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Socially distant adventures on the Carolina coast

By Kylie Ruffino
January 12, 2022
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©Natalia Bratslavsky/Getty Images
From Charleston, SC to Savannah, Georgia, here is a list of great adventures you can go on and still say safe from COVID-19.

It’s that time again. It’s been a week since you’ve left the house and it’s enough stir-crazy between your partner or your kids for a lifetime. Even the dog is sick of you. Here are ten things you can do in an expertly planned one day trip on South Carolina coast. Pack the day full, because even though it’s not a week in Cabo, it will make going home feel relaxing enough to mask the crazy.

Kayaking at Sunrise in Charleston

Plentiful waterways make up the iconic scenery of Charleston. What better way to enjoy what Charleston has to offer while remaining primarily secluded than kayaking at sunrise. Further out of town the top rated company Charleston Outdoor Adventures offers kayaking and paddleboarding to escape the city life. Make online reservations to plan ahead and stay distanced. As always, bring your own sanitizing wipes and sanitizer.


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Breakfast Downtown Charleston

Many of the restaurants in Charleston vary from dine-in to takeout only or closed all together. This is why we recommend heading downtown. This socially distanced option allows you to pick up whatever you want (we recommend Toast! a charleston breakfast hotspot) because there are several great outdoor picnic spots around. Just pick up your tasty treat and find yours. On a slower day mid week, you could even go to Joe Wiley Waterfront Park to find a picnic spot. This park offers a great look into historic Charleston. Cobblestone streets lead you to a scenic fountain and pier. The walk along the way is beautiful too.


South Carolina Aquarium

Get out of the heat, even though it’s morning, don’t doubt the East Coast humidity. The one indoor activity on here features the South Carolina Aquarium who takes social distancing very seriously. They believe “as a scientific organization, it is our duty to keep the health and safety of our guests and staff top priority.” Find more information on their FAQ page about safe visiting. The aquarium requires guests to purchase timed entries online to limit the capacity of visitors and to wear a face mask at all times.


Beach Picnic in Hilton Head

Take the day elsewhere by driving down to Hilton Head. Just two hours away travelers can make it for an afternoon picnic on the beach. On the main beach, many seafood restaurants offer outside seating or takeout. But who wouldn’t want to eat by the waves? All beach access and surrounding recreations restored to normal. For those searching for less crowds, you might have better luck finding a beach access point off of the main.



Rent a Bike in Hilton Head

Just like the Kayaks, make sure you bring hand sanitizing wipes. Even with sanitizing practices of their own, you can never be too careful. The options for rentals seem almost limitless. All across the island visitors can find beach cruisers. Biking around the beaches or the walk ways amongst the trees is a great way to spend the afternoon. You can do this alone or with a small group (we recommend nothing over six). When you get hot or tired, jump in the ocean. When it comes to getting out of the house, nothing beats a little bit of exercise to boost the seratonin.


Golf in Hilton Head

But if biking just isn’t your vibe, then try golfing. This is another outdoor, energy boosting activity with lots of walking and enjoyment (but none of the pedaling). Though, this is a little bit of a pricier option. Tee times run around $100 for the surrounding courses. The most expensive course looks out to the ocean. Golden Bear golf clubs hold one of the highest rating clubs in the area. This sport thrives through social distancing. As you know by now, it’s great as long as you bring some hand sanitizing wipes for the clubs and the cart.


104603214_10108556127533725_2864249938047805959_o.jpg?mtime=20200827111408#asset:108947Sunset in Hilton Head, SC. Photo by Laura Brown

Watch the sunset in Hilton Head

Hilton Head has a plethora of fantastic places to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset. Our favorites are the Skull Creek Boathouse on the north side of the island, and the Sunset Grill on the Western side. The Sunset Grill is an upscale restaurant nestled in the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort, for the RV enthusiasts.


Margs at the Park in Savannah

Once you’ve finished the afternoon in Hilton Head, drive on down to Savannah. Another short drive away, Savannah brings in visitors all over the state for the simple fact of open carry alcohol. While bars start to open their doors to guests, the numbers are already growing for tourists. If you are really looking for a way to travel away from the crowds, the best option is to head over to Tequila Town, or any other bar, and grab an open cup margarita. Then find yourself a nice, lonely park bench to enjoy it on. The evenings start to cool down and what better way to cap off a day of fun.


shutterstockRF_648036232.jpg?mtime=20200827111822#asset:108950©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Horse Drawn Carriages in Savannah

Traveling historic Savannah is the second best part to the city, so do it in style. You know, it also keeps you several feet above everyone else (probable a six foot distance if you know what I mean). Horse drawn carriages are back in business and taking riders in fewer quantities with more time in between.


Beach Under the Stars at Tybee Island

Tybee island is a local favorite for anyone in Savannah. The best times to go are for sunrise and the stars. Bring drinks, dessert and a blanket. You’ll find good company among some of the others who come out, but mostly with the crabs. There isn’t much light pollution in Savannah to begin with, but there is hardly any in Tybee. On a clear night, you can see everything and listen to the waves.


Enjoy the Road

Lastly it’s about enjoying the road trip. These days, just getting out of the house is an adventure, even if you spend most of your time in the car listening to your favorite songs driving from place to place. A trip from Charleston to Hilton Head to Savannah might not seem like a typical day trip, but why not rise to the challenge? Where else can you drive in a day?

(P.s. we highly recommend the new Taylor Swift album Folklore for your road trip tunes.)


Kylie Ruffino is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

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Inspiration

The best hot springs near Reno, Nevada

There are more hot springs in and around Reno than anyone knows what to do with. Some are through resorts while most others are natural. Some of them even have campsites near to offer an overnight soak under the stars. Here are the top 10 favorites! Before you go, be sure to read up on Nevada's COVID-19 policies and guidelines here. 1. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs This hot spring, near Mammoth Lakes, is open year-round, has beautiful views, and always has close to perfect water temperature coming in anywhere from 95-105 degrees. Upon arrival, there is a boardwalk leading to two hot spring pools. One of the pools is much larger and deeper than the average hot spring pool appealing to bigger groups. They both have cement and have been built-up to keep them in pristine condition. 2. Hilltop Tub Hot Springs Yet another hot spring in Mammoth with a view of the Eastern Sierra. This pool is on the littler side so arriving early or going during the week may be key to getting a secluded experience. It is a man-made stone pool with a valve for slight control of the temperature. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular. 3. Travertine Hot Springs This area is easily accessible and has multiple pools making it easy to share which is needed at this high traffic popular hot spring. The name of these pools most likely came from the rich gray travertine mud that lines the floors and is known for its restorative properties. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular. 4. Buckeye Springs This warm waterfall like experience pours down from the springs above into a warm pool between the banks of the Buckeye creek and a steep sidewall. The sound of the falling water brings a different kind of relaxation to the hot springs. There is nearby camping at Buckeye Campground. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular. 5. Soldier Meadows Hot Springs There are 4-6 places to get in the hot water ranging from the 90’s to the low 100’s in this area. They are made up of damned pockets along the hot spring’s river. This is a great hot spring to go to if the plan includes staying overnight. There is a cattle ranch near that offers lodging or tons of BLM campgrounds to choose from. 6. Trego Hot Springs Though the Black Rock Desert is most popularly known for Burning Man every summer, it is also perfect for visiting several hot springs that give the spring soakers a different vibe than the others on the list. The views of the playa combined with the pond-like hot spring is unlike any other. This is technically on private property but there are BLM signs guiding the way to the hot spring. This is ideal for those who do not want to walk because you can park right next to the hot spring. 7. Spencer Hot Springs This spring includes natural pools and an enclosed pool with a metal tub and an in-ground spring. Some reviews say that the bottoms of the pools are soft sand, and the water is cleaner than one would expect in a natural pool. There is also a beautiful view of the Toiyabe Range. It is easily accessible (still on a dirt road though) and free to camp. Or, for a more civilized stay, the town Austin is not too far away. This is a great place to visit for those who are new to hot springing. 8. Fish Lake Valley Hot Wells This is a popular place for those with campers and ATV’s. Unlike most other hot springs, this one comes with amenities such as BBQ’s and firepits. The hot springs here are a large concrete pool and two natural ponds with a view of the White Mountains and Boundary Peak. 9. Bartine Hot Springs This is perhaps the most unique tub of the hot springs on the list. The pool here is a three-seat stone tub that was dug into the ground. There is a breathtaking view in all directions, in and out pipes to keep the water nicely circulated and clean and has carpet on one side for a more comfortable area. The bottom is known to get a bit slippery from algae. The walk in can be muddy and finding the hot spring has proven difficult in general, though there are directions to follow. 10. Resorts If the natural approach is not for you, there also resorts that have luxurious hot springs. They have limitations due to the pandemic, but they are worth the time and consideration. Steamboat Hot Springs, Carson Hot Springs, and 1862 David Walley’s Resort (my personal favorite because of the beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Carson Valley) all offer a range of services and a spa-like experience with facials, massages, steam rooms, and of course, hot springs and pools. Don’t forget these tips when planning your trip to one of the hot springs! 1. Dress accordingly. Some hot springs require a little walk or hike after parking the car. If the plan is to stay later into the night, bring a set of warmer clothes. And while we’re on the subject of clothes, it is also important to note that most hot springs are in remote places. This means that there is not a dress code, and some may take advantage of that for a nude soak. 2. A lot of people are out looking for adventure and a chance to experience the springs, share the space. 3. Just like anywhere else, leave the area cleaner than when you found it. Our planet needs our help. Be respectful to the land and future visitors. 4. Some springs on private property. This does not mean that they cannot be visited but pay close attention when there are “no trespassing” signs 5. Some hot springs can be difficult to get to without a bigger vehicle. A lot of them require at least a short drive on dirt roads. 6. The temperature of the hot springs is ever changing. Because they are naturally-fed, there is no guarantee that they will be cool enough to get in. Some hot springs have seriously burned or even killed people and their pets so always check the temperature beforehand. Haley Beyer is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020.

Inspiration

Celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage with these monuments

August 18, 2020 marks a century since the ratification of the 19th constitutional amendment granting the right to vote regardless of gender. Since far before and after 1920, women of all backgrounds across the U.S. have been championing civil rights and other issues of the day. While landmarks, monuments and memorials to suffragettes and female civil rights advocates might have limited hours or be inaccessible due to COVID-19 mandates, you could walk or drive past some of them. Here is where to begin: Alabama Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue is along the route of the bus that Rosa Parks would board and refuse to give up her seat to a white man in 1955; a life-size statue of Parks stands there. Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum and Library on Montgomery Street is dedicated to Parks’ action and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott. California In San Diego’s Arts District Liberty Station, the Women’s Museum of California preserves her-story by teaching about various women’s experiences and contributions. Colorado In Denver’s Capitol Hill, the Molly Brown House Museum showcases the famous Titanic survivor who helped to organize the Conference of Great Women in 1914 in Newport, while the Center for Colorado Women’s History tells about this topic through exhibits and lectures. In Colorado Springs, a statue of entertainer and philanthropist Fannie Mae Duncan, who owned and integrated the city’s first jazz club, stands outside the Pikes Peak Center. Connecticut In Canterbury, the Prudence Crandall Museum honors Connecticut’s Official State Heroine who ran a higher education academy for African American women until mob violence forced her school to close. In Hartford, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is where the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” author and activist once lived. It now serves as a museum and a forum for social justice and change. Delaware The Old State House in Dover’s First State Heritage Park was where suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann Sorden Stuart addressed Delaware legislators in support of a state constitutional amendment in favor of women’s suffrage. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway crosses into Kent and New Castle counties in Delaware but comes from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and concludes in Philadelphia. It encompasses 45 sites linked to Tubman, who also supported women’s suffrage, plus others who sought freedom from enslavement. District of Columbia In Capitol Hill, the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument was the headquarters for the National Women’s Party; it’s named for Alice Paul, the party’s founder, and Alva Belmont, a major benefactor. In Lincoln Park, the Mary McLeod Bethune Statue is the first to honor an African American woman in a D.C. public park; her home, now the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, was the first location for the National Council of Negro Women. In Northwest D.C., the Mary Church Terrell House is for the founder and president of the National Association of Colored Women who successfully fought to integrate dining spots in D.C. Florida The Eleanor Collier McWilliams Monument on Tampa’s Riverwalk Historical Monument Trail highlights women's rights pioneer who has been credited with starting the women's suffrage movement in Florida. Illinois Now a private residence, in Chicago’s Douglas neighborhood, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett House was where civil rights advocate and journalist Ida B. Wells, and her husband, Ferdinand Lee Barnett, resided for almost 20 years. Wells led an anti-lynching crusade across the U.S. and fought for woman’s suffrage. Kentucky The SEEK Museum in Russellville has put on display a life-size bronze statue of civil rights pioneer Alice Allison Dunnigan – the first female African American admitted to the White House, Congressional and Supreme Court press corps – at a park adjacent to its Payne-Dunnigan house on East 6th Street. In Lexington, at Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay, a marker honors Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Clay’s great-granddaughter, social reformer and suffragist. Maryland Along the Harriet Tubman Byway, the Bucktown Village Store in Cambridge is where a young Tubman would defy an overseer’s order and was impacted by a resulting head injury. At Historic St. Mary’s City in Southern Maryland, learn about Margaret Brent, an 17th century woman asking the colony’s leaders for voting rights. In Baltimore, the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was home to this predominant Civil Rights leader and president of the city’s NAACP branch. Massachusetts The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail encompass various neighborhoods and the women who lived in or are connected to them; their Women’s Suffrage Trail goes by stops such as the Boston Women’s Memorial. In Adams, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum highlights what would influence this suffragist’s early life. Michigan In Battle Creek, where she lived out her final years, the Sojourner Truth Monument in Monument Park honors this abolitionist, suffragist and orator. Minnesota The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden at the Capitol Mall in St. Paul has a 94-foot steel trellis with the names of 25 key Minnesota suffragists. A series of steel tablets shares the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in this state. New Jersey The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail includes sites such as the Paulsdale, the childhood home of suffragette Alice Stokes Paul that’s now part of the Alice Paul Institute. New Mexico Now the staff offices for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, the Alfred M. Bergere House was where Adelina (Nina) Otero Warren, a noted suffragist, author and business woman lived. She headed the New Mexico chapter of the Congressional Union (a precursor to the National Woman’s Party). New York In Seneca Falls, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park contains the Wesleyan Chapel, where the First Women’s Rights Convention met, and the home of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Harriet Tubman lived out the rest of her life in Auburn at Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. In Rochester, see the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and take a selfie with “Let’s Have Tea,” the statue of Anthony with her friend Frederick Douglass in Anthony Square. The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park is the only one of its kind to a U.S. First Lady. Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn is named for first African American Congresswoman and the first woman and African American to run for president. Ohio An “Ohio Women in History” road itinerary lists eight stops including Oberlin College, which first granted undergrad degrees to women in a co-ed setting, and the Upton House and Women's Suffrage Museum in Warren, which recognizes Ohio suffragists. In Akron, a historical marker for Sojourner's Truth "Ain't I A Woman" speech commemorates where the church she spoke at once stood. Tennessee In Nashville, the Hermitage Hotel was used as a headquarters by suffragists to secure Tennessee’s ratification. Centennial Park is where the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument depicts five suffragists -- Carrie Chapman Catt, Sue Shelton White, J. Frankie Pierce, Anne Dallas Dudley and Abby Crawford Milton. Knoxville’s Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial depicts suffragists Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville, and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis. Texas In downtown Dallas, Fair Park has a women’s history lesson where the 1893 State Fair featured a woman’s congress of over 300 women. During its 1913-1917 years, the fair’s Suffrage Day had local suffragists coming to promote women’s voting rights. Houston’s Barbara Jordan Park is named for this Civil Rights activist who was both the first African elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Christia Adair Park features a mural depicting Adair’s devotion to gaining equal rights for blacks and women. Virginia In downtown Richmond, at Broad and Adams streets, a statue of Maggie L. Walker honors this civil rights activist and entrepreneur. Nearby, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site represents more about accomplishments, including being the first woman to serve as president of a bank in the U.S. At the Virginia State Capital, the Virginia Women’s Monument features Walker and artist and suffragist Adele Clark among its 12 statues of women from across the Commonwealth. In Richmond’s Capitol Square, Virginia Civil Rights Memorial honors Barbara Johns, a Civil Rights activist led the first non-violent student demonstration in 1951. Wyoming In Laramie, the Wyoming House For Historic Women has an outdoor sculpture of Louisa Swain, who was the first woman to cast a ballot; it’s a block away from where she did that. Then, the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Pathway includes part of South Pass City; it’s home to Esther Morris, the first woman to serve in the office as Justice of the Peace.

Inspiration

Can travel cure bias?

As a young girl traveling throughout Africa, I was exposed to the many wonders of the continent everywhere – spicy okra soup, jollof rice, colorful Herero women and the ample Kalahari desert. My father’s work as a diplomat took us to Namibia and Nigeria and introduced me to cultures long before I could even speak. And yet, those formative years on the road did little to stop me from harboring my own set of biases. In particular against Europeans. It seemed my wholesome and religious ideals were a stark contrast to how many Europeans lived their lives. It wasn’t until my family moved to Amsterdam when I was 13 that I discovered Europe was teeming with linguistic and cultural intricacies, varied religious beliefs and it was more ethnically diverse than television programming had led me to believe. Just as Mark Twain asserted in his book The Innocents Abroad, travel became an infallible elixir for the disease of bigotry. Simply visiting another country isn't enough to cure bias © Rosie Bell / Lonely PlanetThrough travel, I was introduced to people’s complexities. It enabled self-reflection by forcing me to compare here and there. My worldview shifted and I’ve never been the same. The very word travel encompasses history, culture, adventure, nature, food, drink and leisure. It can be (and should be) much more than mindless escapism. Travel can be a remedy for biases – conscious and unconscious. Yet many limiting beliefs about “others” are persistent even in those who are well-traveled. Simply leaving one’s home is insufficient to dismantle prejudices. After all, not everyone travels with their eyes open and others pack their biases around with them. Before my first trip to Argentina, my world conspired for me to hate it. The resounding verdict from people I knew was that I would be poked and prodded and surely robbed at machete point. To date, the only place I have been robbed was Paris. A lot of the warnings we read about certain countries are laden with deeply-rooted racist sentiments. Stories like “these are the worst places to go” may be well-intentioned, but they are unhelpful in the long run. Danger will always exist in societies that are rife with economic inequality and no country is exempt from that. Go beyond the standard destinations or locales to fully immerse in a culture © Ehtesham Khaled / Getty ImagesAllowing travel to open your mind In order for our voyages to trigger positive cognitive transformations, we must be prepared to see things with fresh eyes, willing to pass through places and let them truly pass through us, and travel not just to reenact established tropes. When you arrive in Paris or Rome, go beyond seeing the Eiffel Tower or throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. Many travel to simply confirm pre-existing beliefs about a place – that they’ll find a spiritual awakening in Goa and Bali, or that a safari is the sole reason to visit Africa. A study from the Journal of Current Issues in Tourism found that travel’s power to be transformative depends on several factors including interaction with people, integration, being away doing unfamiliar activities and reflection. Essentially, recreating your home environment in someone else’s backyard will do little to educate yourself on the true essence of a place and its inhabitants. One cannot spend a week in at a Cancun resort and claim to "know Mexico." Don't allow perceived differences make you fear or judge another culture © aphotostory / ShutterstockTravel can also only initiate the undoing of the prejudices we hold about certain groups if we actually interact with them. A Harvard study found that guests with "African-American sounding names" were roughly 16% less likely to be accepted by Airbnb hosts compared to their white-sounding counterparts. Airbnb is the canonical example of the sharing economy where names influence the first impressions people make. Hidden bias, therefore, prevents hosts from fraternizing with the very people who could temper the prejudices they hold. Pavlovian conditioning suggests that repeated exposure can condition new responses to things we fear, dislike or distrust. If racist ideas are human-made, breaking them should be within our grasp. In other words, the more places we visit and the deeper our connections there, the greater the likelihood of quelling unsavory thoughts. In a perfect world, travel can indeed cure bias © Bartosz Hadyniak/Getty ImagesWhile some biases are not overtly harmful, they are limiting to the individual and widen the perceived distance between “us” and “them.” Despite lenient laws, not all Dutch people are pro-marijuana. Not all North Americans are loud. Black people swim, hike and also ride bikes. In a perfect world, travel can indeed cure bias, but this surely depends on our open-mindedness and the depth and intent of our trips. We can better navigate the cultural zeitgeist of a place and its people when we roll our sleeves up, dive in and throw out the book we think we already read. It holds true that travel dusts the cobwebs off locked imaginations, but a willingness to unlock them in the first place is key. This piece originally appeared on our sister site, Lonely Planet.

Inspiration

The world’s last Blockbuster is available to rent on Airbnb

If you fancy a night away somewhere unique and live local to Bend, Oregon, you could always try applying to stay at the world's last Blockbuster movie rental store. It will be listed on Airbnb for three individual, one-night reservations that will take place in September. You can enjoy a movie night during your stay © AirbnbThe stay will give guests the opportunity to experience a 90s-themed sleepover and relive the bygone Friday night tradition of movie night. The experience can be booked for $4 (€3.39) plus taxes and fees, which is great value when you consider that movie rentals cost $3.99 (€3.38). Store manager Sandi Harding is listing the store in appreciation of all the Bend community has done recently to support the last-of-its-kind store during these difficult times, and she will stock the shelves with all the movies guests desire before handing over the keys. Guests can stay overnight at the Blockbuster store in Bend © AirbnbWhile at the store, guests who book should adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines around wearing masks and social distancing in a public space. Interested guests should also note host rules that are in adherence with local guidelines, which include that those who request to book must be Bend residents and come from the same household to minimize risk. The store will be cleaned in advance of their arrival and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines, consistent with the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol. You can watch movies for the evening © AirbnbThose who don't manage to score a one-night stay can check out the living room space during store hours for a limited time after the final guests check out. If you want to request to book a stay on 18, 19 and 20 September, you can do from 17 August at 1pm PST on this link. This story originally ran on our sister-site, Lonely Planet.