My day job involves helping travelers navigate all the things to see and do in our lovely state, so helping Charlotte residents plan the ultimate staycation felt like a natural fit. Actually, it would be a real miss if I didn’t write this piece.
What does a staycation entail? All the things you normally pass on because they’re too expensive, take too much time, are too far out of the way, etc. To truly embrace the staycation, you have to treat your home like any other vacation destination.
Don’t take my word for it. I tapped my counterpart, Lauren Litaker, at the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority to help me create a well-rounded Charlotte trip for those of us who already live here.
If you live Uptown
Escape the city and try lake living for the weekend. Norman or Wylie – both Airbnb and VRBO have rentals available starting at $50 a night. Spend your days boating, tubing and floating, and your nights sitting around a fire pit by the water. Actually, BRB booking a weekend on the lake.
If you live in the suburbs
Take the opposite advice of the blurb above and head to the city. A stay within walking distance of nightlife, culture and a restaurant that doesn’t start with Apple and end with Bee’s is just what the doctor ordered. I recommend crashing at the Aloft Charlotte Uptown. Located inside the EpiCentre, booze buckets and Billy Joel covers live from Howl at the Moon await. If you can’t have a fishbowl at a piano bar on vacation, when can you?
If you’re staycationing on a budget
Stay at home and Uber wherever your heart desires. The point of a staycation is to sightsee and explore new areas of the city you call home. Use the money you save on digs to pay for an experience you’d only do on vacation. We’ve all paid to go to a Ripley’s Believe It or Not experience at Myrtle Beach. Tap into your inner tourist and hit Black Out – an escape the room game that you play IRL instead of online. I’d never shell out $25 on a normal weekend, but on a staycation… sign me up!
With the family
If you’ve already been to Discovery Place, Lauren recommends visiting ImaginOn Library/Children’s Theater. Pair your time indoors with an AllSport Pass at the U.S. National Whitewater Center and a night out with the Knights for a kid-friendly weekend in the Queen City.
With your parents
Bite the bullet, grab a helmet and be one of those people gliding (lurching) down Uptown sidewalks on a Segway. Charleston may have historic walking ghost tours, but they don’t have a haunted Segway tour, and they definitely don’t have the giant yellow vests that come with it. Don’t forget to tweet us your pictures because we love to laugh with (and at) you.
In all seriousness, there are tours for foodies, ghost hunters, museum lovers and people who just want to try riding a Segway. This is one of those staycation must-do activities.
With your IG obsessed best friend
Give everyone FOMO by live-tweeting your tour of the city from a helicopter. Queen City Helicopters gives aerial tours of Uptown, Lake Norman and Crowders Mountain. Your friends have taken some cool shots from Fahrenheit, but your aerial skyline ‘gram will be legendary.
With a foodie
Break a cardinal vacation rule and make your own dinner. Don’t worry; a lesson with Chef Alyssa at Atherton Market is no chore. With five intensities, there are classes for any skill level.
With a thrill-seeker
If you’re a Charlotte resident, chances are you’ve made a trip out to Crowders Mountain at least once. Take your hike to the next level with Carolina Adventure Guides. With both rock climbing and rappelling experiences offered, this won’t be your average day at Crowders. Bonus: They’re currently running a special on Groupon.
On a budget
If you’re all about free activities, Lauren recommends the Wells Fargo History Musuem (I believe you’ve seen our fearless leader in their stage coach), Billy Graham Library and Levine Museum of the New South (free admission on Sundays).
With the kids
With a foodie
No vacation is complete without a tour. Feast Food Tours and Tour de Food want to make sure you’re well fed during your staycation. Stop by neighborhood haunts and discover new favorites while burning calories on your walking tour. Then again, forget about burning calories. They don’t count on vacation anyway.
On a budget
The best part about a longstanding family trip to the same beach is grabbing a meal at your favorite dive restaurant. Don’t forget about your favorites during a staycation. Stop by the Diamond or Dish for good eats on a budget.
Around the neighborhood
A mixology miracle
No staycation is complete without a stop to see Bob Peters at the Punch Room. To create your own craft cocktail tour, follow your drink at the Ritz with stops at the Asbury, Halcyon and Nan and Byron’s.
With a bowl
Vacations are all about embracing things you normally avoid. Stop by Howl at the Moon for a giant bone glass with neon straws, Boardwalk Billy’s for a fishbowl and Wet Willie’s for a liquor slushy. Let’s be honest, liquor slushies are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
What did we miss? Tweet us your Charlotte staycation activities (and Segway pictures).
Crowders Mountain photo: Friends of Crowders
7th Street Public Market photo: Afar.com