The Ultimate Stay-Cation
I’ll never forget the one year we stayed home for vacation when I was growing up. My parents were low on funds so instead of travelling we stayed put. My dad didn’t go to work for a week, and we were home for the summer. For an entire week we hung out in our backyard pool, went to restaurants we had never tried, and partook in experiences we weren’t ordinarily allowed. (Like ordering the Vermonster from Ben & Jerry’s: over 20 scoops of ice cream and more toppings than a kid could dream of).
Honestly, I hadn’t given that week much thought until a few years ago. My husband and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary. He had surprised me with lining up a sitter for our child and whisked me into the city where our band that we had play at our wedding was to be performing a concert. Except she wasn’t. She was sick. So we sat in silence as we at our sammies in the foyer of a building in uptown. Next, we were to do a historical walking tour. Except the walk was only hosted on Mondays, and it didn’t happen to be Monday.
I could have been kind of irritated with my husband, but then it occurred to me… we can be tourists in our own city, like my family was so long ago. We could do things we don’t think to do or don’t have the time to do in our daily lives. My husband and I ended up having a fantastic and romantic day together, that couldn’t have been better if we had planned it. Whether you have your kids in tow and can plan a week-long Stay-Cation, or you wind up with a free day to explore your home grounds, here are some things you can do no matter where you live:
- Look up museums in your area – is there a museum offering history of your city/county? Maybe an art museum you haven’t been to before? Many museums, beyond the museums designed for children, have features that encourage children to interact. Call ahead to see if your family could even get a tour!
- Go to the farmer’s market or grocery store and pick out ingredients you’ve never tried before. Try to come up with a meal using as many of the new ingredients as possible. I recently tried Chiquita Red Bananas and found out they’re delicious!
- Visit wineries or craft breweries. Local craft beers are now popping up in the smallest of towns. Request a tour or just pop in for a sample!
- Find a food truck festival, or hunt down your favorite restaurant on wheels.
- Find a restaurant offering an ethnic food you’ve never tried before. You never know what you might be missing out on until you try it!
- Visit a library you’ve never been to – if you’ve got kids with you, go during a storytime!
- Try a new form of public transportation and explore a neighborhood in your city! Is there a train, bus, or light rail that you’ve never been on? Pick a stop and find all of the local gems.
- Research what farms might be in your area. I was surprised to discover emu and llama farms near me, and they even offer tours if you call ahead!
What else? What would you do if you could be a tourist in YOUR town?