From travel costs to work obligations, lots of factors prevent us from leaving town for a traditional vacation…but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time right at home. Why not plan a staycation? It’s more than just free time at home; it’s an intentional stretch of fun and relaxation for the whole family.


Staycation-treasure-mapIT’S A TREASURE: Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt. Geo means earth and cache means hidden item. Geocaches range from small (like a film canister) to large (like a metal lunch box) and usually hold a log book and tradable items. Find them just down the street or in remote wilderness areas. Our state parks offer a Geocaching Challenge. All you need is a GPS unit or a downloadable smart phone app.


GLOBETROTTER: Take a virtual tour. Several amazing museums offer “virtual” sneak peeks, like the Smithsonian, theStaycation-globe children’s museums in Indianapolis, Boston or Miami, and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Visit Paris for a day: explore the Louvre, enjoy croissants, read a Madeline story and watch “The Red Balloon.”


Staycation-junior-rangerNATURE CALLS: Most state parks offer family friendly activities. This August, you can become a Junior Ranger at McKinney Falls. Complete the activity book and earn your official badge! At Buescher, learn the basics of fishing.




IN MY OWN YARD: Enjoy the great outdoors in your own backyard. Set up a tent and sleeping bags, cook s’mores and take Staycation-tentturns telling ghost stories. Download the Night Sky app to identify stars, planets and even satellites.




UNDER THE STARS: Find a portable telescope or binoculars, or use your own eyes to enjoy the summer sky. On Fridays and Saturdays through mid-August, the UT Department of Astronomy hosts free viewings on the Painter Hall Telescope. Or take a drive to the Hill Country State Natural Area.



The YMCA afterschool program is the ideal out-of-school-time opportunity for your child to grow academically, emotionally and physically. Y Afterschool offers a constructive balance of counselor-led activities and free time for child exploration. Curriculum is aligned with TEKS standards and includes daily enrichment activities. YMCA of Austin provides CATCH physical activity curriculum, time for homework, a nutritious daily snack and outside playground time. To register, visit or call 512-236-9622.


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