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Choose Your Own Vacation (Adventure in your Own Backyard!)

Updated: Apr 23

You Deserve a Vacation

You mark time in events and important dates; birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and vacations. You might mark where you are in the year by your vacations – if they are ahead of you, or behind you. How many months/weeks/days more, until you get your much deserved break? You work hard for your money, to provide for family and build nest egg for retirement. Even if you are no longer working, life can wear at you. A vacation sounds like just what you need. Instead of spending a bundle, try finding adventure in your own backyard.

Vacation = Big Business, Big Price Tags

More than one-third of Americans plan to take a family vacation at least 50 miles from home this year. (Source: AAA) If someone tells you they are going on vacation, I’ll bet your first question is, “Where are you going?”


Vacation has come to mean an overnight trip, away from home. Often that means an airplane or a long car ride. Hours spent cramped in a small space, unable to stretch your legs, and the dreaded public restroom. Then once you reach your destination, you likely have a hotel with a questionable bedspread, possibly a lingering funky smell, and bathroom with too few, too tiny towels.

And that uncomfortable picture is expensive!

Average cost of airline tickets inside the U.S. is between $300 and $500 per ticket. Looking to go overseas and you can increase that to $800 to $1,500 per ticket. The average U.S. hotel starts at $125 a night. If you want more amenities, a view, or an upgraded room that price only increases. One of the most popular family vacations – to the most magical place on earth – averages $150 per person, per day, without travel costs. (Source: Vacation Kids)

Vacationing is big business. Last year spending on leisure travel totaled $683.1 billion. (Source: U.S. Travel) Obviously, we take our vacations seriously.

But did you know that you can find hidden gems closer to home? There is adventure in your own backyard.

Staycation: Finding Adventure in Your Own Backyard

You don’t have to hop on a plane, or spend a day in the car, to find adventure. Adventure in your own backyard!

If you live in Indiana, I’m guessing you’ve done the typical touristy things: The Children’s Museum, The Eiteljorg Museum, the Zoo, etc. But there are probably dozens of places you haven’t been. Places you might never have heard of. Choose your own adventure, in your own backyard.

For instance, have you been to the Rhythm! Discovery Center? After over a decade of calling Indianapolis my home, I’d never heard of it. But a hands-on museum that let my ten-year-old nephew play the drums, as loud as he wanted, was certainly a hit. For him at least. I might have walked away with a tiny headache. But it was well worth the smiles!


My son, Lincoln, trying out a drum set at Rhythm! Discovery Center.


Places like that exist in every city and state. Why, just this past Memorial Day weekend, I learned of a free dinosaur museum in my hometown – a place I lived for nearly thirty-years. And there was a Chocolate Festival going on that I’d never heard about before either. Who doesn’t like chocolate? (Well, okay, my son doesn’t. But me, I love it!)

Then there are the day trips, the places just beyond your backyard. In Indianapolis, there are places like the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. Only two hours from my house, it’s on my list of places to take my son soon. I’m hoping it will encourage interest in “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” so we can stop watching “Thomas the Train.” (When you know all the episodes by heart, and find yourself humming the theme song unknowingly, it’s time to switch your kid’s screen-time show before developing kid-show-PTSD.)

Vacations don’t have to take place far from home. It doesn’t take a lot of money to have fun. Discover adventure in your own backyard. You can save money and relax. All without trying to cram your belongings into a tiny suitcase, worry if your liquids are over 2 fl. oz., or wait in an endless TSA line.

Wondering where you can find adventure in your own backyard? Ask your neighbor, a friend, or try your state’s tourism site. Try vacationing close to home; enjoy a staycation. Be a rebel and turn off your phone, don’t check your email, and be a tourist in your own town!

State Tourism Offices

Alabama

1 800 ALABAMA

Alaska

 1 907 465-2010

Arizona

 1 888 520-3434

Arkansas

 1 800 NATURAL

California

 1 800 TO-CALIF

Colorado

 1 800 COLORADO

Connecticut

 1 800 CT-BOUND

Delaware

 1 866 2-VISITDE

Florida

 1 888 7-FLAUSA

Georgia

 1 800 VISIT-GA

Hawaii

 1 800 GO HAWAII

Idaho

 1 800 635-7820

Illinois

 1 800 2-CONNECT

Indiana

 1 888 ENJOY-IN

Iowa

 1 800 345-IOWA

Kansas

 1 800 2-KANSAS

Kentucky

 1 800 225-TRIP

Louisiana

 1 800 33-GUMBO

Maine

 1 888 MAINE-45

Maryland

 1 800 MD-IS-FUN

Massachusetts

 1 800 447-MASS

Michigan

 1 888 78-GREAT

Minnesota

 1 800 657-3700

Mississippi

 1 800 WARMEST

Missouri

 1 800 877-1234

Montana

 1 800 VISIT-MT

Nebraska

 1 877 NEBRASKA

Nevada

 1 800 NEVADA-8

New Hampshire

 1 800 FUN-IN-NH

New Jersey

 1 800 VISIT-NJ

New Mexico

 1 800 733-6396

New York

 1 800 CALL-NYS

North Carolina

 1 800 VISIT-NC

North Dakota

 1 800 HELLO-ND

Ohio

 1 800 BUCKEYE

Oklahoma

 1 800 652-6552

Oregon

 1 800 547-7842

Pennsylvania

 1 800 VISIT-PA

Rhode Island

 1 800 556-2484

South Carolina

 1 800 810-5700

South Dakota

 1 800 S-DAKOTA

Tennessee

 1 800 GO2-TENN

Texas

 1 800 88-88-TEX

Utah

 1 800 200-1160

Vermont

 1 800 VERMONT

Virginia

 1 800 VISIT-VA

Washington

 1 800 544-1800

West Virginia

 1 800 CALL-WVA

Wisconsin

 1 800 432-TRIP

Wyoming

 1 800 CALL-WYO

If you have questions or comments about this article, please call us at 1-317-875-0202 or message us with our contact us form.

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