You should not be traveling anywhere with COVID-19 spreading around the world. Even if you do not exhibit any symptoms, the risk is too great that you could contract the virus and unwittingly give it to someone else who may not survive it. Please adhere to the CDC’s recommendations and stay at home until the organization deems it safe to gather in public groups again.
Once given the all-clear, it’s understandable that you’re going to want to travel again. You’ve been in the house for a long time, so getting out in nature will be good for you! Why not go explore some of this country’s most beautiful natural wonders? Plus, you can drive to many of these locations instead of flying. While this is absolutely not an exhaustive list, here are some national parks to consider visiting when the time is right:
Sequoia National Park
You can find some of the tallest trees in the world in Sequoia National Park, which is 80 miles away from Fresno, California. Sequoia National Park is also one of the country’s oldest: it’s the second ever, and is linked to the nearby Kings Canyon National Park.
What is there to do? Some of the park’s most famous attractions include the General Sherman Tree (the tallest tree in the world, which is over 275 feet tall), the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, and the Giant Forest. The Giant Forest Museum and Crystal cave are popular, and there is no shortage of hiking trails.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a geographically beautiful area that attracts around four million visitors annually (which is not much compared to the 11 million that visit Smoky Mountains National Park). With approximately 350 miles of hiking trails, you can see an abundance of nature: lakes, wildflowers, forests, wildlife, and more.
A tourist favorite, Estes Park, is a village a short distance away. It’s a fun town to eat in, shop, and explore. Camping is always an option if you don’t want to pay for accommodations, and the nearby YMCA offers a wide variety of activities for families (such as ziplining).
Sumter National Forest
Less than one million people visit Sumter National Forest in South Carolina every year, so it’s a great place to visit if you are looking to avoid crowds. It’s small for a national forest with one national park inside, Congaree. Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a short drive from Columbia, Sumter National Forests boasts plenty of trails for hiking, beautiful greenery (which turns gorgeous colors in the fall), and a lake you can fish in.
Glacier National Park
According to U.S. News, Glacier National Park is one of the cheapest places to vacation in North America and is one of the greatest places to hike. You can trek the Trail of Cedars or the Grinnell Glacier route, which are for beginners and more advanced hikers, respectively. Glacier National Park spans over one million acres and includes over 700 lakes, multiple waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife and incredible natural views.
Glacier National Park is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. You can also drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is 52 miles long and provides excellent views of the surrounding area. It’s the perfect spot to capture a few incredible Instagram photos (and you can buy followers to grow your audience so that more people see them).
Bryce Canyon National Park
If you want to see some truly beautiful and unique geographical features, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a place you definitely want to put on your list. Rain and other kids of erosion have shaped the rocks into a vast array of remarkable formations, including canyons, fins, and spires. You can even stand as high as 9,115 feet and enjoy a panoramic view of the park (which is excellent at night due to low light pollution).
Bryce Canyon National Park offers a free shuttle service between April and October if you don’t feel like driving everywhere. You can always hike, of course, and camp if you prefer not to stay in a hotel.
We do not know when it will be safe to travel again, so please refrain from going anywhere until the CDC and government declare that it is safe to leave your home for more than essential purposes (like grocery shopping). Once it’s safe to do so, though, it’s no wonder that you’re going to want to see some nature, and there are countless beautiful national parks to choose from that haven’t had a visitor in a while. Which national park will you visit first?