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Once the vaccines take hold and travel opens up fully again, you richly deserve a getaway. And even before that, with the proper precautions it's possible to travel safely. And while the amazing diversity of the United States offers a huge menu of options, here are five regions especially worth your attention that you can enjoy in a long weekend, or of course a full week:
The Gulf Coast
Stretching from South Florida up to Alabama, then across Louisiana, Missisippi, and Texas, the Gulf of Mexico coastline offers a wide variety of vacation experiences from budget to ultra luxe. But what they have in common are beautiful white-sand beaches and aquamarine waters, as well as plenty of options for dining, lodging, entertainment, and activities (not just the usual outdoorsy stuff but also historical sightseeing and even culture). Top destinations in Florida include Sanibel, Capitva, and Marco Islands; Naples, Fort Myers Beach, Sarasota, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and the Florida Panhandle's Destin (top), and Pensacola. In Alabama, the stars are Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, while Louisiana has Grand Isle and Mississippi has Ocean Beach as well as casino-packed Biloxi. And over in Texas, beachgoers flock to Mustang Island and South Padre Island.
New York's Catskills Mountains
This scenic mountain range sprawls across nearly 5,900 square miles of eastern New York State, a two-hour drive north of New York City, with peaks up to 4,180 feet. It's been popular for generations for its outdoorsy appeal, with forests, waterfalls, lakes, streams, and a bevy of adventure activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, ziplining, rafting/tubing, and snow sports in places like Bellayre, Hunter Mountain, and Wyndham. There are a number of large resorts up here (such as Sunny Hill), but also plenty of smaller hotels, motels, short-term rentals, and guesthouses. If you're a foodie, you will love the farm-to-table restaurants, and there's also something of an alternative culture and artists' scene up here, especially in towns like Woodstock and Phoenicia.
The Florida Keys
With a laid-back, Caribbean-style, and sometimes even otherworldly vibe, this coral archipelago stretching 150 miles (240 kilometres) southwest from the tip of Florida that takes about 3½ hours to drive the length of the Overseas Highway from Miami. Numbering more than a thousand, these small (and sometimes tiny) islands boast miles of beaches and water-oriented adventures, in addition to a plethora of attractions from Key Largo's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to animal rescue facilities like the Turtle Hospital and swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. There's plenty of dining and lodging, of course, from large resorts to funky little motels and short-term rentals (there's even an underwater hotel, Jules' Undersea Lodge). The jewel in the crown for many, of course, is Key West, the USA's southernmost city, its old quarter a collection of charming Victorian manses and cottages dating as far back as 1829. It's a major vacation destination known for its bars, restaurants, guesthouses, and harbor cruises.
For something a little more urban, Vegas is still Vegas, of course - hustle, bustle, glitz, and nonstop entertainment! Though physical distancing, masking, and other pandemic protocols are in effect, most of it is still open - the casino resorts, the restaurants, the shows, and the shops. And you might be interested to know that are even several pretty cool museums here, such as the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum, the Clark County Museum of local history, and the Nevada State Museum (plus some of the casino resorts have their own exhibitions, such as Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art and the Luxor's display of artifacts from the Titanic).
As I mentioned, pandemic protocols are in place throughout Las Vegas and its establishments, but if you have the money and wish to reduce your risks even further when flying to and from your destination, consider an on-demand private jet charter, which takes the stress out of flying and keeps you away from crowded commercial airlines. No masking required while you travel in style!
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