Vacations are going virtual … for now. So dust off your empty suitcase, pour a drink of choice, and virtually travel with us to your dream destination.
An arts and culture haven in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is sharing food, music, and outdoor activities you can experience in your home.
Recipes to make at home include this quick and classic vodka martini from the Martini Workshop Lounge at The Foundry Hotel: A twist on the classic vodka martini, Workshop Lounge’s Martini features floral notes from the aromatic mixture of Hendrick’s Gin. In a shaker, add ice, 3/4 oz. dry vermouth, and 3 oz. Hendrick’s Gin. Mix well, strain, and pour the drink into a martini glass. Garnish with an olive.
Music and outdoor activities include an Asheville playlist on Spotify and Asheville experiences featuring 20+ virtual hikes, virtual tours of the iconic Biltmore Estate, a virtual walking tour of Blue Ridge Parkway, and virtual outdoor yoga classes.
Head Down Under without the long flight by immersing yourself in Tourism Australia’s 360-degree aquatic and coastal experiences on YouTube. See the waves roll in along the Great Ocean Road, watch the sun set over Sydney Harbour, discover the rugged scenery along Tasmania’s Three Capes Track, and more.
Imagine yourself in Charleston by checking out live Facebook streams of historic walking tours, led by guides at Bulldog Tours. You can also take a peek into the South Carolina Aquarium via virtual visits, held every weekday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. ET. (Past sessions are archived at the page linked above.) Carrie Morey, the founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, is offering cooking demos on her Instagram account, and Explore Charleston has put together a “Charleston This Summer” playlist on Spotify.
Check out the tourism board’s complete roundup of virtual activities in the Queen City, here. Highlights include online classes by the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s SPARK! program, virtual concerts with local talent, and online videos and tours at Discovery Place Science.
Download the free app Chile 360 to discover bucket-list attractions like Easter Island, Torres del Paine, the Atacama Desert, and more. The National Historic Museum of Chile and the Santiago Chile observatory are also offering virtual tours so you can explore the country’s arts, culture, natural landscapes, and skies.
The fan-favorite hotel and resort chain has tons of online content with its Club Med at Home program. From yoga routines to hotel virtual tours to quizzes to kid’s activity plans, there’s plenty to do. You can even sign up for a weekly newsletter filled with more ideas and activities.
From the bustling streets of Prague to kayaking in Cesky Krumlov, there are a variety of virtual experiences available for the Czech Republic’s UNESCO Sights, monuments and museums, as well as its arts and culture, like the Czech Opera. Other ways to virtually experience the Czech Republic are through this curated reading list or take a quiz about which castle in the country you should live in.
Head to the Sunshine State, virtually that is. Visit Florida has compiled a range of virtual vacations, from aerial views of the beach to underwater videos.
Bring the magic of Orlando to your home with dozens of virtual experiences hosted by the city’s tourism board. Online experiences range from streaming IMAX films, virtual go-karting, and floating down a lazy river.
Naples just launched “Paradise in Place”, which is a collection of resources from area webcams to Facebook Lives of the town’s zoo.
You can also check out the Miami region’s live webcams, which include sweeping beach views as well as an underwater coral reef cam and a feed of frolicking meerkats from Zoo Miami. You can add an audio soundtrack with this Spotify playlist from local restaurant Zuma Miami or this playlist from 1 Hotel South Beach.
Head to the vineyards in France, climb the Eiffel tower, tour the Louvre, and more from your computer screen with Explore France’s roundup. The tourism board has also curated book and movie lists to keep you further entertained.
For the true history buffs, you can take an online course through The Great Courses and learn more about the country’s fascinating history and cultural treasures.
Transport yourself to the Hawaiian Islands with online experiences like a virtual field trip of the Battleship Missouri Memorial or learn how to traditional dance with the Polynesian Cultural Center. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII and you can find interactive exercises and commemorations online, here.
While Jamaica can’t bring its sun, sand, and surf to you, it can help you bring the vacation spirit home. Start out by recreating this traditional Blue Mountain Coffee body scrub at home, courtesy of Playa Hotels & Resorts: “Combine 1/2 cup ground coffee, 1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, and one drop of your favorite essential oil. Apply 1/4 cup coffee oil to the entire body, using strong circular motions to assist the stimulation of blood flow. Use drops of the coffee oil under the eyes and place iced cucumbers on the eyes for added benefits. Rinse and enjoy.”
Then head to the kitchen to whip up some jerk pork chops using the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall’s recipe. Here’s what you’ll need: one ounce pimento seeds (all spice), 1 1/4 ounces Scotch bonnet pepper, 1/2 ounce fresh thyme, nine ounces onion (chopped), three ounces fresh garlic (peeled and chopped), 3 1/2 ounces fresh ginger (peeled and chopped), three ounces scallion (green onion, chopped), a pinch of chopped bay leaf, 1 1/2 ounces brown sugar, a pinch of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground nutmeg, six ounces soy sauce (low sodium), two ounces olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of black peppercorns, and one ounce of white distilled vinegar. Got the goods? Now follow the instructions: “To prepare your Jerk marinade place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and liquefy. Pour in a jar with a closed lid and keep it refrigerated. This marinade will last you a very long time as long as you keep refrigerated. Bone-in pork chops should be marinated 24 hours in advance with the marinade that you prepared the day before. Using a BBQ smoked grill, grill each chop for approximately eight minutes. Cover grill in between to obtain that awesome island smoke flavor.”
For a more visual taste of Jamaica, you can also check out the live stream at Rick’s Cafe. Things are pretty quiet right now, but you still see the sea sparkle and the breeze ruffle the curtains.
While the Olympics might be postponed, you can still explore the host country virtually. From a live feed of the famous Shibuya Crossing to snow monkeys bathing in hot springs, you’ll find a range of experiences online. You can even view the cherry blossoms blooming in locations like Miharu Falls in Fukushima and Hirosaki Park. If you are looking to learn even more, take an online course, like Understanding Japan (the course consists of 24, 30-minute lectures).
You’ll likely recognize many of Ireland’s landscapes from your favorite movies and TV series like the Star Wars series and Game of Thrones; now the country’s tourism board has curated entertainment experiences featuring Hollywood and the Emerald Isle.
- “Ireland on Screen” Quiz
- The Game of Thrones Irish Legacy
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Exclusive Behind the Scenes in Ireland
- 12 Great Irish Stars and Their Movies to Watch
In need of some adorable animals? Visit Horse Country launched virtual tours of thoroughbred farms, where you can watch foals frolic in fields, celebrate horse birthdays, and more.
Virtually experience this exciting destination with a variety of VR experiences on the region’s YouTube channel, like Chinese New Year and even jump off the world’s tallest bungee jump (from your computer, of course).
This historic European nation has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to bring you Heritage Malta Virtual Tours. Right now you’ll find more than 25 sites including museums, temples, forts, archaeological sites, and three of the country’s UNESCO Heritage sites, including the capital of Valletta.
Listen and eat like you’re in NOLA, from home. The city’s tourism board has a list of museums and other learning centers that are offering virtual experiences, like the Audubon Nature Insitute and the National WWII Museum. You can also take a virtual cooking class (or order a cookbook), a full list of participating chefs can be found here. Or, listen to a live stream of some jazz (or other local NOLA-based artists and bands).
Nashville’s tourism board, Visit Music City, has put together an entire portal of virtual experiences called “Visit Nashville from Home.” From a virtual tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery to a weekly radio broadcast of The Grand Ole Opry, you can have your Tennessee whiskey and listen to some honky-tonk tunes all from your couch.
Check out the full list of virtual attractions in Nashville here.
Leave it to New York City to put its entire city online. NYC Go has a list of seemingly endless virtual experiences that you can find online. From live streams of performing arts and Broadway shows to genealogy discovery lessons with Ellis Island, you’ll find the complete list of online activities here. You’ll find us virtually exploring the New York Botanical Garden and taking a free ballet class with the New York City Ballet on Instagram.
NYC-boutique hotel brand Arlo Hotels is hosting virtual programming like Monday Movie Nights, Tuesday Tutorials, a Weekend Reads book club, and more on its Instagram Live channel. NYC residents get extra perks with free delivery from Harold’s and different menu combos.
The rest of the state is also taking part in virtual activities with a virtual experience of Niagara Falls, a baby goat cam from local skincare brand Beekman 1802, online exhibits with the Baseball Hall of Fame, virtual happy hours organized by the state’s brewers association, and more.
Get out in nature virtually with live streams from the Finger Lakes region of central New York. Pretend that you’re at Bristol Harbour watching the sunset over Canandaigua Lake, or virtually hit the slopes via 24/7 live streams from Bristol Mountain and Greek Peak ski resorts.
For those who want to experience the City of Brotherly Love, check out the tourism board’s roundup of activities to experience Philadelphia from Home. Virtual activities include the Philadelphia Zoo, dozens of museums, and curated playlists on Spotify featuring local and legendary artists.
Visit Portugal has a variety of ways that you can explore Portugal from home, including reading lists and dozens of videos on its YouTube channel as a part of its #CantSkipHope campaign. Pour yourself some port wine and enjoy the views.
Escape to the Caribbean with Puerto Rico’s virtual weekend getaway. Each weekend the tourism board is lining up virtual activities like salsa dancing, cocktail making, and cooking classes. Stay up to date on what’s planned by following @discoverpuertorico on social media.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Velas Resorts is virtually offering classes and workshops for the next 40 days to help share Mexico’s culture and experiences with you at home. Join here and on social media for activities like a Mexican toy workshop, resort-chef led cooking classes, hotel-style bed making, yoga for kids, massage lessons by the resort’s massage therapists, and more. Follow hashtag #BetterTogether on Velas Resorts’ social media channels for more info.
Transport yourself to this culturally important country in the Middle East and view the Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar, and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art through Google Arts & Culture.
San Antonio, TX
A handful of the city’s museums and animal attractions have made their entertainment accessible online. Families and kids will particularly find many of the streams exciting, like access to The DoSeum, San Antonio’s children’s museum, as well as the city’s zoo. Additionally, the San Antonio Museum of Art has put its entire collection online, free of charge. The museum is also offering virtual storytime and lesson plans that are free for educators.
Sonoma County has been creative in the ways it’s bringing wine-country living into homes around the world. Inman Wines is hosting Meet the Maker happy hours, Belden Barns is launching a virtual tasting series on Sundays, and Kendall-Jackson is hosting virtual wine tastings via Instagram (or watch anytime on its IGTV channel), and has a playlist inspired by harvest time.
Get your yoga on, Sonoma-style, with online classes from Three Dog Yoga or Yoga on Center, or take an IGTV class with local practitioner Nina Jarnum. If you’re missing nature while you’re cooped up, check out nature-focused meditations from hiking-tour leader Margaret Lindgren.
Sonoma is a family-friendly place, and that’s on full display in the way that kids can visit virtually right now. Safari West is posting videos to its Facebook page, Charlie’s Acres is running virtual animal visits on its social channels, and the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is offering toddler activities on its Instagram page. The Museum of Sonoma County even has a virtual Escape Room experience.
If St. Lucia has been on your bucket list, as it is on ours, head there virtually with the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s “7 Minutes in Saint Lucia.” You’ll find experiences like yoga at the Pitons, tropical cocktail making, hiking the Tet Paul Nature Trail, and Caribbean cooking classes on Instagram @TravelSaintLucia, twice per week.
The Monteverdi Tuscany is introducing a new streaming music program to benefit the many musicians the hotel has worked with over the years through its cultural programming. Enjoy its efforts to help locals while you’re stuck at home.
The virtual performances have already debuted on the Monteverdi Tuscany Instagram account @Monteverdi_Tuscany featuring a tenor and a violinist of the Metropolitan Opera. Both artists are sharing their memories of performing at the property and performances recorded separately in their homes.
#VirtuallyVancouver (hosted by the tourism board) rounds up a variety of armchair activities to explore the Pacific Northwest city. Take a virtual tour of the cherry blossoms with a series of Tree Walks, view the live cam at the Vancouver Aquarium, view an entrant film for VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival), and plenty more.
Our sister site is hosting hundreds of virtual tours, both free and paid, for you to explore from your couch for the ultimate armchair travel. From 360 videos to virtual cooking classes to guided museum tours, the tour-booking site has everything you could possibly dream of virtually doing, all in one place.
Experience a Viking cruise from your television with Viking’s launch of Viking.TV. In addition to housing onboard content, the cruise line is hosting live content with experts and cultural partners each week. Tune in for Museum Mondays, Resident Historian Tuesdays, Wednesdays with Music, Guest Speaker Thursdays, Fridays at Home at Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey fans take note!), and Wellness Weekends, as well as daily conversations with the executive vice president, Karine Hagen. You’ll also find suggested reading lists, music playlists, and film recommendations for popular itineraries, so you can start daydreaming about your next cruise vacation.
Virtual Disney World
Experience the thrill of dozens of Disney World rides on YouTube. From classics like Splash and Space Mountain to even Monorail rides, it’s the perfect way to recreate your postponed Disney vacation. The Virtual Disney World YouTube channel (not affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed by the Walt Disney Company) notes that the 360-degree videos are best experienced with a VR headset or a smartphone with a virtual headset, such as Google Cardboard or Samsung VR, and recommends using the YouTube app for the full 360-degree experience.
Share Your Virtual Vacation or Travel Inspiration With Us:
Are you itching to travel? So are we … that’s why we started the #GoLater campaign on social media. We want to see which destinations YOU are dreaming of. Head over to our Instagram channel (@smartertravel) to learn more.