While hopping on a plane and heading to another state or country can be fun, sometimes it isn’t convenient. Maybe you don’t have time to travel to new areas, or it isn’t affordable. When that happens, that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. By being a tourist in your home state, you can explore everything your region has to offer. Plus, you may discover something new about the place where you live, allowing you to see it in a new light.
The Tourist in Your Home State Mindset
Being a tourist in your home state means adjusting your mindset. Usually, once a person lives in one place for a while, complacency or boredom sets in. You get lost in the familiar and may overlook what makes your state unique and interesting.
When you approach your state like a tourist, you are embracing the notion of seeing your home with fresh eyes. You are welcoming surprises, admitting you might not know everything that your state offers, and are opening yourself up to the possibilities. Once you adopt that mindset, potential abounds.
5 Ways to Be a Tourist in Your Home State
Usually, acting like a tourist in your home state only happens when you have out-of-state visitors. When that happens, you typically want to focus on what makes your area unique and are more open to seeing various sites.
But you don’t have to bring in guests to be a tourist in your home state. Here are five ways to make it happen without the need for visitors.
1. Sign Up for City Tours
Many major cities have a variety of tours available. Some are purely historical, while others focus on different aspects of the city’s past, like the development of a specific industry or its role in a particular event. There are even some more unique experiences, like haunted or underground tours, available in many areas.
If you want to be a tourist in your home state, consider picking a city and choosing a tour. It’s a great way to learn something new about the area and have some fun. Plus, many of the options will be walking tours, so they can be excellent for squeezing in exercise, too.
Alternatively, you can also sign up for a city pass. They give you access to many of the city’s main attractions for a flat, discounted fee, and can be a great excuse to visit aquariums, museums, zoos, and other tourist favorites you don’t head to often.
2. Spend a Weekend at a B&B
If you want to get yourself in the tourist mindset and have access to a wealth of information, consider booking a weekend at a B&B. In many cases, the hosts are incredibly familiar with the immediate area around the property and can give you tips about what to visit. Plus, this approach makes staying even one town over feel special, and that might be just what you need to adjust your mindset.
Once you arrive, ask the hosts if there are any can’t miss attractions around. You can also find out if there are spots that locals love but most travelers overlook, as that can be a great way to discover hidden gems that aren’t in the guidebooks.
3. Avoid All-Things Familiar
When you’re a tourist, the only things that tend to feel familiar are chain establishments. If you want to experience what an area has to offer, you need to forgo those comforts and branch out.
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to find great places that are part of the local landscape. Online review sites can help you find hole-in-the-wall restaurants, unique attractions, and plenty of other options that deserve your attention. You can use those details to explore with confidence.
If you want other sources of information, city guides, tourist centers, and similar resources can also provide you with ideas. Even the flyers in a hotel’s lobby might tell you about something unexpected, so do a bit of research and see what catches your eye.
4. Attend Local Events
Many cities maintain calendars that highlight a variety of events during the year. Fairs, cultural festivals, parades, and free concerts can all make the list.
If you want to be a tourist in your home state, check out event calendars for several cities. See if something intriguing is on the horizon and, if so, plan to attend. It can be a great way to explore what different towns are all about. Plus, many city-sponsored events are going to be family-friendly, which can be great for anyone who wants to travel with their children.
5. Take the Path Less Traveled
Sometimes, getting off the beaten path will open you up to opportunities. Instead of going to work the usual way, why not try a new route? Similarly, instead of taking the interstate between towns, why not try a smaller highway or back road? By being a tad bit adventurous and choosing a new path, you might discover something interesting.