feature image courtesy of Red Mountain Resort

In the age of COVID-19, studies show travelers are less likely to take a long-haul flight to a big city and are instead opting for more frequent, shorter escapes, also known as microcations. See a selection of microcations destinations, easily accessible from a number of cities across the country, below.

Aspen, CO – The Gant Aspen

Located three and a half hours from Denver, CO and two hours from Grand Junction, CO, Aspen offers a world-class mountain retreat as bountiful in outdoor pursuits as modern culture. The Gant, nestled in an idyllic enclave at the base of Aspen Mountain, is an authentic mountain escape offering the comfort and privacy of home with the luxuries of resort amenities. Aspen abounds as a winter playground, beckoning winter sports aficionados and scenic snow (and après) seekers alike. Beyond powder days on unparalleled resort terrain at Aspen Snowmass, The Gant has partnered with trusted local outfitters including Nomad Inc., Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and more to thoughtfully create private experiences to explore the area. With inclusivity in mind, activities cater to avid skiers and snowboarders to winter scenery admirers alike including Rocky Mountain flightseeing, dog sled tours, heli-snowmobiling, heli-skiing, private guided snowshoe tours, ice-karting and more.  For more information, visit gantaspen.com.

Alexandria, VA

On the Potomac River within eyesight of Washington, D.C., Alexandria is nationally recognized for its rich history and beautifully preserved 18th and 19th century architecture. Old Town Alexandria is home to more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront, making it an ideal microcation for those who reside in D.C. This fall, cruise the tall ship Providence, get a celebrity hair refresh at Salon MONTE, embark on a self-guided black history driving tour and much more. For more information, visit visitalexandriava.com.

Bristol, RI

Considered one of the “hidden gems” of the Northeast, Bristol has that classic, quaint, cozy New England vibe. About an hour drive from Boston, Bristol delivers first class cuisine, rich history, striking architecture, diverse waterfront activities, family fun and more alongside miles of accessible coastline, surrounded by Narragansett Bay to the west and Mount Hope Bay to the east. The city’s walkable downtown area features eclectic dining options, 18 parks, nine museums, independently-owned shops and a variety of authentic attractions. Visitors can experience the lifestyle of a 1750 Rhode Islander, visit the mansion of a slave trader, see where America’s Cup Race yachts were designed and built, wander a 400 acre historic saltwater farm, an oceanfront wildlife refuge or one of Yankee Magazine’s “Best 5 Public Gardens in New England.” Bristol beckons with authentic experiences to captivate all imaginations. For more information, visit explorebristolri.com

Colorado Springs, CO – Garden of the Gods Resort and Club

Less than an hour and a half from Denver, CO, Colorado Springs brims with year-round activity, with Garden of the Gods Resort and Club offering an unparalleled retreat to soak in the setting. Majestic panoramic views of the resort overlook a 300-million-year-old national natural landmark, Garden of the Gods Park. This iconic park and snow-capped Pikes Peak in the distance are storied to have inspired the poem America the Beautiful. Resort amenities include golfing at its 27-hole championship course, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, three outdoor swimming pools, an array of dining experiences and a renowned wellness spa specializing in immunity boosting therapies, not to mention the allure of offerings beyond the resort including the new Olympic Museum and more than 60 area attractions, including trains, museums, parks, a zoo and more. For more information, visit gardenofthegodsresort.com.

Hattiesburg, MS

Less than a two-hour drive from Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA. Hattiesburg is a premier city in the Gulf South, blending culture, art, food and history. The city is a civil rights destination that preserves and tells history through attractions like the 1964 Freedom Summer Trail and East Sixth Street Museum District. A creative community adds flair through locally owned restaurants, craft breweries, vibrant public art and boutique shops. For more information, visit www.visithburg.org.

Isle of Palms, SC – Wild Dunes Resort

Located 30 minutes from historic downtown Charleston and near major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Charlotte, Isle of Palms is a small beach community that is ideal for those wanting to get away for a quiet and secluded vacation. This lush barrier island is located off the coast of South Carolina and features sweeping marsh land and views of the Atlantic Ocean as far as the eye can see. No visit to Isle of Palms is complete without a stay at Wild Dunes Resort, which occupies 1,600 acres of oceanfront paradise with a variety of accommodations ranging from the AAA Four-Diamond Rated Boardwalk Inn and the Village at Wild Dunes to private condos and luxury vacation home rentals. Offering a year-round menu of championship golf, nationally ranked tennis, award-winning recreation and restaurant options, Wild Dunes Resort has been distinguished by many as a top destination for families, couples, golfers and tennis lovers. For more information, visit destinationhotels.com/wild-dunes.

Louisville, KY

Located two and a half hours from Nashville, TN and less than two hours from Indianapolis, Louisville is the perfect destination for a quick getaway. Louisville is pulsing with sports history, from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and Muhammad Ali Center. The city is also home to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center at the Frazier History Museum and offers an Urban Bourbon Trail with over 40 restaurants and bars to enjoy America’s native spirit. For more information, visit: gotolouisville.com.

Marquette, MI

Located six hours from Chicago, IL and five hours from Milwaukee, WI, Marquette is the ideal microcation destination. Set on the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette is a community where nature’s assets are on display through scenic vistas, rugged trails and rushing waterfalls. Marquette’s historic downtown pays homage to the rich mineral deposits, dense forests and maritime markers that have helped to shape its story. From unique dining experiences, award-winning craft breweries and a thriving art scene, Marquette embraces a culture anchored in artisanship and ingenuity. For more information, visit travelmarquette.com.

Montgomery, AL

Montgomery, known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, has played an important role in some of the most pivotal moments in American history and has reestablished itself as a must-see cultural destination in the South. Today, the destination continues to face intolerable issues head on, initiating unprecedented change for the better and inspiring the nation to fight for justice and equality. Given its close proximity to Atlanta, Nashville, Gulf Shores and Florida’s Gulf Coast, now is the ideal time to take an educational pit stop to visit its notable sites, fostering a unique dialogue regarding some of the darker chapters in American history and learning from these authentic truths. Cultural experiences include the Rosa Parks Museum, the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace & Justice, F. Scott Fitzgerald Museum, Freedom Rides Museum, Dexter Avenue Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached and more. For more information, visit visitingmontgomery.com.

New Hampshire

On the map, New Hampshire may seem like a small state, but its diverse regions offer a variety of destinations for the visitor – from historic river valleys to the soaring peaks of the highest mountains in the Northeast. Between stonewall lined roads flow quintessential New England villages, culturally rich cities, miles of scenic forests and parks, inviting lakes, natural rural landscapes and friendly Yankees renowned for their customer service and hospitality. The landscape offers a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities during any season. The state is an easy and quick getaway for anyone from the New England area. For more information, visit visitnh.gov.

New Haven, CT

Founded in 1638, New Haven is one of America’s most historic cities and a vibrant destination whose deep-rooted history has coined it the “Cultural Capital of Connecticut.” New Haven is a pedestrian-friendly destination and is an easy getaway from Boston or New York City. The city offers urban sophistication, charm and an early colonial history rivaling that of any New England destination. New Haven features award-winning restaurants, an abundance of green space, eclectic shopping, cultural adventures, a sophisticated nightlife and is the proud home of Yale University. New Haven also has plenty of activities such as arcades, escape rooms and adventure activities. For more information, visit infonewhaven.com.

Paducah, KY

Located two hours from Nashville, TN and two and a half hours from St. Louis, MO, Paducah is an ideal microcation destination. Paducah is a small town with big city amenities. Despite a population of just 25,000, Paducah is home to a world-class museum, diverse culinary experiences and a historic walkable downtown. Designated a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts & Folk Art, Paducah is culturally rich and full of flavor. This fall, visit The National Quilt Museum for a special exhibition of Inspired by Endangered Species, a collection of lively, colorful and skillfully made fabric “portraits” of endangered species. For more information, visit paducah.travel.

Panama City Beach, FL

Located within driving distance of many southern metropolitan areas, including Atlanta; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; and New Orleans, Panama City Beach is best known for its 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches edging emerald-green waters and has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers. From world-renowned beaches and biking trails to exhilarating water adventures, Panama City Beach delivers a fun-filled Caribbean-like vacation without ever leaving the country. However, the best activity in Panama City Beach may be nothing at all, because a dose of Vitamin Sea, crashing waves and room to roam is good for the soul. For more information, visit visitpanamacitybeach.com.

Providence, RI

With more than 25% of the U.S. population located within 500 miles, Providence is a quick getaway for many visitors. Providence is 40 miles from Boston, 185 miles from New York City and 350 miles from Montreal, Canada. Also coined New England’s ‘Creative Capital,’ the city is known for its thriving arts district, famed restaurant scene, commitment to historical preservation and sophisticated nightlife. Providence offers a variety of entertainment options for all types of travelers. For more information, visit goprovidence.com.

Santa Barbara, CA

Located less than two hours from Los Angeles, many refer to Santa Barbara as an easy and convenient microcation destination. Even though close to other cities, Santa Barbara feels like a distant getaway full of breathtaking beaches, soaring mountains, verdant vineyards and an incredible variety of outdoor dining outposts. Guests are encouraged to visit this October to take advantage of Visit Santa Barbara’s destination wide Third Night Free offer. For details on the deal and more on the destination, visit santabarbaraca.com.

St. George, UT – Red Mountain Resort

Located two hours from Las Vegas, NV and four and a half hours from Salt Lake City, UT, Red Mountain Resort is a destination amidst a destination, offering convenient access to some of Utah’s favorite parks including Snow Canyon State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Red Mountain Resort is a premier wellness and adventure retreat inviting travelers to maximize their microcation with a bursting calendar of fitness and wellness classes, adventure excursions and spa offerings. For more information, visit redmountainresort.com.

Vail, CO – Grand Hyatt Vail

Less than two hours from Denver, CO, Grand Hyatt Vail is an ideal resort destination within an iconic mountain town. Nestled along pristine Gore Creek and the base of Vail Mountain, Grand Hyatt Vail offers visitors an expansive basecamp for adventure or retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Amenities include three dining options, ski concierge, Vail’s only on-site, open air chair lift, outdoor ice skating rink, food truck, bike rental outfitter, infinity pool with spacious poolside cabanas, two outdoor creekside hot tubs, The Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail and seasonal weekly resort activities and entertainment. Beyond the resort, guests are a complimentary shuttle ride away from Vail’s world-class shopping, dining and culture.  For more information, visit grandhyattvail.com.