On June 18, the European Union added the United States to its list of countries approved for entry after 458 days of barring Americans from entering Europe due to the pandemic.
Even though that means it’s possible to travel to Europe right now, constantly changing COVID restrictions and a wide variety of entry requirements—not to mention the recent surge of the Delta variant of coronavirus—may have you postponing your European vacation until 2022. The good news is that there are some closer-to-home destinations that feel (kinda, sorta) like Europe.
If you love: The artsy and craft-centric coastal region of Cornwall, England Consider: Cape Cod, Massachusetts Where to stay: Chatham Bars Inn
Miles of gorgeous Atlantic coastline, sweeping sand dunes, delicious seafood, and a thriving arts and crafts community: Cape Cod could easily pass for Cornwall, as long as you’re OK with swapping Cornish pasties for clambakes. Wake up to ocean views at the historic 1914 Chatham Bars Inn and spend the rest of the day enjoying its private quarter-mile long beach, or head into town to admire the small galleries and houses with picket fences. Sorry, Ross Poldark not included.
If you love: Off-the-radar Italian villages and rustic vineyards Consider: Virginia Wine Country Where to stay: The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
The architecture may be more colonial than Tuscan, but Virginia’s wine country exudes the same rural appeal as the Italian countryside. A 50-mile drive west of Washington, D.C., Middleburg’s Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is open for secluded stays in its private cottages. Nearby wineries including Greenhill Vineyards, Boxwood Winery, and Stone Tower Winery are also welcoming guests.
If you love: The lavender fields and rolling vineyards of Provence, France Consider: Sonoma County, California Where to stay: Farmhouse Inn
You may be familiar with the wineries and dramatic coastline of California’s Sonoma County, but it’s also home to lavender farms that bloom each summer, like Monte-Bellaria di California (near Sebastopol) and Matanzas Creek Winery (in Santa Rosa). After a day outdoors in the fragrant fields, check into Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn. With only 25 rooms with private patios set among flowering gardens and a Michelin-starred restaurant with just 14 tables, this charming resort was practically invented for social distancing.
If you love: Attractive lakeside villages in Sweden Consider: Grand Marais, Minnesota Where to stay: Mayhew Inn
Opened in spring 2018, the hip Mayhew Inn is Grand Marais’s only boutique hotel. With just six artist-designed suites inside the brick building from the 1900s, the hotel has the feel of an Airbnb (unsurprisingly, its rooms are listed there, too). But your stay also comes with a few welcome amenities: free room cleaning, toiletries, and some of its custom coffee. For views of boats bobbing in the Lake Superior harbor, head up to the roof deck.
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Colorado is proof that alpine views are as lovely in the U.S. as they are in Switzerland.
If you love: Fresh mountain air and hiking in the Swiss Alps Consider: Aspen, Colorado Where to stay: The Little Nell
Set at the base of Aspen Mountain—and literally steps from the Silver Queen Gondola—the Little Nell easily has some of the most covetable real estate in town. It’s also Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond property, which means you’ll be suitably spoiled.
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Great surfing and lighthouses are hallmarks of Denmark’s west coast and the eastern tip of Long Island, seen here.
If you love: Denmark’s blustery beaches and surfing towns Consider: Montauk, New York Where to stay: Marram
The Danish surfing hot spot Klitmøller—aka “Cold Hawaii”—may be a little too far away for the time being, but Montauk is just a three-hour drive from Manhattan: Bed down at Marram, a 96-room boutique hotel on the water south of Shadmoor State Park. Tackle the waves with world-class surfers via the hotel’s on-site Engstrom Surf school, or opt for something more low key, like a morning meditation or self-guided nature walk.
If you love: The sunny beaches and sea breezes of the Greek Islands Consider: Catalina Island, California Where to stay: Hotel Atwater, Pavilion Hotel, or Mt Ada
Matching Greece’s Mediterranean climate, Catalina Island is a short ferry ride from Newport Beach, Dana Point, Long Beach, or San Pedro. The newest accomodations can be found at Hotel Atwater—renovated in 2019—while guests who want to be on the sand should choose the Pavilion Hotel. For those looking for luxury, the six-room Mt Ada used to be the private island home of William Wrigley Jr. (of chewing gum fame) and his wife Ada.
If you love: The fairy-tale castles and mountain peaks of Germany’s Allgäu region Consider: Vail, Colorado Where to stay: Sonnenalp Vail
Germany’s Allgäu in southern Bavaria is best known for Neuschwanstein, which is said to be the inspiration behind the castles in both Disney’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty movies. But instead of booking it to a theme park, head to the scenic mountain village of Vail. The chalet-style Sonnenalp Vail at its heart is actually owned and operated by the same family as the Sonnenalp in Germany. You won’t find a castle here, per se, but you will be treated like a princess.
If you love: The Czech spa town Karlovy Vary Consider: Calistoga, California Where to stay: Calistoga Motor Lodge
The Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary may be a favorite for its thermal baths, but Calistoga, California, has equally impressive hot springs, plus mud baths, wineries, and more. Base your stay at the chic Calistoga Motor Lodge, a reimagined motel with three on-site mineral pools. After a day spent winetasting or biking around town, the lodge’s MoonAcre Spa is the perfect place to unwind. Indulge in traditional treatments like massages and body scrubs or try something more unusual, like a locally inspired mud bath or a salt soak in a clawfoot tub.
If you love: The dramatic glaciers and fjords of Norway Consider: Alaska Where to stay: Alyeska Resort or Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
About an hour’s drive from Anchorage, the château-style Alyeska Resort comprises 300 rooms. Surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks and creaking spruce trees, the hotel has the feel of an off-the-grid oasis without sacrificing any amenities. Among them? A 60-passenger scenic tram, which ascends 2,300 feet in elevation to the top of Mount Alyeska.
Tordrillo, a luxury lodge in the Tordrillo Range, requires a floatplane flight from Anchorage to reach, but once you’re there, activities—including climbing Alaska’s first via ferrata course and skiing in the morning and fishing for salmon at night—abound.
If you love: Germany’s Black Forest Consider: Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee Where to stay: Blackberry Mountain
Situated over 5,200 acres across eight miles of the Great Smoky Mountains’ protected ridgetop, Blackberry Mountain—sister property to wine-and-dining destination Blackberry Farm—pitches itself as “your own private national park.” With three on-site restaurants, a spa, fitness classes, and seemingly endless hikes, we’ll take it.
This article was originally published on July 1, 2020; it was updated on August 11, 2021, with current information.