I use a wide range of cameras (fixed lens and otherwise), and a lot of different lenses on my DSLRs and mirrorless. Nikon D600 (recently given away), GoPro, Canon 6D MkII, Olympus Tough series, Insta350 GO, Sony A7iii, Sony A6500, and more.
My recommendation for a casual user looking to upgrade, but not looking to go into serious hobbyist phase, or into semi-pro territory would be something like a Sony A6600 (has the newer high capacity battery) or the A6500 (has the older battery). Both have in-camera stabilization, so it works with any lens, both are small form factor, both are APS-C (this means you get the crop-zoom effect - which is a plus or minus depending on your preference), they have excellent low-light performance, and there are a lot of high quality lenses both from Sony and 3rd party manufacturers some surprisingly inexpensive for the quality you get.
These use the same e-mount system as other Sony cameras, so if you do decide to upgrade the camera later the lenses transfer over just fine (I buy full frame lenses rather than APS-C lenses specifically for this reason as my main camera is a Sony A7iii and I can use the same lenses for both cameras, as well as the older Sony cameras I have - a5100 and A7ii if I decide to revive them).
Many of the lenses have excellent autofocus, and most are focu-by-wire so you can override the autofocus manually without having to switch or change anything. I find it’s best to set the cameras up (whatever company’s cameras you use) with a back-focus button, that is, a switching the focus to a button on the rear that you use with your thumb, and setting the shutter button to only take photos, not focus. This allows for much faster, much more reliable, and much more repeatable photo taking.
The great thing about using an interchangeable lens system (SLR, DSLR, or mirrorless) is that if you want to take different types of photos (eg. macro vs long-distance bird photos vs landscape photos) you don’t have to by a new camera to suit that need, it’s just a lens away and you effectively have an entirely different camera.
If you don’t want to change lenses there are some very good zoom options.
The a6500 is the older camera and you can find new kits (with a basic lens) for around $1000 if you hunt around, or get good used ones in the $600 range (sometimes lower), which is nice as that frees up some money for an extra lens.
The a6600 is newer and is a good bit more money, but if you look in the used market you can find one around $1000.
Honestly, the main difference is in the battery, so if you don’t mind carrying around a couple of extra batteries (they’re pretty small, so it’s not like they take up a lot of space or weight), then go with the older option.
If you want really nice colors, the Sigma Art lenses are fantastic. I use the 70mm 2.8 macro Art lens all the time and it’s one of my favorite lenses. It gives great color and clarity.
They make a 105mm .8 Art macro now too.