In the wake of COVID-19, even though the province is slowly opening up, we’re being advised to stay close to home this summer, whether it’s a long weekend or a week’s vacation with the kids. Camping, visits to the beach, and hiking a trail are all subject to rules and restrictions that help us to socialize safely. While health officials still recommend that people don’t gather inside, outside is okay to invite a small group over to enjoy a barbecue. The summer of 2020 is probably a good year to plan a backyard staycation.
Plan Your Staycation
Plan your staycation like you would a regular summer holiday. Have a start date and an end date. Involve all family members – it will help build anticipation.
It’s not like you’ll be dealing with hotel and airfare expenses. But set a budget anyway – it will help you prioritize activities, keep tabs on expenses, and get creative when setting up backyard fun zones.
To avoid ending up cleaning the gutters, unclogging the downspouts, washing the siding or binge-watching a TV series, decide ahead of time what activities you want to do on your staycation.
Just as you would if you were on summer holidays, turn the answering machine on and plan to ignore emails or opening snail mail.
Be a Tourist
A backyard staycation this summer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re parked in the backyard for the duration. Be a tourist in your own city. Plan a few activities that will allow you and your family to safely explore outside of your backyard. Staycation activities you might enjoy include:
- A visit to a climbing wall centre or climbing gym
- Playing golf or mini-golf
- Visiting Queen Elizabeth Park or the VanDusen Botanical Garden
- Dining out at a favourite local restaurant
- Going camping
- Touring museums such as the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the Nikkei National Museum
Common restrictions limit the use of cash, ask you to bring your own equipment (e.g. clubs for mini-golf), require you to wear a face mask, and want you to make bookings and/or buy tickets in advance.
Making the most of the Backyard
Make your staycation memorable by getting the most of your backyard. Start with a general tidying up of your outdoor living space. Map out areas or zones for specific backyard activities like dining alfresco, relaxing in the shade, and playing games. Use what you already have – plan activities around your in-ground pool, the fire pit, gazebo or patio. Some fun things to do during in your backyard during your staycation are:
- Plan a backyard movie night – DIY a screen or add something more permanent
- Build a rope swing
- Go on a backyard camping trip – if visiting an actual campsite is not possible, plan a night under the stars
- Make backyard dining an event – add outdoor lighting to create the right staycation mood
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures during your 2020 summer staycation.