Can being a tourist in your own town be fun and possible? Of course! Sometimes lack of time or budgets can limit the fun of summer traveling, but just because you can't go far doesn't mean you can't have a good time.
Make things easy and simple
Create a to-do list without a schedule. Visit your local chamber of commerce, city hall or your tourist information center to pick up some brochures for local fun. If you don't have enough time to stop by those places, you can always search online. Many places have a lot of their information on their websites.
Get the kids involved
Have the kids help write out the to-do list. Let them each choose the most touristy thing they can think of, preferably something that you've never done before. Me and my kids did the Waco River Safari and Tours. The experience was great and we learned so much! The captain is super nice and we even got a free Dr. Pepper at the end of the tour.
Dress the part and pack lightly
Make sure to wear comfy shoes (this is a must...believe me), a cap, sunglasses and weather-appropriate clothing. My 10-year-old loves taking pictures, so the camera around his neck totally completed the tourist look we were aiming for! Carrying a bag with your hometown name (because why not?) full of snacks, drinks, crayons, etc. totally gets bonus points with the kids! The bag is also great for packing stamps, pens or pencils (for your postcards and to check of your to do list) and any small souvenirs or treasures you will find on your outing.
Book a hotel or stay home
There is lots of fun places to stay in Waco and the surrounding areas. You can book last-minute deals on websites like hotels.com or priceline.com. The good thing about staying close to home is having to barely pack anything...because as a parent we all know packing can be a hassle sometimes. You don't necessarily have to book a hotel, but it would be fun and relaxing for you and your family!
Enjoy, observe and admire
Take time to observe and admire the local architecture. Stop and admire murals or signs (bonus points if you have someone take a picture of you and your family in front of one). Enjoy the small shops. You can even ask a shopkeeper what information they have to offer about the history of your town. Have each person choose a place they would like to visit. Many towns or cities have tourist maps. This is something great to use so you don't have to use your GPS; or you can ask for directions because that's totally "touristy."
Postcards and souvenirs
You can stop at any little shop, gas station or local drugstore and grab a postcard for your friends, neighbors and family. Then find a spot to sit and relax and have your kids help you write out your cards. Encourage your kids to write at least one cool observation about your town on their postcard. This will help them with memory skills and the person reading the postcard will learn something new. You can secretly write one out to your kids to let them know how much you have enjoyed the time with them! When it comes to souvenirs you don't have to buy anything, unless you really want to. We usually save receipts of the places we visited, the rocks and leaves my toddler feels the need to pick up every other minute or so, and put it in a mason jar with a label for the day. You can also press them into a scrapbook.Back To Top
Gabriela is wife to husband, Aaron, and mom to four boys! She is a full-time mom, works as a substitute teacher, and owns her own cleaning business. She runs the Facebook group, I Only Make Boys, where she enjoys chronicling her boys' crazy adventures and sharing wisdom with other boymoms.