My family is cooperating with the recommended advice and instructions from our government and medical experts who have provided some guidelines to combat our common foe in COVID-19. We're working from home, not having guests over and limiting trips out of the house, even for our college kids.

It's only been a few days and this is a challenge for sure, but I've decided to make this time an opportunity to explore the region. Not just for my smaller kids, but for myself.

Here are some of the places I'd recommend for you to explore or experience on the SouthCoast while being able to space yourselves from other people. Get some fresh air, some sun and maintain your health.

The New Bedford Harbor Walk: Better when it's not as windy this time of year but this is an underused asset. There are breathtaking views of Buzzards Bay, New Bedford Harbor, Clark's Cove, and Sconticut Neck from atop the hurricane barrier bike paths. It is one of the many places you'll be glad to have gone while enduring your new downtime.

For most, the barrier wall paths are not really a challenging exercise but more of a mild cardio/pleasure walk. The wall's bike paths are walker, jogger and stroller friendly.

The East Beach wall begins on the barrier wall at East Rodney French Boulevard and Rodney Streets and ends at the marine entrance to New Bedford Harbor. The West Beach wall goes from Hazelwood Park all the way over to Rockdale and Cove streets near the Dairy Maid ice cream stand. Each hurricane barrier bike path is about a 2.5-mile round trip.

Destruction Brook, Dartmouth: In the Russell Mills Village area between Fisher and Slade's Corner Roads, this 280-plus-acre gem is a land secured through the generosity and hard work of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) and the Trustees of Reservations.

With just a great, local pristine feel to it, Destruction Brook is worth a couple of hours of your time. The paths are mostly wide, winding and have many ups and downs in the terrain. Watch your step and invite your kids to this adventure. I used to go in here with my sons when they were smaller and since it's very infrequent to see other people, they would transform the woods into a Lord of the Rings realm during our hikes (not required for you, though).

You have to pay attention to the signs, which are helpful as it is a large parcel of a forest, but you're never actually that far from civilization – although you will think you are. I recommend places like this if it's too cold or windy on the waterfront.

Simmons Mill Management Area, Adamsville, RI: For Greater New Bedford, this is both a spectacular 20-30 minute drive and destination for outdoor exploration. Located just west of Westport in the charming area of Adamsville Village of Little Compton in Rhode Island, this might be my favorite.

Ken Pittman/Townsquare Media

Owned by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, this is a place that would take more than a few hours to see everything. The walking hike is great but you can also find people fishing, paddling, and horseback riding, too. It's more than 430 acres in size with five ponds, trails that wind around the wildlife. I'd bring your camera.

Ken Pittman/Townsquare Media

There are really cool signs and weather-proofed photos along the way in addition to sturdy tools to remove your dog's waste from the paths. There is one of those about every 50 yards. The paths are at least 20 feet wide and meticulously cared for by a nearby couple who have devoted their time to the enjoyment of others. They even made the signs and educational plaques for those who care to know about the animals and types of trees they may find. Wood elves do exist!

Ken Pittman/Townsquare Media

Schoolman Preserve, Rochester: A smaller but really nice hiking area owned by the Mattapoisett and Rochester Land Trusts. For those of you to the east of New Bedford, this and several other spots like it have a combined 640-plus acres. Schoolman is about 80 acres and runs along the Mattapoisett River.

For the time being, we are still able to do these things, but if more drastic measures are deemed necessary by the government, even these trips could be suspended. So take advantage of the time now.

If your kids are like mine, they might complain about having to put down their electronic devices and get in the car without them. However, if they are like mine, they will not want to leave these places when you tell them when it's time to go home. Thanks to my three youngest Marty, Nina, and Elena for allowing me to post their photos and for reacting the way I'd hoped they would.

When life gives you lemons...

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@townsquaremedia.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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