A COVID-19 Family Vacation

How do you plan a family vacation where everyone feels safe?

Most families plan their big trips together during the summer. Except, for this summer, vacations look a little differently. Despite the ongoing pandemic, families are eager to get out of their homes. They are planning road trips, social-distancing hotel stays, private vacation homes, and remote camping.

For my family, we decided to halt all vacation planning when the pandemic hit at the beginning of the year. We immediately canceled our annual trip to Big Cedar Lodge over Memorial Day weekend. We stayed local for the Fourth of July. But as the summer comes to an end, we are finding ourselves needing a vacation, if not for the escape, definitely for our mental health.

We thought as long as we take certain precautions, we will be okay. I knew of several local moms who recently took a family vacation. I decided to reach out to them for some traveling insight as well as conducting my own research. I soon discovered there were many safe traveling options and places to visit. We quickly began planning our trip.

With safety as our top priority, we checked the Center for Disease Control website first. They offer a ton of tips. We also researched several locations and the rate of infection in those particular areas. Another priority must be finding out the safety guidelines for each area. Of course, wearing face masks and maintaining cleanliness was a no brainer. With safety measures top of mind, we began planning the fun details beginning with what I found to be great choices for your next adventure.   

After gaining permission from the two traveling moms, I am able to share a breathtaking location with enough fun for the whole family and another great choice that includes a seven-day road trip with many memorable destinations along the way. I am also going to share my family’s vacation plans.

Destination #1 Vail, CO provided by Meg Nohe, @meg_nohe

Located a couple of miles outside of Vail, Piney Lake at Piney River Ranch offers fish-filled waters and a forest with roaming wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts from all around come to enjoy this destination. Best places to lodge are in Vail Village or Lionshead Village. Be sure to dine at Sweet Basil, a nice place for lunch which offers a little of everything. The family can gallop along by horseback at Vail Stables or mingle during goat happy hour.

Looking for more? Explore the waters by paddle boating or canoeing. Then, take to the land with a 6-mile hike to a waterfall. All these can be found at Piney River Ranch. Don’t miss the Betty Ford Park! This park has a beautiful alpine garden and a great playground for the kids. For the hikers, check out the Shrine Ridge Trail and Gore Valley Trail. Wrap it up with a gondola ride at Gondola One accessed from Vail Village. Also, a great destination during the winter months, if you like to ski. This location is a must-see!

Destination: #2 National Park Road Trip provided by Lindsey Johnson

Head to the road with this National Park vacation. Travel from Kansas City to Aspen, CO, and catch some fish in Basalt, a small mountain town in the Roaring Fork Valley. This historic town offers plenty of character and charm. After fishing, explore both Moab and Canyonland National Park.

Next on the itinerary is North Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and stay at these tiny cabins at Fireside Jackson Hole. You will need at least three days here. In Jackson Hole, the family will marvel at the beautiful sites of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. Stroll through the streets of downtown Jackson Hole and explore the Snake River. Back to the road, crossing the great state of Wyoming, and ending up in South Dakota where the family will meet Mount Rushmore and the Badlands National Park. The last stretch of your trip begins now, returning home to Kansas City. This is a true road trip with all the adventure you can handle.

Destination #3 Glamping Adventure by yours truly

After researching RV options with only to find out every place was booked, we decided to look into other options. I stumbled across Under Canvas while searching for safe places to lodge in South Dakota. It’s location offered access to places we wanted to visit. With glamping growing in popularity, this ideal compromise infused with a strong dose of glam factor into camping accommodations seemed like a wonderful choice for my family. Here, we can visit a national monument and experience plenty of hiking, horseback riding, and fishing that will satisfy everyone They, too, were booked out, but with school (probably being) pushed back, we have more time to travel before school starts and before our sanity runs out. A simple family vacation packed with grand experiences.

So much beauty to see. Happy and safe travels!

Tiffany Basinger
Tiffany is a wife, a mom of two IVF babes, a nanny of four, a house manager part-time and an active community volunteer. She was born and raised in Emporia, KS until she moved to Lawrence to gain her KU degree in Social Work. After college, Tiffany relocated to Overland Park and has loved it ever since! She met her husband, an Olathe native, in 2009. Together they have been beating the odds, chasing the Dream, and checking off their bucket lists. Tiffany loves spending her days laughing and playing with her two very active boys, Noah 5 and Derek 2 (plus, four children she cares for). When she is not chasing kids around, she loves curling up on the couch with a good read, drinking a tasty cup of joe, enjoying a glass of wine, running local races, and trying new things!