What’s your ultimate staycation? Enter the Xbox Staycation Sweepstakes!

Xbox 360Like for so many, this is our year of the staycation. We're great lovers of travel, but for a number of reasons, big trips just aren't in the cards right now. For Winter break, I'm busy compiling lists of local (preferably cheap) activities about town, dusting off our museum and zoo memberships, and keeping an eye out for easy half-day trips from Portland.  

I admit I'm a little nervous about it. It's one thing to explore our fair city during the (mostly) sunny summertime, but two weeks with no specific plans in cold, rainy Portland can start feeling a bit claustrophobic. My ideal stay-at-home vacation involves lots of hiking and wandering and adventuring and spontaneous "Let's go!"'s…but the weather may motivate me to take a second look at our board game and DVD collection. Neighbors over for cocoa, fort-building, baking, lots of holiday lights-ogling, that sort of thing.

What about you? What's your ideal staycation? (I need all the help I can get in the idea department.)

By a stroke of luck, this conversation — which I was planning to have anyway — fits perfectly into a fantastic giveaway sponsored by Federated Media and the Xbox 360 team. To enter, share your ultimate staycation ideas in the comments of this post. One lucky winner (chosen at random) gets the Ultimate Xbox Bundle: An Xbox 360, a Gold Live subscription and three family-friendly Xbox games.

So how about it? How do you turn "not going anywhere this year" into "we had an amazing local vacation!"?

Fine print: Comments will be open until December 16, 2009, 11:59pm EST/8:59pm PST. The winner will be announced later this week. You must be at least 18 to enter, and a legal resident of the U. S. You are permitted one entry per day.


  1. carriem says

    I live in Salem, so while I sympathize, I’m not the ultimate Portland expert. If you want some fun places to go a little south: Gilbert House Museum. Riverfront Park and Carousel. Capitol Building (especially at Christmas time, Feb 14th, or in the Summer). Oregon Garden. Come visit!

  2. Karen says

    We’re thinking about this for January (this is in MN). We have a two-year-old. We’d go to the Children’s Museum one day and probably the Como Flower Garden another day (warmth! flowers!). Then, because her grandfather has everything and goes ice fishing, we’d go with him. Yes. We are planning on sitting around a hole in the ice. :) If not that, then sledding. Then we’d lounge and watch movies the rest of the time (which is really what we all wanted to do in the first place, since it’s winter and currently -4F).

    (also – Preview doesn’t work in the Chrome browser).

  3. says

    How perfect is this giveaway? One of my favorite low-budget holidays is staying home, ordering takeout, and playing video games with my husband while my three year old watches enthusiastically. (We’re all gamers here.) And of course there’s always the classic stand-bys like museums and zoos and such, and living in Las Vegas gives us a fair bit of free sight-seeing and cheaper-for-locals things to do as well.

    jibssa at gmail dot com

  4. says

    What a great give-away for this year! Yeah, travel is not really in the cards…

    We, too, will be checking out zoos and museums, and living in far-too-hot-and-icky South Florida, we also have the option of going to the beach between thunderstorms.

    I like the idea of spending some extra time on Christmas-light-viewing – I’m going to appropriate that one!

    My teenage son, of course, says “Staying home playing XBox”! :)

  5. Amy H. says

    We live in the DC area. My kids’ favorite thing to do when they have a day off from school is to have a “pajama day” where no one gets dressed and we stay home. That is fun for awhile, but it drives me a little crazy. So usually, I come up with a list of things we could do, and we pick one each day. They include – seeing a movie, going ice skating, going to a museum (free in DC!), making breakfast for each meal of the day, and going swimming at a local rec center. At the holiday time, it’s easy to throw in a few others like go see some Christmas lights or go into DC to see the national Christmas tree. Inviting friends over for a meal and to play is always a good one, too.

  6. Robyn says

    With several inches of snow, below zero temperatures and a healthy layer of ice on everything, a staycation is all we’re able to do these days. (one day it will be warm, one day it will be warm, one day it will be warm) I have a two year old and we like to bake things together. I will load up the measuring spoons and he’ll dump them. Counting as we go. We’ll also try new things (playing with shaving cream, making playdough, building forts and any other ideas I can find on Parent Hacks. When it’s not quite so cold, we will visit the zoo. Indoor jungle, Desert Dome, aquarium. Plenty of indoor things to do at the zoo.

  7. kylee says

    I’m new to my city, so my ultimate staycation would be to check out all of the great bike trails and maybe canoe down the river!

  8. Ginger says

    Our perfect staycation would involve lots of snow falling Christmas Eve so we could have fun playing in it on Christmas day. At least if my daughter got her way! :-) Afterwards we would all sit around the fireplace playing games and sipping hot cocoa with peppermint ice cream from our favorite local ice cream joint, Handels. We also love the Indianapolis Children’s Museum’s Yule Slide. It’s a “can’t miss” every year!

  9. says

    I’ve made a list of some fun places we don’t often visit in Atlanta. I use it in the summer to ease the stay-cation doldrums, but could pull it out as easily in the winter. Ideally, I’d do lots outdoors too. Interestingly, my list for summer is mostly indoors b/c our weather is worse then than it is now!

  10. says

    We live in the Washington DC metro area and there is a ton of stuff to do here. I’d love for us to go into DC and act like tourists. We’d take one of the trolley tours and visit all of the museums (which are FREE!). I’d have my camera in tow and snap away the whole time. We could even bring a picnic lunch to eat on the mall in front of the Capital. We really want to see everything before we move away one day.

  11. Emily says

    With all the hassle of planning our visits to family this Christmas with our 6.5 month old, we’ve already decided that next year we will stay home! Enjoy our tree, cuddle up and watch some movies, and our favorite- play games! My husband has been pining for the XBox 360, so that would be great!

  12. Barbara says

    We’re planning on spending our “staycation” looking for a new house in Northern Virginia! Lots of time for hoping, dreaming, and planning as a family while we visit every place we can find for sale in our area!

  13. Dan says

    my family just joined two museums and now have access (via reciprocal memberships) to about ten within an hour or so drive.

  14. Heather says

    I think it can feel like a vacation, staying home, if you permit yourself to ignore the niggling little tasks that normally occupy you there. Of course, you still need to eat, have clean clothes, etc… but shake it up, have fun and take time to relax. We like to play lots of games with our sons (who are big into video games) and do lots of day trips, geocaching or just hiking and exploring new areas.

  15. says

    Staycation. Hot chocolate, White Christmas, a trip to their grandparents house, a walk downtown where we also catch a ride on the trolley. The kids love it.

  16. Karin says

    My daughters’ favorite Staycation is to go to a city playground that we’ve never been too before. (we live in LA) We pack a picnic lunch – there’s new things to explore and new friends to meet. Seems to work for both my 6 year old and my 2 year old. My 6 year old keeps a running tab on which playgrounds have which equipment and which is her “favorite”.

  17. Caro says

    As a working parent in a two working parent home, a staycation would be evenly split between spending some quality time with my hubby while the kids are at daycare, and keeping one or the other kid home to do special one-on-one adventures. My oldest daughter (4) is just learning to like cooking, so I think we would bake cookies and decorate them as gifts for family. My youngest is only 18 months, but I think a day of playing with Mommy and Daddy would be good for her. She’s not really used to ever getting full attention for any period of time.

  18. Jennifer says

    Don’t forget the library! Also, a fun thing our family does is “Get Lost!” We pack some food and just start driving around town. The kids yell “Turn Left!” “Turn Right!” Add a round or two of I Spy and you’ve got a few hours of family fun!

    Thank you for the great give-away!

  19. says

    I recently learned that I can redeem my airmiles for attractions! So I’ve redeemed passes for the CN Tower, Black Creek Pioneer Village and have plans for the Science Centre.

    It’s also a great time to set up playdates with friends that we don’t see very often.

    I’m also thinking that we’ll do a photo scavenger hunt. I’ll make a list of things I know we can find in our neighbourhood, then we’ll head out with our cameras. I’ll also continue with something I started when in Seattle. I took my kid’s little Eeyore toy and posed him in various places on my travels.

    The local conservatory is free and a great place to strip down to t-shirts and jeans. Same goes for the butterfly conservatory. My daughter refers to both of these places as ‘the jungle’.

    And my city has a program for Museum and Art Passes, allowing you to get a family pass for certain attractions for FREE at local libraries: http://programs.torontopubliclibrary.ca/listings/map/

  20. says

    The ideal staycation for me would mean taking a fresh look at my city (Philadelphia) and viewing it like a tourist would. There are wonderful things to do here that most residents ignore. I’ve worked within a few blocks of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for three years, and never visited either one, for example. So that’s how I’d spend a staycation.

  21. Pat says

    We have the same program here at the libraries in Phoenix(I know don’t hate me!) It is a great way to visit the local attractions without spending a lot of cash.I love the “Get Lost” Idea too! Sounds like a fun time!

  22. says

    Some things I’d do in winter: have an indoor snowball fight, crumple up pieces of paper and throw them at each other; make forts like you said; visit the children’s museum; make a try at the art museum and have the kids tell you what they think of the paintings and sculptures.
    Research small local attractions, one of the suburbs of Austin has a little welcome center/museum that is fun to look through and is almost free.
    Buy some of the little cereal boxes and pretend you’re in a hotel. Put mints on the pillow.

  23. Tamrah T. says

    We’ve discovered many of our neighbors are opting to stay at home over the holidays, as we are. Staying home means taking a walk around the neighborhood looking at the lights, inviting the neighbors over for a potluck, and revisit all the board games that have collected a year of dust.

  24. says

    Taking time off to just hang out, fix up house projects that need some care, and begin planting our massive garden (seed starting time is coming up!)

  25. AmyWN says

    Our great staycation this year, was taking a little time off work and visiting all the places in our town that we only go to on special occasions all in a week or so – the waterpark, “big” zoo, all of our favorite museums. Doing all together in a shorter time made the kids feel like we were on a vacation.

  26. James says

    I live in Rochester, NY, so playing in the snow with the kids is pretty good.

    I did that during my day off last Thursday and it was awesome!

  27. Robert in SF says

    I would say my ideal staycation would be to tourist up the town I live in, San Francisco. I never take advantage of the sights here although I do with other cities when I travel!

    Oh and a spa day somewhere in the latter part, just to relax a little! Oh and have a maid service come in while I am out on the last day, to have the place spotless and the laundry/dishes done when I get back! :D

  28. says

    OK – don’t think my last one posted… I’ve always wanted to do an indoor campout – fire in fireplace for roasting marshmellows, entire family sleeping in living room in play tents..

  29. says

    We are planning on staying home for the holidays. Before Christmas we will be making Christmas cookies, watching Christmas movies and playing games. (Mostly while mommy wraps and gets things ready ;) ) But then after Christmas, we will be heading to the local Children’s Museum, the VA Art Museum for a special kids class and we bought tickets to watch a local play. Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get some snow too. But I doubt it.

  30. Peter says

    We’re around DFW so we have a good variety of things from which to choose. One plan I have is to hit the newly remodeled Fort Worth Museum of Science and Natural History. It was pretty good before, but has now expanded to include more exhibits and has a CSI exhibit that I think my kid will appreciate. The weather is fickle, but if the days are a reasonable temperature, we’ll bike around a bit. We’ll probably also hit the library and pick up some reading material and enjoy a lot of story time. We’ll also play games – video and board. I personally like the idea of staying home and not having to travel – just wish it happened like that a little more often. :)

  31. says

    My husband works swing shift and there are many days when I see him for 15 minutes in the morning and then not again til the next morning…or for an hour in the evening and then not again til the next evening. My ultimate staycation would be any extended amount of time I could spend with him and our 5 month old baby girl. If there could also be good food, a walk in the woods or our city’s historic downtown, and an evening spent curled up by a fire with s’mores…perfection!(Apologies if this comment appears more than once, the preview function acted funky and I had to hit my back button!)

  32. Silly says

    This year we decided to really do the 25 days of Christmas. Every night we do something wintery. Their dad and the kids Wii challenge, hot chocolate 1 night, Xmas movies marathon, decorating the outside, decorating the inside and then the tree another night. We also did a craft that took two nights. Mine are 9, and 11 so they are able to really take part, remember the moments and give us ideas as to what they want to do. Of course, then they end with so when I get (blank) we can do this and I really hope Santa brings me this and this. Thanks for an awesome blog!
    sillyblissX4 at gmail dot com

  33. Valerie says

    My husband has some time off between New Year’s and Christmas, and we’re planning on wearing pajamas and playing video games while our 10-month-old naps. It’s hard to travel with a baby so we’re looking forward to relaxing at home!

  34. says

    Here in the Philadelphia suburbs, a good staycation would include taking advantage of some of the city’s cultural attractions (e.g., museums). In the summer, when outdoor activities are more enjoyable, we visit local gardens, arboretums, and farms, bringing picnic lunches with us and making a day of it. During the winter, I’d say that at least one staycation day MUST be an “all-jammie” day–with popcorn and hot cocoa and movies and just lounging around the house together. Cooking together (especially cookies, with are easy for kids to help with and fun for everyone to eat!) is also a must.

  35. says

    I love staying home as a family. There are always a ton of things to do around the house, for one thing, and i’d love to make Christmas cookies as a family this year. And go out to eat food that I have not had a hand in preparing. That one is important. :)

  36. says

    My ideal staycation is cleaning the apartment at the start of the vacation/before the vacation, cooking up a mess of food, and then enjoying the clean home and available food for a few days–relaxing, reading, doing yoga, walking my dogs with my husband, going bowling, and taking photos of a local nature trail.

  37. says

    We take advantage of all of the local free events. In the summertime there are some great local parks and farms, where there are animals to feed. We visit a local state park where there is a free sprayground. We also like to head to the library for the free summer events. As a special treat, we like to go to Great Wolf Lodge for 1 night. It isn’t free or a long vacation, but the kids love it and always remember it as the best part of the summer (or winter)!

  38. says

    My staycation this year will involve having our 15 year old daughter come stay with us for 2 weeks. (My hubby “adopted her” when her own father decided to be a jerk — so we get to have her for breaks and such) Saturday night we are going to get Chik-fil-a sandwiches and drive through a “locally famous” subdivision who decorate like crazy. We do this yearly. We might also head over to an Amish town near us to ride the huge carousel while I’m on vacation. Oh, and I’ve heard rumors that we’ll be test driving some ice skates (the 4 year old is convinced he knows how to skate).

    A staycation is all about the little things. Not having to do anything huge, but getting out of the house often enough you do not suffer cabin fever.

  39. Judy B says

    I’m going to have a staycation the first week in January because our day care is closed. I have no idea what I’ll do to keep our 18 month old busy and keep myself sane. Maybe some day trips to see friends if the weather holds…

  40. sally says

    our staycation will be over the christmas holidays. we would have liked to go skiing, but it is too expensive. we will be visiting local museums and looking at holiday lights.

  41. silver says

    I’m stuck at home with my two kids a lot because my family only has one car. Crafts are a lifesaver for me! Any time my son gets antsy, I print off a coloring page. He runs to the printer to grab it and starts coloring. Or I cut out shapes from construction paper and give him a glue stick to stick them onto another piece of paper.

    Not really “staycation” material, but it does entertain.

  42. says

    My ultimate Staycation is hitting any of the numerous ski resorts in the area and snowboarding all day and then picking up pizza on the way home. And hiring someone to clean my house while I am gone.

  43. says

    We live North of Orlando but South of Daytona. We started to just drive around and stop anywhere that looked interesting. We found a little mom and pop ice cream shop that has the most delicious homemade ice cream, a very nice and affordable bistro, tucked away parks, etc. It’s just like going to a new city right in our backyard!!

  44. steve says

    our ultimate stacation would be to drive to a local vineyard and have a picnic. i hope i win the XBox.

  45. christina fitzgerald says

    in chicago, i would like to get a hotel room downtown and go to museums, theater, and restaurants that are normally hard to go to.

  46. says

    We live close to Chicago and there are a ton of things to do that are just a train ride away. But, really, sometimes my ultimate staycation, is finding a ton of things to do in which we don’t even have to leave the house or change out of our PJs. Movie marathons. Cookie backing. Gingerbread house making. Game night. Camping in the basement. Planning one cool thing a day/for a week, to do at home, for almost free sounds great to me.

  47. Therese Green says

    We are having a staycation this year and I am thrilled. I hope we can hang out, watch our 4 kids play nicely, take naps and just relax. Maybe get to the city once…

  48. Jess says

    For my family it would simply be ignoring the daily grind and focusing on each other. Maybe each family member could plan an activity…

  49. says

    How about some volunteer work? If my kids were old enough, I’d dig making them do some manual labor in the name of helping others or just serving in a food kitchen line. Anything to get us out of our charmed little bubble would be a fantastic use of time.

  50. Dallas says

    We enjoy taking a map and having the kids pick places within a certain radius… say 20 miles. That radius includes the nearest large city, with botanical gardens and the Children’s Museum, and also many rural areas which include national and state parks.

    We also enjoy showing the kids some “classic” movies, ones they have never seen before, playing video games, and reading books aloud.

  51. AnneSD says

    Our perfect staycation would be going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the Genghis Khan exhibit (again), doing public skate on the ice at DU, and then hitting the Zoo for Zoo Lights.

  52. says

    I like to go out for day, take a picnic and my camera and pretend I’m a professional photographer. It makes whatever I see seem more important and gives me a new way to relate to my artistic side… A pad of paper and a pencil (dressed in black – of course! ;-)) does something similar but you get the added benefit of having other people relate to you differently too.

    My husbands ideal is a movie-marathon. Like watching all of the Lord of the Ring movies, extended edition, back to back, followed by a videao-game marathon!

    We live in South Jersey, so we also have a ton of options with A.C., Phily, Rehoboth Beach DE, New York and even Baltimore’s not that far away… Longwood garden south of Philly is a super favorite.

  53. says

    Definitely hit up the tourism websites for your city. It will give you some ideas of places that you frequently overlook. Also, go to restaurant.com and buy some gift certificates to restaurants you have never tried. You could also purchase an entertainment book if they are made for your city. You absolutely must plan one fun thing to do each and every day. That will give you a good mix of down time and fun time. Go to the movies, play indoor goofy golf, find a weird thrift store and check it out. Also, if your budget allows for it, hire a cleaning service for your home! Woo hoo!

  54. sheldon says

    A homemade cup of hot chocolate along with a round of ODST Halo…. i’m on a PS3 now, but would LOVE the chance to join the real gaming world and have some time away from classes! :-)

  55. liz says

    what wonderful ideas!

    Our circle of friends have begun a $10 “supper club.” Every week, those available/interested pay $10 that goes into a kitty. One chef is selected/elected and they use said funds to make a dynamite meal for everyone at week’s end. The challenge is that the chef makes a deliciously filling meal AND tries to save as much of the kitty as possible. At the end of the year, we donate that extra money to our local food bank. It is great to hear about all the little cost-saving cheats everyone comes up with and of course, spending time with friend-family is always a win.

  56. Aliza says

    My teenage daughter and I like to have a whole bunch of snacks and stay in to watch either a movie marathon or a series ofLifetime movies. We make a day of it.

  57. says

    Our perfect staycation is at home in front of the fire, enjoying seeing Christmas through the eyes of our children, while we clear our thoughts of the stresses of everyday life. With a 10-month old and a two year old, the magic comes alive every morning as they rush to the tree hoping for some signs that Santa may have been there. We look forward to our staycation next week so that we can hang around in our jammies, while we watch the baby open and shut the same cabinet (just to make sure it’s still the same each time), as the 2 year old rolls around under the tree singing carols to the blinking lights. We’ll eat cookies for breakfast and watch Rudolph instead of napping. Seeing Christmas through their eyes puts the magic back into it for all of us, and we look forward to a week together at home this year!

  58. Will says

    We will be taking the kids to a local National park and unplugging ourselves from the computer for awhile. Its nice to get back to nature and breathe some fresh air every once in awhile.

  59. says

    My ultimate staycation would include a trip to the KC zoo, a stop for frozen custard, filming our own puppet show and watching a great pixar movie with hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace.

  60. Janet says

    For us a great staycation is definitely having a good movie in the DVD. Also pulling out toys my sons haven’t played with in awhile and really investing the time to get involved in their imaginary world is always satisfying. We have a great local art studio for small children that keeps them occupied for a good 4 hours. This time of year baking and making cookies is always great fun too.

  61. says

    We’re actually taking a real vacation during Winter break this year traveling to Williamsburg, Va. for a few days with my wife’s mom and step-dad. But, for the handful of days we’ll also be home, I am planning to help our two kids weed through their toy collection to make room for their Christmas gifts. It will also be nice to spend a bit more time at our local library, which, incidentally, also offers free family passes to a couple of local museums that might be worth checking out, even if their exhibits aren’t really geared toward the preschool set. I think the kids might also enjoy having their neighborhood friends over for some play time, and I wouldn’t mind taking in a movie, perhaps Princess and the Frog or Planet 51.

  62. Robin says

    We’re hoping to do this between Christmas and New Years. I’m hoping that maybe we’ll get to SF to see the lights before they’re taken down with a few days of sleeping in mornings, snuggly warm afternoons of movies and general lazing about.

  63. Katy says

    I would love a stay-cation where we stay at home and play board games, watch movies, bake cookies etc. but my energetic 3 year old gets crazy being housebound after a while. If we stayed home for the holidays we’d probably do some half day trips to the aquarium, the zoo, the children’s museum, the jumping place etc. It’s also fun to split up and do stuff one-on-one with each kid sometimes (something I rarely get to do during the year).

  64. sharonevans4@gmail.com says

    You can have Mommy/daughter time and Daddy/son time (or vise versa) even at home. Just specifying this time together as such makes the kids feel special. Make a craft, paint nails, cook, play games, build something, explore in a closet, look at old photos or videos with just ONE child. It’s fun for all.

  65. Kristin says

    As the mother of a toddler and a 4 month old, I’d love to sleep 8 uninterrupted hours and then catch up on some reading. And then play with the kids, of course!

  66. Daffiney says

    My husband and I both have to work on and off during our vacation, so we can’t go on any long trips. We decided to stay home and invite people over as much as possible. I love to cook and it’s rare to have time to sit down and talk these days, so I’m hoping they’ll bring some vacation to us!

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  67. says

    Work gave me a 2 month paid-leave (aka sabbatical), to which I added 3 weeks vacation time. I had heard of co-workers who had used the time to do missionary work or travel. I took a slightly different approach. About 3 months after I went back to work my wife took a 2-week leave from work and did a bunch of work around the house. She later commented that she accomplished more in the first week then I did in my nearly 3 months off. So I said “yep, that was the plan”.


  68. says

    My perfect staycation…well we do these all the time and we love them. I think we are so successful in them because we live in San Diego and, let’s face it, it’s a PERFECT tourist place and there is a plethora of things to do!

    We like to sleep in as much as possible then I get up and make a hearty breakfast; usually if we are staycationing for a week we’ll go out for breakfast maybe once or twice.

    One of the days is typically a “do nothing” day which we just stay home, locked in our house, phones turned off, and just enjoy each other’s company. The other days we have picnics at a nearby lake, and we always plan one real “touristy” day like Sea World or the Zoo (we have the best ones around you know!).

    I LOVE staycations! No packing, no tiring travel the first and last days, and just pure enjoyment of each others!

  69. says

    Its funny that the giveaway for the staycation involves an Xbox. I’ve been a gamer myself since I was a kid. Now, my twins are finally getting to the age where they can start playing games with me. My son will sit on map and help work the keyboard when I’m playing D&D online. He helped make the characters and gets to choose which one to play. Both he, and my daughter, have been practicing with the xbox controller. We like to play Castle Crashers together.

    Problem is, I work late. By the time I get home and we eat, there isn’t much time to play before its off to bath and bed for them.

    So for me, part of my ideal staycation would be having extra time to spend with the kids. Playing the xbox, the pc, board games, etc. We’re always on the run on weekends, and it would be just nice to spend some time with them doing the things I normally only have time for after they go to sleep.

  70. Celeste O says

    I live in MN. I love to go to the zoo, which has a conservatory. It’s so warm in there I forget it’s winter. Also there’s Mall of America for just walking around and people watching. I also like to stay in and watch a movie with my family or bake some cookies together and play some board games.

  71. Rona says

    We like to hang around the house mostly. But, over Thanksgiving weekend, we went on a family adventure and took the bus downtown (Seattle) and took the new streetcar, then the lightrail to the airport and the bus to Southcenter Mall and had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Did a little shopping and went home the way we came. It was quite an adventure for my 5 & 2 year olds.

  72. Kate says

    I live near DC, so a staycation for us would involve day trips to see some of the museums, monuments, and other notable sites that we take for granted because we live so close to them.

  73. AnEmily says

    Staycation for me involves being warm. If I have to stay home, then I guess that means turning up the heat and snuggling up in bed with some movies about warm places!

  74. Melissa says

    Invite neighborhood kids over, make puppets, and put on a puppet show!

    Bake bake bake.

    Cardboard box/blanket/sofa cushion forts.

    Cut out pictures from magazines and glue them to paper to make our own picture books.

    Invent new board games from old ones.

    Play outside as much as possible!

  75. says

    I live in northern Colorado, which isn’t as cold and snowy as you’d think. At least we get breaks where the weather warms up. I’m looking forward to ice skating, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, tubing, the children’s museum and lots of other fun things we don’t normally get to do with the hustle and bustle of school and work.

  76. Lisa says

    My ultimate staycation involves lots of sleep, premade meals, movies and a visit to the local museums. Another thing would be making cookies or some craft and stopping by friends’ houses for a short visit to drop off the gift. Maybe add some caroling?

  77. says

    I get just as much thrill out of staying in town with the girl child as I do traveling. Some days it’s a mellow day of board games, movies and video games, others it’s a walk to a local hill for some sledding and snowball fights.

    If she starts getting antsy, we’ll go roller skating or ice skating (plenty of outdoor places here for that) and I’ve finally picked her up a snowboard, so that’s on the books as well.

    I think I really would have been better off just listing activities kids do and you’d have gotten the picture.

    I do love the Portland area, though (can’t wait to go back!)

  78. says

    The perfect staycation with kids…I think the best thing to do is to be a local tourist. Here in SF, there are so many things that tourists come to see that I have never seen – museums, historical spots and landmarks, local parks, etc. A staycation would be a great opportunity to do the touristy things – especially because home is nearby for resting!

  79. Art says

    Go to a hotel or other attraction and find the standee holding local tourist attractions. You know the ones that locals never get around to visiting and pick a couple to hit. There are always attractions that I have never heard of or just not gotten around to visiting.

    Here in Portland take a look at the max route and find interesting things to do at stops you have never visited. For example The 153rd stop in Beaverton drops you at a trail head for the Tualatin valley nature park. Paved and dirt trails and a very nice interpretive center. Or take the Max to the airport and have lunch and watch the planes or people watch.

    But mostly take time from the daily grind to enjoy time with friends and family.

  80. says

    My family and I are focusing more on serving others this Christmas and beyond the New Year. We are one of the lucky families that has not been severely impacted by the economy and are working with other families to gather clothing, bedding, and other necessities for our local Family Crisis Center.
    All the kids involved have found clothes of their own to donate, washed and folded all the items, and have contacted others to add to the bags upon bags we’ve received thus far. It’s brought out not only the Christmas spirit, but the spirit of service in all those who have participated!

  81. Jose says

    We recently moved and can finally have a dog. So during our staycation we will be researching the different dog breeds that best match our lifestyle and then go around to different animal shelters and rescues. Everyone in our family is really excited about this, and there isn’t anything else we’d rather be doing.

  82. mikoto127 says

    I’m lucky that we live in Florida so it doesn’t get too cold at all. For us, we like to visit the beach. Library’s have a lot of great youth programs once a week that are free and those are always nice! Visiting relatives is fun, and if your kids are older you can do family volunteer work!

  83. Gilda says

    A great staycation idea is go to a local hotel and see if they over “one day passes” to play at their indoor pool and other kid-friendly activities. If you have a really nice one that has resort like qualities, you might be able to get the vacation feel without having to actually book a room and pay for a vacation in your hometown.

    Or you can be like a tourist and takes some bus tours. I hear Oregon has lovely bus tours and I would assume this goes on year-round and they have contingencies for rain/weather.

  84. Judie says

    Staycation is where it’s at!! We definitely have to make it a no work day, so that means no computer time. Just like we’d plan a trip, we’d have a number of set days for our staycation. Each child and adult would have a day and pick an activity for the day. My favorite is pulling out the home made videos and watching it while we sip hot chocolate, eat popcorn, and see how much our children have grown! Stay tuned for more ideas tomorrow:)

  85. Michelle says

    Well, my hubby and I are on our staycation right now (2 days of vacation). We live 3k miles away from family and don’t have anyone to really watch our son to go out to date night. So we are spending some quality time cuddling, eating out and enjoying adult TV without interruptions. It may not seem exciting to anyone else, but it is PURE HEAVEN to us. We also get the time off between Christmas and New Years. We will spend our time with our son, some friends and go to the children’s museum in Providence, RI, go to the Aquarium in Boston and Santa’s Village in New Hampshire to experience the Polar Express.

  86. says

    Realistically? If my 5 year old and 2 year old would just sleep past 6:30, it would be a pretty good holiday season. Here’s to hoping.

  87. Andrea says

    Just having my husband at home to help take care of the kiddo is like a vacation. Perhaps a babysitter to take advantage of a few dinners out, too!

  88. Melissa says

    With two 2.5-year-olds, it involves anyplace where they can run off some energy! So we will check out the indoor playspaces around town. Thanks for the giveaway!

  89. Sarah says

    I live in Philly, so the weather outside is starting to get frightful. For us it will be board games, DVDs, baking, arts and crafts, and music playing in the house. Out of the house – the children’s museum, bundled up at the zoo and Ikea for lunch (their favorite place to eat!)Your kids may be too old for this but my 4 year olds love taking a bus ride in the city. We may even try to get them on a train to NYC. Good luck!

  90. Helena Pessoa says

    Don’t forget your local library! We can spend hours there. Between the books, puzzles and computer games there is a ton to do. It’s a nice place to spend a cold afternoon.

    We also like to veg during our staycations. My son cuddles up with us and we watch movies or play video games.

  91. says

    Winter is a good time for staycations, since just hanging around inside next to a roaring fire seems sort of decadent. Add a big pot of beef stew, a couple of beers, and internet access, and I’m a very happy little staycationer.

  92. Shawna says

    My kids (3 and 6) and I get really stir-crazy if we don’t do something active or get out of the house daily. I plan to take them to an indoor pool, climbing gym and skiing. Taking the kids up to Mt Hood can be exhausting, but getting them nice and tired so that they go to bed at a reasonable hour is worth it!

  93. tlwpeanut@gmail.com says

    Sleeping in, visiting some of the cool local museums, watching DVDs – just unwinding and relaxing. The hard part is forgetting that we’re at home and the constant list of errands and chores that run through my head when I’m home.

  94. says

    I’m liking the idea of a staycation during the winter. If we think of it like an actual vacation my husband would take off work for it and it would be even more relaxing than the hassle of traveling.

    One day we’d go swimming at an indoor pool during the day and then watch a movie and eat snacks. Another day we’d go to the Children’s Discovery Museum that’s nearby and go out to dinner after. If we had snow we’d go sledding one day and have hot chocolate and games later (and probably another movie- gotta love Netflix). Other ideas depending on our budget/time: Chuckee Cheeses, building forts together, shopping, bowling, etc.

  95. says

    I like to do a major clean house – toys, clothes, anything we are not using now. I try to explain to my kids that it is great to be able to give to others what we may not need anymore.

  96. Laura says

    We live in a great city, Austin, which has lots of museums and places to visit, so a “staycation” is not as punishing as it sounds. I’d like to pretend we are tourists and take my son to sites like the capital and the State of Texas museum. Those are places that every kid needs to experience at least once.

  97. Susan says

    I’d love to just have some extra time off work to spend with my kids. We might bake cookies and watch movies with the fireplace going. Housecleaning would be good, too.

  98. aly says

    yay prizes!!!!

    my ultimate staycation would involve being snowed in, with a fire in the fireplace, with my husband and puppy nearby and perhaps some awful tv or some great movies on tv. it would certainly include naps. :)

  99. Angela Braunstein says

    I work full-time so two weeks off at home would be a dream come true! Most of my vacation time is spent visiting my in-laws who live across the Country — so no “real” vacations for me. Portland is a beautiful city… explore a new area of town or spend an afternoon on a treasure hunt at a local thrift store. Hit the slopes at Mt. Hood or Timberline — maybe some sledding with the kiddos. The important thing is that you’re doing something other than your day-to-day — that is what makes a vacation a vacation. It doesn’t really matter WHERE you are. Enjoy your staycation!!!

  100. Eva says

    My ideal staycation would be staying in, watching lots of TV and eating at our favorite restaurants. No hassles at the airport to worry about or traffic on a road trip. I’d knit all day and get in at least an hour of exercise every day to make up for all the good eating! The good thing is that we can drop the kiddo off at daycare for a few hours every day so we can sneak away to see a movie or relax.

  101. Rebecca says

    Cuddled up at home, full pot of coffee, control of the remote, kitties and dog curled up with me, and hubby beside me. :)

  102. Robyn Scopis says

    What about picking a theme for the day? Of your family is into science, then start the day with some “science” food of bubbling oj (just add sparkling water), some green pancakes (to look moldy) and some strange fruit (star fruit) from the store? Then spend the afternoon at the science museum. To end the evening get some age appropriate old sci-fi movies. When you choose a theme then the whole day can be built around it. You can stay home and do a baking theme or go out with a sky-scraper theme. Whatever your family is into.

  103. Daffodil says

    We’re actually taking a vacation this Christmas — our first. But we staycationed the rest of the year to do it. Our son is three. Here are some of our make-being-home-fun tricks: Wear jammies all day. Let the kidster pick out what we do all day (of course within limits, but if he wants to get ice cream, go to the zoo and watch TV, then so be it!). Make sure all three of us do stuff — Mommy and kidster do stuff together all the time, but when Daddy’s along, it’s special. Also, anything is special when you give the little one a bag and tell him to collect “treasures” as you go.

  104. Amy says

    We have an upcoming staycation mixed in with some holiday traveling the last 2 weeks of this month. I’m currently a stay at home mom so I think the time that we spend at home will look pretty similar to what we currently do, except with the addition of dad! We have a number of museum memberships that we use frequently and regularly check out the library for the free passes to the others. We also love the Conservatory and the forest preserves in the area. I also imagine that we’ll spend some days at home, just simply playing with toys, and hanging out together.

  105. Lisa says

    I had a baby 2 months ago, and my husband took the past 2 months off work, so we’ve basically been on a 2 month staycation. We’ve spent most of it napping and changing diapers. LOL. We did manage to squeeze in a few day trips, but spent them mostly in the car because we weren’t too keen on taking baby out in public.

  106. says

    For us, we try to go offline a little more. It’s amazing how much time the computer and phone demand of us. By turning them off or tuning them out, I always find some peace of mind that is restorative.

    Good food, an evening family dance party, walks around the neighborhood, a trip to a museum, and skeeball would all be great this time of year.

  107. Stephanie says

    Our ultimate staycation would be to take advantage of all the local theater and take the kids to lots of shows. We just never can justify the money and we don’t take them to professional theater often enough.

  108. Regina says

    On our crappy weather days, we like to have a picnic combined with a movie day. We set out our blankets, enjoy a picnic lunch, and watch a movie of choice.

  109. jessica fantastica says

    It’s a rainy Sunday (which I have off – I normally work, and it’s my favorite day), my best friends have stayed the night and we wake up hungover and silly. We have breakfast, mimosas and bloodymarys and watch movies all day. In pajamas. Then we watch cartoons. Oh and my house is cleaned up from the night before. And I didn’t do the clean up!

  110. Matthew says

    The local children’s museum is our favorite. There are also a few full-scale steam engines that run nearby we’d like to ride again – our son loved it the first time. :)

  111. says

    Staying in and just spending time together is always nice, but if we’re in the mood for some outdoors-y fun there are lots of natural parks around Las Vegas that we like to make day trips to. Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Mount Charleston, and Lee Canyon are all only about an hour (or less) away. Even on a whim they’re close enough to just pack a lunch and head out and still be assured a fair amount of time to hike and explore before making your way back to the comforts of home (hot showers and soft beds!). And they’re free so all you have to pay for is gas, and lunch if you’d rather buy it than bring your own.

  112. Chris says

    Thinking about it some more, I think an xbox shut-in for a few days would make for a pretty serious staycation. :) Add delivery to the mix and we’re all set.

  113. Robert in SF says

    How about having a small-business catering company set up a night for you and your staycation partners? Go out for the day, say browsing stores you never usually go to, or going bowling or to a movie day, and then coming home to a grand meal cooked by professionals who will wait on your and clean up afterwards?

    Or is that too much in your home? :)

  114. Judy B says

    Stacation or vacation, I need a break! My son is at a really sweet stage and I’d love to just spend some quality time without have to rush out the door to work!

  115. Sara says

    We’re big board gamers. There’s a game for every age…check out http://www.BoardGameGeek.com for ideas. It’s a great way to pass some time inside with friends. Even our infant is fascinated by cards and dice…she “helps” mommy and daddy play.

  116. Katy says

    2nd entry – After reading some of the comments I love the idea of doing some volunteer work on a staycation.

  117. Aubrey says

    We live in Northern Colorado, but hate to go into the big city, so avoid Denver. Recently, we made a trip to Boulder (where we’d never been) and checked out the town and the sights. It was a brand new thing to experience, but only an hour away, so easy to do and then come home for a free bed. :)

  118. Daffiney says

    My husband and I have a tradition: For three nights we watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy after the kiddos go to bed. (I let him think I’m doing it just for him, but I like them just as much!) It takes us about a week to recover. I guess we aren’t as young as we used to be!

  119. Sarah S says

    My ideal staycation would involve a lot of sleeping in, chocolate, crosswords, hiking, complex dinners with friends and family, and a few small house-related projects to make it feel somewhat productive.

  120. Zed says

    Our “staycation” is called “Mommy Camp” and we make the most of it! We do a craft every day, and switch off playing “chef” according to a schedule. Then we have one outdoor outing a day. The catch is: during that week no screen time is allowed!

    This has turned out to be so simple and so rewarding for our family. It sounds like much more work than it is. The kids are great at entertaining themselves when they’re excited about the concept. Live it up!

  121. jenne says

    I think the ultimate staycation would be hiring someone to come clean the house, unplugging the phones and computers and just hanging out, like we’re not home with all the usual stuff to do. sleeping in, making big breakfasts. That’s the way to go.

  122. says

    A staycation is my favorite type of vacation because there’s plenty of fun stuff to do nearby so I can drive there and get back in a day because there’s no better place to relax than home sweet home!

  123. Tasha C. says

    My ideal staycation would involve knitting by a fire with lots of tea, cocoa, and DVDs of my favorite TV shows.

  124. Kathy T says

    I agree with you – there are 2 kinds of staycations. Lounging around, enjoying your home, playing board games and drinking cocoa together. Or getting out of the house and exploring your community. Mine’s a combination – a family friendly day trip to somewhere new, a cozy evening after the kids are in bed. Ahhh, sounds wonderful!

  125. says

    My ideal staycation would be spending time with my family, in a location where TV, Computers, etc. won’t distract us. It would be nice to get away from the daily grind, the deadlines, work, school, you name it so that we could just enjoy each other to the fullest. It’s hard to do that!

  126. Charles says

    I’ve been mountain biking in the mountains surrounding the Portland area (we traveled down from the Seattle area, but for you Portland-folks, it’s local!), and it was fantastic. This might be better in the spring/summer months since winter mountain bike riding requires more gear and dedication, but I can’t recommend it enough.

    Also, on the topic of boardgames, try playing some of the newer, European-style boardgames/cardgames. They involve more choices and less luck, and are a blast. My personal recommendations would be “Settlers of Catan,” “Ticket to Ride” (the US map version), “Fluxx,” and “Loot,” but look at the highest rated games at the Boardgamegeek website, and you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately these games can be hard to find locally, so check for a local games store or toy store (often the non-chain stores carry these games), a European-games-specific mall kiosk (although often expensive), or if you have time there are lots of opinions online. My wife, friends, parents, in-laws, and brother were all burned out on the old “classic” US boardgames, but after discovering these games we no longer consider boardgames to be a kid’s activity, but rather something that can truly be enjoyed by the full age range.

  127. Mary A says

    We enjoy going to the local botanical garden at any time of year. It is a great way to track how the plants change over the year. Thanks for the giveaway.

  128. says

    2nd entry here. My *ultimate* staycation would involve locking away my blackberry, stocking up on great snacks/movies/games, and locking us up in the house for a day or two. Now if I could only get someone to clean up before and after!

  129. says

    I love staycations! Last year, we went to a local dinosaur museum, and this year, we might take the kids sledding up at the local ski area.

  130. NiceMatters says

    Here in Columbus, Ohio, we have the cold Christmasy weather already. Hoping for snow…

    Our family will keep our getting together with family and friends traditions, take a few late night drives through neighborhoods to admire the Christmas lights, and attend Christmas Eve service at church for sure. Most of all we’ll remind one another to count our blessings.

  131. Tapany says

    We spend most of our vacation time with extended family, either here or at their homes. A visit from one or more family members makes a staycation even more fun–if there are kids, ours are so occupied with their cousins, the adults get to hang out together. If there aren’t kids, the kids get to spend quality time with an adult that dotes on their every word & action! (And we sometimes get a chance to escape for a nice meal on our own with a trusted person watching our kids!)

  132. says

    Check out Geocaching opportunities in your area. They are all over the world. It’s great fun for the treasure hunter in all of us. You use a GPS system (like your tom tom or phone) to hunt out coordinates listed on the http://www.geocaching.com website and you can search by zip code or area.

    There is a description of what visible landmarks you are looking for when you get there. In my area, there is one that tells you to go to the second floor of the parking deck at these particular coordinates, then stand in a certain place corner to look down to the park across the street, and then you will see it. You’d never see it from the ground. Somebody has hidden a “real” treasure chest in a bush. You open the little chest and it’s full of plastic gems and necklaces. Another local one is filled with tiny toy dinosaurs. The treasures are absolutely worthless yet your heart pounds wit excitement of what might be inside. There is one that we haven’t yet found that contains a notebook in which you are supposed to leave a message for future treasure hunters.

    The general rules are that you must always be as discreet as possible, so as not to spoil it for others, and that you must leave the treasures behind for the next treasure hunters.

    I don’t care how young or old your kids are or how they’re too “cool” to do something this geeky, they will love it. Sometimes it goes quickly and you can look up another location. Sometimes you’ll notice that you are already at a museum and your adventure can become a day at the museum. Or, other times, your one search will lead you on so many twists and turns that it consumes your whole day.

    You can also set up your own treasures and register them on the site for others to find.

  133. says

    I should totally take advantage of the fact we live in the DC Metro area. For our staycation, I could hit all the museums, especially the Smithsonian.

  134. Judie says

    Hmmmm……staycation ideas?? How about finding a student of massage therapy and asking him/her to give you a massage? They are always looking for people to work on for their practical hours. They usually do it for free or for a very minimal cost. Another idea might be to hit your local rec center for some swimming, rock climbing, racquetball, basketball, or whatever fun for the whole family. I have Netflix, so the Watch Now movies are always a hit for our family. A jam fest with the kids on Guitar Hero or better yet, if you have musical instruments use them, or make up some with pots and pans:) Instead of eating out, make a pizza together and enjoy it while playing a board game. Puzzles and video games are a great stand by too. Have fun together just like you would do on a travel vacation. Enjoy!