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Beach house with family standing outside with Summer Staycation Ideas text overlayed
July 14, 2022

Summer Staycation Ideas: Don’t Let Gas Prices Stop Your Fun

Are high gas prices making you reconsider your summer travel plans? Don’t give up your vacation altogether! Instead, think about your staycation options that can include free or low-cost local experiences. Tampa, Charleston and Columbia are packed with fun for the whole family. In fact, all three cities ranked in the top 50 on WalletHub’s 2022 Best Cities for Staycations, ranking 11, 12 and 47, respectively. There’s plenty to do in our local areas! We’ve got a few ideas to keep the fun going all summer long.

Museums, parks and historic sites

Whether you’re a history buff, outdoorsy explorer or art connoisseur, there’s something for you to enjoy. Museums, local and state parks, beaches, national monuments and other historic sites make great day trip destinations. A few popular spots include:

Charleston: Gibbes Museum of Art, Children’s Museum of Lowcountry, The Charleston Museum, Fort Sumter National Monument, Waterfront Park, Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island
Columbia: South Carolina Military Museum, Columbia Museum of Art, EdVenture Children’s Museum, South Carolina State Museum, Congaree National Park, Dreher Island State Park, Harbison State Forest, Saluda Shoals, Cayce Riverwalk Park and (our favorite) Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Tampa Bay: The Glazer Children’s Museum, Florida Aquarium, Henry B. Plant Museum, The Dalí Museum, The Tampa Bay History Center, Sunken Gardens, Fort De Soto Park, ZooTampa, Honeymoon Island State Park, Alafia River State Park, Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island

Before you go, search your destination online to find out about any potential costs, like tickets or parking, so you can plan your day accordingly.

New local restaurants

No matter how long you’ve lived somewhere, you haven’t tried every local dining spot. New restaurants, breweries and bakeries open just about every week! What better way to support your local community while having fun than by visiting locally owned restaurants? Here are just a few of many options that have opened recently:

Charleston: Three Sirens, Bene Brewing Co., Bounty Bar, Café Eugenia, Minero, The Quinte Oyster Bar, Rancho Lewis and Paddock & Whisky
Columbia: Moctezuma Taqueria, Kudzu Bakery, Kairos Mediterranean, Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint
Tampa Bay: Koya, Naked Farmer, Jay Luigi, True Food Kitchen, Olde Florida Brewing Company, Pop Goes The Waffle, 3 Daughter’s Brewing

Community events

An often-overlooked category of entertainment is local community events. Think about things like theater performances, farmers’ markets, art and music festivals, meet-the-author events at bookstores or libraries, fireworks or parades for holiday celebrations, and much more. For more about Charleston adventure ideas, check out Explore Charleston®. To read more about Columbia’s best staycations, visit Experience Columbia. If you’re looking for more to do in the Tampa Bay area, visit Tampa Bay.

Even if you can’t travel far, we hope you’ll still have some room for fun this summer — right where you live!

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