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USA Today travel photos / June 2020

A summer trip to see family in Orlando typically leads us to a few theme parks and often Disney World, where we would thread through a sea of tourists along the Magic Kingdom’s iconic Main Street, cram into a tram on Thunder Mountain or mix with the crowds in the ghostly graveyard of the Haunted Mansion. 

COVID-19 pandemic shifted our travels to more wide-open spaces. Bypassing theme parks, our minivan headed northeast on I-4 in late June in search of thrills of a different kind:  exploring wildlife and the natural wonders of New Smyrna Beach’s Indian River Lagoon and relaxing on the sparsely populated shores, where social-distancing safeguards were easy to follow.

Disney World was still closed during our late June vacation to Orlando so my family escaped for a few days to a less-populated Florida coastal town that is home to North America’s most diverse marine estuaries. For more: