Money Saving Ideas for Your End of Summer Staycation

If you had to cancel your travel plans this summer due to COVID-19, and are trying to make the best out of the last couple weeks of summer while vacationing at home and saving money – keep reading. With a bit of creativity and an open mind, spending your time off at home can still be just as fun and just as rewarding. Plus, you won’t have airfare or hotel bills to pay!

Turn Your House into a Hotel

You can enjoy the experience of staying in a hotel right at home. Indulge in hot chocolate at night with a fresh baked cookie, create a mini bar in your bedroom, and leave a folded luxurious robe and new pair of slippers out for yourself and enjoy a bubble bath. To add to the vacation resort feel, turn on the spa station on Pandora or find a relaxing music station on TV and keep it playing in the background. You can also buy tropical beach or spa scented candles or essential oils to increase the resort getaway feel, without ever leaving your house.

Around the World Theme Night Dinners

Convert your kitchen into a foreign destination with a themed dinner – a different one for every night of the week, if you so choose. Research the cuisine of each country you pick, play cultural music in the background, and serve drinks, appetizers, dinner and dessert all from the nationality of the day. To add to this idea, you might choose to get a bit competitive with other family members. Have each person make a certain dish, set a time limit, and vote on the best one!

Backyard Camping

Put up a tent in your backyard, and have a family camping experience equipped with sleeping bags, flashlights, cook on the grill, tell ghost stories, and make s’mores. You can also still have just as much fun with a living room camping experience with sleeping bags and flashlights too!

Hold a Yoga Retreat

This can also take place in your living room or outside in the backyard with yoga mats, infused water, and relaxing music. Search on YouTube or Google for simple poses and how-to videos to help guide you.

Watch a Broadway Show – Virtually

Broadway might be closed for the rest of 2020, however did you know that includes a free 7 day trial? There are also monthly and annual subscription service options if you want to watch them all!

Hold a Movie Marathon

Rent movies or create a line-up of ones you’ve wanted to see but haven’t had the time for. Stock up on popcorn and other movie theater style snacks. If the weather is nice, you could even hold an outdoor marathon using a projector and screen and watch from the backyard.

Get Creative

Reconnect with your inner child (or your actual children), and hold a drawing or painting class. You will probably need to order some supplies in advance (paint, canvas, drawing pencils). The most important thing to remember is to be creative. If the weather is nice, paint or draw outside! If your creations turn out better than you hoped – you’ll even have new artwork to display inside.

Go Outside

Visit a local park, beach, go for a bike ride – just get outdoors. If you plan to spend the day outside, bring supplies like sunscreen, snacks, water, and other necessities.

Learn a Skill

Was there ever something you have always wanted to learn but just never found the time? Maybe you’ve always wanted to focus more on baking or cake decorating, grow a garden, etc. See if you can find a local class during your staycation and make your dream a reality.

Assist a Charity

There are many charities and non-profit organizations who have been especially impacted by COVID-19 (think food pantries). Seek out one that’s local to you and spend the day volunteering. You’ll feel internally rewarded!

Travel Virtually

You might not be able to get on a plane and tour world landmarks or go on an island getaway right now, but you can travel virtually. If you’re a museum enthusiast, many museums around the globe also are featuring virtual online tours. Zoos, aquariums, and even theme parks have virtual experiences too – get out your laptop or tablet and start searching for the spots that interest you the most.

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NJ Day Trip Ideas for a Local Staycation in Summer 2020

As summer starts to come to an end, are you realizing you won’t get to vacation like usual this year but still want to experience something out of the ordinary and save money at the same time? Check out the following New Jersey day trip landmark ideas for a day of summer family fun (during a pandemic).

Asbury Park Boardwalk

Asbury Park’s boardwalk includes a variety of shops, places to eat, and historic spots (such as Convention Hall). Don’t miss the iconic Asbury Park pedal boats on Wesley Lake either! Just past the pedal boats, head into Ocean Grove – a charming little beachfront town right next to Asbury Park.

Battleship New Jersey

Located in Camden, if you’ve never seen the 887-foot-long battleship in person – you might want to consider taking a drive. The ship is over 11 stories high and is one of the longest battleships ever built, as well as the most decorated in the country. The ship was closed during the pandemic but is now open everyday through Labor Day. Be sure to check it out!

Cape May Lighthouse

This lighthouse is 161 years old, and once you climb 199 steps – you’ll get amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, and Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal. This is a sight located within Lower Township’s Cape May Point State Park that you won’t want to miss!

The Delaware River

If it’s a nice day and you’re looking to take a scenic drive – think about driving along the Delaware River in Hunterdon County through Lambertville, Frenchtown, Milford and Stockton. Don’t miss the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge for a gorgeous view, and outdoor dining in Lambertville and New Hope.

The Great Falls of the Passaic River

Why drive all the way to Niagara Falls when the Great Falls of the Passaic is practically right in your own backyard in Paterson? The Great Falls of the Passaic are part of the National Historic Landmark District. Park grounds are currently open, however the welcome center is still temporarily closed. Learn more here.

Lucy the Elephant

Located in Margate City on Atlantic Avenue – you can’t miss the 6 story, 90-ton elephant that boasts a 140 year old history. Perfect for keeping your social distance, Lucy the Elephant is one of the oldest roadside attractions in the country! Guided tours are also currently taking place, with proper protocols like face masks while inside or in the gift shop.

Palisades Parkway

Located in Alpine – you can take a scenic 42-mile drive along the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge to the Bear Mountain Bridge. You’ll get to see the New York City skyline, and there are three different lookout areas to stop and get out to appreciate the gorgeous views. Find out more here.

Pinelands National Reserve

Located in South Jersey and touching 7 counties, you’re bound to hit a section of one million acres of berry farms, historic villages, forests and wetlands – plus fresh air. Find out more at

Red Mill Museum

Located in Clinton in Hunterdon County, the Red Mill is a NJ icon which sits on the Raritan River and was built in 1810. While some of the grounds might be temporarily closed, the Red Mill is featuring live outdoor concerts and car shows on various dates. Learn more here. In town you’ll also find shops, eateries, and tree lined streets.

With great day trip ideas like these – you can hit them all during your end of summer New Jersey staycation!

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