Day Trips: 5 Ways to Make the Most of What’s Around You

Think back to the last big trip you planned. In all likelihood, it involved scheduling time off work, saving a bit of money, making sure your vehicle was in tiptop shape and booking hotels along your route. Let’s not forget all the packing, scheduling and organizing it took the night, weeks or even months beforehand too.

Stressful, eh? It’s almost always worth it though. Big trips like these create memories that will last forever. They’re also trips you’ll take very infrequently. But there are less-stressful, less-budget-busting and less-hectic ways to make memories. Enter the day trip: going to a city or recreation area less than two hours away for fun and relaxation!

There’s a decent chance you live near one of the dozens of major population centers in North America. More people means more economic development, which generally brings interesting sights, experiences and adventures to find. However, since there are thousands of cities in North America, you’re sure to find interesting sights and attractions in every state or province even outside of state capitols and major cities! These options are much cheaper than the high-priced hotels, expensive tourist opportunities and multiple fuel fill-ups a big trip requires. Though the automotive and steel industries are working to keep more money in consumers’ pockets, both at the dealership and at the fuel pump, the unplanned expenses of a trip like this can impact what you can experience. These are mitigated by a day trip, since trips to the gas station are less frequent and the attractions will likely be cheaper.

Here are five attractions you are sure to find within a short drive of where you live!

Beaches

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states 39 percent of Americans live in a county on a shoreline. For many people, the beach is right around the corner. But for the 61 percent of Americans who do not live close to a major body of water, a trip to a great beach doesn’t require you to fly to Hawaii or Florida. A day at the lake is guaranteed fun for the family or a big group of friends and provides opportunities for swimming, relaxing and grilling!

Car on Beach

Museums

Think you’ve already visited all the fascinating museums in your area? Think again! As of 2014, there are more museums in the United States than there are McDonald’s and Starbucks – COMBINED. Museums from the Smithsonian in D.C. to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC get plenty of attention, but there’s bound to be at least one near you that piques your interest. Check out this museum finder to see what’s around you!

Festivals

From art, music and beer to cheese curds, frog legs and garlic, the incredible array of festivals in the United States proves how much people love to get together around a common interest. There’s bound to be something exciting fun happening nearly every weekend around you. Check out sites like Festivals.com to see what’s going on!

Music Festival

Breweries

Take advantage of North America’s craft beer explosion! From about 2,000 breweries in 2012 to more than 5,300 in 2017, many small towns are finding breweries to be thriving businesses and popular tourism spots. There are limitless combinations and possibilities for local brewers to provide. It’s much better than picking between the same four beers at your local watering hole.

If you choose to go this route, please drink responsibly – and keep in mind there’s no better choice than handing the keys to your designated driver to get you all home safely.

State Parks/Nature Preserves

Take in the fresh air! America’s natural beauty is truly a sight to behold and chances are you haven’t seen everything around you yet. The steel industry is working to keep the environment beautiful, both with its products and at its factories and surrounding areas. Grab a backpack and a few friends and hit the trails! There are over 6,600 state parks in the United States waiting to be explored.

state park

There are thousands of towns, each with their own people, culture, civic pride and attractions that are often overlooked throughout North America. Some of which are in your own backyard! Grab a friend, relative or significant other and create your own adventure. Find the hidden gems. Invest in a community. Make moments out of the little things. New experiences don’t have to be expensive or stressful!

Been on any day trips recently? Know of a great “hidden gem”? Leave us a comment below!

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