COVID-19 Restrictions Reshaping Summer Vacation Plans

AAA is forecasting busy roads this summer. Campgrounds offer one option for Connecticut residents reworking travel plans.

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AAA of Greater Hartford calls it the return of “The Great American Road Trip," projecting this summer to be one where 97 percent of New England travel will be done by car. With that they have some advice.

“Planning ahead has never been so critical,” said AAA spokesperson Amy Parmenter.

Entering the holiday weekend and summer travel season, AAA is projecting New Englanders will take 38 million road trips this summer. With travel restrictions created as COVID-19 precautions, options will be limited and planning critical.

“This is not the summer you can just hop in the car and spontaneously go and hope to find a place at the campground,” added Parmenter.

There are now 16 states with travel restrictions into Connecticut. Visiting one of them would require quarantining for 14 days upon return. With that, many Connecticut residents are opting to stay in-state this summer.

Among the Connecticut destinations are campgrounds. Although not opened completely until July 8, campgrounds began allowing RVs in Wednesday.

“We usually roll in here before Memorial Day but with the COVID we can’t do that,” said Larry Dallas of Old Saybrook.

As campgrounds go through a soft opening this week, public showers and other facilities will not be open. RVs provide private self-contained bathrooms and water for campers.

Despite the restrictions, campers are ready. At Hammonasset State Park Campground, RVs began setting up for the holiday weekend, taking advantage of reservations made nearly a year ago. Reservations some worried might be lost to the pandemic.

The Benard family says camping is what they look forward to most in the summer. But they know in order to be safe this year, camping must be different.

“I think the hardest thing is that when you’re camping, camping is a big social thing, you know for most people, camping with a group or you go out with some friends,” said Dale Benard of Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Other state parks are also expected to be busy this summer. Because of capacity limitations, parks could close early. To help people plan ahead, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently launched a new website,, allowing people to check closure before heading out the door.

DEEP says plan ahead and continue to use proper caution.

“Make sure you bring your mask,” said DEEP Commissioner, Katie Dykes. “We encourage people to come in small groups with members of your household if you can and maintain that distance of six feet.”

Heading into the holiday weekend, Connecticut State Police are preparing for those making road trips through the state. Over the last couple of months, police say they’ve seen an increase in traffic and speeding. Starting tonight they will begin roving patrols throughout the state and have a message for 4th of July motorists.

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