Hey Friend! Are you aching for some ADVENTURE close to home?
I’ve got you!
Some of the best adventures can be found right in your own backyard. Keep reading for 40 easy ideas to help you be a tourist in your own hometown.
Also check out the BONUS video and FREE resource below to help you live life more abundantly.
We Needed Some Adventure
The weekend was coming up after a couple grueling weeks for us as a family. We needed some relaxation and recreation together, pronto. But we had some roadblocks in our way: you can only travel so far on a weekend, my son couldn’t get days off work, and we wanted to be back in time for church on Sunday. So, where could we go and what could we do in 24 hours that would fill our souls and help us connect as a family?
Our solution? We booked a hotel 3 hours away in Moab, Utah, left right when my son got off work Friday evening, and spent the next 24 hours creating memories, laughing, and being in God’s glorious world in a way that filled us so we could hit the grind again come Monday.
And it was magical.
We Found Adventure Close to Home
On the drive to Moab our children spontaneously shared their hearts and victories, we laughed and told silly jokes, and jammed to our favorite songs singing along at the top of our lungs.
The next day we hiked to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park together for the first time. And the sight was so glorious I seriously cried when I rounded the bend after the exertion to the top and saw it waiting majestically for us. Talk about feeling awe!
I Missed What was Right In Front of Me
Here’s the thing. I lived in Utah MOST OF MY LIFE before moving to California, and in all that time, I’d never been to Arches National Park before. People from all over the world visit Arches National Park when they visit the United States. We talked with a man from Russia and heard several languages spoken. This is a world-class destination for sure.
But I’d never been, although it was practically in my backyard my whole life.
Wow. Was I missing out.
A Vacation Mindset in Your Everyday Life
Living in California for two years taught our family how to be tourists where we lived.
We didn’t know how long we’d live in California, so we took advantage of being close to the ocean. We spent weekends adventuring in new beautiful places having rich, new experiences. It was thrilling. It was a VACATION MINDSET in our everyday life that made each week exciting with something to always look forward to.
So now we’ve moved back to Utah, and we’re seeing it with NEW EYES. We’re making a point to get out and see all the places we took for granted before. And we’re loving it! We always adored the state of Utah, but even more so now.
Here are 40 easy ways YOU can be a tourist in your own hometown:
The Right Mindset
Take on a mindset of exploration. What have you always wanted to see or visit but just never got around to? What’s down that road? What’s that part of the city like? What’s beyond that mountain?
Break out of your to-do list and the busy-ness that plagues our modern life. When it’s time to go, put everyday life on hold. Dirty dishes can wait. Turn your phone on airplane mode. Have a holiday mindset. You are intentionally plucking yourself out of the mundane and into the exciting unknown. This is where awe and wonder reside.
Know adventure takes work and it’s OK
It’s true that adventuring takes effort. It’s much easier to relax on the couch vegging on technology. But that’s not soul-satisfying. Be prepared to put in some effort to make adventures happen. I remember when I first started kayaking on my own. I learned to expect it would take time to prepare gear, plan the trip, and clean up afterwards. And that it would be worth it. It always was.
Consider yourself a visitor.
If you had a friend coming to town to visit what would you do? Where would you want to take her? What should she NOT miss in your hometown or state? Show yourself around your town as though you were visiting for the first time with a visitor’s perspective.
Try new things.
What is your hometown or state known for? What industry, recreation, or arts are prevalent in your area? Try them out even if it seems like it’s not “your thing”. Be open-minded to try something new.
Create an abundant relationship with where you live.
You’ll be amazed how you grow to love where you live when you spend time getting to know it and thinking about it in positive ways. Podcaster Jody Moore gives a great discussion here on how to build an abundant relationship with your life, which includes where you live.
While touring around, dress like a tourist.
Don’t forget your daypack with snacks, water, camera, and sunscreen. There’s a reason tourists have so much fun. They’re prepared with whatever they might need for whatever adventure they find.
Make time for touring your town.
Schedule adventure dates in your hometown or state. Don’t just figure you’ll get around to it. Shoot for designating adventure days to get out into your city or state at least once or twice a month. Or more if you can! Set the day aside and make plans to keep the date.
Try Airbnb Experiences
Airbnb Experiences is a fabulous resource for all kinds of classes, tours, and activities you can do in your own city. Just type in your state in the search bar. I located a bike tour of Marin County when we lived in California on this website and my daughter and I signed up to take an upcoming pottery class now that we’re back in Utah.
Search the internet.
Here’s a great website you can search by state: Drive the Nation. Just don’t get distracted by all the alluring destinations OUTSIDE your hometown or state. Remember…we’re discovering our local hotspots 🙂 Here’s one for Utah. I’m sure your hometown or state has similar websites. Just consult your friend Google.
Research your state.
Read travel bureau guides and other literature about your state. Get the facts as well as the backstory on your hometown or state. I bet there’s a lot that you didn’t know about where you live that you could get excited about. Here’s the official guide for Utah. Here’s one for California. For other locations google “official guide for________” for your hometown location.
Get lost at a fine art and craft festival.
Here’s a great resource that lists fine art and craft festivals in the USA by date, including my favorite, the La Quinta Arts Festival in Palm Springs, California.
Visit art galleries.
This website is a treasure-trove of information. Just click on the drop-down menus at the top and pick your state. Under Gallery Guides it listed two of my favorite family-friendly art galleries in Salt Lake City, Utah: Illume Gallery of Fine Art and Philips Gallery.
Picnic in a new park.
Try new forms of recreation.
Rent kayaks, bikes, jet skis, and jeeps to see your town/state in a new light. We rented a Razor off-road vehicle a couple summers ago on a family reunion to tour our local mountains and had a BLAST!
Find new recreation destinations.
Discover local recreation areas: mountains, lakes, rivers, deserts, beaches, and ocean shores. Visit ones you’ve never bothered with before or venture to places you didn’t even know existed until your search for new destinations.
Try local hole-in-the-wall restaurants, shops, and markets.
When we moved back to Utah we saw our main street with new eyes noticing all the small shops and eateries to try instead of defaulting to the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Now that we’re back in Utah we’re determined to try a local cafe that I swear we drove by one thousand times before.
Take a walking tour of your town or city. Notice the people, landscaping, architecture, and signage. I always like to take pictures on my adventures of these aspects that catch my eye.
Hotel or bed and breakfast.
Stay at a hotel or bed and breakfast right in your own city for a night. Kids especially love it if there is a pool. Somehow that feels so magical!
Go on a day-trip to surrounding areas.
What’s happening in the town-next-door? For a change take a drive and visit the places you usually drive past on your way to somewhere else.
Take public transportation such as the city bus or train.
Rent a motorhome for a weekend and camp.
This is especially great if you AREN’T a camper but would love to experience your local wilderness in comfort.
The thing you’ve never done but wanted to.
What have you always wanted to do in your hometown but haven’t? Do it.
Hire a guide.
When we travel to far away places we like to hire a guide at the museums or landmarks to get the most out of our visit. Do this with your local landmarks, museums, and attractions. You never know what you didn’t know until you learn it from someone who does!
Search for amazing views.
Think meadows at sunset, mountain vistas, ocean panoramas, old barns, streams, lakes reflecting the shore, bridges, and city-scape views from the tallest building. It would be fun to make a photo collection of your favorite views.
Be the tour guide.
Invite friends and family to come stay and show them around.
Tour of your city by electric scooter or e-bike.
You’ll cover more ground than if you were walking and will feel more immersed in your city than if you went by car.
Free concerts in the park.
When I googled “how to find free concerts in the park Utah”, pages of events pulled up that I could check out. Not all of them were free, but it sure gave me a lot of options for fun.
Professional theater, concerts, and sports.
Splurge on tickets to the theater, symphony, professional sports games, or music concerts. You’d easily spend the money if you were on vacation. Give yourself permission to spend money on your stay-cation.
I know I promised 40, but you got a couple extra 🙂
Hey Friend, the next time you are short on time and funds, become a tourist in your own hometown or state. Take on a vacation mindset in your everyday life. Not only will you build a love for the place you live, you will fill your life with eager anticipation for the next great adventure right around the corner.
When we adventure close to home we get to do it more often. And more adventure brings more abundance into our lives. That’s a win-win.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever been a tourist in your hometown or state? What did you love about it? What are your favorite things to do right where you live?
Leave a comment at the end of this post and let us know. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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