With Summer around the corner, you may feel the familiarity of wanderlust creeping back again. As the weather warms up and the flowers are in full bloom, you (and your car) may start itching for adventure.
But you don’t have to break the bank or travel far to enjoy the simple pleasures of the great outdoors. With just your car, you can create plenty of unique and memorable experiences to make this a season you’ll never forget.
These are some of our favorite car-related staycation activities you can indulge in with family or friends.
1. Car Camping
If you want an exciting adventure without fully embracing “van life,” you could spend the night in your car. Overnight stays near trailheads (for an early start) or as part of a mini-road trip can be a fun and cozy experience.
One of the best things about car camping is the endless options of where to go. National parks, mist-shrouded forests, or stark desert plains — you’re free to camp wherever your four wheels can take you.
That said, you should still find out if you need a permit to camp in your desired location to avoid waking up in an impound yard. The National Park Service is available to answer any permit-related questions. Additionally, campgrounds can get filled up quickly over summer break and holidays, so be sure to book a spot ahead of time.
2. Catch up on Simple Car Maintenance
If you haven’t guessed by now, we love cars. But even if you weren’t born with a wrench in your hand, it’s pretty easy to learn the basics. You can save some money by performing easy maintenance tasks yourself, with the added bonus of unlocking some of the secret language that mechanics seem to speak.
With the internet at our fingertips, there’s a universe of different ways to learn about cars. In addition to catching up on our blog, you can explore the world of car maintenance YouTube videos or visit car forums frequented by fellow budding motorheads.
3. Car Wash With the Kids
Remember how exciting (and scary) the first time going through a car wash was?
You wondered if the car would fill up with water, how you’d defend yourself against the ever-growing bubble monster, or if those cloth rollers would somehow tear the roof off like a tin can. Afterward, you just wanted to go through the entire experience again!
But if the carwash seems a little too stimulating, there’s also the option of doing it by hand. Kids love helping and playing with splashing water, so this is the perfect activity. If you delegate them to pre-rinse duty with the hose, they’ll relish having so much waterpower at their command.
4. Local Scavenger Hunt With Friends or Family
Scavenger hunts can be played in various ways, depending on whether you play with family or friends in separate cars. All you need to do is create a list of items to find.
For a family-friendly game, the key is to work together as a team to find as many items as possible before the time runs out. With the family working together to plot the fastest route and uncover items on the list, it adds another layer of gameplay.
Playing with friends is a different ball game altogether. A ragtag of friends can be more fun but also a lot more chaotic. Arrange to meet at a set location and separate into teams. Give each group a copy of the list of items and agree on a set time to return to the meeting place.
5. Playing Tourist in Your State
Unforgettable experiences often lie just around the corner, in your own backyard. The USA has thousands of thrilling and lesser-known destinations, all within driving distance. No matter where you reside or what captures your interest, abundant undiscovered wonders are waiting to be discovered nearby.
LA residents have the opportunity to explore hidden stairways scattered throughout the city. Texas residents may opt to check out the Museum Of The Weird. Arizona locals may experience the world in their backyard by visiting the Biosphere — a recreation of the earth’s various biodomes.
To find these, a bit of a deep dive on Google may be required. Google Maps is a reliable way to find spots you may have never considered. Additionally, visiting local tourist boards can uncover a treasure trove of locations and things you probably never knew existed.
6. Go Stargazing
If you prefer an immersive, relaxing experience, stargazing is hard to beat. The awe-evoking activity of stargazing can ease minds and rejuvenate spirits for a tranquil staycation.
For the best night-time viewing experience, you must travel away from city lights to a place with plenty of dark skies. No equipment is necessary, and anyone can enjoy it. But for the optimum stargazing experience, we recommend the following:
- Star map
- Hot cocoa
7. Give Your Car a Makeover
Nothing’s quite as satisfying as a meticulously cleaned car. Learning how to clean and detail your vehicle correctly is something every car owner should try doing. It’ll save you some money, and you’ll thank yourself every time you hop in to drive your squeaky-clean car.
If you’re short on time or prefer to divide the tasks, you can address the interior and exterior separately. After that, add an air freshener, relish in your freshly cleaned car, and share on social media to inspire your friends to give their vehicles a makeover as well!