When I was a kid, I envied my friends because they got to go on vacation each summer. And not vacation like spending a week at grandma's house. No, they'd go to the beach or to amusement parks. They'd cram themselves into the family station wagon, luggage on the roof of the car and take off on great adventures while I watched, waving to them from the street until their car disappeared from sight.

I didn't grow up in a wealthy home and as a kid, I vowed that when I grew up, I was going to go on vacations and when I had a family, we would also go on vacations, together. And then I grew up.

The "great recession" hit at full speed the winter of 2007 and lasted until the early summer of 2009 and I had to prioritize my spending and the first to go was the luxurious vacations that as a kid I promised myself I'd enjoy. Instead, I began to embrace staycations- staying home, or close to home, and visiting local attractions.

The highest recorded gas price was $4.14 in the summer of 2008, and with the average price of gas now $3.00 a gallon, we’re inching our way closer and closer to the record and back to putting the breaks on full-blown vacations. If a staycation is on your agenda and you don’t think it’ll be any fun, you’re wrong! Here are five things you can do on your staycation that will create great memories.

  • 1

    Go for a Swim

    In the City of Binghamton alone, there are three large pools (located at Cheri A. Lindsey Memorial Park, Webster Street Playground, and Recreation Park, two small pools (located at Fairview Park and MacArthur Park) and there’s a spray pad at Columbus Park. The cost to swim at the large pool is $0.25 for children and $0.50 for adults. All large pools are open from June 18th through September 3rd from 12:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. But the best part? If you go to one of the small pools or to the spray pad, it’s free! The small pools and spray pad are open June 16th through August 12th from 12:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

    Traci Taylor
  • 2

    Make a Day out of Riding Carousels

    Broome County is home to six unique carousels, each of which is completely free to ride from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Make a full day of it and ride the carousel circuit with this handy-dandy guide.

    *Note: the Ross Park Carousel is temporarily closed for renovations until further notice.

    Traci Taylor
  • 3

    Read a Book

    When was the last time that you shut off your phone, grabbed a blanket, and headed to your local park to read under the shade of a tree? Give it a try- you'll enjoy reading and people watching. Don't have a book? No problem- the Broome County Public Library has a fantastic selection and books are free to check out!

    Traci Taylor
  • 4

    Go to a Baseball Game

    The Southern Tier is so lucky to have our very own baseball team, something other communities are jealous of. So, dig out your sunglasses, slather on some sunscreen, and hit up NYSEG Stadium in downtown Binghamton to see the Rumble Ponies play. And, if you go on the right night, you'll even get to see fireworks after the game!

    Traci Taylor
  • 5

    Play Golf

    You've been saying for ages that you wanted to find the time to go to the golf course. Well, the time has come! And, if you buy the Clubhouse Card, you can play 19 of the area’s best golf courses! Plus, you’ll receive 6 buckets of balls at the Greater Binghamton Golf Training Center, and two passes to the 2018 Dicks Sporting Goods Open. Not a bad deal, huh?!?

    Traci Taylor