Get away without going away: Take a 'staycation'

Who says you need to fly out of town for a fun summer vacation? This year, save yourself the stress of extensive traveling, and have a summer “staycation” right here in Austin. Use this as a chance to see essential Austin attractions and locales that you typically don’t have time for during the school year.

Try some new scenery. Get away from the bright lights and car horns of the campus area, and grab some friends for a picnic and an ultimate-frisbee competition at Zilker Park. Then take a dip in the always 68-degree Barton Springs Pool, followed by a stroll through the Zilker Botanical Gardens with a special someone. End the day grooving to some jazz at the Zilker Hillside Theater.

Go dancing. Come on, you’re in Texas, so country dancing is a must. Check out The Broken Spoke, located on South Lamar, for some classic honky tonk music and dance lessons. Or, go to Midnight Rodeo on Ben White Boulevard for more modern country hits. Midnight Rodeo also offers dance lessons for the two-step challenged. If you’re wanting to dance, but not in the mood for country music, check out Elysium. It’s open to anyone 18 and older (though they charge more if you’re under 21). The prices vary based on the club’s various events, so be sure to check out the website before going.

Treat yourself to a little pampering and luxury. For a relaxing midday activity, schedule a massage. Groupon almost always has half-price deals on various types of spa packages. To get that out-of-town feeling without trekking too far from the city limits, consider staying at a bed and breakfast for the weekend. Check out Hyde Park Inn or Adams House in the Hyde Park area for some charm or romance. For a more resort-type feel (and price), check out the Lost Parrot Cabins in the Lake Travis area. With plenty of amenities, music-filled nights and the proximity to the lake, you’ll get that vacation feeling without all the travel. Check the websites for rates and booking options.

Get out of your comfort zone and go on a ghost tour at night. Austin Ghost Tours offers walking and trolley tours of some of the city’s most haunted places areas downtown such as the Texas Capitol building and The Driskill Hotel. For just $20 you can get an adrenaline rush and something to talk about for weeks to come.

No matter what you do this summer, consider staying put and vacationing in town.