Ever heard of a ‘Staycation’? Well, it’s like taking a holiday in your very own town and becoming a tourist where you live.
I mean, we travel and experience all the awesome sights and sounds, but have you ever thought what could be right at your doorstep and all the cool fun things there could be to do with the kids? We’re going to give you some great ideas on how to explore your own city for the day and think like a tourist.
The secret to embracing where you live is to find fun ways to explore what’s around you. Travel differently, go places you don’t usually go or experience something new and off the beaten track. Don’t just think about what’s right there in front of your very eyes, think what could maybe be 100 km away, something that is awesome and that you’re prepared to make that little journey for. Have an open mind and most importantly – have fun! You can try to kit yourself out to look like a tourist too – what’s a tourist without backpacks and cameras!
- Visit museums, but mix it up a bit – think science museums, historical museums or even castles. Think the kids might get bored at a historical museum, then prepare in advance and they can have their very own scavenger hunt in the museum to see who finds what first. That will keep them occupied and enjoying it, instead of yawns of boredom. Use it as way to teach them about the awesomeness of where you live!
- Visit an observatory or planetarium at night and learn about the stars. You might even find that there are some places that offer stargazing picnics. Get the kid’s curiosity revved up by taking some books on the constellations and they can have some fun trying to spot stuff in the night sky.
- Why not visit a suburb that you’ve never been to and explore it by bicycle? It’s cool to see the streets from a different angle and enjoy the sights around you.
- Eat breakfast or lunch at a local market and try and get your kids to taste some completely new flavours and foods to hype up the fun factor. You can all try something different and share it – make sure there’s no grabbing from each other’s plates though, okay? If you’re lucky enough to have a night market, then this is a great place to go.
- Ever looked at your hop-on-hop-off bus service and thought, “what a tourist trap?” Well, why don’t you go hop on? You may be amazed at what you see and where you end up. Oh and at the same time, you can meet new people from different cultures, so it will seem just like a holiday in another country! They may be touristy places, but you may not have even considered them. As you drive around, something may just grab your attention – jump on the opportunity and hop off and then hop on again when you’re ready to keep going. You’ll be surprised at what you learn when you’re pretending to be a tourist!
- Is your city known for something? For example, some cities or towns are famous for their artists, poets, or even scenery. If you take a look at Brabant, where Vincent Van Gogh lived, there is a Van Gogh cycle route. Okay, it could be a bit long for the kids at 335 km, but you can do as little or as much as you want to. The idea here is to look around and see what’s unique about your city and then go exploring! Try to find out who was famous in your city and find out what there is to find out about.
- If you live near the beach, don’t just think of spending an afternoon there for a dip, what about doing a horseback beach ride? That would be so cool! Horse rides are great anywhere!
- Take a hike, literally! Taking a hike is such a great way to experience the beauty of nature around you. If you’re got a mountain around you, that isn’t the size of Everest of course, try to reach the top of it with the kids before sunrise to see a whole new world out there – your city. Don’t forget the snacks, the water and anything else you may need, like sunscreen and hats. To get down, you can try a cable car or funicular, if there is one, just to ramp up the excitement factor.
- Do you normally travel by car? Well, how about taking a train ride? Check out what’s available in your area – it could be a wild new experience in itself!
- Hide a geocache! Yep, go on a geocaching adventure and hide your very own geocache for an awesome adventure. Share this with your local community and see how far you can take it. This is something cool for the whole family to get involved with!
- During the summer you’ll often find concerts or open air movie nights. Check it out and see what you can find. This will be a great adventure in itself. Get everyone involved in choosing which one to go to and you’re off for a bit of a night time adventure.
- How about going fruit picking? Most cities have these tours available and it’s actually great fun. You may need to take a short drive, but don’t eat too much on the first picking as you may be put off for life! If you’re real city slickers then this will give your kids a ‘taste’, excuse the pun, of the surrounding countryside.
- If you live close to the ocean, head to the harbour. You never know what you can find here – awesome boat tours or whale and dolphin watching tours. You will likely be surprised at the fresh and awesome food you find in harbours too.
- Look out for cool outdoor events such as kite festivals for example. You could build kites together and then go enjoy a kite festival with your home-made invention. This is heaps of fun! Things like this may not be right on your doorstep, but remember – be a tourist, rent a car and head off on a day trip for cool festivals.
- Go fishing!This is another way to experience the great outdoors. See if there’s a river or some mountain streams close by, arm yourself with some fishing gear and bait and off you go. If the kids don’t know how to fish, or even if you don’t, find out and make it a cool family learning adventure. Otherwise, go to the beach and try fishing in the tidal pools.
- Visit a local nursery. Make plans to grow a garden somewhere in your backyard then head out to the nursery, some are really kid friendly with heaps of activities, even zorbing, yes seriously! Go and choose some cool plants together, or some herbs, vegetables – whatever you like. Plant them and watch your magical garden grow. Once you’re finished, make a bird feeder and watch the birds flock to you. Get a bird book and try and see what feathered friends you can spot.
- Check out the local golf club and how about some golf lessons for the family. You never know who may be the next pro golfer!
- Why not have an ‘Amazing Race’. This will take a bit of planning, but head out for the day, without giving away where you’re going, armed with a map. Everyone can guess what the next destination might be by figuring out some clues. This can lead you to all sorts of places. Why not be real tourists and hire a car for this super cool activity.
- Do a ‘fun run’ or ‘fun walk’. Often these runs or walks take you to different parts of the city that you may not usually visit. At the same time you’ll probably be supporting a charity too. Cool – seeing a different part of your city, getting some fresh air and exercise and helping out those in need.
- Go on a photography adventure. Drive around your city, explore all sorts of nooks and crannies and take photos of everything you see. Oh, and just like real tourists, take some cheesy shots of yourselves in front of major attractions!
- Last but not least, why not find out what volunteering opportunities there are in your city. Pretend you’re going on a volunteering holiday with the family and go and help out. If they offer volunteering opportunities where you need to stay for a week or so, just do it! You’ll have a blast and be helping out your community too!
So, go on, get your ‘happy’ on and try being a tourist in your own town – you’ll be amazed at the fun you can have! Enjoy!