It’s that time of year again — Summer! If you’ve got kids, that means planning the days ahead in order to make the most of the summer and to ward off that boredom bug. I had a blast putting together last year’s Staycation post and was thrilled to participate in The Happy Housewife’s “Year of the Staycation” blog tour again in 2012. Many of the ideas in last year’s post are still applicable for this year, so I won’t repeat myself — just click on over and check out Staycation ideas from 2011. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for link-ups of other Staycation posts from across America!
To get started, check out some of these fabulous Summer Planning Guides:
- The Household Planner’s Summer Survival Guide
- How Does She Printables (There are some REALLY cool ones here — including a photo checklist, camping meal planner, summer countdown and more. Click around — she’s got some great stuff!)
- The Work at Home Mom’s Guide to Summer (Great step-by-step plan here)
- Simple Summer Printable by Addington Mom
- Creating a Summer Bucket List from A Mom with a Lesson Plan
- Erie Visitor’s Guide: Request a packet to jump-start your planning!
- Summer Adventure Journal: Great for elementary age kids
What’s a vacation all about? Eating, Sleeping, and Activities, right? Let’s get some of those basics covered!
If you’re doing a Staycation in Erie, don’t visit a chain restaurant! Visit some of the local “Erie-only” places! Don’t forget to check in your “Save Around Erie” book for some great discounts and coupons. Wondering where to find these local restaurants? Start downtown, especially State street. My personal favorites? The Breakfast Place (on E.38th), Sara’s (by the Peninsula) and Tickle’s (on State Street). If you want more ideas or to read reviews (and prices) before you go exploring, check out these sites:
The beauty of a Staycation is that you get to STAY in your own home, significantly lowering the vacation costs. But don’t be boring about it! Mix things up a bit. Have everyone sleep downstairs in the family room for one night, maybe watching Disney movies until you just can’t keep your eyes open any more. Maybe head out to the backyard for a little tent-sleeping close to home. (Build you own, with the help of Pinterest!) House-swap with a friend for a night! House swap with a stranger through Airbnb.com for a night! Or if you want to get really crazy, you could even go camping out at Presque Isle. With prices starting at $15, it might be worth a try! Check out the full listing of camping options here or you can look at the cabin and cottage options if you’d like something a little more cushy (I know I would!!) Also, the author of Cheap in Erie suggested checking out loyalty programs to get some lodging perks!
Of course, most of the fun of vacation lies in the activities of the day. Try not to burn yourself out by running all over town (you are supposed to relax a little on vacation!). Here’s some ideas to get you percolating. I’m hoping to post my own Summer Bucket List, so stay tuned!
- A great place to start is the 2012 Erie Recreation Guide. This PDF lists local parks, programs for kids and adults, and all the classic Erie events like Picnic in the Park, Summer Concert Series and more!
- Presque Isle: The possibilities here are almost endless. Read a great review here or browse possible activities here.
- TripAdvisor: Not only can you browse around for things to do on this site, if you create an account, it will show you what activities your facebook friends have rated!
- Let’s Move Outside Erie: What’s better than walking on a trail? Walking while playing games and earning points!
- Activities by Age: Check out the 2011 Erie Staycation post for a BUNCH of ideas, grouped by age.
- Too hot to do anything? Check out the summer movie clubhouse listing for some cheap A/C!
- Think about joining a mom’s group. You can find lots of groups (search by interest or type) at Meetup.com. Doing something with a friend always makes it more fun. The Eriesistable Moms group is always cooking up some fun — join their group to keep your calendar filled!
- Pinterest: If you’re not on yet, what are you waiting for? An invite? This site is full of great things to do with the kids! Check out my boards for family time or summer fun ideas!
- Craft Crazy: Speaking of great ideas, check out these posts from A Mommy Writes for great crafts to do with your little ones this summer! She also includes a list of her favorite craft sites: unlimited ideas!
- The Drive-In: Nothing says summer like a drive-in movie! We headed out to Sunset Drive-in with some friends last week to catch “The Avengers” and had a great time. Be sure to bring bug spray and start your car half way through the movie so you don’t kill your battery!
- Concerts: It’s music-mania in Erie this summer. From classical music at noon outside the Erie Art Museum to 8 Great Tuesdays, there’s sure to be something you can enjoy. Grab the full list here.
- Go Fishing! This isn’t MY favorite activity, but apparently there are people out there who enjoy it. According to the Erie Times News, if you visit the North or South piers, your chance of catching a fish is 100%. Pretty good odds. Visits NWPA Outdoors for more information.
- Want to make a real difference with your time? Think about volunteering as a family! Here’s some summer opportunities for volunteering in Erie.
- My favorites summer activites? Story Time at Whitford Park, Asbury Woods, Swim Club at Iroquois High School, and the Erie Zoo (if you don’t have a membership, I would recommend it. It’s worth it!)
- What about you? Leave your favorite activities in the comment section for others!
The Erie Times News just did a great article on all that Also, Cooks Forest has too offer. Activities include tubing, canoeing, horseback riding, and lots more. There are lots of options for lodging and you can’t beat the scenery. My husband and I traveled here (to Hideaway Cottages to be exact) for our honeymoon and had a splendid time walking through the woods and enjoying nature.
Take a Class
I know! I know! It’s not exactly vacation-style, but learning can be fun! Check the schedules at Asbury Woods, the Erie Zoo, the YMCA and the Erie Art Museum to get started. Often, the Enjoy Erie site will list upcoming classes. I saw an upcoming photography class with Art Becker that would be fantastic (but doesn’t fit my budget!). There’s a Lunchtime Learning series offered by Hamot from 12:10-12:50 for only $5 a class. There’s even a Hula Hooping class offered on Tuesdays at Frontier Park ($60)!
Don’t Forget about Reading!
Summer is the perfect time to catch up on reading, whether while lounging on the beach or chilling out in your backyard (with some tasty Chick-fil-a Lemonade!). Check out these great programs to get some rewards for all your reading!
- Tyndale Summer Reading Program: You can earn free books for reading!
- TD Bank gives kids $10 for reading 10 books: Details at Passion for Savings
- My Frugal Adventures Blog shares a bunch including some from Chuck E Cheese, Barnes and Noble, and Sylvan.
- Does your child need some help with her reading? Check out Penn State’s Reading Programs, starting at age four.
- Love Reading? Sign up to be a book reader for kids at The Neighborhood Art House with Hooked on Books Erie.
- The Great American BOOK SALE: One of my favorite events of the year! You can score some real treasures at the this sale, held June 10th through June 15th at Villa Maria Campus
- Digital Downloads: Did you know you can get e-books from the Erie library? Find out how!
- Don’t forget about our very own Children’s Reading Program at the Erie Library.
Library: Buried Treasure!
Speaking of reading and the library, I was at the Iroquois Branch library the other day checking out Sign Language books. The librarian told me about Manga, the online language learning service the library offers for free. Sign language is one of the options, along with a ton more. She told me there are lots of free resources at the library that no one knows about (like Freegal, the free music download service, for instance). So stop by your favorite branch and ask what things they have available. In the meantime, don’t forget about story hour times and the children’s events calendar. Check out their home page for features and the latest news!
Fresh Every Day
Follow these people and hashtags on Twitter for fresh (mostly local) Summer time ideas everyday!
More Local Sites to Visit:
- Cheap in Erie
- Enjoy Erie — Check out the calendar for events, classes, and lots more!
- Summer Activities in Erie (2012): Pinterest Board
- North East Calendar of Events
- 4KidsinPA: Lists events all over the state, including fun ideas for day trips
- BuffaloMommies: Buffalo isn’t too far away, and this site has great local ideas!
- Free Summer Activities in Erie
- Getting Creative with Childcare @ GoErie.com
- Erie Travel Examiner Blog
- Lake Erie Living Summer Fun List (50 Ideas)
More Free Ideas
Summer Idea Newsletters
- Camp Sunny Patch
- Best Summer Ever (gives a daily focus for you and your kids)
- Don’t forget to grab the Erie paper on Thursdays for a great list of weekend activities!
Tomorrow, I’ll feature links to blogs from all over America with more staycation ideas!