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Vacation not in your budget this summer? Stay-cation & mini-vacation ideas


I love seeing all my friends vacation photos, it’s almost like I’m there. And then again, I hate seeing them, I wish I ACTUALLY was! Like many of you, trips across country or states aren’t always in the budget for the summer. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to make it memorable for you and your family.

I’m taking a solo trip to L.A. in August for BlogHer16, so that doesn’t leave much more in the budget for a family vacation this summer. I’ve been thinking of fun mini-vacation/stay-cations we can do that wouldn’t be too costly.

Below you’ll find a list of cheap fun stay-cation/mini-vacations ideas for the folks that live in my neck of the woods(Pacific Northwest), or just simply fun ideas that should leave a lasting impression on your family!!

Any where in the world!!

  • Camping – most kids really enjoy camping and it is such an easy and relaxing getaway, that is fairly cheap, spend some quality time with your loved ones. If you aren’t comfortable sleeping in a tent, look for a campground with a yurt, cabin or even glamping. And if you aren’t comfortable with woods camping, try a KOA campground, cost a little more but I’m talking $10 more – where I was looking. KOA’s have things such a pool, nightly outdoor movie nights during summer, free breakfast, community firepit, and more – check your local KOA!
  • Any Waterpark or Theme Park near? Purchase a day pass, check online or local stores for discount tickets.
  • Tourist for a day in your home town – make an itenary and spend a whole day exploring your home town, pack a lunch/dinner to save some money or put local restaurants on your list, don’t forget to take posed pictures so it feels like your a tourist :)
  • Tourist in a nearby city – take a drive to a nearby city(if you live by one), make an itenary and spend a whole day exploring, pack a lunch/dinner to save some money or put local restaurants on your list, don’t forget to take posed pictures so it feels like your a tourist :)
  • Stay over night in a hotel! Just a night away from your house can make you feel like your on a very mini-vacation, a night away from reality, make sure it has a pool, bring games, do a scavenger hunt, bring popcorn and junk food and have a movie night.
  • Live by the coast? Map search if you live close to a lighthouse. Look into being a lighthouse keeper for a weekend.
  • A farm stay. Search the internet for any opportunities to live like a farmer for a weekend.
  • Save up to 50% off combined prices for admission to must-see attractions with CityPASS. Shop now!
  • Try to remember, kids are usually pretty easy to impress. Try doing something completely out of the ordinary; a huge ice cream sundae bar for dinner with a new movie, can’t go camping but eat all camp style foods for the whole day, ect.
  • Hold your own Family Olympics or Family Games – ex. carrying an egg on a spoon, watermelon eating contest, who can spit a mouth full of water the farthest….attach candy pieces to strings like a necklace for award ribbons


Only in the PNW!! 

  • Silverwood Theme Park – may be a little more of a drive for most, but it is an awesome waterpark/theme park with amazing prices and a lot less busy then Disneyland. They even have a campground if you want to save money and pitch a tent or RV. Purchase online or local stores for discount prices.
  • Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA Check the website for reservation and prices. This is an excellent idea for a mini-vacation, includes hotel room and water passes, bring in all your own food and drinks to save on meals and snacks.
  • Wildwaves & Enchanted Village – Fun little day trip
  • Remingler Farms this is the perfect place for families with little kids, not to mention on the way there park and view Snoqualmie Falls
  • San Juan Islands are so beautiful and lots to do; whale watching, hiking, boating, fishing, and tons more. Stay at an Inn, of Bed & Breakfast or a campground, many options. Not to mention different islands to stay on.
  • Canada – Victoria B.C. or Vancouver is not a far drive if you live in the PNW. Here is a great article from SoundsFunMom about what documents you need for traveling with kids to Canada.
  • Seattle, stay the weekend at one of the great hotels downtown, check out all the hot spots – the Space Needle, Seattle Center, Pike Place Market, Museums, Fremont Troll, Gum Wall, Seattle Underground Tour, Chihuly Garden, Seattle Great Wheel. If you’re a film buff, lots of filming locations in Seattle too.
  • Tacoma – less than 45 minutes South of Seattle, Tacoma is a very artsy town with beauty. Visit Ruston Way, amazing foods, Museums, LeMay Car Museum, home of the school on 10 Things I Hate About You and the house of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, the beautiful castle from Stephen Kings Rose Red!
  • Stay at a CASTLE in Port Townsend at the Manresa Castle! Not to mention Port Townsend is a beautiful little town, make sure to visit Glass Beach.
  • Hoehn Bend Farm – be a farmer for a weekend and stay at Hoehn Bend Farms in Sedro-Wolley
  • Be a lighthouse keeper in Washington; Point Robinson, New Dungeness, Point No Point, North Head & Brown’s Point.
  • Stay in a tree house at Tree House Point in Falls City
  • Leavenworth is great during the summer as well, float the river, walk around town, eat yummy foods
  • Weekend at Seaside, Oregon – while driving, take a quick break in Astoria and see the Goonies house and the Kindergarten Cop school. Seaside is a great(and popular) beach town, with a board walk, shops, outdoor activities and rentals, arcade and fun center.
  • Stay on a floating cabin at Ross Lake Resort in the North Cascades.


Just because you can’t afford a dream vacation every summer, doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing summer! Many options just right outside your home, you just need to think outside the box. Wishing you and your family a memorable summer!!

vacation not in budget, stay-cation mini-vacation ideas

*This post may contain affiliate links, however all opinions are my own.


Krista Aoki

Tuesday 31st of January 2017

Hey Tabitha! Omg a farm stay! That is such a great unique idea - on my goals list next time I travel somewhere.

Apple Capital Loop Trail

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

Those are some great ideas. It's true, there are so many options for entertainment all around us. We don't really always need to take off for a far away destination. Thanks for all the tips!


Sunday 10th of July 2016

I love this! We had a staycation over spring break. We went to local beaches, a marine park, went out for burgers and ice cream, out to the ocean. It was amazing.

Tuesday 12th of July 2016

Sounds perfect!! I am so thankful we live in an area that we can easily do all that!!