5 Steps to Plan the Ultimate Family Staycation for Spring Break

There’s something about a staycation that it always ends up being so much more memorable than you’d imagine. If this is the first time you’re considering it, do it! These 5 steps to plan the ultimate family staycation are going to make you the coolest. mom. ever.

This kind of quality family time is priceless. You will never get this magical time with your kids back. They’ll be grown in a blink!

5 Steps to Plan the Ultimate Family Staycation infographic
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5 Steps to Plan the Ultimate Family Staycation

By definition a staycation means you either stay at home or in the local vicinity of home to vacation. In the sense of a family staycation, it really means you’re going to dedicate a couple of distraction-less days to your kids. As much as we appreciate that, our kids do so much more! Mommy and daddy are being fun for 2 days straight, yes!!

How to Plan the Ultimate Family Staycation

Spring break is nearing and there’s still plenty of time to plan a family staycation that the adults and kids will LOVE! But the sooner you start the planning process, is always better. I’ve broken down 5 steps to take your staycation to the next level and make it a trip you’ll all remember forever!

In my opinion, staying at a hotel really takes the experience up a notch for adults and kids alike. However, if you choose to stay at home, just skip step #1.

1. Start with the Hotel

The point of the staycation is that you’ll do things at home or nearby that you normally wouldn’t take advantage of. Or that you string together activities into a full itinerary, like you would if you had flown out of state. I live in the far western suburbs of Chicago, so we’re lucky enough to have plenty of options in the surrounding area. Visualize a circle of all towns within an hour.

Focus in on areas that have a lot to offer, as far as restaurants and activities. The closer your hotel is to the action you plan, the more fun you can sneak into the days!

After you narrow it down to a few different areas, check hotel availability. Kids love to swim, so I like to scope out pictures of their pool to see which seems like it will be the most fun for them, clean and enjoyable for us to hang out in there.

In my opinion, adjoining rooms or a big suite that has a table for playing games is definitely the way to go. Unfortunately, hotels don’t ever seem to be able to guarantee adjoining rooms anymore, which makes me crazy!

Another great option is to search for a vacation rental home on VRBO. We do this frequently and it works great!

Now you’ve found a good option or two. Next, start researching the nearby activities.

2. Fun Activities

Vacation is all about trying new things, so start by thinking of activities in the area that your family hasn’t done before. Google can usually help out a ton by searching “activities for kids near ____”.

Here are 25 ideas to get your wheels spinning:

  • Indoor skydiving
  • Hiking
  • Museum
  • Zoo
  • Escape room
  • Sporting event
  • Awesome playground
  • Wall climbing
  • Laser tag
  • Concert
  • Movie theater
  • Do touristy things
  • Ceramics painting
  • Roller skating
  • Arcade
  • Water park or splash pad
  • Mini-golf, outdoor or indoor like Puttshack
  • Virtual reality experience, like Immersive Gamebox
  • Top Golf
  • Carnival
  • Paint ball
  • Aquarium
  • Bowling
  • Beach
  • Drive-in movie

Your itinerary is really coming together! Next, it’s time to make restaurant reservations.

Immersive Gamebox Idea for your Ultimate Family Staycation

3. Restaurant Reservations

On our recent family staycation, we checked in to our hotel Friday afternoon. That night, we got dressed up and splurged on a fancy steakhouse for dinner. For the adults, this was a delicious and wonderful kick-off to the weekend. To the kids, it was a special. They knew it was not just any other night.

Don’t forget to factor in if you’ll be eating continental breakfast, room service, grabbing a bite at one of your activities or if you will need breakfast and lunch reservations, too!

Whether you splurge on a steakhouse or pick someplace else cool that you’ve been wanting to try with the kids, like Benihana hibachi style restaurant, I suggest you dress up nice and snap a family photo!

Don’t forget, pack a cooler with plenty of snacks and drinks for the hotel room!

Now, your hotel, activities, breakfast, lunch and dinner reservations are booked! And I know you’re excited! Next, it’s time to announce it!

4. Create a Special Announcement

Of course you can break the news to the family over dinner one night. But, I felt like after I had looked over websites of the activities, menus, etc. they weren’t going to be as excited as they should be.

I opted to string together a little video using the free iMovie app on my iPad. You could also make an itinerary to print out using a free Canva account. Or put your PowerPoint skills to work and show them a slide deck!

I included pictures of our hotel’s exterior, our suite, the pool, the restaurant menu, and the activities. Why I decided to go the route of the iMovie was because our activities were Puttshack and Immersive Gamebox. How could they understand how cool that was going to be without watching their little videos! Quality was not the point, so I just took video with my phone of the video playing on their websites. Added my own soundtrack over the top and it was pretty sweet!

It did the trick, everyone was super pumped up!! Next, put the finishing touches to make this the ultimate family staycation!

5. Add an Unexpected Surprise

Everyone knew what we were getting into, so I added a few extra touches to really make things special.

First, I created a custom banner from an awesome Etsy shop (Smith Studios) that said STAYCATION! to the wall by the suite’s game table.

Staycation Hotel Scavenger Hunt | Memory in the Making
My Daughter Reese & I were the Hotel Scavenger Hunt champions!

Next, pack a couple of games to play in the room at night, for the kids and for adults after the kids crash. And I mean crash hard!

Lastly, and the BEST thing I did was bring along this low-prep, FREE printable Hotel Scavenger Hunt. Literally, all I had to do was print it out.

Right after check-in is when I surprised them! Full of excitement and energy, as soon as the hotel scavenger hunt time-clock started, we were all off to the races! Literally, sprinting down the halls and belly laughing at how silly we must have looked. With zero care in the world and the adrenaline was pumping, it was about as quality of family time as you can get!

Check out my Hotel Scavenger Hunt post and download it now for free!

Wanna download your free hotel scavenger hunt?
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I couldn’t recommend this any more highly, especially as a free family vacation activity idea! Every family should do this at least once. We 100% will do this again on vacation with our kids, their cousins, or friends!

My Ultimate Family Staycation Itinerary

As an example, I figured I’d provide you with our recent family staycation itinerary, in Oakbrook, IL, to assist with planning yours for spring break:


3:00pm Check-in to hotel – Oakbrook Hyatt Lodge
4:00pm Hotel Scavenger Hunt
5:30pm Dinner at Gibson’s Steakhouse
7:30pm Games in hotel room


11:00am Immersive Gamebox
12:00pm Pool party and snacks
4:30pm Puttshack mini-golf game, followed by dinner
7:00pm Games in the hotel room

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

More Fun Activities for Kids at a Hotel

First, grab a pool toy or two and you’re kids are going to freak out! Such as diving toy gems or swim through pool rings!

Second, these are a few of our absolute favorite games that would be perfect for bringing with on your staycation! If you haven’t seen my other post, Family Date Night Top 10 Games, check it out now! Guaranteed to get you some gut busting fun without the fatigue from endless family game choices overload. Perfect selections for your Staycation and future gift ideas!

The Best Kind of Memories

If you’re blocking the time and already spending the coin on a family vacay, you might as well make the most of it! This is what I’m all about. If you think this is cool, visit my Memory in the Making blog for tons more inspiration!

Save these Ultimate Staycation and Hotel Scavenger Hunt Pins now:

…Or text a link to your partner in crime!

Follow me @memoryinthemaking on Pinterest or
@meminthemaking on Instagram and Facebook!

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