IRVINE, Calif. -- With the soaring cost of travel, many families are opting out of flying or driving across the country for vacation this summer. Instead of tossing aside the beach towel and sunglasses, consider hopping in your car, discovering your city or region and making family memories together all on a quarter-tank of gas or less.
"So often if we can't fly or drive somewhere exotic for a vacation, we end up doing home improvements or working from home," said Doug Speck, president and chief executive officer for Volvo Cars of North America. "Families need quality vacations. What better way to spend them than discovering more about your own area?"
With summer holidays here and the weather warming up, get ready to send post cards, eat out and have an amazing "stay-cation" together with your family using these six tips:
- Stay at a nearby hotel for a night. Use the money you're saving by forgoing airfare, and treat the family to a night or two in a local hotel. Look for hotels with attractions you can drive to during the day such as water parks, pools, malls or golf courses.
- Create your own historic tour. Pack up your car with some bag lunches and discover local history. Contact your local historical society or chamber of commerce, and sign up for a historical tour or chart out your own self-driven tour.
- Get lost in a museum. Instead of getting lost on the interstate this summer, drive to a local museum and wander through at your own pace. Take time you might not normally spend in town to explore your city's treasures within a 30-minute driving radius. It's a great way to learn about your kids' interests, too.
- Enjoy nature at a county, state or national park. Whether doing a day-hike or a weeklong camping trip, some of the best family memories are made on the trail. Get an atlas or state map, and drive out to the nearest park.
- Try new restaurants. Just as you would in a new city or country, test out restaurants and types of food you've never experienced before. Some of the best vacation memories are spent while sampling new cuisine. You might just discover your new favorite dining spot close to home.
- Set up camp. It never quite feels like a family vacation when waking up in your own home. Finish off your drive around the city by teaching your kids camping basics. Try finding a campground near your city and take the kids camping for a night or two. Or, set up a tent in the backyard and tell ghost stories, eat marshmallows and stargaze.
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