Staying Home This Summer? Create a ‘Staycation’ for Yourself

The warmer weather is here, and the kids are “officially” out of this unusual school year, and everyone is ready for summer break. Many people have been of dreaming of a vacation or an “escape from reality” as Kenny Chesney would say during these uncommon and trying times, but a typical vacation just might not be in the best interests of many families and individuals. Amid the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, and the loss of income of jobs due to the virus, not to mention the riots that have occurred around the country, many people are rethinking their typical vacation plans or favorite getaway spots.

But there is no need to worry. Fun and good times can still be had in the form of a new form of getaway—a “Staycation.” Instead of risking a possible illness for a family member, many Mississippians are using a little imagination and creativity to make this summer as fun and safe as possible with a Staycation.

What is a Staycation you might ask? It’s a vacation where you enjoy all that your home and garden have to offer or journeys through your own hometown or weekday trips that aren’t too far from home. To give you a few suggestions, here are a few hints of Staycations that the whole family will enjoy.

  • Make your own backyard into a tropical retreat. During the days of Quarantine, gardening has been on the rise, and many yards and gardens have become lovely places right in your own backyard to enjoy. If you’re fortunate to have a pool or even a small kiddie pool, the entire family can have fun for hours on end.
  • If you’re seeking a little peace for your soul, make a small meditation garden or spot where you can enjoy a bit nature and be alone with your thoughts. These are always great places for you to go to and count your many blessings. It doesn’t have to be a large or extravagant spot, just a place where you can feel calm and peaceful and meditate if that is one of your daily practices. Dress up your spot with some of your favorite flowers, a nice comfy chair or blanket to sit on, maybe a few garden statues or decorations, a wind chime to bring lovely tunes to a special spot, or whatever you like. Your only limitation is your own imagination.

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  • For those with youngsters, a camping retreat in your own backyard can lead to lots of fun. If you have a tent, pop it up, maybe string a few lights around the area, enjoy making s’mores or hot dogs over a small fire, and enjoy this special time together. Share family stories, enjoy each other’s company, or spark that creativity and get each member of the family to come up with their own story to tell. It can be spooky, fun, sweet, or whatever their imagination leads them to.
  • Garden parties and tea parties have always been a favorite occasion for our family for years. Every year, when our Easter lilies would bloom, we would have a garden party, complete with everything you’d expect at a proper Southern garden or tea party, such as tiny sandwiches, cookies, cake, some of our favorite delectable recipes, and of course, sweet tea. We’d even break out the fancy family glasses and freshly picked flowers from our garden. Of course, our invitations included that you must wear your best summer hat or outfit, and we’d have a contest choosing who had the most festive or creative hat or outfit. The garden party wasn’t complete until we participated in a very competitive game of croquet. You can make your garden party or tea party as dressy or as casual as you like. The only rule is to have fun.

tea party

  • Even if there’s showers or thunderstorms in the forecast, don’t let them rain on your picnic…literally. We often had a rainy day picnics inside. Spread the picnic blanket out, enjoy sandwiches, sweets, and whatever you’d like. Watch a movie together or add a favorite board game to the activities. Break out a favorite book, a classic or a new one the family has been eager to hear, and read a chapter or two each day. Revisit the Harry Potter series, introduce a few classics to the family, such as Jane Austin or a few Shakespeare plays, read the many books in the Chronicles of Narnia collection, or whatever books you prefer. Keep up those reading skills during the summer months.
  • If the family has been a little restless during the Quarantine, you might want to venture out a bit—safely, of course. Become a tourist in your own hometown. Many days we drive by historic homes, locations, galleries, museums, and our beautiful natural surroundings that we are blessed to have in the “Magnolia State,” but we don’t often slow down enough to appreciate them. By being a tourist in your own hometown, take the family for a walk or drive through the historic district and enjoy the lovely homes and sights in your hometown. Stroll through your downtown district. This is sure to bring up lots of memories for the family. You might want to visit your own Visitor Center and pick up a guide to historic or fun sights that aren’t to be missed. You just might find out a bit of history and interesting facts that you never knew about your hometown. Take a stroll through the historic districts and admire the homes and unique and interesting businesses, go on a nature walk, and take the time to really appreciate the natural beauty right where you live.
  • Mississippi is home to so many art galleries, museums, and so many wonderful attractions, but for many of us, we don’t take the time to visit our local art galleries, museums, historic sights, musical trails, Civil Rights trails and so many other unique and interesting places that we might take for granted. Make this the year you go check out what these grand institutions have to offer. Of course, make sure you call or check online if these locations are open right now or if they have special hours.
  • Take a day trip to some of the many interesting locations we have in Mississippi. Check out the beauty of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and enjoy a day of fun in the sun or enjoy the many museums and attractions there. Head to Vicksburg or Natchez and learn a little bit of the history of our state. Visit small towns, such as Laurel and Hattiesburg, and enjoy a day strolling through their beautiful downtown districts and visit their many historic and art museums. Get your fishing gear and enjoy a wonderful day on the many lakes scattered throughout the state.

natchez trace

While having a fun time on your Staycation, remember to practice safe procedures and social distancing to ensure a fabulous but safe time this summer and throughout the year. Remember safety comes first, and don’t forget to check to see if these locations are open if you’re looking for a little adventure on the roads. This summer can be just as fun and memorable as can be without even venturing out of our lovely state. You’re only limited by your own imagination. Enjoy the summer and be safe.

These are just a few of our Staycation ideas. We’d love to hear your ideas. If you’ve got some hints, tips, or ideas about making for a fun Staycation. Please share.


Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.


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