I love to plan vacations. I love looking at all of the parks in the area, finding the best hikes, reading about the local cuisine, and sometimes I take this love a little too far. I tell Remington facts about the destination non-stop, so he has to remind me that he is just excited to go somewhere new. That is why I encourage planners like me to do something radical: don’t plan a vacation. Just go.
The first vacation that Remington and I went on together wasn’t actually supposed to be a vacation. In the winter, Remington reserved us a camping spot for a weekend in May at Huntington Island State Park in South Carolina. I know what you are thinking, “Wait, that sounds like they made plans..” We did. We made one plan, but in our defense, beach-side campsites in South Carolina fill up fast. The week before our beach-camping adventure, Remington was offered a new job and I had just finished a semester at college, so our spirits were high and we decided to head to the beach early. We went to a garden wine tasting at Middleton Place, which led to us staying at the Middleton Place, which led us to the beach the next day, which led us to wildlife viewing, which led us to spending almost a week at the beach. My point: unplanned vacations are fun! Here are some ideas to make the most of your unplanned vacation.
8 Ways to Make the Most of your Unplanned Vacation:
1. Go to the local adventure store or business: No one knows the best hidden adventures than these guys, and you don’t act like an annoying tourist, then they are usually more than willing to let you in on the secrets.
2. Run with the local running club: A lot of outdoor enthusiasts go running on a regular basis, so this is another great way to talk to with active locals. Plus the run may take you to a new part of the area.
3. Pack clothes that can be multi-purposed: You know that exercise shirt that is actually flattering? Pack it! You don’t know what you will be doing, so you want to be ready for all situations.
4. Go to the visitor center: We recently went to our visitor center to get maps for out-of-town guests and we were amazed by their wealth of knowledge. They will provide you with a lot of good tips (and coupons!).
5. Explore the closest park : There are a surprising amount of national, state, county, and city parks every where and they all have something fun to show you.
6. Wander in one direction: Don’t know what to do? Just wander. Pick a direction; east or west, left or right, and then just start walking. You can also follow train tracks or a river. Once you are ready to head back, then you can call a taxi.
7. Find the local swimming hole: Every county has one. It is the place where you turn left at the gas station, drive up the dirt road, turn past Mama’s restaurant, and it will be on your right. The local swimming hole is a treasure of natural beauty and people watching.
8. Check out Roots Rated: A great website that provides reviews from local experts on the best outdoor destinations in the area.