While fall is arriving and many states ease restrictions around the Coronavirus, travelers (like myself) are eager to get out of their homes and enjoy the fall goodness — safely.
For folks wondering if it is safe to travel right now, it depends on a few things:
- How you plan to get there (you’re safe flying thanks to Alaska’s Next-Level Care).
- Where you want to go & the rates of infection in that destination.
- What you do when you get there.
Without a vaccine, there’s no guarantee any place other than your home is safe. But it’s possible to lower the risks associated with travel by simply wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing (check out my tips to fly during a pandemic).
I asked some of our guests and employees their fall favorites and what could be done during the pandemic. Here are their suggestions—I can’t wait to check these off my travel list!:
Get wild in Fresno.
Enjoy a perfect fall day at Yosemite National Park, with its waterfalls, wildlife and rock formations. Since reopening in June, Yosemite has greatly reduced traffic in the park with a new reservation system to limit the number of cars and visitors entering the area. This fall, there’s a good chance you’ll witness more wildlife and less people than ever before and hopefully excellent hiking weather, making it a great time to visit.
Find flights to Fresno.
Leave it all behind in Boston.
Head East to take in the splendor of New England with leaf-peeping season. Bostonians call fall the most enjoyable season and for good reason – historic and picturesque locations paint the city with bold, vibrant colors. The best displays of fall colors in the state are located in western Massachusetts where your drive will weave through regions with endless autumn hues. Closer to Boston, take in the iconic and breathtaking beauty of Walden Pond.
Find flights to Boston.
Eat your feelings but don’t get lost in New York.
Like flying, apple picking may look a little different this year — think reduced capacity and making reservations ahead of time –– but thankfully the apples will still be delicious. Other good news, most of the beloved farms in New York will remain open to visitors this fall. So you’ll still get to enjoy the apple pie, cider (doughnuts & drinks) and corn mazes—just try not to get lost!
Find flights to New York.
Explore peaks and valleys in Montana.
The gateway to Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies delivers stunning views of mountain peaks and lakes showered in oranges, reds and golds against a backdrop of evergreens. With two mountain ranges, 25 glaciers, more than 130 named lakes and 200 waterfalls, you are bound to feel at peace among the changing leaves in this million-acre park. The west side of the park changes color in mid-September and the east changes color in late September or early October.
Find flights to Kalispell.
Glamp or camp off the grid in Denver.
Whether you’re looking for a campground blanketed by colorful trees near Denver or RV parks near Rocky Mountain National Park, you can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Colorado almost anywhere, parks like the Jellystone Park at Larkspur are abiding by CDC social distancing guidelines and the state has explained how to practice greater social distancing in its great outdoors.
Find flights to Denver.
Stroll down memory lane (with a cheesesteak) in Philly.
Travel back in time with a visit to Philadelphia, where history collides with vibrant fall colors. It’s truly awe-inspiring to stand among the cobblestones on Elfreth’s Alley, enjoy a calming walk (with a philly cheesesteak, even better) in the Morris Arboretum or stroll along Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway for richly cultured locations immersed in a canopy of autumn colors. Typically the fall foliage in Pennsylvania is best viewed in late October or early November.
Find flights to Philadelphia.
Get back to basics with a pumpkin spice latte in Seattle.
Leave the umbrella at home (locals don’t use them anyway) & get ready to grab a Starbucks brew, it’s basically a right of passage in Seattle. If you’re looking for an iconic coffee run, stop by Starbucks’ first ever shop located at Pike Place Market. Note, every store respectfully asks customers to follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering while in their stores. You can also order ahead using the mobile app.
Find flights to Seattle.
Don’t ruin your time at the beach in Cancun.
The beach is just one of the many places to enjoy while in Cancun, Mexico. The vibrant city is also home to some of the world’s most captivating ancient cities built centuries ago by the Mayans. Fall in love with dazzling ruins minutes away from your hotel, or that lie within lush jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula. No matter which ruins you choose, you’re sure to learn more about the fascinating and mysterious culture that once inhabited this breathtaking region. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for walking/climbing, plenty of sunscreen and your mask!
Find flights to Cancun.
Before you fly, consider quarantine requirements for your destination, as well as your own level of risk and whether you’re traveling from or to a “hotspot” so as not to increase the rate of infection.
Fly safe, happy fall!