Covid has pretty much halted international travel, and yes it’s a major bummer. There are a few outliers in the Caribbean and elsewhere that you may currently travel, but beyond these few exceptions, Americans are more or less confined to taking domestic trips closer to home until the Covid crisis subsides.
But, do not despair, there are gorgeous places to travel during Covid right here in your own backyard where you may comfortably explore and exercise your spirit of wanderlust!
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A fan favorite of domestic trips are the U.S. National Parks, especially for those that love the outdoors. The National Park Service opened back up their doors to visitors this past June, and depending on the season, there is a great deal to keep you busy during your stay. Parks are also a good option for travel during Covid due to the fact you’ll be outdoors most of the time and able to more easily practice social distancing.
Yellowstone National Park – Perhaps the most famous national park in the world, spreading over 3,500 sq miles across Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, Yellowstone is a national gem worth visiting. You can expect to see grizzly bears, wolves, and bison and hundreds of geothermal features, such as the most famous geyser, Old Faithful. Not to mention, right next door is the spectacular Grand Teton National Park that wow’s millions of visitors each year.
Zion National Park – The great Utah national park is a paradise for outdoor lovers and thrill-seekers. Hike Angel’s Landing, which brings you up a 1,500-foot natural staircase, or trek The Narrows, a wet and fun hike through the thinnest section of Zion Canyon. For a less physical exploration of the park, you can check out the 57-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which takes you past many of the park’s most famous landmarks.
Glacier National Park – Glacier is a great wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains in the far north of the U.S. With glacier-carved peaks and valleys running up to the Canadian border, the great park is full of wildlife, history (from the railroad to Native American settlers), landmarks, engineering wonders, and natural phenomenon. The best way to take in this beauty is by guided tour; boat, bus, guided hikes, horseback, rafting, and ranger talks.
Mammouth Cave National Park – Situated in central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave features a large expanse of rolling hills, deep river valleys, and the longest known cave system in the world. The park is home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life, earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
Tip: Look up more detailed information on individual national parks by location on the official national park service website HERE.
Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida’s southernmost subtropical paradise. The island getaway combines a unique confluence of history, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture, and romantic appeal.
There is something for everyone in Key West. On the water you can encounter dolphins, kayak the canals and coastline, dive and snorkel, deep sea fish, or rent a boat to explore on your own. On land an abundance of shopping, museums, art galleries, guided tours, theaters, and a thriving nightlife await you.
Duval Street is where the heartbeat of the city comes to life in a diverse array of restaurants, shops, world famous pubs, and attractions. Day and night the main artery through old town is always buzzing with sights, sounds, and people from all walks of life.
Not to be missed is the famous “Sunset Celebration”, considered one of the main tourist attractions in Key West, and perhaps one the of the best sunsets in all of America due to its position in the middle of the ocean.
Tip: Fort Zachary is a less visited area with plenty of walking trails, and one of the best beaches in Key West offering more secluded sunbathing and picturesque sunset views.
Weekend Wine Trips
If you can’t take that long awaited trip to Tuscany, you can still get a taste of the bella vita (the good life) right here in the good ole U.S. of A.
From Napa Valley and Sonoma on the west coast, to vineyards in Virginia on the east coast, to the wine trail in the southern state of Texas, to even lesser known wineries in the heartland of Missouri, there are abundant options when it comes to planning a wonderful wine weekend getaway.
Napa and Sonoma – You will find over 400 wineries in Napa Valley, which is by far the most revisited region for wine lovers in the U.S. offering a wide variety of wines, most known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Less than 30 minutes from Napa, Sonoma County has an additional 250 wineries specializing in Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This region is a bit less touristy and more casual than Napa, which can make it an appealing alternative.
Virginia – Winemaking in Virginia can be traced back to the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Although Mr. Jefferson himself was mostly unsuccessful in his attempt to produce wine, his historic home lies right in the middle of the now Monticello Wine Trail, which encompasses 33 vineyards featuring wines from dozens of different grape varieties, most notably Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay.
Texas – The state of Texas sounds to many more likely to serve you a big steak and a glass of Jack Daniels than a nice glass of vino, but there are actually 53 wineries in Hill Country sprawling out from Austin to New Braunfels.
Missouri – Hermann stands proudly as the epitome of Missouri Wine Country, making up about a third of the yearly state-wide wine sales. Wine is woven into the very culture and history of Hermann, offering a perfect opportunity to experience a 1st class wine experience. Other notable wineries in Missouri include Augusta, the first federally approved AVA, (American Viticultural Area), on record even before Napa.
A Taste of Tuscany in Missouri
If you’re looking for an easy getaway that is already planned and packaged for you, check out our weekend wine tours.
Charleston, South Carolina is a good choice destination for a diversity of vacation seekers from couples, families, single travelers, or even a small group of friends.
It’s easy to see why Charleston is one of the most visited vacation spots on the east coast. The southern charm of the historic city combined with its endless list of attractions, gorgeous coastline, world-class food scene, and fun laid back ambiance make it a destination worth visiting.
Soaking in the rich history of Charleston means starting in the downtown district, and a guided tour is recommended so as not to miss a thing. You’ll experience the historic homes of Nathaniel Russel House, Drayton Hall, and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens along with others. If you’re looking to shop for a few souvenirs on the way you can pop into the famous Charleston City Market; the cultural heart of downtown since 1804.
The southern city is also a good choice for travel during Covid as South Carolina is committed to following the protocols established by Governor McMaster regarding safe social distancing and this heightened awareness of public safety.