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Terry Mattson: Why not get away to your own backyard?

One thing is for certain: This economy is teaching travelers to explore more options than ever. Although Duluth has always been an affordable vacation for the millions of visitors we attract each year, we are aware of an increasingly unique behav...

One thing is for certain: This economy is teaching travelers to explore more options than ever.

Although Duluth has always been an affordable vacation for the millions of visitors we attract each year, we are aware of an increasingly unique behavior: Duluth is a great place to visit, especially if you're from Duluth.

An increasingly popular term, "staycation," was created from the evolving consumer trend of people exploring getaways in their own back yard.

Fortunately, there are few places as diverse as Duluth for offering its own residents a wealth of opportunities.

Since many of us have visited Duluth's attractions before, it can be kind of difficult to kickstart the idea factory. Simply go to the "Attractions" page on VisitDuluth.com and browse our sample itineraries. From harbor tours to museums, you'll be able to put together a day's worth of fun.

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Take the Duluth Heritage and Arts Tour, for example. Chances are it's been a while since your family explored some of Duluth's best cultural experiences. Start your day at the Tweed Museum of Art, and you'll appreciate a lot more than its world-famous Canadian Mounties originals. Next, you'll be off to the Depot to discover the Duluth Art Institute and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. End the day at Glensheen, where you'll experience 100 years of history and one of the best views of Lake Superior Duluth has to offer.

There is even a Duluth Potluck Tour, but you'll have to go to our Web site to see what's included in that tour.

In addition to Duluth's world-class attractions, the summer event schedule is just cranking up. And you don't have to be from out of town to get up close and personal with some of Duluth's best events.

By the way, if you didn't get a chance to see the SV Denis Sullivan last week, that was just a preview of next year's extravaganza. Up to eight of the world's most popular tall ships will appear full sail in our harbor next summer.

Later this month, the Duluth Playhouse features "Beauty and the Beast." At the end of July, the Free Range Film Festival kicks off in Wrenshall. And, in early August, competitors from across the country compete in the 23rd annual Brewhouse Triathlon at Pike Lake.

These are just a few of the hundreds of events you'll find listed in our complimentary 2009 Guide to Duluth, available at hotels and restaurants, at Visit Duluth and online at VisitDuluth.com.

Summer is also one of the best seasons to explore our green city! Did you know there are more than 100 city parks in Duluth? From Gary to Lester Park, our community has literally hundreds of experiences to consume an entire summer virtually for free.

You probably know the Superior Hiking Trail travels along the North Shore, but did you know it now traverses the entire city of Duluth?

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There are trailheads with parking every five to 10 miles, so you can get a taste of the wilderness without ever leaving town.

Part of Duluth's famed Skyline Parkway, Seven Bridges Road is tucked between Lester Park and Hawk Ridge.

While you can definitely drive it, the best way to take it all in is by walking. Duck in and out of the adjoining wooded trails or dip your feet into Amity Creek.

If you make it all the way to Hawk Ridge, you'll be treated to one of the best views in Duluth.

Whatever your interest, remember Visit Duluth is a resource for Duluthians too. While our primary mission is generating hundreds of millions of dollars of visitor revenue every year, Visit Duluth serves all of our community. So look us up if a little getaway in your own backyard makes sense this summer.

For more information or directions to any of Duluth's world-class experiences, please call 722-4011 or go to VisitDuluth.com.

Terry Mattson is the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city's convention and visitor' bureau, and is responsible for leading the official destination marketing efforts. Contact Mattson by telephone at (218) 722-4011 or by e-mail at tmattson@visitduluth.com .

Related Topics: TOURISM
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