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Louisiana swamp tour via airboat

Here’s where groups go … with good reason

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posted September 15, 2020
nocomment

When concerns about the COVID pandemic ease, travelers will be eager to hit the road (or the swamp) again—and every destination’s hotels, restaurants, activities, and attractions will be equally eager to welcome them. Here are six NTA-member destinations, each with a collection of distinctive and diverse things to see and do.


Louisiana

louisianatravel.com  |  Marie Stagg

Top spots for groups

  • National WWII Museum in New Orleans features immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, and an expansive collection of artifacts and first-person oral histories. See more information on the museum here.
  • Festival International in Lafayette is a five-day celebration of culture through music, food, art, and performance that takes place each year at the end of April. Celebrating its 35th year in 2021, this event is the largest international music and arts festival in the United States.
  • Built in 1913 as a private home, the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens in Monroe offers three unique experiences for the price of one. The tour features the historical Coca-Cola Museum, a Bible museum, and the ELSong Botanical Gardens.
  • Take the Bayou Rum Distillery Tour in Lacassine and learn how the liquor is made from locally sourced Louisiana sugarcane.
  • LSU’s Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens in Baton Rouge offers a large collection of artifacts and architecture from cultures of 18th- and 19th-century rural Louisianans.
  • Atchafalaya National Heritage Area showcases the unique environment and culture of 14 Louisiana parishes, including the rich and mysterious landscapes.

Pleasant surprises

“You are treated like family when you visit Louisiana. We love to share our food, music, culture, and stories with everyone,” says Marie Stagg of the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “Visitors see and feel our genuine friendliness and hospitality everywhere they travel.”

Health measures

Visitors are encouraged to check with specific destinations for updates on any restrictions. The state of Louisiana is following guidelines outlined by the White House and CDC regarding protocols for the reopening of attractions, restaurants, bars, and hotels.

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

“Louisiana offers one of the most memorable and unique experiences you will find, like traveling to a foreign country without leaving the United States,” Stagg says. “It comes from our heritage of African, Caribbean, Spanish, French, German, Irish, and Italian influences. Louisiana isn’t for spectators … it’s for participants who want to feed their soul.”


COL Trail Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo by Grand Junction CVB)

Colorado

tourcolorado.org  |  Julianne Fredrick, CTP

Top spots for groups

The adventures in Colorado are endless, according to Julianne Fredrick, CTP, executive director of Tour Colorado. “We have eight scenic railroads*, four national parks, eight national monuments, 26 scenic byways, and 41 state parks. Groups can witness the beauty of Colorado from a train or motorcoach, and by car or foot.” 

*including Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and Georgetown Loop Railroad

Pleasant surprises

“Guests will be pleasantly surprised by our sincere, warm Colorado welcome and the rich history of our state,” Fredrick says.

Health measures

“Colorado’s open spaces and fresh air are just what we all need right now,” Fredrick says. “Please do remember to drink more water than normal, as you most likely will be at a higher altitude than you are accustomed to.” 

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

“Most groups use an itinerary that blends our natural parks with our cities’ attractions and dining. They can do everything in Colorado,” says Fredrick. “During the COVID concern, we’re seeing more hub-and-spoke tours so that people can limit their hotel stays to just one room, and then venture out from there every day for the adventures, beauty, and fresh air.


Natural History Museum of Utah
Natural History Museum of Utah (Photo by NHMU/Tom Smart)

Salt Lake City, Utah

visitsaltlake.com  |  Michael Mack

Top spots for groups

Red Butte Garden, the Natural History Museum of Utah, FamilySearch at Temple Square, City Creek Center, and the Great Salt Lake.

Pleasant surprises

“Great local cuisine, dozens of independent breweries and boutique distilleries, clean smelling air, beautiful rugged mountains, and a fit and youthful populace,” says Michael Mack, director of strategic partnerships at Visit Salt Lake.

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

“Salt Lake City is an old pro at accommodating and welcoming group tours,” Mack says. “Reasonably priced, well-situated hotel rooms are available in the city center. While Salt Lake has the same issues as most major cities, it is a very walkable and friendly city.”


Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (Photo by Jason Varney)

Baltimore, Maryland

baltimore.org  |  Eric Masterton

Top spots for groups

The National Aquarium, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the American Visionary Art Museum, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and Fleet Week. 

Pleasant surprises

“Visitors enjoy the walkability of Baltimore,” says Eric Masterton of Visit Baltimore. “It’s full of picturesque bay views, diverse cultural attractions, and an incredible dining scene, including fresh local seafood.”

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

“Visitors to Baltimore are charmed by the architecture, the waterfront location, the historical relevance to the founding of America, and the diversity of our arts and culture,” Masterton says. “From world-class luxury hotels to quaint family-owned bed and breakfasts, expansive green spaces, and world-famous attractions, Baltimore really surprises people.” 


Fresh-grilled seafood in Charleston
Fresh-grilled seafood (Photo by Brennan Wesley)

Charleston, South Carolina

charlestoncvb.com  |  Jennifer A. Cecil

Top spots for groups

The Charleston Tea Garden, Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, Fort Sumter National Monument, and The Schooner Pride.

Pleasant surprises

“Hospitality is our way of Iife,” says Jennifer Cecil of Explore Charleston. “I think people will be pleasantly surprised at how friendly everyone is. You will not meet a stranger in Charleston, and you’ll leave with new best friends!” 

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

“We partner well with our friends in Myrtle Beach and Savannah, and we are a destination you can visit year-round,” Cecil says. “It may sound cliché, but there is something for every age and interest. And seriously, don’t forget the food!”


St. John’s jellybean-colored houses
St. John’s jellybean-colored houses (Photo by Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism)

St. John’s, Newfoundland

destinationstjohns.com  |  Paul Buggé

Top experiences for groups

Sea kayaking, snorkeling with the whales, hiking the East Coast Trail, enjoying the George Street Entertainment District, and visiting Quidi Vidi Village.

Pleasant surprises

“Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s youngest province, but it’s home to St. John’s, one of the oldest cities in North America,” says Paul Buggé of Destination St. John’s. “Ours is a vibrant and colorful city, close to nature and full of wide-open green spaces.”

What do you say to travel planners new to your destination?

National Geographic has named St. John’s as the top coastal destination in the world,” Buggé says. “Also, St. John’s has more than 3,500 hotel rooms in the center city, all within 10 minutes of downtown.” 

Top photo: Louisiana swamp tour via airboat
Photo by Tim Mueller