This is it! You and your spouse have both had your leave approved, your kids are out of school and you are ready for some much-needed time together. For your next family vacation, why not consider an active staycation? Staycations are a great way to recharge your batteries with some down time at home while also exploring your community. You might be surprised how much fun you can have in your own backyard. Here are some ideas for putting together a memorable and active summer staycation.
- Get outside. Take the kids to a local park to fly a kite. Or, pack a picnic lunch and take a day hike or a family bike ride. Look for kid-friendly areas that will get your little ones excited about nature and exploring. Don’t forget to pack lots of water to stay hydrated on your adventure.
- Find a local festival or parade. When we were living in North Carolina, the many small towns around our installation had festivals or parades almost every weekend and holiday. If you are new to the area, check with your local chamber of commerce or online community groups to find a festival or parade you can share with your family.
- Arrange a scavenger hunt. Feeling competitive? Challenge your spouse and kids to a team scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. The winning team gets the night off from dish duty!
- Play laser tag or paintball. Grab a group of friends and head out for a game of laser tag. Or, if you are feeling extra adventurous, suit up for a game of paintball. One of the best memories I have with my boys is our epic paintball battle with six of their closest friends. I would have never thought it would be my cup of tea, but we had a blast! Just be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Hit the batting cages, climbing wall or indoor trampoline. Look for activities that will keep you and your kids moving. Challenge each other to try something new. Exposing your kids (and yourself) to new activities can be a great way to build confidence. Plus, who doesn’t love a giant trampoline and sticky socks? You’re never too old to bounce around!
- Explore our nation’s national parks. Did you know that the National Parks Service has 417 parks in the United States and military members and their families are eligible to receive a free annual pass? If you are lucky enough to live near a national park, take the kids and explore some of our country’s most valued treasures. To find a park near you, visit The National Park Foundation.
- Check out a museum. Whether exploring your local children’s museum or your closest Blue Star Museum, take some time to expose your children to the arts. Blue Star Museums are local museums that offer free admission to active-duty members and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You never know what might spark your child’s imagination—or yours!
You don’t have to travel far for a vacation with just the right balance of relaxation and fun activities. Staycations offer a good mix of both. For your next vacation, consider sleeping in your own bed and exploring the great activities in your own community with a good mix of fun for everyone.