Independence Day travel goals: head to the nearest beach, lake, or mountain STAT.

By Real Simple
Updated June 24, 2020
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Christina Gessler / Getty Images

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and after three months of pandemic-induced lockdown, many Americans are champing at the bit for a holiday weekend getaway. Like pretty much everything else—from baby showers to restaurant dining—Independence Day will look a little different this year, and so will traveling in general. That doesn't mean there's any less reason (or fewer options) to celebrate Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Whether you party from the safety of your own backyard or take a road trip to the beach, there are tons of safe ways to shape this special summer holiday to suit your family's comfort levels.

For folks who are looking to celebrate the Fourth with a change of scenery, micro-cations are the name of the game, with safety, sanitation, and social distancing remaining top priorities. We'll call it Travel Lite.

Despite the various travel risks and limitations posed by the ongoing coronavirus, online vacation rental site Vrbo is seeing a surge in vacation demand, with current searches actually surpassing last year's. And just like any other year, July Fourth travelers are excited by rural and on-the-water destinations with major summertime vibes, according to Vrbo's trending travel insights for 2020. In other words, anywhere but the city (95 percent of demand is for non-urban destinations). Sun, surf, fireworks, and fireflies, please.

Travelers are thinking smaller, shorter, and closer to home, and locations within driving distance are ideal for families. Vrbo has seen a 15 percent increase in demand for vacation homes within 500 miles of home. Families seem to have their sights set on any lake, river, beach, or mountain they can get to easily by car. And all the proof is in Vrbo's top trending spots for Fourth of July, 2020, below. You'll notice that interest in Outer Banks, N.C. has spiked and made the list, and we can likely credit the hit Netflix series Outer Banks for calling this idyllic seaside destination to travelers' attention. And according to Vrbo, demand for the Hamptons getaways has grown twice as much than any other destination—something to think about if you're hoping to avoid big crowds this July.

  1. Florida Panhandle, Florida
  2. Gulf Shores, Alabama
  3. The Hamptons, New York
  4. Hilton Head, South Carolina
  5. San Diego, California
  6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  7. Outer Banks, North Carolina
  8. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  9. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  10. Charleston, South Carolina

Comments (1)

Anonymous
June 25, 2020
The Netflix series “Outer Banks” was unfortunately NOT filmed in the Outer Banks so please don’t think what you See on TV is tge real deal. We love the OBX and refuse to watch the series due to the producers decision to film in an entirely different state.