Home » The Backyard Staycation: everything you need to travel nowhere & everywhere this summer
Will we or won't we be able to travel this summer? Hard to know for sure, but we are betting it's going to be unlikely. Your summer plans are probably dashed and you are staring down the barrel of a long, hot summer of going nowhere. Cheer up! We can make lemonade out of lemons if we are willing to get creative. Here's how to get your backyard staycation on this summer and make the most out of a tough situation.

The Backyard Staycation: everything you need to travel nowhere & everywhere this summer

by Jeremy B

Will we or won’t we be able to travel this summer? Hard to know for sure, but we are betting it’s unlikely we are going much of anywhere. Your summer plans are probably dashed and you are staring down the barrel of a long, hot summer of going nowhere. Cheer up! We can make lemonade out of lemons if we are willing to get creative. Here’s how to get your backyard staycation on this summer and make the most out of a tough situation.

The Backyard Staycation is back!

Like you, our family’s travel plans for the year have completely imploded. We had a spring break trip to London, a Utah visit, a Phoenix visit and a Washington, DC visit. Not to mention having the cousin’s come visit for a few weeks – a summer tradition for 5 years now. But not now. All of that is canceled – at least for now, anyways.

Instead of getting too depressed about this, it’s time to get creative. You’ve likely got a backyard staring at you everyday and a backyard staycation might be the only “travel” we get to do this summer. We’ve postulated that “local” travel may not only be the only travel we do for a bit, it may also be the way back for the travel industry as a whole. While that’s nothing more than speculation on our part, what isn’t is that we are likely going to spending more time at home this summer.

With that in mind, we’ve assembled a detailed guide of everything you need to make the most out of this situation. Yup, it’s time to dust off the backyard staycation. We share a list of the things you need to do the backyard staycation right this summer.

But, first some assumptions. Like most things, we’ve had to assume you, as the reader, have a few things in common. Our list of things you need for your backyard staycation is based on the following assumptions:

  • you have a backyard!
  • you don’t have an in-ground pool (boy, that’d be nice, though, right!)
  • you are trying to do this on the cheap (money’s tight, we get it!)
  • you have some kiddos (although some of this would work for a couple too, this is mostly geared towards a family situation.

Alright, enough of that! Let’s get to the list of things you need to get your backyard staycation going this summer.

Everything you need for the best backyard staycation this summer!

In this list of backyard staycation essentials you will find the items you need to set yourself up for a great summer. We’ve provided links to where you can purchase much of these items, but remember, you may be able to find them cheaper at a local yard sale, on LetGo, Craiglist, etc. Don’t be afraid to shop around – especially if you have to be extra budget concious right now!

Good attitude and the right mindset

We get it. You are bummed! You had big plans for the summer. Maybe it was a trip to Disney World, or maybe your annual vacation to the lake house. Or an amazing trip to Europe. You gotta let that go. We are in a different place right now. If you want to make the most of your 2020 summer and have the best backyard staycation you can, you’ve got to get the right attitude and the right mindset.

Go ahead, get it out. We did too. It’s ok. Then, put that behind you and start thinking about the positive things. You’ve got your family. You’ve got a place to stay. And you’ve got the summer coming up. Let’s have some fun with it.

As many Backyard Games as you can get your hands on

You’ve got three long months with that backyard so it’s time to fill it with a tried and true method of backyard staycation: backyard games. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of creativity here! So many fun games! Here’s a few fun ideas, but the point is to get what you think will be fun for your family and age groups:

Regulation Cornhole Set (Amazon, eBay, Overstock)

Giant Sized Jenga Set (Amazon, eBay, Home Depot)

Jumbo Connect Four (Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, Target)

These are just a few examples, but most major retailers have oodles and oodles of backyard games:

Good luck and happy shopping!

Be sure to check out our entire Backyard Games directory here, as well as our Backyard Water Toys guide.

Shade, cuz it’s hot!

The 3rd item on our list of backyard staycation essentials is shade. If you are blessed to have a fancy patio cover, good for your. We have one, but we still find that having some extra shade beyond the patio cover is helpful. We will occasionally set up our pop up, or move our umbrella shades around. We highly recommend you get your hands on some shade! Here’s a few ideas:

Classic Ez Up (Amazon, eBay, Wayfair)

Portable Umbrella (Amazon, eBay)

Music is mandatory!

Your summer won’t be complete without the proper tunes. A portable bluetooth speaker is the perfect addition to your backyard this summer. Ideally, try to find something that’s waterproof in the event you use it near the pool. Hook your iPhone up, and you and the kids will be rocking all summer long. Here’s a few fun ideas:

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker (Amazon)

Oontz Angle Bluetooth Speaker (Amazon, Home Depot)

Above ground pool – keep it redneck (and affordable!)

A $65,000 in-ground swimming pool would be pretty nice, but we don’t have those kind of shekels. Instead, let’s outfit our backyard staycation with a more affordable option: an above ground pool!

Above ground pools are the perfect low cost way to deal with heat on a tight budget! There’s a lot of options to pick from, but don’t overthink this. Here’s a few ideas:

Intex 15′ x 48″ Above Ground Pool

Even more affordable options include:

We got the meats! Er, you do, and you should grill them with a decent BBQ

No summer is complete without meat and fire. Your backyard staycation will be a disaster if you don’t up your food game. We highly recommend getting your hands on a BBQ for the summer. Doesn’t have to be an expensive one either. Sure, a better ‘Q will likely give you better results (if you know what you’re doing) but if you are just grilling dogs and burgers you can go simple, too. Or you could crazy expensive like this one.

Here’s a more affordable model: Char-Broil 463377319 (Amazon, eBay, Home Depot)

Firepit, Marshmallows, Hot Dogs, Oh yeah!

There are few things more delightful than sitting around a campfire, roasting some dogs or making s’mores. You probably can’t go full bonfire in your backyard…but you can get a firepit. And the kids won’t know the difference. Don’t forget to get a smores kit too!

See a cheaper option from Wayfair!

Projector & a Sheet

We have a trampoline in our backyard (which, btw, is a great addition to your staycation!) and every summer we drape a white sheet over the outside of it, hook up a projector, grab some blankets and watch a couple of family movies. It’s so much fun!

Almost any projector will do, but we recommend something a little more modern and compact instead that old battleship you have in the hallway closet.

Anker Nebula Projector (Amazon)

If you are feeling spendy, you can actually buy an outdoor projector screen too:

A campout tent!

When the long hot day is done and the kids are pooped, it’s a night under the stars is the perfect way to end your backyard staycation. Grab yourself a tent, a few air mattresses, some bug spray (super important!) and tell some ghost stories. Your kids will love it!

It definitely doesn’t have to be a big tent or even an expensive one. It’s more about spending time together with the family! Here’s a few ideas:

Coleman 4 Person Sundome Pop Up Tent (Amazon, Target, Home Depot, Dicks Sporting Goods)

Here’s a few other options:

Some adult beverages (but, of course)

Listen, it’s not all about the kids this summer. Mom and dad need something just for them too, so don’t forget the booze. Don’t be afraid to mix it up too. For example, if your doing a theme (see bonus staycation tip, below) pick an adult beverage that works into the theme!

Bonus: if you are really feeling the need to make this more interesting you can mix in a theme for each backyard staycation over the summer. For example, planned a trip to Italy that’s now canceled? Get some italian sodas, watch a movie with some Italian locales, cook some homemade pizza on the BBQ, and pretend you’re in Italy.

Bonus: A trampoline has got to be the single greatest investment we’ve ever made in my backyard. Our four kids have absolutely LOVED the trampoline and will spend hours upon hours on it. Do yourself a favor and get one if you have little ‘uns. Here’s a few ideas:

Summary of fun activities for your summer staycation

Here’s a quick summary you can print out as you plan your summer staycation.

  1. Good attitude and the right mindset
  2. Backyard games
  3. Shade
  4. Portable speaker and some tunes!
  5. Above ground pool
  6. BBQ
  7. Firepit
  8. Projector & Sheet
  9. Tent
  10. Booze!

Looking for more ideas on what to do this summer?

Here’s a few more ideas on what to do this summer if you still need a little extra help:

Thanks, be safe and enjoy your backyard staycation!

Like many of us, you are probably struggling to find your new normal. Perhaps you’ve done that and are simply bored. We’ve got your back. Here’s a ton of recent content that revolves around what’s facing us today, including working from home ideas, what to watch, things to read, and how to avoid boredom. Enjoy.

Image of kids playing the backyard

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