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Alternative Ideas to Family Summer Vacations
Summer vacations and travel are probably some of your fondest memories. School is out, the weather is warm, and the days are longer. After surviving more than a year of unprecedented stress, anxiety, and isolation, you’re probably ready to relax, reconnect with friends and family, and plan some well-deserved vacations this summer now that the majority of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually all non-essential travel ceased, but now travel and socialization are safe with few restrictions. If you haven’t made your summer travel plans yet, you still have plenty of time to plan and enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation.
When you think of summer holidays, your first thought could be to head to the beach and enjoy the sand, water sports, fishing, or sailing. However, this summer, either by choice or necessity, many seniors and their families are looking for alternative ideas to the beach for their summer vacations. This could be because of tighter budgets, health concerns over prolonged outdoor sun exposure, being immunocompromised so unable to be vaccinated, or lingering concerns about the COVID-19 variants that are still spreading globally.
The advantages of planning an alternative family vacation are: you can stay closer to home, take your pets, have an easier time traveling with grandchildren, support your local businesses, save money, be more spontaneous with your schedule, avoid crowds, and perhaps end up experiencing more adventure!
Alternative Ideas for Your Summer Vacation
- Be a tourist in your local town or nearby city! Book an Airbnb or hotel room and discover the sites and venues at your leisure. If you haven’t been fully vaccinated, you can safely venture outside provided you wear a mask, maintain safe social distancing, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated places.
- Take a road trip regionally. Stop along the way and pick local berries, spend a night at a bed & breakfast, visit craft fairs, or have a picnic at a national park.
- Plan a morning of light hiking or bicycling. Whether you want to take a stroll through your local downtown or nearby park, summer is the perfect season to get some light exercise and fresh air. Try to plan your activities before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the peak hours of summer heat.
- Consider an afternoon at a local historical monument or museum. Across the U.S., you can find numerous local choices. Whether it’s an auto, plane, science, or art museum, or among the list of national treasures, many will offer air-conditioning, no crowds, and places to rest if needed.
- Have your own film festival or movie marathon. Stay at home and catch up on your favorite television series or movie trilogy. Invite your friends or grandchildren and make it a theme party. Popular choices can include Disney, film noir, Westerns, romance, foreign films, or silent movies, depending on your guests!
- Try your luck at family game night. The options for games are endless – from trivia, board games, card games, charades, poker, golf putting, to mahjong. Half the fun for grandchildren and young adults is often when they can be involved in the party planning and set up. These activities let everyone unwind and reminisce for hours of fun.
- Refresh your backyard garden. Mid-summer is the ideal time to remove the weeds and take another look at your garden and landscaping. This is another activity that’s great to involve the grandchildren in because they will love selecting the flowers or vegetable plants at the nursery. As a bonus, you can share your horticultural knowledge while having light physical exercise.
- Transform a room in your house or backyard. You can remake the area to have a beach theme with a kiddie pool, put up a tent and let the grandchildren camp in the backyard for the night, or select a country and decorate with homemade flags, and practice making the hors d’oeuvres and new dishes together. You can choose a country from your ethnic background and share family recipes.
- Invite your friends to an at-home spa! This activity can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Give yourself an at-home facial, listen to music, read a favorite book, and have some extra cuddle time with your pet. Or you can have a masseuse, beautician, or salon technician come to your home to provide massages, manicures, and hairstyling for you and your guests.
- Host a wine tasting or summer-themed party. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ with close friends or having a few relatives over, you can choose from any number of themes. You could sample regional wines and cheeses, or enjoy smores with your grandchildren while you watch the sunset. Another exciting option is to hire a local chef to teach a cooking class in your kitchen!
Remember, the CDC now recommends that fully-vaccinated individuals can resume all activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or social distancing, except in places where they are required by law to cover and respect social distancing. Therefore, this summer is an optimal time for seniors and your families to examine alternatives to traditional summer vacations. Think about places locally and regionally to explore, and innovative staycation ideas to try at home!