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51 Best Staycation Ideas for When You Can’t Travel (2023)

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Even if you can’t travel internationally, there are still plenty of fun and relaxing ways to go on vacation.

To help inspire you, we’ve compiled a list of 50+ of the best staycation ideas. They are fun, simple, and great ways to spend your free time.

Because no matter whether you’re solo, with your partner, or with family, you deserve some time off to unwind and make memories.

If you can’t travel abroad, don’t let that stop you. Use our ideas to start planning and get creative. Have fun!

Best Staycation Ideas

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Staycation at Home

1 – Foodie Travel Around the World From Your Kitchen

Cooking is such a great way to bring the magic of travel into your own home. Choose a country, and prepare a feast of delicious international foods.

Being influenced by new recipes will also help you improve your own cooking skills and inspire creative ideas when it comes to fusion food.

Get the whole family involved. And once you’ve plated the food, close your eyes and let the smells, tastes, and textures take you to exotic places, far and wide.

Related:

2 – Take a Virtual Tour

Always wanted to awe at Egyptian pyramids or sail through Amazonian rivers? Let a virtual tour take you anywhere in the world you’d like.

With friends or family, choose from a wide range of virtual tours online. Set up your screen, sink into your sofa with your favorite drink, and prepare to be amazed.

Japan, for example, is an amazing place to visit virtually because it is so beautiful. This Kyoto virtual tour takes you through the region’s most scenic spots and liveliest areas of the city, and you can ask the host questions any time you like.

Paris is another place full of surprises. This virtual tour, run by Parisian locals, takes you through some of the city’s more off-beat locations without you needing to push through crowds of people.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan like us, we’d definitely take a look at this Harry Potter-themed virtual tour of London, run by two comedians who will talk to you about filming locations and give you loads of behind-the-scenes titbits.

And if you really want to be blown away, this virtual tour of Jaipur in India is just a non-stop whirlwind of amazing architecture and mind-blowing locations without you needing to spend lots of time, money, and energy getting to India.

As you can see, virtual tours give you a glorious look at beautiful places across the world. They can be hours of enjoyment and memorable experiences.

3 – Have an Indoor Picnic

Woman in a white dress on a picnic blanket, holding a drink, looking at some picnic foods (croissants, strawberries, and others).
Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Indoor picnics are fun, relaxing, and a simple staycation idea. Order plenty of comforting and delicious food, or head to a farmer’s market for fresh ingredients, and prepare plenty of dishes everyone will enjoy.

Pick a nice spot in your home or backyard to lay down a blanket, like this stylish picnic blanket, which is great for al fresco dining. We’d also recommend getting some floor pillows, like these gorgeous mandala ones, so that you can sit comfortably on the ground. Alone or with friends or family, dig into delicious food, share stories, and relax.

From there, you can serve your cheese and bread on a cheese board like this beautiful bamboo one, and you could even get yourself a portable grill if you wanted to picnic BBQ-style in the backyard. With plenty of refreshing drinks, ice cream, good food, and charming company, a great time is guaranteed!

Read more: Cool Picnic Gadgets & Accessories

4 – Create an Indoor Oasis at Home

Staycation idea: Beige home oasis with a hammock and other relaxing touches.
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Got a spare room at home? This could be an amazing blank canvas to create a fun, tropical indoor oasis.

From hammocks to tropical plants, there are plenty of great products you can buy to turn the room into a travel-themed paradise.

Once you’re done, spend the day in your oasis relaxing and having fun. The beautiful decor will help you feel like you’re a million miles away.

5 – Have a Spa Day

Staycation idea: taking a bath in a beautiful tub with flowers/petals floating in the water.
Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Spa days are an excellent staycation idea. Plus, they’re really simple to do at home if you can’t get to a local spa.

Order some bubble bars and facial masks, and schedule some relaxing activities. Take an aromatic bath with essential oils or relax on the sofa with a face mask.

Finally, put some relaxing music on, and give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Home spa days are refreshing, relaxing, and a great way to spend an evening.

Outdoor Staycations

6 – Go Camping

There’s no remedy like the great outdoors. Spending time in nature can do you the world of good.

Camping doesn’t have to be out in the wilderness for days on end. Look nearby for campsites or beautiful areas, and plan a night or weekend stay.

There’s something truly magical about you and your friends or family huddled around a campfire, sharing stories and staring up at a starry sky.

Our cool camping gadgets and gear guide will have you looking like a camping pro in no time.

7 – Have a Picnic Outside

Staycation idea: a picnic outside at the beach.
Daria Myronets/Shutterstock

Picnics are such a great staycation idea. Order in some yummy comfort food, prepare a picnic basket, and find a lovely spot nearby.

Some cool picnic gadgets and accessories will help make your picnic fun, quirky, and memorable.

You’ll be surrounded by delicious food, beloved people, and beautiful scenery. A perfect staycation idea.

8 – Plan a Stargazing Night

Staycation idea: stargazing from a tent at night with beautiful stars in the sky.
solarseven/Shutterstock

Stargazing is a wonderful experience. Lying in the grass, staring up at the millions of stars dotted across the sky: it fills you with inner peace.

Look up popular stargazing spots near you. But if they’re too far, simply head out to your garden one evening on a clear night. A magical staycation idea.

9 – Have an Outdoor Backyard Movie Night

Staycation idea: backyard movie night with a projector, chairs, and popcorn.
Shaiith/Shutterstock

Movie nights are cozy and so much fun. Watching a movie outside, with a gentle breeze and that deep speaker sound, is a whole new experience.

All you need is a sheet or a blank wall, a projector like this BenQ wireless outdoor projector, and a speaker. Set up in your garden, put out some chairs, and put drinks in the fridge.

Choose a movie that you all love, and lose yourself in nostalgia, thrill, or joy, surrounded by beautiful scenery and the people dearest to you. If you love it, make it a movie marathon, and add more than one movie to the mix.

Related: 30 Inspiring Travel Movies You Need to Watch

10 – Go Hiking

No matter what your experience, hiking is an excellent staycation idea. Walking in the great outdoors, taking in the beauty, is plenty of fun.

Search online for trails or beautiful places near you. If you don’t want the hike to be too difficult, choose a nearby field or woodland to hike through.

Some of these cool hiking gadgets will help you stay safe and enjoy your hike.

Romantic Staycation Ideas for Couples

11 – Rent a Cool Airbnb or Holiday Rental for the Weekend

Airbnbs or holiday rentals now come in all shapes and sizes. People have converted old barns, shipping containers, and even grounded planes into cozy countryside getaways.

Together, choose a place within driving distance to spend a lovely weekend going for walks, cooking together, and watching films. A super fun staycation idea for any couple.

If you’re already excited, you can start looking for cool vacation rentals on Airbnb or VRBO.

12 – Have Breakfast in Bed

Staycation idea: breakfast in bed.
Pinkyone/Shutterstock

Often, we’re so busy with our daily lives that we eat breakfast on the go. Yet breakfast in bed is such a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Choose a weekend. Get some warm, fresh pastries and orange juice from the local store. And simply prepare breakfast, then eat it in bed together with a film. Delightful.

If you don’t have a TV or big screen in your bedroom, you could get a bed tray with a phone or tablet holder like this one so that you can watch Netflix, Prime, or your favorite shows from your tablet or phone by placing the devices in the media tray holder.

13 – Plan a Movie Night at Home

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Going to the movies is so much fun. But nothing beats snuggling under a blanket together, watching a classic movie or a new release.

To recreate the cinema experience, get yourself a big bowl of popcorn and sweets. For that classic, nostalgic cinema feel, instead of store-bought popcorn, you could get yourself a gorgeous retro popcorn maker like this one.

Fill the popcorn maker with different flavored kernels from this popcorn set for you, your partner, or your friends to gorge on throughout the movie. Wash it down with a delicious drink and enjoy the perfect evening.

14 – Take an Online Art Class

Art classes are not about being the best artist. They are a fun and creative way to do something new and interesting with your loved one.

Regardless of how good an artist you are, there’s a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the class.

There are so many ways you and your partner can channel your inner artist, the world really is your oyster. You could start with an online Skillshare class like this one from portrait artist Gabrielle Brickery, which helps you get into the habit of drawing every day.

Then, when you’re both more confident, give this class from fine artist and teacher Brent Eviston a go, which helps you become more creative in life generally through research, art projects, and journaling, among other techniques. Or, you could try this Masterclass course from Jeff Koons, which will teach you about form, color, and other ways to express yourself through art.

But conventional art practices, like painting and drawing, aren’t the only way to create art in life. If you’ve both always loved taking photos on your phone but felt intimidated to share them online, a course like this one from photographer Annie Leibovitz can give you so much direction on how to be a better photographer.

Or maybe you’ve both always enjoyed writing poems or short stories but never really known how to improve? This creative writing course by author and poet Margaret Atwood has plenty of advice for helping you get inspiration and becoming a better writer.

If you have energetic personalities, maybe acting is a great way for you both to channel your inner artist. You could look online for local theatre, dance, or acting groups and go along one day to try it out with your partner.

If you’re feeling a little nervous, give this class from Helen Mirren a try, particularly the sections around being a theatre actress. Natalie Portman also has a course where she shares some of her acting techniques, such as how she gets into character.

Whatever medium suits you best, there’s no denying art is therapeutic and a great staycation idea to do at home with your partner.

Skillshare is a great place to get started with online classes. You can get a free trial here.

15 – Watch the Sunset Together

Sunsets happen in every country in the world. You don’t need to be on a faraway island to see a glorious, colorful sunset.

Look online for the time the sun sets in your area. Head out to your garden, or drive somewhere more remote, such as a nearby park.

Take a couple of chairs, and watch the beauty unfold in the sky, hand in hand. This is also a great opportunity for a truly memorable date night, and you could even book a night at a local hotel nearby.

16 – Local Travel in an RV

Staycation idea: an RV by a lake and mountains with beautiful scenery.
Andrei Armiagov/Shutterstock

‘Van life’ grows in popularity every day. Some people love the fun of buying an old RV and renovating it, then traveling.

But you could even rent a high-quality RV for the weekend and let the road take you to new and exciting places.

RVs allow you to see the great outdoors while giving you plenty of home comforts. It’s a brilliant staycation idea for couples looking to explore new places, especially during the warmer months, or for a summer vacation on a budget.

Related: Cool Van Life Gadgets and Accessories

Staycation Ideas for Families

17 – Family Game Night

There are thousands of fun and great games you can play at home with your family. Some you don’t even need a board or equipment for.

Maybe you love the thrills of jenga. Maybe you enjoy testing your general knowledge in Trivial Pursuit. Or maybe charades has you laughing in stitches by the end of the night!

Whatever games you play, be it board games, physical activities, or creative events, game night is a simple but brilliantly fun family staycation idea. A little imagination will go a long way!

18 – Scavenger Hunt

Fun can be found in every room of your house. Kids love scavenger hunts, particularly if the prizes are worth searching for.

Sweets, chocolates, or cool gifts are all great to hide. Give your children clues to help them along, and take turns to do the treasure hunt.

19 – Backyard Grilling

Staycation idea: grilling outdoors.
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

So many of us love the smell of sizzling steaks or juicy sausages to a rustic backdrop. If the weather’s good, get the family out in the garden for a grill.

You can put plenty of meats and vegetables on the grill. Cool some drinks and play some garden games, and you’ve got a staycation idea for any beautiful afternoon or evening.

If the weather is hot, a kiddie pool, water balloons or super soakers, and a slip-and-slide can all help make your afternoon in the sun perfect if you have younger kids. You could even host a game tournament.

20 – Pizza Night

Sometimes, it’s good to have a night off from cooking. Order in a big, delicious pizza, topped with ingredients, and let the family dig in.

If you want to get really creative with toppings and get the kids involved, it is very easy to make your own pizza at home.

You could order a pizza grilling kit like this one and some pizza dough, and then once you have your dough base rolled, it’s entirely up to you, your partner, and the kids (but mainly the kids!) what yummy toppings you add. From there, you can place your assembled pizza on the stone in the oven and pull it out when it’s ready.

Eat your pizza with fruity, fresh drinks, and have a movie or some games lined up. Simple, enjoyable, and fun for the whole family.

21 – Cooking or Baking Night

Kids love to get creative and a little messy. What better way to exercise those creative juices than through a cooking or baking night?

Cook or bake something big and exciting, like a chocolate cake or an exotic dessert. Take the lead with your partner while giving your kids fun things to mix and do.

Once finished, you can all sit down and eat the delicious food that you made together. As staycations go, this one is so much fun.

22 – Build a Fort Inside

Staycation idea: a fort inside with beautiful string lights.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Most kids adore building forts. As an adult, this staycation idea will take you back to your childhood every single time.

Hang up sheets in your living room or bedroom, and pack plenty of cushions, pillows, and blankets. Hang up lights for a warm, nostalgic feel, and spend your time sharing stories and watching movies.

Staycation Ideas for Singles

23 – Solo Road Trip

Staycation idea: road trip, a car on a winding road.
Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

The open roads can take you to so many amazing locations. Look online for a place you’ve always wanted to go, or just hit the road and see where you end up.

Road trips can take you anywhere. You could visit a national park, drive by local attractions, or simply drive through the awe and beauty of the landscape.

Our list of solo road trip essentials will give you an excellent idea of what to pack. That way, you’ll have a fun and safe road trip, with plenty of photos and memories.

Related: Cool Car Gadgets and Accessories for Road Trips

24 – Bike Ride

Bike against a beautiful background of stone walls and flowers.
Richard Semik/Shutterstock

Do you have a bicycle that’s sitting in the shed or garage? Why not dust it down and take it for a ride through your local area?

Cycling is a brilliant way to enjoy the great outdoors and spend a free afternoon you may have. Check for local trails in your area, or make a list of some of the best places in your own town or city to see, then create your own safe bike route to follow.

If you don’t have a bike, see if your local town or city has a bike rental scheme. It’s a great staycation idea that’s easy, fun, enjoyable, and doesn’t require much money.

Related: Fun Bike Gadgets & Accessories

25 – Read a Good Book

Staycation idea: reading a book with coffee while cuddling with a cat.
Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Getting lost in a book is a wonderful experience. But with so many of us leading busy lives, many of us don’t find the time to read as often.

Set aside a few hours of your afternoon. Run a bath, or get comfy on the sofa. Pick up a paperback you’ve been meaning to read for ages or download a book to your Kindle or tablet. Now, you can get a free trial to Kindle Unlimited.

Lie back and let your imagination take over. Reading is pure escapism, and it’s a great way to spend your free time.

26 – Yoga

Staycation idea: yoga at home.
fizkes/Shutterstock

Yoga helps you relax, unwind, and ease any aches or tightness. There are plenty of live online classes, but if you want to do it alone, watch a YouTube video.

Even ten minutes of yoga can help you feel like a different person. All you need are some light clothes and a yoga mat or soft floor. Take your time, and do it at your pace.

27 – Pool Time

Staycation idea: at the pool on a watermelon pool inflatable.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

On vacation, so many of us enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool. So why not do the same one afternoon in a local pool, or at a nearby lake?

Take an inflatable with you, and watch the world go by as you relax on the waters. Read a book, relax, and sip a cool refreshing drink.

Being in the pool will help you unwind and enjoy your afternoon. It’s a great staycation idea.

28 – Cocktail Night

You don’t need to go to a fancy bar to drink exciting, refreshing cocktails. You can whip up some delicious alcoholic drinks from the comfort of your own home.

Search online for your favorite cocktails recipes, and order the ingredients. Watch some tutorials, and get creative with your cocktails.

But if you really want to learn from the best, definitely take a look at this mixology class from two award-winning bartenders, which you can do from the comfort of your own home.

A cocktail shaker (included in this mixology bartender kit) and some ornate glasses will really help make your kitchen feel like a snazzy rooftop bar!

Summer Staycation Ideas

29 – Set Up an Oasis in Your Own Backyard

Staycation idea: a couple in a backyard oasis in a hammock.
Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

The weather’s too good to be stuck indoors! With a little creativity, you can make your backyard feel like a tropical retreat on a paradise island.

Put up a comfortable hammock between two trees. Decorate your garden in moody lights. Add some funky touches, like outdoor bean bags or wooden ornaments.

Once you’re set up, you can sit back, relax, and feel as though you’re thousands of miles away in a secluded paradise hideaway.

30 – Kayaking

Staycation idea: kayaking.
lr.s/Shutterstock

The sound of trickling water. The vibrant green beauty around you. Kayaking is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in the sun.

If you don’t own a kayak, find a kayak rental company near you. Head out onto calm waters, and paddle through the beauty.

On your own, with your partner, or as a family, kayaking is an excellent way to get out of the house and enjoy a memorable afternoon.

31 – Paddleboarding

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try out paddleboarding at a nearby river or lake?

The feeling of standing on the board, water lapping against your toes, and sun against your skin, is so wonderful.

As with kayaking, it’s fun to do alone, as a couple, or with friends and family. Another fun and active staycation idea that’s sure to create some hilarious and memorable moments.

32 – Fishing

Fishing doesn’t just have to be a father-and-son activity. This is a staycation idea that’s good fun for the whole family.

If you don’t fish, make sure someone in your group knows how to fish. They can help everyone set up properly.

Enjoy the beauty and the tranquility, and hopefully, catch a big fish along the way!

33 – Local Beach Trip

If you live near the water, you don’t need to jet off to an exotic island for beautiful, sandy beaches.

Whether you want to explore beautiful nature or relax on the sand, a beach trip is a perfect staycation idea that’s fun and affordable.

Our cool beach gear essentials will make sure you have everything you need for a fun, safe, and memorable beach trip.

34 – Glamping

Looking out at the beautiful scenery from a glamping tent.
Jam Travels/Shutterstock

If camping is a little too rustic for you, glamping is a great alternative. You get all the positives of the outdoors, with more of the home comforts.

Find a local company that offers glamping in nearby places. It’s an enjoyable staycation for couples, friends, and families.

Productive Staycation Ideas

35 – Learn a New Skill

Maybe you’ve always wanted to cook gourmet food, learn how to draw, or start your very own online business.

Write down a few things you’d love to learn how to do. Find some courses online, and start practicing in the free time you have.

Masterclass is a great place to find some of the best online courses and learn from the pros. You’ll feel great, grow as a person, and have a brand new skill at the end of it.

Related: Fun & Practical Skills to Learn Online

36 – Redecorate Your Home Office

Staycation idea: home office redecorating.
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Bright, creative work environments help us feel inspired and motivated to work. You’ve seen so many beautiful home offices on Pinterest, so isn’t it time yours looked the same?

These work from home office essentials will give you plenty of inspiration to create a home office that looks and feels amazing.

37 – Volunteer

In life, we should always try to give back where we can. This is why volunteering can be a fulfilling way to spend a free afternoon or weekend.

There are so many ways to volunteer. Find a cause you’re passionate about, and help do your little bit to make the world a better place.

38 – Declutter

Inject some Marie Kondo magic in your life, and get your house looking clean and organized.

Start with your drawers, as they are often places we just dump things. Get some drawer organizers like these, and spend some time creating order in your drawers.

Next, have a look at your shoes. If you have too many lying around or your shoe rack isn’t big enough, get some stackable shoe containers like these and store the shoes you aren’t wearing for the season in a cupboard or wardrobe. You could also do the same for your purses by getting a purse organizer and storing them in size order.

If you’re constantly losing your jewelry, get yourself a jewelry box like this to sit on your desk or table and spend an afternoon or evening organizing everything from your earrings to necklaces.

Once you’ve got your accessories and shoes in order, then it’s time to get on top of all the clothes you have! Have a decluttering day where you make a pile of clothes you don’t wear anymore and donate them to charity. If you declutter and still have a lot of clothes, try hanging some of your pants, jeans, and scarfs on these space-saving hangers, so that you can create more room in your wardrobe for dresses, shirts, and tops.

Once you get into it, decluttering can be a fun, energetic way to spend an afternoon or evening. And once you’re done, you’ll feel far more calm and relaxed.

39 – Start a Side Project

Vacation time doesn’t always have to be about relaxing. You could use your free staycation time to bring one of your side hustle ideas to life.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a novel, become a graphic designer, start an Etsy shop, or create a clothing brand. What better time than now to pour your energy and passion into an exciting new venture?

There’s never a perfect time to start something new, so why not start now?

40 – Start a DIY Project

DIY is one of the best ways to learn new skills, channel your creativity, and make improvements around the house.

You could renovate old furniture, start an herb garden, or build a bird feeder for the backyard. There are so many ways to apply your energy and time around the house, and the reward factor that comes with creating or nurturing something with your own hands is very powerful.

More Staycation Ideas

If you’re still looking to get inspired to plan a memorable adventure closer to home, take a look at our additional staycation ideas below and see if anything ignites that fire to go forth and explore within you.

41 – Host Your Own Film Festival at Home

You can either gather your friends around your TV and cozy up on the couch, or get creative in the backyard with a sheet, projector, chairs, and plenty of drinks. Play some classic award-winning films, or host your own wild and whacky awards.

42 – Local Food Tour

Have a look for guided food tours in your own city and enjoy both the flavors and the sights, or head to a nearby farm, orchard, or vineyard in your region that do delicious tours of local dishes and produce. You can get started by searching for tours near you on Viator or GetYourGuide.

43 – Yoga Retreat

Sign up for a local or nearby yoga retreat, and reap the health benefits, mental benefits, and enjoy some much-needed time in a quiet, rural place.

44 – Play Museum Bingo

Use a spare day or weekend you have to visit local museums and art galleries in a nearby town or city, and see how many you can explore.

45 – Book a Weekend Hotel Stay

Kick back for a weekend of much-needed calm and tranquility. You can order room service and enjoy the hotel pool or spa to help you relax for some much-needed time to recharge, either on your own or with a partner or friend.

46 – Visit an Amusement Park

Go with family or friends, and enjoy a fun afternoon or full day of adrenaline-filled rides and Instagram-worthy adventures.

47 – Hike or Cycle a Local Trail

Stay active and enjoy some much-needed fresh air with this peaceful and enjoyable staycation idea. Book an overnight stay along the route to make a full weekend of it.

48 – Backyard Camping

Cook hot dogs, share ghost stories, and sing camp songs from the comfort of your own garden. Backyard camping is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors while having your home comforts close by.

49 – Spend a Night in a Tree House

Enjoy some alone time, take some books, do yoga, and take yourself back to childhood with this simple staycation idea.

50 – Visit a Certain Number of National Parks

Get out there and see the beauty within driving distance of your hometown. National parks have so much beauty and adventure to over, and over several weekends throughout the year, you can go on some truly memorable staycations.

51 – Take a Day Trip to a Local Park

Feed the ducks, explore the woodlands, and take drone footage (if allowed) of the park. Compile a beautiful montage video to mark your staycation in style.

Best Staycation Ideas

Staycations are a great way to take a holiday when you can’t travel abroad. Once you get inspired, there are so many things you can do.

It’s important to take holiday time, even if international travel is out of the question.

Don’t let that free time pass you by. Make a plan, come up with some ideas, and have an amazing time a little closer to home.

You’ll be amazed at how much fun and enjoyment you can have at home or in your local area.

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Save and Pin for Later

Keep these 51 staycation ideas in a safe place by pinning them to one of your Pinterest boards. That way, when you’re ready to start planning, you’ll be able to get inspired.

Staycation Ideas List

Images licensed via Shutterstock

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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