The sun is shining, school is out, and summer vacation is upon us. This is normally prime time for piling into cars for epic road trips or booking flights to somewhere fun. But with travel restrictions and varying rules on businesses opening across the nation, many of us are finding ourselves staying pretty close to home.

And guess what? That can be awesome, too.

We’ve collected a few planning tips and summer ideas to help you plan the perfect staycation, even if you’re social distancing. And the best part is, you can do a lot more of these activities since they’re all probably closer to home.

So without further adieu, let’s go! Errrr...uhhh… we mean… Let’s stay!

First things first. What do you want to do?
It’s brainstorming time. Whether it’s with your family or just by yourself, pull out a piece of paper and start writing down all the ideas you have for the summer. It can be as open-ended as “go hiking” or as specific as “hiking Mt. Sanitas trail”, just get your ideas down. There are no wrong answers.

Narrow down to the good stuff.
Now that you’ve got your ideas, it’s time to figure out which ones you want to do most. It can be a vote or even just close your eyes and point. Find your 2-3 favorites and set your mind to making them happen.

Get it on the calendar. Science shows us that putting a date on the calendar increases our excitement and is much more likely to help us think positively about an event. Whether it’s a single day or an entire week, pick a time that’s not TOO soon and not TOO far out, and then start prepping like it’s an actual vacation. Make ground rules around the date (no phones allowed, take days off work, etc.) and then get excited!

Get the boring stuff out of the way.
Remember: this is an ACTUAL vacation. That means a limited amount of chores, no work, and lots of activities and memories. Get all of your laundry, shopping, and cleaning done beforehand. It’s important to really treat the days you’ve chosen like a vacation so that you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with your family or yourself.

Ready, set...STAY!
Okay, so you know we’re taking this summer staycation stuff pretty seriously. Now you may need some fun summer ideas or at-home activities to really make it memorable. Try some of these while you’re cooking up your time away.

Try something new.
A lot of the thrill of vacation is going somewhere new. But odds are, there are parts of your state you’ve never seen. Whether it’s hiking a new trail, visiting a new park, or trying something new like fly fishing, there’s plenty to make an adventure out of.

Ask yourself: what have you always wanted to do? Or what have you never even thought of doing? Now’s your chance.

Some ideas: Go fishing for a day. Go camping for a weekend. Build something together. Plan a long hike somewhere local. If all else fails, look up a visitor’s guide to your state. We bet there’s a whole lot more to do than you ever imagined.

Create a new tradition.
Whether it’s transforming your yearly waterpark trip into a backyard water splash fest or just making movie night in the backyard a new thing, there are plenty of ways to carry on or create new traditions this summer.

Relax like you mean it.
Okay, okay. So maybe you’re looking for some time to put your feet up. While you may not have a beach chair to kick back in, you can still get some R&R. Start by putting aside distractions like work email (set that out of office email) and turn off your alarms. Wake up a little later and maybe turn in a little early, too. Relaxing is important to resetting and recovery from the daily grind.

Try these ideas for turning your home into a relaxing sanctuary.

Get crafty.
Whether it’s cooking or getting creative, this uninterrupted time is perfect to make something. With the sun shining, you can even take your summer craft outside to tie-dye shirts on an old table or whip up some new recipes to serve on the patio. This is your time to find your creative side.

Here are some of our favorite summer recipes:

End on a high note.
Whatever it is you end up doing, make it as memorable as you would any other vacation. Take a lot of pictures while you’re out and about, keep the art you made and talk about it afterward. Sometimes the best part of vacation is remembering it years later. And hopefully, all those pictures and videos of your time this summer will leave you with a more positive memory of the summer of 2020.