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8 Ways to Plan a Summer Staycation in the City

Save time and money by taking a relaxing vacation in your hometown.

U.S. News & World Report

8 Ways to Plan a Summer Staycation in the City

Happy couple talking on balcony.

It's not too late to squeeze in a spontaneous summer break. A staycation allows you to break away from your usual patterns without navigating hassle-prone travel scenarios.(Getty Images)

With summer rapidly coming to a close, you may be dreaming of taking a last-minute summer vacation. But if your schedule doesn't allow you to stray too far from home and or your budget is tight, there's an easy way to take a break from the stresses of every day life without flying or road-tripping. If you're toying with the idea of taking time off without leaving home, read on to learn eight ways to enjoy a summer staycation in your own city.

Leave Home

A staycation doesn't have to mean actually staying at home. Why not try a vacation rental or a bed-and-breakfast? If a hotel isn't in the cards, consider camping out in your backyard – or at the very least, treat yourself by turning your bedroom into an oasis of its own with some new bedding and some of your favorite scented candles.

Explore a New Park

Prepare a picnic, grab your Frisbee and explore a nearby park you haven't visited before. If you don't already have one, consider getting yourself a park-worthy picnic basket and filling it with your favorite snacks – or grab lunch to-go from your one of your city's noteworthy sandwich shops that you haven't tried yet.

Visit a Museum and Enjoy the Local Arts

Whether you love art, science or history, it's easy to find a museum that reflects your interests. Even better, look for a one-of-a-kind museum that's particularly unique to where you live. For example, Chicago has its Busy Beaver Button Museum, Denver has the Molly Brown House Museum, Salt Lake City is known for its Church History Museum and Las Vegas draws visitors from the world over to its Mob Museum. Most cities, big or small, offer museums that are distinct to the local culture and customs – you just have to know where to look.

Is there a play, ballet, concert or symphony in your area? Rather than reserving a trip to the theater for a special date night, treat yourself to a "just because" staycation night out on the town.

Visit a Water Park

If you can't make it to the beach, check out a local aquatic center or water park. You might even want to explore a class you've never tried before, such as synchronized swimming, aquatic kickboxing, aqua cycling or water Zumba.

Attend a Sporting Event

You don't need to live in a large city to enjoy a good baseball game. Check out your area's minor league teams and attend a sporting event you've never been to before.

Visit an Independent Bookstore

If relaxation is your goal, venture out to a local bookstore you haven't been to and find a few staycation reads. And make sure to ask the bookstore staff about any upcoming author visits or book clubs while you're at it.

Take a Tour

Yes, really. While you may know most of the ins and outs of your city, get to know its lesser-known history and tucked-away gems. If a bus tour isn't your thing, look into a history or food walking tour. You'll likely brush up on your city's history, while also sampling excellent dishes at hot spots across town.

If you're more of an outdoorsy traveler, research the trails in your city and explore a new hiking or biking route on your own or with a group.

Indulge a Little

For a relaxing staycation, splurge a little. Find an activity you've always wanted to do – whether it’s an art class, a walking tour or exploring a vibrant neighborhood you've never visited before – and grab a reservation at a restaurant you've always wanted to try.

For any outing you take, conducting research ahead of time to check to sniff out any discounts available for local residents is a great way to trim costs. After all, staycations don't have to be pricey. So, start browsing must-see attractions in your hometown and map out your staycation before summer comes to a close. There's a good chance that there are plenty of interesting sights you haven't seen and can't-miss activities you can cross off your list to break out of your usual routine and return feeling relaxed and recharged.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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