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5 fun weekend getaways for families outdoors

During these times of social distancing, you can still plan fun weekend getaways with the family. Weekend plans for this summer should include locations closer to home, offer a range of outdoor activities, and avoid crowds.

For weekend plans that involve state or national parks, be aware that many have been reopening gradually due to COVID-19. Find out about special warnings and opening times for each individual park.

Here are some examples of fun weekend getaways you can plan with your family this summer:

  1. Pigeon Forge, TN. Find a family-friendly vacation rental in Pigeon Forge and visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take the family on a hike on the Gatlinburg Trail, which winds 2 miles along the Little Pigeon River towards the outskirts of Gatlinburg. There’s plenty to do outdoors at Pigeon Forge. Get some beginner fishing tips and plan to fish for smallmouth bass in the first few miles of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River during your visit. You can also take a bike tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road or pack a picnic and take in the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains.

  2. Colorado Springs, CO. Experience the beauty of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains by visiting an area 70 miles south of Denver that is ideal for family outdoor activities. Visit one of the area’s parks, such as Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which offers camping, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and biking on over 28 miles of trails.

  3. Punta Gorda, FL. The laid-back historic town of Punta Gorda in southwest Florida is the ideal place to get away from the crowds and spend a few days outdoors with your family. Plan a saltwater fishing trip from the Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, hike the nature trails in Punta Gorda Natural Park, or rent kayaks for the day and paddle down the Peace River. Before you set off, get some beginner fishing tips and beginner boating tips so you are better prepared for your outdoor adventures.

  4. Munising, MI. Families can visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore State Park on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the best ways to experience the rocks pictured is to stroll up to Miners Castle for a view of the lookouts. From a well-maintained path, you can see rock formations and some of the colorful sandstone cliffs. There are three rustic car campsites on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, though prior reservation is required year round.

  5. Bar Harbor, ME. Home to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is known for breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities. Plan a family trip to Cadillac Mountain for the best views in the park, and purchase a Maine fishing license, as there are a number of freshwater lakes and ponds in the park for families to fish. Long Pond offers freshwater fishing for salmon, brown trout, black bass and chain pickers, for example. Bar Harbor is home to private campsites including Bar Harbor Campground, one of the closest campsites to Acadia National Park, and other local attractions.

After you have some ideas for fun weekend getaways, choose a location near you and remember to practice responsible recreation.

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