Vacations can be budget busters but you can save money by taking a “staycation” and sleeping in your own bed. With school starting in less than a month in most areas of the South, it might be difficult to get out of town. We take staycations on many weekends throughout the year and took a longer one this summer. You never know what you may discover in your own area.
I recommend you plan a staycation just like you do any other vacation. Set a budget and create an itinerary. Since you don’t have to worry about traveling time, you can set aside seven days or even just a single day if you have a small budget. When you plan it, I think it feels more like a “vacation.”
Try to include something for everyone. Our teenager likes to eat and shop. We also had to accommodate my schedule as a freelance writer and our budget so we chose our activities carefully. Our three-day staycation began with a tour of my hometown of Rome, Ga. On the second day we went to Atlanta to visit Lenox Square Mall, then it was off to the World of Coca-Cola. On the third day, we went to see the Atlanta Braves and some of the sites near SunTrust Park in Cobb County.
Want to plan your own staycation but don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips. Since we live in the Northwest Georgia area, we have made a couple of recommendations.
- Discover your local parks. Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to the local playground. Some parks offer more than swing sets and slides today. The picture to the right is from Manning Mill Park in Adairsville, Ga. The lake is beautiful and the park has a playground and picnic areas. If you are more outdoorsy, find a park with campgrounds and a fishing area. Lock and Dam Park just outside of Rome has a campground and fishing area.
- State parks also offer outdoor family fun without breaking the bank. In our area, Red Top Mountain State Park has a beach area and great places to hike. You could spend an entire day there and not do it all!
- Check out some history. Our family has made it a priority to see all that we can and learn all we can about our area. Recently we visited New Echota State Park in Calhoun, Ga. This state-funded site does charge less than $10 to get in but it’s worth the money. You can also take advantage of a great deal from Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. An annual pass that allows you to see all of the historic sites for one low price.
- Take me out to the ballgame. We live in Braves Country and we love to take in a game. We watch for special deals for the team. We have good seats and never pay more than $20 per ticket. But the best deals are at the minor league parks. We live near three. We love the names of some of the teams. Last year, we watched the Chattanooga Lookouts play the Montgomery Biscuits. You will not only see future All-Stars but you may also see some current stars. Often major league players will do rehab assignments with a minor league team.
- Check out the small towns in our area. These tiny hamlets are often ignored but are rich in history and fun! In Northwest Georgia, we head over to Cave Spring. There’s a large spring-fed pool that is guaranteed to cool you off during these hot days. You can soak in some local history at the Historic Vann Cabin. Take a picnic and eat at one of many spots near the pool or dine at one of the downtown eateries.
One final tip: If you are not sure where to go or what to do in your area, check out your state or local convention and visitors bureau. They will have lots of information about all of the area attractions. Happy Staycation!