Most everyone has felt the pinch of the recent economic crunch, and we all hold our wallets a little tighter to our chests, but what does this mean in terms of the summer staple—the vacation?  Gone are the days when dad cashes in his vacation time, and the family jets off for a weeklong jaunt.  And most of us don’t have beaucoup bucks lying around, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our summers for good. After all, we all need a little respite every now and again. 

A nice bout of R & R improves our quality of life, and makes those morbid Mondays a little less unbearable.  So don’t bemoan the fact that you can’t get away for days on end—make the most of longer summer days, and spend your time outdoors.   There are many options but I recommend choosing something that interests you, and explore it from there. 

For example:

A Hike:  This is an activity that almost anyone, anywhere in the country can enjoy.  Even if you have to drive a little bit—who cares! Use the whole day.  Venture out beyond your typical routine.  If there’s something near you where you like to take you dog, avoid that space.  Find somewhere you haven’t gone before.  Hike uncharted territory-literally!  It will make you feel like you actually got away, tried something new, and can be incredibly rejuvenating.  There’s nothing quite as stale as the same old mountain.  If you want to make a summer of it, and you really love being outdoors, map out ten great locations near you that are all within a days range.  Plus. You’ll have that outdoor summer glow, and all the extra vitamin D will boost your spirits.

-Arianna Schioldager

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