Transform Your Backyard into the Ultimate Staycation Destination

Updated June 14, 2024

The weather is warming up and spring break and summer vacation are around the corner. After being cooped up all winter, it’s time for busy families and pool owners like you to make the most of the sunshine and family time.

Exciting vacations and family getaways are great, but why not make every day a vacation? Schedules are busy, budgets are tight, and tourist destinations are packed. That’s OK! Who needs an expensive destination vacation when you’ve got an amazing pool and backyard?

More and more families are discovering the joys of a backyard staycation. For pool owners, this is an especially enticing option.

With a bit of creativity and preparation, your backyard can become a personal paradise. Let’s explore some exciting backyard staycation ideas and tips on how to prepare your pool for an unforgettable staycation experience.

7 Backyard Staycation Ideas

Who needs to leave town to have fun with these affordable and family-friendly backyard staycation ideas.

1. Tropical Paradise Experience

Who needs to spend thousands on a tropical vacation? You can embrace the island vibe with a tropical paradise themed staycation.

Set the mood with tiki torches, tropical plants, and a hammock in your backyard. String up some fairy lights, set up a few beach umbrellas around your patio, and lay out colorful beach towels.

Go full vacation-mode with some refreshing cocktails (or mocktails for the kids), play island music, and have a luau with some traditional Hawaiian dishes.

Looking for the perfect liner for your above ground pool? Check out our Great Barrier Reef liner, which will make you feel like you’re snorkeling off the island shore.

Great Barrier Reef pool liner from Linerworld

Great Barrier Reef Pool Liner

2. Food/Restaurant Tour

Exploring local restaurants and eating all sorts of delicious foods is one of the best parts about going on vacation. You can recreate that restaurant experience (without the restaurant prices) by creating a unique food experience in your backyard.

Try grilling out in your backyard, cooking over your outdoor fire pit, or whipping up something delicious in your kitchen and having an outdoor picnic.

Consider a destination-themed menu. For example, try cooking a Spanish dish you might try while visiting Barcelona. The idea is to get out of your comfort zone and try something different, just like you would if you were on vacation.

Consider letting the kids help prepare the food (as much as is appropriate for their age). It will make the experience more fun and memorable for them.

3. Outdoor Movie Night

Who doesn’t love a movie night with family and friends? Make the most of those warm summer nights with an outdoor movie experience right in your backyard.

All you need is a projector and a white sheet or an inflatable screen. Grab your inflatable pool floats and loungers to watch the movie right from your pool — or set up some cushions and blankets in the yard.

Of course, don’t forget lemonade, popcorn, and other movie snacks to complete the experience.

Our favorite movie recommendations for a poolside movie night include “Titanic” or “Jaws” for adults or “Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid” for a kid-friendly evening.

3. Backyard Camping Trip

Campgrounds, cabins, and summer camps fill up quickly once it starts to get warm outside. Avoid all the hustle and bustle by turning your backyard into a mini campsite of your own.

All you really need is a tent, sleeping bags, and flashlights for a solid outdoor adventure. Relax in the hammock, make some s’mores over the firepit (or in the microwave), tell some spooky ghost stories around the campfire, and have some fun with it.

Pool owners can have a little extra fun. If the weather is warm, dive in and enjoy. Grab a paddle and “canoe” on your pool floats or “go fishing” in your pool using nets or toy fishing poles. You can also grab some pool toys and host a swimming pool game tournament with your fellow “campers.”

4. Water or Yard Game Tournament

Many families like to take a vacation to visit stadiums and watch big sporting events. You can have just as much fun hosting your very own sporting event in your own backyard.

From Marco Polo to Sharks & Minnows, there are tons of family-friendly swimming pool games. Why not turn those games into a little staycation competition?

Recruit friends and neighbors, create your tournament bracket, pick some water games of challenges (like diving, relays, or laps), and let the friendly competition begin! The last team or player left standing gets a prize — or at least bragging rights.

Of course, you don’t just have to stick to swimming pool games. Depending on what you have on hand, backyard games like croquet, bocce ball, and bean bags are also good options — and good backup activities if the temperatures drop too low for swimming.

5. Backyard Water Park

You don’t have to travel very far to get all the fun of a water park — especially if you’re a pool owner. You’ve already got a great start turning your backyard into your very own water park — without waiting in lines or paying for overpriced concessions!

In addition to your pool, add some slip ‘n slides, water guns, sprinklers, and water balloons and you’re good for hours of fun.

6. Spa Retreat

Dreaming of a relaxing getaway with your besties or a romantic getaway with your significant other? Create a serene spa environment right in your backyard — no reservations or expensive treatments.

Put on some calming music, grab some sunscreen and essential oils, and some comfy robes. Enjoy some DIY facials, manicures, and massages while dipping your toes in the water or floating around the pool.

7. Space Camp

Any science or space lovers in your family? While space camp may not be an option for everyone, you can turn your backyard into an out-of-this-world mini space camp experience.

Decorate the yard with glow-in-the-dark stars and space-themed decorations to set the mood. Set up a telescope and some blankets to explore the night sky, searching for constellations and planets in the sky.

Providing a real astronaut experience by serving “space food” like freeze-dried ice cream, moon pies, and star-shaped sandwiches.

Really want to create a space-like experience? Check out our Galaxy liner and explore the cosmos right from your pool.

Galaxy Pool Liner

Prepping for Your Backyard Staycation.

Just like going on vacation, prepping for a backyard staycation takes some thought and planning to make it truly memorable and fun. Make sure your pool is clean and ready for summer fun and you have all the staycation essentials on-hand.

Planning a backyard staycation with a pool is a great idea! Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare:

Pool Preparation

  • Clean the Pool: Ensure the pool is clean and free of debris.
  • Check Pool Chemicals: Test and balance the water’s pH, chlorine, and alkalinity levels.
  • Inspect Pool Equipment: Ensure the pool filter and pump are functioning properly.
  • Check Safety Equipment: Check that life vests, pool noodles, and any other safety equipment are available and in good condition.
  • Gather Pool Toys: Gather all your pool floats, diving toys, and water games. Clean the pool toys if needed.

Outdoor Area Setup

  • Arrange Seating: Arrange comfortable seating like lounge chairs, hammocks, and outdoor sofas.
  • Plan for Shade: Set up umbrellas, canopies, or a pergola to provide shade in your outdoor space.
  • Set Up Dining Area: Prepare an outdoor dining space with a table, chairs, and possibly a picnic area.
  • Set Up Outdoor Lighting: Add string lights, lanterns, or solar lights for evening ambiance.
  • Hook Up Music: Set up outdoor speakers or a portable Bluetooth speaker for music.
  • Decorations: Add some fun decorations like balloons, banners, or themed decor that enhance your event.

Food and Drinks

  • Clean BBQ/Grill: Clean and prep your grill if you plan to barbecue.
  • Get Groceries: Plan a menu of easy-to-prep meals, snacks, and beverages that align with your staycation plans and stock up on all the goodies.
  • Use Coolers: Have coolers or an outdoor fridge stocked with drinks and ice to keep everything cold and avoid having to go inside frequently.
  • Get Tableware: Use durable, outdoor-friendly plates, cups, and utensils. Avoid using glass around the pool to avoid damaging your liner or causing injuries.

Activities and Entertainment

  • Set Up Pool Games: Prepare water volleyball, pool basketball, or other water-based games.
  • Set Up Yard Games: Set up games like cornhole, bocce ball, or badminton.
  • Prep Movie Night: Arrange the outdoor movie setup with a projector and screen.
  • Prepare Fire Pit: Set up fire pit area for evening relaxation and s’mores, aligning with all local fire restrictions and rules.

Comfort and Safety

  • Towels: Stock up on plenty of towels for drying off.
  • Sunscreen: Make sure there is enough sunscreen for everyone.
  • Insect Repellent: Have insect repellent available to keep bugs at bay.
  • First Aid Kit: Keep a first aid kit handy for any minor injuries.
  • Review Rules: Make sure all family members and guests are aware of pool and safety rules.

Final Checks

  • Weather Forecast: Check the weather forecast about 24-hours beforehand and plan accordingly.
  • Guest List: If you’re inviting friends or extended family, send out invitations and confirm attendance.
  • Backup Plan: Have a plan for indoor activities in case of bad weather.

By following this checklist, you’ll ensure that your backyard staycation is a fun, relaxing, and memorable experience for your family. Enjoy your time by the pool!

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