Virginia's Blue Ridge offers ideas for staycations, and unusual destination ideas from AAA

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) We know that we live in a beautiful area.

Catherine Fox with Virginia's Blue Ridge says there are plenty of hidden treasures to enjoy during a staycation

As more proof of that, Roanoke was recently named in TripAdvisor's Great American Small Cities To Visit In 2018.

"Vacations are about feeling good and even discovering your own hometown," says Catherine Fox of Virginia's Blue Ridge.

If a staycation fits your family budget better than a long trip, you'll find plenty to do right here, even when it's cold outside.

"There's Dixie Caverns, there's the climbing wall, which they have slackline Sundays. You can practice how to slackline. You can go to an historic theatre and see movies, for example like the Grandin Theatre. There's wonderful things to learn just in our backyard," says Fox.

In warmer months, a quick drive to Smith Mountain Lake can fill the need for sunshine and fun on the water.

Or stay on dry land, and check out Roanoke's Farmer's Market and museums.
The O. Winston Link Museum and the History Museum are now under one roof.

Fox says, "We have wealth of history here. A lot of it dating back to the rail, and the photography that was taken during the end of the steam and rail era is depicted here at the O Winston Link Museum."

If you do have money set aside for travel, agents like AAA's Beth Farmer can help you think outside the box.

"That's what we do all day long is try to find different and unique places. Every single person is different and likes different things. So of course, your normal Myrtle Beach or all- inclusive or cruise, but they you also get the off the wall San Diego honeymoon that's a fun one that people don't normally think of," says Farmer.

Farmer says you can find good deals even on INTERNATIONAL travel right now.

Among the most popular spots, the three I's-- Ireland, Italy and Iceland.

Another tourism trend is to not just visit these places, but to immerse yourself in the culture, and contribute to the community.

"Voluntourism is fantastic and we like to get people in homes to have a special dinner with people who live there, or if you're going on a religious trip, maybe shabbat dinner, something really special and unique," says Farmer.