Travel Tips and Stories

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Vacation In 4 Hours: How To Getaway In Your Hometown

Summer vacation has come to an end and you are basking in the afterglow of the island hopping trip you and your family have taken. Perhaps you and your better half have spent a wonderful weekend vacation at a spa, and you were even able to squeeze in a round of golf or a trip to the local shopping outlet. Unfortunately, it is now time to get back to the realities of work, school, chores, and the other little things that make everyday-life exhausting. It is no surprise that you feel as though you are in desperate need of another vacation at the end of the first week. Alas--this vacation is a full 365 days away…or is it?

The Hometown Getaway

Who says that the only remedy for the hustle and bustle of life is a full-fledged vacation? On the contrary, your hometown is full of amazing sights and sounds that you, with a bit of creativity and know-how, can turn into a magical getaway, without crossing the city limits!

The Hometown Jungle Expedition

While your hometown may not be a tropical rainforest habitat, it is bound to host a large number of city and also municipal parks. Some of these parks will even offer nature walks! Check out the phonebook for a listing under “nature center” and you may be well on your way to a hometown jungle expedition.

If you are planning this trip with your children, this is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate some hands-on learning experiences. Have a backpack for each member of the expedition, complete with binoculars, paper, pencils, collection jar, and magnifying glass. Encourage the children to “spy” flora or fauna before you do, and you will be well on your way to having a relaxing afternoon at the park. If you remember to pack a picnic lunch, you will be able to spend most of the day in the “wild.”

The Hometown Fishing Trip

Granted, your hometown probably does not sport lakes as rich in trout as Colorado’s Lake John, but looking on the bright side, it won’t take you six hours of bumpy roads to get there either. Contact your local wildlife and game department for fishing reports pertaining to your area.

If you are fortunate enough to live close to the ocean, you will be able to enjoy a leisurely fishing trip to the local pier, followed by a relaxing dinner. If you live in a city that has several lakes within a short driving distance, you will be able to choose from any of these locations to cast a pole into the waters.

This may even be the perfect time to take out the RV for a last late summer or early fall weekend trip before storing it for the winter! Taking your family to a local RV park can be a real treat. This takes off the stress of packing for a long distance trip since you will be camping right around the corner.

The Hometown Gourmet Extravaganza

Unless you live in Las Vegas, your hometown getaway will probably not include a trip to the Mandalay Bay’s famous buffet, but this is no reason to stop you from having a gourmet experience within city limits! If you budget wisely, you will be able to have breakfast at the local hot spot, a cup of coffee or tea a little way down the plaza, complete with the possibility of soaking in the morning rays while leisurely reading the paper. If you’re up to it, try a different restaurant for lunch and dinner.

There are several family restaurants that offer entertainment as well as fine dining. The Elephant Bar offers a refreshing dйcor, with a safari environment. Or enter through a cave shaped aquarium to the jungle themed restaurant known as the Rainforest Cafй. While you’re eating enjoy the swinging monkeys, active volcanoes, and the dimming lights while thunder roars overhead. Children will especially enjoy the Rainforest Shop where they can purchase souvenirs.

The trick to a successful hometown gourmet getaway is to choose restaurants you do not usually visit. This adds a touch of adventure, and you may quite possibly discover your new favorite hangout!

Hopefully you are inspired to look to your hometown for a wonderful getaway opportunity. Get to know your surroundings! Who knows, when looking at your hometown through the eyes of a tourist, you may discover sights and sounds so enticing that next year you decide to vacation at home, at the perfect hometown getaway within four hours of your front door!


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