My husband arrived back after a month long TDY a bit ago. I’m so happy that he’s back in time to plan an eventful summer.
We’ve jumped over the two year mark here at our current duty station and I feel like our days are numbered! Therefore, we’re planning to make the most of our time left. In the next couple of months, we’ve put together a list of local day and weekend trips.
All our plans are perfect for families and couples alike, so I had to wrangle them together. If you’re looking for staycation ideas that won’t take you too far from your home and keep everyone in your family satisfied this summer, start here!
National, Regional or State Parks – When the weather starts warming up, my husband and I absolutely love to be outdoors! No matter where you are stationed, there should be a park nearby. Five years ago, we started our camping adventure in the Fort Drum area. There we would utilize many of the local parks.
Then, we headed to Arizona, where we were able to check out Grand Canyon National Park. All I can say is “wow.” After that trip, we were hooked on the National Parks adventure. To our delight, active duty military families are able to visit National Parks for free.
It’s amazing to see the difference in terrain from park to park. Even if you’re not the camping type, there are ways to enjoy your time there by day. You owe it to yourself to see the land around you near your base.
Bed & Breakfasts – This one is a bit of a splurge, but my husband and I have so much fun staying at Bed & Breakfasts. We live in the Washington DC area with the Chesapeake Bay in our backyard.
Last year, we drove a couple hours away from our home to stay at a cute Bed & Breakfast that way we’re not rushed in our exploration. Some Bed & Breakfasts offer a military discount. Another great way to check out deals is to look at Groupon or LivingSocial. We’ve used both websites and found wonderful properties.
The experience is a refreshing change of pace from the traditional hotel stay. Some places have bigger sections or cabins your family can utilize, if you have a lot in your party. And obviously, the biggest reason is the prepared delicious breakfast as you start your day!
Amusement Parks – It feels like there is always at least one fun and exciting amusement park near a military installation. Six Flags is one of my favorites! Growing up close to San Antonio, my family always opted for a season pass.
There is another Six Flags close to us here in Maryland, which happens to be less than 20 miles away from Fort Meade. Perfect distance for a day trip, especially if you’re in the Washington Metro area.
Look into your installation’s MWR ticket office for discount vouchers and additional ideas for local amusement parks. They have the lowdown of everything that is available to military families and should be a go-to resource as you’re planning for summer activities.
Museums – If the weather is gloomy or too gosh darn hot, try planning a trip to area museums, where it’s nice and cool. The Blue Star Museums programs began Memorial Day weekend and will be running till Labor Day.
There really isn’t any good excuse to not use the program in the summer months. Check out the list on their website for a full rundown of participating locations. Also, if you don’t see museums you’ve been meaning to visit on the list, ask about a military discount. A lot of museums have a military rate that helps the cost for military families.
New Restaurant – I’m a huge foodie! If you know me, I’m always game to trying out a new restaurant or genre of food. Trying out a new restaurant is another wonderful way to open up to the experiences around your duty station.
I tend to focus on locally owned businesses or local cuisine. When my husband was stationed in Arizona, I was keen on Southwest food. Here in the DC area, we opt for international food and classic Americana. We had a great time brunching at Mount Vernon one day after checking out the property. I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time – and boy were they delicious!
Do you have any staycation ideas that take your family out of the home? What have you enjoyed the most?
About the Author:
Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army spouse and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. Before getting married, she lived in New York City for almost 10 years and considers that her second home. Rachel enjoys learning and exploring the area around her husband’s duty station and is embracing life in the military. In her spare time, she shares her adventures on her personal blog called The Professional Army Wife.