Staycations in the US have become great options for travelers and families who still want to enjoy their vacations and summer break. The world has changed dramatically since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. The limitations in the movement of people, especially for international trips was severely impacted. Because of that, I have put together an Ultimate Guide of the Best Staycation cities and places in the United States. It will help with your trip planning safely.
As covid vaccines are rolled out and infections are reducing, great options are presented for traveling safely. Here you will find out the benefits of staycation and the best options for a fun holiday.
What are staycations?
According to Wikipedia, a staycation or “holistay” is a period in which an individual or family participates in leisure activities on a day-trip. It is usually within a short distance of their home. Hence, it usually does not require overnight accommodation.
During years of crisis or economic uncertainty, staycations become great leisure options. Staycations achieved popularity in the United States during the financial crisis of 2007–2008. In the UK in 2009, as a weak British Pound made international holidays significantly more expensive, domestic travel had considerably increased. Moreover, in British English, Staycations have been progressively understood as holidays in one’s own country, as opposed to traveling abroad.
Identically, I think the same is happening in the US.
Why are staycations better?
Here are some reasons why staycations are better than going abroad.
They are cheaper. Package Holidays, short trips, and lack of the need of exchanging money, visa and credit card fees make staycations more affordable. Likewise, planning vacations near your home saves you money in rentals, food and etc, leaving extra cash for fun activities. You can visit big cities like New York or visit other small towns.
Staycations are a fantastic opportunity enjoy a great time with family and friends. You don’t have the rush and adrenaline of needing to maximize every second abroad with speedy visits to 100 sites. With that, you can have a chilled time with your travel group. Consequently, it will be a less stressful trip for sure.
If you are a teacher, I have very good tips for you to enjoy a nice trip (away from your students). Check this article about teacher travel.
No language barrier. The only language barrier you may find will be local accents. It will actually be a great topic for conversation and an opportunity to meet locals.
Pets. It is just easier to bring Buddy, Cooper, Daisy, and Bella with you. They will surely be excited and enjoy the new scenery. Moreover, you won’t feel guilty by leaving them with your neighbor, your mother-in-law, or at a hotel.
Support local businesses. A good way to improve the circular economy and promote local communities’ purchase and financial power.
Discover hidden gems. Those fantastic places that are on the back of the list because “they are too close to home” will actually surprise you. You will see how majestic your country can be. Moreover, you can also find local delicacies in the nest State or cities that will blow your mind.
When will staycations be allowed? Can staycations still go ahead?
Technically, you can travel locally within some States. However, you have to observe each law requirements for quarantine and isolation.
At the moment of the publication of this article, 31 States have no quarantine or testing requirements for out-of-state travelers. 4 States have no quarantine requirements (but these States are not moving forward with the next phase of reopening). And 16 states have either full quarantine requirements or travel limitations in place. Hence, travelers should reconsider their plans to visit.
Before you travel, make sure you visit the CDC and your local government websites for more information. You need clarity about what you can do and activities you are allowed to engage on.
But it’s impotrtant to have travel insurance. Check below some options for travel insurance.
Travel Insurance Master is a fastgrowing travel insurance aggregator, providing an easy solution for travelers. They recommend the best travel insurance plan for an individual’s specific trip. The site offers clear-cut comparisons from multiple providers all in one place. Some plans even offer options without pandemic exclusion.
Best Staycation cities and ideas? Where to go?
If you like the buzz, stay close to Duval Street, the main attraction of downtown. There you will find infamous spots like Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Margaritaville, Captain Tony’s Saloon, the Green Parrot Bar, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, etc. You won’t be too far from the John James Audubon House, the Nature Conservatory, the Key West Aquarium, Key West Butterfly, and the Ernest Hemingway House. Other options are the Truman Little White House and the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
Try to get tickets to the Yankee Freedom III, the official ferry of the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson. It is a fantastic adventure that will simply astound you with its marvelous beauty, impressive wildlife, and important Civil War fortress. It is a great option for staycations.
Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral
That are so many things you can do in the area like enjoying the Cocoa Beach Pier, taking a Charter Fishing trip, kayaking and see the Dolphins, etc. Moreover, you have a drink at the Cafe Surfinista and have loads of fun in the Golf and Gator. Additionally, you can also learn to surf and check Florida’s most infamous coastline. Nevertheless, if you prefer to stay in the land, the area presents you with the best shopping options and attractions. Regardless, don’t forget your flip-flops and your beach towel so that you can have a great and relaxing time.
There’s no complete visit to Cape Canaveral without a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a great adventure for adults and kids where you learn about the greatest voyages completed by humankind. Moreover, another option is the Manatee Sanctuary Park, which has loads of activities for the whole family. Consequently, you may check out those lovely mammals. There are also trails and exercise options available if you want to walk around the park. But if you want to be more radical, you can enjoy surfing too. Just try and enjoy yourself. I do surf myself and it’s a great exercise and fun activity.
If you love history, this is a fantastic place to enjoy it. You can start by visiting the famous Castillo de San Marcos Monument. It is a fort built in the 17th century to protect the area from pirates and foreign invaders. The St. Augustine History Museum + St. Augustine Oldest Store Museum are also available for you to get a glimpse of the local history.
You can check out the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. There you can drink from the mythical spring early visitors believed could make you younger. It had anti-aging characteristics. And why not try the Potter’s Wax Museum Florida + World Golf Hall of Fame Museum? Interesting option, I should say however one of the great staycations.
There is so much history in Gettysburg and the city is an intrinsic part of the American Civil War. It is a good point to start with the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. They will get a broad sense of what the town represents to the country. Additionally, visitors can see 12 galleries where one of the most important chapters of American history are told in detail.
Moreover, you can then continue the experience by taking a battlefield tour. Options include bus tours, Segway tours, horseback tours, and bicycle tours. Surely, it will be an emotional one.
Despite all that, the city is not all about the past. You can go downtown for a nice walk and visit the boutiques, local restaurants, and craft beer stores. There are décor shops where you can bring lovely souvenirs back home. Gettysburg is becoming a home for foodies and local cuisine is inspired in Civil War dishes. They are becoming very popular and you can have a sense of what the region is all about.
I think every kid and most adult would like to have an experience like the film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Visiting Hershey’s headquarters city and its impressive Amusement Park is a fantastic getaway. You will find everything from thrilling coaster rides and chocolatey adventures to premier dining and luxurious spa treatments.
The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park is a brilliant place to obtain knowledge about the importance of trees in the environment. Visitors learn important information because more than 250 different species of trees. They are on display at the Arboretum at Frontier. It’s a great option for a family visit.
The ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum is located in the historical downtown of the city. It offers a versatile selection of things to see and do on its three levels. Education is the museum’s priority hence children can have fun and learn as they participate in the hands-on activities. These are the staycations children love.
Atlanta Belt Line is an outdoor space comprised of 22 miles of unused railroad tracks circling Georgia’s capital. It also covers in-town neighborhoods. From trails and walkways to open green space and parks, the Atlanta BeltLine works to connect people throughout the city. It receives thousands of visitors every year as a way to get exercise, explore Atlanta and spend time with friends.
Georgia Wine Country
Please tell me a better idea than a super visit to a place full of wine? You can visit many wineries around North Georgia close to Helen and Cleveland. Moreover, the brand-new American Viticultural Area region around Dahlonega is also a hotspot for wine lovers.
Jekyll Island is right off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia, in Glynn County. Within over ten miles of beautiful beaches, four fantastic golf courses, and Georgia’s only rehabilitation center for endangered sea turtles, surely there’s a different activity for every kind of explorer. Hence its popularity. With all that, you can take a tour through the maritime forest, see the dolphins, kayak it around it in great excursions. Moreover, a bike ride through the Historic District will also fit perfectly in your plans.
Starved Rock State Park is a wilderness area on the Illinois River in the U.S. state of Illinois. It’s known for its steep sandstone canyons formed by glacial meltwater. In the area, you can visit the Matthiessen State Park wherein a beautiful hike you will walk along the stream, traverse concrete steps, and most likely will get your feet wet. Moreover, you can visit Buffalo State Park, spot murals around Ottawa, and enjoy great local food.
The Anderson Japanese Gardens is a great choice for the area and provides calm surroundings in Illinois. Additionally, this non-profit garden space was designed by Hoichi Kurisu, the same landscape designer for the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. At the same time, the Burpee Museum of Natural History hosts a Paleofest where all things are prehistoric. Virtual activities, special learning, exhibit tours, and activities are also available throughout the museum. A calm staycation option.
Betty Russel Community Park is a great playground with climbing forms, slides, and swings that trigger your kids’ imagination. Nonetheless, for even the younger ones, there is a small maze with a soft surface that is safe for them to play on. But if you are looking for jumping, visit Jump America, where you can bounce as crazy as you want in a safe environment. With great trampolines which are suitable for kids from the age of 3, jumping will never be boring.
The city is well-known for its hot springs so if you want to get wet, this is the place for you. With that, you can enjoy the Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park, wherein the summertime can be a fantastic option to cool off. However, try the night times as they are less crowded. Besides, you can hike to the Hanging Lake which is an unmissable point in your visit. You can raft or even take an aerial view of the place by paragliding. If you are fun of adventurous staycations, this is for you.
How about some golfing? River Valley Ranch Golf Course is surrounded by amazing scenery. With that, I’m sure you will feel inspired to overcome all the water features, bunkers, and sandpits. Surely, you will feel like a pro. However, if you don’t feel like doing much exercise, you can take a beautiful drive through the Independence Pass.
Additionally, if you go in the summertime, you will go through the Sawatch Mountains and the Roaring Fork River surrounded by majestic views in one of the best times of the year for a visit. Moreover, those who want to understand more about the region can visit the Mt. Sopris Historical Museum. There are several historical items, including tools, photos, and household things that showcase the area’s past.
Be prepared for one of the most impressive sites with Native American remains in the Southwest. The Mesa Verde National Park, just outside Durango is s settlement that peaked about 1,000 years ago, and their ruins can be found all over the park. Cliff dwellings, built under huge overhanging rocks, include multi-story complexes, with ladders connecting various floors and rooms show impressive engineering abilities of local inhabitants.
If you are up for the challenge, you can go for the Colorado Trail little less than 500 miles through the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango. It’s open to non-motorized vehicles, and is primarily a running, hiking, and mountain biking trail. You don’t need to go for all of it but you can make it for a few miles, uh?
Rafting is also available in the area down the Animas River. Surely, it is a fun way to spend a spring day. An adventurous staycation.
Well-known for its tantalizing blue-green color, Emerald Bay is on Lake Tahoe’s west shore. This amazing area has such an interesting history, and it has been made a National Natural Landmark in 1969 and an underwater State Park in 1994. Consequently, you should visit it.
If you like flying, try the hot air balloons. Enjoy fantastic views of the lake and area with a breathtaking aerial view. On the southwest shore, Emerald Bay State Park contains the 1929 Nordic-style mansion Vikingsholm. Along the lake’s northeast side, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park includes Sand Harbor Beach and Spooner Lake, a gateway to the long-distance Tahoe Rim Trail.
Great Basin National Park
If you are into geology, you must see the mighty Lehman Caves. The sites put the area on a nationally significant radar because the caves offer a glimpse at stalagmites, stalactites, and rare cave formations called helictites. Tours are available and should not be missed!
Stargazing is a great option too. Actually, half the park can best be experienced after dark. Moreover, the park is home to what astronomers are calling the last true night skies in the United States and recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Despite being the capital of the State of Nevada, it is home to less than 60,000 people as per the census of 2020. It is a good option to start knowing the local history by taking the Kit Carson Trail. It is a path that goes through Carson City’s historic district and features stops at landmarks like 1800s-era Victorian-style homes, museums, and churches. Not to mention that nearly 50 landmarks tell the story of the capital city’s history throughout the walk.
However, if you’re not into history, a walk along the trail through the tree-lined neighborhood in Carson City’s West End is a pleasant outing.
You are still in Nevada so why not try a Casino? There are some old Casinos, full of character that will spice up your visit. The Nevada State Capitol is a must-see too and interestingly, it is one of the few State buildings that does not incorporate security screening. Very cultural staycation opportunity.
Is staycation is the new vacation?
Yes. At least for now. As flying may be limited and more expensive over the next few months and years, Staycations are a great opportunity to visit your country and appreciate your local culture. Check the best deals for accommodation, travel and attractions.