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Staying Close to home for summer vacation

Last year, our family went on three big trips, so this year we're staying close to home.  We are going to try and stay within a half a day's ride from home, so that our biggest expense is where we stay.

Where to stay:
*  Camp - it's a great way to get back to nature.  If you don't have a tent, many campsites have cabins you can rent.  It's the basics but it's saves

*  Stay home - part of our adventures will be right in our own backyard.  Of course, we are lucky to have a place that has an overwhelming amount to do.  Still, look at local tourist site to see what you might have missed.

Save on food:
*  Pack the cooler with frozen juice boxes and sandwiches:  I will freeze some juice boxes and make cold cut sandwiches the day before we leave. Be sure to put some juice boxes or water bottles that are not frozen in the cooler.
backpacking at the national park nearby -
if you can do it, back-country camping permits are inexpensive, although the equipment gets expensive

* I have been known to go to the supermarkets on the road.  Lunchables are good but either their quantity has gotten smaller or my kids are harder to fill.  Many supermarkets have pre-made meals or you pick up a pack of Oscar Meyer and some bread.  Don't forget to pack a knife for spreading.
miniature golf with the monkeys

*  Foods to pack:  But some foods that are easily kept, PB&J or honey.  Bread, peanut butter and Jelly or honey.  Again, don't forget to pack the knife

*  If camping, cooking can be fun and part of the family adventure.  You'll need a stove or some charcoal.

Where to go:
*  Have the kids search:  you never know what they may find and it's part of the fun of vacation.  Tell them that it has to be something everyone will enjoy.

*  Historic places - every state has them.

*  Find your local tourist site - whether it's your state's site or county site.  They will be more then happy to help you find local places.

* - it's not just a site for reviews, get some ideas.

A day of Play: sometimes just planning a day of play is just as fun as leaving the neighborhood

* miniature golf
* movies
* local craft/painting/pottery store
* Museum
* Tours
* Hiking
* Picnicking
* pick your own farms


  1. If you want even more comfort, there are places to rent an RV. Homemade trail mix and bars are great way to keep your energy up when hiking. The Boy Scout website has tons of easy recipes for cooking while camping. I haven't tried it yet, but cooking an egg in a newspaper sounds interesting! Oh, there is also thermos cooking, if you are able to boil water. Have fun on your vacation!

    1. We've tried renting an RV years ago and I found it cheaper to get a hotel room and use our car. Last year, I looked into renting again and the prices were more reasonable but I didn't take it because we needed some flexibility in our trip.

      Haven't heard of thermos cooking - I will look that up. We use a jet boil but thermos cooking sounds interesting.

    2. I haven't tried thermos cooking, but I have read about it. I think you need a really good thermos, something that holds the heat in really well.

    3. My hubby has been experimenting with on the trail recipes. He's been talking about bringing a big pot, which I'm reluctant. If thermos cooking something we could do individually (just add hot water kind of thing) it may be perfect for us. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to blog how it goes LOL

  2. It's been a while since Ive camped and it does bring back some really great memories. Your suggestion are great and can create some wonderful family memories. Have a great time on your vacation:-)

    1. Thanks Susan, I remember great memories of camping too - a time when I could fall fast sleep on anything.

  3. Great ideas. You couldn't describe me or my daughter as a nature girls, but my husband and son definitely are nature boys. By renting a cabin at a campsite we all get what we need out of the holiday. We can enjoy the lake and surrounding forest and still sleep comfortably at night. We haven't done it for about two years, but we all came back relaxed when we did.

  4. Joanne - Nice post! I know when my boys were younger, we were able to satisfy their adventure with quick day trips. As they have progressed into their teenage years (17 and 15 now), most of our away from home time revolves around where each boy is playing baseball that weekend. Fortunately, we get to go to Atlanta this year for baseball!

    You are spot on, there are so many things to see in close proximity that most people don't even realize!

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. I am actually taking my children camping for a week at the beginning of June. With kids so focused on electronic devices that a week without their leashes will be great. We are lucky to live in an area that is so close to so many things.

  6. Yes! These are great tips. As a single mom, it hasn't always been easy to book a ticket and go some place for a week. Luckily, ideas like these have helped my son and I have lots of summer fun! Days of play are a hit in NYC - we played tourist in our own city and did all the "cheesy" things that living here doesn't leave time for. Styrofoam Lady Liberty hats, anyone?

    One more: if you're in a major city, look for "city pass" deals when visiting museums, historical sites, and attractions. One flat fee will get you into a certain number A-list places, and unlimited B or C places for a set number of days. You also usually get to skip the admission line, which is a huge time saver. We did this in NYC and saved time and money while having a ton of fun.

  7. Sounds like fun! I like the idea of camping, but my family does not. We often have to make bargains on where we go - we'll do this one day because one person likes it, but then the next day we do a different sort of thing. Some of our vacations work out better than others. I've learned that fruit holds up well in summer, and packing frozen vegetables is a good idea for winter vacations. One year I mistakenly left the fruit in the car overnight in winter - frozen fruit was not very tasty.

  8. I really like the idea of letting your kids search for what to do. It would certainly open up new doors to new adventures that you would probably have never thought of by yourself.

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