The year 2020 is redefining travel trends and one of the trends the industry is expected to see in the new normal is the rise in slow tourism. It is an approach to travel that emphasizes a more laid back way to explore the destination and make a connection with its people, food, culture, and natural environment. Now more than ever, travelers would seek to engage and immerse themselves in authentic local experiences, closer to nature, at a leisurely pace. This World Tourism Day (September 27), here are some ideas for slow adventures you can take in the United States to get the most out of your vacation!
Chase the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska
Spend a night or two devoted to viewing the magical and captivating sight of the northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Alaska’s second-largest city, Fairbanks, sees some amazing light shows, thanks to its location in the auroral oval, an area around the North Pole. Denali National Park and Preserve, a 2-hour drive from Fairbanks, is also one of the best places in the U.S. to just relax and view the dancing auroras. December through March is usually the best time to observe this elusive natural phenomenon. You can see the northern lights in several destinations across the USA including Idaho Panhandle National Forest (Idaho), Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge (Maine), Cook County (Minnesota), and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Sit Back and Sip Some Wine in Willamette Valley, Oregon
Take your time in Oregon’s largest wine region; it’s a place you’ll want to explore. Here you’ll find lush vineyards and farms, tended by families who are passionate about growing the best wine grapes and freshest foods. Sit back and savor a glass of the world-renowned pinot noir and mouth-watering meals prepared from locally grown ingredients. Enjoy the scenery by cycling along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. The route winds through nearly the entire valley, past vineyards, and orchards, and historic towns. The Willamette Valley is also gifted with rugged mountain peaks and heart-stopping waterfalls.
Hear the Music in Nashville, Tennessee
The diverse music scene of Nashville will soothe your musical soul. From country music to rock, pop, and hip hop; whatever you are in the mood to hear, you can find it in Music City. Several attractions have made Nashville famous, such as the ultimate country music venue, the Grand Ole Opry, and the world-renowned Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Johnny Cash fans can learn all about the legend’s life at the Johnny Cash Museum. It houses the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts in the world. Take a guided tour of RCA Studio B, known for producing iconic songs from Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Roy Orbison.
Experience Food Scene Like a Local in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
While New Orleans dominates the culinary scene in Louisiana, Baton Rouge is an under-the-radar culinary gem. It boasts a thriving food scene and is an outstanding place to experience authentic Cajun cooking, fresh local seafood, and craft beer. Tony’s Seafood Market in Baton Rouge is considered one of the favorite stops for fresh seafood. Head to Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, a local gathering spot offering more than 50 types of oysters from all over the country. If you wish to bring the tastes of Louisiana back home, visit The Red Stick Spice Market to shop spice mixes and high-quality condiments. You can also plan for a session in the kitchen classroom, where the owner hosts her popular cooking classes.
Relax and Rejuvenate in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park protects 47 hot springs found below the Earth’s surface in central Arkansas. Though more than 180 years old, the park still attracts visitors who come for the thermal baths whose high mineral content is said to be therapeutic. Even though there are no soaking opportunities outdoors, Bathhouse Row does have two available facilities that offer visitors the chance to fully submerge and relax in the thermal water. You can also drink the hot springs water and even fill bottles to take home.