Travel ideas for your 2020 summer trip

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Paddling Lake Tahoe. Photo: Scott Sporleder

You can’t take travel out of the traveler. Many of us have spent the last three months in some version of lockdown, feeling the urge to travel and explore. Now it’s summer — your summer — and you’re ready to make the most of it. But how do you do so responsibly? Plan to pack that mask and spend more time outdoors. Focus your trip on supporting the smaller, family-run businesses who truly need you.

And trust Southwest® to get you there. The airline has made a promise to support your comfort and well-being through practices such as cleaning between flights, enhanced overnight cleans, requiring customer-facing employees and passengers wear face coverings or masks (some exemptions apply), and keeping middle seats open through at least September 30. (Of course, you can still sit together. Southwest won’t be blocking seats or directing seating.) Not only that, but they’ve just rolled out some incredible low fares to unforgettable destinations around the country and are offering more points for booking flights and hotels.

Scope out the trip ideas below and check back in the coming weeks as we add more. Travel may look a bit different these days, but we should take time to get away and explore — and Southwest can help you summer how you wanna.

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This post is proudly produced in partnership with Southwest Airlines.
A few hours by air from almost anywhere in the States, The Mile High City is a great choice for your summer 2020 trip. Life is lived outdoors here, and you’ll see why as soon as you step off the plane. The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains beckons in the distance, but make sure to devote ample time to exploring Denver’s outdoor art, eclectic food, and patio scenes as well.
You don’t have to take our word for it. “It’s time to trade isolation for a little vacation fun in Denver! Many of The Mile High City’s attractions have reopened, top restaurants are serving up healthy farm-to-table cuisine on expanded patios, and there’s plenty of room to reconnect with nature in the city’s surrounding wide-open spaces,” says Justin Bresler of VISIT DENVER.
If you’re looking for a quick trip to relax and reset, here’s an example of how a perfect day in Denver might look. Just remember that circumstances can change quickly these days, so it’s a good idea to double check operating hours and protocols for individual businesses before heading out.

Start with a morning refresh: Grab a to-go cold brew from Little Owl Coffee, and then head down the 16th St Mall to the flagpole outside Denver Union Station. There you’ll meet the folks at Denver Local Tours for a 90-minute private walking tour of LoDo, Denver’s oldest neighborhood. Don’t forget to wear your mask.

Get out of town: The craggy peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park are 90 minutes away. Plan ahead and reserve a timed entry permit — the park is currently operating at 60% capacity — for an afternoon hike in the Beaver Meadows area or a scenic drive along Trail Ridge Road.

Fill up with fresh take-out eats: Though many restaurants throughout Denver have opened their dining rooms, take-out means a fresh-air picnic wherever you want to wander. It also means a chance to support local: Ethiopian cuisine has been a fixture of Denver’s dining scene for 20+ years, most restaurants family-owned and operated. Scout out Konjo Ethiopian or The Ethiopian Restaurant for an earthy, spicy, crowd-pleasing meal.

Toast sunset with a patio cocktail: It’s impossible to choose, but wine slushies at Acova or a fresh pint at the wide-open Lowry Beer Garden certainly make the list. When in doubt, head to Larimer Square for a smorgasbord of open-air patios to choose from. Just because it’s happy hour doesn’t mean you have to go indoors — especially in Denver.

For more trip ideas and to stay abreast of the latest restrictions and closures, seek out the experts at VISIT DENVER.

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Photo credits: Brian Lewis, bjul/Shutterstock
The best of mountains, the best of beaches — in Reno Tahoe, any “best of” list reads like a roll call of the planet’s most striking landscapes. Here, you’ll bike through the Great Basin Desert, float right through Downtown on the Truckee River, hike the Toiyabe National Forest, or paddle the largest alpine lake on the continent. Just maybe not all in the same day.
“The variety of outdoor activities and the naturally open, urban layout make Reno Tahoe perfect for a quick getaway or an escape to a destination where adventure is boundless and amenities are more accessible,” says Ben McDonald of Reno Tahoe.
There you have it — your summer is cooped-up no more. But do remember to explore responsibly: If your particular trail — or restaurant or beach — looks too crowded to maintain physical distancing, move on to the next. In Reno Tahoe, there’s probably another just around the corner. Here are a few examples.

Hike it (or bike it): Located just west of town overlooking the Truckee River, the 3.7-mile Tom Cooke Trail is a popular loop for both hikers and mountain bikers. For scenery that includes falls and other water features, scope out Hunter Creek, Upper Thomas Creek, or Cascade Falls — just make sure to obey the rules of the trail.

Get on the water: Lake Tahoe has a whopping 72 miles of shoreline — first-time visitors should paddle around Zephyr Cove or Sand Harbor for an epic introduction. Beyond the lake, the 21-mile Hangman’s Run on the East Fork of the Carson River is great for eager-to-learn rafters; the more experienced can take on Class III and IV features on the Truckee from Boca to Verdi. For a calmer float, put the tube in at Wingfield Park, on the Truckee in Downtown Reno.

Play at the beach: 300 days of sunshine, baby. Sand Harbor is part of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park — its combination of half-submerged boulders and blue-blue water makes it extremely picturesque, which means to avoid the crowds, go for sunrise. A safer bet is Hidden Beach — there’s limited parking, so get there early and be one of the few who make the trek in.

Grab an al fresco bite: Restaurants in and around Reno are currently operating at 50% capacity, masks are required, and seats must be six feet apart, even outdoors. Grab a spot on the spacious dining deck of El Adobe Café and sit down to a pitcher of margs and homemade chips and salsa, or head to The Twisted Fork for a fresh-air happy hour and a grand view of Mt. Rose.

For more trip ideas and to stay abreast of the latest restrictions and closures, seek out the experts at Reno Tahoe USA.

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Photo credits: Scott Sporleder, Topseller/Shutterstock, ddub3429/Shutterstock
This post is proudly produced in partnership with Southwest Airlines.