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Mini-Vacay: Beach Alternatives
Mini-Vacay: Beach Alternatives

Is there anything more symbolic of vacation than a long road trip to the beach? While there’s nothing wrong with a week of waves rolling in at your toes and an umbrella over your head, it’s not going to happen for all of us. Whether you don’t have the time, the cash or the desire, you can still relax someway, somehow, without ever getting close to the ocean.

So let’s talk about alternatives. Forget the massive suitcases, road atlases and luggage carriers, we’re talking about a three day getaway. Here are a few of our ideas:

Camping
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls or enjoy singing “Kumbaya” to have a good time on a camping trip (but now we are wondering if Bear has ever been caught singing “Kumbaya” on one of his excursions?). Hmm. Anyway, dig out that old tent and sleeping bag, ice down some drinks and food and you’re good to go for the weekend.

No matter where you live, there’s a good chance there’s somewhere to camp near you. Actually, you might even be close to one of the Top 100 Campgrounds. We found several within a few hours of us.

Kayak or Canoeing Trip
Whether it’s flat water or whitewater, you can get your feet wet for the weekend by exploring your region with a paddle. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you’re close to a good kayak or canoe trip. Take off the water wings and kick it up a notch by ditching the hotel and finding a campground or cabin nearby!

A weekend full of wine
You don’t have to be near Napa Valley to visit a winery, and you don’t have to drop big bucks on tastings. There are wineries all over the country, and many offer free or inexpensive tours. You could easily spend half a day at a large winery between the tours, food and tastings. You don’t even have to commit a whole weekend, just go for the day (but keep in mind that if you’re going to be doing a lot of tasting you’ll need to make arrangements to stay). Sound interesting? See what wineries are close to you!

Theme parks
If anything comes as close to the beach for being a great traditional vacation, it’s the theme park! Who doesn’t love a good roller coaster ride followed up with a big bag of cotton candy or plate of funnel cake? While you can certainly spend a couple of days at larger amusement parks, you could get away with a single day ticket for most places. Not into roller coasters? Really? Well, how about the zoo or even a water park? Maybe you can do all three?

What did we miss? We have a couple of open weekends this summer, so give us some suggestions!

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