Day Tripping Article -
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Day Tripping

Sometimes you just have to lay aside that endless list of weekend chores and seize the day instead.

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.

Destination: Not so Far Away

  • Plan a day trip like any vacation. Gather maps and travel brochures, and let everyone have a hand in deciding where to go and what to see.
  • If you're going out of town for the day, search out the most scenic routes to your destination. Make getting there part of the fun.
  • Are you playing tourist in your own hometown? Leave the car at home and take public transportation. You can visit local museums, botanical gardens, or historic points of interest. Perhaps your town has a visitors' center or offers guided walking tours.
  • Encourage kids to make photographs or pick up other souvenirs of their day and start a family day trip scrapbook.
  • Want to do something for the greater good? Try a public service vacation: volunteer with your kids to clean up a hiking trail or public beach for half a day and spend the rest of the time enjoying the results.

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.

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