I got into travel blogging, in part, because I often get asked what my favorite things to do are when traveling. While every city, county, and country has unique attractions, some activities are always at the top of my travel to-do list, no matter where I am. Many of them are even safe to do in our post-pandemic world! Read on for some of my favorite things to do while traveling and click here some of my best tips for affordable travel.
Take a Boat Tour
I looove boat tours! They offer a great way to see a city from a new perspective and immerse yourself in nature, wherever you are. Maybe I’m a little biased because I’ve worked at a boat tour company here in Milwaukee for five years, but I honestly look for them everywhere I go. Boat tours are usually very laid back and less strenuous than other types of tours. They are one of my favorite things to do while traveling in the summer, though they may be available more months of the year depending on the location’s climate!
Visit a State, Provincial, or National Park
Within the United States, one of my lifetime travel goals is to visit all of the national parks and a state park in every state (you can see how many I’ve already been to on my About page)! No matter where you’re traveling, though, visiting an iconic local park is a great way to experience the natural landscape of an area and get out in nature. While you’re there, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and camping are just a few of the ways you may be able to experience the park. In some places, guided sightseeing tours also provide an efficient way to see its most picturesque spots!
Hunt for Murals
Cities big and small are starting to understand the value that street art and murals provide to their local community and visitors. This larger-than-life art form not only adds a spark of color to previously dull areas like building walls and alleyways, but murals also help to (literally) paint a picture of the town and create a sense of community. Many murals help highlight aspects of a city’s history, most notable features, or stance on social issues. They also make for great photo-ops if you can find them! Spending part of the day mural-hunting (or keeping an eye out for them throughout your trip) is a fun and free thing to do while traveling.
Shop at a Local Thrift Store
You never know what you’ll find in a thrift store, and you might be surprised just how much they differ by region! I’ve shopped everywhere from one-of-a-kind shops (like the one pictured above from my trip to Antioch, Illinois) to Goodwill franchise locations across the country. Thankfully, thrift shopping doesn’t usually take up much of your travel budget, so it’s definitely an affordable thing to do while traveling! Besides, the items you usually find at a thrift store often hold more meaning than splurge pieces at designer shops, but maybe that’s just me.
Visit a Botanical Garden
Even if you don’t have a green thumb yourself, you can appreciate good gardening by visiting a botanical conservatory! These curated floral displays can be indoor or outdoor and are carefully designed to preserve diverse plant species and showcase the beauty of different ecosystems. In the Milwaukee area, you can enjoy a “living museum” outdoors at the Boerner Botanical Gardens or venture to the tropics all throughout the winter at the Mitchell Park Domes. This tranquil photo was taken at Fort Wayne’s own Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory!
Explore a Local Museum
When visiting a new place, it’s important to learn more about it if you want to come away from your trip feeling like a local expert. Exploring local museums is a great way to do that! Museums showcase what an area is best known for or what industries make up an important part of its history. Depending on your interests, you can also visit museums with a specific focus, like art museums or children’s museums. The photo pictured above is of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, which is world-renowned for its bird art!
Chase Some Waterfalls
How many times do we have to dispute those famous song lyrics?! Go chase some waterfalls on your next adventure! They often provide spectacular views and feelings of serenity on an otherwise busy trip. One of my favorite places to see waterfalls in Wisconsin is Florence County (LaSalle Falls is pictured above). Note that many waterfalls are in remote areas that can only be accessed by gravel roads or steep terrain, and may have absolutely no cell phone reception. I recommend bringing an all-wheel drive car (or two), a spare tire, and a few friends.
What are your favorite things to do while traveling? Leave a comment and let me know!