Playing Tourist at Home: Finding Adventures in Your Own Backyard!
I love to travel, experience new places and get to know a new part of the world – but for many or perhaps most of us, we are not in positions to be able to do this full time. Whether it is work, family, health or basic sanity, there are a plethora of reasons why it may not be right for you, at least for the immediate future. But just because you are limited by your geographical freedom doesn’t mean that you can’t have equally as rewarding experiences a little closer to home! Yes, it is time to be a local tourist!
I can remember several years ago getting prepped to do the half dome hike in Yosemite National Park, California. We met multiple locals who exclaimed that they had never done it, but always wanted to! 'These people are crazy', I had thought, an amazing and beautiful experience like that right outside their door and they hadn’t done it? Nonsense! But to be fair, I am equally as guilty – I live less than an hour from Toronto, yet I have never been up the CN Tower – a somewhat local attraction that thousands of tourists flock to yearly. Do I owe it to my home and my country to maybe spend some of my time and money within its borders, most definitely!
Getting to know the great places in your town, city or area can be a lot of fun! You don’t NEED to book vacation or take time off work, you just work it in to your schedule during your free time. In terms of budget, you can go as big or small as you like – naturally tourist attractions will be more expensive, but there are loads of inexpensive and free things to do everywhere! So go find them, think of it as a bit of a hunt for those hidden gems!
Things to Consider When Exploring Home Base
Explore it in a new way!
Pull out your bike, rent a canoe/kayak/paddleboard and go explore! This small change can rejuvenate those familiar places and make them new again – it is amazing the new trails, parks, restaurants and views you can find when you change your method of transport. I LOVE biking, and I find it makes the process of going anywhere a lovely experience. Whether you are riding from home, or bringing your bike with you on a short road trip, it will completely change the experience and bring you a little closer to your surroundings. There is just something so nice and relaxing about going from place to place on a bike, as opposed to a car! I completely recommend packing a few beers, some snacks, a book and a Frisbee and just go for a bike ride – aim to find somewhere new with lots of green space to hang out for a few hours.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Events
There is always something happening in the warm summer months. Just about every city or town has at least one event or festival happening at some point in the summer, go check them out! With a little research you will surprised what you can find that is cheap if not free; music festivals, food events, street festivals, Canada day celebrations, movies under the stars, yoga in the park and the list goes on. Take advantage of these annual events and celebrations and enjoy the great activities your city and neighbouring cities are putting on for locals.
Enjoy Green Spaces
Whether it’s just day trip or a full weekend of camping, visiting local conservation areas is a great way to explore the outdoors and support the preservation of our natural areas. Many of these parks are geared to families too, offering special events, programs and activities to engage and educate children. I personally just like hiking and spending time out in nature. I try to go camping a few times in the spring/summer months and check out at least one new park. Doing something like this will surprise you, there is so many beautiful places in Ontario, a few short hours from home!
All of these amazing activities are a short distance away, so don't hesitate, go explore all those great things just outside your back door!