With the economy in the state that it is, sometimes a getaway to a warm and sunny destination just isn’t in the cards – or even the credit cards. My husband and I have taken other measures to plan an “escape” – one that takes place nearly in our own backyard.

We’ve decided to take the kids and become tourists in our home town. Not only do we save some cash on airfare and car rentals, but we already know the cheap places to eat – and can even pack our own lunches if we need to.

To see your city as a tourist might – and even discover something new – talk to your city or state’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. In addition, check out the local calendar of events (available from newspapers or CVB Web sites) for any events you or the kids might enjoy. We recently took a trip to the opening of the Children’s Garden at the nearby botanical gardens and had a wonderful time both exploring the area and meeting other parents.

Take some time to explore your own city and discover what brings out-of-towners in.