Ten Family Get-Togethers On a Quarter-Tank of Gas

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There's something to be said for quality family time that doesn't involve traveling across country, but we didn't expect a car company to be doing the saying. Volvo Cars of North America decided to send out an email promoting "stay-cations" that require less than a quarter-tank of gas. Said CEO Doug Speck "Families need quality vacations." Okay, so the challenge is to have fun with a quarter tank of gas. Volvo only thought it sufficient to give us six ideas, not realizing that you need a few more to make it a top ten list. Being generous folk, we decided to come up with four more options.


Original Volvo Ideas

1. Stay at a nearby hotel for a night. Use the money you're saving by forgoing airfare, and treat the family to a night or two in a local hotel. Look for hotels with attractions you can drive to during the day such as water parks, pools, malls or golf courses.

2. Create your own historic tour. Pack up your car with some bag lunches and discover local history. Contact your local historical society or chamber of commerce, and sign up for a historical tour or chart out your own self-driven tour.

3. Get lost in a museum. Instead of getting lost on the interstate this summer, drive to a local museum and wander through at your own pace. Take time you might not normally spend in town to explore your city's treasures within a 30-minute driving radius. It's a great way to learn about your kids' interests, too.

4. Enjoy nature at a county, state or national park. Whether doing a day-hike or a weeklong camping trip, some of the best family memories are made on the trail. Get an atlas or state map, and drive out to the nearest park.

5. Try new restaurants. Just as you would in a new city or country, test out restaurants and types of food you've never experienced before. Some of the best vacation memories are spent while sampling new cuisine. You might just discover your new favorite dining spot close to home.


6. Set up camp. It never quite feels like a family vacation when waking up in your own home. Finish off your drive around the city by teaching your kids camping basics. Try finding a campground near your city and take the kids camping for a night or two. Or, set up a tent in the backyard and tell ghost stories, eat marshmallows and stargaze.

Our Ideas

7. Get high. We're not sure how much gas it takes to get a family of four high, but we're guessing a quarter of a tank is enough for that kind of huffing. Of course, then you might die.


8. Spy on your ex-wife. You don't need that much gas to circle the block to see if that ungrateful harlot has found someone else. Bring the family along and one kid can go through the trash looking for receipts or hair (for the hair sculpture) while the other one searches through the mail.

9. Demolition derby. There's no chance that you're going to find someone to buy back that Excursion with gas at $5,300 a cc, but if it gets destroyed you can use the insurance money to buy a hybrid or something.


10. Napalm a tree stump. Assuming you've got a hose around, pour a little of that gasoline over Styrofoam for a bit of homemade napalm. Have a patch of concrete or a stump that's been bothering you? Stand way back and light it up like the Ho Chi Min Trail.

[Source: Volvo, Crazy Imagination]


Ash78, voting early and often

Here's a cool one—only ever did this once, in college.

Go find a local B&B for a night and act like you're from out of town the whole time. This works great until you bump into the lady a week later at Kroger. "Yeah, umm, your inn kicked so much ass that I abandoned my old house and moved here"

But on a tangential note—step back and look at your own town the way a visitor would. Everywhere I've ever gone, the locals are often the ones who have rarely taken advantage of all the cool local stuff (parks, museums, etc). I lived on the Florida coast half of my life, but sometimes didn't even see the beach for up to 2 years at a time.