This year threw us for a loop. A worldwide pandemic meant canceled weddings, canceled graduations and unfortunately, canceled vacations. You may have been planning the vacation of your dreams after many years, or someone in your family welcomed a new baby that you couldn’t see – yes, 2020 was full of cancelations. But even though it’s been a challenging year, your active travel bug soul may still be yearning for some new scenery.
Still Possible To Travel
A cosmopolitan city, picturesque island, quaint mountain ridge or whatever fills your daydreams, there are plenty of options still open for travel, despite the state of the world. The one thing in common for all the locales on this list is each community is following safe protocols amid the COVID-19 crisis. And while the experience in each destination might be a little different from the norm this time of year, there are still plenty of escape choices from a year that no one expected.
And while we don’t what’s on the horizon for future travel – we’ve investigated a few spots to satiate your wanderlust. So, mask up! We put together a list of where to travel in October 2020, should there be a safe opportunity:
Top 7 Places To Travel:
- Asheville, NC
One of the country’s most beautiful mountain regions, Asheville has 3,000 miles of hiking trails and two national forests, so there is plenty of room for social distancing. The city is renowned for not only the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it’s thriving art and culture scene. Under normal circumstances, the city is abuzz at one of the new breweries or one of the many favored and funky eateries.
It is also known for its dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence. The vast 19th-century Biltmore estate displays artwork by masters like Renoir. There are less than 100,000 residents in Nashville so there is plenty of breathing room.
- Newport, RI
Set on scenic Aquidneck Island, fall in Newport has fewer crowds and beautiful foliage than its peak tourism time in the summer. If you’re looking for a breathtaking, oceanfront view, Newport sits in Narragansett Bay and is renowned for its rich sailing history. Providence is also famous for some of the country’s most historic mansions, many of which are museums today.
The 325-acre Norman Bird Sanctuary and a quality selection of wineries can also fill your days as you take in the autumn weather and relax in a less hectic setting than you may be used to.
- Gatlinburg, TN
Known for its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is one of the country’s hidden treasures. The outdoor options are aplenty with hiking, biking, camping and wildlife for nature enthusiasts. The mountain town is full of charm and activities. From the aquarium to a space needle observation deck, this is the perfect getaway for families with young kids, or even a solo trip.
The Skylift Park, Penguin PlayHouse and a variety of museums will provide more than enough activities, or if you just want to breathe the fresh mountain air and enjoy the distancing, Gatlinburg offers many quality cottages and inns for an escape.
- Sedona, AZ
Take in the stunning views of the red rock scenery in this desert town where you can enjoy comfortably warm weather this fall. A nice little escape, Sedona is home to the famous energy vortexes, popular among the hiking crowd. Beautiful Oak Creek runs through the area, and Oak Creek Canyon is a must-see for a visit here. The vibrant arts community and new age shops are a quirky touch to this one-of-a-kind destination.
And while the town is known to be a tourist spot, you won’t feel encumbered by the masses. Sedona has a little bit for everyone, including soul-nourishing nature spots or local wineries. Businesses in Sedona are cautiously following CDC guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19, so don’t be too nervous to visit the Grand Canyon State.
- Boulder, CO
Sitting at the foothills of the ever-famous Rocky Mountains, Boulder is well-known for its fall foliage and even offers tours where you can see some of the season’s brightest colors. Boulder has also been hailed “America’s Foodiest Town” with plenty of options for your palette. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the 21 craft breweries here, as any beer lover knows this is a must-stop city for discovering some of the country’s best brews.
This creative community offers plenty of outdoor recreation, but a stroll along Pearl Street provides options for shopping too. Residents welcome visitors with open arms and are happy to tell you about their fabulous little city.
- Portland, ME
Not to be confused with that “other Portland” (we certainly wouldn’t advise that during this time), Portland, Maine is one of the most gorgeous maritime communities in the nation. It’s funky, new age vibe has been an evolution from the cobblestone streets, red brick façade and historic architecture the city was founded on.
The locals are happy to suggest some of the best seafood you’ve ever tasted or direct you to the Quincy Market, full of shops and new buildings. You’ll likely hear a lot of lobsterman drawl and you discover all the joys of this hidden treasure locale.
- Niagara Falls, NY
Once you see it, you’ll never forget it. The merging waterfalls in this beautiful destination have been leading tourists here for ages. The legendary Maid of the Mist boat tours, caves accessible by elevator and famous observation towers are just a few ways to take in the watery mecca. And once you’ve witnessed the epic centerpiece of the area, there are plenty of other options for staying entertained during your visit.
The Aquarium of Niagara, the Niagara Falls State Park and the Daredevil Museum are just a few must-stops in this multifaceted region. It is important to note, the border to Canada is closed at the time, but you’ll have plenty of time to discover the picturesque New York side of the natural wonder.
These are just a few of the places in the United States you can visit this October 2020 without too much of a threat for your health. As always, don’t travel if you aren’t feeling well, have health conditions that might be exacerbated, or if your doctor has advised against it at this time.