We get it—from the beaches of Florida to the nightlife in Atlanta and the hypnotic seaside views of Tulum, these three getaways have earned quite the reputation. Believe it or not, there are other hidden gems in the United States that deserve the distinction of great places to discover during the fall season.
“A passport is a requirement in this relationship . . . you not bout to Miami and Atlanta me to death,” posted Las Vegas author Farrah Gray just before the pandemic shut down the world.
While his quip was duly noted by some, for others, it dismissed the large population of Americans who do not have passports, such as African Americans. The real gag is that Gray did not foresee passport agencies coming to a halt along with many services in the government and private sector during the pandemic.
COVID-19 has certainly turned things around for travelers. Ironically, Miami and Atlanta became one of the few major party cities remaining open during the massive quarantine regulations. So passport be damned because the people flocked there for a domestic alternative. However, much of it was at a cost.
Subsequent to Governor Ron DeSantis’ refusal to shut Florida down when the COVID-19 cases spiked over 10,000 per day, many travelers chose to avoid Florida. “We have to address the virus with steady resolve, we can not get swept away in fear,” said Desantis as many state governors shuttered their most popular cities to visit. In the end, his shortsighted decision turned many vacationers off.
While cancel culture came for Florida, other travelers flocked to Atlanta for the outdoor terraces, indoor saltwater pools, and the epic club-going scene. But, the Peach State soon became saturated with out-of-towners who left “the A” wondering what the hype was to begin with. For some, they returned back to their respective abodes with not only an underwhelming experience, but a nasty Delta variant infection to go with it. And so, the travel resistance began.
With this push to jump nation-states, American travelers eyed for a quick get-to destination: Tulum, Mexico. The idyllic town located on the Caribbean side of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula began experiencing a flurry of millennials after the late rapper Nipsey Hussle rhymed about a trip there then captured it in a picturesque video. Following the trend, model Gigi Hadid, and veteran actress Jennifer Anniston, reported to have vacationed in the Quintana Roo state. The floodgates of the southernmost North American state ironically opened as Haitians, Africans and Central Americans attempting to get into the United States were stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Twitter handle, Traveling While Black, chimed with excitement in January of this year. “Tulum remains one of the most popular tourist destinations on our travel feeds!”
Now, not so much. Little did most know, Mexico has maintained the unsavory statistic of being the foreign destination where most Americans are maimed, robbed or killed, even before the pandemic. According to records by the State Department, approximately 445 Americans have died in Mexico from January 2019 to June 2021. This does not include the recent death of California travel blogger, Anjali Ryot, and German tourist, Jennifer Henzold, both caught in a gang shootout in Tulum.
In 2020, the San Diego Tribune reported that over 300 Americans have gone missing since 2006 without a trace. These disappearances and abductions also are an issue for American travelers. More frightening, during the pandemic, when African Americans began to flock to Tulum, there were reports through social media channels of robberies, sexual assault, and eventually, homicides. Although Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval says they are making concerted efforts to beef up security, right now, Mexico is a hard no for the short border-hopping craze.
Anyway you slice it, travelers are over it. And guess what, you don’t need a passport. Here are seven alternative states that are great places to travel for couples who are looking for a breakaway.
There is no shortage of romantic getaways here. The crescent shaped bays and crystal clear water will make for a captivating experience whether you and your bae decide to go snorkeling or kayaking. Go to a luau and join in with the hula and fire dancers.
If you are about that tropical life, but are looking for a place to escape on the east coast, there are beautiful islands right off the coast of South Carolina. Notedly, Kiawah island is one of them. Known for their world-class golf courses, you and your sweetheart can get a round in, swim with the dolphins or go scuba diving. Be sure not to leave without trying at least one Gullah Geechee dish. Sauteed shrimp and okra and low country peaches with cream will make your taste buds sing.
Take a dive with your bae, and prepare to be captivated by the coral reefs. The two of you can also pick up a conch shell along the beach and place it up against your ears to listen to the sound of the ocean. Don’t leave without trying their conch shell soup and Crucian rum.
Neatly tucked away in Tooele County in northwestern Utah is the largest salt flat. Located west of the Great Salt Lake, Bonneville Salt Flats is an unforgettable sight to see with your significant other. The two of you can also go skiing, immerse yourselves in the art of Fatali Gallery or catch a show at the Egyptian theatre.
In the end, constantly taking trips to Florida and Atlanta could put your relationship at risk for complacency. The comfortability will inevitably lead to apathy and passivity.“In such a relationship dynamic, typically, one partner lets go and stops making an effort to change or improve things,” said counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam.
There is so much more to do in Atlantic City besides gamble. Book a hotel with an ocean view and watch the sunset and the ferris wheel light up right from your window. You could even go see a concert or walk the boardwalk hand in hand with your love. There are a myriad of gift shops along the strip that the two of you can get lost in.
Second to gambling, concerts, comedy and magic shows are popular amenities in Las Vegas. You and your lover can also pop over to Hoover Dam nestled between Nevada and Arizona. A great stop about a 2 hour drive outside of the Strip is the westernmost side of the Grand Canyon. Take an evening stroll by the Fountains of Bellagio or get a bite to eat at the Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck.
There is plenty to do in Nawlins for lovers. The jazz clubs and boat rides on the bayou will make for a magical experience, but for a hint of traditional spiritual practices walk through the historic cemeteries or get a tarot reading in the park. Another off-the-beaten path outing is to link up with one of the local fisherfolk to go fishing. There, you’ll find a rich legacy of water people spanning from Creole to Cajun and Vietnamese American. Or spend, you can just stay in the alluring French Quarters for some therapeutic day shopping. While you’re there make sure to try some of their world famous gumbo and beignets.
But there is no need for that. You would be surprised how many breathtaking baecation locales are in the United States that offer just as many luxuries.
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