In Praise of the One Day-Cation: Daytrips for every interest, budget, size, and locale



Does this sound familiar, MOMeos? You’re exhausted and your kids are driving you nuts. You need to find something to do with them, but you don’t have a lot of time or money. These 10 daytrips are manageable, easy to organize, inexpensive and can be done no matter where you live:

  1. HIKING: Head to your nearest State/Provincial or National Park. Chances are, there are plenty of destinations within close driving distance with fabulous hiking and walking trails. Activity guides provide ideas for which hike will suit you and your family best. If this isn’t up your alley, try some other outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding, skiing, river rafting or rock climbing.
  2. COUNTRY PICNICS: Okay, you take your kids to the neighborhood or city park all the time. For a change of pace, why not pack up the cold cuts and blanket and go for a drive in the country? Make a day of it by combining the drive and the picnic with a visit to a nearby waterfall. Kids love waterfalls and it makes for a great family photo op.
  3. Daughter-And-Mom-beachTHE ZOO/AQUARIUM/WILD ANIMAL PARK/PETTING ZOO: If you’re lucky enough to live near a world-class facility – and you know which ones they are – then this is an obvious choice. But most cities, even towns, have some kind of zoo or animal park. Never underestimate children’s fascination with watching animals live and in person.
  4. HISTORIC SITES: Find out more about the history of your region. Be it dinosaurs, First Nations, pioneers, or information about early growth and the building of your community. Some places will have hands-on activities or neat, interesting and unique things that your kids can learn, eat, or do.
  5. CONSERVATION AREAS/SANCTUARIES: Check in your area for nearby river gorges or areas with fossil beds, bird or butterfly sanctuaries, conservatories or botanical gardens, rock gardens or aquariums. Try one day trip per month and turn it into a fun, family tradition that your kids will start looking forward to.
  6. THE BEACH/THE LAKE: Seek out sunshine and sand! If you can’t find that, get yourself close to some water. Build sand castles, gather sea shells, hang on the pier, go fishing, walk on the boardwalk or meander along the shoreline. This is relaxing, quality time at its best.
  7. FESTIVALS: Check your local event guide for a host of different fairs or festivals. Community days, music, parades, plays, recreation shows – there’s always something happening.
  8. CANOE TRIPS: Check out the island in the middle of the lake, or canoe across the lake to the ice cream parlour. If canoes aren’t your thing, bring your mountain bikes and scoot through the forest or ride along the lake or country dirt road. Kids love to go exploring!
  9. VISIT ANOTHER TOWN: You might be surprised at the charm you find in some of the outlying towns and villages around you. Find out the town’s claim-to-fame. Is it a great sandwich, an unbeatable cup of coffee, a quirky museum or some other attraction? In Vegreville, Alberta, , the town’s claim-to-fame is the World’s Largest Easter Egg. At the very least, you can say you’ve seen it.
  10. LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME: Need a day trip sans kids? Find a babysitter, or drop them off at the grandparents and have a private getaway with your better half – or on your own. Take in an art studio tour, a film festival, a winery or brewery tour or the much-loved spa day, or a trip to a hot springs, get yourself out of town.

Log onto Day Trips & Excursions in the USA for a complete list of more specific daytrips in your area.

Do you and your family have a favorite ‘Day-Cation’? Leave us a comment–we love to hear from you!


About Author

In 2008, Karen Rowe left her job as a junior high French Immersion teacher to become a freelance writer. Six months later, she signed her first book deal. For the Love of Chocolate was published in December 2008 with her second book, For the Love of Coffee published in August 2009. Karen has been a voluntourist in Guatemala, Belize, Korea and most recently, Uganda. In July 2009, as Team Leader, the group began building an HIV AIDS clinic, worked in an orphanage, and helped local widows start creating sustainable businesses. She also keeps busy substitute teaching and coaching clients through her writing business. Karen has lived in Calgary for the past 7 years and is an avid reader, traveler and self-proclaimed coffee snob. Follow Karen on Twitter at FrontRoweSeat

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