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Kids Staycation Ideas

You don't have to go far to find a great vacation! The Albany area is jam packed with adventure, so if summer camps and vacation getaways are not possible this year, fret not. You can plan a fun-filled home vacation -- a staycation -- this summer, and give the kids tons of exciting things to enjoy and talk about when the teacher asks what they did over summer break!

Fun At The Fair

Plan a day or two at a local fair, riding rides, getting cotton candy and winning prizes. The summer is packed with fun fairs and festivals, including the Altamont Fair, Saratoga County Fair, Washington County Fair, Schaghticoke Fair and others. Get more details on local fairs near Albany.

Root for the Home Team

The Tri-City ValleyCats game are a great way to inspire the American spirit and love of baseball in your little ones. They play home games at their stadium in Troy, NY, and tickets are surprisingly affordable. Learn more about catching a ValleyCats baseball game.

Hit the Beach

sunset on saratoga lakeYou don't need ocean waves to have a great time at the beach, and there are plenty of local beaches just minutes away. Grab some beach toys or a volleyball, head to Grafton Lake, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake or Lake George beaches, and let the kids enjoy some fun in the sun!

Can't do the beach but still want to splash around? Check out public pools in Albany or one of Saratoga's beautiful pools.

Explore History

Spend the afternoon learning and observing at the Pine Bush Discovery Center in Albany. You'll have fun discovering everything from butterflies to dragonflies to trees and shrubs to snakes and more. The kids will be amazed, and it's affordable (just $5 per family).You can even take the CDTA bus there on Saturdays between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. using Route #155.The New York State Museum, located right in downtown Albany, is filled with fun exhibits to keep you occupied all afternoon! You can also go see the USS Slater, the last Destroyer Escort still floating in America on the Hudson River. The ship was first launched in 1944 and served in both the battle of the Atlantic and the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

Enjoy a Theme Park

The closest parks to Albany are Zoom Flume Water Park and Six Flags Great Escape (both about an hour away). You can also head north for Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge NY. All parks are well worth the drive, and make a staycation seem a little more like a vacation.

See a Concert or Performance

Head to Empire State Plaza for their Summer at the Plaza series for a variety of fun, family friendly and free concerts. Top off a day trip to Lake George with a free concert or magic show in Shepard Park on the lake. Encourage the kids to sing along and clap their hands. There are kid-friendly concerts and entertainment every week. Albany is also home to several great concert venues and performing arts centers! Check out their schedules and see who is coming to the area to perform.

Eat Great Food and Sweet Treats

One of the best parts of vacation can be trying new and amazing food at different restaurants. Well, surely there are restaurants in the Capital Region you haven't tried yet -- or even an old favorite you don't get to often enough. Check out some great local restaurants, and make plans to dine out a few times throughout your staycation! Have a sweet tooth? Grab some soft serve, or head to a local bakery or cafe for some goodies.

Relax at the Park

purple flowerWhatever your family's interests, there is a local park perfect for you! Throw a football around, have a catch, or toss a Frisbee at Washington Park after a picnic lunch. Go rollerblading or bike riding on one of the local bike trails (the Uncle Sam Bikeway is paved and offers a great tunnel younger kids would enjoy). Take in the views hiking along Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher Park. Grab your water shoes and go for a dip at Peebles Island, or just wander the paths to enjoy nature and spot some local wildlife. Play tennis at Frear Park in Troy, and stop by Prospect Park afterwards for a magnificent view overlooking the city. Most local parks also have great playgrounds to enjoy (The Crossings in Colonie is one of our favorites). Discover our guide to Albany area parks to find one that offers the right kind of fun for your family!

Take a Short Day Trip

Howe Caverns is only a 45 minute drive from Albany and is quite the adventure to take! Along the tour, you'll discover limestone corridors and unique rock formations. Also only 45 minutes away, spend the afternoon at the Saratoga Race Course. Watch the horses race across the finish line, or people watch and pick out your favorite hat someone is wearing! After the track, head up to Lake George for a fantastic fireworks show every Thursday night in July and August.

Hike a Trail

Spend the day hiking on local trails in the Capital Region. Thacher Park in Voorheesville and Peebles Island in Waterford. Looking to take a short drive? There are also several great hiking trails in Saratoga Springs that are worth checking out!


Depending on your children's ages and tastes, go golfing, mini-golfing or head to the driving range for a day on the greens. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat and discuss golfing skills!

Local events!

Check the community calendar for upcoming events in the Capital Region. Many are free or near free, and there is always something going on that's fun for kids.

You never realized there was so much fun to be had locally, did you? An Albany staycation can be every bit as fun and impressive as an expensive getaway, but at a fraction of the cost! Enjoy these fun ideas with your kids this summer, and have a home vacation in Albany that brings the whole family together! Remember to take lots of photos to remember your amazing staycation and share with others.