One of the most amazing aspects of social media is our ability to live vicariously through the people we follow. We’re able to see fantastic photos of faraway lands and exotic locales we long to visit. When you finally do get an opportunity to visit such destinations, the reality may not always be as glamorous or exciting as you imagine. If you happen to have kids, like Chinelo and I do, then it can be even less exciting having to sit through very long flights with young children and dealing with jet lag.
Not to minimize the fun and excitement of travel, but we think that there is a lot of fun to be had locally. We’ve made it a goal to fully discover and explore the cities we live in (and neighboring states too). It’s been a wonderful adventure doing this and we’ve discovered so many ways to have a lot of affordable fun, with or without children.
We’ve put together a list of our best ideas for local fun and adventure:
1. Museums: Can you believe there are over 35,000 museums in the United States? Chances are that you’ll find a few museums within a 50 mile radius of where you live. We LOVE museums! It’s a great place to spend a few cool hours away from the summer heat, while appreciating a different time and place. A lot of museums have free entry while some charge under $10 for adults and free passes for students and children under 12.
2. National Parks & Monuments: America is truly a beautiful land! Living on the West coast, Ndidi and I have been lucky to explore a few amazing parks and dramatic landscapes that have blown us away by their natural beauty. There are an estimated 60 national parks and 129 national monuments in the US. Check with The National Park Service to see if there is one within driving distance from you. It is worth discovering and exploring a park/monument with family and friends and most are open during the summer months.
3. Bowling: Most people grimace whenever bowling is suggested as a fun way to spend a few hours. It sounds so basic and some people have even gone as far as calling it lame but let me ask you this; when have you ever bowled and not had a blast? It’s easy, affordable and a lot of fun. Why the heck not? There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from hitting all your balls that can’t be had elsewhere.
4. Board Games: if you really want to know your friends, set up an evening of board games. There are so many great strategy board games that bring on the competition. One of our favorites is Settlers of Cattan. That will definitely get you going for a few hours. Throw some cocktails into the mix and you won’t believe how much you’ll enjoy it. If kids are in the scene, find a big puzzle for them to entertain themselves with.
5. Food crawl: being the foodies that we are, one of the top 5 things we enjoy doing is restaurant hopping with friends. We pick a food theme e.g. dumplings and go to 3-4 restaurants serving them. We try different types of dumplings in each restaurant and would agree on a winner at the end day. You could also do a farmers’ market food tour. You’re guaranteed to find fresh and delicious food.
The best thing about local summer fun, is that there is no pressure to “make the most” of a trip because you have flown so many miles to get to a location. You can take it easy as you want, after all it’s in your backyard. Also whatever you decide to do during the day outdoors, make sure to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days