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7 Ideas for Planning the Perfect Staycation

Some of us are lucky enough to take a vacation every year, where that’s just not an option for others. No matter if you are going on vacay or staying home for the rest of the summer, there are little things you can do to have a wonderful ‘Staycation’ right where the military has planted you. What you need are staycation ideas.

With us moving as often as we do, or even if you’ve lived at your current duty station for several years, you can never know ALL there is to know about your town. I encourage you to explore where you live and immerse yourself in your (current) community.

Here are a week’s worth of activities and staycation ideas to make your week off just right. 

1. Hit up the next town over

If you’ve explored all there is to do in your hometown (you haven’t, but okay), go to the next town over. Even the smallest of towns have something unique that you can’t find anywhere else. Hop on the town’s Visitors Bureau website to research town festivals, where locals recommend having breakfast and dinner, cool shops, art galleries and museums. If it’s adults only, look up nearby wineries and/or breweries for tastings. If kids are in tow, homemade ice cream shops are a must. 

2. Stay at a local hotel

No pool? No problem! Book a room at a local hotel with great amenities and take advantage of their pool! You get all the feels of being on vacation, while knowing that you’re close to home in case you forget something. Best of all: No cleanup!

3. Remember that free place called "the library?"

When’s the last time you’ve checked the schedule of events at your local library? They’re often chock-full of interesting activities. You’ll find all kinds of new hobbies to be introduced to (our library has a quilting, knitting, writing and cooking classes!) and there’s just as much available for adults as there are kids.

4. Progressive Dinner Date

How about a date night staycation ideas? Choose three local restaurants that you’ve had on your list to try that are in close proximity to each other. Instead of having dinner at just one place, visit a different restaurant for each course -- appetizer, entrée and dessert. I recommend having cash on hand for a quick check-out process, rather than paying with a credit/debit card. If you’d like to involve your kids, maybe do a Dessert Crawl where they can try mini-sizes of desserts (pro-tip: do this around lunch rather than dinner to avoid them being hyped up at bedtime).

5. Camp Out in the backyard

Okay, well I don’t camp (as in stay overnight in a tent), but I do like all the activities that lead up to sleeping in a tent! Invite the neighbors and friends over to roast hot dogs and s'mores over a fire pit. Play some games and get the slip n slides out for the kids (or the adults that are still kids at heart). You choose whether you pack it up to sleep in your bed or go all out with a night under the stars.

6. Explore nearby National Parks

Military and their dependents get a free annual pass to all National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands. Take advantage of that by researching what National Parks are near your home and take a day trip to explore, if one is close enough. Sites that are considered a National Park vary from beaches to historical homes, outdoor activities and more.

7. Picnic in a new park

If exploring a National Park isn’t your thing then keep it simple with a picnic! Level it up by keeping it a surprise from your family. Blindfold them, load them in the car and head to a park that you’ve never visited. Pack their favorite snack (or drive-thru to keep it simple) and some easy activities -- a ball, Frisbee and bubbles for the little ones. Unexpected and simple surprises create memorable, special days that may just become a family tradition!

Bonus staycation ideas:

Check the events of your military installations Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR). They often have many family friendly activities that can add lots of fun to your already best staycation week ever!"

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