Itching for a vacation but short on cash? Or maybe you’re one of the millions of Americans who have trouble traveling long distances? Or heck, maybe you’ve just never been interested in traveling the world…or even the country.
There’s a creative (and money-saving!) idea making the rounds about ditching standard travel plans to “tour your own backyard.”
Does this mean setting up a tent in your backyard for a week? Not a chance. (Although that sounds fun too!)
The idea behind touring your own backyard is that you don’t have to leave the state, or even your own city, to enjoy a vacation! Our “own back yards” are full of fun and even new places and experiences if we open our minds to domestic tours.
So…want to know how to tour your own backyard? Let’s dive in!
Rediscovering Your Home Town
Embarking on a journey to rediscover your own hometown can be an exciting and fun experience. Your home town may hold hidden gems and interesting spots that you might have overlooked in the past.
One of the best places to begin your domestic tour is your local tour office or information center, as they often have valuable information on points of interest, self-guided tour maps, and a local event calendar. You may be surprised to learn what fascinating stories and local legends have been lurking around the corner!
No tour office? No problem! Smaller towns tend to keep this information at the local library or post office.
And don’t forget city hall! I personally found free history pamplets, nature guides, and coloring books highlighting local landmarks when I visited my town’s city hall.
If these physical locations come up short, take to the internet! The best places to check online include your city’s website and social media pages, as well as local Facebook groups.
Take advantage of the local events and festivals happening in or near your city.
Checking out cultural activities can offer a deeper insight into the heritage and traditions of your own hometown. You might also find some enjoyable outdoor entertainment, like food and craft markets, that showcase the creativity and skill of local artisans.
Another great way to enjoy your city is by going on a culinary adventure.
Explore various restaurants and cafes, focusing particularly on local cuisine, or even attend cooking classes to learn unique dishes that your city has to offer. In addition, don’t forget to discover new local breweries and wineries to add flavor to your staycation.
To truly understand the city’s vibe, take a day trip walking or biking through different neighborhoods.
Observe the architecture, street art, and natural landscapes you encounter. You might also stumble upon charming local parks and gardens, perfect for picnics or relaxing moments.
Remember to bring a camera along to document your journey. Capturing the beauty of your home town’s scenery and attractions can not only help you appreciate where you live, but can also create amazing memories to look back on.
In the end, rediscovering your home town can truly make you appreciate the often-overlooked aspects of your city, allowing you to experience your local area like a tourist.
The Benefits of a Staycation
Taking a staycation in your own city has lots of advantages that can make it an enjoyable and refreshing experience.
One of the primary benefits is reduced travel stress.
Since you’re not venturing far away, there’s no need to worry about the hassles of long-haul trips, airport security, and time spent packing. This means your vacation will be much more relaxing and easygoing.
Another great reason for a staycation is that you can save money while still enjoying the leisure of a getaway.
By staying in your own bed, you won’t need to splurge on lodging, which is usually one of the biggest expenses on vacation. Plus, since you’re not spending money on airfare or accommodations, your budget can be focused on activities, dining out, and local attractions.
A staycation also offers ample opportunities to explore the hidden gems of your own city.
You’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the local culture, cuisine, and arts scene, which you may have previously overlooked. “Traveling” in your local area can also lift your spirits during challenging times and help support small local businesses.
When you tour your own backyard, you’ll also make a positive impact on the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Staycations are more eco-friendly than long-distance vacations as they involve less transportation pollution and often promote sustainable practices such as staying in the local economy.
Finally, staycations offer a great way to spend quality time with family and friends without the pressure of long journeys and unfamiliar surroundings. By staying close to home, you have the flexibility to plan activities around everyone’s schedule and preferences, creating a truly personalized and enjoyable experience.
So go ahead and plan a tour of your own backyard. You might be surprised at how much fun you can have right outside your doorstep!
How to Tour Your Own Backyard With Walking Tours in Your Own City
Self-Guided Walking Tour
One great way to rediscover your city is by taking a self-guided walking tour, allowing you to set your own pace and explore at your leisure.
I lived and worked in Philadelphia for several years and thought I knew the city well…until my younger brother visited and he and I took a walking tour together. It turned out that I was walking past historical sites with incredible back stories every day and had no idea! Our walking tour made me see the city in a whole new light.
To help plan and navigate your stroll, consider using tools like GPSmyCity, which offers self-guided walking tours in over 1,500 cities worldwide. With this kind of resource, you’ll be well-equipped to wander through the hidden gems and vibrant neighborhoods your city has to offer.
If you prefer a more relaxed approach to exploring your (larger) city, a bus tour might be the perfect option for you. With various routes and stops, you’ll have the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks, soak in the diversity of your city, and enjoy unique vantage points without having to stroll too far.
One of the best ways to truly get to know your city is by exploring its neighborhoods. Each area has its own unique charm, sights, and stories waiting to be uncovered.
Whether you’re wandering the quaint streets of a historic district or discovering the urban art and culinary delights of a bustling quarter, this type of exploration will help you appreciate your city’s beauty and diversity in a whole new light.
How to Tour Your Own Backyard With Photography and Instagram Spots in Your City
Popular Instagram Spots
You might be surprised to discover that your city is filled with picturesque locations just waiting to be shared on social media.
To find these popular Instagram spots, follow local influencers. They can help you uncover hidden gems and colorful murals that make your feed pop.
Keep an eye out for unique architecture, trendy neighborhoods, and iconic landmarks that lend themselves to eye-catching photos.
The Sunrise and Sunset in the City
Experiencing sunrise and sunset in your city can create magical moments perfect for Instagram.
To capture stunning landscapes, scout out lookout points that offer panoramic views. Whether it’s a hillside park or a rooftop bar, these spots let you enjoy the natural beauty of the sun’s daily journey across the skyline.
Don’t forget to have your camera ready and play with different angles and settings.
Instagrammable Food Places
Your city might be full of delicious and visually appealing food that’s begging to be showcased on social media. Amplify your city guide by visiting “Instagrammable” food places.
From stylish cafes to unique eateries and food trucks, there’s a wealth of culinary backdrops to discover. As you enjoy a meal, snap some drool-worthy pictures and showcase your city’s vibrant food scene on your social media feed.
Remember, presentation is key, so get creative with your angles and composition, and don’t be afraid to make your meal the star of the show.
How to Tour Your Own Backyard By Planning a Weekend Getaway in Your City
Sometimes, all you need to have a memorable adventure is right in your own city. Planning a weekend trip in your city can provide you with the excitement of travel without the hassle of long-distance trips.
Stay in a Hotel
One of the key elements of a weekend getaway is experiencing something different from your daily routine. Booking a hotel in your city can give you that fresh perspective you’re craving.
Staying in a hotel is an excellent opportunity to enjoy amenities you might not have at home, like an indoor pool, hot tub, or rooftop bar. Plus, you’ll get to experience the comfort of someone else making your bed and providing fresh towels daily.
As a mom, I always have my next chore in mind when I stay at home.
I see dirty dishes in the sink, or that mail I meant to go through earlier, and can never quite relax while there. A hotel, though? It allows me to mentally shut down my to-do list.
When selecting a hotel for your weekend trip, consider its location.
Try choosing a neighborhood you don’t typically spend time in, or one that’s famous for its attractions or scenery. For example, experience the glitz and glamour of downtown during your stay, or feel like you’re in Italy by choosing a hotel in a charming, European-style neighborhood.
During your weekend getaway, make a point to explore your city as if you were visiting it for the first time.
Take in the tourist attractions you’ve always wanted to visit or discover hidden gems even seasoned locals might not know about. You can also use this opportunity to attend local events or festivals that you’ve been meaning to check out.
By the end of your weekend trip, you’ll have experienced your city in a whole new way, and you’ll realize that you don’t always need to travel far to create new memories. So go ahead and plan that weekend getaway in your city – you never know what amazing experiences await just around the corner.
The Role of a Guidebook
Touring your own backyard can be an exciting adventure, and using a city or state guidebook can make the experience even more enjoyable. A well-crafted guidebook not only provides essential information and practical tips but also allows you to discover hidden gems and lesser-known attractions in your city.
Guidebooks can help you feel more like a tourist in your own city, encouraging a sense of discovery and curiosity. They can also prove invaluable when hosting out-of-town guests, or if you’re looking for a fresh perspective on familiar sights and experiences.
In addition to highlighting popular attractions, local guidebooks also serve as a source of insider tips and off-the-beaten-path recommendations. These can include unique dining options, quirky shops, scenic walking routes, and interesting photo opportunities – all contributing to a more authentic and memorable experience.
City Destinations and Attractions
As you plan your own domestic tour, consider visiting popular attractions and seeking out hidden gems. Make a list of places you’ve always wanted to see or revisit your favorite spots.
Start your journey by visiting renowned tourist spots, such as museums, local parks, and historical landmarks.
These attractions provide a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your city’s history and culture. Don’t forget to take photos of these iconic places for your personal travel journal.
Consider taking a local tour to discover your city’s lesser-known areas, where you can find unique shops, eateries, and quaint streets that are tucked away from the usual tourist trails. A guided tour can enrich your experience by providing fun insights and stories.
Browse through your city’s official tourism resources, such as websites, social media accounts, or tourism offices, to find out about upcoming events and festivals. Local events are perfect for immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of your city and connecting with fellow residents.
Here are some ideas to make the most of your day trip:
- Rent a bike or put on comfortable walking shoes to explore different neighborhoods.
- Discover local art by visiting art galleries, public installations, and street art locations.
- Cheer on your favorite sports team at their home field, or join other fans at a sports bar.
- Make a foodie bucket list and try diverse cuisines at local restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors.
By the end of your adventure, you’ll have experienced your city in a whole new way and may even feel like a true tourist in your own backyard.
Local History and Culture
You may have lived in your city for years, but you can still discover hidden gems and fascinating stories by immersing yourself in its local history and culture.
Start by taking a historic tour to learn about iconic buildings, their history, and why your city was founded. Unravel the stories behind famous monuments and talk to long-time residents to hear interesting anecdotes that bring the place alive.
Your city’s culture can be showcased through its art, food, and local festivals.
Enjoy the artwork in galleries and street murals, or follow in the footsteps of famous artists or authors who contributed to your city’s creative scene. Experience the unique flavors of your region by visiting farmers’ markets or trying out new-to-you cuisines at local eateries.
Don’t forget to participate in cultural events and festivals that celebrate the rich tapestry of your city.
Engage with your community and embrace its customs and traditions. These events can be a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and create lasting memories.
How to Tour Your Own Backyard By Building Your Local Bucket List
You might be surprised at how many adventures await you in your own city. Creating a local bucket list is a great way to explore new places and experiences and rediscover your home town.
Begin by making a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit or activities you’d love to try in your city.
Think about the tourist attractions you’ve never been to, local events and festivals, or even that cute little coffee shop on the corner that you’ve never set foot in. Consider asking friends and family for recommendations, or consulting websites dedicated to local travel for inspiration.
Next, prioritize your list by the activities and places that excite you the most.
It’s essential to be realistic about the time and resources you have available for your local adventures. Start with a mix of short-term experiences that can be enjoyed in a few hours or a full day trip, as well as long-term goals that might take an entire weekend or an extended period of planning.
With your list in hand, make a point to schedule regular times to explore your city.
You could set aside one day each week or month to cross off an item from your local bucket list. Arranging these adventures ahead of time can help you make room in your life for these new experiences and ensure you don’t miss out on what your city has to offer.
Don’t forget to record your adventures by taking photos, writing about your experiences, or even sharing your journey on social media. This will not only help you remember the fun times you’ve had but also inspire others to explore their own cities and create their own local bucket lists.
Regardless of where you live, there are always new things to discover in your city. And now that you know how to tour your own backyard, you can explore the local treasures that have been around you all along. Happy adventuring!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Tour Your Own Backyard
What are the top attractions in my city?
To find the top attractions in your city, you can refer to travel websites or local blogs. They usually have lists of popular attractions and activities.
You could also ask your local friends and family members for recommendations or visit a local tourist information center.
How can I plan a staycation in my city?
Planning a staycation in your city can be as simple as creating an itinerary of local attractions, events, and activities you would like to experience, and then setting aside a few days or a weekend to explore them. Visit A City is a great resource to help you plan your itinerary.
Make sure to include a mix of popular and lesser-known places to visit in your staycation plan.
What local hidden gems should I explore?
Discovering local hidden gems can be as easy as doing a bit of online research on your city. Look for blogs, articles, and social media posts sharing the best local secret spots or hidden gems in your area.
You can also ask your friends and family members for recommendations, or explore your city on foot or by bike with a camera in hand.
What events or festivals are happening in my city?
To find out about events or festivals happening in your city, check out local newspapers, magazines, or online event listings and calendars. Your city’s official website may also have information about upcoming events.
Keep an eye on social media pages for local organizations and venues, as they often post about upcoming events.
How can I discover new local businesses and restaurants?
You can discover new local businesses and restaurants by exploring your neighborhood and keeping an eye out for new establishments as well as checking online review platforms like Yelp or Google Reviews. In addition, you can ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations or join a local Facebook group where people share their favorite spots and experiences.
What walking or guided tours are available in my city?
Many cities offer walking or guided tours that can help you explore your city in a new way.
To find these domestic tours, search online or visit a local tourist information center. Look for tours that cater to your interests, such as history, architecture, art, or food.
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