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When I first moved to Richmond, I was diligent about spending my weekends exploring the area. I went to local museums, asked around for suggestions on what to do, and took roadtrips around the state. Some of my visits were genuine hits while others were just okay.
Not only did I explore my own state, but I went to neighboring states. I fell in love with West Virginia, had some good times in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina, and took a few drives further afield as well. And then in 2014, I forgot to set aside time for local travel…and that’s a real shame.
You see, traveling isn’t just about heading to somewhere exotic. Traveling is about opening yourself up to new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring somewhere new. For that, you don’t necessarily need to get on an airplane and fly around the world.
Maybe it’s hypocritical for me to publish this post as I’m in the middle of a 32-hour journey to Kathmandu. (Side note: it’s only now that I’m realizing just how far away I’m going). It’s ironic, if nothing else, but I’m writing this specifically because the fact I’m traveling so far is exactly what makes it so apparent to me that local travel has its merits.
Some of my favorite travel memories have been whitewater rafting in West Virginia, hiking in southwest Virginia, and seeing fireworks in Williamsburg. The fact that I can do any of those in a weekend is icing on the cake.
My parents — new residents of New Mexico — have seen more of the state than many of their neighbors and coworkers who have lived their for years, simply because my parents were the one who put the effort into exploring. Perhaps you have similar stories to tell.
Don’t be those people who have seen half the world but don’t know what’s in the next town over. Go out, explore, and see what your region has to offer. You just might be surprised.
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Do you travel locally? What attractions or areas would you recommend to other readers? Share your best tips in the comments!
16 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Go Far to Travel”
Totally agree! One of my favorite travel destinations in the whole entire world is Lake Tahoe, which is only and hour and a half away.
@Michelle, I haven’t been to Lake Tahoe but the pictures look fabulous! Do you have favorite activities/places or other recommendations for travelers to that area?
I completely agree that local travel can be just as rewarding as traveling abroad. I’ve lived in the DC area for a little over two years now, and there are still so many places nearby that I’ve yet to visit (Richmond is definitely on that list!) even though I’ve done a fair number of local day trips and weekend trips.
Sadly, I have to admit that I’m one of those people that your parents have met in New Mexico – I grew up in West Virginia, and there is so much of the state that I haven’t seen! I really need to remedy that.
@Brandy, where have been your favorite close getaways? Please let me know when you make it down to Richmond – I’m happy to help provide tips and if I’m around, I’d be happy to meet up as well.
We live in the lower Hudson Valley, in a historic little village/town, about 50 minutes by train from NYC. There is so much history and scenic beauty in the local area and within an hour’s drive from us. Just to the south of our town is Sleepy Hollow – yes, that Sleepy Hollow, land of Washington Irving’s tale. Right now Halloween events are in full swing. Over the years we have attended many of them. Last year our village celebrated its bicentennial and sponsored many events and tours. I attended them all and learned so much that I never knew about this area where we have lived for 16 years. This past weekend we had a friend from neighboring Connecticut stay with us – we toured Kykuit, the historic Rockefeller home, and went to 2 of the Halloween events sponsored by Historic Hudson Valley. On my to-do-list: the Walkway over the Hudson (on a sunny day) and West Point (haven’t toured there in about 50 years!!). So much to see and do locally, it’s awesome. And people who come to visit NYC really should add on several days to visit north of the city – it’s beautiful, historic and just awesome!! Lots of hiking in the area, too, as a change of pace from city adventures.
@Marilyn, I was up in your neck of the woods for a wedding over Labor Day. What a beautiful part of the state you live in! Unfortunately I’ve also missed out on most of the attractions in that area, but I agree: there’s a lot to see. Thanks for sharing and inspiring a return trip 🙂
I totally agree! We moved to Massachusetts 6 years ago and I still can’t believe how many amazing sights we are still discovering within a day’s drive of our home. We could explore at least 6 states! Even closer to home, we are still finding great hiking trails within our own town.
I can’t tell you how many MA natives we know who have never even been to the West side of the state (it is less than three hours from end to end), yet have traveled all over the world. They are missing out on some pretty great (and cheap!) adventures.
We’re constantly discovering things in our state, all within a couple hour’s drive. So much cheaper too than getting a hotel somewhere far away!
It’s not easy traveling with so many kids, but we try to travel local at least once every summer. We’ve been to visit family and do things in North Carolina. We’ve also gone to Boston’s Children Museum, Museum of Science, and visited Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, Mass. We’ve also been to some places in Maine. The drives are decent and not too overwhelming for the kids.
@Erika, Sometimes the easiest logistics mean you can actually relax and enjoy. Good luck with your next trip, wherever it may be.
We love to travel and try to explore local sites whenever we can. There are a lot of places to see here in Atlanta and it is much cheaper than traveling very far all the time!
@Diane, Spot on! I’ve seen very little of GA so would need your local expertise.
I am lucky to live in Florida – a tank away from beautiful beaches, parks, and attractions! We try to do 1 activity a weekend – whether in our town or an hour or two away. We have seen so much and consider ourselves lucky!
@Krystal, Something every weekend must keep you pretty busy. Lucky you have so many options!
I have to agree that you don’t have to go far, we travel New England four days a month. We just hop in the van and head out for a full day four times each month and have such a great time experiencing our New England home area. The travel experiences locally are wonderful and we learn a lot about the history of New England too, which is a bonus!
@Brandy, New England is great because there is so much variety in a relatively compact area. Keep traveling!