Written By: Heather Mikesell
Although travel is rebounding in our post-COVID world, there is no denying that the pandemic has had a profound impact on the way people travel. After a year of being in lockdown, many are now craving a different type of travel experience, one that embraces exclusivity, the outdoors, and more remote destinations. According to the Destination Analysts Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report, many Americans are planning to hit the road this year, and they’re in search of scenic beauty, warm weather outdoor activities, beach destinations, and national parks.
That was certainly the case for Natasha Bhalla, a health and wellness coach. “When considering my first post-COVID trip, I wanted to visit a place that offered a variety of outdoor activities and a beautiful landscape, and Lake Tahoe fit perfectly into my intention,” she says. “I wanted to be able to spend as much time outdoors as possible—not just to prevent any COVID-related sickness but also because I have been stuck at home for a year! I wanted fresh air, the opportunity to hike, swim, and experience nature in all its glory.”
Lake Tahoe, featuring the largest Alpine lake in the U.S., is a stunning destination that puts visitors in the midst of a majestic outdoor wonderland. With Forest Suites Resort serving as basecamp, it’s possible to explore all that Lake Tahoe has to offer, including a scenic cruise around Emerald Bay, a hike to the base of a waterfall in Van Sickle Bi-State Park, a swim at Pope Beach, and more.
Getting away from it all is also possible at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA. There, you can connect with the beauty of the great outdoors by staying in one of the lodge’s charming Tree House cabins. Elevated above the forest floor and nestled in a Douglas fir tree of the Columbia River Gorge, the tree houses provide the perfect hideaway to unplug and recharge your spirit. Whether it’s for a romantic couple’s getaway or a family adventure, it’s the ultimate place to savor time with loved ones in an awe-inspiring setting.
Another escape from the modern pace of life can be found at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs, CO. With no shortage of things to do, you’ll find plenty to occupy your time at this restorative retreat, which offers golf, tennis, swimming, and more. A trip to the summit of nearby Pike’s Peak, which inspired the song “America the Beautiful,” is a must for those seeking breathtaking views and scenic overlooks. The resort’s Strata Wellness also provides an ideal way to restore balance with the help of a host of certified personal trainers, fitness and lifestyle coaches, and health and wellness experts. Offering an integrative wellness experience, it’s the perfect post-COVID reboot.
In Essex, VT, The Essex Resort & Spa immerses guests in New England’s unspoiled nature. From enjoying a dip in a remote swimming hole, climbing a nearby mountain trail, lounging lakeside, to finding balance in an outdoor yoga class, you’ll discover endless possibilities for exploration and relaxation. The resort, nestled between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains, is a blissful getaway from the stress of everyday life.
Located in the Outer Banks, Sanderling Resort in Duck, NC, is an escape unlike any other. It features a beautiful world-class white sand beach and the adjacent Pine Island Sanctuary, which is home to 170 bird species, seven amphibian species, 19 mammal species, and more than 350 species of plants. There is also a 2.5-mile self-guided nature trail through the sanctuary that borders Currituck Sound.
For a truly unique experience that enthralls you in the wonders of this scenic destination, don’t miss the Wild Horse Tours from Corolla Outback Adventures. The guided two-hour tour offers an adventure-filled ride in a custom off-road vehicle and private access to the Wild Horse Conservation Easement, a habitat area for colonial Spanish mustangs.
Jetsetters who are ready to travel abroad can find an escape at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa in Bermuda. Located 650 miles from the North Carolina coast in the Atlantic Ocean, this storied destination in just over two hours from airports in Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. If it’s sunshine and beaches you crave, this idyllic resort delivers that and more. From luxuriating on a white-sand beach of a private island to exploring the Bermuda coast on a scooter to taking part in a variety of water sports, you’ll find it easy to unplug in your own exclusive island paradise.
A fan of getting off the beaten track, Bhalla finds more remote destinations to be the perfect antidote to the daily grind. “I love being able to truly disconnect and submerge all of my senses in nature,” she says. “As I live in New York City, it’s very important to me to travel to locations that have a much smaller population, where I can find my peace, deeply connect with nature, and be reminded of how expansive and incredible the world is. After the stresses we experienced from COVID this past year, visiting a remote location helps me to rejuvenate and remember that even throughout the bad, we have so much for which to be grateful.”