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Many Americans have been banking their vacation time because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now eager to take a well-deserved break from their everyday lives.

While there are many signs that people are ready to get out of their homes after months of sheltering in place and social distancing, there are still many who are reluctant to go anywhere because of health concerns.

The challenge for many is trying to find a place to vacation in a location where there are plenty of activities to do outdoors, while staying safe during their free time.

Kris Maichle, general manager for Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals, said his company’s rental homes are all on St. Simons Island, mainly at the south end. The properties vary in size from an efficiency to a 12-bedroom home.

The properties are a mix of homes and condominiums, some with attractive features that can make a vacation more comfortable.

“Homes have various features from fenced-in yards for pets to homes with private pools, beach access and docks,” Maichle said.

Of course, one of the best features of a summer rental in the Golden Isles is the safe environment families can stay in while enjoying their vacation.

The rental company also follows the current state guidelines on social distancing and mask recommendations.

One recommendation by health experts is for people to bring their own cleaning supplies to sanitize high-touch surfaces, including door handles. The rental homes that have been vacant the longest are the ones least likely to have the virus.

A rental home also enables people to cook at home or order carryout meals at local restaurants.

The good news is places like the beaches in the Golden Isles are considered among the safest places to go in public as long as social distancing and frequent hand washing are still practiced. There is no evidence coronavirus can be spread through water, so swimming is safe.

As for visiting the museums and historic buildings in the Golden Isles, most are limiting the number of people inside at one time and social distancing is encouraged to reduce the risk and enable everyone to have a safe, fun vacation.

“Most of our business comes from the state of Georgia,” Maichle said. “We have enhanced our cleaning procedures to include disinfecting high-touch areas and eliminating or minimizing in-person check-in.”