The average US worker has about 10 days of vacation time a year which only allows families a couple of weeks to travel. On the other hand, there are about 104 weekend days a year. If you’re a family that loves to explore and waits anxiously each year for those precious vacation days to roll around, finding a way to pack some adventure into all those weekend days is easier than you think. And you don’t even have to leave home to do so. Here are 10 ways to adventure as a family without leaving home, plus an offer for a FREE checklist to make sure you’re ready to explore!
1. Make a food tour
Plan to discover the best pizza, burger, ice cream, etc. in your town. Spend a weekend or even a month visiting various local favorites and declare a winner. Bonus points for trying new things or getting to new parts of your city that you don’t normally visit.
2. Find a new park
Totally free and an easy way to sneak in a small dose of adventure. Ask friends or family for their favorites or visit your town’s parks and recreation website to get inspired. Look at the next town over if you can’t find something new close by.
3. Visit a new library
Perfect for a rainy day adventure. The kids sections always have games and puzzles to play with plus new books to curl up with. It’s another free option with the added bonus of being slightly educational. Shhh….don’t tell your kids.
4. Try a new cuisine
Trying foods from a different culture may not be the same as getting a stamp in your passport but it certainly counts as being adventurous. Search Yelp for a recommendation for a type of food you haven’t tried. It’s ok if you’re kids don’t love it. The experience is about trying something new and hopefully learning to appreciate different cultures.
5. Take a bike ride
Many cities have a trail system or bike paths to encourage families to explore on bikes. Check out rail trail ideas or simply plan a bike ride around a new neighborhood. Bonus points for finding a new ice cream store to stop at along the way.
6. Visit a nearby small town
There are small towns all over our country that can easily be overlooked but which serve as great places to explore for a day. Find one that’s close by and go wander around for a bit. These towns are best explored without an itinerary so plan to figure it out as you go. Your kids will get the experience of being a curious traveler.
7. Try a new festival
Check out your local visitor’s bureau or city event calendar to find a new festival. Most cities have something almost every weekend during the summer months. Look for kid-friendly entertainment and yummy new foods to try.
8. Read books about a new place
Don’t underestimate the power of books to help kids escape. Grab a stack of books about a new place from the library and spend time looking at how other kids and families live around the world. Follow your kids interests to pick places they are curious about and to inspire new travels down the road.
9. Go check out a nearby museum or zoo
Take advantage of any reciprocal memberships you have and go visit a nearby attraction. Your home zoo or museum should provide you with a list of others who participate reciprocal admissions, but it never hurts to call and ask. Don’t discount the smaller town children’s museum or the tiny zoo. Your kids will just appreciate having somewhere new to play.
10. Plan a scavenger hunt
Make it easy and create a list of things to find and take photos of. If you head downtown, think of buildings or city sights you might pass by. If you’re hiking, create a list of items found in nature. You can divide your family up to make it a competition or simply see how many items you can find all together. Your kids will stay interested much longer and you can enjoy exploring.
Don’t wait for those 2 weeks of vacation. Use those weekend days to get out and explore. If your family has a sense of wanderlust, I promise it’s easy to find ways to be a traveler even when you don’t leave home.
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Tell me, how does your family sneak in some adventure when you’re not traveling? What’s been your best close to home discovery? Inspire us and let us know what you found!