The most rewarding and memory-filled moments don’t always require an elaborate vacation packed with lavish restaurants and shopping. Sometimes the most important moments are those spent canoeing across a quiet lake and watching the sunrise reflecting in the water or sitting with loved ones around a bonfire listening to the night sounds all around you.
You don’t necessarily have to be thousands of miles away for it to be considered a vacation. In fact, day trips are a great way to explore new places in areas close to where you live all while knowing that at the end of the day, you’ll be coming back to the comforts of your own home. If you think you’d like to try this type of mini-vacationing, take a peek at the list of 10 day trip ideas below.
1. Plan a visit to a local art gallery or museum
Art galleries and museums of any kind can offer a great day full of beauty, history and intrigue. These venues allow the viewer to embrace a slower pace and feature a wide range of events, exhibits and tours. And don’t forget to grab a bite to eat in between exhibits. If you’re visiting a museum that has a cafe, take a break, grab a snack and a refreshing drink and do some research on your phone of that painting you couldn’t pull yourself away from.
2. Take an urban hike
If you’ve been itching to get away and see another city or town close to yours, taking an urban hike may just do the trick! Do some research and talk to the locals to find out what their favorite restaurants, shops and attractions are to make sure you’re hitting all of the local haunts to get the most out of your visit. If you aren’t able to make it to every spot on your local-approved list, save some for the next time you get a hankering to explore a new area.
3. Spend a day near the water
Floating on a lake or spending time paddling around is a fun way to spend the day. Wake up in the early morning hours, travel to your favorite lake, pond or patch of beach, and watch the sunrise over the water to see a breathtaking sight that not many people take the time to enjoy. Once the sun is at its peak, eat a quick picnic lunch and head out onto the water in a kayak or paddleboard. Then, watch the sunset and settle down for some hot dogs and s’mores cooked over an open campfire.
4. Take a bike ride on a local trail and stop for a picnic lunch
Biking is a not only a great form of exercise, it is also a great mode of transportation that allows you to go at a slower pace and take in things you may have never noticed before. There are a wide range of trails that are perfect for leisurely bike rides or walks. Usually there are benches, picnic tables or patches of grass perfect for spreading out a blanket. These make great spots for pulling out prepacked lunches that you can easily transport for a quick meal.
5. Get your family and friends together for a progressive dinner
There’s no better way to bring all of the special people in your life together than by having a gathering full of food, laughter and love. Progressive dinners offer all three by eating the first course at one house, piling into vehicles, driving to the next person’s house and so on until you’ve ended up at the last house where the dessert is being served. The trips to each place may only take a couple of minutes or a couple of hours, but regardless of the distance, the food and time with loved ones will be worth every second. And speaking of seconds, no one will be going home hungry!
6. Grab your spare change and head to an estate or garage sale
If you love digging through boxes and bins of things looking for unique treasures, search your local newspapers for estate sale postings, and keep an eye peeled for garage or yard sale signs, especially during the spring and summer months. Although you may not find as good of deals at an antique store as you would at a garage sale, there are still some great places where you can find things that you may never come across ever again.
7. Get involved and volunteer wherever your heart is leading you
There is nothing better than taking time from your busy schedule to lend a helping hand to someone in need. Depending on what you are passionate about, this could include teaching an art class, visiting a nursing home, helping pick up garbage on the side of the street or beach, collecting food items for a low-income family or spending time caring for the animals at a shelter. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll come home feeling full of joy and contentment for contributing to a worthy cause.
8. Grab your walking shoes and go geocaching
If you’ve never geocached before, pull on your walking shoes, grab your GPS enabled device and start hunting! If you’re new to this form of treasure seeking, all you need to do is sign up for a free account on geocaching.com, enter your zip code, choose a geocache and enter the coordinates to get hunting. When you find the treasure, you can take the item that is inside but be sure to leave something in return for the next hunter.
9. Set up a tent either in your backyard or at a local campsite
You don’t always need to leave home to have a vacation of sorts. If you enjoy camping, consider pitching your tent in your backyard, or pack it up and head to a campsite where you can meet other camping enthusiasts and swap stories around the fire. If you choose to stay home, consider having pizza delivered or making some foods you have always wanted to try. For even more fun, open the flaps of your tent, string up a sheet on some rope between two trees, pull out the projector and watch a movie while curled up in your sleeping bags!
10. Go for the proverbial Sunday drive and stop at an ice cream shop or restaurant that you’ve always wanted to visit but never have
Fill up your gas tank, put together a picnic lunch, put the top down and take a leisurely Sunday drive through a part of your city or town that you’ve never explored before. If you come across an interesting place or sight, pull over and take some time to take it all in. If you prefer to skip the packed lunch, look for a restaurant that you’ve heard great things about but have never had the time to stop at. If you live near a great area for viewing the sunset, pick up an ice cream treat on the way, and stop to watch the end of another wonderful day.