Summer is almost here, and you know what that means — socially distanced summer vacations are on the horizon.
While things will of course look a lot different this year, Americans are starting to venture out of their homes and attempt travel for the first time in months, and safety is the first priority. In fact, many people are overwhelmingly looking for vacations closer to home, which means that roadtrips — a long-standing American tradition — will be making a huge comeback this year.
If you are looking to avoid the crowds and maintain safe social distance while enjoying time with friends and family, there are plenty of domestic destinations within driving distance from most major cities, that are equally as breathtaking and thrilling as some of your favorite islands and countries.
Hit the open road this summer to some of these safe summer getaway destinations.
Greenville's proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains means endless ways to explore the outdoors on foot, by bike or by boat. It's also the perfect 3 day getaway and it's location just off of I-85 makes it easy to drive to in less than 5 hours from a number of major cities in the Southeast — such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Nashville and Raleigh. Be sure to plan for a breathtaking sunrise at the Fred W. Symmes Chapel, also known as "Pretty Place" for its spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains or head to Jones Gap State Park for an array of hiking and biking trails, scenic waterfalls and sweeping views. Enjoy the 22+ mile Swamp Rabbit Trail that's perfect for a leisurely bike ride, and just 7 miles from downtown, Paris Mountain State Park offers more than 15 miles of hiking trails and lakes for fishing and swimming.
San Luis Obispo County, CA
With an average of 315 days of sunshine a year and a spectacular range of topography, SLO CAL offers countless outdoor experiences. Cruise along Highway 1 and soak up the Pacific Ocean’s beauty up close with perennial favorites, such as surfing and kayaking. Or discover new passion with stand-up paddle boarding. Miles of hiking trails invite visitors to explore the region on foot, whether seeking solitude among nature or sweeping vistas of stunning coastline. The newly open 880-acre Pismo Preserve offers over 11 miles of trail traversing serene pak woodlands and coastal ridgelines with stunning panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean stretching from the Irish Hills to Point Sal.
Virginia [Beach] isn’t just for lovers. It’s for any lover who enjoys a good beach, good food and an overall good time. If you haven’t made a trek to this beach town before, you should definitely add to your summer road trip bucket list. Once you’ve had your fill of the boardwalks and waterfront, drive east via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to head to Maryland to enjoy some of the best crabs on this side of the Mason Dixon line.
For an off-the-beaten path escape that won’t break the bank, Nebraska is a no-brainer for adventure seekers. The state’s wide open spaces and interesting geological formations provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. The striking bluffs in western Nebraska, including Toadstool Geological Park, Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff National Monument and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, are perfect for mountain biking, hiking and hot air ballooning, while the varied terrain throughout the state creates a unique backdrop for horseback riding and watersports. This land-locked state has its fair share of aquatic secrets from Lake McConaughy, with 100+ miles of white sandy shoreline to Smith Falls State Park, featuring a 70’ roaring waterfall.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
With its relaxed vibe, towering mountain scenery and miles of open space, Jackson Hole remains first and foremost a small town in the heart of mountain country. Its open backcountry gate system accesses more than 3,000 acres and is not for the faint of heart. While it may be known for its great vertical skiing, summer also caters to the most extreme of outdoor enthusiasts.
For summer road trips, Orlando is an ideal destination for families. Several attractions including Universal CityWalk and Icon Park Orlando have reopened, Disney Springs will begin a phased reopening tomorrow and hotels like the Alfond Inn, which is located in picturesque Winter Park just steps from its walkable Fifth Avenue shops and restaurants as well as its beloved boat tours, is reopened and offering special packages for visitors. Orlando has a large number of outdoor activities, from biking in Winter Garden to swan boats at Lake Eola, walking through Leu Gardens and more.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Less than a 2-hour drive from NYC, and just 30 minutes north of Philadelphia, escape to the countryside of Bucks County this summer. It’s an easy ride from Penn Station’s NJ Transit (hop off at Trenton, NJ and use Uber/Lyft to get around) or with a rental car. Bucks County is home to rolling farms, the beautiful Delaware River, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, and scenic lakes. Some things to do include tubing down the Delaware River, fishing, kayaking or paddleboarding on Lake Nockamixon or camping at one of Bucks County’s private campgrounds.
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
Daufuskie Island in South Carolina is an oceanfront oasis — a magical island escape just off the coast of Savannah and Hilton Head. One could spend an entire week in Haig Point, the private community on the island, without seeing more than a dozen individuals. The tiny Southern island is mostly undeveloped conservancy land, and visitors will love the nature and wildlife experiences that occur daily. Though the island is quiet, visitors do have the chance to engage in some uniquely Daufuskie experiences- — from waterfront horseback riding to a 20 hole Rees Jones signature golf course with 7 waterfront tee boxes or greens.