Not enough time or money to plan a long vacation to the tropics? You don’t have to travel around the world to have a relaxing vacation this summer — there’s plenty to do right in your own neighborhood.
We can get so caught up in our daily routines that we lose our creativity and curiosity, and a staycation offers the chance to be a tourist in your own town.
1. Find your closest park
Yellowstone and Yosemite aren’t the only national parks: There’s very likely one close to your home. The National Park Service has a “Find Your Park” tool that will show your nearby natural habitats. And of course, there are local parks, too.
In New York, you’d be amazed at how far you can feel you are from civilization in the North Woods of Central Park. A lush and secluded forest, complete with babbling brooks and waterfalls, is great for a walk or hike.
2. Take a serious break from your technology
Get the most out of your down time by detaching yourself from technology.
Pledge to put your phone away for a day (or more), turn off notifications for your most bothersome apps (looking at you, email), or delete work-related apps (think Slack, Trello), so you can take a mental break.
3. Give yourself a spa day
Be your own Elizabeth Arden with face masks and body scrubs you can make out of ingredients in your refrigerator. Get your friends together for a day of pampering without the heavy price tag.
4. Find a local beach
You don’t have to be in the Caribbean to enjoy the beach. You don’t even have to be on a coast.
Chicago’s Oak Street Beach is minutes from downtown on the shore of Lake Michigan. Set up your beach chair and umbrella and you’ll forget the hustle of the city behind you in no time. The clear water and moderate tide make it basically equal to a trip to Cancun (minus the margaritas).
5. Or another way to get in the water
If a sandy beach isn’t your thing, there are many other ways to cool off by the water. Parks and waterfronts offer activities like paddle boating, kayaking, and row boats, and water parks offer adrenaline, too.
Just an hour and a half outside of New York City, Action Water Park will make you forget all about your day job.
6. Bring another world to your own apartment
Bring an island vacation to your home by hosting a tropical-themed party. Break out the hula skirts and your favorite fruity drinks for an all-out equatorial affair.
7. Take a class on something new
Dancing? Yoga? Cooking? The possibilities are endless. Learning a new skill will break your every day routine, and unusual experiences will do more for your happiness than many worldly possessions.
So forget about chores, get out of your routine, and and go out there and enjoy your staycation. And pity those poor people dealing with airport security this summer.
Make some margarita cupcakes or a fishbowl punch bowl for a tropical celebration.