It’s almost that time of year again. Summer. And with summer comes the thought of vacation: Where to go? What to see? When to see it? Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves in quite a bind. We either cannot afford it or simply do not have the time to sacrifice. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably better for you to take a pass! This doesn’t mean you should chalk your summer up as a loss. Quite the contrary; there is much to be gained. So, what do you do with the time given to you?
Head out to a park. So often we become so enamored with what is in the distance that we don’t see what is right in front of us. Example: while walking at a National Historic Site (a unit of the National Park Service) located in the northeast, I heard, “a National Park… here?! I had no idea!” This came from residents of the town in which the historic site was located. These are the types of opportunities we miss out on because of our infatuation with what a vacation should be. There are over 400 National Park units throughout our beautiful country. That doesn’t include to countless state parks! Take a look at a map; you might be surprised what you find in your backyard! Fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, birding, photography; the opportunities are plentiful.
Check out some museums. They’re relaxing, enriching, and best of all, extremely diverse. Art isn’t your forte? That’s okay, as there is bound to be something up your alley: history, science, astronomy, archaeology, culture, and art can all be found at these magnificent locations. Many museums also have extremely interesting traveling exhibitions making an appearance during the summer. Museums aren’t necessarily restricted to large buildings, either. Visit a nearby town’s historic district. Take a stroll through a historic neighborhood. There is much to be learned and appreciated in simply taking in your surroundings.
Visit “that” place. Not only will you benefit from skipping the far-off vacation, but so will local businesses. Always wanted to try that local restaurant? What about that small shop you’ve been meaning to visit? Now is the perfect time to take that detour you have always meant to take. Also, with the popularity of craft beers, there is often a local brewery nearby that produces a high quality, delicious product. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite establishment.
So save yourself the stress of planning out a big, long vacation to some distant destination. Instead of trying to fit as much as possible into a week’s time, savor your weekends; try to make the most of the time given to you. Not only could you learn more about where you live, you might also learn something new about yourself.