7 Socially-Distanced Ideas for Family Summer Vacations

By Jeff Bogle

Aug 13, 2020

From family fishing trips to geocaching while glamping, there’s still time to enjoy these socially-distanced outdoor family summer vacations. 

This is a summer like no other and as a result, many family summer vacations have been thrown into flux. But there are plenty of safe, socially-distanced activities to enjoy, budget-friendly summer vacation spots to visit, and time to do it all before the sun sets on summertime.


When you’re thinking about where to go camping, maybe you prefer the old school experience of tucking into sleeping bags beneath the starry summer night sky. Or is a cabin more your style? Family camping is one of the classic family summer vacations that’s even trendier now because it’s naturally socially-distant, with no requirement to stay six-feet away from trees, streams or wildflowers.


Get started boating this summer to put some distance between your family and the rest of the world. Packed lunches, ice-cold beverages, and a bluetooth speaker blasting a yacht rock playlist will take you away to one of the best watery summer vacation spots.


The word ‘serene’ isn’t usually associated with parenthood but a family fishing trip can help usher in bonding opportuni-ties and dare we say, a dose of serenity. While helping your kids bait their hooks, then casting and watching the ripples slowly expand across a statue-still lake, you will feel closer than ever to the people you love most.

Road Trip

Maybe there isn’t enough time (or budget) for a cross-country road trip this year but a weekend together in the car can be one of the coolest family vacation spots, no matter where you end up! Map a short route, with only 3-5 hours of driving each day, leaving plenty of time to get lost on purpose, find hilariously weird roadside attractions and colorful street art, and to taste fresh-picked fruits and local sweets along the way.


Camping, even in a cabin, might not be your cup of tea. Try glamping instead. This glamorous version of sleeping out-side delivers the best of both worlds — a natural experience…without a sore back! As with tent-life, consulting a family camping checklist is important so that you don’t forget linens, bars of soap, external chargers for your tech, and of course, s’mores supplies.

National & State Parks

National Parks snag the headlines when it comes to must-visit summer vacation spots, and rightfully so (have you ever stood before the Grand Canyon or Crater Lake?) But state parks offer a plethora of activities too, from family camping to family fishing, and are often more budget-friendly with little or no admission fee.


A real life treasure hunt awaits when you go geocaching during one of your family summer vacations. Using GPS coordi-nates and smartphones, search the great outdoors for silly goodies wrapped inside hidden parcels left by others playing this unique worldwide game.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion