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The pandemic canceled many romantic getaways. Believe me, I understand the disappointment. We had to cancel a trip to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. But, just because you’re stuck in town doesn’t mean you can’t still have some couple’s fun!
We already had grandma lined up to babysit, so we decided to act like tourists in our own city. Since I’m a travel agent, I spend a lot of time talking about museums, national parks, and amusement parks that attract people to visit specific cities. And I have a lot of anecdotal evidence that many people never make the time to visit the attractions in their own backyard! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Cleveland, but when I asked my friends if they had ever visited, I found that at least 20% of my Cleveland-area friends had never been. And, if I count the people who said something like “oh I went in 3rd grade” the percentage would have been much higher. You don’t have to travel far to reconnect with your spouse or try something new.
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There are 419 National Park sites throughout the United States, so I’m willing to bet there is one within a reasonable drive of your house. Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon get all the attention, but there are plenty of lesser-known parks to discover. The National Park Service has a map on its website. There are 28 National Parks in California alone! And that’s before we even talk about State and Local Parks. I think after months of being cooped up, everyone can use a little fresh air.
If you’re outdoorsy, how about a camping trip? A tent, some gourmet s’mores…what could be more romantic? Don’t have a tent, or looking for something that comes with a bathroom? Many campgrounds like the KOA offer cozy cabins to rent as well. No need to commit! I’ve seen RVs you can rent. A million stars, a campfire, some wine. What could be more romantic than that?
Much as I love my dining room, I was getting a little sick of it. But then it dawned on me: Just because we get take out doesn’t mean we have to take it home! We’ve started doing date nights where we just pick up our food and take it to a local park. Get creative. Any place with a picnic table or where you can spread out a blanket will work. One of our neighbors picnics in a cemetery, because she enjoys the seclusion. We recently used a picnic table at a deserted college campus after we found our local park packed. It’s just nice to get out of the house and not have anyone asking me for a fruit snack.
We also used our staycation as an excuse to try new food. Our family is definitely in a rut when it comes to food. We find ourselves ordering the same things from the same restaurants again and again. Admittedly, it’s easier to get something I know my toddler will actually eat. But, one of my favorite things about traveling is trying new food. Luckily, I can do that in my own town! How often have you seen a Facebook post that says something like this: “Hey friends in Denver, what should I eat while I’m out there next week?” Don’t be shy, there’s no reason why you can’t ask your friends to send you to their favorite restaurant in your hometown. You might just discover a new favorite.
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You don’t have to travel far to reconnect with your spouse, or try something new. Try one of these fun Staycation ideas!
Get a hotel room or an Airbnb
Just because you aren’t going far doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on a hotel room. Everyone I know is sick of their house, so why not indulge in a change? Lots of hotels are offering good deals right now, and you can take advantage of amenities like a pool or hot tub. Remember what it was like to sleep in before you had kids? Here’s your chance! It doesn’t have to be just a boring old hotel room either. Get crazy. We rented a treehouse for a staycation a few years back. I’ve had clients rent houses on AirBNB for a local getaway just so they could have access to a hot tub or pool. In June, we rented a house at Nickle Plate Beach with my in-laws. Even though we only went 45 minutes away from home, it was so nice to get a change of scenery and have a beach day!
Visit a Museum
We are all so busy. It’s my experience that a lot of people never make time to visit the museums in their own city. Now is a great time to do it! Museums have been hit hard financially by COVID, so they could use your support! If you stop and think about it, I bet there are at least a few museums in your city that you have never had the opportunity to visit, or that you haven’t visited since your third-grade field trip. If you are feeling a little nervous about being around a lot of people, find a small museum. I have found that museums with a unique focus are usually pretty low on crowds, as are local history centers. How much do you know about your town’s history?
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Golfing is a perfect socially distanced sport! If you’re already an avid golfer, consider trying out a new course. If you would rather not spend hours in the heat, girl I’m with you. Mini-golf definitely counts, as do driving ranges Plus, when is the last time you went mini-golfing?
A getaway is really good for the soul. Just because you can’t travel far this year doesn’t mean you can’t take the opportunity to reconnect with your partner and enjoy what your town has to offer! It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you go together. I’m sure many of my fellow parents are looking for an opportunity to get a break from your own tiny snack goblins. If you’re struggling to find something new to try, I encourage you to ask around! Everyone’s an expert in their own hometown, and everyone loves to brag about that hometown!
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