Traveling doesn’t always have to mean flying off to faraway parts of the world. Many don’t have the time or money to vacation that way. Sometimes it’s just as fun to simplify things and play tourist in the town we live in, or one nearby. Think about it – have you ever taken the time to really SEE your city? Would you know where to steer visitors if they asked about the best playground in town, or the best place to catch the sunset? A Staycation is a great opportunity to play tourist without the hassle of airlines or car rentals or long travel lines and traffic Need some staycation ideas?. Take a deep breath, grab your camera, and head out for a chance to see your hometown in a whole new way!
Staycation Ideas: Experience It In A Different Way
One good staycation idea to start with is to familiarize yourself with your local visitors bureau. Where do they recommend going? What do they tell tourists to do? What points of interest do they have information on? If you don’t have a visitors bureau, head to a local hotel and see what brochures are available there. Chances are they feature some great local places, some of which you may have never taken the time to visit.
Check out that local spot you’ve always wanted to stop into “one day when you get the chance.” Today is that day. Make the time and actually visit. Then bask of the feeling of accomplishment as well as your newly minted expertise on the place.
Head to a part of the city you don’t often go. Always go shopping at the same place? Then try a new store or another branch of your favorite chain in a location nearby. Visit something in this new part of town that’s of interest to you – maybe a park or coffee shop you’ve heard was good. It shakes things up just enough to be interesting, and makes you feel you’re exploring new things without going halfway around the world or shredding the budget.
Staycation Ideas: See It From A New Perspective
Take things outside. The natural surroundings in your town may be one of its biggest draws. Go to a local garden and check out the flowers. Take a walk, hike or bike along the paths and trails at the park. Play disc golf, geocache or simply sit and people-watch. Have a local nature center with a lake you’ve never been on? Rent a paddle board or boat and get out and see the area from the water for a change.
See your city from a different vantage point. Get a fresh perspective on familiar territory by traveling to the top of taller building to see things from above. If there’s a place with a great view of your city, stop there and take some time to look at it. You’ll discover just how pretty your town looks from high above or when it’s lit up at night.
Break out your camera. Snap photos of those pretty flowers you always see in the park. Then take a selfie that includes whoever you’re with posing in front of the cool sites in the area. Be silly, be serious, be cute – whatever makes it enjoyable and memorable. Taking pictures helps you document your journey and makes you feel more like a tourist. It also prompts you to take notice of things a bit more.
Staycation Ideas: Play Tourist in your Hometown
Take public transportation, or at least check out where it goes and where the stations are. What sites are nearby? Where do folks come in from and where are they likely headed when they’re ready to leave? Park at the local train station, get out and pretend you’ve just arrived there. What would you do? Where can you walk to?
Stay at a local lodging venue. If there’s a cute B&B or unique hotel in town that’s within your budget, consider staying a night or two to really feel like a visitor. Talk to other guests to see where they’re visiting from and why they chose to visit your town. This can give you an interesting perspective on how they view your city and what drew them here for a visit.
Eat somewhere totally new. Chances are you have favorite eateries, as well as some not so favorite spots. When was the last time you hit up a new place? Try a different cuisine to shake things up, or stop into a place you wouldn’t normally frequent for a change of pace and a taste of something different. You may end up with a great place to recommend to others once you leave.
Staycation Ideas: Try Out New and Unfamiliar Activities
Check out shows, festivals, sporting events, seasonal activities, or arts & music events taking place in and around town. Attend one or two of them. Check your local city’s calendar, ask at the visitors bureau or local hotel to get an idea of what’s going on. You can also visit local deal sites for ideas and discounts on local venues and activities.
Book a tour. Yes, really. You think you know your town? You’ll think differently when you hear a well-researched guide tell you about it. It can be eye-opening and incredibly interesting. Take a tour of the town as a whole or pick a specific site you’re interested in and get a guide to show you around. Either way, you’re bound to learn something new about places you see all the time.
Take a class. If there’s a college or university in your town, consider taking a community education class. There may even be programs available at your local high school. It’s a great way to learn something new and get you familiar with the local educational venues. You may even meet folks with similar interests that you can meet up with after class.
Whether you’re looking into staycation ideas for budgetary reasons, time-constraints, or simply want to slow down and take in the resources your city has to offer, our list gives you the opportunity to do so in a variety of ways. Choose what works for you and your family and see what you come away with. Sometimes the simplest plans and the easiest itineraries create the best memories. Remembering that the best trips are not always the most extravagant or the farthest away can be invaluable. Why not see what great memories you can create in YOUR hometown?
All photos by the author Sharon Rigney.