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From the beach to the winery, the best summer getaway spots close to home

You don't have to go too far to have a vacation.

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Around the country people are not just looking forward to the arrival of summer, but to begin traveling again. After a trying year, restrictions are finally being lifted, leaving many looking for a fun and relaxing getaway.

Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler contributing editor and the host of the podcast "Travel Genius," joined the 3rd Hour of TODAY to share his top recommendations for where to go for a summer getaway.

Before booking your plane ticket, be sure to check Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for your destination. Masks are still mandatory on most forms of transportation, so be sure to keep them handy.

For international travel, contact your hotel to learn about their requirements and make sure to book a COVID-19 test for the return back home. Ellwood also suggests signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which is a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Read on for travel recommendations that will have you packing your bags in no time.

East Coast

Tentrr at New York's Harriman State Park

If you are craving some fresh air after hours cooped up at home behind a screen, Tentrr at New York's Harriman State Park is the perfect vacation spot. Tentrr offers fully equipped, ready-to-go campsites for a low stress camping experience. The tents are spacious and come with a comfortable bed for a good night's sleep. Star gaze in Adirondack chairs or bring marshmallows to roast over the fire.


Grand Centennial Hotel

Both the Grand Centennial Hotel and Oasis Resort are located on the 48-acre resort complex called Centennial Plaza in Gulfport, Mississippi. With a history going back 100 years, this once military instillation is now newly renovated to be a premier family and business traveler destination. There is an abundance of family activities such as a 3-acre water playground with conventional pools, a lazy river and slides. To satisfy your culinary desires, there are two full-service restaurants as well.

Oasis Resort

Mississippi is also home to 62 miles of a scenic shoreline. This hidden gem is perfect if you are looking to avoid large crowds. Gulfport also produces 69% of the nation's domestic shrimp, so dining options for seafood fans are abundant. The area's ferry service brings travelers to some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America where you can enjoy stunning natural beaches, birding and shelling.

West Coast

Stables Inn

Conveniently located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is home to 250-plus wineries that have officially reopened. One of the main attractions is a new exhibit called "Sensorio: Field of Light," by Bruce Munro. The piece utilizes 17,388 wine bottles to create 69 towers that illuminate and gently change colors creating a magical scene. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 30, 2021.


Hotel Solar de las Animas

This hotel is located in Tequila, Mexico, which is operating at 60% occupancy and following all pandemic safety guidelines. Solar de la Animas has two outdoor pools, a rooftop Sky Bar, a garden patio bar and a restaurant. Some local experiences include the Jose Cuervo Express, known as the Tequila Train, which makes two trips every other Saturday between Guadalajara and Tequila, along with visits to La Rojeña Distillery, the Juan Beckmann Gallardo Cultural Center and more. You can even plan your stay around National Tequila Day on July 24.

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