood aglow in holiday lights is a nice reminder that the holidays and a new year are right around the corner. Take advantage of the displays by walking around your neighborhood with a warm drink in hand. As you stroll, select your favorites as a family. Another light-filled option is a drive-thru display. Gardens, stadiums, parks and downtown areas nationwide create scenes with thousands of Christmas lights for patrons to drive or walk through and admire the lights.
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