With so many prime duty stations around the country, it’s easy to find a fun, easy staycation to enjoy as a family.
Summer is a great time to explore all the fun that’s waiting for you right outside your door. To help get you started, we found super cool staycation ideas at three military-heavy areas.
Easy Staycation Ideas for Military Families Coast to Coast
There is a huge cross-service population in our three spotlight regions, with almost every branch represented in each location.
- Washington, DC: our nations capital and the hub of military decision making at the highest levels
- Virginia: with bases all over the state, VA has tons of military-friendly staycation options
- Southern California: from Coronado to San Clemente, SoCal is the spot for the USMC, Coast Guard and Navy
Which easy staycation ideas will you try this winter?
Explore Washington, DC this Summer
Summer heats up fast in the city! But high temps and humid days shouldn’t deter your military family from enjoying everything our nation’s capital has to offer.
- Sunset & Evening Parades: head to Arlington Cemetery (Tuesday evenings) or 8th & I (Friday nights) for the USMC’s famous silent drill team. You’ll love the spirited marches and historic settings. Did you know that the small Marine base in DC is the oldest post in the Corps?
- Festivals on the Mall: tents go up all summer long for cool festivals on the Nation’s Front Lawn – the National Mall! From early July with the Folklife Festival right through the end of summer, there is always something happening here. Best of all, it’s free!
- Hike DC: head out into the wilds of DC, an unexpected place to take a nature walk. One great spot is Theodore Roosevelt Island, a nature preserve right in the middle of the Potomac.
- Museums Galore: escape the heat in one of DC’s many amazing museums. As a bonus, most are free! Explore the history of spies, gaze upon all 45 presidents, or learn about US history in and around the Mall.
- Honor at Arlington: with lush green trees and tons of grass, Arlington Cemetery is extra peaceful in the summer – the height of visitor season! Visit Robert E. Lee’s historic home, then head down the hill to pay your respects to the Kennedy clan.
- Georgetown Date: for a fun and easy date night, head to Georgetown. Stop at any of the yummy gourmet restaurants or pubs for drinks and appetizers before you grab dinner at Martin’s Tavern. It’s extra romantic because President John Kennedy proposed to his then-girlfriend, Jackie, here!
Enjoy Southern Hospitality in Virginia
From top to bottom, Virginia is practically bursting at the seams with military bases and troops! The heaviest concentration is in the southern Tidewater region and around the greater DC area, near Quantico.
If you’re in Northern Virginia, check out these fun staycation and day trip spots:
- Mount Vernon in Summer: take a river cruise and learn about farm life for George Washington! There are acres and acres to explore with your family!
- Go West to Wine: take route 66 west to a laidback wine region. In and around Delaplane, there are several excellent wineries crafting wine with local grapes. Brings your kids and pups to Barrel Oak for a whole day of holiday cheer!
- Explore Quantico: it’s more than a Marine base! Go to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and enjoy roaming the beautiful grounds. Then head to lunch at the Globe & Laurel before swinging into Potomac Point Winery to end the day.
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors: keep going west into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent a cabin or enjoy a luxurious resort hotel. You’ll love hiking along the Shenandoah Mountains!
If you’re in Southern Virginia, we love these cool activities and adventures:
- Famous Hams: take a ride to historic Smithfield, home of the classic Smithfield ham. Tuck into a cozy resort or rental property. Take a hike near the river on beautifully maintained trails, then head into town for a tour of the Smithfield museum before enjoying a dinner featuring (what else) smoked ham.
- Colonial Christmas: step back to colonial Virginia in Williamsburg. It’s a super fun place to celebrate our nation’s independence, right in the heart of the action!
- Thrilling Adventures: use your Waves of Honor military passes to enjoy summer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. You’ll love the hair raising rides, perfect for visitors of all ages!
- Step into the Triangle: learn about the very first British colony in America at Jamestown. Then take the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown. In one day, you’ll experience the beginning and the end of the American colonial period!
- Swim & Slide Inside: take a break from the heat and head to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. This super family-friendly resort includes an indoor water park that’s sure to please kids of all ages. Make sure to ask about their military discount program!
Sunny SoCal is a Staycation Dream
Located in or around San Diego? You’re smack in the middle of a prime vacation destination!
This winter, check out:
- Waves of Honor: hang with Shamu and company with your complimentary military admission tickets for SeaWorld. There’s even a special Sesame Street themed zone that’s perfect for little ones!
- Wind Down in Temecula: book a tour of wine country (or self-chauffer with a designated driver) in Temecula! Stay the night in SouthCoast Resort to enjoy their spa packages. This lovely little wine region is famously family-friendly, with several wineries featuring play spaces for little ones.
- Zoo After Dark: through September 2, visitors can enjoy the famous San Diego Zoo at night, with extended hours! Summer is a great time to stay later since many animals are nocturnal. Special shows and performances are also scheduled all summer long!
- Stroll in Gaslamp: make it a date night to remember in San Diego’s Gaslamp district. You’ll find almost any cuisine you can imagine here! After dinner, grab drinks at a breezy pub or stroll toward the Esplanade to listen to the waves.