The coronavirus pandemic has altered many aspects of everyday life, but it doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying your time off. While it's important to limit travel and contact with other people, there are some fantastic summer vacation options that can allow you to relax and have fun in a low-risk environment. Just remember, no matter where you go, it's important to follow recommended precautions, including wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from other people. Wash your hands regularly, and don't forget to pack the hand sanitizer on your way.
Before you click that make a reservation button, be sure that you're aware of the current rules and regulations for the place you're visiting. Each jurisdiction has its own set of protocols regarding things like COVID-19 testing, masks, and social distancing. Knowing this information ahead of time will definitely save you a whole lot of headaches when you arrive. Check the website of wherever you're headed to find out the latest guidelines. If you can't find that information online, call the hotel or city's main phone number directly to confirm.
The pandemic makes it somewhat risky to stay in hotels or eat at restaurants, but you can still enjoy a classic summer road trip without that by renting an RV. A typical RV will contain a small kitchen, a bathroom, and sleeping space, so you essentially have a home on wheels. You can tour the country and only need to stop for gas or pull over at a campground for the night.
If you enjoy kayaking or rafting, you may not think of Texas as a prime destination. However, Big Bend National Park, which is located along the Rio Grande, is a great option for these activities. It also offers plenty of hiking in the diverse landscape, which includes mountains along with the river valley. At night, it's a great place to sit outside and watch the stars. The developed campgrounds may be closed or operating at reduced capacity, but dispersed camping is always available.
While the name might not inspire much confidence, the Badlands of South Dakota are known for their rugged beauty. They're also famous for their emptiness and remoteness, which makes them a great choice for a pandemic vacation. Badlands National Park offers two developed campgrounds, although the visitor center and other amenities may be temporarily closed, so be sure to plan ahead.
Colorado offers plenty of outdoor attractions, but Gunnison National Forest is a hidden gem that people from outside the state often overlook. This sprawling forest offers over 3,000 miles of trails and plenty of campgrounds, which makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors while staying socially distanced. It also offers a wide variety of landscapes, from wildflower-covered meadows to towering evergreen forests.
Most people think of indoor activities like casinos and shows when they think of visiting the Las Vegas area, but Nevada is also home to stunning natural beauty that may be a safer choice during the coronavirus pandemic. Valley of Fire State Park is located just 50 miles away from Las Vegas and features two developed campgrounds where you can relax against a dramatic backdrop of red sandstone bluffs and bright blue sky. It's also a popular location for stargazing.
If you want to see more desert scenery, there's no place better than the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park is the best way to get access, although some campgrounds and amenities may be closed or operating at reduced capacity due to the pandemic. Visiting the South Rim is easier, but it tends to be a bit more crowded. If you're trying to avoid other people and not afraid of a bit of a challenge, the North Rim is often fairly deserted.
If you prefer a greener climate, consider a visit to Olympic National Park. Located in western Washington, this stunning park offers numerous campgrounds right along the Pacific coast. It's also home to one of North America's rain forests, which provides plenty of lush vegetation and towering trees to create a beautiful backdrop. It's an ideal place to spend your days exploring and your nights relaxing under the stars.
Yosemite is one of America's most famous national parks for good reason. This stunning park features towering mountain peaks, lush evergreen forests, and beautiful meadows. It features over a dozen designated campgrounds as well as backcountry options, which makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a more remote vacation. Permits may be required even for day use, so be sure to plan ahead.
While Alaska may be a bit of a challenge to get to during a pandemic, its natural beauty makes it worth the trip. Stop by Denali National Park, its most famous attraction, to hike on the tallest peak in the United States or explore the wilderness. If you prefer to get even farther off the beaten path, you can also explore Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which is the largest national park in the country.
If you're looking to beat the summer heat, you may want to consider a visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. While summer temperatures outside may soar, the cave itself stays at a cool average temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit all year. It's also large enough to allow socially distanced tours, although reservations may be required, and some programs may be on hold. You can camp right in the park, but be sure to come prepared as there are no developed campgrounds.
White Mountain National Forest spreads across parts of New Hampshire and Maine, and it is often considered one of the most beautiful areas in the Northeast. The rugged peaks are popular among hikers and rock climbers, but there's plenty of room to spread out. There are hundreds of campsites and trail shelters scattered throughout the forest.
If you want a little more contact with other people, a trip through Virginia's wine country may be safe middle ground. Vineyards and wineries are spread throughout the state, but the Middleburg area is a good starting point for a tour. Many wineries offer outdoor tastings and entertainment, so it's a good choice for a pandemic vacation.
Located on the coast of Maryland, the Assateague Island National Seashore is a spacious and beautiful vacation spot. It features approximately 37 miles of beaches and coastline, which makes it a great choice for people who want to relax in the sun, paddle around in a kayak, or simply splash around in the water. The island is also home to a famous herd of wild horses, which lucky visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of. The park is generally open, but certain campgrounds and amenities may be closed.
Montana has historically been a place people go for isolation, which makes it a great spot for a pandemic vacation. Glacier National Park is one of the main attractions in this beautiful state. More than 700 miles of trails wind through pristine forests and alpine meadows, making it easy to stay socially distanced while enjoying unforgettable views. You can also take a trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, often described as one of the most beautiful roads in the United States. Some trails and attractions may require advance reservations.
The pandemic has shut down many historic sights, but you can still view an amazing piece of history at Dry Tortugas National Park. It's home to Fort Jefferson, a stunning brick building surrounded by water. This park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, so it tends to have a smaller amount of visitors than many others, which makes it ideal for social distancing. Be sure to pack your snorkel if you plan to camp out here because one of the world's largest barrier reefs is located just offshore.
Have fun on a socially distanced trip visiting a peaceful lake and staying in your very own private cabin. Many property owners rent their cabins out during the summer, so you'll have your very own private lakefront home. From the shores of Maine to Florida and the coastlines of Washington state, there are endless lakefront options out there to consider. You'll still get to enjoy the beauty of the water and the fun of swimming without all of the extra tourist distractions. If you want to save some cash, consider renting a large cabin with a few of your closest family members or friends.
You don't have to travel far to enjoy a relaxing, socially distanced trip. If your area is safe to venture out in, spend some time doing new things that are a bit closer to home. Visit an art museum, explore a local park or look into taking a fun, historic walking tour.
Vacationing close to home will make it easier to stay on track in terms of a safe, overnight stay since you'll be able to return to your own abode. The goal is to try something new or take in a change of scenery while kissing the home office goodbye. Take a few days off and enjoy exploring the things that are right in your own backyard.