Think of day trips as low-cost mini vacations with limitless potential for family fun. You can take these instant getaways on short notice and at any time of year. The best part: you don't have to find someone to feed the cat while you're gone.
Day Trip Dining
If you want to pack a special meal as part of the adventure, follow plan A for a knock-their-socks-off lunch or supper. Spur-of-the-moment day trip? Feed the troops with plan B, a no-fuss meal that comes together in under an hour. If the weather turns chilly, add a thermos of hot soup or chili and another filled with hot chocolate or cider.
Plan A: Gourmet Picnic
1. The night before: Bake some outrageous cookies and improvise with ingredients: replace chocolate chips with other candies or add extras like nuts and coconut. Another option: Spoon up extra dough to make giant cookies; adjust baking time.
2. Pile meat, cheese, Italian dressing, and fillings into a hollowed-out round loaf of bread to make a spectacular deli sandwich. Flavors build overnight.
3. Bake up some spiced nuts. Serve these as appetizers along with grapes, apple slices (sliced up just before you eat) and a wedge of Brie or aged Cheddar.
4. Stash a chilled bottle of sparkling wine or sparkling grape juice and keep it in the cooler to combine with cranberry juice for a bubbly mocktail.
Plan B: Super Fast Lunch
1. Have kids mix up no-bake cookies and roll them in mini chocolate chips or chopped peanuts for a little extra pizzazz.
2. While they're busy with the cookies, make Egg Salad (15 minutes) or Ham (20 minutes) sandwiches, or both.
3. Round out the meal with fresh peaches, plums, or cherries, carrot sticks, and everybody's favorite beverage of choice.