Spending the last three months cooped up at home makes us all itch for a family vacation, that’s for sure. While we might not be able to fly off to a tropical all-inclusive resort this summer, there are loads of options for family vacations that we can do this summer, like beach trips or road trips to national parks. The options below have plenty of outdoor activities and COVID-19 precautions in place to keep everyone safe. Scroll through for some travel inspiration!
Head north from San Francisco and you'll find the rocky coastline of Mendocino County—the perfect escape from the crowds. With lodging properties, restaurants and tasting rooms open to leisure visitors, a summer visit to Mendocino can be the perfect option for families. Breathe in the fresh, coastal air and spend some time in this beautiful part of Northern California.
What to do: You can't go wrong visiting one of the many beaches along the Mendocino Coast. Favorites include Bowling Ball Beach in Point Arena and Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. Then climb aboard the Skunk Train for a train ride through the redwoods or reserve a two-person railbike for an even more unique experience. Catch-a-Canoe is open for rentals with a reservation system in place to keep interactions with other visitors to a minimum.
Where to stay: If you are looking for a glamping adventure, Mendocino Grove is welcoming guests this summer with reduced occupancy to allow for social distancing. Little River Inn is another great spot for families with one of the best views of the coastline you've seen.
Hawks Cay Resort - Duck Key, FL
Plenty of social distancing-approved vacation opportunities for families are available at Hawks Cay. The lagoon and the pools are open, guests can paddleboard or take a sunset cruise (space is limited to maintain social distancing), and eat great food outdoors. The Hawks Cay famous Dolphin Trainer for a Day program is also operational. The program includes in-water and dockside activities, and behind-the-scenes educational fun. Space is limited: two to three people ages 10 and over, per day.
COVID-19 update: To keep guests and employees safe, Hawks Cay is taking extensive measures. Face masks are required indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. All spas and outdoor recreational areas, including the basketball courts, are closed at this time, food may be ordered via a contactless system, and intensive room cleaning procedures are in place. You can see all the updates by clicking here.
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi - Santa Fe, NM
A visit to Santa Fe offers families plenty of outdoor adventures such as exploring Bandelier National Park along with the cultural experiences of the city. exploring the city, This summer, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, a boutique property right in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, is providing families with a unique experience with the Family Time program. Families staying three nights will receive a fourth night free, $50 resort credit per paid night, as well as a special welcome amenity for children and complimentary dining for children ages twelve and under at the popular Anasazi Restaurant. A complimentary in-room movie night complete with popcorn will delight guests of all ages during this uniquely New Mexican experience.
COVID-19 update: The Rosewood has enhanced safety and cleanliness protocols to ensure the wellbeing of guests. Guests will be contacted prior to arrival for contactless check-in and check-out. Staff are required to wear face masks and gloves throughout the property, and 24 hours are allowed between reservations for a deep cleaning and room sanitation; therefore, no guest room will be booked with back-to-back reservations. All high-touch items such as books and magazines have been removed from the guest rooms and replaced with care kits including sets of gloves, alcohol wipes and face masks. In-room products such as mug, glasses and towels will all be individually cleaned, sterilized and wrapped between each use.
Learn more at rosewoodhotels.com/inn-of-the-anasazi-santa-fe
Wylder Hotel, Tilghman Island - Chesapeake Bay, MD
Escape to an island in the Chesapeake Bay this summer. The Wylder Hotel on Tilghman Island is nine acres of scenic grounds and offers a plethora of social distancing-friendly activities like stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks, island bike riding, sailing, nature walks, beachcombing, charter fishing trips, access to a private marina with 25 boat slips and bocce ball. There’s a saltwater swimming pool and lots of outdoor dining opportunities, which include takeout from Tickler’s Crab Shack & Restaurant and picnic tables spread out all over the property.
Wylder Hotel will be following CDC recommended guidelines in regards to COVID, and will be implementing touchless check-in with direct room access, to-go dining, remote room requests, and restricting the use of public elevators and lobbies to limit exposure to other guests and staff. Guests can expect increased availability of hand sanitizers as well as added cleaning protocols that include regularly disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Head to Cheyenne for a crowdless cowboy adventure this summer! Even though the legendary Frontier Days has been canceled, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.
What to do: Head to Pole Mountain for hiking or camping, Gowdy State Park for family-friendly mountain biking, and Terry’s Bison Ranch for horseback riding. Head to the Cheyenne Depot Museum to learn about the history of the area—only 20 guests will be allowed in at a time to maintain social distancing. Masks are recommended but not mandatory.
Where to stay: Terry's Ranch also offers a range of COVID-friendly lodging options including private cabins, RV hookups and campgrounds.
What to do: This popular Texas Hill Country destination is filled with peach orchards, charming German culture, and plenty of hiking and biking opportunities. There will even be fireworks for the Fourth of July, although the Main Street Parade, the Fourth of July Celebration at Luckenbach Texas, and the Chili Cook-Off at Becker Vineyards have been canceled. Be sure to check out the Old Tunnel State Park Bat Cave, which is an ideal spot after the Texas sun has gone down. Social distancing is required, groups should be no more than 10, and masks are recommended but not required when not eating or engaging in water activities.
Club Getaway - Kent, CT
This 300-acre camp located in the Berkshires is offering a brand new five-day, four-night Campaway program for groups of up to 10 campers (ages 3 and up) and their families. The all-inclusive program includes activities like swimming, boating, hiking, biking, ziplining and more. There are private cabins with bathrooms, air conditioning and each group is assigned a designated counselor for the duration of their stay.
COVID safety measures include diagnostic testing, temperature checks and social distancing, and the addition of more than 100 hand sanitizing stations. When a distance of six feet or more cannot be maintained, face masks will be required. Club Getaway directors and crew will be required to wear face masks when interacting with guests at close range for more than 15 minutes, the kitchen and cleaning crews are required to wear a mask and gloves while working, and equipment and activity areas will be cleaning daily. More information can be found in the complete COVID-19 Guide.
Cost: $899 per camper, which includes one free adult chaperone for every five children campers and $489 for each additional adult.
Dates: Jul. 6-10, Jul. 13-17 and Aug. 3-8
Big Cedar Lodge - Ridgedale, MO
Outdoor adventures are trending this summer and for good reason. With plenty of space, fresh air and sunshine, you’ll be able to unwind without worrying about crowds. Big Cedar Lodge has over 4,600 acres of wilderness in the Ozark Mountains; you’ll find wide-open spaces, green hills, Table Rock Lake, spring-fed creeks, and a beautiful night sky filled with stars.
Opt to stay in one of the log cabins or go for a glamping experience at Camp Long Creek, which includes a “welcome back” complimentary s’ mores kits. COVID safety efforts include temperature checks, extra cleaning and sanitizing of living spaces, additional sanitizing stations, and social distancing protocols in necessary areas.
Sage Lodge - Pray, MT
Sage Lodge is a luxury resort that sits on over 1,200 acres of rural landscape right on the banks of the Yellowstone River, and provides breathtaking views of the ruggedly beautiful Paradise Valley and Emigrant Peak. Social distancing won't be a problem as Sage Lodge can house the whole family comfortably with their unique Ranch Houses. With 2,783 square feet to spread out, each Ranch House includes four separate bedrooms, full kitchen, dining area, living room, double-sided gas fireplace and private patio. The Lodge has enacted a number of COVID safety measures to keep all visitors safe.
What to do: Montana vacations are synonymous with outdoor adventure, be it fishing, rafting, snowshoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking, or just meandering around the ranch trails at your leisure. Take a private tour of Yellowstone, practice your casting on the pond or hire an instructor to up your fishing game.
View this post on Instagram
Greene County, NY
Located just two hours from New York, the Catskill Mountains offer loads of outdoor activities for families. Visit the mountaintop to hike the Catskill Park, walk through Thomas Cole's house, fly down the longest, fastest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America, or paddleboard out to the historic Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
Where to stay: Families will get a kick out of the The Roxbury at Stratton Falls, where you can spend the night in over-the-top themed accommodations ranging from superhero comic strips and Dracula's lair, to fairytale forests (pumpkin carriage and all!). Another fun option is the Eastwind Hotel & Bar, a 1920’s Catskills lodge transformed into a Scandinavian-influenced complex surrounded by sweeping views of the Windham Mountain in the Catskills.
What to do: Walk on the Hudson River Skywalk along the Rip Van Winkle Bridge or take in views at Coxsackie Riverside Park. Want to see the Catskills from the water? Screaming Eagle Outdoor Adventures in Athens features kayak rentals so you can explore along the Hudson River.
Get out and explore the Colorado mountains this summer. With gorgeous views, wildflowers galore and high alpine lakes, it’s no surprise that hiking is one of the most popular summer activities in Breckenridge. Here are some of the best summer hiking trails for families in the area.
Not only is Breckenridge a hiker’s dream, it’s also a mecca for bikers of all kinds, from road bikers to mountain bikers to cruisers and everything in between. Discover the seemingly endless trails and paths for every level of rider and get ready to take in the views on two wheels. Bike trailers for hauling the little ones are available for rent, too.
If you want to hit the trails in a new way, horseback riding and ATV rides are also available for family excursions.
Where to stay: This past winter, Breck’s Peak 8 base area was transformed and includes Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ third and final building of the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 complete with a rooftop terrace, a 15-person private movie theater, an escape room, awesome pool and more. It's the perfect spot for your family getaway.
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia is easily accessible by car from many East Coast cities and is now back in business welcoming vacationers from near and far. While there are new restrictions and guidelines being followed in this post-quarantine world, the major attractions that make this iconic destination so famous are open or will open soon, including Colonial Williamsburg, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, most restaurants, hotels, resorts, wineries, breweries and more.
To encourage visitation to the region, the Williamsburg Tourism Council has launched a new “Life. At Your Pace” marketing campaign to remind guests that the region’s varied and diverse attractions and experiences—from kayaking to Segway tours of battlefields, from brew pubs to amusement parks and golf—offer everyone from all walks of life multiple experiences that allow them to explore at their own pace and comfort level.
Where to stay: Kingsmill Resort is a lovely destination for families with lots of outdoor activities on the property and nearby. Go fishing on the James River, play a round of family golf, cruise around on the resort's lazy river and plan a day at the nearby Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course.
Rosewood Miramar Beach - Montecito, CA
A proper and safe beach vaycay isn't out of the question this year, especially if you are within driving distance of Montecito (Santa Barbara). This summer Rosewood Miramar Beach has a More Miramar offer. Upon booking, families will receive a complimentary third night when staying two nights in a row, plus a $100 Resort credit per night. Families can enjoy a gorgeous pool, watersports, s'mores kits and even curated picnic baskets that can be delivered contactlessly and enjoyed throughout the resort’s grounds.
COVID-19 Update: Launching in tandem with the reopening, several enhanced health and safety protocols have been introduced as part of new brand-wide programs from both Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Caruso, the resort’s ownership group. All associates are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) that they are required to wear at all times, and guests will also receive a care kit upon arrival stocked with face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to use at their discretion. Thermal cameras have been installed to check the temperatures of all guests and associates at their respective entry points, as well as electrostatic sprayers to regularly sanitize both front of house and back of house spaces. Additionally, UV machines have been installed within the heating, ventilation and cooling systems in the Manor House, the central hub of all activity at the resort and the location of several of the property’s food and beverage venues, to provide for an even further level of sanitization throughout the space.
Learn more at rosewoodwoodhotels.com/miramarbeach
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 three-day getaway and it's location just off of I-85 makes it easy to drive to in less than five hours from a number of major cities in the southeast.
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. Head to Jones Gap State Park for an array of hiking and biking trails, scenic waterfalls and sweeping views. Climb up to Rainbow Falls, a 140-ft waterfall, that lies deep in the heart of South Carolina’s 40,000-acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Preserve. Cool off and take a dip in the Middle Saluda River or follow the Jones Gap Trail as you go from swimming hole to swimming hole.
Where to stay: If you are looking to make the most of your time outdoors, Greenville has a number of campgrounds and cabins available for families.
Grand Rapids, MI
Families can soak up this riverfront western Michigan city’s warm summer weather during a relaxed and affordable weekend getaway, sans crowds. Kids and parents alike will love exploring the outdoor art and the Frederic Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, now reopened, which includes a wide range of pieces by every artist from Rodin to Ai Weiwei. The Grand Rapids Public Museum will reopen on July 6 and features fun exhibits for kids with all interests—from a science exhibit on bodies to an interactive exhibit on the history of toys (parents will also enjoy this trip down memory lane).
Where to stay: The city has plenty of places to lay one’s head in its Hotel District, including the historic Amway Grand Plaza and the upscale JW Marriott Grand Rapids, which are taking extra sanitation precautions in light of the pandemic.
Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains - Scotrun, PA
Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains announced it will welcome guests back to the resort beginning Friday, June 19, providing a close, convenient staycation for families looking to take that long-awaited getaway together. Additionally, Great Wolf Lodge introduced its new Paw Pledge program, a company-wide initiative focused on keeping families healthy and safe while they play together at the indoor waterpark resort and developed based on guidance from health authorities and public officials.
Enjoy the kid-friendly activities, a range of dining options, an adult-friendly wine down service and more all under one roof. Your stay includes access to the 79,000-sq. ft. water park kept warm at 84-degrees year-round.
With an abundance of outdoor activities and educational tours, Newport is an ideal escape for families looking for a mix of coast and culture. Newport's enchanting 3.5-mile Cliff Walk offers panoramic ocean views, crashing waves and the perfect amount of sea breeze on one side and stunning, century-old, Gilded Age mansions on the other. There are loads of other free things to do in Newport including a visit to a historic fort.
Where to stay: The family fun continues at The Wayfinder Hotel (which just debuted in Newport in May), thanks to amenities such as in-room tents and suites complete with in-room kitchenettes and living rooms. Parents can even book a private summer camp experience for their young travelers, inclusive of an in-room tent, sailing lesson led by local experts, evening s’mores and storytelling, and an on-site lesson with a local Newport artist.
Families seeking an affordable outdoor getaway this summer can embark on a road trip to Lexington, KY—the “Horse Capital of the World”—and explore championship thoroughbred horse farms (more than 400, in fact!) via private behind-the-scenes tours, tour the grounds of historic bourbon distilleries (14 of the state’s largest) and take in numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure, like hiking and kayaking, within one of KY’s most beautiful natural areas, the Kentucky River Palisades (a 450-million-year-old ecosystem).
For deliciously-affordable eats, take a drive out to Wallace Station, a country café with picnic tables surrounded by picturesque hills and horse farms with white picket fences. For craft ice cream lovers, Crank & Boom’s new Summer Pop Up Shop serves up handcrafted ice creams with flavors that embody the heart of Kentucky like Bourbon & Honey and KY Blackberry & Buttermilk.
Where to stay: Book a stay at Shaker Village, the largest restored Shaker village in the world featuring 3,000 acres of outdoor adventure and 72 guest rooms, suites, and private cottages, or at the 1,200-acre Kentucky Horse Park Campground with 260 spacious sites for tents, RV’s and trailer campers.
Door County, WI
Door County has plenty of wide-open spaces, which is perfect for summer 2020. A visit to Door County in July/August will bring you to the wonder of cherry season. Pick these sweet fruits right from the trees and enjoy cherry baked goods and even cherry bratwurst. Don’t worry, even if you aren’t there for prime cherry time you’ll be able to grab loads of this local fruit at stores and restaurants around town.
What to do: Opt to go kayaking on Lake Michigan, take a leisurely hike or bike ride, or even a scenic drive. The famous Door County beaches are open, but social distancing rules are in place. Many restaurants are still offering curbside or takeout, and a few have ample alfresco opportunities, including Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza & Grille, and Pelletier’s. Check out all the COVID safety measures being taken by clicking here.
The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village - Cape Coral, FL
Known for its access to 400 miles of navigable canals and waterways rich with marine life, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village offers both a relaxing and adventurous tropical escape for families seeking an all-immersive nature experience. Perfect for large families, the resort's suites boast a full kitchen and Fridge Fills can be completed upon request when made 7 days in advance. These fills can include both ready-made meals as well as ingredient baskets where the resort’s chef will provide guests with a selection of recipes to choose from and all ingredients necessary to prepare it. With activities from private fishing charters, kayaks, paddleboards and Dolphin & Sunset Cruises, teens will be so enthralled by exploring South Florida’s natural beauty that they will not even notice their accidental digital detox.
If hiking to waterfalls hidden in underground caves, flying over treetops and exploring magical rock gardens sounds like the makings of an adventurous family vacation, then pack your bags and head to Chattanooga! Your visit to Chattanooga gives you the opportunity to see two southern states in one trip. To the city’s south, Georgia is a mere 15-minute drive away and offers visitors to the area a plethora of must-experience activities. Chances are good that as you go on the adventures in our guide to Chattanooga, you will find yourself crossing the boarder over and over again.
What to do: The iconic Lookout Mountain Incline Railway just underwent renovations including making it wheelchair accessible. Back open for business June 29, new red and yellow cars will also feature bigger windows for better views, heat and air conditioning. Lookout Mountain played a pivotal role in the U.S. Civil War well before the first train was built in 1885. Since then, the train’s earned the moniker, “America’s most amazing mile,” because of the scenic views afforded by a trip on the train. Its history is as fascinating as its panoramas are beautiful!
Where to stay: The SpringHill Suites by Marriott is the perfect place for your crew to set up basecamp. Located in Downtown Chattanooga, right on the Tennessee Riverfront, it sets you up to be within a short walking, biking or driving distance of everything on your to-do list.
—Kate Loweth & Gabby Cullen
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, all locations and resorts were open for business. Please check individual websites for the latest information.