The combination of the Covid-19 virus, fear of exposure, and political games has kept a lot of businesses closed and people at home. Vacations, trips, celebrations, and a variety of public events have been canceled, essentially changing everybody’s summer plans. Additionally, many workplaces have found ways to allow their employees to work remotely or have had to lay off some staff. Schools moved classes online as well, resulting in full houses and overloaded bandwidths. This results in a ton of households staying at home this summer, after being home all spring.

If there was ever a time that people deserved to take a break and go on vacation, it is now. Separating school and work from home is difficult when it’s all under one roof. Distractions at home affect productivity at work, while being productive working from home can blur the line of working hours and family time. Your staycation ends up including answering emails or making “just one more phone call” when the time should be spent unplugging from work and school, even then stress from the state of politics and media coverage.

I realize that most big trips have been put on hold. Flights have been canceled, travel restrictions have been put in place, and you never know if your destination will remain open by time you get there. Despite all these things, there are things you can do to get away this summer. Here are a few things that my family has been trying:

  1. Camping. There’s nothing like campfires, stargazing, fresh summer air, swimming in a lake, and being surrounded by nature. Camping has become a popular pastime this summer. Campsites are full and reservations are needed at most sites. Buy a tent or rent an RV and take the family for a weekend trip. If you cannot get on a campsite, then try pitching your tent in a friend’s backyard or in your woods or anywhere besides your house.
  2. Visit a beach community. I’m not sure that there is a bad day on the beach. If you can find a place to park, then you are in for a treat! If you have family or friends that live near a beach, try reconnecting with them this summer. Beaches are full of interesting things to do, aside from relaxing in the sand and listening to the waves and the seagulls. There’s fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, clamming, swimming, collecting seashells, even jumping off a pier. So, pack up the kids and let them tire themselves out on the beach!
  3. Fishing. I’ve heard it said that a bad day fishing beats a good day at work. Much like the beach and camping, fishing is a great way to unplug and get away from the stresses of the world. Being out on the water physically removes you from problems on land. So, leave work, or school, or even the family behind as you grab a fishing pole, a boat, and escape.
  4. Road Trip. I live in the Northeast and most of the states in this corner of the country are open in some version. Outdoor dining and shops have reopened at half capacity. That’s enough for me to pack up the car and go explore somewhere new within driving distance. Try Gettysburg, or the Finger Lakes, or Freeport, Maine. Get off the highway and take some local roads. If you are staying overnight, call ahead to make sure that the hotel is accepting reservations. They will even be able to give you a real sense of how open the area is.
  5. Hiking. This can go hand-in-hand with a road trip. It’s pretty easy to find a spot to go hiking. I am blessed by living in the northeast, so even a trip to the northern Adirondacks is within a day’s drive for me. You can make a game out of it for the kids. See who can find the most bugs, or flowers, or birds. So, dust off your hiking boots, grab the bug spray and some trail mix, pick a trail, and get moving!
  6. Golf. Need I say more. Well manicured greens, beautiful scenery, peaceful settings. If you don’t know how to golf or have never gone before, take a lesson. Trust me, the smaller courses are really struggling right now and would welcome the business.

As you can tell, these things are all outdoor activities. Take advantage of summertime. Go support small and local businesses. Try something new, even unplanned. Just remember to hydrate, wear sunblock, respect nature, have an adventure, and, most importantly, make some happy memories.

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