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The Best Outdoor Destinations for Natural Social Distancing This Fall

There’s something about the crisp air that makes people want to get outside this time of year. And whether you’re an adventure traveler, trying to squeeze one more beach trip in or ramping up for ski season, there’s plenty of places for Americans to travel domestically this year where social distancing is second nature.

Joshua Tree National Park at Sunset, USA (roman_slavik / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Joshua Tree National Park at sunset. (photo via roman_slavik / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Joshua Tree National Park, California

National Parks have become widely popular among travelers since the pandemic hit. You get to be out in nature, take a day hike or spend days backpacking your way around the wilderness. Getting away from the hustle and bustle has had people clamoring for the outdoors. Joshua Tree National Park offers a welcome reprieve with two distinctive ecosystems expanding over 800,000 acres.

Poconos, Sunset, Pennsylvania, beach
PHOTO: Sunset in the Poconos (Photo via Pixabay)

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

Leaf peeping season is upon us and the Pocono Mountains is the perfect spot to see thousands of miles of fall in all her beauty. Visitors can stay in their cars to travel along the winding highways or get out and hike local trails. Make the trip extra special by renting a boat and seeing the foliage from Lake Wallepaupack.

Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park
PHOTO: Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park. (photo via juliannafunk / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

The fall is one of the best times of year to visit Rocky Mountain National Park as there are fewer crowds. Hike between five different campgrounds and don’t be surprised to see a migration of elk as they make their way to the meadows for the mating season this time of year.

Larsen's Beach, Kauai

Larsen's Beach, Kauai(Photo by Lauren Breedlove)

Hawaii

Hawaii will lift their mandatory quarantine on October 15th, but they are still requiring travelers to provide a negative COVID test upon arrival. With the restrictions in place, fewer travelers are expected to vacation to the islands this year. For those wanting to soak up a few extra rays of sunshine, experience the magic of Disney’s Aulani resort or immerse themselves in the local culture of the island, Hawaii will be a great escape this time of year.

Sequoia National Park
PHOTO: Sequoia National Park. (photo by Filedimage/Dreamstime.com)

Sequoia National Park, California

Take a walk among giants at the Sequoia National Park in California. Follow the ‘Big Trees Trail’ for sights of the iconic redwoods. Make sure you have your camera fully charged for beautiful vistas along the mountainous passes, and dressing in layers can really help with the changing temperatures at different elevations.

Camden Hills State Park, Maine
PHOTO: Camden Hills State Park, Maine (photo courtesy EJJohnsonPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

Camden Hills State Park, Maine

Camden Hills State Park is known for its incredible fall foliage. With 360-degree views of Camden and Penobscot Bay, hikers will get some of the best scenic outlooks Maine has to offer.

Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina.

PHOTO: Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. (photo courtesy jrayupchurch/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville has tons to offer travelers, but if you’re wanting to remain more socially distant, venture just outside of the town limits into the Great Smoky Mountains. Here you’ll be rewarded with stunning hikes filled with rolling mountains, leaves changing colors and the awe-inspiring cloud coverage lifting over the tops of the mountains. Head over to the Biltmore Estate to see how American royalty lived on thousands of acres nestled the Blue Ridge Mountains.

snorkeling in the florida keys
PHOTO: Snorkel through the only living coral barrier reef in the U.S. at the Florida Keys and Key West. (Photo via The Monroe County Tourist Development Council/Tinsley Advertising)

The Keys, Florida

For those wanting to soak up those last rays of summer, the Florida Keys are a great getaway. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s home on Key West, snorkel in Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, swim with dolphins or just relax in the island atmosphere.

Bull bison grazing in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley.
PHOTO: Bull bison grazing in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. (Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent/Jacob W Frank)

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is comprised of over two million acres and expands from Wyoming into Montana and Idaho. While Old Faithful is still one of the top attractions in the park, hiking and catching sight of wild bison are also top park favorites.

Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin (Photo via kmaassrock / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

For those wanting to start their ski season off early, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado is expected to open mid-October. This early opening date is obviously contingent on weather conditions, but snowbirds can rejoice as snowmaking operations are already underway in the area.

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