Run Away! (For a Day)

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When was the last time you took a trip? Has it been too long? Does it feel like forever since you took a vacation? I understand, getting away is hard! We have jobs, schedules, responsibilities, bills, and chores. It’s hard to say whether or not it’s true, but it certainly feels like we’re busier than ever, doesn’t it?

Well fear not, I have the answer to the problem; the day trip!

The humble day trip is exactly what you need if you’re stuck in a rut and need an adventure, but your funds are low and you don’t have a lot of time. It’s a little getaway that doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but will satisfy your craving to break out of your routine and explore a different locale.

On the road to Madison.

Just hit the open road.

That’s exactly what we decided to do last weekend. We grabbed a couple snacks, gassed up the Sportage, and drove North to Madison, Wisconsin. We made the decision fairly spontaneously. We had talked about taking a mini-road trip throughout the week, but it wasn’t until Thursday and Friday that we really committed.

It wasn’t too far to drive, but it was far enough that it took us away from our day to day life.

After parking in a garage, we hit the city on foot. It was a little cooler than expected. We made our way to the State Capitol for a little exploration, and enjoyed the architecture and the stellar views from the observation deck.

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View from atop the Capitol building.

About then we were ready for a little lunch, so we strolled over to the Great Dane Pub. There, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and partook in one of my favorite activities; sampling new beers!

Sampling beers at the Great Dane Pub

Enjoying a flight at the Great Dane Pub. The tray is shaped like a bone!

After lunch we rambled for a bit on the bike path alongside Lake Monona, before driving to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. There, we hiked out to Picnic Point, a peninsula jutting out into Lake Mendota.

You can see the Capital building across the lake from Picnic Point!

You can see the Capital building across the lake from Picnic Point!

We planned to tour the┬áNew Glarus brewery and sample another beer or two, but we were unaware that they closed down at 4:00, which is the exact time we rolled in. I suppose we’re just used to brewpubs that are open bar hours instead of breweries. It’s okay, Madison was a beautiful city, so we know we’ll be back, and returning home by way of New Glarus meant that we did some driving through farmland and country hills, which was lovely way to see the sunset.

If you’re feeling a little bored, if you need a change of pace, or you just need to get out of the house, then this might be a good option for you to explore. Even if you’re short on time and money, a day trip will allow you to get out of your town, try some new things, and explore a new locale. Here’s a few recommednations;

1. Get out of town. It’s not so important that you go far away, but it is important that you go far enough. If you get at least an hour away from where you live, then you’ll feel less like you’re just kicking around your usual haunts. Three hours seems to be the sweet spot; you’ll be far enough away that it’ll feel like a trip, but not so far away that you’ll wear yourself out driving.

2. Explore on foot. It’s fun to drive around a new city or do a little country cruising, no doubt about that. To really get a feel for a place, however, I’d argue that you’ve got to walk it. It let’s you slow down and look around at the people, the architecture, the street art, and the flow of your surroundings. You’re also not going to interact with anyone if you’re sitting in your car all day. So find a parking lot or garage, park your ride, and get to strolling.

Exploring on foot was the only way to get to this beach area in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Exploring on foot was the only way to get to this beach area in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. We managed to find a few pieces of beach glass while there.

3. Treat yourself to a meal. Make sure it’s not something you’re going to get at home. Don’t got to a new city or town to hit up a chain restaurant. Go where the locals go, try new foods, sample local beers. Have a meal that you’re really going to enjoy.

4. Don’t stay too long. It’s really easy to stick around a new and exciting place. After all, there are few places you can visit and take everything in in just one day. That’s okay, you can always come back, maybe for a weekend stay or even longer! But on a day trip, it’s a good idea to head back before you’re exhausted. No sense marring a good trip with grumpiness on the way home or the next morning.

5. Remember how fun and easy this was, and plan on doing it again! That’s pretty straightforward, no explanation necessary.

Had to climb a tree on the way out to Picnic Point!

Had to climb a tree on the way out to Picnic Point!

So if you’re feeling the need to get out and have an adventure but you’re short on time, money, or ideas, don’t forget how easy it is to get a couple friends together, hit the road, and take a day trip to explore a new locale!

Have you taken an awesome day trip of you own? Share it in the comments!

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