What to Do on Your Summer Staycation

Stay local and enjoy your time off

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Some may rent a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard or embark on a grand Parisian adventure this summer, but if you want to stay local, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. The good news is that you’ll spend less, enjoy time with your family and support your local economy. Here’s how to make the most of your hometown holiday:


Stay cool in a pool

If you live in a city, swimming options are rare. Find deals on a local hotel with a pool through sites like Travelocity.com and Expedia.com. This way, you can chill in the water without shelling out for a coastal cottage or a seaside resort.


Pamper yourself

Staying in a nearby hotel is also a great way to get away from daily grind without the high cost of travel. Ditch grocery shopping and house cleaning for room service and a concierge. “There’s something intrinsically fun and sexy about staying in a hotel in your own city,” says Nancy Friedman, of Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations.


Hit the dusty trail

If you’re a biker or hiker, scout out the trails in your area on sites like Trails.com. Explore your nearest national park and uncover lesser-known urban paths with guides for over 40,000 trails in North America and the Caribbean.


Catch a fresh-air flick

On a beautiful summer night, why not skip the air-conditioned theater and take in a movie outdoors? Hit up one of the many outdoor movie festivals held in cities throughout the summer, or visit Movies.com to locate your closest drive-in theater.


Indulge in the arts

Always wanted to catch a show during the week, but daily life got in the way? Dress up, head into town and see the latest Broadway tour or local production. Visit Ticketmaster.com to see what’s coming to your area.


Dine alfresco

Summer is the time to eat in the great outdoors. Pack a basket with a large blanket and finger foods, and head to your local park or green space—or even your backyard--for a sun-filled picnic. Find a list of national parks in your area at Nationalparks.org.


Have a fairy tale moment

You don’t need a special occasion to ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Bring loved ones on a leisurely wander through your nearby city and really take in the view.


Go on a whale watch

If you’re within driving distance of the coast, spend the day observing aquatic life in its natural environment on a whale-watching cruise.  Visit Whalewatching.com to find a tour in your area and see one of nature’s largest animals close-up.


Grab some local grub

You don’t have to travel far to find a delicious meal. Visit Urbanspoon.com or download the iPhone app to locate the hidden gem restaurants in your area.


Pick-your-own berries

Fresh berries are now ripe for the picking, so skip the frigid supermarket and do-it-yourself. Find a farm near you that offers blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and more at Pickyourown.org.


Find your Zen

Sometimes we come back from a vacation more stressed than when we left. If you’re looking for peace of mind and to better your body, head to Yogasite.com for a list of yoga centers and retreats in the US—many of which are reasonably priced.


Satisfy your inner oenophile

If wine is your thing, consider taking a day or weekend trip to your closest vineyard and enjoy tasting and learning. Many tour packages accommodate small and large groups, so bring your significant other or gather a group of friends.


Explore a museum

If you’re taking a staycation during the week, head to a museum to enjoy culture without the crowds.  A perfect retreat on a hot day, you can head to AAM-us.org for a list of museums—including art, science, history and more—in your area.


Host a girls’ night in

A night on the town is fun, but it can do serious damage to your wallet. Avoid an expensive movie ticket or a large restaurant bill: Host a BYOB potluck dinner with your close friends and spend a relaxing night in the comfort of your own home.


Take a sunset cruise

If you’re near a major city like New York, Boston or Chicago, you can take in the views of the skyline with a romantic sunset boat tour. Many options offer music, dancing and dinner with your ride.


Tour a historic home

History buffs and architecture connoisseurs alike can visit HistoricHomeTours.com and find guided tours of the nation’s most beautiful old homes. An added bonus: Admission is usually free.


Hire a personal chef

You don’t have to stay at a five-star hotel or dine in a swanky restaurant to enjoy a fabulous meal. Enjoy a night of excellent food and service in your own home when you hire a personal chef. Though they’re generally not very cheap, you save in hotel costs and travel alone. Find a personal chef in your area at Personalchef.com.


Commute to the coast

If you’re within a couple hours driving distance of the ocean, take a day-trip to the beach and relax in the sand and surf without paying peak season hotel prices. For those too far inland, travel to your closest river or lake.


Hone your skills

Do you wish you were a better cook? Have you always wanted to learn the foxtrot? Take a class through your local adult education center and make friends as you discover a new talent or hobby.


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First Published June 17, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


Adam Ghilchrist06.21.2011

I wanna go Costa Rica for leisure in this summer. I already hire Costa Rica Vacation Rentals. It's too cheap and luxurious. Thanks for your summer wish!!

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