When You Just Need A Break From The Break

By Laura Faison on Apr 06, 2015

You had a great plan: save a little money this spring since you’re going on that BIG family vacation this summer, but still plan a week of uninterrupted quality time with the people you share a house with but very rarely see thanks to school, sports and work schedules.  Yep, you opted for a spring break stay-cation.


Starting to feel like this?

It starts a little something like this – Saturday was spent planning out all the house and yard work you were going to accomplish over the next several days since everyone was around to help out, and Sunday was spent enjoying the Easter holiday and binging on any and everything covered in chocolate.  (Have you seen THESE recipes?!)

So now it’s Monday and day three of your stay-cation.  But the thought of spending seven more days in the house with all.these.people (that you love dearly!) is already making you climb the walls.  You need some ideas, and fast.

Have no fear!  We heard your cries (we’ve been there ourselves) and compiled a list of some great stay-cation ideas from across Central and Coastal Virginia.


Sunny Richmond Scenes

The James River is a gorgeous getaway right in our own backyard.

Keeping in mind that the whole point of a stay-cation was to save money, there’s no need to abandon that now when looking for outing ideas.  Outdoor adventures are a great way to enjoy the spring weather and get to know the beautiful surroundings often in your own back yard!

  • Check out the amazing James River Park System in the Richmond area. With 12 dedicated park areas dotted along the beautiful James River there are ample opportunities to fish, bike, picnic, hike and explore completely free of charge.  Up for a little more adventure?  Visit the staff at Riverside Outfitters to take kayak lessons or sign up for rafting tours!
  • Throughout Coastal Virginia, beaches and outdoor activities abound! Check out any of the three dedicated beach areas in Virginia Beach for a mix of sun, sand and surf close to home.  And if you’re looking to venture out a little further, check out Wild River Outfitters and explore any of their more than 60 recommended kayak launch sites throughout the coastal area.

After all of these outdoor activities you’ll probably have worked up an appetite.  What better way to stay frugal than grilling out or cooking at home with fresh, locally sourced foods found at area farmer’s markets.  In Richmond, we love the South of the James Farmer’s Market (Saturday mornings).  In Virginia Beach, check out the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market any day of the week!


I read an article recently that talked about “day dates” – essentially parents taking days off from work together while their little ones are in school/daycare/with a sitter so they can finally get some time together.  Some of the date ideas included the usual dinner and a movie, bowling, etc.  The one that really caught my attention was a theme day – picking a theme and making everything for the day relate to it.  How cool would this be for a family day, too?

Keeping themes in mind, there are great opportunities in our area for family friendly adventures to keep everyone entertained and engaged.  What better way to bring out the creativity than with a little art!

  • In Central Virginia, start out your day with a little inspiration from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. With every medium and genre on display, the VMFA is sure to have something to impress (or perplex) everyone in the family!  Once you’ve found your inspiration, head on over to All Fired Up to try your hand at painting pottery with hundreds of items to choose from including platters, piggy banks, figurines and more.  Round out the day with a delish treat from Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream.

    Inspiration abounds at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • If you’re closer to the coast, check out the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art with their incredible collection of works from artists all over the world. When you’ve seen enough of the incredible colors and textures, create your own masterpiece at Color Me Mine.  End your colorful adventure with a trip to Confetti for fresh gelato and more!

If art isn’t your thing, our area is bustling with museums, zoos, gardens, history walks and more.  Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and even reviews on Facebook and Google are great for doing a little more research into building the perfect theme day.


Colonial_Williamsburg_007 courtesy ReserveWilliamsburgcom

Williamsburg has something for everyone, including budding photographers! (photo courtesy reservewilliamsburg.com)

So now you’ve decided you need more than just a few hours out of the house and are opting for a quick overnight adventure.  What better place to head out and explore than Colonial Williamsburg, situated just a short drive from both Central and Coastal Virginia.  While you’re there, make the most of all there is to do.

  • History and adventure abound at the Jamestown Settlement, where you can get a first-hand look at how the earliest settlers lived.
  • If history isn’t what you’re in the mood for, there’s always Busch Gardens Williamsburg, full of thrills for the whole family.
  • We can’t forget the fabulous shopping in Williamsburg.  HELLLLOOO Premium Outlets and Merchant’s Square!
  • Take dinner to a new level with a meal at A Chef’s Kitchen where you can watch and learn as your meal is prepared!

The beauty of a Williamsburg trip is that you can make it as frugal or fabulous as you like, with everything from self-guided walking tours to resort stays at places like Great Wolf Lodge, Kingsmill, or the Williamsburg Lodge.  (There are great, less expensive accommodations nearby as well – just checkout TripAdvisor for a great listing.)

As you embark on the full week of family togetherness that is spring break, keep in mind there are frugal, fun and fabulous adventures right here in our own backyards!


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