Make Your 2021 Summer Break More Enjoyable – Despite the Pandemic – with These Fun, Safe Ideas


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The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and you’re just a few short weeks from final exams for the academic year. There’s no doubt about it, spring is in the air – but, unfortunately, so is the ever-present threat of coronavirus. Even though the United States has fully vaccinated more than 56 million people, the pandemic isn’t over yet, and with several variants on the rise, things aren’t exactly looking great for your summer break plans.

…Or, are they? The truth is that you can still enjoy a fun and memorable summer break this year. You’ll just need to be willing to scale down your celebrations, and of course, honor the guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still have in place. If you’ve grown bored of your current extended staycation and want to enjoy your summer break to the fullest extent, here are a few ideas for 2021 that are both fun and safe.

Plan a camping trip to the great outdoors. 

Fresh air, plenty of greenery, and ample opportunity for outdoor recreation: going camping can be one of the healthiest and most exciting ways to spend your summer break. Admit it: how long has it been since you roughed it in the great outdoors? Even if you consider yourself the outdoorsy type, you may not have been able to plan your annual camping trip in 2020 – and, boy, are you overdue for some quality time spent exploring Mother Nature.  

Aside from rejuvenating your mental and physical well-being, going camping and spending time outdoors with a small group of people is a relatively low-risk activity. Just be sure to keep general safety measures intact while socializing, like disinfecting shared surfaces and keeping your physical distance. And, remember that your risk dips lower if you plan the trip with members of your own household, or family members and friends, who have been fully vaccinated.  

Treat yourself to a day at the beach.  

There’s a reason why the beach is the quintessential summer break spot. Nothing signals your freedom like an afternoon spent under a wide-brim umbrella, reading a good book, listening along to your favorite playlist, or simply taking in the meditative sounds of the waves. If you live within reasonable distance of a beach, we’ve got great news for you: you can visit for a day or week without any excessive threat of COVID-19 transmission.  

Of course, this all depends upon certain factors. According to the CDC, your trip bears the least risk when your towel and umbrella is spaced at least six feet from any other beachgoers. You are still advised to wear a face mask when not in the water and hanging out with people you live with is still the smartest way to go. Bear in mind that many people consume alcohol on the beach, which can encourage them to lower their guard. Stay vigilant and we have no doubt that you’ll have a memorable – and safe –time.  

Take in new sights on a road trip. 

What’s more American than seeing the country, one state at a time, on a good, old fashioned road trip? Road trips have been popular since the mid-1900s and the tradition is still alive and well in 2021. All you need is a vehicle in good working order, money for gas, lodging, and food, and a map, whether it’s physical or digital. Another reason why we love road tripping? No matter where you live, you’re guaranteed to be near a great route – even if you’re only interested in going a few towns over. 

Because road tripping requires that you stay in your car while travelling from place to place, it’s a fairly low-risk activity, assuming that you are driving with roommates, family members, or close friends who have also been social distancing and/or are fully vaccinated. Your risk remains low if you check into hotels or Airbnbs that follow CDC guidelines. Just be sure to mind how you move about the common areas of the hotel and any other place you may stop in, like restaurants or museums, and always keep your mask on in public.  

You’ve been working hard to juggle your online classes and staying on top of your health throughout 2020, so it only makes sense that you take the opportunity to kick back and relax during summer break of 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still create the summer break of your dreams – and one that you’ll remember for years to come! With these ideas in your back pocket, which are relatively low in transmission risk and high in entertainment value, you’ll have plenty of fun and safe suggestions to start your summer off right.  

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Amelia Woolard is a graduate of Millsaps College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies and an Art History minor. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Amelia moved to New Orleans in 2014 to begin her career in marketing and design. She is particularly interested in the intersection of art and language, and enjoys projects that merge the two fields. Amelia is an avid yet critical pop culture consumer and a loving mother to her cat Faulkner.

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