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Maria Scudella-Beltran

Summer Vacations During a Pandemic


We’re halfway through the summer of 2020 and, because of the pandemic, this summer season is looking quite different. Schools in FL are ramping up for an on-time start, although the delivery format is still to be confirmed (hybrid, online, in-person), so it feels like these next couple weeks are the last chance at a “sense of normalcy” for summer vacation(s).

As Oakland Park residents we’re privy to an abundance of options to explore for a “staycation”, but what if you just want to “get away”? Where do you go? Well, I wondered the same thing. This time last year, I was preparing for my Euro trip but because of the pandemic, many countries (not all) have closed their borders to US residents. So what are the choices left on where to go?

Summer Vacations During a Pandemic

Well, if you want to stay within Florida, luckily many choices are a short-drive. For instance, from Oakland Park, you can drive 3-4 hours south and go to the Florida Keys where the COVID-19 cases have been pretty low. Some lodging places were even offering special rates for front line workers during the pandemic, like Hawks Cay resort in Duck Key, that offers a Heroes Salute rate from 8/1-12/20/20.

Alternatively, you can drive 3-4 hours north and find some secluded areas in Central FL. I’ve heard Mt. Dora is a great place to check out. But steer clear of the theme parks, since those may be pretty busy, under social distance standards. We’re also a short drive to the West Coast of Florida, and places like Naples or Captiva Island can offer a relaxing retreat.

Exploring Oakland Park

However, if you don’t want to drive that far and are more of the adventurous outdoor type, Oakland Park has campgrounds at Easterlin Park where you can hook up your RV and enjoy nature. From CampFlorida.com the specs of the campground are that they have 45 full-hookup sites (water, 20/30/50 amp electricity, and sewer) and six sites with partial hookups (water and 20 amp electricity). Each site also includes a picnic table and a barbecue grill. The campground has two restroom facilities with showers.

Photo: Maria Scudella-Beltran

Easterlin Park is located at 1000 N.W. 38th St., Oakland Park, FL 33309 and offers many activities such as disc golf and nature trails. According to Broward County Parks the Campgrounds “has been open since 6/29 for self-containing RV’s as well as open for walking, hiking, jogging, biking, individual disc golf, and fishing”.

Safety and Health Tips 

If you do venture out and decide to stay in an “Air B&B” or hotel here are five ways you can increase your safety while traveling. Granted there is always more that can be done but I’ve limited my list to five.

  1. Make sure if you’re staying in a hotel that they have a system in place. For instance, Hilton is partnering with Lysol and formed the initiative “clean stay” for guests during these times which ensures extra sanitization in high touch areas as well as clarification on their mask and social distance policies. Other hotels like Marriott have employed a “cleanliness council” for their initiatives.
  2. Even though these hotels are offering systems, bring your own linens and sanitizing wipes/spray to clean and sanitize the room to your comfort.
  3. For your dining options, instead of eating at a restaurant, find a hotel that has a kitchen and buy your own food to make in your room. Or bring a cooler and to bring other types of food. If all else fails you can always order take out instead of going to the restaurant.
  4. Bring a pop up hamper to place soiled clothing from the day and to keep separate from your other laundered clothes
  5. Try not to use the hotel’s shared spaces (i.e. laundromat, gyms, business centers, etc.)

Also, it should go without saying that these 5 are in addition to the new norm of wearing a mask as well as maintaining your distance. Make sure to check with the area that you’re traveling to that for any updates on their restrictions. For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, Monroe County was closed to tourists and some other counties may have other strict measures in place and it wouldn’t hurt to double-check.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a great time and to relax while being safe!


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