How To Plan a Staycation With the Grandkids

As much as you love spending time with your grandkids, it can sometimes seem a bit daunting to plan for their visits. Especially with the pandemic, we’ve all had to get a little creative when it comes to family vacations. 

But don’t put away that stunning swimsuit and beach hat just yet –– whether it’s because of budget factors and wanting to save money, personal choice, or any host of reasons, sometimes the best vacation is the one you have at home — and now is the perfect time for a staycation. 

Although we often dream of glamorous getaways, one thing is for certain: you don’t have to travel far to have a good time. To make sure you make the best of your staycation in your own city, we’ve prepared this handy guide of hacks, tricks, and fun ideas! 

Here’s how to plan a staycation that your grandkids will love.

Ask for Your Grandkids’ Input on Staycation Ideas

While it’s often true that adults know best, kids tend to have a lot to say when it comes to having a good time. To make sure your grandkids enjoy themselves, create a space for them to be honest about what activities they like and what they’re interested in doing. Create a list together ahead of time.

Maybe your kids want to have a poolside staycation. Or, maybe they’re dreaming of a beach staycation if you live in a coastal state like Florida, New York, or Hawaii. There’s only one way to find out! 

Go the Extra Mile

Especially when you’re dealing with older kids, it’s a good idea to allow them the freedom to plan one day by themselves! Set realistic limits –– in terms of staycation budget, safety, and other factors that are important to you –– and let them design a schedule with those in mind. 

If that schedule includes them having some time alone or seeing a friend, allow them the liberty to do so. Sometimes, kids need room to breathe. You will have plenty of time to spend together on other days. 

Check Out the Local Literature

Nowadays, there’s a lot more than just face-to-face interaction and personal experience to act as a local travel guide. Check out the bulletin boards at the library or grocery store, browse through local newspapers and catalogs, or do a simple Google search for the best road trips, AirBnbs, and local hotels in the area.

Go the Extra Mile

When in doubt, browse community forums on the web to see what other people suggest to do close to home. The internet is a great resource for checking which new restaurants and activities are a bust, and which are a must! 

Take Advantage of Local Sights

Even if you’ve lived in a place for a long time, you can always be surprised by all the things your area has to offer that you’ve never even known about! Take this as an opportunity to explore local sights –– museums, parks, nature preserves, shopping centers, restaurants, and anything else you can think of. Ask friends and family what they recommend; you’re sure to find something you never even knew about! 

Go the Extra Mile

We all have that one restaurant or attraction that we’ve always planned on seeing but never gotten around to. Make sure to check ahead of time for tickets or reservations to lock down the most coveted spots! 

Plan Day Trips

While movie nights and arts and crafts are plenty to fill a day with, you may find yourselves getting a bit stir-crazy after a while. Fight the indoor blues by planning at least one or two days a week in which you go out for a bit of adventure. It can be as simple as swapping out DVDs with a trip to the theater, or reading time with a museum! Or, maybe it’s putting on your spa wear and heading to the local sauna with the grandkids for a spa day.

Go the Extra Mile

There’s nothing like a bit of fun in the sun to lift everybody’s spirits! Throw on your favorite swimsuit or scoop neck swim dress and head to the nearest beach and soak up some much-needed rays. Make sure to pack a cover-up and some snacks for an afternoon picnic. Both of these ideas are also fantastic ways to stay active as you age and reconnect with your grandkids!

Work on a Project Together in Your Own Home

If your grandkids are staying with you for an extended period of time, it’s a great opportunity to begin a project that you can all tinker with and toil on as a team. This can be something as small as a three thousand-piece puzzle, or as ambitious as planting a vegetable garden

Work a bit on this project every day; if you don’t finish it, you can always return to it on the next visit. You can also decide to learn a new skill together –– it will be something that you and your grandkids carry with you for life!

Go the Extra Mile

This is also a great time to get creative together. If you have an old piece of furniture, get some furniture paint, glitter, buttons, and anything else you can think of to create a decorative masterpiece!

Take a Cooking Class

You’re never too old (or too young) to learn a new skill! Cooking together can be a wonderfully connective experience. Depending on your grandkids’ ages, it may also be time for them to take their first steps in the kitchen (something their parents will likely thank you for in the future). Whether you’re baking cookies or preparing a casserole, this activity is as useful as it is fun!

Go the Extra Mile

You don’t have to register for a cooking class to learn; nowadays, there are plenty of online lessons and tutorials at your fingertips with the help of the internet. You can read through a written-down recipe, or follow along with one of the many helpful cooking videos on YouTube (just make sure to check the comments first––they’ll let you know if it’s worth making)!

Go Out for Dinner

While there’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal, going out for dinner now and then will add a bit of a change of scenery to your vacation routine. You don’t have to go crazy on the budget to make your staycation feel special either. Most kids will jump at the chance for a fast-food treat or a trip to the drive-thru! Who knew that could be a travel destination?

Go the Extra Mile

If you feel the kids getting somewhat bored with their food options, there’s one thing that never fails: breakfast for dinner! Head to a local diner and watch the grin on their faces as they get away with eating a stack of pancakes past five pm!

Camp in the Backyard

You don’t have to travel to a national park to enjoy the outdoors. Sometimes you can do so in the comfort of your very own backyard! Many of us have fond memories of hitching a tent up on our back lawn and spending a night amongst the stars. You can make the night extra special by preparing burgers on the grill and s’mores over a campfire (if you don’t have a campfire, don’t worry; you can make s’mores in the oven!)

Go the Extra Mile

Movie nights are a classic staple of a staycation and aren’t to be underestimated. If you don’t mind a bit of a splurge, set up a movie projector in the backyard with a large screen and enjoy an entertainment experience like no other!

Final Thoughts

For both children and grandparents, it’s important to spend quality time together. In fact, time with family is crucial for a child’s development. Taking planes and trains to head out to exotic locales can be as expensive as it is exhausting. Sometimes, a comfortable staycation can be a welcome break from all the fuss.

Make the most out of your time at home together! Talk to your grandkids and your loved ones to plan an unforgettable staycation, using this list as your guide. And don’t forget the most important part: having fun!


The Importance of Free Time for Kids | Very Well Family

Role of Family in Child Development | Children's Bureau

Planting a Vegetable Garden | Garden