Here at Trips to Discover, most of our articles are about traveling to amazing places to see the world and explore new places. But it’s also common for travel enthusiasts to neglect unique places right in front of them and overlook experiences close to home. Staycations are wonderful opportunities to put your spirit of wanderlust to work right where you live and feel great about your low environmental impact. To be eco-friendlier in the new year and appreciate your local surroundings more, consider planning a staycation in one of these top U.S. cities.
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
People travel to Virginia Beach from all over the world for vacation, but if you live in this area, stay put for your vacation days and embrace the hype. This is a great place to be for public beaches and spas, with plenty of rest and relaxation in your foreseeable future. In addition to the beach, other fun Virginia Beach staycation ideas include trying a new local restaurant, going to the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium, and hiking the trails at First Landing State Park.
It’s easy to stay entertained and get the relaxation you crave on a vacation if you live in Atlanta. Foodies love staying put here because of all of the amazing barbecue and traditional Southern dishes served in the authentic local restaurants. This is also a great place to learn something on your days off from work or school by visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and the Atlanta History Center. There are tons of top Atlanta hotels that are perfect for a staycation, including AC Hotel Atlanta Downtown and Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, which will add a little luxury and lots of amenities to make your stay special.
Chicago is a great place to stay put and enjoy the local sights, especially in the summertime. There are lots of spas here to book for a relaxing treatment, as well as theater performances to make you feel like you’re in an entirely different time and place. Other fun activities to plan for your Chicago staycation is getting frozen yogurt or ice cream, checking out some of the best museums in the country, and biking along the Lakefront Trail to get some fresh air and exercise. Staycation destinations to book before your days off include Longman & Eagle in Logan Square, Acme Hotel in River North, and the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in the Loop.
Summertime is a great time to be in Minneapolis and plan a staycation to enjoy the city’s fun attractions, food scene, entertainment, recreation, and relaxation scenes. Favorite staycation spots in Minneapolis include the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Some fun places to add to your regional Minnesota staycation itinerary are the Lutsen Ski and Summer Resort, Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, and Gooseberry Falls in Two Harbors.
Seattle also offers plenty of options for staycation entertainment, such as recreational trails, world-class coffee, and fresh seafood. It’s fun to embrace the touristy vibe even as a local and rediscover the magic of iconic places like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. It’s also a good time to check out the Chihuly Garden to admire the glass works, rent a kayak to get out on the water, and sample the goods from local wineries during your staycation.
New York City, New York
New York City is not necessarily the ideal place to plan a staycation if you’re looking for lots of chill time and relaxation. But if your idea of a vacation is being on-the-go, experiencing diverse cultures, and seeing top-notch performances, then New York City is the perfect staycation for you. There are so many museums and historic sites where you can learn something new, such as at the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
If you live in the Portland area, then you’re fortunate to be in an excellent staycation destination too. Chances are that you have yet to explore all of the city’s best breweries and coffee shops, so you can spend your vacation days wandering around from one hip venue to the next with always something new to try. Staycationers in Portland also enjoy discovering budget-friendly activities, new indie bands at low-key venues around the city and chilling out in the city’s large and beautiful parks.
A staycation in Tampa is relaxing, has access to some great beaches nearby, and boasts an impressive craft beer scene. Therefore, it’s easy to feel like you’ve taken a trip to paradise without ever straying far from home. Busch Gardens is a favorite spot among staycationers, as well as the Florida Aquarium and the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary.
If you love spending your vacation days in the great outdoors and sipping local craft brews in beer gardens, then a staycation in Denver might be just what you need. While you’re on a staycation in Denver, you can also spend time exploring new neighborhoods and either hiking or skiing, depending on the season. Food tours and hot springs are other fun ways to make the most of your time in Denver during a staycation.
San Diego, California
San Diego is a top staycation destination because of its proximity to beaches, family-friendly attractions, and awesome year-around weather. Fun staycation attractions to plan a weekend around include Mission Beach, the San Diego Zoo, and the La Jolla Cove. Top staycation hotels are L’Auberge Del Mar, the Catamaran Hotel Resort and Spa, and Hotel Del Coronado.
People who live in Austin love planning staycations here because there’s always something new and exciting to check out on the live music scene. Food and entertainment offerings in town are plentiful, so you’ll never be bored in Austin even if you’ve lived here for years. It’s also fun to get outdoors and enjoy the nature-loving side of your home city by spending time on the Lady Bird Lake trail and at Barton Springs Pool.