COVID-19 Travel Opportunities (Southeast US)

 

General Considerations

  • If you are staying in a rental with a kitchen, consider bringing groceries from home. Many cities are sharing that the crowds from open beaches have created some shortages in grocery stores again.
  • When making your reservation, be sure to ask about contactless check-in. For example, Spectrum Resorts in Orange Beach allows you to bypass the lobby and check in with their app.
  • Many activities (kids’ clubs, etc) may still not be running at resorts and hotels. Even so, tour operators in the area generally are running excursions. Consider these as opportunities to explore while distancing….sailing trips, kayak rentals, etc.
  • Where restaurants are open, they are generally running at 50% capacity. If reservations are available, take advantage of this. Also, please consider that this is a difficult time for everyone, so offer grace and understanding to restaurants and employees as they work through this. I believe wholeheartedly that everyone is doing their best.
  • While it might feel like you are one of only a few people embarking on a vacation during this strange time, I assure you are not. Many hotels, condos, and resorts we work with have reported 100% capacity! I can tell by the traffic on this website that travel is beginning to grow. That said, many restaurants, hotels, resorts, and other travel businesses are overrun with calls and questions (and many of them are still not working at full staff capacity) so once again, please be patient. Be sure to look on the website for information before calling… and remember kindness goes a long way.
  • While most State Parks are open in some capacity, and Appalachian Trail has opened hikes. Thru-hiking is not permitted, yet.
  • While you are driving to your destination, consider using state-owned rest stops for restroom breaks if other options make you nervous. They are cleaned rigorously. (Lobbies may be closed but restrooms are opened)
  • RV Rental options have risen considerably, especially as National and State Parks around the country begin to open. See a list of recommended RV Rentals here (and be sure to download our spreadsheet about the real cost of renting an RV.)
Photo of the rope swing at Candlelight Forest courtesy of  @soliphotography

10 OPEN Suggestions For Getting Away

  • The Beach Club by Spectrum Resorts. I encourage you to book direct through Spectrum Resorts. Spectrum offers the Clean Bed Guarantee and is the only vacation rental company to do so in GSOB. This means every coverlet is freshly laundered between guests. Typically, condos and beach houses only wash comforters two or three times year.
  • Candlelight Forest. Currently The Picknickery (dining) is closed, but there is still much to do. Stay in a treehouse, or a larger home built by This Old House. Ways to have fun? Lake Angela is open for catch-and-release fishing, stand up paddle and canoeing. Try the Pete Nelson designed Grand Treehouse for playing and exploring; Pygmy goats for petting and feeding; a Huck Finn Rope Ferry;  Mason jar scavenger hunts;  marked trails for walking and hiking featuring a Lookout Deck; a wading creek; and s’mores pits, hammocks, badminton and board games. Treehouses booked? No worries. $12 day pass ($6 for children) are available now.
  • The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island. 7 miles of pristine beaches and 11,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness are yours for exploration and relaxation. It’s privately owned and accessible only by boat, and offers spectacular accommodations for no more than 32 overnight guests.
  • Beach Rental in Destin. Our friends are in Destin right now and said it is very safe and manageable on the beach. The Zula Life Beach House is perfect for your stay in Destin! Hot tub, private pool and just a short walk to the beach!
  • Jekyll Island Club Resort. Pools are open (with spaced seating), golf is open, bike rental is available. Most of the resort dining options are also open for dining or take-out.
  • The Thunderbird Inn in Savannah. I want to talk hubs into going here shortly; I’ve always wanted to stay in this retro escape. While you’re here, visit the beaches of Tybee that are currently open.
  • Camping or Cabin at a State Park. All parks in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.. and most in Florida… are open and accepting overnight guests.
  • Crystal Coast, NC. NC does not currently allow restaurants to offer dine-in…but take out, delivery and drive thru are open. The beaches are open for you to enjoy, as long as your group is 10 or less. I love this as an option because it is rarely crowded, even before the virus. A rental here would be a great idea.
  • South Walton, FL. The 26-miles of beaches are open, as well as restaurants. We love this idea because the number of private home rentals, and over 40% of the area protected as state and national forest land (more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails). In fact, social distancing is the norm.
  • Georgetown, SC. I know, it may not sound like the Myrtle Beach area is a good idea, but there are some quiet beaches in that part of the country. Try staying in Georgetown or Pawley’s Island for some seclusion.

 

Lesli Peterson

Lesli Peterson

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale.

After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
Lesli Peterson

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