Guest blogger Laura Thornquist from shares tips for how to stick to a budget while having a great time on a kid-friendly STAY-cation.

If you don’t have travel plans and need to keep the kids busy over a break, consider a “stay-cation”!

Here are some great affordable ideas for a spring break or summer stay-cation with the kids.  And remember, many memories are built with your children doing the “little” things.  I bet you could build some great memories with some of these ideas…its all about “time” with your children in my opinion!

Visit a local museum for free:

What a great time to explore your own city and what it has to offer!  Did you know many museums in your city offer free days and free events?  The best advice I can give you is to go to your local museum’s website or call the museum and ask.  Many museums will hold free events for kids and families on certain days of the week and month.

If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, here is a great example: Amon Carter Museum of American Art Offers Free Family Fun Week in Fort Worth for Spring Break

Take in a movie “on the cheap”:

Many cities have discount theaters in the area where you can pay as little as $1 a movie.  If the weather isn’t nice, now might be a good time to have a movie marathon with you children!  At $1-$1.25 per movie, you can’t go wrong!

Local Gymnastics, Art, Sewing Spring Break Camps:

Let’s face it, sometimes you just can’t keep your kids entertained all day, right?  That’s when I check out local spring break camps.  They are a great break for the kids and for mom! Most are VERY reasonable.  My daughter’s gym offers a Best Gymnastics Spring Break Camp for just $25 for 5 hours of jumping & fun!  That’s $5 an hour!!!  We can pick and choose which days she wants to go. I would suggest calling your neighborhood gym, art studio or whatever it is your child likes do to see if they offer spring break camps.

Make it “learning time”:

Visit a pond, go to the Farmer’s Market, stage your own neighborhood production.  Do things with the children that you never seem to find the time to do. Ask the kids what they would like to learn more about and “just do it!”

Eat out: Explore new and local restaurants:  

With busy schedules, many families are stuck in a routine and don’t have time to explore new places to eat. Use your Spring Break as a way to discover new restaurants in your area.  I would suggest using as a place to find a ton of choices, get great reviews to see if the restaurants are kid friendly AND save a bundle!  I think this would be a great time to introduce new and exciting foods for the kids.  Who knows, you might just find your next new favorite restaurant.

What are you favorite vacation or STAY-cation ways to save while having a great time? Share your ideas below!


Laura ThornquistLaura Thornquist is a Blog Ambassador and retail and entertainment saving fanatic who also shares great freebies, giveaways and ways to save at the grocery store on her blog. She is dedicated to helping readers learn how to save money! Laura is a mother of two GREAT kids, ages 15 and 7, and author of