We lived in the same geographical area for almost 25 years. We assumed we knew all there was to know about our great little town. One summer, instead of traveling and dropping a small fortune on hotels and eating out, we looked up ideas on how to become a tourist in your own town. We took one day each week to experience something right in our area. It was tons of fun, and we have the memories to prove it.
Whatever time of the year, you can be a tourist in your own town like we did. Here are eight suggestions to help you get started on your own at-home adventures.
These two agencies are the golden jackpot for places to go and things to experience. We discovered a ton of things we had no idea our town offered. For example, each Wednesday morning, one of our local manufacturing facilities offered tours, complete with adorable trollies we could ride around on. Our town’s equestrian barn that serves special needs kids offered horse rides one day a month, to the public, for a small donation.
We did a little research at our local library and learned some of the history about our hometown. We discovered some of those bad guys that came through back in the early 1900s; we visited old gravesites and gristmills. A couple of our favorite parks turned out to have very storied histories. A little background information helped us to see some of our everyday places in a whole new light.
Sure, we knew about our local civic theater, but we really didn’t take the time to see any productions just because they were down the street. The year we staycay-ed, we enjoyed a fantastic production of Shrek, plus we didn’t have to pay those incredible big-city prices.8 Ways To Be A Tourist In Your Own Town Click To Tweet
The library and chamber both list community and surrounding towns’ events. We discovered a free concert was held in one of the parks each Monday evening. We learned of a nearby farmer’s market. From two parades to the 4th of July fireworks, we filled our calendar with these types of events, plus we slept in our own beds!
We only needed to journey down a few country roads to locate a u-pick strawberry patch, an out-of-the-way ice cream stand, and an animal farm. We also visited a local candle-making company. Who knew?
We assumed in order to kayak or canoe, we had to go into the bigger cities or up by Lake Michigan. After doing some online searching, we found not one, but three local canoe and kayak businesses. Costs were reasonable, and we enjoyed a great morning cruising down the river in our rented kayaks.
Just for fun, we stayed at local hotels on two different occasions. Both offered terrific pools and game rooms, and we even ordered room service. This experience really felt like a getaway, and we traveled only a brief 15 minutes!
We had our typical pizza and burger places we would frequent, but as part of our hometown tour package, we took turns choosing restaurants we knew little or nothing about. We discovered one restaurant just over the state line that has THE BEST fried chicken. Another restaurant in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss town offered sandwiches on their homemade Focaccia bread that to this day I still crave.
We also discovered an old-fashioned soda fountain and sandwich bar we had no idea existed. Never mind that our daughter got sick on the way home from “enjoying” her large milkshake (we laugh about it now).
Life can get so busy, and tasks get in the way of enjoying what’s right around us. The summer we became a tourist in our own town really is a family highlight we all still talk about. See what you can find out about your hometown, and build your own family tourism package! Become a tourist in your own town and create new memories!