A Do-it-Yourself, Stay-at-Home theme park? That's one alternative to soaring pump prices. The spike in gas prices has re-fueled a frugal trend, namely the stay-at-home vacation. Basically, we become tourists in our own hometown. I've taken that trip. Here's a link to one of my past hometown vacations: $600 room for $149: Vacation Part 2.
Meanwhile, this item from CCCS has a long list of stay-at-home vacation ideas:
"School is almost out, camps are ready to start, and many families are planning a different kind of vacation this year.
"Family budgets are already being stretched by skyrocketing gas prices and higher costs on just about everything," said Jessica Cecere, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. To cope with these rising costs, many families are opting for a vacation close to home instead of one that includes airfare, lodging, rental cars, and dining out.
CCCS clients offered their ideas for vacations in your own backyard:
Create Your Own Theme Park: Create your very own water park in your yard! Set up a slip-n-slide, fill the inflatable pool and turn on the sprinkler. Include an art area on the driveway with chalk and watercolors, and a bubble machine nearby for extra fun. A concession stand with hot dogs, chips, popcorn, cookies, ice cream, and lemonade adds to the fun. All the fun of a theme park without spending a fortune.
Fine Dining: Plan an elegant picnic at a local beach, lake, park, or in your backyard. Get out your nice dishes and glasses, and pack a tablecloth and linen napkins. Dessert and fresh flowers are great touches. Bring some fun outdoor games, such as bocce ball or badminton and make a day of it.
Throw a Party: Plan a theme party, like a luau, beach night, or the 50's and invite friends, neighbors, and relatives. Plan the menu and ask everyone to bring an item. Visit local thrift stores and garage sales ahead of time for decorations and clothing. It not only saves you a ton of money, but we all love to rummage for a great deal! You can also have it at a local city, county or state park. After the theme party, pack up all the items you purchased and sell them as a lot on eBay so you can recoup some of your expense and pass the idea on to someone else!
Look Close to Home: Research programs available through parks and recreation departments in neighboring communities. Many have great pool facilities that are like mini water parks, complete with slides and loads of things for the kids to do. You may have a small additional fee if you are not a resident or member, but the cost pales in comparison to a day at a theme park. If the facility let's you bring in outside food and drinks, pack a cooler for even more savings.
Day Trips: Many families never enjoy the wonderful places to see right in their own communities. A "staycation" provides the perfect opportunity to plan some day trips to local theme parks, gardens, and more.
Here are ten great places to spend a day this summer. [Note many of these ideas mention Florida attractions, but the same concept can be adapted to other regions.]
1. A Museum - Spend the day enjoying arts and culture at one of the many local museums. The Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art and the Flagler Museum are all great choices. Entry fees are reasonable and most offer free admission for kids under 13.
2. A Garden Adventure - Whether you visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Butterfly World, or Mounts Botanical Gardens, you will appreciate the natural beauty of our area.
3. Lunch at the Lighthouse - Pack a picnic and head to Jupiter for a tour of this local landmark.
4.Learn something new - Take part in a workshop at the Armory Art Center, Old School Square in Delray Beach, or head to your local craft store or home improvement store to build something special.
5. Explore Science - Experience the Robot Zoo at the South Florida Science Museum. Be sure to visit the McGinty Aquarium and the Marvin Dekelboum Planetarium while you are there.
6. Explore Space - A day trip to the Kennedy Space Center will have the kids dreaming of becoming astronauts. Check the schedule for shuttle launches.
7. Visit the animals - Spend the day at the Palm Beach Zoo or enjoy a drive-thru adventure at Lion Country Safari and get up close and personal with giraffes, lions, rhinos and more.
8. Stay Cool in the Pool - A leisurely day at Calypso Bay or Coconut Cove can be just the ticket on a hot summer day. For the more adventurous, try out one of the 29 water slides at the Rapids.
9.Take a ride - There are many wonderful biking paths in our area, including 6 miles at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County, 5 miles on the Island of Palm Beach, and a 2 mile trail in North Palm Beach.
10. Take a swamp buggy ride through the Everglades, pack the fishing poles and head to Lake Okeechobee, or enjoy some fun in the sun at one of the many beautiful beaches.
Whatever your "staycation" plans, there are many ways to save. Check out attraction websites for discount ticket prices, annual passes, and state resident specials. Pack snacks and lunches for extra savings."
Here a related link: 10 Luxe-for- Less Vacation Tips