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Staycation - Visit Local Attractions

Updated on July 29, 2017

Take a Staycation and Visit Great Local Sites

Every weekend can be a vacation when you "staycation" in your hometown. Scratch the surface and you'll likely find interesting places you never knew were there.

The word staycation entered our vocabulary in recent years. It means a vacation where you stay home, or close to home, and explore the offerings that are available nearby.

I am a local history fan, so the historic places near my home stand out to me, and I've got a bucket list for them, so that eventually I'll visit them all.

Some are already favorites, and I visit over and over. And new favorites pop up, too. That might mean a location that was previously private is now open for visitors. Others, reopening after a period of renovation.

And we often think of museums as hidebound, dusty places. But there are new museums that are established - celebrating people, places and things that you might never have known about.

Your local convention and visitors bureau is a good place to start your research, whether you're a long-time resident or newcomer to an area.

No matter what your interests, there are indoor and outdoor attractions within easy driving for you and your family to enjoy inexpensively and conveniently.

The Elks of Elkhart are a fundraising project for CAPS, Child and Parent Services. These fiberglass statues, artist decorated, are located at more than 25 local attractions and businesses.

This elk is called "North, South, East and West - Home is Best" Elk, and stands outside the Elkhart Municipal Building, which is one of the existing buildings designed by E. Hill Turnock in town.

Photos by kimbesa.

Restored Ruthmere house and museum
Restored Ruthmere house and museum

Make Your List

Choose Local Sites Based on Your Interests

Are gardens your thing? How about historic homes? Or zoos? Some local museums and other sites are open year round, others are seasonal. One of my favorites, Bonneyville Mill, is open all year round for outdoor activities, but if you want to go inside the mill, visit between May and October.

Weekdays are often less crowded, if you can work that into your schedule.

Many of these venues have websites, where you can check out the location, hours, parking and other details you might need before visiting. If you're like me, you want to take pictures. Some sites allow this, others don't.

Also, if you need to have some snacks, are there facilities close by? Or will you want to pack a snack?

In the photo - Ruthmere. This house is also referred to as "the Beardsley mansion" though there is now an older Beardsley home that has been restored and opened to the public, just down the street.

This wonderful house has beautiful details, including furniture and art, painted ceilings, wallpaper, and an in-floor pipe organ. It's a real treat to take a guided tour. I especially loved seeing the kitchen and dining room, spaces that have been added to the tour in recent years.

And... Ruthmere is just one of the tantalizing staycation opportunities in this area.

New York Central Train Museum

New York Central Train Museum
New York Central Train Museum

Day Packs For Your Local Explorations - My Kind of Day Trip Bag

I call mine a "comfort bag" and I use it to keep my supplies, like a water bottle, extra socks and tissues. Anything I think I might need while I'm out and about, exploring a place.

I may not be able to take it inside a venue with me, but if I have it in the car, then it's still handy.

The Lerner Theater

The Lerner Theater
The Lerner Theater

Map to Elkhart - Northern Indiana Along the Toll Road

Elkhart is easily accessible off Interstate 80-90:
219 Caravan Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514

get directions


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