During these times of social distancing, you can still plan some fun weekend getaways with the family. Weekend plans for this summer should include places that are closer to home, offer a number of outdoor activities, and don’t involve crowds.
With weekend plans that involve state or national parks, keep in mind that many have implemented a phased re-opening as a result of COVID-19. Be sure to check with each individual park for special alerts and hours.
Here are a few examples of fun weekend trips you can plan with your family this summer:
- Pigeon Forge, TN. Find a family-friendly vacation rental in Pigeon Forge and visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take a hike with your family on the Gatlinburg Trail, which winds 1.9 miles along Little Pigeon River, towards the outskirts of Gatlinburg. There are plenty of things to do outdoors in Pigeon Forge. Pick up a few beginner fishing tips, and plan to fish for smallmouth bass in the first few miles of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River during your visit. You can also take a bike ride on Cades Cove Loop Road, or pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountains scenery.
- Colorado Springs, CO. Experience the beauty of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains by visiting an area 70 miles south of Denver that is ideal for family outdoor activities. Visit one of the area’s parks, such as Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which offers camping, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and biking on over 28 miles of trails.
- Punta Gorda, FL. The laid-back historic city of Punta Gorda in Southwest Florida is the ideal place to escape crowds and soak in a couple of days in the outdoors with your family. Plan a saltwater fishing trip out of Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, hike the nature trails at the Punta Gorda Nature Park, or rent kayaks for the day and take a paddle down the Peace River. Get a few tips on fishing for beginners and boating for beginners before you go, so you’re better prepared for your outdoor adventures.
- Munising, MI. Families can enjoy a visit to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the best ways to experience the Pictured Rocks is to walk to the Miners Castle viewing overlooks. From a well-maintained trail, you can view rock formations and see some of the colorful sandstone cliff walls. There are three rustic drive-in campgrounds at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, although advance reservations are required throughout the year.
- Bar Harbor, ME. Home to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is known for stunning scenery and outdoor pursuits. Plan on taking the family for a drive up Cadillac Mountain for the park’s best views, and purchase a Maine fishing license because there are a number of freshwater lakes and ponds that are open to family fishing within the park. Long Pond, for example, offers freshwater fishing for salmon, brook trout, smallmouth bass, and chain pickerel. There are private campgrounds located within Bar Harbor, including Bar Harbor Campground, one of the closest campgrounds to Acadia National Park and other local points of interest.
Now that you have a few ideas for fun weekend getaways, pick a location that closest to you and remember to practice responsible recreation.