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Great Places to Visit Close to Home

Feel the need for a getaway but lack of time or lack of funds? How about a close to home getaway that gives you a brand new experience in just hours – and doesn’t cost a fortune? That’s what my daughter and I did today. We had a fabulous day in a town we’ve never been to and it was only 30 minutes from home.

We turned on Google Maps (see my post on tips for this must-have app) and plugged in the address for the town hall of Winter Garden, Florida. I have heard from several friends about the cute downtown area of Winter Garden so off we started on our 25-mile adventure. Quite a bit different for me, since most of my trips are thousands of miles from home. It took the same time to get to Winter Garden as it does to get to the Orlando International Airport and I was already at my destination!


Winter Garden lived up to what I heard about it – a very nice downtown area with shops, restaurants and beautiful big plants in pots all around. In the center of the main street is a park area with hanging double swings. Watch life in this Mayberry type of town while you swing back and forth while licking an ice cream cone.

Jenn and I selected a restaurant where we could eat at an outside table. Snippets of our conversation included “Who knew? I can’t believe how cute this town is!” “I feel like a million miles from home.” “We just have to come back again!”

CarolFarmAfter strolling the streets of Winter Garden, we headed to our next location that felt like a million miles from home – Lake Meadow Naturals farm in Ocoee, Florida. I wanted to pick up local eggs, produce and chicken from this cage-free farm that I had visited a couple of months ago, and I ordered my turkey for Thanksgiving. Hard to believe that this amazing all-natural farm is just 20 minutes from home. If you live anywhere near the Orlando area, this is a fun place to have your kids select their own eggs and watch the chickens and ducks run around the meadows.

There have got to be places like Winter Garden and Ocoee near you, too! Look at a map and find a few towns about 30-60 minutes from home. Google “fun places to go near (your city) for free” or “fun places to go within an hour of (your city)” for ideas. Then go explore for the day! If funds allow, book a room at a bed and breakfast nearby and enjoy an evening away.

It doesn’t take a long flight, hours in your car or expensive hotels and meals to feel like you have really gotten away from home.

And don’t let it take you 21 years to get to a great town just 25 miles from home like it did me.

I’d love to hear from you on fun towns and places to visit close to home. Share your locals finds with us at Smart Women Travelers’ Facebook Page.

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