Travel Magazine

Super Staycation Tips

By Daylehayes

Super Staycation Tips


There are some great reasons that families are taking a staycation this summer and staying close to home for vacation fun.

Staycations are a great way to save money - and reduce family stress in these tough times. Not only do they help the family budget, they also limit long, noisy hours in a car or the hassles of airplane travel.

Active staycations are also a great way to have play together. Here's a simple way to start:


  • Start with a map of Montana - or your state (online, in an atlas, or the highway map available at visitor centers).
  • Decide the maximum distance you want to travel in a day (5, 10, or 50 miles, for example). Draw a circle on the map of your chosen distance in all directions.
  • Make a family list of all the places and events within the circle that you would like to visit. If you live in Montana and need help finding things to do, go to Explore Montana's Regions & Towns.
  • Write each of the destinations on a piece of paper and put them into a hat or bag.
  • Pick one fun destination every time you need a place to go Give all family members a chance to pick the place-of-the-day, the picnic-of-the-day, and how to make the day as active as possible.

These close-to-home vacations can be filled with summer fun:


  • Get soaked at a spray park. Many communities have new public facilities just waiting to be discovered, like spray or water parks. Make it a full day adventure by hiking or biking to/from the park. Pack a picnic with plenty of fruits and veggies - and be sure to bring lots of refreshing ice water. Pack non-water toys too (balls, jump ropes, Frisbees®, etc.) for some variety in your activity.
  • Explore a local trail map. This one could take a day or a week, depending on the extent of your trail system. Explore all the trails in a town or at nearby historical sites, wildlife refuges, and county parks. Let each family member pick the trail-of-the-day and plan a healthful picnic to fuel your adventures. Be sure to take plenty of silly family photos to document the memories.


There are even staycations you can enjoy without getting in the car. Kids and adults love scavenger hunts and obstacle courses.


  • Set up a scavenger hunt. The possibilities are only limited by your family’s imagination! The items to be found can be real or digital (just a picture of something), simple (a rock), or complicated (a fossil). The list can also be as long or as short as you like. Need a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing? Check out these Scavenger Hunt instructions.
  • Go for the gold with backyard Olympics. Here’s another staycation that could take an afternoon - or be extended over a week with different games in different places around your neighborhood or town. People can enter as individuals or as family teams. The types of events are unlimited. Maybe you’d like to include the 25-yard lawn crawl, a water balloon toss, a tug-o-war, or a limbo contest? There are also those ‘real’ Olympic sports, such as soccer, tennis, and ping-pong. Other options wacky races (three-legged, egg-on-spoon, etc.) or 3-point basketball in a driveway.


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