This year quickly became the year of staying close to home, even after lockdowns were lifted. While precautions still need to be taken, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your time off with a staycation that feels like a vacation.
15 safe and low-cost COVID staycation ideas to fill your fall weekends
Before you head out, stay safe and give the CDC’s regularly-updated travel recommendations a read-through. Where you go may depend on you and your family’s current risk levels, as well as the COVID positivity rates in your area and in your destination.
If all signs point to yes, then pick one (or more) of these fall-friendly ways to explore your locale over a long weekend:
1. Go apple or pumpkin picking.
Many community-sponsored pumpkin patches are free, while others charge as little as $2 for admission (not counting the cost of the pumpkin). Apple picking entry is priced similarly with pick-your-own fruit charged by the pound. Both activities are considered potentially safe this year, depending on the crowds and the precautions a facility has taken.
2. Hit up a hot spring.
Socially-distanced pool time was deemed an acceptable summer activity. To remain open through the fall, many hot springs are requiring masks when out of the water and taking reservations or limiting visitors. Refreshing and relaxing, there may be some in your state.
3. Make a game out of movie night.
Remember those paper fortune-tellers you used to make to figure out who people had a crush on in middle school? Now your kids can join in on the fun with a printable fortune-teller that can be used as a family movie night selector.
4. Make something autumnal.
Aim to avoid the store and use whatever you can find in your cabinets. This slow cooker apple cider is one of our favorites. It’s made with simple ingredients like apples, an orange, brown sugar, and spices.
5. Peep for leaves.
This science experiment — where kids discover why leaves change color — will turn the average fall hike into an adventure. It’s also a great field trip option if you’re one of the many families that are homeschooling.
6. Play Trash on a cold day.
Finally, an easy card game (also called Garbage) that kids will love and adults won’t get too bored with. Spending time indoors still counts as a staycation when you need some uninterrupted family time or when the weather won’t cooperate.
7. Recreate your dream summer vacation.
You, like many vacationers in 2020, may have had to cancel the trip of a lifetime. Whether it was a beachside resort or a week in Italy, you can get creative at home to remake it. A fine Italian wine, fresh herbs to cook with, and one of many virtual tours is a great starting point.
8. Rent a cabin.
Cabin getaways are nothing if not socially distant. Challenge yourself to test out a new place you’ve overlooked — or have been meaning to visit — within an hour’s drive. Do as little as possible and soak in the silence.
9. Sleep under the stars.
Like road trips and cabin stays, camping is big this year — and may be even more fun now that temps are cooling. Plan a family backyard camping night or reserve a spot at a nearby site before the chilliest of fall weather sets in.
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10. Spend time on the water.
Solo or small-group water activities offer the best of both worlds: time spent outdoors at a comfortable distance from other people. Some city parks have kayak, paddleboat, and paddleboard rental on urban lakes. Or, bring your own gear to a local lake or reservoir if you have it.
11. Tailgate in your driveway.
Two words: Football season. While staying at home to tailgate was once a smart way to beat stadium traffic, it’s now the only option for major events for the time being. Keep a safe distance and invite your neighbors.
12. Take a 2-3 hour road trip.
Road trips were the way to travel this summer. Now that it’s fall, the trend is only expected to continue. Fill the backseat with books for an old-school road trip vibe, and keep the younger kiddos entertained with printable Road Trip Bingo.
13. Take a free/cheap tour.
Make like Laverne and Shirley and tour one of the local factories in your area — whether it’s candy, currency, or even blown glass. Most states offer free and low-cost factory tours to notable and historical local businesses.
14. Take a hike.
Thankfully, spending time outdoors can be considered fairly safe. While your hiking options depend on where you live, we’re betting there’s some beautiful scenery close by. Get inspiration from the Wilderness Society’s top 15 national park picks for fall color.
15. Visit a corn maze.
It’s a family-friendly fall tradition that you can make a day of. (And with the right precautions, experts are saying that touring a corn maze this fall is “reasonably safe.”) Use this handy locator to find one nearby.
Worry more about enjoying your downtime and less about getting a mortgage
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For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.