How to Plan a Chill Weekend

How to Plan a Chill Weekend

For the most part, we try to make the most of our precious days off of work and cram in as much as possible on the weekend. While this is conducive to completing a lot of activities, you might just end up more tired than when you started the weekend. Why not take a break from the hustle and bustle of your days off and just relax? This post will discuss key components of how to plan a chill weekend, using our last Labor Day weekend festivities as a guide. 

Over the three-day weekend, B, C and I piled into my Subaru and headed north. Our destination: Clearwater County (the last of the 44 counties in Idaho that I needed to visit). We had Labor Day off work so we didn’t feel bad about being in the car for so long.

Tip for a Chill Weekend #1: Make the travel part of the trip bearable

I typically don’t like to do an activity if the amount of time I take getting there exceeds the amount of time I spend enjoying myself. If you do have to spend a lot of time en route, listening to podcasts or books on tape makes the time go faster. And don’t forget the snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. (See other road trip musts here.)

Our car ride was about six hours. We killed the time various ways: C knitted, B and I played with video equipment, and we all took turns driving and eating. With all our activities, it didn’t feel like that long of a drive before we arrived in Pierce, Idaho. 

Tip for a Chill Weekend #2: Pick a home base you don’t ming hanging out at

I didn’t have much preference about where our accommodations were, other than I wanted it to be in Clearwater County. This opened up a lot of opportunities for where we could stay. However, the goal was for a chill weekend, so we needed to stay somewhere, well, chill. This meant we each got our own bedroom and we needed an open area where we could just hang out. This ruled out a hotel and instead we found a great AirBnB in a small town no one really knows about.

Making ourselves feel at home

Tip for a Chill Weekend #3: Limit your must sees and must dos

Clearwater County is definitely not one of the most populated or visited areas in Idaho. After doing a little digging and asking friends who have lived in the area, we ended up with a very short list of things we wanted to do.

touring dworshak dam
Taking a dam tour
  1. Visit the Pierce Courthouse (oldest public building in Idaho)
  2. Sit in a river
  3. Tour the Dworshak Dam
  4. Go for a hike
  5. Attend Kamiah Barbecue Days (annual town fair in another tiny town)

That’s it. We had three days to accomplish these five tasks, which we could have fit into one day if we stretched. This is the key piece of a chill weekend, though. You have to limit yourself on your agenda or you’ll fall into the same old trap. 

sitting in the clearwater river
Just chillin’ in the Clearwater River

One of the great things about not pushing yourself through your planned activities is you get to mosey. We took our time wandering around Pierce and talked with several of the locals. We ended up celebrating a retirement party with a sweet lady at a hardware store and eating homemade huckleberry ice cream at a saloon. These are definitely things we wouldn’t have known about if we didn’t slow our roll and just let things happen to us rather than keeping to a set course. 

Tip for a Chill Weekend #4: Bring down-time activities

We knew we were going to take it easy so we made sure to bring activities that we could do while lounging in our house. For us, that meant books, board games, puzzles and crafts. For you that might mean movies, a poker set or Dance Dance Revolution. You want your weekend to be chill, not boring, so you’ll need to bring something to keep you entertained. 

Tip for a Chill Weekend #5: Plan your meals

Mealtime is very important to us, so we wanted to make sure we had food covered. Since we weren’t sure what the restaurant situation was like in this remote town, we brought most of our food with us and cooked. This is another feature that AirBnBs have that hotels lack: full kitchens. 

While we didn’t have to plan much for the weekend, we did plan meals. Well, B did, as the camp cook. C has an instant pot that B wanted to try out, so most of our meals used this. B picked out recipes and packed the ingredients we’d need so we really didn’t spend too much time actually preparing the food on our vacation. In this way, B prepped beforehand so cooking wasn’t that big of a thing. As a bonus–we didn’t get tired of eating out and the food was delicious. 

Tip for a Chill Weekend #6: vacate from the routine

I packed very little for this trip, because there was no reason to look good. If you are spending your time reading books in rivers and hiking, why get gussied? I didn’t even bother bringing makeup or hair product and enjoyed three days of being au natural. (Hats hide all matters of hair sins anyway.) Not bringing your gear for your normal routine also means that you don’t have to unpack it once you get home. Score!

stuffed bison
Hats extend hair wash days!


Chill weekends are a great way to recharge your batteries and spend time with your people in a low-key way. You can de-stress from your normal life and actually be rested when you start work the next week. Follow the tips above and avoid the need for a vacation from your vacation. 

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