Road trips are a quintessential, American tradition and, with the current risks of airplane travel, this summer is a perfect time to embark on your own asphalt adventure. June 19th marks the annual “take a road trip day” but many people are wondering where they can go. Here’s what’s open, what’s safe, and what rules you’ll have to follow to access the 15 best U.S. road trip destinations.
Barringer Meteor Crater
Just off Interstate 40 near Flagstaff, Arizona, this 55,000-year-old meteorite impact crater is an impressive sight accompanied by a space museum with a 4D theater and the Blasted Bistro Cafe. All features of this attraction are open, including rim tours. COVID-19 safety measures: visitors are encouraged to wear masks, all employees will be wearing masks, social distancing will be in place, sanitation procedures will be more frequent, the museum will be one-way traffic only and only outdoor dining will be allowed.
National World War I Museum and Memorial
Kansas City, MO
Located a few short miles from US-71 in Kansas City, Missouri, America’s official WWI museum has galleries with rare historical artifacts as well as a theater and research center. This road trip destination is now open for visitors with precautions in place. Operating hours have been reduced to 10 am – 5 pm and only a certain number of guests will be allowed in; they recommend purchasing advanced tickets online to make sure you’ll be one of them. Multiple cleanliness measures are in place. Water foundations, wheelchairs, scooters, backpacks, and headphones for audio guides will NOT be available. The cafe will also serve an abbreviated menu.
Route 66 Drive-in Theater
This classic road-trip destination on the iconic Route 66 is now open 7 days a week and playing double features nightly. The Carthage, Missouri, throwback is the perfect place to take a break and catch a flick or two from the safety of your own vehicle. Health guidelines include: visitors must purchase tickets online in advance, capacity is capped at 50 percent and cars must be parked in every other spot. Concessions must be ordered via an app and picked up, the playground is closed, masks are required outside your vehicle, and if you choose to sit with you hatch up or in your truck bed, you must park in the last three rows.
Yellowstone National Park
Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
This national park is one of America’s best road trip destinations, known for its hydrothermal wonders. Yellowstone is spread across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In Phase 1 of their reopening plan, visitors can enter the park through most entrances, use trails and services/facilities during the day, but food service, boating, fishing, and the use of campgrounds are still prohibited.
Twentynine Palms, CA
Hike, bike, stargaze, bird-watch, and free climb in the Mojave desert outside of Twentynine Palms, California. This national park is named for its unique yucca trees that dot its distinct landscape. All trails, roads, parking lots, visitor centers, family campsites, and group campsites are now open! Some bathrooms are closed and all ranger programs are suspended until further notice.
This picturesque white-sand beach can be found in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, off of Highway 1. Visitors are allowed to walk, swim, surf, and soak up some rays with minimal restriction. Officials just ask that you employ social distancing best practices.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West, FL
Located even further west than Key West, Florida, Dry Tortugas is a well-regarded road trip destination for divers, ocean-lovers, and adventurers of all kinds. At the current stage in their phased reopening plan, most facilities, including campgrounds and ferry boats, are open with some modifications for public health.
Mardi Gras World
New Orleans, LA
This art museum off of I-90 in New Orleans is just as weird and wonderful as its namesake festival. Find out how the famous floats are built on a tour of this 400,000-square-foot attraction. They have reopened for daily tours from 9:30 am – 4 pm, and have reopened shuttle service. This place will make the perfect addition to a girls’ trip.
White Mountain National Forest
A premier scenic destination in New Hampshire and western Maine, the White Mountains are an easy road-trip stop right off Interstate 93. A variety of outdoor recreational activities are available including camping, mountain biking, hikes, and scenic drives. Most of its campgrounds and trails are open, but some group sites and areas remain closed for now. Visitors are advised to social distance and avoid crowded trails.
Angel Oak Tree
Johns Island, SC
As one of the oldest living beings in the country, this massive (60+ foot!) tree is a must-see for travelers in the southeast. Social distancing will be easy at the outdoor site, where you can take in the splendor of this southern live oak and stretch your legs before the next part of your journey.
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls, NY
Though the official Niagara Falls USA visitor center remains closed, the state park has reopened and is still worth a visit if you’re road-tripping on 1-90. All trails and grounds are open, as well as some retail and food shops. Visitors are advised to keep six feet apart from non-household members, wash hands and avoid touching high-traffic surfaces.
A Christmas Story House and Museum
Visit this quirky attraction in Cleveland, Ohio, for a tour of the actual house used in the filming of the Christmas classic. An entrepreneur purchased the house on eBay in 2004 and restored it to exactly match the movie. The museum is open for daily tours and overnight stays.
Shenandoah National Park
75 miles from Washington, D.C. lies Shenandoah National Park known for the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s something for everyone whether you want to horseback ride, hike, rock climb, shop, or simply sip some wine and enjoy the view. The park and lodgings have reopened with a few new rules. Guests must wear a face covering inside public buildings, no sick guests may enter the premises, and some retail and restaurant hours are limited, but, on the whole, most amenities are fully open!
The Rock Garden
A unique and whimsical attraction can be found off of I-75 in Rome, GA. The Rock Garden is an outdoor folk-art installation that features miniature building sculptures made out of various found materials. There’s also an acre of beautiful greenery for the car-sick to recover in the fresh air. This destination is fully open but encouraging social distancing.
Coconut Creek, FL
The largest butterfly garden in the world is located in Coconut Creek, Florida, and can be easily accessed from I-95. The 10-acre property is host to over 20,000 butterflies of all kinds, along with rare plants, other insects, and unique birds. Guests must wear facial coverings at all times and observe social distancing, and only two parties will be able to access “the lorikeet encounter” at a time. Additionally, their Inner Research Center is closed.