Just because there’s a pandemic going on, doesn’t mean that all hope for summer travel is lost. While making plans for international travel may be worrisome to most, there are plenty of domestic options where you can — safely — travel with the whole family. Of course, social distancing is a must, and there will be new rules and regulations enforced, but the change of scenery will likely be better than the past 3+ months of being cooped up in your home.
Unsure where to visit or just looking for some travel inspiration to help you explore a new or underrated destination that appeals to everyone from the babies to the grandparents? We’ve got you covered! Hit the road and explore these destinations with the whole family this summer.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
OBX has undoubtedly become one of the most top rated travel destinations on the East Coast. On the stretch of Highway 12 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks you’ll never be too far from a beautiful sandy beach. If you luck out and snag a beach house, the kids can go for a dip in its beautiful waters everyday, enjoy the ocean breeze for some power kite boarding, play on the East Coast’s largest sand dune or climb lighthouse staircases along the coast. The best part about OBX is that it’s as historical as it is beautiful. The whole family will be able to discover maritime history listening to stories of shipwrecks, rescues, and Blackbeard the pirate at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Allegany County, Maryland
If this is your family’s first-ever road trip, you might feel particularly drawn to the National Road in Allegany County, “The Mountain Side of Maryland.” The county seat of Cumberland is home to Mile Marker Zero, meaning this is where America’s first federally funded highway got its start, thanks to a decry by Thomas Jefferson. In short, the National Road was indeed “America’s First Road Trip.” The National Road now stretches across most of the state of Maryland and then into five other states, but Allegany County, where it all began, has some of the very best stretches of this historic highway.
Big Sky, Montana
Montana is known as Big Sky Country, and nowhere is that name more fitting than in the town of Big Sky itself. The air is fresh, the pace of life is slower, and big blue skies dominate the scenery—rivaled only by the rocky peaks of the Gallatin Range. Home to nine national forests, Big Sky is a beacon for outdoor recreation, particularly hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting — so if you have a family of explorers and adventurers, this will be their jam. It’s just an hour’s drive from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, renowned for its hot springs and abundant wildlife.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
The Gulf Shores, Alabama is the perfect family destination because it's got all the beaches without the crowd. And though many don’t feel comfortable traveling abroad just yet, it's got white sand, seashells, sunsets and seafood — everything you need to bring the Caribbean right here to you.
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Getting away from it all doesn’t get any easier than heading for the Creole Nature Trail in Louisiana. This 180-mile trip takes you deep into “Louisiana’s Outback,” an area of the state where nature reigns supreme and time seems to stand still. You’ll drive past sandy beaches and estuaries, where you can spot wildlife ranging from alligators to birds and butterflies. There’s something for mom, dad and the kids — you can fish, hunt or go crabbing along the Trail, and if you need still more magnificent wildlife, you’ll want to veer onto Pintail Wildlife Drive, a three-mile self-driving tour where you’re sure to see plenty of alligators.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is the idyllic destination for summer relaxation. Affectionately known as “The Cape,” it’s the perfect balance between being active and relaxing. Rivaling the quaintness of Martha’s Vineyard (which we all know Black folks love), with old-fashioned beach town fun, you’ll discover beaches for sandcastles, lots of intimate and family owned restaurants, tons of whale watching, kayaking, and even a 10-mile Shining Sea Bikeway for pedaling galore. This wouldn’t be a family-favorite destination without its share of mini-golf spots, batting cages, bumper boats, and ice cream shops.
The 50-mile section of Route 9 will take you through a preserved coastal marshland known as the Bayshore Byway. There are charming stores along these streets, including galleries, gift shops, jewelry boutiques. antiques vendors and even an independent bookseller. Jessop’s Tavern is your go-to spot for a colonial-style picnic lunch. With pot roast, fish and chips, mouthwatering lobster mac and cheese, and several other unconventional picnic options, this historic restaurant will make you feel right at home in historic New Castle.
There couldn’t be a more perfect Washington, D.C. Why? Because it has something for everyone. Interesting activities for kids, historic landmarks, amazing restaurants, and beautiful waterfront retail — pick your poison at the Wharf or at Navy Yard. You’ll want to head to the National Mall to ride the carousel on the 2-mile grassy stretch between the Lincoln Memorial and U.S. Capitol, before riding bikes through the city to see the Capitol building or the Dr. King Memorial.