For most kids, summer means days of endless play, afternoons and late nights spent swimming. Some kids are even lucky enough to go on one or more family vacations during those warm summer months, something that can really make for an exciting week or two.
That said, even if your family can’t make it out of town for a true vacation this year, there are ways to give kids that same family vacation experience without ever leaving home. Below are five awesome “staycation” ideas that will bring the family together and give everyone that wonderful vacationing vibe.
#1: HOMETOWN HOTEL STAY
Sometimes one of the most fun parts of vacationing is sleeping in a new place. Many people feel that a staycation will never be the same as a vacation because they are spending each night in their own bed. However, staying in your own town doesn’t have to mean sleeping in your own bed.
For a fun, close-to-home experience, consider reserving a room at a local hotel. Spend the afternoon swimming in the hotel pool, and the evening watching pay-per-view movies in your comfy hotel bed. Wake up the next morning to a continental breakfast buffet and head out to do something fun downtown.
This is a great way to start your family staycation and really get everyone into the vacation mood.
#2: BACKYARD CAMPING
Another fun way to get out of your own bed and experience the thrill of sleeping in a strange place is to go on a backyard camping trip. Pitch a tent, roll out the sleeping bags, and set up a fire pit. Spend the evening roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, singing campfire songs, telling stories, and staring up into the star-lit summer sky.
Backyard camping gives you most of the perks of a real camping trip without the hassle of packing, driving to a site, and braving the camp port-a-potty Your family will have a blast, and you can cook breakfast in your own kitchen.
#3: STATE PARK VISITS
If you’re a fan of the State Park system, Northern Michigan is a great place to live. For a fun addition to your family vacation, consider visiting one of the nearby state parks parks for a day of exploring.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is just a few miles outside of the city and truly delivers when it comes to family fun and entertainment. Long stretches of paved bike trails, beautiful golden beaches, Pyramid Point, M-22, the Manitous, and so much more.
Leelanau State Park, located at the tip of the little finger on the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula, has more than 1,300 acres waiting for visitors to explore. The park showcases the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum and includes 8.5 miles of hiking trails and a picnic area with a pavilion.
For a longer drive, consider the Tunnel of Trees on M-119. The scenic road winds from Harbor Springs, (north of Petoskey) to Cross Village. The Tunnel of Trees, ranked among the most scenic roads in the nation, is beautiful four seasons a year – so bring your camera. Spring sees morels and trillium carpeting the forest floor. Summer brings a thick green canopy that turns red and gold in autumn. In winter, views of the icy lake open up.
A day at a state park is a great way to bring the family together and ensure everyone has a good time. With so many amazing parks nearby, this is a definite must-do during your staycation time.
#4: MUSEUM HOPPING
Another attraction that Northern Michigan offers are its unique museums. You may think museums are dull and uninteresting, but in Northernm Michigan that is anything but true. A visit to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum on West Bay is sure to thrill the kids. One of our favorites is the Dennos Museum Center at NMC. The Dennos Museum’s Discovery Gallery offers “hands on” interactive experiences related to the arts and sciences for children and adults. The Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan is a place for children and adults to explore science, history, and art. The exhibits vary, so call or check their website to see what’s coming next!
A museum visit is a wonderful way to amp up the fun during your staycation, and as an added bonus, your kids may even get in a bit of education while they’re having fun.
#5: FAMILY NIGHTS
Sometimes a family needs a chance to come together and unwind. A staycation is the perfect opportunity to do just that. By using one of your staycation evenings as a family game night or movie night, you will give your loved ones an opportunity to reconnect in a fun, relaxed environment. This is something that can be hard to come by in today’s busy world, so scheduling it into your staycation is an absolute must.
With a bit of planning, your family can have a blast this summer without ever leaving home. Pick and choose some ideas from the list above, and maybe add a few of your own. Whatever you do, make sure to take pictures, smile a lot, and have a wonderful time with those you love!