An ETX Staycation: Keeping Close to Home | East Texas Moms


Everyone loves a good stay-cation, right? Most of the time families decide on this because they want the time together as a family, away from distractions, work, school, but they need to save money. Or like us have little ones and the idea of traveling across country sounds miserable!

A WONDERFUL unintended consequence to a stay-cation is that you actually do things in your local community that you might not otherwise make the time to do. And what’s crazy is that some of the things I’m going to tell you about today in this article are things that people travel from ALL OVER to do here! Right in your own “backyard!”

I’m going to compare things you could do out of town to things you can do right here in beautiful East Texas.

  1. Instead of going to the Silos in Waco, go to First Mondays in Canton. First Mondays is MUCH bigger, cheaper, and the lines are way shorter. I’ve been to the Gaines famous Silos in Waco, and while it’s super fun to take the selfie and tell all your friends you went there (especially your out of of state friends who watch the show religiously!), there is just no comparison to the size of First Mondays and the prices that you can find there. If you want to redecorate your house in farmhouse style and eat fun food, check out Canton. I’m surprised at how many times I have talked to native East Texans who have NEVER BEEN! Shocked really. I grew up going about once a year and currently we take our kids about once a season. They love all the snacks and petting all the animals that people bring shopping with them. You can check out my article about how to survive First Monday shopping with littles!
  2. Instead of going to Dallas to go shopping, come to The Village at Cumberland Park, a new shopping center in South Tyler! This new center has tons of great shopping, some yummy restaurants, a dine-in movie theater, trampoline park/escape room, and so much more. You can really spend a whole day here (plus there is a hotel if you want to shop for the whole weekend) and do lots of fun things with your family. Close by there is even more shopping, parks, and even more eating! South Broadway in Tyler has become a major shopping hub not just for Tyler families but really all the surrounding communities. You don’t need to drive all the way to Dallas for your shopping anymore, because East Texas has you covered!
  3. Instead of going to Grapevine for indoor water slides, go to The Villages in Flint! This local getaway is perfect if you want to day trip (or even stay for the whole weekend) and take the family to a swim park. You don’t have to travel all the way to DFW. Flint is a great town just on the outskirts of Tyler, and the Villages has a lot to offer for our local families!
  4. Instead of going on Safari in Africa, there is a safari experience here in East Texas! Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari is truly a unique stay-cation idea for local families. How many times in your life would you actually get the chance to feed zebras and camels? But here, in just a few hours, you can see and interact with so many different types of animals. The kids will laugh and giggle and make so many memories. If your stay-cation puts your around the Jacksonville area, definitely check them out.
  5. And right here in East Texas, check out Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom! I take my kids probably 2-3 times during summer picking season and we love it. They have great prices on blueberries and they have a whole little store where you can buy jams and jellies, and blueberry flavored EVERYTHING (lemonade, baked goods, ice cream, etc). It’s a great adventure and the kids LOVE picking the blueberries we will be eating on for weeks.
  6. Instead of going to the beach, go to one of our many lakes! I absolutely LOVE the beach, but when we can’t get there, we love going to one of the many lakes in East Texas! There are so many great lakes to choose from, many of which have camp sites you can rent or bring your own RV or tents. Bring bikes, swim suits, fishing poles, as well as hot dogs and s’mores for making great family memories together.

If you are feeling bad that you can’t “get away” this year for whatever the reason might be, don’t forget all the wonderful opportunities we have RIGHT HERE to make family memories together! You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and travel a thousand miles to have intentional family time. You can stay local and make amazing family memories.

I hope you and your family have a BLAST this summer on your stay-cation here in East Texas.