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The 10 Most Resilient U.S. Travel Destinations During the Pandemic

Written by Alexandra Ciuntu

Summer is looking a bit different than what you had in mind at the beginning of the year, isn’t it? The lockdown has been rough, especially on those who enjoy being active. But, fortunately, when you’re cooped up, there’s nothing more therapeutic than daydreaming of escaping to the great outdoors or sandy beaches.

As expected, travel searches have plunged during quarantine. However, a new study shows that some U.S. destinations stayed on travelers’ minds — specifically small towns, beaches and nature areas — although it may be a long time until we can dip our toes in the sand. So, until we get to board the plane to our next adventure, let’s see which vacation spots saw the smallest drops in Google searches compared to the same time last year:

The 10 Most Resilient U.S. Travel Destinations During the Pandemic

Outer Banks, North Carolina
This might come as a surprise, but the Outer Banks of North Carolina had the smallest decrease in searches among U.S. travel destinations. That could be because the barrier islands make for one of the best family vacation spots in the country or maybe just because of its untamed beauty.

  • Click here for places to stay in the Outer Banks.

Grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone national park - The 10 Most Resilient U.S. Travel Destinations During the Pandemic

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone has always been a staple of the American vacation, so its popularity — even during a pandemic — comes as no surprise. What better way to cope with being stuck inside than dreaming of the vast outdoors and beautiful colors?

Fairbanks, Alaska
Small towns continued to charm Americans even during quarantine, and Fairbanks remained the most popular among them. Famous for its northern lights, the Alaskan resort town is a winter wonderland that’s just as charming in any season.

Aspen Colorado

Aspen, Colorado
Speaking of wonderlands, this world-class resort city manages to keep its appeal all year long. But, gone are the days when Aspen catered only to the rich and famous. This Rocky Mountains beauty offers more than just pristine ski slopes. (But if you are an avid skier, you should consider getting a keystone plus pass.)

For example, you can leave the downtown boutiques and restaurants for scenic drives, horseback riding, a trip on a gondola, fishing and just about any other outdoor mountain activity you have in mind. Then, when you get back downtown, check out the cool nightlife and upscale cuisine options, wash it all down with a local beer and catch a festival while you’re there.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
The perfect sunny spot whether you’re traveling alone or with loved ones, Hawaii’s state capital shines bright as the perfect mix of metropolitan vibes and wild beauty. Honolulu is one of the most hospitable places on Earth and you’ll feel that the moment your plane lands. You’ll want to move to Honolulu for good, once you discover this paradise.

Glacier National Park
If your numb legs need a long walk and your bored eyes need a feast, look no further than Glacier National Park. This Montana gem is proof that there’s no better feeling than taking in nature’s wonders. In fact, there are 1 million acres of great outdoors to explore in this “hiker’s paradise.” So, breathe in the fresh air, observe wildlife in its natural habitat, walk among ancient trees, gaze upon pristine lakes and enjoy all that freedom for miles and miles.

  • Click here for Glacier National Park cabin rentals.

Nantucket, Massachusetts
There’s just something about Nantucket. Not only is it ideal for post-pandemic scenic strolls, but mix it with local beer and some of the best seafood in the world, and you have yourself a recipe for the relaxed trip you crave. The island is also a great option for weekend getaways — just enough to get your batteries recharged and take in some fresh air away from your apartment walls in the big city.

Arches National Park in Moab Utah

Moab, Utah
Moab is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors. Here, you can do everything from river rafting and canyoneering to mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and anything in between. You can also visit Dead Horse Point State Park and even walk on dinosaur trails! But, whatever you do, don’t miss the epic Delicate Arch.

What to Do on Kauai if You’re an Adventure Lover

Kauai, Hawaii
Words can’t do justice to Hawaii’s beauty, so it’s no wonder that the Aloha State has two entries on the list. Kauai, in particular, is a paradise that welcomes travelers of all kinds. If you’re interested in hiking; snorkeling; exploring breathtaking, hidden paths; and basically living each and every one of your tropical holiday dreams, pay Kauai a visit. You won’t regret it.

Cheyenne, Wyoming
Not only is Cheyenne full of history and culture, but it’s also just all around, good old fun, too. Do you like rodeos? How about roping, riding and barrel-racing events? If you’re looking for some wholesome, family-friendly travel activities, Wyoming’s windy capital is it. And yes, you’ll get to see some real tumbleweeds here, too!

It’s easy to understand why being stuck at home makes us dream of escaping to somewhere else. These U.S. destinations prove that some places keep tickling our traveler’s bone even in the harshest of times. So, as we patiently wait to pay them a visit, we might as well start making a travel bucket list!

About the author:

Alexandra Ciuntu is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she has previously covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance. She now enjoys researching and writing about the renting lifestyle. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Japanese and English and an M.A. in Journalism and Cultural Studies.

Using a VPN When Traveling

VPN is short for “virtual private network.” A VPN (like IPVanish) sets up a private connection between your device and whatever network you are connected to – so, no one can see your browsing data. It is important to use a VPN anytime you are connected to public Wifi (such as at a restaurant, resort, hotel, cafe, airport, etc.). This is because when you connect to a public network no matter where you are, you run the risk of a hacker grabbing your unencrypted data. Trust me, speaking from experience here…this can put a real damper on your trip if your banking, phone or email get hacked while you’re traveling! 

VPNs can also help you save on domestic flights, help you watch Netflix shows not available in the US and more! You can read more about using a VPN in my post “Why I Use a VPN When Traveling and at Home (And You Should Too).”

Travel Insurance

As of 2021, many destinations require having travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19. Squaremouth is the only site that currently lets you filter travel insurance policies for COVID-19 coverage. I, personally, use Squaremouth for finding the best insurance policies for my travels, and I have already used them for trips planned in 2021. They’re also recommended by Forbes! You can click here to get your free travel insurance quote or enter your information via the widget below.

The 10 Most Resilient U.S. Travel Destinations During the Pandemic


  1. This is an interesting list. The question is are people looking for places to travel to now or in the future. I think many are looking to national parks as places to go to this summer feeling they offer opportunity for social distancing not found in urban areas. I have considered both Yellowstone and Glacier for a trip this summer, but if everyone else is going there, maybe it’s not a good choice. By the way Hawaii requires a two week quarantine if you go there so now is not the time to visit there. You would never leave your hotel room.

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