Some weekends it's nice to sleep in, take it easy and be a homebody. Other times, it's refreshing to get out and see something new and different. If you've got a free weekend and a bit of wanderlust, grab some family or friends and embark on one of these simple outings.
Find a hike
Enjoy the outdoors by finding a hike. It's nice to disconnect from everyday life and reconnect with nature. No matter where you live, it's possible to find a new place to hike or walk to. Even large cities have green spaces and walking trails. For maximum enjoyment, pack some snacks, take some water and make sure you follow trail markings and guidelines.
Kids love to hike and explore and can build up stamina quickly. Some trails have fabulous destinations like waterfalls or mountaintops with beautiful views; those are always worth the hike.
Visit a farm
This outing is best for summer or fall, when farm stands are open and can be enjoyed. My family likes to visit farms with animals and produce. During the harvest months, farms often have corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple picking and hay rides. Several farms also offer food (like apple cider donuts) which makes the visit delicious.
Specialty farms might offer organic produce, ethically-raised meat, artisan items and other intriguing options. Do some research on farms in your area and then take time to visit one that interests you.
Tour a town
Day trips are always fun. For this weekend outing, find a town, large or small, and spend the day exploring. Some towns have interesting museums. Most have good food, local flair and unique shops. Take time to research before you go if you like to plan ahead, or take a risk and see what you can find.
I once spent a very enjoyable day touring small towns and covered bridges in New Hampshire. Stopping at a small town cafe and talking to the locals made the experience authentic and memorable.
Pack a picnic
If you have just a few hours on a weekend day, plan a simple picnic outing. Choose easy finger foods that can be enjoyed without fuss while lounging on a blanket. Find a park or other outdoor space and relax. Bring a Frisbee and the family dog. Enjoy the weather, passing clouds, fresh air and a few hours to just "be." Turn off your phone for maximum stress relief.
If, like me, you live in a fairly small town, a trip to the big city or the nearest outlet mall to do some shopping is a fun way to spend the day. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and know your budget. Planning lunch out at a cool restaurant and bringing along a friend or your favorite fashionista will ensure you have a great outing.
If none of these ideas inspires you, consider attending a sporting event, doing a service project, running a race, taking a drive, visiting friends or relatives or planning a staycation in your own hometown. No matter what weekend outing you choose, spending time taking care of yourself and enjoying your family and friends will leave you recharged for Monday.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.