Want to take a vacation that’s both affordable and relaxing? I know what you’re thinking: that’s impossible.
No, it’s really not! Consider taking a “staycation” instead.
What, you ask, is a staycation??
According to Wikipedia:
“A staycation is a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. They might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming venues, or engage in fun activities such as horseback riding, paintball, hiking or visiting museums. Most of the time it involves dining out more frequently than usual. Staycations achieved popularity in the U.S. during the financial crisis of 2007–2010.”
I grew up just outside of Washington, DC in a city called Rockville, Maryland. DC is about 40 minutes from Rockville, so it was near enough to visit regularly on day trips. Growing up, my family spent countless Sunday afternoons after church in DC either picnicking on The Mall or visiting one of the museums (which were – and still are – free) or the monuments.
I’ve lived in the DC area since I was 2 and thought I was as much of a “local” as most people in this transient area. However, when I read the “The Great Washington Bucket List: 50 Things Every Local Needs to Do” in the March 2015 issue of Washingtonian magazine, I changed my mind.
Below is Washingtonian magazine’s complete Bucket List in alphabetical order. Since there are still so many experiences that I’ve missed while living in the DC area, I’m adding Washingtonian magazine’s bucket list activities to my own Bucket List and will share my experiences with you as I check go!)
- 50 States Bike Ride
- Air Force Memorial Concert
- Annapolis Day Trip *
- Arlington National Cemetery *
- Blossom Kite Festival *
- Boundary Stones Tour
- Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin *
- City Sights—From a Metrobus (30N Bus & 30S Bus)
- Civil War Battlefields
- Congressional Cemetery
- Ford’s Theatre
- Fourth of July Fireworks on the Mall
- Frederick Douglass House
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon by Boat
- Great Falls Rafting
- High Heel Races
- House of Representatives Debate
- Inaugural Ball **
- Kennedy Center *
- Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival
- Library of Congress Main Reading Room
- Lincoln Memorial *
- Marine Corps Marathon and Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
- Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon
- Monument Tour
- Mount Vernon Trail *
- Museums Around the Mall:
Freer Gallery of Art
National Air & Space Museum*
National Gallery of Art*
National Museum of African Art
National Museum of American History
National Museum of Natural History*
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum
- National Arboretum by Moonlight
- National Archives and DAR Library
- National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
- National Zoo Elephant Trails Tour
- Old Rag Mountain
- Only-in-Washington Food Experiences:
Down a Half Smoke:
Meats & Foods
- Passport DC Embassy Tour
- Peking Duck at Peking Gourmet Inn
- Political Protest **
- Pope-Leighey House
- President Lincoln’s Cottage
- Prime Rib at the Prime Rib
- Rock Creek Park on Horseback
- Rolling Thunder *
- Round Robin Bar
- Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- Supreme Court Oral Argument
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Washington Monument *
- Washington National Cathedral Tower
- The White House *
- White House Correspondents’ Dinner Event **
After reviewing their bucket list, I realized just how many things I haven’t seen, done, or experienced right in my own backyard! 🙁
No matter where you live, you can come up with a list of your own simply by Googling things to do in your area, visiting the Chambers of Commerce or visitors bureaus, or TripAdvisor. Create a list, put in order by proximity, and then off you go on to explore through the eyes of a visitor!
(Note: The bucket list items above with 2 asterisks (**) are things that I am unlikely to experience since they are either out of my reach or that hold zero interest for me (luckily, there are only a few of these); places with 1 asterisk (*) after them are activities I’ve experienced. However, some of them deserve a 2nd look, such as:
- The White House – When I was in 2nd grade, my elementary school class went on a field trip to The White House. We all had to pair up and to my dismay, I was paired with a little boy who had a terrible crush on me. I. Was. Mortified! Not only were we paired up, but we had to hold hands the whole time. Yuck! I was so miserable the entire field because of my situation that I have only vague memories of the day and don’t remember anything about what the inside of The White House looks like. 🙁
- The Washington Monument – On our many, many trips to DC, my brothers and sisters and I LOVED visiting The Washington Monument! Why? We bypassed the elevator to the top and ran up all 897 steps. Meanwhile, my mother, who is deathly afraid of heights but will and did go up to the top to make sure we were behaving, took the elevator up and once off, pressed herself firmly against the wall and kept as far from the window as possible so she didn’t have to see just how far up she was. After making it all the way to the top, all of us kids took extreme pleasure in running back down all 897 steps, a much easier trip.
Top Tips from A Traveling Broad for Enjoying Your Staycation
- Before heading out for the day, decide on your itinerary.
- Don’t try to fit too much into each day…after all, it IS your vacation. You don’t want to end each day exhausted from trying to see and do too much.
- Map out the location of the places you’d like to visit and group them together based on their proximity to each other. This will help you make the most of your days while not spending the bulk of your time in transit via car, metro, or other form of transportation.
- Be prepared for the weather. If rain is in the forecast, be sure to take an umbrella; if warm and/or sunny weather is expected, take sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and plenty of water or other thirst-quenching beverages to avoid overheating or sunstroke.
- Save money on eating out by packing snacks and/or a full meal. Concessions at many of the places listed can be quite expensive.
- Schedule in a day or two for just relaxing and staying around your home, especially the last day before returning to work. You don’t want to feel like you need another vacation to recover from your staycation, do you?!
- Have fun!
As always, wishing you awesome travels!
A Traveling Broad