for an article about good vacation spots, an illustration of an open suitcase with part of the earth and palm trees coming out of it. a photo is taped to the inside
Outdoor locales offer stunning natural views and wide open spaces that make for a pandemic-safe travel experience. (Illustration by Julie Chow, University of California, Berkeley)

Visit These Vacation Spots Open in the U.S. Right Now

National parks, mountain ranges and beaches all provide safe outdoor options for laid-back and thrill-seeking travelers alike.

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for an article about good vacation spots, an illustration of an open suitcase with part of the earth and palm trees coming out of it. a photo is taped to the inside

National parks, mountain ranges and beaches all provide safe outdoor options for laid-back and thrill-seeking travelers alike.

Are you ready for a vacation? Let’s be real — who’s not ready to take a break from school or work and relax in an exotic, magical paradise? After being forced to stay home for months on end in 2020, many people are itching to make travel plans once more. However, many popular vacation spots worldwide are not available at this time due to coronavirus restrictions or travel bans. The attempt to plan a trip can be overwhelming and is even more so in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you have the travel bug and are itching to go somewhere fun on vacation but don’t know where to look, don’t stress. This guide offers a list of incredible COVID-friendly vacation spots that are available to visit. There are beautiful sights to behold and life-changing outdoor adventures to be had in vacation spots all across the U.S. that are welcoming visitors. From breathtaking snow-capped mountain peaks to awe-inspiring geographical landmarks to warm, sandy beaches, the United States offers a little slice of heaven for every type of vacationer. Grab your suitcase and get ready to explore.

The Mountains

If you enjoy hiking nature trails, riding mountain bikes, or cozying up with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other while watching the sun rise over the forested horizon, the mountains are the place for you. There are many mountain ranges across the country, including California’s Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains of the West Coast and the Appalachian Mountains, which stretch along 1,500 miles of the East Coast.

You may also stay at a national or a state park such as The Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; most parks have cabins, campgrounds and RV parks that are currently open to rent. Websites such as Airbnb and VRBO also provide alternative housing options besides campgrounds. If you are interested in staying in a house or condo, you can filter the availability in the area you are planning to book according to your party size and length of stay.

The mountains are enjoyable in every season, but if you’re seeking an action-packed vacation experience, there’s no better vacation spot than a ski resort. Ski resorts are open in states including North Carolina, Montana, California, Colorado and even Alaska that are begging for skiers and snowboarders to come. You can check the daily open/closed reports of hundreds of ski resorts based on snowfall. Just be sure to bundle up from head to toe before you hit the slopes.

National Parks Out West

According to a U.S. News article about the must-see landmarks and cities in the country, the top three national parks are located in the West: the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone. Whether you prefer a laid-back vacation with stunning views and the opportunity to reconnect with nature, or if you’d rather whitewater raft down the Grand Canyon, take a helicopter ride above a park or hike trails for miles, the national parks out west are for you. You can adjust your schedule to incorporate as many activities, landmarks and parks as you want since there are several within a day’s drive of each other.

The Grand Canyon, for one, is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Moreover, the national parks of the West are also an excellent COVID-friendly vacation option for a large family event or for those seeking to be extra cautious. It is a federal requirement that all guests of national parks wear masks while on the property, and the clean air and open spaces not only allow for social distancing, but the parks provide monumental sights to experience hands-on in an environment unlike anything you’ve ever encountered before.

The Beach

If you prefer lying by the pool while tanning and reading a magazine, there’s good news: Beaches all across the Gulf Coast are waiting for you. The sandy shores of Alabama, including Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, as well as almost all Florida beaches like Seaside, Destin and 30A, are operating in full swing. The California beaches are open to the general public as well. Nevertheless, California beach mandates stipulate that you stay with members of your household or group and enforce strict social distancing. On the East Coast, many beaches are currently closed due to state stay-at-home orders except for limited activities such as surfing. These restrictions might ease with time. Time Out has a list of the best beaches and updates on which are open to the general public.

For those set on the tropical shores of Hawaii, the islands will welcome you — as long as you quarantine 10 days before your arrival. Furthermore, your group must be five or fewer to enjoy the beaches and parks according to state mandates. However, reports appear promising that in the near future, those vaccinated will not be required to complete the pre-testing option. The Points Guy has continuous updates on Hawaii-related travel information.

Are you ready to hit the road yet? There’s nothing quite like a much-needed vacation, and these vacation spots promise to leave you thrilled with excitement, completely relaxed or both. Just be sure to check any local, state or federal laws that might be in place in your desired area before booking. It’s important to be prepared and stay safe; however, don’t let these restrictions “restrict” you from having fun.

Writer Profile

Julianna Steen

Auburn University
English Literature, minoring in History

A few of my favorite things include reading romance novels, watching action movies, baking (and consuming) anything chocolate, creating for my business, He is Simply Goodness, and going on adventures with friends and family!

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