Staycations after COVID-19 have taken on a new meaning. It used to be nice to pamper yourself at home and treat your town as though it’s a new destination. But now after spending a lot of time inside to contain the virus, we’re all frankly getting a little bored by our immediate surroundings. We’re craving something new, something adventurous. But we’re also acutely aware that travel is tricky these days.
Many people are opting to stay local(ish) and travel to destinations that are within driving distance. This is the new staycation. The United States is vast, and there’s a lot to discover right in your backyard.
A staycation may not be the trip you hoped to take this year, but it’s certainly the escape you need right now! To give you a little inspiration, we rounded up some ideas for staycations that are perfect for a weekend getaway or longer.
Remember that before you book anything, you should always reference the latest coronavirus travel advice as well as local government guidelines.
Best US Staycation Destinations for Friends
Dewey Beach, Delaware
The beaches of Delaware are a welcome escape for those who live in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The sun and surf top the charts, but there are also endless other things to do in Dewey Beach. Hit the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or rise above and go parasailing for a bird’s-eye view. Enjoy Delaware’s tax-free shopping just down the street at the Tanger Outlets. And at night, Dewey Beach’s bar scene is the best around, with plenty of open-air options. Don’t leave without trying the famous orange crush.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
For friends who seek a weekend getaway into nature, Joshua Tree National Park is just the spot. The Mojave and Colorado deserts actually come together here, with a variety of interesting terrain, plant life, and animals. During the day, you can bike on dirt and paved roads, enjoy a nature walk on 300 miles of trails, and even go horseback riding. At night, you can camp inside Joshua Tree National Park and stargaze into the dark desert sky.
Best US Staycation Destinations for Couples
Mandarin Oriental Miami – Miami, Florida
The stunning water view from this luxury 5-star hotel on Brickell Key is the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway. Everything you need to staycation in the Mandarin Oriental Miami is right on the property. Enjoy an Asian-inspired spa day or a leisurely swim in the private infinity pool. Restaurant tables are spread out for social distancing, but that feeling of seclusion only makes nightly dinners here more romantic.
Chestnut Mountain Resort – Galena, Illinois
Let the tranquil waters of the Mississippi River be a relaxing soundtrack to your romantic staycation. The Chestnut Mountain Resort is less than a three-hour drive from Chicago and Milwaukee. Couples love the many amenities, like an indoor pool, sauna, charming picnic area, and al fresco dining. Take advantage of nature at your doorstep, with hiking trails, alpine slides, zip-lining, a Mississippi River Cruise, and more.
Right outside Shenandoah National Park, the small town of Luray offers couples a variety of staycation options for a romantic escape. Set the scene by staying in a rustic cabin or a quaint B&B. Spend the day wine tasting at nearby vineyards, exploring the underground cave system at Luray Caverns, or cruising down picturesque Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sunrise and sunset are not to be missed from the panoramic outlooks inside Shenandoah National Park.
Best US Staycation Destinations for Families
Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia
Families looking for that “all-in-one” destination will love taking a staycation in Greenbrier Valley. For family fun, explore the depths of Organ Cave, challenge each other to a game of disc golf, or go tubing or kayaking on the Greenbrier River. Adults will enjoy spa and golf options, as well as a stop at a local craft spirits distillery or brewery. There are plenty of accommodations in the valley, ranging from rustic cabins to river retreats to the historic Greenbrier Resort.
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
While most others rush to Rocky Mountain National Park, go the opposite direction to Mesa Verde National Park. This protected area is known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. Around the park are archaeological sites and even rock carvings at Petroglyph Point Trail. Spot ancient cliff dwellings from the scenic Sun Point Overlook. This lookout point also offers jaw-dropping panoramic views of the canyon below.
Take a family road trip to Challis, where wilderness and history converge. The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers more than 4.3 million acres, making it one of the largest national forests in the continental United States. Your family can enjoy all the typical outdoor activities, like fishing, kayaking, and hiking. If you’ve been wanting to visit Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, you’ll enjoy a soak in the thermal pools at the Challis Hot Springs.
Kids can learn about the days of frontier mining at Land of the Yankee Fork State Park — and even pan for gold themselves. There are many spooky ghost towns in the area to explore, too. One local favorite is Bay Horse, which was abuzz during the Gold Rush era when locals mined silver from nearby mountains. Now it’s eerily empty.
Best US Staycation Destinations for Disconnecting
Castle Hot Springs – Morristown, Arizona
All-inclusive staycation? Yes, please! There’s no better way to disconnect from the outside world than not needing to venture into it. Farm-to-table meals are included in your stay, and numerous activities can be accessed right on the Castle Hot Springs property. Along with luxurious accommodations, you’ll be able to enjoy exclusive hot springs, mind and body classes, guided hikes, a putting green, and more.
The Ranch – Malibu, California
The Ranch Malibu is one of many wellness retreats around the nation where you can enjoy a post-coronavirus, stress-busting staycation. Guests choose a health-and-fitness program that ranges from 4-10 days. You’ll be able to unplug with a daily schedule that includes activities like hikes, fitness classes, restorative yoga, and a relaxing massage. On-site chefs focus the menu on nourishing, organic plant-based cuisine. By the end of your stay, you’ll be feeling healthier in mind and body.
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Olympic Peninsula is an oasis of calm across Puget Sound from Seattle. Whether you’re a landlubber or keen to get on the water, there are plenty of opportunities to jump into nature and disconnect from the stressors of everyday life. Enjoy the scenic countryside, miles of unspoiled beaches, and challenging mountain trails. If you make the drive to Cape Flattery, you’ll reach the northwesternmost point of the continental United States.
No matter where you decide to staycation during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember to travel responsibly. Consult local authorities or your health care provider if you feel unwell before, during, or after travel, and revise your plans accordingly. The many wonderful staycation options across the US will still be there next week, next month and next year. So don’t rush into a weekend getaway if you have any reservations about traveling right now.
Discover where you can go
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Want to read more?
The world is slowly reopening to travelers. Read Skyscanner’s latest coronavirus updates:
- Tips for flying during coronavirus: essential face mask information
- Coronavirus travel questions: Your COVID-19 queries answered
- The new world of hotels: What your hotel stay will be like during coronavirus
- Wellness travel: why it could be the post-coronavirus stress-buster you need
Learn about changes to travel restrictions. We update our coronavirus travel advice daily.