Virgin, Utah

Photo: Under Canvas

Social distancing. A few months ago, you’d never heard of the concept. It quickly took over your life. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, you’re supposed to maintain a distance of six feet from other people. Schools, stores, and workplaces closed indefinitely. While mass gatherings, including concerts and sporting events, may not have live audiences for years to come. So the reopening process is going to be slow and awkward.

You can’t wait to travel again. On the other hand, you can’t imagine traveling again. The notion of getting on an airplane seems impossible right now. The thought of eating dinner in a crowded restaurant or hanging out by a packed pool sounds outrageous. Even the idea of checking into a hotel makes you nervous.

So you might need to ease back into your regular routine. Your first post-quarantine getaway probably shouldn’t be a city. Big resorts and congested beaches are out, too. That leaves smaller trips. The more remote, the better. You could definitely use some time outside. A national park with gorgeous scenery and endless trails sounds like a good start. Glamping—a big step up from do-it-yourself camping would work, too. A long weekend suddenly seems like an actual possibility.

Photo: Under Canvas

This is a good opportunity to finally visit Zion National Park. The park is in the southwestern corner of Utah, a state with a relatively low number of confirmed virus cases. Though one of the most popular parks in the country, it covers 229 square miles and will have just reopened when you arrive. It’s full of deep canyons, emerald springs, natural arches, and red mountains. Plus a luxury campground is adjacent to the park.

Under Canvas Zion sits on nearly 200 acres on the western edge of Zion. That gives you a lot of room in which to spread out. A central lodge houses a restaurant, a bar, and hammocks. Embers, the restaurant, serves slow-cooked dinners from the barbecue. The bar offers locally brewed beer and flasks of warm beverages. There are fire pits inside and outside. Live music and s’mores-making kits appear with the stars at night. Snacks and a coffee crate service are available for the tents.

The safari-style tents manage to be rustic and luxurious at the same time. The permanent structures have canvas walls and wide plank floors. Animal-hide rugs and king-size beds stand atop the latter. The tents also feature wood-burning stoves for warmth, bug screens to keep critters out, and en suite bathrooms with hot showers. Stargazer tents add viewing windows above the beds. While chairs on the decks have views of majestic red rocks and sandstone cliffs. There’s plenty of room between you and your nearest neighbor, of course. It’s a good entrance into what’s sure to be a strange new world.

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