Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Do you love to travel, but can’t afford to take more than one or two trips per year? Do you miss traveling when you are in between trips? Then you need some day trips! They are the perfect (and easy) way to travel in between longer trips! To help you get started, here are 8 outstanding day trips for families to take this weekend!
My family takes a lot of day trips. I love them because they allow us to satisfy our wanderlust while stretching our travel budget. They are a great way to spend a weekend, especially when you don’t have the time or money for a longer trip.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what to do on day trips near home because it is so easy to overlook some amazing experiences. These ideas will help you find the perfect day trip to take this weekend by sparking your creativity.
- #1 Find a local attraction you’ve never done.
- #2 Pick a location within a 2-3 hour drive and go explore.
- #3 Visit a national park or monument close to home.
- #4 Check out your state’s unique offerings.
- #5 Start driving & see where the day takes you.
- #6 Explore some local history.
- #7 Head to a nearby state/local park.
- #8 Make your own local’s guide.
#1 Find a local attraction you’ve never done.
Many times we overlook popular attractions in our own backyard in favor of those further away. So, the first of my ideas for day trips is to find a local attraction you’ve never done and make a day of it.
It can either be a popular tourist spot or a hidden gem. Regardless of what it is, you will learn something new about your hometown while getting to experience something you’ve never done before. And don’t forget about seasonal offerings too!
If you aren’t sure of what to do, head to your local visitor’s center for some ideas. There may be something near you that you have never thought about before!
This is one way you can explore your hometown like a tourist.
#2 Pick a location within a 2-3 hour drive and go explore.
Take the above idea a step further by picking out a location that is within a 2-3 hour drive from your home and spend the day exploring. Grab a map and see what’s nearby. Then, pick a spot and go.
You can either explore an entire town or just an attraction or two. To make this even more fun, let your kids pick the location. This is a great way to get them involved in your trip planning.
#3 Visit a national park or monument close to home.
Every state in the nation has national parks and/or monuments. Find one (or more) near your home and head out on a day trip.
Visiting national parks and monuments are great ways to learn about this country’s natural resources and history. They also wonderful places for your family to get out into nature and enjoy some fresh air and time together.
To find a national park near you, go to the National Park Service’s website.
One of my family’s favorite ideas for day trips to national parks is hiking the Catwalks in the Gila National Forest. It is so much fun in such a beautiful area.
#4 Check out your state’s unique offerings.
Every state has unique things to see and do. So, if you are looking for day trips, check out some of these offerings. Take a look at onlyinyourstate.com to find some cool things nearby to see and do. This website is a great place to start your research into day trips for you and your family.
And, if you are anything like me, you will find some things on this website that you never knew before!
#5 Start driving & see where the day takes you.
One of my favorite ideas for day trips is to just get in the car and start driving. See where the day takes you! You never know what you will stumble upon to do! Just pick a direction and take off.
When you see something interesting, stop and explore. You can also use this as an opportunity to visit some of your old stomping grounds!
When I was little, my mom and grandparents did this a lot. Sometimes, we would find ourselves dropping in to visit an old friend and sometimes we would discover a new restaurant. I learned many things about my family history on these spontaneous outings!
#6 Explore some local history.
Speaking of history, another great idea for day trips is to explore some local history. You can do this in a variety of ways. Head to a local museum focused on the area, seek out historical markers around town, or take a trip to your local library.
It can be fascinating for kids and adults to dive into the history of their hometown, especially if your family has lived in the same area for generations. If you are new to an area, exploring local history can help you feel more connected to your new home.
#7 Head to a nearby state/local park.
While national parks are great, state and local parks can be just as fun. And sometimes, these parks will be closer to home, making them easier to access on a spur-of-the-moment day trip.
There are so many things you can do at state and local parks with your family to create lasting memories. If the weather is nice, pack a lunch and head out to a nearby park for a family picnic. If you’ve never done something like this before, your kids are sure to be thrilled with the new adventure! You can also go for a hike if there are trails in your park of choice.
Hiking with kids can be a wonderful way to bond with your family and get some exercise in at the same time. Plus, your kids will love exploring nature to see what they can find.
Another fun thing to do at a local or state park is to fly a kite with your kids. And if you want to turn your day trip into a weekend trip, grab your tent and camp for the night at the park. Just be sure to check the rules of the park to make sure it’s ok to camp there.
#8 Make your own local’s guide.
If you have lots of friends and family that live far away but that come to visit often, take some day trips when you don’t have company to “research” your own local’s guide.
Use it as an excuse to try a bunch of local restaurants. Visit your town’s museums, galleries, and other attractions. Go see the sights around town.
Then, when you have company, you will be an expert at showing them the can’t-miss eateries and attractions! Your kids will love being the official family tour guides when guests come into town and will be super proud of themselves for having so much knowledge to share!
Sometimes, taking long trips just isn’t feasible. When this is the case, feed your travel bug by taking day trips. I hope these ideas for day trips get you excited about exploring your familiar surroundings in a whole new way! And don’t forget that you can use these ideas while on longer trips in addition to being at home too!
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!