Staycations in the Countryside- What’s On Your Radar?

by Sally Matheny
Staycations in the countryside
      Whether you’re short on time or low on money, don’t abandon a family getaway just yet. Instead of a vacation, consider a staycation or two.  Staycations can be fun activities, such as a luau, planned for your own backyard.  However, staycations also include day trips.  Even if you live out in the countryside, you may be surprised by a slew of possibilities within a two-hour drive from home sweet home.
     Besides the obvious parks, museums and municipal pools, here’s a few ideas to consider when checking what’s on your staycation radar.
     Perhaps some family members would enjoy creating their own Visitor’s Guide for the area. Include photos, drawings, and descriptions of interesting areas.

     Obtain a map of your county and surrounding counties. Make a copy of the map for each family member. Ask them to highlight the places where they’ve been before. Circle new places they’d like to visit. Highlight a new road route to venture upon. Pleasant surprises may lie on the road less traveled! One time our family visited gorgeous, twin waterfalls. The only way to get to them was to park in a neighborhood cul-de-sac and hike from there. No one could imagine majestic waterfalls looming behind these little homes.
Beauties hide in unusual places.
     Research the history of your area. Your local librarian or town historian can help you locate sources. Have any famous people lived in or visited your town? Were any movies filmed nearby?
     What about those historical landmark signs you drive by every day? Find out what important events occurred in your area. There's a plantation home near us rich with history. One can see hoof prints indented into the wooden floor of the house. They were made by the Union soldiers' horses when they stormed inside the southern home. Every county has interesting tidbits like that. You just have to dig a little to find them.
     Stop by antique stores. Check out some of the smaller museums such as car and farm equipment museums. Not only will your children gain an education of the past but perhaps a greater appreciation for the conveniences of today.     
     Visit a visual or performing arts guild. Several of these offer classes for adults as well as children. Are there other local artisans open for tours? What other businesses allow tours?
     Perhaps a social media survey asking friends about their favorites in the area would reveal a new farmer’s market or roadside ice cream stand.
     Google search for free or inexpensive things to do within a two-hour's drive of your hometown. You may be surprised by what you discover. Search for new restaurants. Find a new picnic spot.     
     Are there aspiring photographers in your family? Travel around and look specifically for great photo opportunities. A mulched path winding between tall, lush green trees presented a gorgeous backdrop for some of our daughter’s wedding photos. Discovered in an unusual place, the path emerged between a mammography office and an assisted living center!
    You don’t have to live near a big city in order to enjoy an entertaining staycation.  A little investigation will provide plenty of gratifying locations. Be creative! Carving time out to do something fun together is what counts.    

Other things to consider:
airports to watch planes
bus tours
house tours
tea rooms
farms and gardens
historical sites, battlegrounds, and battleships
water activities
view various animals
try a new sport
try a new creative art
try a new food
play a new game

So, what's on your radar?

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