After months spent primarily in isolation, how can one still have a safe and enjoyable vacation?
Oklahoma has many fun options for individuals and families whether for a day, a weekend, or for several days. There can also be out-of-state and out-of-country vacation options. Each location has its own department of tourism that can give you the information you need in planning your vacation.
Travelok.com contains information about Oklahoma parks, lakes, museums, nature parks, hiking trails, cultural centers, historic buildings, camp sites, skateboarding parks, rock climbing facilities, off-roading trails, zoos, horseback riding, aquariums, swimming pools, and water parks to name a few.
It is recommended that each place on your bucket list be researched ahead of time to find its schedule, COVID-19 policies, restrictions, mask requirements, spacing requirements, and costs.
When planning out-of-state and out-of-country destinations, travelers may check with a travel agent. Michelle’s Destinations Unlimited in Norman (405-360-4482) is a travel agency that has helped Woodward H ugh School alumni plan group cruises. They specialize in travel destinations that are out of the United States.
“The whole world has COVID-19,” said Shelly Ramirez, travel agent for Michelle’s Destinations Unlimited. “So all have risks.”
“Each destination needs to be researched before booking a trip and before leaving on the trip due to COVID-19 regulation changes,” said Ramirez. “For example, Hawaii requires two weeks of quarantine upon arrival and will fine travelers $5,000 for not following their regulations. Other locations will not even accept travelers from states or countries with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. So, be prepared and be flexible.”
Currently, each country, city, and state tend to have their own COVID-19 restrictions and regulations that may be stricter than the national guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC web site presents some thought-provoking questions to aid you in travel planning.
“Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? You can get infected while traveling. Is COVID-19 in your community? Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling,” states CDC at cdc.gov.
The CDC provides the following travel tips: To protect yourself and others during your trip you should clean your hands often. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. Maintain six feet of distance from other people. Wear a face mask when in public or amidst groups inside a building. Pick up food at drive-throughs or curbside stores and restaurants. Be aware that state or local governments may implement travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or state border closures. So, keep updated on each place you plan on visiting.
If you will travel via bus, train, plane, ship, rental car, UBER, or taxi it is recommended you know their policies and restrictions. Is the vehicle currently and frequently disinfected? Are staff wearing masks? Are masks and hand sanitizers available or should you bring your own? Is there adequate space between you and each other staff member or passenger? Are bathrooms sanitized and available? Are food and beverages available or do you need to bring your own? Do you have enough prescription medications with you in case your travel time is extended? Do you have disinfectant wipes or sprays with you for your vehicle seats, hotel or cabin furniture, doorknobs, light switches, TV remote controls, or counter tops?
Oklahoma has several sites for half-day or all-day adventures for individuals, families, or friends to enjoy without a parking pass. These include the following: Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom, Black Mesa State Park in Kenton, Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park in Bernice, Cherokee Area at Grand Lake State Park in Disney, Spavinaw Area at Grand Lake State Park in Spavinaw, Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka, McGee Creek State Park in Atoka, and Roman Nose State Park in Watonga.
Multiple scenic drives to take in Oklahoma are recommended by Stephanie Craig on her website- oklahomawonders.com. They include Route 66 between Quapaw and Texola, Talimena National Scenic Byway in Hodgen, Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway between Cash and Lawton, Quartz Mountain State Park in Lone Wolf, Lake Hefner Drive and Parkway in northwest Oklahoma City, Route 33 between Sapulpa and the Texas state line, Osage Nation Heritage Trail Byway near Pawhuska, Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway near Tahlequah, Highway 10 between Gore and Bigheart, Route 8 between Cyril, Oklahoma and Kiowa, Kansas , Mountain Pass Scenic Byway near Octavia, Highway 325 through the Panhandle, Meers-Porter Hill Road by Elgin, and Highway 20 between the Missouri state line and Ralston, Oklahoma.
Fun, scenic, and safe trips in Oklahoma, the United States, and around the world are available after personal research to keep you safe and healthy as you travel. Be imaginative and creative to have great trips during these challenging times.