The past month has been rough on the travel industry – and on travelers. Cruises have been cancelled, travel has been disrupted and people are thinking twice about getting on an airplane. Folks who are immunocompromised, and those over a certain age (and that age varies depending on which expert you consult) have been urged to stay away from crowds, and even to avoid cruise travel. And although some folks call that fear mongering, I think it’s just plain old common sense.
The bottom line is, you have to make the decision to travel – or not travel – based on your own personal situation. And since it involves your health, I always think it’s good to err on the side of caution.
But looking past the current crisis, what about your next trip? Where will you go and what will you do? Some folks will seek out less touristed spots, while others will hit the road and avoid air travel. Again, it’s a personal choice, but if a road trip is on your travel radar, then consider these often overlooked stops along the way. Not only will you ditch the crowds that plague the more popular attractions, but you’ll actually get the opportunity to step back, take things in and enjoy the moment. And in the end, that’s really what travel is all about.
Officially known as the National Radio Astronomy Very Large Array, this collection of satellite dishes that form a radio wave telescope, is located off of interstate 25, between Albuquerque and Las Cruces. There’s a small visitor center with exhibits that explain the setup, and folks are invited to walk around the complex. And the photo op of the massive dishes set against the New Mexico landscape is second-to-none.
To be honest, this one of my favorite Giant Sequoia sites, because it’s near my home in the Sierras. It’s really not on the way to anything, but that’s the beauty of it all. Pack along a picnic lunch to enjoy before or after you explore the grove.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Although many national parks can be crowded in the summer, that’s not the case with this North Dakota pick. There are a number of scenic drives and viewpoints through the park, and it’s not unusual to see bison grazing along the way.
Lake Bemidji State Park
Located in Northern Minnesota, this state park offers a few accessible hikes, as well as an accessible cabin to spend the night. It also boasts some wickedly unusual bog wildflowers.
Located in Northern Arizona, this Native American cliff dwelling is one of the best preserved ruins in the state. Even better, most people just drive on by it and continue along to Sedona – one of the more popular destinations in the area.
Kodachrome State Park
Overshadowed by its more famous neighbors – Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, this Utah state park offers a colorful collection of red rock formations. There’s a nice accessible trail there, and even an accessible campsite.
Located a few hours north of Atlanta, this remote living history museum features 10 relocated log cabins, along with another dozen structures that were built using traditional construction methods and period materials. It’s an intimate look at the heritage and history of the Appalachian wilderness.
Greenleaf State Park
One of the most scenic state parks in Oklahoma, Greenleaf State Park includes an accessible trail and well as a very accessible and affordable cabin by the lake.
North Cascades National Park
Nicknamed the “American Alps”, North Cascades National Park is one of the most rugged and remote national parks in the US. That said, there’s an easily accessible slice of it located along the State Route 20 corridor. And although it’s a national park, it gets significantly fewer visitors than its neighbors — Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks.
Mojave National Preserve
Last but not least, the Mojave National Preserve is a great place to hop off Interstate 15 between Barstow and Baker. The desert scenery is great, and there’s even a historic railroad depot seemingly in the middle of nowhere.