The midterm break came and went, and we didn’t go anywhere. The holidays are quickly approaching and we’re still not planning to go anywhere. Which is not the norm for me. I’m usually planning somewhere to go and if it’s not this break, I’ve already started planning for the next one.
I love a vacation, big or small, but sometimes sticking close to home is what’s best for the family. Big trips planned away can have some added stress. When you’re planning for the whole family during busy travel seasons, it can make it stressful. I’m looking to keep things mellow this year.
But, that doesn’t mean I won’t plan to do anything. I’ve often lived in a place where people tend to flock to for their holidays. Living in these places, I’ve noticed that there are so many things that I haven’t done. It’s easy to take for granted what your local area has to offer. It can happen a lot when living in a place for a long time. You might think you live in the most boring of places. I bet, if you do a little digging there is something not too far away that could be fun to check out. You could always visit a place again.
The Alternative to Traveling Big
I know I often feel bored along with the children when they’re on school breaks and we have nothing planned. So, a while back I had a thought. One day, I was stuck behind a very slow-moving car. It quickly pulled over to check out a monument on the side of the road. I realized I’d never actually stopped there before. And while I was thinking about it, I remembered the empty cars I always pass on this route. No one person in sight, but I know that they were off checking out something interesting. Something that I’ve actually never have bothered to do. But why not?
Then I thought, what else have I not done in the small radius around where I live. These tourists know WAY more about this place than I seem to. Something of interest is bringing them out this way. So, I decided something. While I don’t have any immediate plans to travel or any weekends away, I’m going to BE A TOURIST in my own neck of the woods. Why not! I realized there are so many things I’ve never done or have bothered to do. It’s amazing how many places I can pass on a daily basis and might not know what’s there. I know I’ve said to myself many times while driving, “I wonder what that place is.”
Time to Start Exploring!
I’ve made it my business to know what these out-of-town tourists are getting up to when they visit my town. The cool thing about it is, I can always choose to go when it isn’t so crowded. I’ll still be here when the tourist season is dying down. What a great way to support my local community.
Staycations and mini-vacations have grown in popularity in the last 2 years. So much so that it seems like everything is booked out for months or priced very high. A global pandemic can do that. I’m a little adventure antsy. However, at this time I’d rather stick around and discover what could be just beyond my doorstep. The world is big place with so much in it to explore, but just outside my doorstep isn’t that small.
How to Find Out What’s Around
How do you find out what’s around in your own neighborhood? Here are a few ways I’ve discovered new places to visit within just a few miles of my home:
- Social Media– I can be a bit of a social media junky and I follow accounts that are purely about people exploring the area I live in. Search the name of the area you live in. I bet some interesting accounts will come up about “discovering” or “exploring” in your area. It’s a little big brotherish, but depending on your account set up, you might get other accounts suggested to you. I love Instagram for this. Facebook has a lot of local groups you can become a part of to find out what’s going on.
- Follow The Tourist- If it’s a time of year when tourists are in your area, pay attention! Watch where they go. In my case, there are so many scenic routes, walking/ hiking trails, beaches and more. I often see where they pull off of the road to go explore. It can be frustrating when you’re trying not to be late for a school pick up, but I pay attention. I’ve even pulled over to one of the popular tourist spots to snap a few of my own photos.
- Follow The Signs- Do you ever pass road signs and wonder where they lead to? I see signs like that all of the time. Sometimes, I find myself taking little detours to explore. I’ll bring the family back if I find something worth a visit. There’s a few signs leading to beaches that I want to check out.
- Advertisements- I don’t always pay a lot of attention to advertisements pinned up around town, but they might lead you somewhere new and interesting. Local magazines, advertisement boards, and billboards are always good places to pay attention to.
- Word of Mouth- I have to say I rely on the internet for a lot of things. I thought word of mouth was dead! You can find out anything from the World Wide Web, right? Nope! Where I live now, I’ve had to rely a lot on listening and asking around. Word of mouth might get you a lot farther if you live in a small community. Google is great, but it doesn’t work if the place of interest is not mentioned online. Which leads me to…
- Internet Searches- Use Google or other search engines on the internet to help you explore what’s around.
Your local area could have so many hidden and known gems. Zoos, museums, libraries, hiking trails, amusement parks, monuments, historical sites, beaches, and so much more. Mom Tip: Make a list on your phone or on a page in your journal. You can go back to one of those lists to remember #alltheplaces. I keep a list of ideas outside of my local area too. I still like to keep an eye out for those mini-vacations out of town.
It’s easy to forget what your home has to offer. What’s in your neck of the woods? Go out and discover it!