Going on a vacation doesn’t have to mean driving for hours and hours or flying to a far away place. Sometimes such an elaborate vacation isn’t in the budget, and sometimes you just need a few days to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul.
Planning short getaways within driving distance of home may be just the ticket. Close vacations are easier on the wallet and, truthfully, easier on the nerves. Planning and executing long, involved travel plans are taxing, leaving you less relaxed than you intended. Finding places nearby takes a bit of creativity, but can be well worth the effort.
Think Like a Tourist
The last time you had family come from out of town, I’ll bet you found new things to do and fun places to see. Residents often overlook some of our areas unique attractions until we have ‘tourists’ to entertain.
Start by visiting those places you’re always telling your out-of-town friends about. If you have scenic beaches, picturesque mountain views, walking trails, museums, or anything else you’ve always wanted to do, go see them for yourself. Whether it’s a day trip, or a weekend, make your plans early so you can take full advantage of your trip.
Most cities print local ‘what to do’ magazines or fliers that are available in grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, or the Chamber of Commerce. Grab a handful and start browsing. Don’t be too selective at this point, just grab them. Those racks and racks of brochures are there to entice visitors to our area, so be enticed! Give each one some consideration. Hotels are another great source for tourist brochures.
Google is an amazing tool. Search “things to do in CITY” or “tourist attractions CITY”. Search for state or national parks for a fun day trip. Look up Facebook events, meetup.com, or eventbrite.com for public events you may want to attend. Local radio stations tend to play commercials for events and concerts too.
Tons of Fun in Our Backyard
Water parks, amusement parks, and other big attractions can often be found within an hour or so of most cities. You may likely find that these areas cater to the ‘park going crowd’ and offer discounts at hotels.
The added bonus in going to a city that has a big water park or amusement park is that they often have more attractions. Affordable lodging, meals, and memorable experiences is the name of the game. Plan your local adventure for the ‘slightly off season’ and your experience will be less hectic than at the busy times.
Learn and Laugh Staycation
Having a learning vacation close to home could be an adventure with a little research. You may be able to visit a ranch, a zoo, a farm, a winery, a tree nursery, a crafting colony, or even a chocolate factory. There are lots of local businesses that would love to have your support.
Wouldn’t it be breathtaking to watch your kids help feed a newborn foal? A trip to a working farm could teach everyone how to milk cows, collect eggs, or make butter. Perhaps you could plant the next season of Christmas trees, or create soy wax candles, or learn how to make cake from scratch. Many factories, farms, and artist colonies offer free tours, requesting only a donation.
Change It Up
A vacation is merely a change of scenery from the usual, a time to do something fun and interesting. Chances are there are many places around town that you have never been to. You may have driven past these places and even suggested them to friends. Now is the time to experience the area like a visitor. Go ahead and plan a day or two creating experiences for your family in places not so far from home.