There are countless reasons to stick close to home these days, whether personal, financial, or something else entirely. Doing so, however, inevitably results in a major case of wanderlust.
But if you think outside the box and put a little effort in, you can easily find adventure in your own backyard (yes, even if you live in a tiny town!).
First, it's important to drop any pre-conceived notions about what you think "adventure" means. Most of us immediately think of something outdoorsy, like camping or hiking, or going on an epic road trip, but there's so much more to true adventure.
In fact, Merriam-Webster defines adventure as "an exciting or remarkable experience." When you think about it that way, adventure is literally everywhere — a fantastic meal, watching the sunrise or sunset, meeting new people...the list goes on!
So with that in mind, let's explore some of the things to do in your hometown and eight specific ways you can find adventure in your own backyard.
Tips for Finding (and Creating!) Adventure in Your Own Backyard
1. Don't overlook parks
It's easy to think of local parks as nothing but ordinary when you're looking for adventure in your own backyard, but hold that thought.
At Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park, you can very literally show up with nothing at all and mine for bona fide diamonds (and yes — you get to keep anything you find!), while Slide Rock State Park in Arizona features an epic natural slide in the heart of Sedona.
Even on the city and community level, parks often offer far more things to do in your hometown than you may realize. New Orleans' massive City Park features countless gardens, lagoons, bayous, a sculpture garden, the Louisiana Children's Museum, and much more.
Cleveland is best known for its location on the shores of Lake Erie, but the city's Metroparks system is truly one of the most extensive and well-maintained anywhere in the world. Tucked right into the heart of the city are countless miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, and nature preserves.
2. Walk or bike instead of driving
There's no question that you see things from a very different perspective when you're on two wheels (or two feet!). Being exposed to fresh air, immersed in all the sights, smells, and sounds of a place is a vastly different experience than riding along enclosed in a vehicle.
Whenever possible, opt to walk or ride a bike around your hometown. And for bonus points, challenge yourself to take different routes, walking along new side roads or riding through different neighborhoods each time you head out. This is one guaranteed way to find adventure in your own backyard!
3. Use social media to get ideas
We all spend at least some time scrolling through various social media sites these days, so why not do it with some intention?
Search for hashtags specific to your area. If you need ideas, here's a pro tip: look up your city, county, or general region's tourism board or Chamber of Commerce (literally every town, no matter how small, has at least one of these). They almost all publish local hashtags and encourage folks to use them, which is exactly why this is a great way to find adventure in your own backyard.
Once you identify those hashtags, start searching! More importantly, interact with posts you find that interest you. This will tell the algorithm that you're interested in this content, plus you may even find a new local adventure buddy!
4. Take a walking tour
Just about every city and town offers some sort of walking tour. They're commonly food-related (YAY!) and often, they're totally free (double YAY!).
These types of tours, whether they involve visiting local restaurants, breweries, historic architecture, street murals, museums, or something else, are a wonderful way to see your town from a fresh perspective and a get an authentic feel for its culture and vibe.
And let's be honest, when you think of things to do in your hometown, a walking tour is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Remember, that's the very definition of adventure!
5. Hop in a rideshare
Think about it: rideshare drivers know all the things to do in your hometown way better than just about anyone.
Consider hopping in an Uber or Lyft with no real destination in mind (note that you'll have to pick somewhere when you order a ride, so enter something random on the other side of town —but keep in mind you're paying for it!).
Ask your driver where he or she would take a close friend if they were only in town for one day and how they would spend their time. You're guaranteed to get some unique answers and definitely nothing even remotely touristy!
6. Get high
Not that kind of high...pull your mind out of the gutter!
Do some research and find one of the highest points in your hometown, whether that be a mountain, a building, a water tower, or a rooftop bar, and then get up there (safely and legally, of course!). Getting a birds'-eye view of your city very literally gives you a fresh perspective.
While you're up there, you may even spot new areas of town you'd like to check out that you've never seen before!
7. Start attending local events
Truly, one of the best ways to find adventure in your hometown is to just get out there. Again, even the teeniest-tiniest towns hold events throughout the year, whether it's farmers' markets, county fairs, music and food festivals, community-specific holidays, block parties, park cleanup days, community gardens...we could go on and on.
To find information about these types of events, check out your local library, community center, and visitor center or tourism board. Most publish this info online, but feel free to walk right in and have a chat also! As a bonus, many local community-based events are completely free.
8. Join a local meetup group
You're bound to find more adventure in your own backyard if you have an adventure buddy. If you don't already have one, that means you'll need to get creative with finding one!
Local meetup groups are a great place to do that, and many are based around specific interests, such as hiking, kayaking, bicycling, or even happy hours or brunch. Check out Facebook, Meetup.com, and Reddit for groups, searching by your hometown.
If you happen to live somewhere that doesn't already have a meetup group, consider starting one yourself! Chances are, there are at least a few others out there looking for the same thing!
Whether you choose a U.S. State Token or opt for a City or Landmark Token (or heck, bundle 'em and get one of each!), The Wander Club's Travel Tokens are perfect for documenting your hometown adventures. Paired with one of our Token Holders, it's the best way to show off some local pride and tell the world that there are indeed plenty of things to do in your hometown.