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Life, Travel

How To Be a Tourist In Your Own Home Town

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You’re on vacation, a tourist in another area.  Someone you meet asks where you are from.  When you tell them, they say “Oh! I’d like to head over there and check out ____!”  You think to yourself… “hmm I should probably check that out, too.”

Or have you ever been driving down the road, passing hotels, motels, and B&B’s along the way and wonder what the heck people come to stay in YOUR TOWN to see?

I know I have.  Now, keep in mind, I live in central Pennsylvania, not far from prime Amish country.  I’ve been to places where people were talking about coming near me for vacation.  And I think, “What?! I can’t imagine spending an entire week on vacation in my little town!”

But the thing is… they see things in my little town, that I have never seen before.  They visit attractions that I know are there (or maybe I don’t) but I have never taken the time to go.  Well, there’s no time like the present they say!  Here’s how to be a tourist in your own home town:

how to be a tourist in your hometown

How to Be a Tourist in Your Own Home Town

Too often we spend the summer visiting other places, but never really get to know the town where we live. Touring your own town can be fun, educational and inexpensive in the summer months. There are lots of local attractions or public places in most cities to take your kids to for fun activities or to keep it adult only. Many are free or have children’s days or events that you can watch for to get in for free.  Others are relatively inexpensive.

Since I write to share ideas & products that I love, naturally my content may contain affiliate links.  For more information, check out my Affiliate Disclosure here.


Be a tourist in your hometown – You may find some museums that are hidden in plain sight, you just always looked over them.

Every town has a museum of some sort.  If it doesn’t, the next town over does, I’m sure.  Even the teeny tiny town that we pass through to go camping in the mountains has a Buggy museum that highlights how the town used to be home to a giant buggy factory.  Before assuming that your town doesn’t have one, look it up!  You may even find some that are hidden in plain sight, you just always looked over them.

Going to the museum is always a treat for kids. Taking time to educate your child at your local museum will help him or her become aware of the history of your town and how it came to be. Being able to see, and in many cases touch, artifacts makes it come alive. To find out about children’s days or certain events call the museum to get on their mailing list. That way you won’t miss anything.

Farmers Market

How to be a tourist in your home town
Be a tourist in your hometown – farmers markets are often places to find unique foodstuffs.

The local farmers market offers many opportunities for your children to learn and see new things. The obvious attraction is the local fruits and vegetables brought in by the farmers or orchardists. This will give your child a chance to meet and interact with some of the people who grow food for your table.

The farmers market has much more than fruits and vegetables though. Some things you may find include:

  • beekeepers selling their honey
  • wild picked berries and mushrooms
  • homemade goodies, such as jams, jellies, kefir and kombucha
  • crafters selling their wares
  • live music and dancing
  • food vendors

Lots of vendors offer samples of their items so your child may get to try new things she may never have gotten to try otherwise. Also, many markets will have events throughout the summer to draw in more people. Keep on the lookout for upcoming happenings in your area.  Farmer’s markets are often places to find unique food stuffs.  My hubby loves farmers markets in the area since they usually have the best whoopee pies 🙂


child in library
Be a tourist in your hometown – explore the local library.

Taking your child to the local library can help to foster a lifelong love of reading. Your child will be amazed at the sheer number of books and may have fun the first time just exploring.  Many towns have libraries in historic buildings.  Be a tourist; check it out!

Many libraries offer summer reading programs at no cost as well. These are where groups of kids come to the library all together and one of the library staff or volunteer will read to your children. Sometimes they offer a question and answer session afterwards.

Older children may enjoy researching particular topic and being able to get the answers from both books and internet connection offered for free.  Since I work full-time, I can hardly ever take my youngest to the library for the reading program.  So instead, I head there with both my kids and have the oldest read to the youngest.  Usually there are other small children there who filter over to hear the story as well.  It gives my youngest a nice story and my oldest gets to play the part of teacher.

Be a tourist in your hometown – bring your family, your chairs or blankets, and hang out at the local park even for the day.

Park Events

Summer is a big time for social events such as festivals, parades, fairs, carnivals or circuses. Children love the active atmosphere, bright colors and lots of people to see and things to do. These affairs will keep your little ones busy for hours. Another great thing about it is they are free or fairly inexpensive.

A local park in my area offers a free once a year “Fall Fest” where they partner with a local country station.  Big names like Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift have performed on stage at Fall Fest.     There are also lots of vendors throughout the park so you never go hungry.

Even if you live in the middle of nowhere and your parks don’t have events, go hiking!  We’ve explored almost every hiking spot in our area.  My husband and I love to hike.  We do it with the kids and then we even do hard ones without them.  When hiking (or traveling in general) I use this backpack.  It’s ultra-light and comes with it’s own little case that you can stuff it into.  I do this when we pack luggage to fly somewhere and use it as an extra bag to carry stuff home in.  And it’s light enough that I can use it for an all-day hike without killing my back. (Plus it’s inexpensive, score!) Every year on our anniversary, we take a weekend trip somewhere (and great hiking spots are a must.)  I’ll post a blog on that soon 🙂

Eateries and Nightlife

I don’t know about you, but I love checking out new restaurants.  It’s one of the first things we do when we are tourists in other destinations. I know this can be tough to do in your hometown, since you probably have your “spots”, but if you look for new places I bet you can find some interesting ones!  Nightlife is always fun to check out too.  It’s something that never goes away, so there are always new places popping up to check out.  We love to check out Lancaster, a few towns over, when we have a chance to hit up the nightlife.  They have some really unique and interesting places and it seems like every time we go there is a new one to see!

This is a great start to finding local places to take your children or go it alone! But, explore your town – go to your city hall, library or check the newspaper – for other fun things to do this summer!  And don’t stop there, take a drive and check out other nearby towns and see what you always missed!

How are you a tourist in your town?

For more travel ideas, check out these.

For more life ideas, click here.


How to be a tourist in your hometown
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