Overnight car trips. Visits to roadside attractions. Airport hang-out time. It all seems possible now that the weather is getting nice and so many people are vaccinated and honoring all the stay-healthy rules.
When we go. We won’t be out there alone.
Our email is filled with studies, surveys, and proclamations about the travel rebound already underway.
AAA Travel expects more than 37 million people to travel 50 miles or more away from home over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That is an increase of 60% over last year when a record low 23 million people traveled.
Are there deals to be had at hotels and attractions and on planes? Don’t count on it
“Travel inflation is real and deals are hard to come by for summer and out months,” says Clayton Reid, CEO of global travel, tourism, and marketing company MMGY Global. “While we do expect deals in city centers to some degree, where the recovery of urban hotels and attractions is lagging, demand is so high that prices are actually going up in many places. Even airfares are on the rise because demand is outweighing airlines’ reduced schedules.”
Deals may not matter
This colorful Tripit chart shows that vaccinated Americans are ready to get out on the road as soon as they can. What about you?
We’re ready. Our suitcase has been patiently waiting by the door.
Here are some suggestions for attractions and adventures near 10 other U.S. airports:
1. The Cincinnati Art Museum, which offers free admission and has a 12-foot tall bronze sculpture of Pinocchio outside the front entrance, is 20 minutes from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is also just 20 minutes from the airport. General admission is $15, but if you think business will bring you back to town, consider the Reds/Zoo combo ticket ($32) that includes a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap and tickets to the zoo, the gardens, a Cincinnati Reds baseball game and a visit to the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.
2. A free shuttle bus (Route No. 66) that leaves from Boston Logan International Airport, will take you to the nearby water-transportation terminal. There, a paved, 3/4-mile Harborwalk offers great views of the Boston skyline. You can also hop on a water taxi for a 10-minute ride to Boston’s Rowes Wharf, for a stroll around Faneuil Hall and a quick visit to the New England Aquarium and other attractions. (Fare: $17 roundtrip)
3. A free aviation museum, the Flight Path Learning Center, is located on the south side of the Los Angeles International Airport and the 18-hole, par 64 Westchester Golf Course adjacent to LAX is open daily until 10 p.m.. For a taste of a local specialty, a branch of In-N-Out Burger is nearby as well and is adjacent to a small park popular with plane spotters. (Take the free shuttle to Economy Lot C and cross the street at 96th St. and Sepulveda Blvd.) Dockweiler State Beach, under LAX flight paths, is a 7-minute cab ride from the terminals.
4. The Carolinas Aviation Museum is located adjacent to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and is now home to the US Airways “Miracle on the Hudson” airplane from Flight 1549. In addition to photo, videos and artifacts from that airplane, the museum displays many other military, civil and commercial aircraft. Admission: $12.
5. The 15,000-acre Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Center, once the site of a chemical weapons manufacturing facility, is near Denver International Airport. In addition to a visitor center filled with interactive exhibits, there are walking and biking trails, catch-and-release fishing, site tours and opportunities to spot wildlife that includes wild bison, deer, coyotes and bald eagles. Admission: free
6. The National Park Service operates the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, the USS Arizona Memorial and several other Pearl Harbor historic sites just three miles from Honolulu International Airport. Tickets are free for the 75-minute program that includes a 23-minute film and a Navy-operated shuttle boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. Admission is charged for the other Pearl Harbor historic sites, which include the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
7. In Milwaukee, the Harley-Davidson Museum is a 15-minute drive from General Mitchell International Airport. Through September 3rd, the museum is featuring Worn to be Wild, an exhibit celebrating the iconic black leather jacket, a wardrobe must-have for early pilots. (Admission: $18)
8. 32 Boeing 747s could fit inside the Mall of America, which is a 15-minute light-rail ride away from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In addition to the more than 500 stores and more than 50 restaurants, the mall is home to a 14-screen movie theater, the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium (with a 300-foot glass tunnel), a Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and other attractions.
9. A free shuttle bus runs regularly from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the Metro light-rail transfer station, which is across the street from the Pueblo Grande Museum Archeological Park. The 95-acre park grounds are on the site of a 1,500 year-old Hohokam Indian Village and include an 800-year old platform mound, an excavated ball court and two full-scale reproductions of Hohokam homes. Admission: $6.
10. Country music fans might enjoy a quick visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on the way to Nashville International Airport. The museum features video clips, recorded music, live performances and exhibits that celebrate country music stars such as Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Taylor Swift.
For more ideas see the “Nearby layover option” in the 50 Airport Guides I maintain for USA TODAY. And if you have a suggestion for an activity or attraction nearby an airport, please add it to the comment section below.