25 fun staycation ideas that won’t break the bank


It’s no secret that planning a stay instead of a vacation is a money-saving measure.

You don’t have to pay any money for plane tickets and a rental car. You can sleep in your own bed instead of booking a stay at a hotel or Airbnb. You can avoid the expensive tourist traps.

Best of all, you can still have fun. Having a stay doesn’t mean just hanging around at home feeling bored.

Here are 25 fun – but inexpensive – staycation ideas.

25 low-budget staycation ideas

No matter what type of vacation you’re interested in – one where you indulge in the culinary scene, indulge in adventurous thrills, find your relaxing zen or enjoy cultural experiences – there are ways to do what you love during your stay Recreate place.

If you have the budget and what to do during your stay, you can get away from it all with no financial regrets.

If you are a foodie

  1. Try new recipes. Open up a cookbook or google a dish you’ve always wanted to make at home. Avoid recipes with a range of specialty ingredients so you don’t spend too much money in the grocery store.
  1. Sign up for a cooking class. Check the local event listings for cooking classes offered at nearby restaurants, community centers, or cooking schools. Or check out YouTube for online cooking classes.
  1. Visit a farmers market. Grab some fresh produce and sample delicious prepared food from local vendors.
  1. Make your own sausage board. Curl up at home with a DIY meat and cheese board that is a fraction of the cost of a restaurant. Check out some tips when we made a $ 25 sausage board while shopping at Aldi.
  1. Picnic in the park. Enjoy a change of scene by packing lunch, dinner or a selection of snacks in a nearby park. Bring a large blanket to spread on the floor and a frisbee or lawn game after you eat.
  1. Visit a winery or brewery. Check with wineries and craft beer breweries in your area to see if they have inexpensive tours. Or maybe your town – or a nearby town – is home to a chocolatier or other food company that offers public tours. It’s a chance to see how things are made – and there are usually examples out there for you to enjoy!
  1. Bake out. Recreate your version of The Great British Bake Off with your partner, roommate or children. Or instead of fighting over the oven space, bake ahead and compete on who can decorate the best cupcakes or cookies.
Two boys use a log as a balance beam to walk through a forest while hiking.
Getty Images

If you are looking for an adventure

  1. Grab a Groupon for a fun local attraction. Try an activity like rock climbing, ax throwing, laser tagging, or an escape room – at a discounted price. Browse Groupon Offers Near You.
  1. Go hiking. Get some fresh air and connect with nature as you explore a local trail.
  1. Go camping. Your stay doesn’t have to mean sleeping in your own bed. Put up a tent at a nearby campsite or in your yard. (These tips will help you stay on budget when deciding which campsite route to take.) Share stories and roast marshmallows over the fire pit and enjoy a day or two without a plug.
  1. Go on a scavenger hunt. Get to know a part of the city that you don’t visit often by making a scavenger hunt list. What to include on your list is up to you, but here are some suggestions: find a historical marker, snap a picture of a whimsical sign, identify the tallest building, and look for a building with a red door.
  1. Explore a national park. Find a park near you for a great outdoor vacation. There are several days a year when the parks do not charge entry.
  1. Create your own field day experience. Got a three legged race. Play catch with a water balloon. See who can run the fastest as you balance an egg on a spoon. The whole family can have fun.

When you want to relax

  1. Curl up with a good book. Your local library literally offers thousands of options if you don’t have one at home.
  1. Have a movie marathon. Spend the day in your sweatpants and watch all your favorite films on a streaming service of your choice.
  1. Treat yourself to a spa treatment. Light a few candles and play relaxing music to lighten the mood for a DIY spa day. You can treat yourself to a facial or foot bath with ingredients in your pantry or bathroom cabinet.
  1. Practice yoga. Free online yoga videos can help you find your balance without setting foot in a yoga studio – or paying fees.
  1. Go for a walk on the beach. There is nothing more relaxing than a leisurely stroll along the shore while the waves kiss at your feet. If you don’t live near the water, a stroll along some other scenic area will do.
  1. Tap your inner artist. Many people find painting a peaceful activity, but adult coloring books tend to have the same effect. Plus, a coloring book and box of crayons cost less than paint, brushes, and canvas.
A woman looks at wooden paintings in a museum. Visiting museums is an overnight idea.
Rhonda Jarrett of Largo reads over a wood painting by Mildred Thompson in the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

If you are looking for a cultural experience

  1. Go to a concert in the park. Check your city’s calendar of events for outdoor shows. These types of events are sometimes held for free.
  1. Go to a museum. Admission to a museum can be expensive, but there are ways to save. Some libraries offer free museum passes. Several museums across the country are offering discounted days for local residents. Smithsonian Magazine hosts a free Museum Day annually with participating institutions across the country. Bank of America card holders can enjoy free entry to the museum one weekend a month with their Museums on Us program. Or you can enjoy a virtual museum tour from the comfort of your home at any time.
  1. Attend a lecture at your community college. The money-saving benefits of community college go beyond lower tuition fees. In the public event calendar of your local university you will find interesting guest lectures or questions and answers with well-known book authors.
  1. Attend a community party. Local festivals can be great places to experience music, art, and food from different cultures. And they usually have a cheap entrance fee.
  1. Check out public art. Be a tourist in your own city and explore the various sculptures, murals, and architecture in the city. You might even learn a little more about the place where you live.
  1. Take a dance class. Dancing is a great way to immerse yourself in a different culture – whether you’re into African dance, Cuban salsa, German polka, or country western line dancing. Look for local organizations that offer classes or search online for free dance tutorials.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.


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