two women hiking

Under normal circumstances, this is the time when many people hit the road for a well-deserved summer vacation. But these aren’t normal times.

State and county public health departments advise limiting our activities only to essential travel: what you have to do for work or to care for a loved one. However, if you have restless kids at home, a few days escape might be in order for everyone’s well-being.

You can give yourself and your family a summer vacation without traveling far, or without traveling at all. Here are a few ways to recharge while keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.

To Travel or Not to Travel

  • If you live in an area where the novel coronavirus is spreading (most of the Bay Area right now), avoid traveling away from your community. Consider postponing your trip until a time when cases are on the decline.
  • Are you traveling with someone who is at high risk? If anyone in your family is immune-compromised, has a serious chronic medical condition (COPD, heart disease, diabetes), is over age 65 or smokes, do not travel. High risk individuals should not travel. If you live with someone who is high risk, you risk bringing the virus home to them.
  • Can you maintain six feet physical distance from others during your trip? Avoid locations that could potentially draw crowds, including crowded beaches.

Summer Vacation Travel Tips and Ideas

  • Spend a three- or four-day weekend camping in your immediate area that don’t typically draw huge crowds. Suggestions include Redwood Regional Park (Oakland), Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (Scotts Valley/Santa Cruz), Shasta Lake (Lake Shasta), Kings Canyon National Park (Fresno), Your Own Back Yard (Home).
  • Use your home as a home base. Instead of leaving home, plan a series of hiking or biking getaways within an hour’s drive. Turn on your out-of-office notice and explore those roads and trails you rarely have time to visit during the work week. Mt. Diablo, Pt. Reyes, and Huddart Park are just a few of the many beautiful spots you can explore.
  • Whether you rent a hotel, vacation home or car is a matter of personal comfort level. Do your homework on each company’s infection prevention protocols before you book.
  • If you want to visit friends or family, only do so if you can maintain six-feet of distance. It’s safer for them if you book an Airbnb and plan an outdoor picnic than sharing one small bathroom and kitchen among four people.

Other Summer Vacation Safety Tips

  • Wear a mask or face covering when you’re within six feet of anyone outside your immediate household. Wearing a mask protects you and protects others. It’s also required in many states, including ours.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after touching shared surfaces, before and after you eat and after you remove your face mask.
  • Avoid crowded areas, period. If you attend a gathering and people aren’t social distancing, leave. It’s not worth the risk. If you do one thing if and when you travel, it’s avoiding close contact with other people.
  • Wear your mask correctly. Make sure it covers your nose and your mouth and that it fits snugly. Don’t pull it down so your nose is exposed. That defeats much of the purpose of wearing a mask.

What are your favorite local travel destinations? Let us know in the comments below.