Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there is a great deal of pent-up travel desire. While many have ventured out, others have waited until this summer.
With that in mind, here are three destinations that you might want to consider: Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Lake Lure in North Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.
Mammoth Cave was designated as a national park on July 1, 1941. What is its claim to fame? It has the longest tunnel cave system in the world, with 412 miles of explored tunnels.
While many caves have impressive displays of stalactites and stalagmites, Mammoth has a shale and sandstone caprock that prevents dripping surface water. The marvels at Mammoth are gargantuan rooms.
Currently, there are 21 different guided cave tours, according to the National Park Service. While it is free to enter Mammoth National Park, each tour has a fee. Tour fees for adults range from $8 to $66. If you have an annual pass or a senior pass, each tour is half price.
Cave tours change each season. Check to see what is available. Also, advanced reservations are recommended. Reservations can be made at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
There are many different types of tours at Mammoth Cave. There is a fully wheelchair accessible tour, short tours, long tours, lantern tours and crawling tours. And you won’t have to worry about temperatures inside the cave. Throughout the year, temperatures hover around 54 degrees.
Lake Lure, one of the most stunning man-made lakes in the country, was built in 1927 and covers 720 acres. It has been a popular location with movie directors: “Thunder Road,” “Dirty Dancing,” “A Breed Apart,” “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Firestarter.”
But with beautiful mountains and granite cliffs, Lake Lure also attracts its share of admiring tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Paddle boarding and kayaking are popular on the calm waters of Lake Lure. And there is a public beach and a water park where visitors can swim, float in an inner tube, ride a water slide and get drenched by a water cannon – or just relax and watch the rays of sunshine dance on the magical Blue Ridge Mountains. Admission to the beach and water park is $9 for adults, $7 for kids.
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is an enchanting 300-foot path that combines blooms and artwork. It is maintained by volunteers and is part of the ¾-mile Town Center Walkway that passes Morse Park and ends at Lake Lure Beach.
Savannah is all about history. From The Pirates’ House that inspired events described in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” to First African Baptist Church, the oldest black church in North America (1777), to the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, Savannah has a long list of fascinating historic spots to see and experience.
One of the most interesting and memorable features in Savannah is its series of squares and parks. Originally laid out by James Oglethorpe in 1773, there were 24 squares. Today, there are 22 squares. Each square is landscaped as a small park, offering wonderful places to rest, relax and admire the surrounding architecture and streets.
Savannah has evolved into a splendid shopping destination. Broughton Street, located in the historic downtown, has a wide range of local shops, name-brand stores and excellent dining options. While Bull Street, which runs from the Starland District through the historic district, has some of the most enticing boutiques in the city.
And don’t miss the waterfront as you stroll on old cobblestone streets that weave past historic buildings, shops and award-winning restaurants.