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While some might say Summer 2020 is cancelled, there has never been a more optimal time to explore our natural world. With restaurants all but closed and the need for social distancing, it seems like the perfect opportunity to get outside and have an adventure – alone or with loved ones! We just need to rethink and do a little more research in order to discover the best trips to stay safe and have fun. And I’m happy to tell you, we’ve done some of that research for you.
In most cases, it might not be comfortable or practical to take trips that might lead to a flight or cruise where it’s difficult to properly socially distance. Fortunately, gas prices remain at record lows and there’s never been a better time for a road trip. Whether you pack up the family car or rent an RV, this country is packed full of incredible sites to see.
How many parks can you visit in a week’s time? Hop in that car or RV and knock out as many as you can over 7 days. According to the National Park Service website, the parks have expanded access and services over the past couple months. However, they encourage you to visit each park’s website to ensure you are up-to-date with their current operating status.
You can view all available national park pass options here: America The Beautiful Passes.
Bonus: all current U.S. Military members and their dependents are eligible for FREE annual passes.
You might be surprised, but West Virginia is home to six national parks that are scenic or historically significant. These areas are designated by the federal government to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife of the region.
The Monongahela National Forest which celebrated its 100th birthday this year, is home to some of the most diverse ecological features in the country. It boasts Spruce Knob – sitting at 4,863 feet making it the highest point in the Mountain State – along with the rock-climbing haven of Seneca Rocks, the breathtaking ridgeline of North Fork Mountain, the high elevation plateau of Dolly Sods Wilderness and the wetlands of Cranberry Glades. All inside the nearly 1 million acre national forest. As someone who has experienced this firsthand, I highly recommend.
Some of the different trails require different skill sets and tools, you will want to plan accordingly.
While it’s not in West Virginia, Hocking Hills State Park is roughly an hours drive into Ohio, and reopened to the public on July 2nd. It is home to tourist attractions like Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls. Generally, all of the trails are family-friendly and don’t require a lot of skill or tools. Just take a water bottle and the right shoes (no flip flops)!
If you’re looking for other things to do, Hocking Hills offers canoeing, ziplining, and cabin stays as well.
Need more convincing to get outside?
Did you know that getting outside has major health benefits? According to this TIME article, even just 20 minutes of outside time can make you happier.
Just remember to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and take the right safety precautions (i.e. having a small first aid kit, letting people know where you are, and staying on trails that are at your skill level.)
Summer of 2020 is not cancelled – it’s just giving us an opportunity to slow down, get outside and explore, and improve our physical and mental well-being all at the same time. Happy exploring!
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law