How To Romanticize Your Spring with These Staycation “Getaways”

If you’re craving a little break this spring but can’t hop on a plane to a tropical beach somewhere, try one of these to bring some joy into the changing season.

By Greta Waldon5 min read
Pexels/Наталья Маркина

With robbins singing in our yards, tulips peeking their green heads up from the cool soil, and Easter right around the corner, spring truly is in the air. For many, this time of year involves some sort of break. Whether you’re in college, you’re a teacher, or you have kids in school, the idea of enjoying some downtime as the seasons change for the warmer is practically in our blood at this point. If you, like many, are feeling the effects of inflation on top of things like student loan payments and little mouths to feed, there are ways to satisfy that feeling without spending much at all, and that might make you appreciate your own home or city with fresh eyes. If you want to feel like you’re on spring break without actually leaving town or breaking the bank, try romanticizing your spring with these staycation “getaways.” 

Have an Indoor Picnic

If it’s spring in your heart but the air outside is still singing a chillier tune, try having an indoor picnic. Pick the sunniest spot in your house and clear away coffee tables or other furniture so you can lay down a blanket or two and create a mini meadow for your meal. The menu will, of course, include a cheese board with your favorite fixings, plus things like sandwiches, fruit, veggies and dip, and some sweet treats. Since you’re inside, you can make your picnic a little fancier with special glass dishes, and don’t forget to put on a record or your favorite playlist. Pour yourself and your guy or girlfriends a glass of something and linger over conversation and table games, or pull out the acoustic guitar for an intimate musical moment together. Try this with your kids for a sillier, messier, more whimsical picnic. 

Play Tourist in Your Own City

Do you live in New York, but you’ve never been to the top of the Freedom Tower? Or in Los Angeles, but you haven’t been to the Getty Villa Museum in years? Wherever you live, I bet there are unique attractions that a tourist would head straight for that you haven’t thought of or been to in forever. Think about where you would take a friend if she’d never been to your city, and plan a visit to that location. Even though you may pass by it all the time or you went there on every school trip when you were growing up, try to pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. Maybe there’s a tour you could join to learn more about the history or the architecture or what your area was like when it was built. You’ll be surprised by what new details you notice and what new impressions and inspirations you’ll walk away with. 

Book a Hotel, Airbnb, or Bed & Breakfast 

Perhaps the most vacation-y staycation, spend a night or two this spring at a local hotel, Airbnb, or bed & breakfast. If you pick a hotel, indulge in room service, see what’s on TV, and don’t forget to take a dip in the pool with a hot shower or bath afterward. If you’re more of an Airbnb or bed & breakfast girl, see if you can stay in an area where it’s fun to walk around and explore, maybe bringing back takeout or something simple to prepare for dinner. If you have kids, this could be an opportunity for a night alone for you and your husband, or an affordable way to give the whole family that vacation experience without hours in the car (are we there yet?) or the cost of flights for everyone. 

Try a Wine Tasting or Cooking Class 

If you can’t quite make it to Italy or Napa Valley this spring, see what businesses near you offer wine tasting or cooking classes and try one for the next best thing. Not only will you learn things you’ll be able to use in your own kitchen or expand your knowledge of wine bouquets, but you’ll feel like you went somewhere new and did something different. If food and wine aren’t really your thing, you could look into pottery classes, couple’s dance classes, a tour of your local art museum led by an art historian, or anything else that might transport you and your date while you learn, grow, and bond together.

Take a Day Trip to a Nearby Small Town

Many of us dream of traveling Europe by exploring little villages and finding the best sights and restaurants that aren’t in the guidebooks. If you like the idea of off the beaten track travel and enjoy discovering those hidden gems, you can do the same thing in your own area. Do a little research on small towns near you, preferably ones that boast a “historic downtown.” You’ll be surprised by the charm you discover as you stroll through cobblestone streets, window shop in antique stores and local boutiques, and enjoy a meal overlooking a waterfall, river, or mountain, depending on where you live. You’ll leave with the sense of having traveled, but still make it home to sleep in your own bed. 

Have a Movie and Food Theme Night

Feel like seeing another country from the comfort of your own couch? This is a personal favorite – pick a movie from another country and pair it with their local cuisine for a themed evening of entertainment. By pairing what you’re eating with the place on screen, you’ll really feel like you’ve visited somewhere new and learned about another country’s art and culture. Wondering where to start? You could pair tacos with the film Frida, boeuf bourguignon with Breathless, or beef noodle soup with the movie In The Mood For Love. Or, if you want to make something that the characters in one of your favorite movies eat on screen, check out this YouTube channel that provides recipes to do just that. 

Spend a Day at the Pool

Nothing screams vacation like a pool or beach. Since it may be too cold where you live to really enjoy your local beaches yet, find a community center, gym, or other facility with day rates for pool access. Look for a pool that offers a little more leisure than the ones just set up for swimming laps so you can make a day of lounging poolside. Pack your favorite suit and towel, some pool toys, a page-turner, and some snacks to make the most of your time. Even better if there’s a hot tub! This can be a relaxing solo adventure, a unique date, or major fun for the whole family.

Take a Day Off Cooking

Sometimes, you can do something as simple as pausing your normal routines and daily tasks for one day to feel like you’ve escaped and had a break. If you’re in charge of your household’s meal planning, prep, and cooking, try taking a day completely off from those responsibilities. You could go out to eat and try a new cafe or restaurant, you could grab some premade things from a local market, or you could order takeout – or all three! If you scope out the new and noteworthy restaurants near you, I guarantee there’s something interesting you haven’t been able to try or maybe haven’t even heard of yet. Give yourself some variety and a break from routine, plus there won't be dishes lingering in the sink and calling your name after dinner. 

Alternatively, do you feel like you never have time to cook and are always grabbing things on the go? Switch it up and plan a day of cooking, pulling out those recipes you saved to try months ago or your favorite comfort dishes and clearing the schedule to play chef for the day.

Have an At-Home Spa Day 

If your idea of a break involves some sort of pampering, then your ideal staycation might be an at-home spa day. Check your cabinet to see what spa things you already have on hand, and then fill in any gaps so you’re ready to indulge in a day of “treatments” at home. Some things you might want to include on the spa menu: a lovely clay face mask, an essential oil and Epsom salt bath, a manicure and pedicure complete with a spring color nail polish, a body sugar scrub, and plenty of moisturizer for all over. Be sure to light some candles, put on calming music, and heat up some hand towels in the microwave for your neck, feet, or face. If your husband is on board, trade massages for an even more relaxing (and romantic) experience. 

Explore a New Neighborhood

This one is simple, but it can do a lot to rejuvenate the soul. Pick a neighborhood in your area that you haven’t spent much time in to walk around and explore. You can stop in little shops and cafes, or simply enjoy strolling and seeing new sights and a different neighborhood’s personality. Depending on where you live, this could be an urban, suburban, or rural experience, but all of these offer hidden charms and potential people-watching opportunities. This kind of exploration can leave you feeling refreshed and inspired, as well as give you an idea of who some of the locals are and what their daily lives are like, much like you’d find when traveling to a totally new city. 

Closing Thoughts 

It turns out that the world right around us is quite as rich and inspiring as that on a destination coast or a city abroad when it comes to romanticizing your daily life. If you’re willing to get a little creative, you can have an experience of travel or relaxation right where you are. The hidden value of this kind of practice is not only that you’ll save money, but that you’ll be deepening the way you see and experience the very place where you live, and you’ll be flexing your muscles for making even the most seemingly mundane moments into something special, something that sparkles, and something that you and your loved ones won’t soon forget.

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