Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau

By Stacy Brooks, Blogger, for Visit Inver Grove Heights

Vacation: the word conjures up images of relaxation, exploring exciting places, and making memories.  This summer, travel is off the table for most of us—but even if you’re not able to leave home, you can still channel some vacation vibes with a staycation.

While vacations involve faraway destinations, staycations take place close to home.  How is that different from just sitting on the couch?  It’s all about your state of mind!  Here’s how to enjoy your staycation no matter how much or little time you have.

If you have an hour or two…

  1. Turn off your phone.

Photo Credit: Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels scaled

One of the best things about a vacation is that it gives you a chance to disconnect from the stress and routine of daily life.  By turning off your phone (or setting it to silent) you can carve out that sense of relaxation without leaving your hometown.

  1. Relax in a park.

Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights Parks & Recreation

If your favorite part of vacation is kicking back with a book or napping in a hammock, recreate that experience on your staycation.  Grab a blanket or lawn chair, a good book, and head to one of Inver Grove Heights’ 27 parks.  

To make your outing feel special, venture beyond your familiar neighborhood park and take in some new scenery.  River Front Park and Swing Bridge Park boast spectacular views of the Mississippi River, while North Valley Park offers a wooded respite.  Surround yourself with water at Simley Island Park, which is connected to the mainland via a short paved path.

  1. Treat yourself (just because).

Photo Credit: Peterson’s Popcorn and Ice Cream

When you’re on vacation, you don’t need an excuse to buy ice cream or splurge on a fancy drink—and you don’t need an excuse on a staycation either!  Inver Grove Heights has some great options for unique local treats.  Peterson’s Popcorn and Ice Cream serves up homemade ice cream in a variety of flavors as well as freshly popped popcorn.  At iPho2, cool off with a bubble tea, iced French coffee, or fresh limeade.

If you have an afternoon…

  1. Check out a new-to-you restaurant.

Photo Credit: Inver Grove Brewery

One of the highlights of a vacation is tasting new cuisines at local restaurants, and Inver Grove Heights’ vibrant restaurant scene means that you don’t have to travel far to experience global flavors.  Asian, Mexican, pizza, burgers, and more—the trickiest part of your staycation might be deciding which restaurant to try!

Inver Grove Heights has some great outdoor dining options, and if you’d prefer to get your food to go, many restaurants offer takeout.

  1. Explore a trail.

Photo Credit: Dakota County Parks

Get a new perspective on a familiar setting by exploring by bike or on foot—you’ll be surprised by how many unexpected things you observe when you slow down and get out of your car, from wildlife and wildflowers to interesting architecture and scenic views.  In Inver Grove Heights, the paved Mississippi River Trail is available for biking, hiking, inline skating, and on-leash dog walking, while the singletrack Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trail offers a more rugged way to experience the outdoors.  There are also trails at North Valley Park and South Valley Park.

  1. Try a different activity.

Photo Credit: Inver Wood Golf Course

When you’re on a vacation, trying new activities comes with the territory.  Channel that adventurous spirit for your staycation and try a new activity close to home.  Inver Grove Heights is home to an 18-hole disc golf course spread across North and South Valley Parks (buy a pass by phone or online).

For a non-traditional take on golf, play a round of FootGolf at Inver Wood Golf Course.  A combination of soccer and golf, players can enjoy the scenic course and get some exercise.

If you have a weekend…

  1. Skip the chore list.

You wouldn’t spend your time doing chores during a vacation, so skip the chores during your staycation.  Do your laundry, grocery shopping, and other household tasks beforehand, or postpone them until after your staycation has left you relaxed and rejuvenated.

  1. Make a plan.

You don’t need to schedule your entire weekend, but it is a good idea to have a rough plan of what restaurants you’d like to try and what activities you’d like to do.  Double check business hours and make any necessary reservations.  And remember to leave some time open to relax!

  1. Take a day trip.

Photo Credit: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

In the search for something novel, we sometimes overlook the attractions in our own backyards.  Whether you’re looking for a city vibe or want to enjoy nature, Inver Grove Heights is a convenient base for day trips and a destination in its own right.  Downtown St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the Mall of America are within a short driving distance, as well as Afton State Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

  1. Spend a day on or by the water.

Photo Credit: Mississippi Pub

It’s no coincidence that many popular vacation destinations are by the water—whether it’s an ocean, lake, or river, being near water has a calming effect.  Inver Grove Heights is home to several marinas on the Mississippi River, with River Heights Marina and Twin City Marina offering transient dockage.  If you’d prefer to stay on land, settle in a day of picnicking and relaxation at Swing Bridge Park, and then walk over to Mississippi Pub for appetizers and drinks with a view of the river. 

Photo Credit: Visit Inver Grove Heights

For the ultimate staycation, consider spending the night at one of Inver Grove Heights’ hotels.  Inver Grove Heights hotels are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and they have implemented additional processes and cleaning protocols to protect the safety of guests.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!