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Staycation- A vacation that is spent at one's home, enjoying all that home has to offer.

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Photographs provided by: Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority

The kids are out of school and the summer sun is heating everything up in Rutherford County. Warm nights and sunshiny days are luring us all outside. With flip flops, tank tops and cut-off's coming to the front of our closets, we're all grasping at every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. We've waited a long time for it and we all know it'll be over far too soon.

In the perfect world, we would all have fat wallets and no obligations other than celebrating and experiencing all the joys of summertime. In the real world, however, many of us are juggling the demanding schedules and responsibilities of providing for and raising our families. Often times, parents are working opposing shifts so there's always someone home with the children. In these circumstances, it can be difficult to arrange summer activities. Luckily, we have so many exciting and economic activities right here in the county that it's possible to entertain the kids, enjoy time with friends and family, and make the most out of our limited free time right here at home.

Chimney Rock Village offers mini-golf, carousel rides, gem mining and walking paths along side the Rocky Broad River and Lake Lure features the infamous beach area with splash pads and many ways to get wet. Guided tours and boat rentals give you access to the lake, and on shore, the Flowering Bridge has become interactive as well as educational as it changes with the seasons. Zip-lines provide opportunities for thrill seekers with several options to choose from. Rutherfordton is home to KidSenses InterACTIVE Museum and any child will be delighted and entertained for hours inside. The Purple Martin Greenway has expanded and the waterfall on the south end is a great way to cool down after a nice long walk. Spindale's upgraded playground is a nice stopping point from a walk down the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. Panning for gold in Union Mills and visiting the Bechtler Mint Site provides a glimpse into our unique history and heritage. Forest City offers golf, baseball, bowling, indoor playgrounds, skating, cinema and putt-putt for hours of fun. Bostic and Ellenboro offer fishing, shooting, tennis, museums, libraries and access to the South Mountain Game Lands via the Golden Valley Access.

Shopping, dining, lodging, music, parks, camping, fairs, festivals, arts and crafts are all available right here at home -- just minutes away. Our whole county is teaming with groups of like-minded folks who organize outings for cycling, paddling, horseback riding, hiking and more... we've got it all and we've got it all over the county!

Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority's Executive Director, Don Cason, and Marketing Director, Amy Brevard have put together a comprehensive website and printed 'Travel Guide' that details all of the wonderful amenities the county has to offer for our 'traveling' guests, but it is also a great resource for us 'locals'. If you're looking for something to do nearby, go to www.visitncsmalltowns.com or drop by their Welcome Centers in either Rutherfordton or Lake Lure and pick up a copy of the guide. It is comprehensive, inclusive, easy to use and free to the public -- perfect for helping to plan a short, fun and exciting activity for your family.

Right here at home, in the rolling foothills of Rutherford County, there's so much to do without having to travel very far or take too much time off from work. We are blessed with majestic views, natural resources and beautiful backdrops for those 'staycation' selfies.

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