Even as some regions of the country begin the reopening process, the US is seeing a surge in new cases of COVID-19, with states that have started lifting restrictions getting hit particularly hard. But that hasn’t kept antsy Americans from dreaming of a getaway.
For many, flying is still out of the question, and with the government continuing to advise against international travel, they’re looking for destinations closer to home. Reps for the vacation-rental platform Vrbo say searches are skyrocketing compared to last year – and these are the US destinations getting the most attention this summer.
1. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Ten years on from the Deep Horizon oil spill that devastated its beaches, Southern Alabama’s Gulf Shores is once again known for its family-friendly atmosphere and its sparkling white sand. Nearby Gulf State Park has also seen a host of improvements, adding miles of biking and hiking trails, pine-tree-lined paths, and elevated boardwalks through marshes teeming with wildlife.
2. Miramar and Rosemary Beaches, Florida
Located on northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Miramar and Rosemary beaches are two of 16 oceanfront neighborhoods that make up the larger South Walton community. Miramar has a diverse population and resort-oriented activities, while Rosemary is more charming, with good dining and plenty of natural beauty on display. (The pristine beaches go without saying.)
3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Between the mini-golf, the bars, the arcades, and the water sports, it’s tough to be bored in Myrtle Beach. The 60-mile stretch of Atlantic-facing sand receives 19 million visitors annually, but given its reputation as a party town, it’s a surprisingly kid-friendly spot.
4. Panama City Beach, Florida
A spring-break destination with high-rises galore, Panama City Beach is not the place for a restful vacation. Still, its reefs lure in a plethora of marine life, its beaches are wheelchair-accessible, and its roster of activities can appease even the biggest adrenaline junkies.
5. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg’s quirky downtown caters to the crowds, with restaurants and distilleries in abundance, while Pigeon Forge is best known as the home of Dollywood.
6. Maui, Hawaii
Maui’s natural beauty needs no introduction: From Keawakapu Beach to Haleakalā National Park to Wailua Falls, the island’s lush greenery, golden sands, and rugged craters speak for themselves. Whether it’s hiking or surfing, dining or drinking, there’s no shortage of entertainment to be had.
7. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The state’s largest barrier island and the country’s first eco-planned community, Hilton Head is a go-to summer vacation spot for families up and down the East Coast. Hop on a boat to go dolphin-watching, paddle through the surrounding creeks and marshes by kayak, or rent a bike and peddle to your heart’s content.
8. Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Another Gulf Coast town, Fort Walton Beach boasts emerald-green waters and the ubiquitous white-sand beaches, but it also has public and private golf courses and stellar big-game fishing offshore.
9. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
With nearly 560 miles of coastline playing host to 15 towns, each with a distinct personality, Cape Cod provides a postcard-perfect experience for travelers of all stripes. Provincetown is the epicenter of LGBTQ summer life, and families flock to Old Silver Beach, while Falmouth, Wellfleet, and Craigville Beach pull a college crowd.
10. Outer Banks, North Carolina
An array of barrier islands and coastal communities make up the OBX, as the Outer Banks are affectionately known, and whether you’re looking for a down-home experience or something more well-heeled, you’re sure to find it here, from the protected national seashore of Hatteras Island to the nightlife of Nags Head.