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With international travel limited this summer, many clients are planning vacations closer to home. Fortunately, for travelers interested in California — perennially one of the top domestic destinations — there are many ways to maintain a safe distance from other visitors while experiencing some of the Golden State’s most iconic landscapes.
Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, says there are plenty of reasons to visit.
“Destinations and businesses across the state have implemented new protocols for cleaning and distancing,” she said. “These new practices, paired with California’s vast outdoor spaces, provide many options for travelers.”
Here are three family vacation destinations in California that promote social distancing.
In the DesertThe Avalon Hotel & Bungalows Palm Springs has been a go-to for private getaways since the 1930s for movie stars such as Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. The boutique property’s naturally private layout and historic one- and two-bedroom bungalows are perfect for maintaining distance from other travelers. Plus, swimming in the kid-friendly Presidio Pool feels like being in a secluded backyard complete with individual cabanas.
For off-property adventure, ATV Experience offers thrilling (and socially distant) tours in the desert outside Palm Springs. During the two-hour guided Chiriaco Summit excursion, families can ride on a three- or six-seater all-terrain vehicle with a professional guide.
“Each group is in their own side-by-side ATV, and family members are driving themselves,” said Randall James, owner of ATV Experience. “Everyone also gets bandanas to cover their nose and mouth.”
Among the RedwoodsLocated along the Russian River outside the town of Guerneville, and a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, AutoCamp is a unique outdoor lodging experience inspired by the nostalgia of the great American road trip. Here, guests can keep their distance in private custom-designed Airstream suites that have been fitted with all the amenities families need for glamping in the heart of California’s wine country.
Units include private kitchens with a microwave and a minifridge, along with a grilling grate for an outdoor fire pit. For maximum privacy, clients can request one of the site’s Premium Airstreams, which are located on the outskirts of the property.
At a central reception area, travelers will find a fully stocked shop that carries a range of local products and camping necessities — including extremely important s’mores supplies. Families can also borrow board games and cards, or play a game of corn hole or ladder toss on the lawn.
“AutoCamp provides the ideal setting for exploring the outdoors in a safe and comfortable way,” said Ryan Miller, co-founder of AutoCamp. “The fully private suites offer guests their own patios with fire pits, plus high-end private bathrooms. Nearby outdoor attractions offer families ample space to explore and experience the wonders of nature.”
One such local experience is Johnson’s Beach, a Guerneville summer hot spot for nearly 100 years. Here, clients can spend the day relaxing at pre-reserved secluded spots on the picturesque beach.
For something more active, Johnson’s Beach also offers canoes for rent, so families can explore the Russian River. Since each canoe accommodates up to four people, it’s a perfect way for them to stay safe.
On the OceanClients looking for the ultimate COVID 19-safe vacation can take to the high seas. San Diego-based Halcyon Seas offers an all-inclusive, three-night getaway to nearby Catalina Island onboard its 70-foot luxury (and family-friendly) motor yacht.
“Everybody is looking for adventure these days,” said owner Mike Ryan. “The nice thing with the boat is that you can get the exploration that everybody loves, while still keeping distant.”
According to Ryan, traveling by boat also allows clients to isolate themselves as much as they like while in port. For example, if they want to pull into Catalina at Avalon and tie up near other boats, that’s an option. But there are also more remote places where the yacht can anchor offshore with nobody around. Plus, there are stand-up paddleboards onboard, so families can enjoy Catalina’s waters without interacting with anyone else.
“We have a really diverse and wonderful coastline in Southern California, and you get a totally different perspective when you are looking at the coastline from the water,” Ryan said. “I hope people get excited about getting out on the ocean and trying something new.”
The DetailsVisit Californiawww.visitcalifornia.com