When most people are planning their summer vacations, a trip to the beach usually tops the list. For those of us lucky to live near the beach year-round, the idea of leaving our little slice of paradise, especially when we have a few days off to enjoy it, can seem a bit absurd. The solution: a staycation.

A staycation, for those who aren’t aware, is simply a vacation spent at home. While this may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually a brilliant idea. It gives you an opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of home, and finally make time to enjoy the best that our area has to offer.

Planning the ultimate staycation, however, isn’t as easy as taking off from work and sitting in your backyard. Below are our tips for making the most of your staycation. Follow these three suggestions and the old adage “there’s no place like home” is sure to take on new meaning.

1. Think like a tourist. Most of the time we’re too busy with work, school and other obligations to stray from our routines. A staycation is the perfect opportunity to throw those routines out the door and shake things up! Use websites like Trip Advisor and Yelp to see where the tourists are flocking and find the unique things that have been hidden in plain sight. Get out of your comfort zone and eat at a new-to-you restaurant, or visit local attractions you’ve passed a hundred times but never visited. The Cape Fear Serpentarium, the USS North Carolina battleship and the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher are all great places to start.

2. Have a plan and unplug. Because you’re technically “at home,” it can be easy to get pulled into work obligations, home improvement projects, and other un-vacation-like responsibilities. For the duration of your staycation, make a vow to avoid email, voicemail and anything that resembles work. Instead, relax, unwind and enjoy time with your family. Aim for one fun activity each day, and let each member of the family take turns choosing what to put on your staycation “to-do” list. Brunches on the beach, a trip to Britt’s Donuts or a picnic at the park are all fun and easy ways to explore while enjoying one another’s company. You can also splurge on a babysitter so the adults can spend a night out on the town.

3. Rent a beach house. While it might seem strange to rent a place when home is just a few miles away, it’s actually the best way to make your staycation feel like a luxury. Laundry or dishes won’t distract you, the novelty will remind you to relax, and you can invite out-of-town family or friends to join you. Plus, there are so many great vacation rentals to choose from! For example, Carolina Beach provides endless fun and charm, Wilmington is known for its downtown river district and historic sites, and Kure Beach provides a peaceful and picturesque seaside escape. The hardest part of your staycation will be deciding which area to take advantage of first!

As Seth Godin once said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” We couldn’t agree more – it’s one of the many reasons we’re grateful to call southeastern North Carolina home!

If you’re ready to book your ultimate staycation and get to know home a bit better, Network Real Estate can help. Our new online vacation reservation system allows you to search for all available Network properties online 24 hours a day. Once you find the perfect property, check available dates and make a reservation request online. Here’s to the best staycation ever!