We spend so much time planning our next vacation, and dreaming about how another location will provide us with the rest and relaxation we so desperately need. But sometimes what we need is closer than we think.

My son and I recently spent a few hours on Coronado, California, just minutes from our San Diego home. It amazed me how refreshed I was, and I didn’t have to shell out $300 for a night at Hotel Del!

First, we walked around Hotel Del Coronado. Once the haunt of stars like Marilyn Monroe, who filmed “Some Like It Hot” here, the hotel now probably attracts more rubberneckers like us than paying patrons. The prices of the rooms have something to do with that. Still, for the cost of an extremely overpriced coffee ($7!) we got to hang out by the pool and people-watch.

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Then we took off our shoes and ambled down the sugary sands of Coronado Beach. There were rocks to climb, and plenty of shells and starfish (most dead and broken, for some reason) to collect. My son, who’s normally very straightlaced and conservative, found his inner child (sounds weird, but he’s been suppressing him lately) while he picked up seaweed and dug in the sand. 

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We wrapped up the trip with lunch at Yummy Sushi, which was, as promised, quite yummy. The icing on the cake? Fresh wasabi.

This day trip made me realize I’m looking too far for amazing travel experiences. What about you? What’s in your neighborhood that you’re overlooking?