By Rachel Reese & Jessie on a Journey
Over 50% of Americans fail to take all of their vacation days, and nearly 30% of Americans use less than half of their allotted time off. Worst of all, almost 45% of people cancel vacation plans because of work conflicts. If you’re the workaholic or late-night office owl, planning simple trips close to home can be a great substitute for a week+ trip to a foreign destination. And bonus: staying local can help you save big money.
I recently collaborated with Sportman’s Warehouse to create a post on some great summer adventures to have in your own backyard. Many of these adventures cost little or nothing while promising the same excitement as a costly outing. Enjoy the outdoors, experience nature and learn a new hobby all while keeping your daybook — and wallet — in tact. If you’re stumped on where to start, check out some of these ideas for summer adventures to get you going.
1. Go Fishing
Grab your fishing rods, tackle box and a cooler lunch and you’re all set for a day on the water. You don’t need an expensive deep-sea expedition to pull in those trophy fish. Some good old hometown angling with your buddies is all you need to take your mind off everyday stresses.
If you’d like something more active opt for clamming or crabbing which, like fishing, get you involved in catching and cooking — and better understanding — your food.
2. Try Geocaching
If you haven’t tried geocaching, you’re missing out. All that’s required is a GPS, a pair of boots and a sense of adventure. Track a hidden treasure nestled in the wilderness by using coordinates listed online. While the finding may only be a collection of random odds and ends, the fun will make up for the lack of monetary reward.
3. Head To An Amusement Park
Every state boasts a theme park worthy of visiting. Take the family and ride the roller coasters, indulge in sugary foods and play carnival games at the park nearest you. You can even make it into a fun competition as you see who is the bravest or who can win the most game tickets. Loser buys beer!
4. Check Out The Fair
Summer = fair season. Whether it’s a state fair, country fair or even township community days, gathering with the hometown folk to celebrate the warm weather provides a day of whimsical excitement. Not sure when these events take place? Your local chamber of commerce or tourism bureau should be able to guide you (as well as provide information on other fun nearby events).
5. Enjoy The Lake
Kayaking, canoeing, rafting and other water sports are all exhilarating summer options. Appreciate a perfect day out with your buddies by conquering the white waters with vigor. Even if you live somewhere urban you likely have a park offering these experiences within, such as The Lake in NYC’s Central Park or The Pond in Madrid’s El Parque del Buen Retiro.
6. Take A New Class
Get in shape with an exercise course, learn how to woodwork or practice the art of pasta-making. The possibilities are endless, especially as you can typically find courses ranging from as little as an hour or two to as long as a year. Sites like CourseHorse offer a marketplace of fun classes in various US cities, while a quick Google search can also bring back results.
If you can’t find a local class that sparks your interest think about a DIY learning experience through a cheese-making kit or craft beer-brewing kit, or get a guide on a how to grow your own garden or bird watch like a pro.
7. Give Yourself A Mission
One way to make your local summer adventures feel more like travel is to ignite your own innate curiosity. To do this you’ll need to look at your everyday surroundings with a new mindset. I like giving myself a mission to dig deeper into things I’ve done before. Don’t just get tacos at your favorite Mexican joint; create a scorecard with points awarded for the spiciest homemade sauces or most creative concoctions and find the best local taco. Don’t just view local art; find outdoor public works and create an inspirational walking route.
Speaking of walking routes, Jessie on a Journey has currently partnered with an audio tour company that’s paying $50/audio tour to those wanting to create short voiceover walks of their favorite neighborhoods. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
8. Plan A Picnic
Cooking outside is an American tradition. Join the club by flipping a few burgers and burning a couple dogs in this year’s mid-months — best enjoyed with a glass of Prosecco to cool you down.
9. Visit Your Local Museums
Beat the heat and choose from American history, sports, art and more when you check out your area’s cultural district. Opt to expand your knowledge on a topic you’re already well-versed in or research something completely new. In my home of NYC I personally love exploring the quirky museums, like the City Reliquary, the Elevator Historical Society and the New York Earth Room.
As it’s summer, be on the lookout for fun outdoor popup exhibits, as well.
10. Get To A Paintball Course
Paintball is one of those niche sports where certain people do it all the time, while many others are curious about it but have never dabbled. There’s definitely a fear factor here, but the adrenaline rush mixed with the competitive spirit are really fun in the outdoors.
Whether taking aim at your friends or enjoying a board game with your family, there are dozens of ways to enjoy a staycation full of summer adventures.
What are some of your favorite local summer adventures? Please share in the comments below!
The Truth About Traveling As An Introvert [Blog Inspiration]
Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers by Don George [Great Reads]
TiggerPoint NANO Foot Roller Massager [Travel Health]