People ask us all the time how we travel so much. Want to know our secret? Most of our travels and outdoor adventures aren’t far. In fact, many of them are in our own backyard or within a 2-3 hour radius from our home. Sure, we love to travel to far off places and try to do that as often as we can, but we also know that we can see some pretty awesome places nearby too.
This post is sponsored by Cenex, however all content and opinions are our own.
Adventure travel doesn’t have to mean scuba diving in Belize or hiking the Swiss Alps. Travel is a state of mind that you can carry wherever you go, even if it’s just down the road! You don’t have to go far to explore and discover. You can have outdoor adventures anywhere! As long as you are curious and have an open mind, you can find adventures even in a place you’ve called home forever.
If money and time is a problem for you, traveling in your own backyard is one of the best ways to add more travel in your life. Traveling outside your backyard can simply mean a day trip or a weekend getaway. We are big fans of weekend road trips. It’s a great way to get away and feel rejuvenated. Read our post on how to plan the perfect weekend road trip.
Our simple ideas on how to mix it up and add some new adventures to your life without having to go far will surely get you inspired and ready to hit the road! Here are some great tips for traveling and finding outdoor adventure in your own backyard:
1. Visit your own state’s tourism website.
We get so many ideas for our outdoor adventures and local travels from our home state’s tourism website, Visit Idaho. From paddleboarding to Shoshone Falls (named “The Niagara of the West”) to biking the Hiawatha rail-to-trail, we’ve learned of so many new places to explore and things to do just by visiting this website. In fact, we’ve even written an article for Visit Idaho called, “10 Idaho Family Adventures That You Should Add To Your Bucket List”.
Check out your own state’s tourism website for ideas on where to go and what to do.
2. Get the map out and choose somewhere you haven’t been.
One of the best road trips we ever did was by total random selection. One night we got out a state map, closed our eyes and placed our finger somewhere on the map to choose where we were going for the weekend! At first we were a little apprehensive not knowing anything about the area, but it ended up being an adventure and it made for some awesome stories! Spontaneity can go a long way and is a great way to mix things up.
3. Try a new outdoor activity.
Maybe you’re accustomed to hiking, but haven’t tried horseback riding on your local trails? Or maybe you have kayaked before, but haven’t tried paddleboarding yet? There are so many awesome outdoor activities to do including rock climbing, river rafting, snowshoeing, fly fishing, the list goes on. Don’t be afraid to try something new because maybe you will discover a new passion or hobby you love!
4. Start a bucketlist.
Every year we start a bucketlist of things we want to do and places we want to explore in our home state. Our list isn’t elaborate or too long, but it usually satisfies a few key criteria: one, we add a few new places we want to go to and secondly, we add a new adventure or two that we want to check off the list. This year we really wanted to go horseback riding in Teton Valley, Idaho and whitewater rafting down the Salmon River in Idaho. And so we did!
Not only will you experience new things by starting a bucketlist, but you will add countless memories and grow a greater appreciation for where you live!
5. Don’t be afraid to venture off-the-beaten-path.
Most of the time, we prefer traveling a little off-the-beaten path. Mostly because we don’t enjoy places where tourists flock to, but also we find that discovering those hidden gems is what we remember most about our travels and outdoor adventures. Those areas that are maybe a little harder to get to are worth the effort! The back-country offers pristine wilderness, peace and solace and a chance to really get away from it all. We find that when we go “off-grid” and take those breaks from technology and other distractions, we are able to better connect with each other. Our favorite places have always been the ones that we discovered by driving down some random dirt road, or backpacked for days to, or found with the advice of a local.
6. Choose one or two weekends a month to get away.
Set a goal at the beginning of the year to get away at least once a month for a weekend! We started doing this in 2015 and every year since then, we’ve met this goal of going somewhere (not always somewhere new) each month of the year. Doing this gives you something to look forward to and breaks up the monotony of everyday life at home.
7. Go to Instagram for inspiration.
Social media can be a great source of inspiration for travel, even local adventures. We love Instagram especially since it’s all about the photos. Find new places to explore by searching hashtags in your area or an area you are traveling to. For example, we were recently in Central Oregon and wanted some ideas on what to do in the area, so we looked up the hashtag #bendoregon and found all sorts of great places and things to do! Pinterest can also be a great resource for anything travel related.
8. Connect with locals.
By far, our favorite way to get ideas on places to go or things to do, is to ask a local. Even if that local lives in your hometown! There will always be someone that knows your area better than you do, so don’t be afraid to ask! When we travel, we always make it a point to talk to the locals in the area when we get there and find out the “secret spots”, best places to grab a bite to eat, etc. The other reason we love meeting locals while we travel is it is a great way to make connections that can carry on past your time spent there. On our trip to Bend, Oregon this summer, we shared a campsite with some local backpackers that we ended up connecting with on social media after our trip.
We always say that the people that we meet along our travels are what brings us back to a place. When you have a positive experience with the locals in that area, it makes all the difference.
We partnered with Cenex (otherwise known as CHS Inc.) on our road trips this summer because they are all about being “powered locally”. Cenex is a company that is owned by its members, largely farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the U.S. In addition to supplying energy, crop nutrients, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, they also operate petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, market and distribute Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products. They are committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. We love that Cenex is all about supporting our local businesses!
Here are some highlights of our road trips with Cenex this summer. Thanks to Cenex for fueling our adventures on and off the road, it was summer we will never forget!