During a global pandemic, staying as distant from other people as possible is key in keeping yourself and others safe. This has led many of us to wonder what exactly we can do to keep ourselves occupied, as our usual activities have come to a halt. National parks offer some of the best opportunities to get out of the house, get some exercise, and see some nature all while staying socially distant. Check out our list for the best national parks to visit while social distancing, pick the one closest to you, and make a day trip!
Yellowstone National Park - WY, ID, MT
Yellowstone covers over 3,500 miles of land, with the majority of the park located in Wyoming, and smaller percentages located in Montana and Idaho. Though the swimming areas in the park are currently closed for safety reasons, there are still loads of attractions to see and visit. Get your adventure on with the nearly 1,000 miles of hiking trails, explore the colorful thermal basins that Yellowstone is known for, or bring your binoculars to spot some wildlife - including bears, bison, elk, and wolves - from a safe distance, of course!
Although the Desert View and East Entrance are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can still enter the canyon through the South Rim and access the North Rim. This beautiful, famous, and family-friendly canyon offers a variety of activities such as hiking while learning about geological history, biking, river rafting, mule tours, scenic drives, and more.
Yosemite National Park is currently open with reservations required due to COVID-19, so make sure you plan this trip in advance! Yosemite is packed full of gorgeous sights, such as the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, waterfalls, and rivers. Pack up the fam to go camping, horseback riding, or fishing, or take yourself on a solo vacay and do some sketching or stargazing while your Xtrainerz keep you connected off-the-grid.
Shenandoah is great for the whole family. Go biking or driving on Skyline Drive (especially recommended in the fall), hike the 500 miles of trails, or explore the interactive exhibits around the park. They even offer the option to tour virtually!
Acadia National Park - ME
Though camping and driving through certain areas of the park is currently restricted, there are still many activities to explore. Hailed as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” Acadia is one of the top 10 most-visited parks in the U.S. This park boasts 2 lakes, 1 ocean beach, tidepooling, and winter activities such as snowmobiling and dog sledding. No matter what time of year you visit, Acadia is a safe bet!
Certain elements of the park, such as the kayak launch, are restricted, but all park waters are open at this time. This watery wonderland is home to all kinds of aquatic activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling/diving, and boating; no surprise when the park is 95% water! For those who typically live in a land-locked area, the park also features a birding trail, guided tours, fishing, and camping so you can enjoy some wide-open spaces. The emerald islands, aquamarine waters, and fish-filled coral reefs are waiting for you!