Fun Summer Vacation Plans to Manage Rising Gas Prices and Inflation | Ellen Contreras

Watching Good Morning America over the weekend, they reported some eye-opening gas price statistics ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. In 2020 the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States was $1.87, in 2020 it rose to $3.04 and now it is at $4.59. They also reported that air fares had increased by more than 30%.

Many Americans are now hesitant to get on a plane or take a road trip this summer, even as they look forward to traveling now that coronavirus restrictions are easing. Many friends and acquaintances I know say the same thing.

Floridians have an advantage because we live in a state known for tourism and there is an endless list of attractions – beaches, parks, boating, fishing, museums, amusement parks, shopping, restaurants, and the list keep on going. While summer is hot and humid, there are plenty of fun ways to cool off in this lush tropical state we live in.

No matter where you live in Florida, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the car to get to a particular place of interest, especially if you live in the middle of the state. The word “staycation” originated during the Great Recession and many Americans decided, often out of fiscal necessity, to enjoy their summer vacations at or near home. This summer, many of us are planning the same thing.

When I first moved to Florida over 20 years ago, I landed in Broward County and spent every weekend exploring the tri-county area. I told my friends and family that I was “playing tourist” in my own backyard and had a great time. When friends visited me, I ended up being the best tour guide because I knew where to go and they didn’t have to do any research before flying.

Now that I live on the Treasure Coast, there are still some lovely, interesting, and fun places I haven’t been to yet. Just yesterday I went for a picnic with some friends in a park I knew but had never been. It was on the Indian River and the view was absolutely stunning. This park is only four miles from my house, and it was such a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

While this article is focused on vacations in Florida, and I’ll mention a few ideas later in this article, here are some tips for planning a wonderful vacation in your own backyard that will give you a lifetime of fun memories to cherish:

  • Make a plan before you start your vacation. You have worked hard all year; summer is almost upon us and now is the time to figure out what you want to do rather than start your vacation.
  • Go online and visit your local chamber of commerce website, county or state tourism website, etc. It’s a great starting point. Consider the type of stay you want. Do you want to enjoy outdoor activities, museums or attractions like an amusement park? Or a combination of these? Or do you just want to relax? Decide what your vacation goals are and check out your options.
  • Have you ever wanted to visit a bed and breakfast? Airbnb has many wonderful rentals in the United States. Don’t forget the local hotels. Even if you stay on site, renting accommodation will take you out of your routine.
  • Stay at home? Be sure to add special touches to your bed and bathroom that give it a hotel feel – plush towels, special toiletries, scented candles, bedside chocolates. Whip up a gorgeous fruit salad to start your day and decadent coffee or exotic teas. Turn your garden into an oasis. Decorate your terrace with decorative cushions for chairs, festive table clothes, fairy lights. If you have a pool, get some new floats.

The options for Floridian stays are endless, whether you want to relax, explore the outdoors, enjoy food and culture, we have it all. The best part is that we may only need one tank of gas! Here are some considerations:

Water. Florida has 825 miles of beaches. Do you want to relax? Why not pick a beach you’ve never been to before? Are you thirsty for adventure? Why not try a water sport or a water sport in a new area? Consider doing kayak tours, airboat rides, jet skis, paddle boards. We also have beautiful springs of clear water to explore.

Sin. People travel to Florida from all over for our world-class fishing. One of my favorite tees is from Islamorada. He says, “We are a quaint village with a slight fishing problem.” It still makes me laugh to this day. Your options are endless for fishing, chartering, renting your own boat, surf casting, and more. Did you know that many restaurants will gladly cook what you catch? Now you don’t have to worry about cleaning and preparing your dinner, it will be done for you at a decent price.

Equestrian. Wellington and Ocala are two of the most popular cities if you love horses. Catch a polo match, learn to ride a horse, or join day tours. There is a beach in Port St. Lucie where you can bike while enjoying stunning ocean views.

Car race. Florida has amazing racetracks. Most people think of Daytona of course. But there is also Miami Homestead and many others. If you’ve never watched auto racing in person, you might want to check it out. There’s NASCAR, NHRA, Formula 1, jet dragsters, fun cars and more. You can even pretend to be a race car driver and get behind the wheel on certain tracks.

Attractions. Disney automatically comes to mind, but there are so many other great options in Orlando and throughout Florida. Discover the NASA Air and Space Museum in Brevard County. Don’t forget about the little attractions that are steeped in history, that don’t cost a lot and don’t take a lot of time to visit. Google “unique Florida attractions” and you’ll find so many unique things to do, it’ll take many vacations to cover them all.

Kitchen. Florida is known as the gateway to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. We have a rich and diverse history of cooking in the sunshine state. There are so many wonderfully authentic restaurants to choose from, whether you want a fine dining experience or a casual “beach in flip flops” encounter. While many people say Florida isn’t part of the South, Central and North Florida is packed with incredible authentic Southern cuisines and barbecues to rival its neighbors. I’m talking about Georgia and Alabama.

I hope I’ve given Floridians plenty of summer vacation ideas that will rival the ones you’ve taken when you’ve traveled to faraway places. There are many more ideas I could have mentioned and maybe that will be for another post in the future. For those who live in other parts of the United States, there are plenty of fun things to do in your great state as well, so start planning!

Share your ideas in the comments about places you would like to visit or have visited and liked. It can help others plan their stay. Follow me for more Florida lifestyle articles.

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