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All The Best St. Louis Staycation Ideas For During The School Year

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A staycation DURING the school year is so much fun and a great way to explore the local area where you live. It’s also one of the best ways to include every family member, because we all know how the days of back to school go. It’s busy, busy, busy all the time and no way can travel very far from home. Especially families with kids in high school. Our oldest can’t miss very many school days, because he’d never get caught up on what he missed. So weekend staycations are a necessity. Fortunately I’ve got some great staycation ideas that are perfect for right here in St. Louis at Union Station, but also doable where you live!

st louis staycation ideas

All The Best St. Louis Staycation Ideas For During The School Year

It’s back to school time again and with that, summer is officially over. Or is it over? Granted the first day of fall isn’t technically until September 22nd. Once school starts back it does indeed feel like the end of summer. Gone are the days of just lounging around at the pool or vacationing around. Summer just seems to be officially over once everyone is back in the classroom. However, for our family it certainly didn’t look over when we did a really fun stayingcation during the school year. And it was the perfect way to celebrate back to school!

My family loves to travel and that means summer vacation is usually about visiting our favorite theme parks, traveling to a National Park or even exploring nearby cities during the warmer months of the year. This summer has been an oddity for our family though. With our oldest now in high school (and participating in marching band) we had limited weeks that we could travel. Sure we made the most of that time and had a lot of fun together, but we also knew that going into fall we would be consumed with Friday night lights and all the other activities that the school year brings. Travel during the school year would definitely be a no go. Gone are the days of missing an occasional day of school here and there. Thankfully we had a good idea for how to still spend quality time together, feel like we are traveling and never having to leave St. Louis.

st louis union station grand hall stained glass

Union Station Staycation: We found that the St. Louis Union Station Hotel is the perfect place to staycation during school. It’s a luxury hotel with great amenities for the whole family. The property itself is gorgeous and there are so many attractions right on site for the entire family to enjoy. Seriously so much fun and a wonderful way to step away from everyday life!

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The school year is the perfect time for a staycation!

Weekend getaways are definitely the way to go during the school year. It’s a fun option for when you are unable to travel very far away. While I’ll be sharing with you the during the school year staycation that we took in our own city, you can use these best staycation ideas wherever you live. Because every city has local attractions, fun activities and new things to explore. There are so many creative ways to “travel” in your own place. You just have to look around and hopefully some of these ideas will spark a little creativity for you!

Staycation That Feels Like A Vacation

Unlike a traditional vacation, this is one that doesn’t require travel. Or at least not traveling very far from home, and it has both a vacation and staycation feel to it! People often think of a staycation as being one where you just stay at home and then venture out to the various activities around you. I’m going to share with you how to do a staycation vacation. It feels like you are traveling away from home, all while during the school year when you typically can’t travel far from home. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the week of back to school at Union Station right here in St. Louis!

How To Staycation Vacation

Decide on a local hotel for your stay. I think that this is the best part. Leaving the house and staying in a hotel just makes it feel like a trip out of town. And my kids absolutely love to stay in hotels. If they could live in a hotel, I think they totally would. We were hosted at the Union Station Hotel here in St. Louis and it was absolute perfection. Definitely a place that we are already talking about staying at again.

st louis union station hallway staycation ideas
st louis union station lobby

The Union Station Hotel in St. Louis is so beautiful.

Union Station Hotel Accommodations

The king deluxe junior suites on the 3rd floor that adjoin with the double queen rooms are perfect for large families. There’s even a living room area with pull out sofa, sitting area with table and chairs and ample amounts of closets in the junior suite.

st louis union station junior suite staycation ideas

Perfect for our family of six!

Pick a hotel with onsite dining. This way you don’t have to wander far from your accommodations for food. The Union Station Hotel in St. Louis has several delicious. food options right at the hotel. Even a market to get odds and ends, bakery items, etc. The main restaurant in the hotel has the best breakfast buffet. So delicious and I particularly enjoyed the made to order omelettes!

st louis union station grand hall restaurant

st louis union station dining room

danish pastries on newspaper
st louis union station restaurant omelette and bacon

Find local activities to do right in your own backyard. These family activities could be at the hotel where you are staying or nearby. Check out a local park, splash around at a water park (or in the hotel pool), visit the local museums or other attractions that are unique to your city. The list is endless and I do recommend staying at a hotel that has fun attractions (like Union Station) right there on site. It just feels like such a true vacation destination that way. The Union Station complex has an aquarium, mini golf, giant ferris wheel, classic carousel, ropes course and mirror maze.

st louis union station aquarium staycation ideas

st louis union station mini golf

st louis union station carousel
st louis union station ropes course
st louis union station mirror maze

union station st louis wheel staycation ideas

Plan to enjoy the local cuisine. Have a favorite restaurant near where you will be staying? Be sure to have a meal there or try out some new restaurants. As I already mentioned, there are several options for eating inside the Union Station Hotel. But there are other additional options right on site in the complex surrounding the various attractions. Be sure to grab a freak milkshake at the Soda Fountain and I always get the BLT whenever we eat there.

st louis soda fountain blt sandwich

Take board games. When unwinding at night in the hotel room why not also have a family game night? Grab and old favorite or get a new game for the occasion. It’s something that your kids will also remember about the staycation trip.

Movie night at the hotel. Our kids love to unwind at night with a movie. Watching one in the hotel is a fun family activity.

Visit the local library. Before heading out for the hotel, stop off and check out some books. You’ll feel like you are on a far away vacation while reading at the pool!

Enjoy the hotel amenities. Be sure to enjoy everything at the hotel. The Union Station Hotel amenities are amazing. I already mentioned the Market area on the 3rd floor, but you’ll also find an amazing gym (with Peloton bikes!) and the perfect pool for the kids to splash around in.

st louis union station gym
st louis union station pool staycation ideas

Union Station Free Staycation Ideas

There’s a free fire and light show outside and an amazing free 3D light show on the ceiling of the Grand Hall in the Union Station Hotel. Both set to music. And both FREE to the public! We love watching the unique shows over and over again anytime we go to Union Station.

union station fire and lights show staycation ideas
union station grand hall light show staycation ideas

How often is the light show at Union Station St. Louis?

Both light shows are at the top of every hour each night. So much fun to see and I highly recommend whether you are staying at the downtown hotel or just dropping by the various attractions.

We absolutely loved our staycation at Union Station. Cannot wait to be back down at the station for the Polar Express!

Book an overnight stay at the Union Station Hotel HERE.

st louis union station historic exit doors

These staycation ideas are perfect for right here in St. Louis, but can also be use where you live. We absolutely loved our staycation at Union Station. Such a unique place to explore. A true family favorite. I grew up going there with my grandparents so it’s really fun being able to experience it with my own children now. Cannot wait to be back down at the station for the Polar Express. Just another family favorite tradition that we love about Union Station!

Like these staycation ideas? Want to learn more about Union Station in St. Louis?

You can find more Union Station fun right HERE on the blog!


Administrator at Seeing Dandy Blog
Blogging for over 15 years. Wife to an audiologist, mom to 4 and lives in St. Louis, MO.

This post could contain affiliate links or be sponsored which means I earn from advertising. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More details here.

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