Safe Covid Summer Travel: 15 Best Places To Experience Art And Nature

Fort Worth Magazine | January 1, 2021


One of the travel photos that I treasure the most is a shot that my husband took of my baby daughter and me in front of a field of wildflowers at Storm King, an open-air art museum in New York’s Hudson Valley. So when I heard that this staggeringly beautiful art destination spread across 500 bucolic acres about 90 minutes north of New York City was reopening to the public after months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, I knew that we needed to go on a day trip.

Things were a bit different on this visit. Since Storm King is limiting capacity, we had to make a reservation well in advance, plan the timing of our arrival and come prepared. You can usually rent bikes to cycle around the massive property, but the service was closed, as was the Outdoor Cafe (though you can order box lunches, snacks, beer and wine in advance). So we packed comfortable shoes and a picnic lunch and made our way to this under-the-radar getaway in the lush Hudson Valley.

Going to Storm King was exactly the restorative escape we were looking for after months of sheltering in place in New York City. And I know we’re not alone. This summer, many Americans are trying to find a slice of outdoor space to get some fresh air and—let’s face it—a change of scenery from our homes, while following health guidance amid COVID-19. And though some travelers might prefer to flock to crowded beaches and lakes and national parks, I think the best way to commune with nature includes an open field filled with incredible art installations.

Here are some of my favorite open-air cultural spaces to check out across the country right now—spots that are open with safety measures in place, ensuring that visitors get an enjoyable experience under the sun.

Inspiration Alley, Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth is the perfect place for an open-air art walk. Start your stroll in Cowtown’s up-and-coming Foundry District. Inspiration Alley, a colorful pedestrian walkway, is lined with ever-changing murals from local artists. From there, head to the Cultural District, where more public art awaits, alongside the stunning exteriors of The Modern and The Kimbell museums. Wrap up your exploration with a relaxing oasis: the cascading waterfall at the Fort Worth Water Gardens.