Are you looking for some staycation ideas on the East Coast? Is work commitments, lack of funds, or a pandemic putting a damper on your summer holiday plans? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these 33 creative, budget-friendly family staycation ideas. Social distancing options included.
Explore the local attractions like a tourist
Often we take for granted the area we live in and miss out on some really cool attractions. Top of any list of ideas for staycations should be playing tourist in your hometown. Try and identify some of the top attractions nearby and visit them. Think of amusement parks, museums, or historical landmarks! If you don’t know where to start, visit your city’s tourism website
National Parks & becoming one with nature
Another great option is National Parks. From mountaintops to coral reefs, the National Parks on the East Coast offers a wide variety of landscapes, plants, and animals. Find one that is close by, and grab a junior park ranger kit from the visitor’s center. Get more information about the junior park ranger program here! Here are my top 5 picks;
- Acadia National Park in Maine
- Everglades National Park in Florida
- Shenandoah National Park in Washington D.C.
- Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee
Printable Kid's Travel Journal
It’s time for your next family adventure―and kids will remember every second of fun-filled adventure. You went WHERE? is packed with journaling prompts and activities so that no memory goes unwritten. Young adventurers can write down everything they see, taste, hear, and more with prompts to guide observations.
Keep this travel journal at the ready to let kids create their very own souvenir for multiple family adventures
When you’re back home and bags are unpacked, your little adventurer can always open You Went Where? and relive every minute of every adventure.
Beaches - the classic summer getaway
When you think of American beaches, people tend to think of Hawaii or California but the East Coast holds its own. Head to these five beaches for digging in the sand, relaxing in the sun or splashing in the surf. They are definitely worth a visit and a perfect staycation idea;
- Old Orchard Beach, Maine
- Cape May, New Jersey
- Ocean City, Maryland
- Panama City Beach, Florida
- West Dennis, Massachusetts
Check out these 7 beach toys every parent should get.
Arm Chair Travel like never before
Pick a state and use it as a theme for the day! Prepare food from that state, do activities that they would do there, and dress up in their attire. You may not be able to visit the place but you can bring their festivities right to your home!
Alternatively if you like to travel internationally you still can. Discover the world from the comfort of your own home with these 9 Incredible virtual tours.
Camping in the great outdoors
Camping is an excuse to go to bed early, stare at the stars and eat gooeys’ mores over an open flame. Numerous studies have found spending time outdoors leads to better concentration, elevated mood, and improved sleep patterns. These are my five picks for the best places to camp.
- Cypress Creek Preserve (Florida)
- Cape Lookout National Seashore (North Carolina)
- Santee Coastal Reserve (South Carolina)
- Barrington County Park (Georgia)
- Braley Pond Dispersed Campground (Virginia)
Day or Mini Road Trips
Summer is the best time to pack your bags and hit the road for an adventure. From Maine to Florida, you will find some of the best road trip routes in the USA. Whether you want a cultural & historical journey, a relaxing beach staycation, or a food-focused experience, these 5 routes offer you an epic adventure. Oh! Don’t forget to your road trip playlist!
- Orlando, FL to Savannah, GA via Jacksonville (4-hour trip)
- Boston, MA to Portland, ME (2-hour trip)
- Washington, D.C to Lake Lure, NC (7-hour trip)
- New York, NY to Washington, D.C. (4-hour trip)
- Myrtle Beach, SC to Virginia Beach, VA (6-hour trip)
Additional Reading: 5 Best Road Tips in the US
Keep Calm & Enjoy the Ride
Traveling should be enjoyable, safe and comfortable and why not look good while doing it? And, that’s why I’ve have created my own online Travel Store.
Stargaze and be in awe
Looking at the stars is something that is fun thing to do. Drive away from the bright lights of modern civilization to find one of the most awe-inspiring wonders out there. Bring a blanket, a list of constellations to find and a telescope spend time with the stars.
However, finding a dark, isolated and exposed night sky isn’t as easy as you think. Here are five destinations to get the best stargazing experience:
- Big Pine Key, Florida
- Bar Harbor, Maine
- Staunton River State Park, Virginia
- Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park, North Carolina
- Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania (not really on the East Coast but undoubtedly a great place for stargazing)
Spend a couple of nights in a local hotel
A fantastic way to be a local tourist is to spend a couple of nights in a hotel. You can get great rates during the week or during the off-season. Spend the day just hanging at the hotel, in the pool, at the spa pr playing games so you really feel like you are away.
Reserve Your Room
Hiking is healthy
Hiking and camping have many mental & physical benefits but it also helps kids appreciate the wild-lands & grow up making conservation a priority. With hikes for every age and ability easily accessible across the east coast, spend your weekend getaways on the trail this summer.
- Appalachian Spur Trail – Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia (Kid Age Range: 8 & up)
- Cape Florida Nature Trail – Bill Baggs State Park, Florida (Kid Age Range: 4 & up)
- Halibut Point Trail – Halibut Point State Park, Massachusetts (Kid Age Range: 5 & up)
- East Bay Trail – Colt State Park, Rhode Island (Kid Age Range: Infant & up)
- Swamp Forest Trail – Lums Pond State Park, Delaware (Kid Age Range: 4 & up)
How to have an Amazing Staycation
- Get everyone’s input – It’s going to be hard to please everyone, so best is to ask everyone what they want as a takeaway from the staycation
- Know your goals – what exactly is your family trying to accomplish? Is the time spent to bond or disconnect from technology or both?
- Set ground rules – You want to make sure expectations are clear from the beginning so there’s no unanticipated disappointment.
- Be flexible – Expect things not to go according to plan. Prepare everyone to go with the flow.
If you want some help planing your itinerary, I’m at your service.
How to Budget for Your Staycation
- Make a plan for what you’ll do.
- Check prices for all the activities.
- Add up the total cost.
- If it’s more than you can afford, tweak activities, look for coupons and deals, or lower-cost, similar options.
- Budget ahead.
Start Planning Your East Coast Staycation
I hope this list has got you into holiday mode.
Being together is what’s important, and you can make a staycation just as memorable as an extravagant trip. Some of these activities may even turn into things you’ll enjoy on a regular basis or family traditions.
If you prefer to go a longer holiday check out my top 10 picks for best beaches and family vacation destinations on the East Coast.
16 thoughts on “33 Wonderful East Coast Staycation Ideas for Families”
These are such great ideas. I don’t know which one to pick first!
my default setting for any vacation is always a beach lol
We love visiting National Parks for family vacations!
I think 1 of the best things the US did was create National Parks and I think more countries need to follow the template!. It really helps people to reconnect with nature and appreciate the planet!
I’ll need to check out some of these Florida ideas!
let me know how it goes Julie and perhaps you can guest blog here 🙂
Thanks for all these ideas for staycation . I am sure this will be helpful for lots of people
I think staycations are going to be the holiday option for people in most countries this year. Looks like there are some fabulous places to visit and things to do for residents on the US east coast!
exactly! It would be prudent to skip international travel this year and let things settle and proper procedures are put in place to safeguard travelers! If you want to travel go domestic! A lot of times we take for granted what we have in our own back yard!
I love to travel and the ideas which you have given are really awesome. I will remember all your tips for my next travel.
This is great since we will be going to the Carolina’s.
Very interesting and well put-together tips. Useful for this period of quarantine as well.
Thanks for taking the time to bring this wealth of information to us.
I’d either head to one of the national parks (I’ve never been to any of the 5 on your list) or the Applachian Trail – I always love spending time in the mountains.
Great travel tips for everyone and we will like to follow this when we make a trip. Thanks a lot for the recommendations
Great tips, I really liked the picking a theme for the state, dressing like a local and eating the local food, this really makes a perfect vacation in my opinion