While vacations this summer likely won't include "typical" destinations like the zoo, water parks, or theme parks, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for adventure! In many areas of the country, COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted—which means you may have some exciting day trips in your future. We've put together a list of four affordable (or free!) day trip options to consider this summer; just be sure to always follow your state's guidelines and requirements regarding stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions before you embark!
Visit a State or National Park
While gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited in many states, some parks remain at least partially open. Depending on the state in which you live, state parks may have their trails open for hiking and nature walks. Meanwhile, the National Park Service has announced reopening dates for some parks, including:
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Not only is admission to national and state parks inexpensive, but this kind of day trip can be an excellent way to get some fresh air and exercise.
Sip at a Local Winery or Brewery
While many wineries amd breweries remain open exclusively for curbside and carry-out service, some wineries are beginning to reopen across the country. In Virginia, for example, wineries have been allowed to reopen with outdoor seating. It is expected that indoor tasting rooms will also begin to open back up, with capacity restrictions to allow for proper social distancing.
If any of these establishments are opening up in your area, this can be an excellent opportunity to relax and unwind. Many wineries and breweries offer complimentary or inexpensive tastings. Even if you don't want to partake in alcohol consumption, many offer other beverages and snack options to enjoy in a relaxing atmosphere.
Explore Your Hometown
When was the last time you acted like a tourist in your own hometown? If things are starting to reopen in your area, this is an excellent opportunity to explore what makes your hometown unique without having to travel. Even with social-distancing guidelines in place, you can arrange for a carryout meal at a popular restaurant and drive by some local landmarks.
Take a Virtual Vacation
Not 100% comfortable leaving home just yet? Take a free virtual trip from the safety of your own home; there are plenty to choose from, ranging from a virtual tour of the White House to children's museum tours and everything in between.
Staying Safe on Your Day Trip
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your summer without spending a lot of money (and while still following COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines). Just remember that if you plan on doing any travel, you should wear a mask while you're out in public. If you need to stop for fuel, you'll also want to don a pair of gloves and use hand sanitizer before re-entering your vehicle. With a little bit of creativity, you can enjoy some or all of these day trip options as you kick start your summer!