Even with the global pandemic, many Americans have been itching for a summer getaway. To make travel realistic this year, both the hospitality industry and those they hope to serve have had to make significant pivots. Travelers have swapped dream trips for vacations that make them feel comfortable
They are also offering surprising opportunities, deal discounts and unexpected programming to get travelers traveling again.
But many states require strict self-quarantine requirements for new visitors or even returning residents. If you decide to travel, before you book be sure to look up any travel restrictions for your destination and understand they may change at any time. Only travel if you are healthy. And finally, you should consider if a self-quarantine will be required when you return home; perhaps yet another reason to vacation close by.
Here’s a round-up of a few notable travel options this summer in the United States.
Rare Opportunities Within the National Park Service
With much international travel halted and many Americans choosing not to travel, this summer offers a chance to visit popular national park destinations without the usual crowds.
And for some parks, without the usual cost. In-park lodging at Grand Canyon and Death Valley is 30 percent off this summer, according to Betsy O’Rourke, chief marketing officer for Xanterra, which operates concessions and lodging in Yellowstone, Glacier and several other parks.
“Between international business and group trips, we are usually sold out thirteen months in advance,” she said. “The best opportunities are at Grand Canyon and Death Valley where cancellations have created vacancies.”
A face-covering requirement for guests is one of several safety measures now in place at indoor public areas in all Xanterra’s facilities.At Yellowstone and Glacier, in-park lodging options are currently booked for the summer. But if you have your heart set on Yellowstone, try Paradise Valley, approximately an hour’s drive from the park, where you’ll find the luxury 50-room Sage Lodge, charming cabins at Yellowstone Valley Lodge1 (up to 20 percent off for Montanans2) or the historic Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa. All have availability this summer and all have implemented new health and safety measures.3
Whitefish, just twenty minutes from Glacier, is a wonderful further-afield base. The old logging town is filled with restaurants and lodgings like Snow Bear Chalets, which are luxury tree houses that sleep six, or The Garden Wall Inn, which has introduced air-purification measures like HEPA filters and U.V. light technology.
Find Seclusion on the Coasts
Those with scotched trips to the Mediterranean have alternatives at on-the-water domestic inns, like Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, Ga., and Island Inn 123 West on Washington’s San Juan Island. (Both destinations are so secluded that they require a ferry crossing, and Island Inn is offering a 20 percent discount in July.)
In Cape Neddick, Me., the 150-year-old Cliff House now has U.V. air-purification systems and HEPA filters for guest rooms, new deep-cleaning protocols, glass partitions in public spaces and touchless technology in the form of wave activated doors and a texting system to communicate with housekeeping, the concierge or room service
“Our team spent every moment since March figuring out how to make guests’ experience safer,” said Nancy White, the general manager.
Social Distance on a Ranch
The elimination of self-service food buffets and reduced
–— or privatized – —group activities make them even more appealing.
Shawna Huffman Owen, a Virtuoso travel adviser, is booking clients into luxury properties like Brush Creek Ranch in WY, Ranch at Rock Creek in MT, and Lodge at Blue Skyin UT (all about $1500 a day) as an anchor for longer road trips. “People feel safe at a middle-of-nowhere, self-contained ranch where everything is outdoors and activities and meals are built-in,” she said.
, you don’t need to spend a fortune. The rustic Badger Creek Ranch in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains takes only 6 – to 8 guests at a time and focuses on horsemanship (There is a minimum four-night stay, $1,800 per adult7, children 50 percent off.)
Also in Colorado and near Rocky Mountain National Park, the 3,200
At Flathead Lake Lodge in Big Fork Montana, you’ll sleep in historic cabins, sail, waterski and partake in horseback riding on the property’s 2000 acre spread. A weeklong stay is $3998. There is a twenty percent discount offered for th last week of August
Deal alert: The White Stallion Ranchch in Arizona, which usually prices a weeklong stay at $2,928, is also offering deals this summer (through August 31). A new a-la
, or rock climbing)
D.I.Y. Summer Camp
Canceled summer camps
– and frantic parents – inspired Embark Beyond, a luxury tour operator to this summer create Camp Embark, a . At Amangiri in Utah, Watch Hill Inn in Rhode Island and more than 30 other five-star resorts across the country, children will enjoy afternoons of paintball, volleyball, aerial ropes courses, horseback riding, and relay races organized by a dedicated camp counselor.
“People were looking to ‘save the summer’ with a pampered experience that allowed parents to work remotely and kids to have structured fun within a contained environment,” said Jack Ezon, founder of Embark Beyond
. . (Rates from 12k-150K per week)
In Pembroke, Va., Mountain Lake Lodge supplies a feels-like-camp setting
, with horseshoes, hula hoops, and volleyball on the great lawn and hiking in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. They have a 3third-night
In Wisconsin, Camp Wandawega was completely booked through the summer for corporate events. Those cancellations have opened availability at the lakefront retreat known for its wooden cabins and throwback activities like Boy Scout knot
Reduced-Size Tour Groups
Backroads, the outdoors tour operator, has this year limited its already small bike trips to ten participants, with itineraries planned to national parks and other destinations like Oregon’s Crater Lake area. New safety measures include grab
The cost of a four-night bike trip to Maine’s Acadia region (National Park, Bar Harbor & Camden) is $2,999 per person which includes lodging, meals, van transportation, and bike use)
Austin Adventures, a veteran tour operator of multisport group trips all over the globe, rebooted operations to focus on national parks. New protocols
: include consistent guide testing, two 15 , and enhanced, daily cleaning of equipment.
A five night trip to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, $3898 for adults with a 20% discount for children includes all activities, meals, and van transportation.