It is about to be a year since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 Pandemic, and even though much time has transpired and vaccinations are out, the reality is that we are still very much amid a pandemic. As a result, travel continues to limited and responsible travel is imperative.
For those seeking to travel this Spring but not wanting to stray too far from the US borders (if at all), we’ve got five gastronomical destinations you can enjoy without having to worry about taking a COVID-19 test upon reentry.
Warning: Any form of travel has an inherent risk to the COVID-19 virus. We recommend following the CDC guidelines and assessing your comfort for risks before deciding to travel.
Note: There are many gastronomical cities in the USA that did not make this list. This is due to one of two reasons:
- there is a required quarantine period for visitors (& returning residents)
- the city is currently High Risk for COVID-19
Arizona is a beautiful state with a myriad of landscapes within its border to explore. Sedona is one of our favorite places to visit. It’s a 2-hour drive from Phoenix, and both the weather and the landscape are worlds apart from their capital city counterpart. This Red Rock Canyon city has more of a small-town feel and can easily be visited with social distancing. More hiking and biking trails than you could ever cover in one trip (over 400 miles of it!) — and for all levels! Vortices that are centers of energy conducive for healing, meditation, and self-exploration are one of our personal favorite parts of visiting Sedona. You can FEEL the power of your surroundings, and you are bound to return feeling renewed.
With lots of day trip options, if you wanted to explore beyond Sedona, this is an excellent place for a getaway without having to go too far.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Highly underrated, Santa Fe is an absolute gem of a city regarding culture, history, art, and oh the food! It’s a truly immersive city and easily one of our favorites to visit when we want to recharge, visit hot springs (more on this below) and eat some of the best southwestern food there is in the country!
If spicy food is your forte, you will love every dish with the Santa Fe chili in it! If the server asks “red or green,” just say “Christmas, please” — that way, you’ll get to try both red and green chili sauces! Daily breakfast burritos are a must and don’t forget to take time out to eat at one of Santa Fe’s classic spots, Tomasita’s.
There are numerous day trip and multi-day trip options from Santa Fe. One of our favorites is Ojo Caliente; unfortunately, due to a fire last summer, they are temporarily closed and hope to reopen sometime in 2021. On the other hand, you can visit their sister spa resort in Santa Fe itself, Ojo Santa Fe.
Here’s a map you can download to see all the day trip options.
Usually, an excellent base for visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taos Pueblo. Note: This is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Another beautiful city that has a more small-town feel is Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is exactly what you envision when you think of the picturesque southern charm. The food is exquisite, the hospitality unparalleled, the architecture historical, and the ghosts — well, haunted. All of that with the backdrop of Spanish moss everywhere, it’s a visually stunning location,
Take your time exploring all 22 squares, some are more intricate than others, but each has a history worth noting. Grab food from one (or more) of the excellent food options available everywhere in the city and head to Forsyth Park for a socially distanced picnic. Be sure to go on a ghost tour in the evening and stop by Bonaventure Cemetery before departing the city.
Bonus: Charleston, South Carolina, is another gastronomical destination, and it’s only a 2-hour drive from Savannah; if you are short on time, why not make a day trip out of it?
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is home to cajun and creole cuisines (you’ll learn the difference between the two). Food is one of the main reasons visitors flock to NOLA, and with more than 1,000 restaurants ready to welcome guests, you will have plenty to choose from and be able to social distance effectively. There is so much variety in NOLA that anyone with special dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.) will also have plenty of options to choose from.
When we are in NOLA, we eat at Cafe du Monde twice a day – with no shame. We’ve had beignets in several places in the city, and nothing beats the perfection of Cafe du Monde! May we also recommend a stop for pralines at Southern Candymakers and scrumptious fried chicken and macaroni at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. We once walked 2 miles each way and waited 60 minutes to eat here, and it was worth every minute. You may want to just Uber it, though.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is often referred to as sin city, but for us, it’s all about the food! Vegas has a plethora of good food options and most of them are off strip! But even if you decided to not leave the strip, there are plenty of delicious food to be had.
Some of our favorite places on the strip include:
- Hattie B’s at Cosmopolitan – the fried chicken and macaroni are the best!
- Javier’s at ARIA – the ceviche de camaron is delicious!
- Lago at Bellagio – the view alone is worth it but the food is really exquisite!
But for dessert, we love to head off-strip. Freed’s Bakery is our favorite dessert shop in Vegas. They have several locations, but the shop on South Eastern Avenue is the biggest. Try their Black Forest and Lemon Breeze cakes; we promise you will not be disappointed!
Note: Many restaurants have reduced their seating capacity, and some are closing temporarily to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, most restaurants currently require reservations.
If you ever have any questions about the above destinations or any not listed in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!
Whether you plan to travel far or stay close to home, we wish you and your loved ones safe and happy travels!