The Ultimate Staycation: A Guide to Exploring Your City Like a Tourist
By Violet Williams
October 22, 2020
Are you itching for a vacation—a chance to get out and explore? If you’re normally the jet-setting type, you’re probably frustrated by the limitations of quarantine travel. But there’s no need to let the pandemic quash your love of new experiences. You may be surprised to discover plenty of activities and adventures closer than you imagine to your front door.
Think about the local recommendations you might suggest to tourists or out of town guests. Have you actually done these things or visited these places yourself? Often, the answer is no—many of us simply don’t take the time to get to know all the fun, interesting, and even wacky experiences in and around our hometowns. Well, there’s no better time than the present to plan a staycation. Whether you’re not able to travel or simply don’t feel comfortable doing so, you can stay home and still satisfy your desire to explore.
Here’s how to plan your ultimate staycation.
Head to an obscure museum if there’s one near you. America has plenty to choose from, like the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Museum of Bad Art in Somerville, Massachusetts—where you’ll discover “art too bad to be ignored.” Or, combine your museum trip with an outdoor adventure in Joshua Tree, California and check out the wonderful and wacky Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Art.
It’s more important than ever to show local restaurants some love. You probably already have your local favorite spots, but why not branch out a bit and add a few new restaurants or cafes to your go-to list. Check out the top-reviewed restaurants and meals on apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and PopDish, and pay them a visit. If you’re concerned about dining out, you can easily order that mouth-watering meal for delivery at home.
Want to dine out? Try a tour of the best rooftop restaurants and bars in your city or town. You’re sure to experience astounding views, especially at night. And if the rooftop is open air, it’s all the better for social distancing. Many such places offer blankets to keep customers warm when the temperatures drop, but don’t be shy to pack a snuggly throw of your own in your tote to be well prepared for your evening out.
Ever imagined living in a different neighborhood or a nearby town? Need a getaway from the kids, or simply a break from your day-to-day routine and the to-do list that you can never quite ignore when you’re at home? Plan a staycation at a nearby Airbnb to get that feeling of escape and relaxation without actually venturing too far.
Sure, you can take a trip to any of America’s incredible national parks, like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, or the Grand Canyon. Chances are, you already have. But what about visiting some of the coolest state parks and city parks that may be even closer to home and easier to access right now? If your nearby parks are not on one of these lists, get out and get exploring to learn what makes the ones near you worth a visit.
In addition to exploring your local parks, why not get to know the national historic sites in your area? From the traditional to the unexpected, these sites were selected because of their influence on American culture and how they help illustrate our country’s heritage. And with nearly 2,600 officially-designated National Historic Landmarks in the United States, you’re sure to find a few near you.
Two words: fall colors. Head outside to view Mother Nature at her finest and get your fitness fix at the same time. Whether you run, ride, roller skate, or hike, fall is one of the most beautiful times to be in the great outdoors. You can even take a drive or a train ride to witness the wonder and beauty of fall.
Plan a sunset or sunrise challenge. Pick a new spot to enjoy the view every week—or even every day—in search of the best dawn and dusk colors and views. Keep your newfound spots a secret, or share your discoveries on social media, detailing the pros and cons of each and ranking your favorites so others can follow your lead.
Now that you’re warmed up and thinking of great ways to “get away” and make the most of quarantine travel at home, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!
What are some other creative staycation ideas? Share your suggestions—and your staycation success stories—in the comments below.