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August 2020

Weekender: 6 Vacation Ideas with Social Distancing 

By Jen Murphy

This content is written by a freelance author and commissioned and paid for by American Express.

 Couple kayaking in lake

With international travel options limited due to the coronavirus, Americans are getting creative vacationing near home. The U.S. is blessed with beautiful, vast spaces, from national parks to stunning coasts. Here are six ways to venture out and enjoy the outdoors.

Tour America by Bike

Your dream cycling trip through Provence may be on hold, but domestic rides can help you train for next year’s cycling trip abroad. The U.S. is home to sensational cycling destinations. Colorado is renowned for mountain bike terrain, while the country roads of New York’s Hudson Valley and the Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys are idyllic for road riding. 

 


Planning Tips:

The Adventure Cycling Association features maps and an app with more than 50,000 miles of routes across North America. Many cycling operators are taking extra safety precautions on guided rides and offer options for both private and self-guided tours. 

 

Hike & Camp

Walking, particularly in nature, can positively affect your body and mood.1 If desiring a more challenging outing than your daily stroll, hiking is an easy way to stay active, adventure outdoors, and practice social distancing. Start with mellow day hikes and progress to multi-day adventures where you carry your supplies and pitch a tent at day’s end. Discerning campers can sleep in style by booking an overnight glamping retreat.

 


Planning Tips:

The American Hiking Society gives advice on hiking during the pandemic and answers questions on everything from gear and etiquette to using a compass and selecting a campsite. Check out the Hiking Project for information on more than 100,000 trails. Campsites have been in high-demand, so book your spot well in advance. 

 


Go RV-ing

According to industry predictions, 46 million Americans2 plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months. The latest RVs are nothing like the motorhomes from your parents’ summer road trips. Top-of-the-line models boast amenities such as gourmet kitchens, washers and dryers, living rooms, flatscreen TVs, and Wi-Fi. And if you’re nervous about driving a large vehicle, many companies offer the option to hire a driver.

 


Planning Tips:

GoRving.com is the ultimate resource for RV newbies, with comparisons on different models, info on buying and renting, and advice on where to go. Goss RV specializes in high-end RVs and can arrange drivers and stays at luxury motorcoach resorts. 

 


Explore America's Parks

This is the year to rediscover your own backyard. America boasts 419 national parks3, 10,336 local state parks4, and countless local greenspaces. Iconic destinations like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon may be on most everyone’s bucket list, but consider less-trafficked parks, such as Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison or Isle Royale in Michigan.

 


Planning Tips:

The National Park Service features regular updates on the latest COVID-19 rules, which might include mandatory park reservations and altered park hours. Your local chamber website is the best source for current visitation guidelines and travel advisories for local parks. 

 


Take to the Water

Studies have shown that being near or in water brings us to a calmer state, both physically and mentally.5 If you’ve been feeling stressed, consider getting out on a local lake or river. And if you live by the coast, head to the ocean. There’s a meditative quality whether you’re paddling a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard. If you crave a bit more action, book a family whitewater rafting adventure. 

 


Planning Tips:

Paddling.com covers the basics, from types of paddles to safety tips, and the site’s free app has a database of more than 22,000 paddling locations. If you are considering a whitewater rafting trip, ask operators about any extra safety precautions, such as limiting boat capacity. 

 


Plan a Picnic

Vacations are designed to slow down and indulge in life’s simple pleasures, like a leisurely lunch. Order a gourmet restaurant meal, pack it in a basket with a bottle of great wine, and dine al fresco against the backdrop of a majestic mountain or serene lake.* 

 


Planning Tips:

Picnic Time stocks all of your picnic needs, from fancy baskets to blankets and wine totes. Shop small and support local businesses by sourcing ingredients from your local farmer’s market or boutique grocers. Alternatively, support your local restaurants by ordering a meal from Resy at Home.

 



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