Road Trip Inspiration for Summer 2020 - Full-Time Travel

Road Trip Inspiration for Summer 2020

Road Trip Inspiration for Summer 2020

For those itching to travel – especially those who have been sequestered in the city – a road trip is the key to a much-needed summer vacation.

Northeast U.S. 

Route: NYC > Upstate NY 

Destination: A 2.5-hour drive from New York City, you’ll reach the forest-blanketed mountains of the Catskills. It’s a great option for city-dwellers seeking a few days of fresh air, hiking trails, and rivers for fishing and paddling. 

Catskills Mountains | By Thomas Loizeau

Where to stay: Those seeking quaint accommodations with little to no exposure to other guests can book a room at one of  The Roxbury at Stratton Falls’  seven new, whimsical cottages (the decor of each has a fairytale-esque feel, right down to the unique tap faucets). Explore the property’s private waterfall trails and nearby, millennia-old Stratton Falls.

Safety measures and service tweaks: The Roxbury at Stratton Falls currently provides exterior access for all their new Tower Cottages and the Roxbury Motel. Other safety updates include: contactless check-in, deep cleaning in rooms using an electrostatic gun and UV Germicidal Surface Sterilizer, hand sanitizing stations, branded face masks in all rooms, fresh sheets and towels on request, a la carte breakfast to eat in-room or outdoors, food and beverage deliveries from local restaurants and distilleries. 


Inns of Aurora | E.B. Morgan

Destination: If you’re willing to drive a little further (around five hours from the city), the postcard-perfect village of Aurora puts you on the doorstep of The Fingerlakes region’s wineries and vineyards.

Where to stay: Once a stagecoach stop for the Wells Fargo express, the  Inns of Aurora is a luxury boutique hotel situated on the banks of placid Cayuga Lake. Accommodation options include full-property buyouts or spacious rooms in one of five impeccably decorated residences, complete with innkeepers. Start the day with a private restorative yoga and meditation session led by the hotel’s Director of Serenity, then go kayaking, painting, or take a historic walking tour of the village. 

Inns of Aurora

Safety measures and service tweaks: The resort reopened on May 1st, with new protocols to maintain social distancing and meet the new standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Examples include the suspension of turndown service, daily disinfection of guestrooms and all public spaces, and requiring staff to wear masks at all times, and to-go farm-to-table meals from the property’s main restaurant. Full details are available here

The Inns of Aurora has also shifted their accommodation model to allow full buyouts of three of their five Inns – available at a base price and with the option to include customizable amenities for an extra cost (think private chef service or fridge stocked for guests before arrival) For those who wish to bring four-legged family members, the resort has also shifted their policy to now allow pets.  

Route: Boston, MA > Newport, RI 

Destination: It’s only a short 90-minute jaunt from Boston to Newport, Rhode Island – a pretty port city situated on Aquidneck Island, famous for its Gilded Age mansions and annual regattas.

The Wayfinder | Photo by Read McKendree

Where to stay: The Wayfinder Hotel is steeped in the history and culture of Newport. Everything from the artwork to the bathroom amenities and the food are from local artists, makers, and chefs. The hotel can assist with curating local immersion experiences for guests, including Polo lessons, oyster fishing, and sailing excursions,  complete with a lobster bake.  

Safety measures and service tweaks: The Wayfinder Hotel has already made shifts to their guest experience in an effort to help people feel safe as they begin their first summer getaways. These updates include: curbside check-in service and keyless guestroom entry, socially distanced dining at their Nomi Park restaurant, and bagged/boxed meal options for beach trips and picnics.

Southeast U.S. 

Route: Charlotte, NC > Asheville, NC > Bristol, VA 

The Great Smoky Mountains | Bu Chris Ried

Destination: From Charlotte, NC, it’s a little over two hours to the bohemian mountain town of Asheville, with its craft breweries, top-notch BBQ, and easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Read our Asheville guide here

Drive a little way north, and you’ll reach Bristol, Virginia – the true birthplace of country music. The city, which straddles Virginia and Tennessee state lines, is conveniently located for fly fishing and whitewater rafting near the Appalachian Trail and Cherokee National Forest. 

Where to stay:  In Asheville, book a stay at The Foundry Hotel, a historic restoration of the former steel foundry located in the Block neighborhood. In Bristol, try The Bristol Hotel, which is housed within the town’s old executive plaza building in the heart of the downtown area.

Courtesy of The Foundry Hotel

Safety measures and service tweaks: The Foundry Hotel is currently open, and has implemented new policies to accommodate social distancing and standards for hygiene and cleanliness, including halting amenities like champagne upon arrival, nightly turndown, and Tesla house car services. Staff will be conducting hourly cleanliness sweeps through public spaces, plastic guards will be installed at check-in desks, and the hotel will increase the use of Hilton digital keys, per-party elevator service, and guestroom seals prior to check-in.    

The Bristol Hotel’s new policies include: rearranging the lobby for social distancing, paperless registration/check-in, limiting the number of guests in elevators at one time, take-out only options for on-site dining, and increased frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout the property. Find the hotel’s full list of updates here



Route: Los Angeles > Sonoma County, CA  

Courtesy of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens

Destination: Venture up Highway 1 until you reach Sonoma County. Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Napa Valley, the region’s perfect climate and distinctive terroir make it a go-to destination for wine lovers. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens recently reopened its tasting room and outdoor patio in May, and now offers curated  food & wine pairings (an affordable $55 per person) with lawn activities like bocce ball. 

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens

Where to stay:  Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection, in the city of Calistoga, offers stand-alone studios and suites with private patios and hot tubs. Enjoy pool-side wine tastings, mixology classes, and painting lessons. Or, grab a bike and a “sip and cycle guide,” and explore the windy roads and famous wineries of the Silverado Trail.

Safety measures and service tweaks: Enhanced cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection practices have been put in place throughout the property, staff have PPE and regular temperature checks, in-room dining, option to eat in Solage's newly renovated cabanas as private dining rooms (featuring a 4-course Solbar menu), and the pool deck has been rearranged for social distancing. 


Route: Sacramento > Lake Tahoe, CA 

Photo by Tim Peterson

Destination: Situated a short two-hour drive from Sacramento, CA, Lake Tahoe is a peaceful base for hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and horseback riding through the pine tree-lined trails. 

Where to stay: Exclusive Resorts’ Trailside Residences at Lake Tahoe offer an ideal setting for a back-to-nature getaway from the crowded city. Situated on the Mountainside at NorthStar resort, the homes are surrounded by picturesque views of the mountain landscape and feature amenities like private hot tubs and fire pits. 

Read: Are Bubble Vacations the Future of Travel?

Safety measures and service tweaks: Exclusive Resorts is implementing a new three-part strategy for completely customizable travel that ensures travelers are safe and have peace of mind when staying at its residences. The strategy focuses on contactless travel opportunities, a new Platinum-Standard cleaning protocol, and PPE supplies. 


Route: San Antonio > Marfa 

Marfa's Prada Store installation | by Mich Haupt

Destination: The remote desert town of Marfa is an artsy enclave with abundant wide-open space. Hike Big Bend, and tour the area’s art installations (including the famous Prada Store by duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset), and stargaze after dark. 

Where to stay: El Cosmico is a bohemian-style village comprising airstream trailers, yurts, tents, and teepees. Powerhouse hotelier Liz Lambert, owner of Bunkhouse Group, is at the helm, and the place is undeniably cool. It’s also outdoors-oriented and already configured for easy social distancing. 

El Cosmico teepees | by Martin Robles
Read our Texas hotel guide 

Safety measures and service tweaks: El Cosmico’s new health procedures include: rooms cleaned, sanitized, and sealed before guest arrival, room keys cleaned with UV-C sanitizing machines before distribution, on-call doctor available, PPE for staff and guests, hand-sanitizing stations throughout the property, space reconfiguration to ensure social distancing, local restaurant meals and pre-ordered groceries available for drop-off. 

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen