The Best Weekend Getaways to Take Right Now

Here's where to spend a few blissful days for that well-deserved break.

best weekend trips 2020

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Stowe, Vermont

best weekend trips 2020

Stowe may be a popular ski destination, but it's equally appealing in the fall with its abundance of outdoor pursuits. And, obviously, the foliage alone is reason enough to visit. The 68-room Topnotch Resort sits on an expansive 120 acres with views of Mount Mansfield. Hotel activities include horseback riding, ATV tours, biking, wagon rides, and, for something a little more relaxing, a lovely spa.

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

best weekend trips 2020

Want to escape to a quaint New England seaside village? Look no further than Martha's Vineyard, with its miles of beaches and historic houses. Stay in Edgartown, a former whaling port, and you'll have access to shops, galleries, and restaurants galore. The Christopher is a chic boutique hotel with just 15 rooms that mix modern design with a classic New England aesthetic. For a seamless—and fast (read: no traffic)—trip from the New York area, book a flight on Tradewind Aviation.

Read Reviews The Christopher

Telluride, Colorado

best weekend trips 2020

It is a bit of a trek to get to this Colorado hideaway, but so worth it for its unlimited supply of fresh mountain air. The Madeline Hotel & Residences, an Auberge Resort , is surrounded on three sides by the majestic San Juan Mountains. Horseback ride through Colorado's backcountry, go fly fishing, cycle the mountains, or simply let the hotel set up a picnic feast for you in the middle of a scenic alpine meadow. However you choose to spend your days, you're guaranteed to return home refreshed.

Read Reviews Madeline Hotel & Residents, Auberge Resorts Collection

Washington, Connecticut

best weekend trips 2020

A quick two-hour drive from New York City, Washington, Connecticut has long been a retreat for a very discerning, moneyed crowd, because of its rolling hills, historic architecture, and proximity to the city. Soak that all in at the grand Mayflower Inn & Spa, an Auberge Resort , set on 58 acres of manicured gardens and woodland. There's plenty to do, including hiking, fly-fishing, archery, tennis, and croquet. In 2021, for its 100th anniversary, the hotel was refreshed by celebrated designer Celerie Kemble.

Read Reviews Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection

Whitefish, Montana

lone mountain and big sky montana at night

For a more adventurous weekend getaway, the mountain town of Whitefish, Montana offers four seasons of activities—from skiing Whitefish Mountain to hiking through Glacier National Park. Book a stay at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake , a classic mountain lodge that offers suites in the main building as well as standalone luxury homes on the property.

Read Reviews Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Malibu, California

best weekend trips 2020

This 27-mile stretch of sparkling ocean and beach is the epitome of barefoot luxury, which is why so many Hollywood A-listers own homes here. Hotels are pretty scarce, all the more lending to Malibu's locals-only vibe. Stay at the 47-room Malibu Beach Inn , located right on the water on a strip of coastline nicknamed Billionaire's Beach for all of its famous homeowners, like Larry Ellison, who owns 10 properties. For a real splurge, book a room at the intimate 16-room Nobu Ryokan , an oasis like no other that marries serene Japanese minimalism with the iconic California coast.

Read Reviews Malibu Beach Inn

Read Reviews Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Annapolis, Maryland

annapolis, maryland

Just 45 minutes outside of Washington, D.C., Annapolis feels a world apart. Yes, it's home to the United States Naval Academy, but it's far more than a college town. Embrace its nautical legacy with a visit to the Annapolis Maritime Museum, followed by an afternoon out on the water. And then enjoy Maryland's famous crabs for dinner before retiring to 134 Prince , a luxury inn in a Dutch Colonial home.

Read Reviews 134 Prince

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

autumn colors

Massachusetts' Berkshires are a year-round destination full of scenic hikes, stellar art museums, like MASS MoCA and the Clark Art Institute, and fun seasonal programming, like the region's famous Tanglewood concert series. It's also a hotbed for wellness resorts, including Canyon Ranch Lenox , which is centered around a Gilded Age mansion, and Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa , which is home to a 29,000-square-foot spa.

Read Review s Canyon Ranch Lenox

Read Reviews Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa

best weekend trips from us 2020

For East Coasters, Bermuda makes for a perfect weekend getaway. It's just a two-hour flight from NYC and Washington, D.C., meaning it basically takes less time to get there than it does to drive out to the Hamptons. Once you're on the island, head to The Loren at Pink Beach if you're in the mood for a little solitude. The property's one- and three-bedroom villas have their own private pools, making them prime spots for lounging and sipping on Bermuda's famed rum swizzles.

Read Reviews The Loren at Pink Beach

Bar Harbor, Maine

bar harbor,acadia national park,maine

A gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is everything you'd want from a coastal New England town, from stellar seafood restaurants to a bustling harbor from which you can easily hop on a boat for the day. The Primrose is a cottage-style inn built in 1878, but completely refreshed with new decor in 2020.

Read Reviews The Primrose

The North Fork, New York

mitchell park  marina greenport, new york

The South Fork of Long Island (aka the Hamptons and Montauk) may be buzzier, but for a more low-key, quiet, and down-to-earth alternative, head to the North Fork. Oysters at Little Creek Oyster Farm in Greenport are a must, as are the homemade pies at Briermere Farms in Riverhead. Then spend your afternoons visiting the area's many wineries, such as Bedell, Sparkling Pointe, and Kontokosta before retiring to the Sound View Greenport , a chic hotel where every room looks out onto the Long Island Sound and has direct access to the private beach.

Read Reviews Sound View Greenport

Asheville, North Carolina

asheville north carolina aerial view at sunset

Drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway on your way to Asheville—the fall foliage is particularly spectacular, though the views are majestic no matter the season. There, you'll want to spend plenty of time at the impressive Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in the country, built by George Vanderbilt at the end of the 19th century. While you can't stay in the home itself, you can stay on the property at the Inn on Biltmore Estate , which grants you access to the Biltmore gardens, Antler Hill Village, and the Biltmore Winery.

Read Reviews Inn on Biltmore Estate

Asbury Park, New Jersey

best weekend trips 2020

When the Asbury Hotel opened in 2016, it promised to bring about a much classier era to the oft-maligned Jersey Shore—and, in particular, the city of Asbury Park. It's just an hour away from New York City, but will feel like a proper vacation. Aside from the beach, which is a block away, the Asbury has plenty of al fresco spaces fit for play, including an expansive rooftop space that screens outdoor movies.

Read Reviews The Asbury Hotel

Texas Hill Country

texas bluebonnet field

Easily accessible from both Austin and San Antonio, Texas Hill Country is filled with quaint towns, wineries, and, in the spring, fields of blossoming bluebonnets. Treat yourself to a wellness weekend at the Sage Hill Inn & Spa , a 16-room luxury property set on 88 acres just 25 miles outside of Austin. Spend your days meandering the hiking trails, getting a massage at the spa, or playing a game of pickleball on the courts.

Read Reviews Sage Hill Inn & Spa

Golden Isles, Georgia

Wood, Property, Real estate, Outdoor furniture, Furniture, Interior design, Hardwood, Daylighting, Fixture, Balcony,

Located along Georgia's Atlantic coast between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida, Jekyll Island is one of the barrier islands comprising the Golden Isles. Here, you can summer like the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Pultizers, and Rockefellers once did at the Jekyll Island Club Resort . There are loads of leisure activities, 20-plus miles of paved bicycle exploration, and two open-air restaurants. It's easy to see why some of the great American dynasties returned here year after year.

Read Reviews Jekyll Island Club Resor t

The Finger Lakes, New York

waterfall and bridge at watkins glen state park, new york

The West Coast might get the lion's share of attention when it comes to wine regions, but the Finger Lakes is perfect for a weekend away for East Coasters or Midwesterners. Explore the eleven lakes, the charming towns that surround them, and the scenic gorges. Make your home base Aurora on Cayuga Lake. It's home to the Inns of Aurora , a collection of five boutique hotels in historic buildings.

Read Reviews Inns of Aurora

Mackinac Island, Michigan

aerial view of mackinac island, michigan, usa

Retreat to Michigan's Mackinac Island for a leisurely weekend in what might feel like a bygone era. The island, located in between the state's Lower and Upper Peninsulas on Lake Huran, has banned cars, resulting in quite a peaceful atmosphere. Stay at the historic Grand Hotel , which bills its 660-foot-long porch as the world's longest.

Read Reviews Grand Hotel

Sedona, Arizona

cathedral rock near sedona

Sedona has the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation—the hiking is superb, as are the spa resorts. The 70-acre Enchantment Resort has the best of both worlds, with 50 hiking trails and an extraordinary destination spa called Mii Amo. (As of September 2022, the spa is closed for renovations, but will reopen in late 2022 or early 2023.) The property is also close to downtown Sedona, where you can get your fill of shopping between art galleries and funky boutiques.

Read Reviews Enchantment Resort

Lexington, Kentucky

horses grazing in pasture, elevated view

Kentucky has two major claims to fame: horse racing and bourbon. You'll find both in and around Lexington, between the city's famous Keeneland Race Course and the 15 distilleries within 45 miles of the city. While in town, stay at the ultra-modern 21c Museum Hotel Lexington , which also functions as a museum.

Read Reviews 21c Museum Hotel Lexington

Cape May, New Jersey

cape may beach ave

Cape May is perhaps the most charming of all of New Jersey's beach towns, thanks to the colorful Victorian-era houses that line its streets. Spend the day at the beach or peruse the shops of the Washington Street pedestrian mall, which is particularly festive in December. Congress Hall is the grande dame in this seaside resort town, and it's been hosting guests since 1816.

Read Reviews Congress Hall

Headshot of Leena Kim

Leena Kim is an editor at Town & Country , where she covers travel, jewelry, education, weddings, and culture.

Headshot of Stefanie Waldek

Stefanie Waldek is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, design, and travel. She's worked on staff at Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, and has contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, Design Milk, and Hunker, among others. When she's not dreaming about midcentury chairs, you can find her re-watching The X-Files,  likely in an airport lounge or on a plane.

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Photo of Miami skyline with a US flag in the right corner and a causeway built over the water. Miami is easily one of the best weekend getaways in the USA!

15 Cool Cities Perfect for Weekend Getaways in the USA

Looking to get away for a weekend? Well, you’re in luck: there are so many incredible weekend getaways in the USA!

The more we travel in our home country, the more we appreciate how its enormous size and incredible diversity mean that city breaks in the United States can cover just about any interest.

Want to lay out on one of the best urban beaches in the world, drink craft beer, attend an unforgettable festival, go hiking, hit a casino, or simply experience some of the most iconic tourist sites in the world in quick succession?

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Fanieul Hall

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Or, maybe you want to dig into a unique and delicious food scene, learn a bit of American history, or engross yourself in a walkable area and leave driving behind for your whole weekend trip?

No matter what you like to do, there’s an American city (or six) for that.

Here are 15 of the best cities for weekend getaways in the USA.

Table of Contents

Southern Weekend Getaways in the USA

Western weekend getaways in the usa, eastern weekend getaways in the usa, central weekend getaways in the usa.

Top of the Rock or Empire State Building: Photo of Girl in a Dress at Top of the Rock

New Orleans

It’s often said that there’s nowhere like New Orleans–and that is completely true.

Spending a weekend in New Orleans ( or even a single day ) means lots of jazz, lots of delicious food (gumbo, beignets, po’ boys, muffulettas, and more–oh my!), and lots of good times.

Be sure to make time for a ghost tour to take a look at the more mystical part of the city (even if you’re not the superstitious type, I promise a ghost tour is worth it in NOLA!), and a bayou tour to check out southern Louisiana’s incredible landscape.

And, while it’s easy to have nothing but good times in New Orleans, you can (and arguably should) add more depth to your trip as well: consider a day trip out to somewhere like the Whitney Plantation to learn a bit about NOLA’s dark past, or even a Katrina-themed tour discussing the serious impacts of the 2005 hurricane.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

  • Best Western Plus French Quarter Landmark Hotel : The hotel itself is beautiful in that classic New Orleans way, and the (included) breakfast is varied and tasty. Best of all, this hotel is situated right on the edge of the French Quarter, meaning that all of the French Quarter and some areas beyond are within easy walking distance.
  • Omni Royal Orleans Hotel : Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this beautiful hotel is known for its gorgeous building, attentive service, and lovely ambiance–plus its ghosts. Yeah, that attentive service? It just may come in the form of the ghost maid who likes to tuck guests in at night!

Romantic Getaways in USA: Jackson Square New Orleans

If you’re hoping to soak up some fun in the sun during your USA weekend getaway, look no further than Miami.

South Beach is often considered one of the best urban beaches on the planet, and we’d have to agree! 

Don’t limit yourself just to the beach, though: be sure to explore Miami Beach’s impressive Art Deco architecture, eat your way through Little Havana, admire street art in Wynwood, and check out the views from Biscayne Bay.

For those who want to experience some unique nature in south Florida during their trip, consider also planning a trip out to the Everglades–or if you have a few extra days, road-tripping your way all the way to Key West , the southernmost point in the USA!

Where to Stay in Miami

  • Hotel Impala : We love staying here! The room was clean, the shower divine, the customer service lovely, and–most importantly–the location on Collins Ave. was absolutely  perfect.  Located in the heart of the Art Deco district and a five-minute walk from South Beach while still offering a quiet place to sleep at night, Hotel Impala had a location you just can’t beat in Miami Beach.
  • The Marlin Hotel : This hotel offers the chance to stay in one of Miami Beach’s historic art deco buildings! Boasting a fantastic location on Collins Avenue, impeccable customer service, incredible reviews, and spacious suites, the Marlin Hotel is the perfect hotel for those looking for a luxury experience while also seeing a side of Miami Beach’s Art Deco history that not every visitor to the city gets to.

Kate in a pink dress standing in front of a blue art deco lifeguard stand on South Beach in Miami Beach.

Dripping with Spanish moss and home to one of the most stunningly beautiful historic centers of any city in the United States, Savannah is the perfect place to head for a weekend trip : not too big, not too small, and positively packed with some of the best southern food you could ever hope to find.

Come here to wander through all 22 of Savannah’s remaining town squares, tour a house museum or two, pay a visit to Forsyth Park, and to wander along gorgeous Jones Street.

Shoppers will love all the boutiques on Broughton Street, River Street, and in City Market, and those looking to indulge their taste buds will find limitless incredible food in Savannah , from classic southern meals at the Olde Pink House to tasty ice cream at Leopold’s.

If you’re a former Girl Scout like me, or just interested in their history, be sure to also pay a visit to the home of the organization’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

Where to Stay in Savannah

  • The Marshall House : Featuring a popular included breakfast, a fantastic location in the heart of Savannah’s historic district, and phenomenal reviews, you can’t go wrong with a stay at The Marshall House!
  • Foley House Inn : Easily my favorite hotel that I’ve stayed in while in Savannah, the Foley House Inn is absolutely beautiful inside and out, and has a perfect location right on Chippewa Square.

The Best Things to Do in Savannah: Fountain in Square

Of all of the weekend getaways in the USA covered here, Asheville is one of the best options for a group divided on whether to visit a city or the great outdoors.

Home to an epic craft beer scene, the incredible Biltmore Estate, plenty of street art, and delicious food options, there’s no doubt that Asheville appeals to the city lovers among us.

Its location right next door to the Pisgah National Forest and Great Smoky Mountain National Park, however, make it a fabulous US weekend destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as well, and there are plenty of easy hikes near Asheville that allow travelers of all skill levels to enjoy the beautiful mountain setting.

No matter what your interests are, try to make time during your trip to Asheville to drive a small piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway–especially if you’re visiting in the fall and can enjoy the changing colors. Often considered one of the most beautiful road trips in the United States, it’s a sight not to be missed.

Where to Stay in Asheville

  • Cedar Crest Inn: This pink 1891 mansion house is a perfect place to base yourself in Asheville. Packed with historical details and stunning architecture you can imagine it as a mini Biltmore.
  • The Applewood Manor : Located within walking distance of downtown via a greenbelt trail, The Applewood Manor feels like it’s in a peaceful, quiet location–but it’s still in a perfect location to make the most of Asheville.

kate storm in a blue dress in front of the biltmore house asheville north carolina

Home to country music, hot chicken, street art, and plenty of barbecue, there’s no doubt that Nashville, Tennessee is an excellent place to let the good times roll on your weekend away.

While Nashville is extremely popular as a bachelorette party destination and for other girls’ getaways, large groups are far from the only types of travelers who will enjoy a weekend in Music City, USA.

The best places to visit in Nashville include visiting the Grand Ole Opry (both for the show and for the backstage tour!), checking out the Johnny Cash Museum, seeing the Country Music Hall of Fame, and exploring Gulch, the street art neighborhood home to, among many other things, the #instagramfamous Nashville wings.

Be sure to save some time to enjoy the city’s famous nightlife when exploring the best things to do in Nashville . Its tasty food is also an important ingredient on any Nashville bucket list –be sure to try the hot chicken at least once, but be aware of your heat tolerance before ordering!

Where to Stay in Nashville

  • Hutton Hotel: Book into this stylish hotel for your romantic trip, relax on the hotel balcony, or stroll 10 minutes to Music Row.
  • Virgin Hotels: Part of the Virgin Group and with all the luxury details you might expect, with plenty of red and white details.

Skyline of Nashville Tennessee at sunset overlooking the river, one of the most romantic getaways in the United States

Located just a couple of hours north of Savannah, Charleston shares a lot of similarities with its neighbor to the south: fantastic southern food, Spanish moss dripping from the trees, beautiful architecture, lots of history to uncover–but it absolutely has its own distinct personality as well.

Be sure to visit the beautiful and photogenic Rainbow Row, check out the tea-making process at the Charleston Tea Plantation, visit the gorgeous and interesting Angel Oak Tree, stroll through Waterfront Park and Battery Park, and check out City Market.

Those interested in US military history will no doubt want to visit Patriots Point to tour the former US naval ships docked there and Fort Sumter for its history (and views).

Even for non-military-history buffs like us, these sights can still be an interesting way to spend some time!

Beach lovers, don’t miss the chance to check out nearby Folly Beach!

Where to Stay in Charleston

  • Market Pavillion Hotel : This hotel is a stunning choice in the heart of the historical district. Rooms feature four poster beds and charming classic decor, but the hotel amenities are really special with a mosaic pool and even its own Executive Pastry Chef whipping up delicious pastries for breakfast.
  • French Quarter Inn : Another fabulous historical hotel is this one in the french quarter overlooking Charleston City Market. You are welcomed with champagne on arrival, there is also a port wine and cheese reception and freshly baked cookies with milk are served every evening. The perfect treats for your trip! Rooms are vintage inspired and really beautiful. This is the loveliest spot in Charleston.

Rainbow Row in as seen during 3 days in Charleston SC

Set right on the water with the dramatic backdrop of Mount Rainier, it’s no wonder that busy and beautiful Seattle is one of the most popular west coast weekend getaways in the USA.

A weekend trip is the perfect amount of time to eat your way through Pike Place Market, head to the top of the Space Needle, visit the famous Chihuly Museum, and  check out the fun and interesting Museum of Pop Culture.

Looking for interesting neighborhoods? Head to Fremont, where the self-proclaimed unofficial motto is “des libertas quirkas”, aka “the freedom to be quirky”.

Hoping to spend some time outside? Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Pacific Northwest, endless waterfalls, trails, and mountains–even Mount Rainier itself–are located within day-tripping distance from Seattle.

Where to Stay in Seattle

  • Gaslight Inn : Located on Capitol Hill this historic building is a great option for Seattle. Recognized as a historic landmark and beautifully preserved but with all the modern luxuries.
  • MarQueen Hotel: Another historic hotel, built in 1918 in the Queen Anne neighborhood. Rooms all have hardwood floors and period features, as well as huge beds perfect for your romantic trip.

Seattle Waterfront with space needle visible through the ferris wheel

Much like Austin, Portland proudly embraces its weirdness, celebrating the eclectic and bizarre in all possible ways–and that makes it endlessly fun to visit!

Bookworms like me will immediately head to Powell’s City of Books–I still think it’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever visited–while foodies will want to head directly to the local ice cream obsession, Salt & Straw. 

Voodoo Doughnuts, now with a few locations nationally, also originated here and remains popular with tourists (though depending on who you ask, not locals–for what it’s worth, we’d rate the doughnuts 7/10).

During your weekend trip to Portland, make time to visit the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden, especially if you visit when everything is in bloom.

Plenty of incredible parts of the Columbia River Gorge, including famous Multnomah Falls, are also within easy reach of Portland and deserve to feature on your list of things to do in Portland !

Where to Stay in Portland

  • Portland Regency Hotel & Spa : This historic hotel offers a hot tub, steam room, full-service spa, and other luxurious amenities that will truly make your vacation to Portland one to remember!
  • Portland Harbor Hotel: Located on Portland Waterfront is this luxury and stylish hotel. With beautifully designed rooms and a great restaurant, you are also well located to explore more of Portland.

Photo of steal sign stating "portland oregon" in front of a blue sky, a must-see during 3 days in portland or

Possibly the most iconic of all these weekend getaways in the USA, Las Vegas is a prime destination for short trips.

First-time visitors will certainly want to hit the Strip, even if only to check out the hotels, fountains, malls, and generally see what all the fuss is about–but there’s more to Vegas than the Strip (if you want there to be, that is).

Whether you want to hit the casinos to gamble and soak in some shows, check out Las Vega’s interesting (and far less touristed) downtown area, or get out and experience the fantastic natural highlights of the Southwest, Las Vegas has something to offer.

While the more-famous southern rim of the Grand Canyon is really too far away from Las Vegas to make a practical day trip, options like Valley of Fire State Park, Red Rock Canyon, and the Hoover Dam are all possibilities.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

  • The Venetian: As one of the most iconic hotels on the Las Vegas strip this is a fabulous choice for your romantic trip. Everything about this resort is luxurious and huge, from the 1.2-acre pool deck to the in house shopping mall. Book a suite and feel like a real star.
  • Bellagio: Fans of the Ocean franchise will know this hotel and its fountains, although almost any Las Vegas fans know the fountain show of the Bellagio! Stay in this famous hotel for the ultimate treat.

Welcome to Las Vegas sign, one of the most popular weekend getaways in the USA

San Francisco

The city of hills, ocean views, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge is at the top of many people’s lists of best USA weekend getaways–and with an endless list of things to do that cater to all interests, why not?

Be sure to pay a visit to the touristed highlights that most interest you–Fisherman’s Wharf (and its adorable sea lions!), Alcatraz, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the Painted Ladies (of Full House fame), and checking out Lombard Street.

Once you cross those highlights off your list, though, make time for a few less-obvious attractions, like San Francisco’s Japanese Garden, the Land’s End Labyrinth, and Fort Point.

And, of course, you can’t forget to go for a walk in the woods while visiting San Francisco: the Muir Woods are an unforgettable experience worthy of your time on any weekend trip to the area!

Where to Stay in San Francisco

  • Petit Auberge: This adorable hotel in Nob Hill is the perfect place to base yourself for a romantic trip. Styled like a French Auberge with cozy furnishings and fireplaces in the rooms, opening onto pretty terraces, the hotel also has private parking. Essential in the city.
  • Beacon Grand: Opened in 1928 as a hotel for the creators of San Francisco society and recently reopened after restoration preserving architectural details and artisan crafts. Stay in a stunning piece of history and feel like a star.

Man standing in front of enormous Redwood trees with a sunflare in the top left corner of the photo

New York City

How much of New York can you see on just a USA weekend getaway? Enough that you’ll want to come back immediately.

New York certainly can’t be “done” in a weekend–nor can it be done in a lifetime–but the great thing about New York City is that no matter who you are or what your interests are, whether you want to track down iconic spots, explore the best food in New York , see a show (or three), or discover offbeat NYC , you can find something to captivate you.

For tourists hoping for the classic NYC experience like we were on our first few visits, a weekend in New York is certainly long enough to see all those sights we’ve seen in movies and shows throughout our lives!

Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, Times Square, the Public Library, a Broadway show or two, a visit to Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge–in a weekend, you can see all of that and more.

If you’re into museums, we also recommend hitting just one (no more–too much else to do!) during your weekend in New York: the Met, MOMA, and the Natural History Museum are all great, classic choices.

Where to Stay in New York

  • The Plaza Hotel : For a memorable place to stay, this is one of the most classic and luxurious hotels in New York. It is located right by Central Park, the Rockefeller Center, and some of NYC’s most popular museums.
  • The Renwick: Offering stylish residential style accommodation, this beautiful hotel is equipped with plenty of amenities and high class comfort. It is also a short walk to the Empire State Building and Bryant Park for exploring.

4 Day New York Itinerary: Manhattan Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge

Incredibly beautiful and steeped in both American history and its own distinct, modern culture, Boston is one of those cities you visit for a weekend and fall in love with for a lifetime (we would know–we’ve been crazy about it ever since our brief 3-month stint of living there!).

While you’re there, be sure to visit the picturesque North End, fashionable Back Bay, and grand Beacon Hill–three Boston neighborhoods you absolutely can’t miss.

Also consider strolling through the Boston Public Garden (one of our favorite spots in the city) and the Boston Common, visiting the penguins at New England Aquarium, meandering along the Freedom Trail, and hitting the water with a whale-watching cruise .

Bibliophiles like us shouldn’t miss the Boston Public Library (check out the Reading Room on the second floor!), nor Brattle Bookshop.

Sports fans, head directly to Fenway Park for a tour and/or a game.

Where to Stay in Boston

  • Found Hotel Boston Common: This boutique hotel in the Theatre District is perfect for exploring Boston. Rooms are bright and comfortable, and there is access to public transport a short walk from the hotel.
  • Revere Hotel Boston Common: Also in the Theatre District and close to Boston Common is this stylish hotel with a stunning rooftop terrace and bar, perfect for afternoon drinks. Rooms are spacious and have a coffee machine for those of you who need coffee the moment you wake up.

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Beacon Hill

Washington DC

Our country’s capital city is not only the seat of our national government, it’s also a fabulous place for a weekend trip in the United States, and an incredibly popular stop for visitors from other countries who are planning a trip to the USA !

Museum-goers will be delighted with the enormous array of impressive options to choose from in Washington DC–everything from the many Smithsonian Museums, to quirky options like the International Spy Museum, to meaningful stops like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, are available–far more than you can visit in a single weekend.

Those interested in US History and government will also have plenty to keep them busy along the National Mall, including iconic stops like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and those looking to enjoy the city’s magnificent food scene will love taking a DC food tour .

Touring the US Capitol is always an interesting experience, and if you plan ahead, you may even be able to tour the White House!

While DC has plenty to offer year-round, there’s no doubt that cherry blossom season in Washington DC is one of the best (and most popular) times to visit.

As a bonus, many of the things to do in Washington DC , including all of the Smithsonian museums, are free to enter.

Where to Stay in Washington DC

  • CitizenM Capitol : Another stunning example of CitizenM hotels is this location in Washington DC Capitol. Expect all the style and comfort these hotels are known for.
  • Riggs Washington DC : Located in the former home of Riggs National Bank this iconic building is now home to a classic and beautiful hotel. Rooms are huge and comfortable and offer views of Penn Quarter.

Washington Monument in Washington DC framed by cherry blossoms in the foreground. Washington DC is one of the best places to visit in the United States

The self-proclaimed live music capital of the world, the home of the world-famous SXSW festival, and a city full of classic American charm with a country flair: when you’re looking for the best weekend getaways in the USA, it would be a shame to leave off the gem that is Austin, TX.

I have lived in Austin as both a child and an adult, and when I wasn’t living there, returned at least 1-2 times a year for most of my life due to family living in the area–and I never, ever get tired of visiting to tuck into a plate a delicious breakfast tacos, general TexMex, or barbecue.

During your weekend trip to Austin , head down to South Congress for fabulous food, eclectic boutiques, and incredible street art, and “Dirty Sixth” for some unforgettable nightlife (or alternatively, Rainey Street or Guadalupe Street for a different vibe).

Of course, this is the capital of Texas, so save some time during your weekend trip to Austin for some more typical cultural highlights, like visiting the Texas State Capitol and the historic (and possibly haunted) Driskill Hotel.

Plus, as Austin is surrounded by the stunning Texas Hill Country, no trip there is complete without going for at least one hike in Austin and taking a day trip to beloved nearby towns and wineries– Wimberley and Fredericksburg are both favorites.

Where to Stay in Austin

  • The Driskill: Originally built in 1886, The Driskill elegantly combines old-world charm with all of today’s modern luxuries. Dine at the award-winning on-site restaurant and enjoy the luxury of this iconic Austin landmark.
  • Hotel Saint Cecilia: This hotel set in pretty gardens is a great oasis in the city. There is an onsite pool with private bungalows, perfect for relaxing.

south congress austin texas looking toward the capitol

Visiting Chicago means it’s time for pizza, pizza, and more pizza… and okay, probably some sightseeing as well.

The sprawling city of Chicago, set right up against beautiful Lake Michigan, is certainly worthy of being included on any list of the best weekend getaways in the USA–and there are definitely plenty of fun things to do in Chicago to keep you busy while you’re there, including plenty of opportunities to explore the culture, enjoy delicious food, and even get outside in Chicago .

Come to Chicago for the weekend to snap selfies at The Bean, test your fear of heights on the famous Chicago Skydeck, pay a visit to Navy Pier, and of course, to eat a lot of deep dish.

Art lovers will find plenty of museums to devour in Chicago, including the incredible Art Institute of Chicago, and baseball fans will enjoy seeing the Cubs play a game at the famous Wrigley Field. 

For animal lovers and family travelers, head directly to Shedd Aquarium (and for family travelers, make note of the American Girl Place as well–the highlight of my first visit to Chicago long, long ago!).

Where to Stay in Chicago

  • Warwick Allerton: Situated on the Magnificent Mile in Downtown Chicago, the hotel is perfect for shopping and discovering iconic architecture.
  • Staypineapple: This oddly named hotel was designed by a world renowned architect and features stylish details such as mosaic floors and marble ceilings. No detail is spared and rooms are a testament to the thought that has gone into each part of the hotel.

Set of 4 photos, from top left: life guard stand in Miami, Acorn Street in Boston, Jones Street in Savannah, Manhattan Skyline in NYC. There's white text on a red background in the center of the image that reads "15 Epic Cities Perfect for USA Weekend Getaways"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

18 thoughts on “15 Cool Cities Perfect for Weekend Getaways in the USA”

Safely, Detroit is not on your list. Detroit is a fabulous city and Michiganders are very friendly and likeable.

Austin is not the country music capital — it’s the live music capital.

Well isn’t that an embarrassing typo for someone who has owned a Keep Austin Weird shirt for 20 years! Lol. I’ll get it fixed.

Very interesting

Or Madison… both have their own unique quirks that can keep a weekend enjoyable

You forgot Richmond Virginia, which would probably run circles around half of these cities on your list.

Not even close Tony!

absolutely incorrect

Umm Philly????

Will go on the list when we expand it! We love Philly. 🙂

Boise is an awesome city in the west too!

Love what you do, just curious, how do you make ends meet?

Thanks, Priti!

We’re professional travel bloggers, so this website is our job.

We earn money through the display ads that you see while scrolling and sometimes get a commission (at no cost to you) if a reader books a tour/hotel/attraction through a link on our website. 🙂

How did Dallas not make the list

Cause it sucks.

Great ideas, thank you!

Personally, I absolutely loved San Antonio what a great little weekend get away!

We love it too–one of our former homes and one of our favorite places to eat in the country!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

The USA’s best weekend escapes for 2024

Jan 22, 2024 • 12 min read

weekend trip destinations usa

Take in a concert with friends in Chicago's Millennium Park © Abel Arciniega / Choose Chicago

While traveling in a country as big as the USA can be daunting, you have to start somewhere. Why not a weekend getaway?

Among the country’s extraordinary array of climates, regions and cultures, it’s not hard to find tempting options for a big-city exploration, small-town adventure and epic road trip. The hardest part? Deciding where to go. Which is why we’ve asked four expert writers based in different parts of the USA to share their favorite weekend getaways.

Wherever you are or want to go, there’s an ideal trip for you. 

Best weekend getaways in the South 

Writer DeAnna Taylor has visited all seven continents. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina , she has also spent plenty of time exploring her local stomping grounds.

Tourists visit Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio, USA

Hocking Hills, Ohio

Best for families

Perched on the edge of Appalachia, Hocking Hills features waterfalls, caves, forests and hemlock-covered gorges that are great for family excursions. Small-town hospitality makes everything accessible, including cozy inns and old-school diners. Try tube-floating on the Hocking River, zip-lining through the forest or gazing at the night sky at the John Glenn Astronomy Park .

A man kisses a woman's cheek on a path flanked with Spanish moss trees in Savannah, Georgia, USA

Savannah, Georgia

Best for couples

Cozy up with your significant other for a romantic carriage ride under  Savannah ’s famous oaks draped with Spanish moss. Make a pit stop at scenic  Forsyth Park  to snap a few photos by the famous fountain. Or stroll hand-in-hand as you peruse the vendors and artisans in Savannah City Market . Consider dropping into  The Grey  for dinner – the restaurant of famed chef Mashama Bailey and John Morisano – and don’t forget to order the oxtail pot roast and Dutch Fork pumpkin soup.

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Southend, Charlotte, North Carolina

Best for foodies

Southend is easily one of Charlotte ’s  most bustling neighborhoods, with dozens of locally owned eateries and breweries competing for hungry visitors. For Asian fare, order a feast of crispy pork belly, bao buns, soy-pickled deviled eggs, and sweet and mild wings at Seoul Food Meat Company . If you prefer Mexican-inspired flavors, visit Tacos Rick-O on the patio of Hoppin’ CLT for some of the area’s best birria preparations. At Resident Culture Brewing ,  El Toro Bruto serves up killer breakfast tacos and pan dulce (sweet pastries). Just don’t forget to grab a chocolate chai or gingerbread matcha from the coffee counter.

People enjoy the outside patio at 12 Bones Smokehouse barbecue restaurant in the River Arts District, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Asheville, North Carolina

Best for art and culture lovers 

Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway , charming and eclectic  Asheville is a great getaway for those who truly appreciate the beauty of street art. Spend some time in the River Arts District to get your fill of ever-changing murals, art galleries and even interactive glassblowing at the North Carolina Glass Center . While there, swing by White Duck Taco for a unique menu that includes tacos made with Thai peanut chicken, jerk chicken and lamb gyro.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Best for outdoorsy families

Whether you’re traveling as a family or solo, this mountainous Tennessee town is the perfect nature escape. Take the SkyLift for a 2.1-mile ride offering aerial views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park . Or simply spend a day hiking the surrounding trails, leaving time for a serene picnic surrounded by nature (you may even spot wild elk). In the winter, grab your skis or snowboard for a day of thrills at Ober Mountain . 

People dancing to country music in the Broken Spoke dance hall in Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas 

Best for nightlife 

For fun into the wee hours, Downtown Austin is where you’ll want to go – Rainey St in particular. After famed 6th St, this bustling district is the city’s second-largest entertainment hub, with plenty of bars, live-music venues and eateries. If you’re longing for a Caribbean getaway without having to leave the country, Idle Hands serves up a range of tropics-inspired cocktails.

Best weekend getaways on the West Coast 

Originally from Colorado, Tyler Wildeck is a writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has spent most of his adult life roaming the Western USA . 

A man walking on rocks near the lighthouse on San Juan Island, Washington, USA

San Juan Islands, Washington

Best for rustic vibes and romance

For adventurous weekenders, the San Juan Islands  off the coast of Washington State  showcase some of the Pacific Northwest ’s rarest wildlife. Orcas, the San Juans’ most notable island, is home to three resident pods of killer whales, who are commonly spotted just offshore as they hunt for salmon. The islands also boast the largest concentration of bald eagles in the contiguous United States.

In addition to copious wildlife viewing, hiking and kayaking, the most-populous islands offer a variety of engaging historic sites, restaurants and rustic lodges for a weekend’s stay. Just don’t forget to book your ferry boat (or floatplane) ahead of time. 

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San Francisco, California

Best for urbanites at heart 

San Francisco is synonymous with West Coast culture for a reason. Where else can you find stunning ocean views, top-tier eats and a wealth of shopping, arts and nightlife? The city truly has it all – and while a weekend isn’t enough to see the whole city, it’s enough to make you want to come back many times over. Whether you’re romping around the Mission in search of the perfect cocktail, taking in a Giants game at Oracle Park (two words: garlic fries) or going on a spending spree at the shops around Union Square , there is hardly a better place to spend a weekend away than the City by the Bay.  

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Astoria, Oregon

Best for history buffs

Situated at the mouth of the Columbia River on  Oregon ’s coast, Astoria is just a 90-minute drive from nearby Portland . Great for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a weekend at the end of the Oregon Trail, Astoria offers the chance to learn about the earliest days of the fur trade in North America and to visit the famous Fort Clatsop , where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter of 1805. (The current fort has been reconstructed to match the original design, and is part of the larger Lewis & Clark National Historical Park .) Spend your weekend getting lost in the stories of river fording and salmon fishing – and, if you’re brave enough, cast a line for your own gigantic sturgeon, one of the coastal site’s most famous undersea creatures.  

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Joshua Tree National Park, California

Best for a family camping trip

For casual outdoorsy types looking for a easy weekend getaway, Joshua Tree National Park offers a wonderful blend of scenery and outdoor activities, with a notably thinner crowd than popular Yosemite  to the north. Just two hours from the Los Angeles area, Joshua Tree offers convenience and a unique desert ecosystem that make it a premium location for a weekend camping trip, and its hiking, world-class rock climbing and stargazing rival anywhere in the US. Bonus points for staying up late enough to snag a picture of the otherworldly Joshua trees underneath a canopy of stars. 

Best weekend getaways in the Northeast

Marcia DeSanctis is a writer based in rural Connecticut, whose travels have taken her to Uzbekistan, Rwanda, Egypt – and all over the northeastern United States.

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Ogunquit, Maine

Best for New England seaside atmosphere

Sometimes it’s the classics that awaken a sense of discovery, and Ogunquit is quintessential  Maine . To visit is to experience the wonderfully familiar ⁠– like sensory comfort food – since the air here is tinged with the smells of ocean spray and seafood shacks. Drift through Perkins Cove, the weathered downtown fishing village, and stop for salt-water taffy at Perkins Cove Candies . Try a perfect lobster roll at Barnacle Billy’s  between May and November, and all year long at Nubb’s Lobster Shack .

Ogunquit has a dreamy, white-sand public beach , and beyond it lies the Marginal Way, a dramatic, wind-whipped coastal trail along which you can contemplate the Atlantic Ocean to the sounds of waves smashing the granite cliffs.

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Providence, Rhode Island

Best for a foodie and cocktail break

Like a lot of American cities that were once down on their luck, the Rhode Island capital has come roaring back. Once the overlooked little brother of mighty Boston , Providence now draws plenty of visitors thanks to its fabulous architectural treasures, plus such intimate, historic neighborhoods as Federal Hill, the city’s vibrant Little Italy. Here, amid the old brick and wooden buildings, you’ll find one of the neighborhood’s (and the city’s) most distinctive dishes: French fries with meatballs at Angelo’s , an institution since 1924.

Urban revivals often center around a food and bar scene – and in this arena, Providence seems to be constantly, brilliantly innovating. For modern takes on classic bars downtown, Eddy is a modern speakeasy, while Clementine , owned by the city’s former mayor, offers small plates and innovative drinks. In the Fox Point neighborhood, Glou has a minimal, almost Scandinavian vibe. Try the crudo – raw, sustainably caught fish – at Oberlin ; its chef and owner Benjamin Sukle is one of the most celebrated chefs in America. And don’t miss the ice-cream sandwiches at Tricycle .

Washington, Connecticut

Best for art ⁠– and R&R

Located in northwest Connecticut , the town of Washington is an ideal base for a spin around the scenic Litchfield Hills. Full of working farms, broad New England vistas and a pervading sense of tranquility, the town has lured artists, writers and all manner of creators (think Alexander Calder, Frank McCourt and Christine Baranski) looking to escape the din of New York City , just two hours away.

It is fitting, then, that you can visit world-class art galleries right in town: photography at KMR Arts  and painting, sculpture and ceramics (and an unmatched April-to-October farmers market) at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens . Browse the shelves at cozy independent bookstore Hickory Stick (and find signed copies from authors who call the area home, including Dani Shapiro, Lisa Taddeo, Courtney Maum and Sarah Albee); bring proper shoes for any of the 18 miles of lush trails at Steep Rock Preserve ; and put on something a little fancier – but not too fancy! – for craft cocktails and a sublime, locally sourced dinner at Community Table .

Buildings line a historic rural New York State street at dawn.

Hudson, New York

Best for shopping and charm

Just two hours north of Manhattan, Hudson draws both tastemakers and weekend wanderers. The whaling industry ⁠– thanks to which Hudson became a 19th-century boomtown⁠– eventually faltered, yet the city retains the era’s elegant Queen Anne and Victorian bones, and much of it has been lovingly and stylishly restored. The main thoroughfare, Warren St, is lined with handsome mini-mansions, coffee bars, Scandinavian antique stores and low-key-chic clothing boutiques like Unracked . On the to-do list: brunch at Tavern in the movie theater-turned-hotel Rivertown Lodge ; real French crêpes at Le Gamin ; a visit to Olana , painter Frederic Church’s stunning residence above the Hudson River, which also has several miles of trails; and made-in-the-USA basics at Hudson Clothier .

A car drives through fall foliage along the Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire, New England, USA

Kancamagus Hwy, New Hampshire

Best for a scenic drive and the great outdoors 

To born-and-bred Yankees, Rte 112, the scenic New Hampshire highway known locally as “ the Kanc ,” is the prettiest drive in the northeast. For raw, sheer, bold beauty, it is textbook New England, blazing red and orange come fall-foliage season. It is also ideal the rest of the year, with less traffic along the 35-mile mountain gap (and its many connected trails) through New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest ⁠– home to Mt Washington and Franconia Notch State Park, both nearby.

Begin in the ski town of Conway and head west. The route is jam-packed with natural beauty and plenty of hiking trails, so by all means pull over and veer off to stretch your legs, take in the views and chase the seven waterfalls cascading over granite rock faces along the way. Among the loveliest sights: picturesque Albany Covered Bridge, built in 1858; the cascade, lake and footbridge at Rocky Gorge; roaring Sabbaday Falls; the Pemigewassett Overlook, with its panoramic vistas of the Osceola Mountains; and Franconia Falls, with naturally carved chutes and slides for a cool dip in summer. At the end of your drive, you’ll be in the fanciful town of Lincoln.

Best weekend getaways in the Midwest 

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a Chicago-born-and-bred writer with deep expertise in all things related to the Windy City (she’s written two books on her hometown) as well as the wider Midwest . 

Fish boil in Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin, USA

Door County, Wisconsin

Best for outdoor escapades

Five state parks, forests, orchards, sand dunes, sea caves and 300 miles of dazzling shoreline make Door County , Wisconsin , the ultimate natural paradise. This all-season outdoor getaway boasts near-endless recreation options along dozens of scenic trails. The peninsula encompasses a cluster of charming small towns, and travelers can explore the landscapes of each one. After hiking, boating or climbing lighthouses, the signature Door County experience is a fish boil. This centuries-old Scandinavian tradition involves a master boiler who oversees a big cauldron of whitefish – as they toss kerosene on an open fire.

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Kansas City, Missouri

Best for a (mid-sized) city break

Over 200 fountains cascade water all over  Kansas City , giving this Midwest powerhouse the designation of the city with the most working fountains in the world. KC is filled with surprises like this, making it the perfect mid-sized-city getaway. Munching through mounds of sweet and spicy barbecue and checking out the city’s notable jazz heritage at clubs and at the American Jazz Museum  are definite musts. But there are also unexpected gems like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the 22-acre sculpture park at the world-class Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art  – not to mention delightful independent shops .

People riding bicycles at night along Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois

Best for culture lovers

Chi-town supplies everything from food and art to music and architecture in big, memorable doses. The Midwest’s largest city,  Chicago  pulses with history and excitement, whether you opt for a famous excursion like an architecture tour along the lakefront, or a visit to one of its 77 diverse neighborhoods. Come hungry, too – to sample signature dishes like deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and jibarito sandwiches, and then to hit up one of 23 Michelin-starred restaurants. World-class museums including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History  explore human achievement, while glorious live music at dozens of blues, jazz and indie clubs is always on offer. The cultural riches shine all year round but the summer brings extra sparkle thanks to dynamic music and art festivals.

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Galena, Illinois

Best for historic charm

Cozy up with your partner amid the 19th-century elegance of this former mining town framed by the Galena River, with Victorian houses lining the streets and rolling hills as a backdrop. Stroll through a vineyard and wine-tasting tour, hop on an electric bike or opt for a romantic balloon ride. A stop by the Italianate home of 18th US President Ulysses S Grant is a Galena must-do.

This article was first published March 2023 and updated January 2024

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The Best Weekend Getaways in the U.S. for a Quick Escape

By Mark Ellwood

Best Weekend Getaways Palm Springs CA

Air travel has been tricky at best over the last couple of years, so many people have turned back to the classic American getaway: a road trip . It’s an ideal way to explore your own backyard on a whim for a memorable vacation, either this summer or later this year.

We took five of the country’s major hubs and found four weekend getaway ideas for each, all easily accessible detours. Read on for our picks for the best weekend getaways around the U.S., along with tips for where to stay and what to do while you're there

All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you book something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.  

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

From Los Angeles

Two stand up paddle boarders on misty morning Taken off the mountainous coast of Catalina Island California

Catalina Island

Catalina Island, California

Take the one-hour journey to this island 22 miles or so off the coast via the Catalina Express ferry , which departs from San Pedro, Long Beach, or Dana Point daily; once you’re here, biking and walking are the main transport modes (or you can rent a golf cart for longer drives). Catalina Island is a startling contrast to the mainland, with more than a whiff of East Coast hideouts like Nantucket: Start at the quaint main town, Avalon, and gorge on seafood that’s barely minutes from the water—try Bluewater Grill , right on the dock.

Then head inland to El Rancho Escondido , which earned acclaim for its Arabian horse-breeding program. The ponies are gone now, though, and much of the land has been deeded over to vines, where Rusack Vineyards focuses on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Outdoorsy types can hike the entire length of the 38.5-mile Trans Catalina Trail in about four days, too, with campgrounds for overnighting along the route. The Bellanca Hotel in Avalon is the plushest perch if you’d rather have someone else make your bed—or sleep in a bed, period.

Best Weekend Getaways Palm Springs CA

Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California

Around 50 percent of the locals in this Coachella Valley hub identify as LGBTQ+, adding appeal for any open-minded, easy-going visitor. The main drag of gay bars, along Arenas Road, is a rollicking night out for anyone—and just 90 mins from Los Angeles , as long as you avoid the peak times for the drive, like Friday evenings. Come here, too, to explore the design style which was popular when Palm Springs was in its heyday: Midcentury modernism is celebrated everywhere, from antique stores specializing in sleek Danish sofas to the soon-to-open Modernism Museum, which will include installations like a 1950s-era RV, plus a gift shop (of course). Dive deeper into the history of this style via a three-hour tour with architectural historian and author Michael Stern , which includes the chance to visit private homes. Among the countless hotels decked out in midcentury-modern stylings for an overnight, the Parker Palm Springs remains the standout—a riot of color and witty touches from designer Jonathan Adler.

Paso Robles California

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Paso Robles, California

Just 20 years ago, there were about 50 wineries in and around this charming small town just over three hours from LA; now there are more than 300, and the area’s becoming more widely known for its fine Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels. The self-guided tour run by the Paso Wine Country Alliance is the quickest way to zip between vineyards, but it’s worth hiring local guide Coy Barnes, aka the Wine Wrangler , to drive you for the day if you’re keen to quaff at every tasting room. Some rooms at the Paso Robles Inn have hot tubs on their balconies (a nod to the town’s origins as a spa center) that are fed by water piped in from nearby hot springs.

Hotel Del Coronado San Diego California

San Diego, California

Beaches and green spaces are the defining assets of San Diego , just under a two-hour drive south of LA. There’s the 1,750-acre Torrey Pines State Reserve —kayak through the wetlands for an up-close view—and a namesake golf course with two 18-hole championship courses perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific; stay at the Arts & Crafts-style Lodge at Torrey Pines , right by the 18 th green. San Diego has 75 miles of coastline, featuring plenty of noteworthy beaches , most of them studded with surfers—hit Moonlight State Beach if you want to head out on the water, rent fishing gear, or snap a shot with the iconic Hotel Del Coronado as a backdrop from Coronado Beach. And even if San Diego has 24/7 beach weather, don’t forget: This is the Christmas Capital of America .

From Chicago

Saugatuck Michigan

Southwest Michigan

Saugatuck and its surroundings in Southwest Michigan have recently attracted newcomers due to a focus on the state’s extraordinary produce (Michigan is second only to California in agricultural diversity). Drive two and a half hours to eat at the delicious, diner-like Pennyroyal Cafe & Provisions from chef Melissa Corey, or taste some of the estate-grown vintages at Modales Wines . Work off your meal with a bracing hike to the top of Mount Baldhead for spectacular views. You’ll find all that in this corner of Michigan, plus the perennial bonus of gleaming beaches, charming all-American coastal towns, and the best sundowner spots in the state overlooking the lush waters of Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

It might be three hours north of the city, but a trip here is like stepping decades into the past for a miles-long strip of world-class water parks. The Dells emerged as a family-friendly destination in the 1950s and has changed little since then. The best-known fun fest is the Kalahari , a resort with Master Blaster uphill water coasters plus an outdoor lazy river; but purists vouch for nearby Noah’s Ark , which boasts the largest number of water slides in the area. There are outdoorsy options for an adrenaline-powered weekend, too, like the six-acre, zip-line-filled Chula Vista Resort park. Just save room for some cheese curds—the best come from Carr Valley.

Lake Geneva Wisconsin

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Just 90 minutes north of Chicago , this resort town is the Midwest’s answer to the Hamptons or Newport , made famous by the iconic families that helped build the Windy City (think Wrigley and Sears). The waterfront offers public access for more than 20 miles, thanks to an early treaty that ring-fenced the Shore Path from any development. Otherwise, expect ritzy Gilded Age mansions and over-the-top hotels like the magnificent Queen Anne-style Black Point Estate and Gardens , now a museum, or the turreted Baker House , ranked one of the town’s best hotels. Don’t assume it’s solely a warm-weather destination, though: Winterfest in January and February is a charming, less-trafficked option than midsummer.

Door County Wisconsin

Cave Point in Door County

Door County, Wisconsin

Much like Cape Cod curls into the Atlantic, this 75-mile peninsula juts into Lake Michigan like a raised finger, and it shares much with its New England counterpart. First emerging as an artsy summer colony, it has sandy, family-friendly beaches—more than 50 public ones—and 300 miles of shoreline. Come to Door County to amble around its galleries, or hike around the 14 miles of trails quilting its eastern tip in Whitefish Dunes. Make this a long weekend, as it’s almost a four-hour drive from Chicago, and don’t leave without making a pilgrimage to the Swedish restaurant Al Johnson’s , famous for the herd of goats grazing on its grassy roof.

From Washington, D.C.

Boonsboro Maryland

Crystal Grottoes in Boonsboro

Boonsboro, Maryland

A little over an hour northwest of Washington, D.C. , Boonsboro combines natural wonders with a sobering role in American history. Explore the stalactite-crusted Crystal Grottoes here—the Fairyland cave’s red tinge is thanks to iron oxide—or go whitewater rafting and tubing in the waters near Harpers Ferry. Then squeeze in a trip to the site of Antietam, the bloodiest battle on U.S. soil where 23,000 Civil War soldiers were killed or wounded within just 12 hours of fighting in 1862. Planning a romantic weekend? Nowhere better to overnight than Inn Boonsboro , owned by novelist Nora Roberts, where each of the eight rooms is named after a fictional couple like The Princess Bride’s Westley and Buttercup.

Alexandria Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia

It might only be a 20-minute drive away—or shorter, if you hop on the metro—but this historic town still feels like a getaway and consistently ranks among the top five small cities in the country in our Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s easy to see why: Historic architecture and cobbled streets are a glimpse back past the American Revolution to European settlers’ earliest days. Board the replica 18th-century, 110-foot sloop Providence, a Pirates of the Caribbean prop now moored here as a museum, or head to the Del Ray neighborhood for an assortment of street art that shows the city isn’t simply resting on the past. Stay at the Alexandrian, an Autograph Collection hotel right in the center of Old Town that overlooks the river from National Harbor.

Cape Hatteras North Carolina

Bodie Island Light Station in Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

It’s a long drive—around six hours—Cape Hatteras is still one of the best weekend getaways from D.C., thanks to the astonishing views and bracing air of the Outer Banks . The 70-mile-long National Seashore here was the first in the country and is anchored by the landmark Bodie Island Light Station, the tallest lighthouse in the U.S. with more than 200 stairs. Head to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum for a glimpse as to why these waters earned that nickname—more than 600 shipwrecks caused by treacherous, shifting shoals. Then again, with the right captain, you can brave those waters yourself on a fishing charter that can easily reach the Gulf Stream. The choice hotel is the charming Inn on Pamlico Sound ; wake up with its seaside view, and you’ll understand how worthwhile it is to splurge on a sound-front room.

Great Smoky Mountains West Virginia

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Yes, it’s an eight-hour drive to reach this ridge, but the jaw-dropping scenery will make the effort more than worthwhile—and we’re not just talking about the sight of a statue of Dolly Parton as you reach the end, erected in her honor in the legend’s hometown of Sevierville.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the NPS network (and free to enter, too). It spreads across 500,000 acres in the Appalachian Mountains, straddling two states; the easiest entry point from D.C. is the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg. Once you’re in the park, start walking: There are 800 miles of trails in total, including a portion of the official Appalachian Trail. You can also enjoy a guided tour on horseback operated from several stables dotted around the reserve; just make sure to call ahead and book . The peak times for visiting include leaf-peeping season, of course, plus early summer, when the flame azaleas are in bloom. This is a year-round park, though, with plenty to enjoy even in winter, when the views from high perches like Clingman’s Dome are particularly impressive. In season, you can camp at one of ten different grounds (reserve a spot here ) or book a room at one of the hotels in Gatlinburg, which effectively serves as a resort community adjacent to the park.

Lake and wetlands with greenery and shrubbery and a small river leading to a small pond against a larger body of water...

Cassadaga, Florida

The hub of Volusia County, just east of Orlando and around four hours from Miami , is Cassadaga—a town whose residents will likely know you’re coming. Homes here are occupied by psychics and folks who generally believe in life after death, reincarnation, and the power of the spirits. Come to the Spiritualist Camp and check out the list of mediums and healers taking bookings that day, working on everything from past life regression to aura photography. One standout is Louis Gates , who grew up here as the child of two psychics; ask him about his childhood, as he has intriguing stories about life in Cassadaga, as well as a sixth sense ($50 for a half-hour session). There’s also a hotel in town .

Combine a look into your future with a glimpse at Orlando’s past: The Downtown Orlando Historic District is full of grand old mansions that offer a glimpse of how things used to be. This self-guided walking tour will let you explore all the best landmarked properties at your own leisurely pace.

Florida St. Petersburg Salvador Dali Museum

Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Florida

Is there anywhere that captures the essence of Florida more completely than St. Pete? It’s relaxed, rimmed by gorgeous beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, and resolutely determined to let any visitors shuck off their worries within minutes of arriving. If you haven’t decompressed over the four-hour drive, make for Paradise Grille immediately, where you’ll find dinner, ice-cold drinks, and acoustic music. Spend the rest of the day at Honeymoon Island or Caldesi Island State Parks, two of the area’s best waterfront spots. There’s another side to the city, too: The Dalí Museum , a longtime anchor of the culture scene, was recently joined by the Imagine Museum, which showcases the studio glass movement of the 1960s.

Key West Florida

Key West, Florida

The so-called Conch Republic has made its name as a kooky hideaway for America’s eccentrics—it even declared independence from the U.S. for a few days in 1982. It retains that offbeat, end-of-world appeal thanks to enduring sights like BO’s Fish Wagon, a bar on the waterfront that could be mistaken for a junkyard; but the last decade has seen a major upgrade in the accommodations on offer here. Try The Reach , the adult-aimed sister spot to the Waldorf Astoria located next door, which has its own private beach. Walk over to the Bahamian Village, with its ice cream-colored cigar makers’ cottages, and spend a lazy brunch (heck, the whole afternoon) al fresco at Blue Heaven , surrounded by its flock of resident chickens.

Aerial view of Florida Everglades

The Everglades

The Everglades, Florida

It takes barely an hour to hit the entrance of Everglades National Park from Miami, an almost 4 million-acre swampy prairie filled with rare crocodiles and dozens of remarkable birds. Skip the most popular route along the Tamiami Trail, and instead duck in just past Homestead at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center entrance , which is the best way to reach Flamingo , the only settlement actually inside the park. From there, it’s a windy, 40-minute drive south to the tip of the Everglades. There are trails en route—Nine Mile Pond is a canoeing trail even newbies can manage—before you hit the 19th-century settlement, named after the pink birds that flock here (likely not actually flamingos, but  roseate spoonbills, though that’s not quite as snappy a placename).

Take boat tours of the backcountry from the marina in Flamingo, or book a houseboat to get some sleep and keep exploring the next morning. Just remember to wear long pants and pack industrial-strength bug spray in abundance—the mosquitoes can be a menace here, year-round.

From Dallas

The water in Buffalo Springs at Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma is full of green plant life

Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma

Chickasaw Country, Oklahoma

​​Drive just two and a half hours and cross state lines to explore one of the most noteworthy Native American areas in the U.S. It was here, in South Central Oklahoma, that the Chickasaw Tribe relocated after being forcibly driven from their ancestral lands near the Lower Mississippi in the 1830s. In the almost 200 years since, they’ve established a new homeland in Chickasaw Country, including an impressive center to learn about their culture, where there are artifacts, stomp dance performances, and a historically accurate recreation of a village from the 1700s.

Stay at the Chickasaw-operated Artesian Hotel , with views out across the countryside, and be sure to pack your hiking boots. The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is Oklahoma’s oldest national park area, with plenty of activities for travelers: It has plenty of short and easy trails like Bison Pasture and Veterans Lake, as well as superb fishing in the manmade Lake of the Arbuckles, with catfish, perch, and bass in abundance.

Fredericksburg Texas Downtown

Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg and wine country, Texas

Fredericksburg is the best base for exploring Texas wine country , just over a four-hour drive from Dallas . A 14,000-square-mile stretch with more than 30 wineries, it’s the second largest wine region in America after Napa. Bending Branch, south of town, is known for its vintages of Tannat, a grape that thrives in the hot, dry climate. Don’t miss the chance to stroll around the charming, historic downtown founded in the 1840s by a Prussian baron—stay at the Hoffmann Haus , a German-inflected B&B, to feel the history.

Round Top Cafe in Texas. Image shot 2005

Round Top, Texas

If whimsy were a place, it would be this offbeat town three hours south of Dallas . It becomes an antiquing hub each spring, luring 200,000 or more shoppers to browse the bric-a-brac, but there’s also superb shopping year-round at stores like the 1920s-era farmhouse Townsend Provisions . Hotel Rancho Pillow is the mascot for Round Top, a riot of bohemian color where owner Sheila Youngblood rents an eclectic assortment of accommodations on her 20-acre homestead. Ask about the sheet-rocked teepee, and try riding the mechanical bull if you dare.

Palo Duro Canyon. Texas

Palo Duro, Texas

This, the second largest canyon in America after the Grand Canyon , is a suitably epic Panhandle destination about a six-hour drive from Dallas. It’s worth every minute on the road once you’re standing by the 120-mile gash in the earth that plunges almost 1,000 feet. Come to hike, bike, and ride horses; there are almost 90 miles of trails in the state park, with the most popular runs located along the floor of the canyon. Offset the exertion by hunkering down at one of the chic cabins at Dove’s Rest , with a superb view out across the canyon proper. Each cabin has a propane grill and fire pit so you can BBQ each night under the stars.

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Unexpected Getaways

The best unexpected U.S. weekend getaways for 2023

These amazing destinations offer plenty to see, eat and do—and they're hiding in plain sight

Virginia Gil

Domestic travel has changed in unimaginable ways over the past few years. We’ve seen a rise in low-cost airlines and expanded routes throughout America , shrinking the distances between major metropolises and smaller cities. There’s been a boom in cool Airbnbs , making getaways near and far feel all that more special. And who could forget the throngs of remote workers who’ve relocated to new cities and shifted the way Americans vacation? Work from pool? It’s a reality for many, and the reason why literally everyone is in Florida .

These days, Americans are more aware of the pleasures that lie within their own backyards, namely under-the-radar spots located within a short drive or a quick flight. Think unexpected destinations where rather than crowds you’ll find small-town charm and world-class art plus award-winning restaurants with effortless reservations. From coastal towns and quaint escapes to an under-the-radar capital, these are the best U.S. city getaways  you may have never heard of but should absolutely book this year.

RECOMMENDED: The best cities to visit in the U.S.

An email you’ll actually love

Amazing cities to visit in the U.S. for a weekend trip

Burlington, Vermont

1.  Burlington, Vermont

Burlington’s charm as a waterfront university town is well known, but with five Vermont chefs and eateries in the running for the 2023 James Beard Awards, it’s a necessary getaway for food and drink lovers. From pastry chef Amanda Wildermuth’s tahini sundae (think sesame caramel and crumbled halva) at the Eastern Mediterranean-influenced Honey Road , to spicy brussels sprouts with a cult following (hello, citrus-garlic chili sauce, golden raisins and sunflower seeds) thanks to chef Mojo Hancy-Davis’s farm-to-table menu at May Day —plus a rotating selection of craft beers from the small experimental brewery Foam Brewers —Burlington’s restaurant and bar scene is bustling. 

Where to stay: Rustic ski lodge meets bougie boutique property at Hotel Vermont , where wood-burning fireplaces, stone walls and views of Lake Champlain are the perfect backdrops for sampling the hotel’s long list of craft beers and cocktails.

Don’t miss it: The killer onion soup and maple creme brulée at Leunig’s , Church Street’s iconic bistro.

Nearest airport:  Burlington Airport (BTV)

— Laura Osborne, Time Out Montreal Editor

Cape May, New Jersey

2.  Cape May, New Jersey

Fun travel fact: “America’s Oldest Seashore Resort” can be found on the southern tip of the Garden State. Yes, Cape May is technically on the Jersey Shore but it’s the antithesis of the Jersey Shore you see on MTV—in lieu of Snookie sightings, nightclubs and tanning parlors, you’ll find Victorian mansions, horse-drawn carriages, gas-lit cobblestone streets, blooming hydrangeas and a famous lighthouse.

So why should you visit Cape May? Most people will tell you the long stretches of beaches and colorful architecture alone are reason enough to come. But locals will opine it’s about the passionate community, walkability to everywhere, the parks peppered with grandiose trees, bangin’ local music scene, mom-and-pop shops, the Coast Guard base, well-manicured lawns, family-owned restaurants, impeccable homes and its charm. Cape May is also a gourmand’s dream where perfectly seasoned, fresh-caught seafood dots the menus of all the town’s best haunts. 

Where to stay: If modern and minimalist are your vibe, look no further than La Mer Beachfront Resort . The family-owned property recently underwent a major renovation and the hotel offers the island’s most swanky accommodations, swathed in beige and white hues and replete with traditional-yet-contemporary furnishings.

Don’t miss it: The Lobster House is Cape May’s most popular restaurant and the dining experience here beside the Fisherman’s Wharf is a must. Order a cold beer with steamed Maryland crabs and fried clams dockside and soak in the sights of the wharf.

Nearest airport:  Atlantic City International Airport (ACY)

—  Maria Tettamanti

Bentonville, Arkansas

3.  Bentonville, Arkansas

More than 100 miles away from a major city (if you can call Tulsa, Oklahoma that) at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains you’ll find charming Bentonville, Arkansas . The birthplace of Walmart (by way of Sam Walton’s first Five and Dime, opened in 1950) has flourished beyond its retail reputation, becoming a destination for art enthusiasts, cyclists and curious travelers interested in an equally charming, and albeit less crowded, alternative to nearby Southern capitals.

Your weekend in Bentonville, which celebrates its 150th anniversary , starts with the familiar—a visit to downtown’s Walmart Museum , because why not?—before venturing to the popular: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a sprawling cultural institution whose permanent collection of works spans five centuries and is always free to visit. Plus, its onsite chef offers a host of unique dining experiences.

Then it’s time to head to the woods. With a trail system that wraps around the museum’s 120-acre park and a host of paved paths throughout the city, Bentonville’s natural landscape is ripe for exploring on foot or two wheels. Airship Coffee at the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is a delightful open-air cafe where you can power up or cool down between runs. 

Where to stay: 21c Museum Hotel  is equal parts boutique hotel and hip gallery with a dedicated exhibition space. There are also contemporary artworks and sculptures sprinkled throughout the property.

Don’t miss it: Back for its second year this September, Format Festival combines art, music and technology. The 2023 lineup hasn’t been announced yet but last year’s acts included the likes of Phoenix and Rüfüs Du Sol.

Nearest airport: Fayetteville, Arkansas (XNA)

— Virginia Gil, Time Out USA Editor

Rockland, Maine

4.  Rockland, Maine

This small but vibrant coastal town is quintessentially Maine. Rockland packs a punch with stunning views from its rocky coastline plus cultural offerings and top-notch dining. Art enthusiasts can visit The Farnsworth Art Museum  or the Center for Maine Contemporary Art  while those in search of local bounty can hit up the weekly  farmers' market  and gems like Rock City Coffee . There’s waterfront dining aplenty, but few might think to venture inland to the nationally-lauded Primo . Have a night out at the historic Myrtle Street Tavern, Liberator Brewing Company  or The Strand Theater . As one of the biggest lobster shipping centers in the world, Rockland celebrates the coveted crustacean each August at the hugely popular Maine Lobster Fest . Explore Penobscot Bay on a cruise and you’ve completed a true Maine adventure. 

Where to stay: Overlooking the harbor, the luxurious, design-forward 250 Main Hotel  is in the perfect location for exploring Rockland.

Don’t miss it: Walk the mile-long granite breakwater path to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse for a panoramic view of the city from the water plus the chance to explore the 100+ year history of the lighthouse.

Nearest airport:  Knox County Regional Airport (RKD)

— Gerrish Lopez

Covington, Louisiana

5.  Covington, Louisiana

Just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans is the charming city of Covington, where you can discover Louisiana culture at a slower pace. The quaint downtown, dotted with oak trees and historic buildings, is packed with independent boutiques and lively art galleries. Restaurants like Del Porto , Lola’s  and The Gloriette  stand up to the best in New Orleans, and there's no shortage of spots serving up boiled seafood or po' boys. Outdoor enthusiasts can bike the Tammany Trace , paddle the Bogue Falaya River or visit a gator ranch . There’s entertainment aplenty too: spring and fall bring outdoor concerts, the Three Rivers Arts Festival  is a draw in November and monthly block parties from March through October on Columbia Street celebrate what makes Covington unique.

Where to stay: The historic, family-owned Southern Hotel  offers luxurious accommodations, fabulous food and plenty of Southern hospitality.

Don’t miss it: Head to the Abita Brewing Company  for locally-brewed beers featuring local ingredients. Take a tour and stick around for a bite, and maybe catch a band at one of the brewery’s frequent weekend events.

Nearest airport:  New Orleans Airport (MSY)

Topeka, Kansas

6.  Topeka, Kansas

As an under-the-radar capital, Topeka’s got a surprising number of hipster brewpubs including the Blind Tiger Restaurant & Brewery , the Norsemen Brewing Company , Iron Rail Brewing and the Happy Basset Barrel House —which includes an attached dog park and a flamingo scavenger hunt to keep humans entertained between pints. Downtown is walkable and neighborhoods are parkable with a selection of locally-owned eateries like the Blue Moose Bar & Grill . Check out NOTO , the arts and entertainment district with art studios, antique stores and a monthly First Friday ArtWalk. At Gage Park, ride a mile-long mini-train and visit the new giraffe exhibit opening March 10 at the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center . Don your jumpsuit for the Evel Knievel Museum before it moves to Las Vegas, and catch a show at Topeka Civic Theatre , which hosts (they say) the country’s oldest, continuously-running community dinner theater. Topeka was founded in 1854 by antislavery colonists, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site commemorates the Civil Rights landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools. 

Where to stay:  The  Cyrus Hotel pairs luxury with Midwest charm in a century-old building with striking city views from upper stories.

Don’t miss it: The capitol with its mural of abolitionist John Brown roaring with his rifle and Bible. Stay downstairs to roll a quarter down the sloping tile tunnel, then ascend to the cupola through a series of terrifying stairs and landings suspended in the middle of the vast dome.

Nearest airport:  Kansas City Airport (MCI)

— Erika Mailman

Mendocino, California

7.  Mendocino, California

Located a couple of hours north of the Bay Area, Mendocino feels like a storybook out of a romance novel. The area blends charming New England architecture with a dramatic California coastline. And Mendocino’s remote nature means it never feels like it’s trying too hard or overcrowded. Imagine charming inns with roaring fires, homemade breakfast, and views of waves crashing on the rocky shore. Restaurants that serve fish caught nearby earlier that day. A quaint downtown with Victorian buildings turned into independent shops. Trails that lead you through redwoods and onto the beach. 

Where to stay: SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm , a recently refreshed bed and breakfast that features an 1867 country manor, a modern lodge, adorable onsite llamas and homemade breakfast delivered to your room.

Don’t miss it:  Newcomer restaurant Fog Eater Cafe  is a fully vegan , New Orleans-inspired eatery that draws a crowd. 

Nearest airport:  Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS)

— Clara Hogan

Lenox, Massachusetts

8.  Lenox, Massachusetts

An enchanting New England town tucked away in a particularly gorgeous section of the Berkshires, Lenox is the perfect home base for a trip spent exploring Western Massachusetts. Culture vultures have long flocked to the town thanks to Tanglewood , the summertime home of the Boston Symphony, and the innovative local theater group Shakespeare & Company . Now, upscale accommodations like 33 Main and the recently renovated Cornell Inn are providing a more luxurious mountain escape. (Those looking for true luxury should pencil some time in at Miraval Berkshires .) History lovers can arrange to tour nearby architectural stunners like Ventfort Hall and The Mount , the one-time home of author Edith Wharton. A day spent taking in the past can also be complemented with some more of-the-moment culinary offerings in downtown Lenox like the intimate wine bar Brava .

Where to stay: The Lenox Collection is a trio of historic inns in the heart of the city.

Don’t miss it: A picnic spent taking in a live concert at Tanglewood is a local tradition for a reason. Check out this summer’s offerings , which include highlights like a Ragtime Symphonic Concert .

Nearest airport:  Bradley International Airport (BDL)

— Will Gleason, North America Content Director

Greenville, South Carolina

9.  Greenville, South Carolina

Just one hour from bustling Asheville lies the charming city of Greenville, which tends to fly (mostly) under the radar— for now, at least. Its walkable downtown area is chock-full of quaint shops like the nostalgia-inducing Mast General Store, diverse dining options (ranging from delectable Mexican street food at Pap’s Tacos  to contemporary Italian at Jianna ), and an abundance of local artwork. We recommend grabbing coffee at Methodical Coffee  and heading to Falls Park on the Reedy , which offers excellent views of the surrounding falls. In the afternoon, refuel with an ice-cold beer at Southernside Brewing Co . as you stroll or bike along the 22-mile-long Swamp Rabbit Trail .

Where to stay: Situated right on the banks of the Reedy River, the luxe Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville —which just opened last August—is the perfect place to stay when in town.

Don’t miss it: Greenville hosts over 300 events each year, including the trademark Fall for Greenville , a three-day festival that puts the city’s many food, drink, and entertainment offerings on full display.

Nearest airport: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)

— Lauren Dana Ellman

Mystic, Connecticut

10.  Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, a small coastal Connecticut town once known for its shipyard and seaport is now a quaint New England getaway full of destination-worthy dining. Metro-North trains directly from New York City and a fully walkable downtown make Mystic an easy weekend getaway, no car required. The scenic walks by the water, small shops and boutiques, plus a longstanding independent bookstore  make for an excellent few days of entertainment between eating pizza at  Nana’s Bakery , noshing on pastries at  Sift Bake Shop , sipping craft brews at  Barley Head Brewery  or slurping up oysters during happy hour at  The Shipwright’s Daughter .

Where to stay:  The Whaler’s Inn , a historic 45-room boutique property in the heart of town that’s dog-friendly and welcomes guests in the lobby with a fireplace, warm beverages and cookies.

Don’t miss it:  Book dinner at  Oyster Club , a locally beloved and locally owned restaurant serving farm-to-table upscale fare (don’t skip the cornbread with honey butter, or anything with seafood), plus high-end cocktails. Chef Renee Touponce was recently announced as a James Beard Award Semifinalist.

Nearest airport:  Providence T.F. Green International Airport (PVD)

— Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Kingston, New York

11.  Kingston, New York

Kingston, NY may have a rich history as the state’s first capital, but it is so much more than its past. Located 91 miles outside of New York City, it offers a fun weekend getaway with great hikes, historic landmarks, trendy stores and hangouts like Milne Antiques and Kingston Standard Brewing Co. , good food at restaurants like Ship to Shore and Lola Pizza , and a robust arts scene centered around the Ulster Performing Arts Center that operates inside a restored 1926 theater. The city is also home to festivals, including the Artists Soapbox Derby (August), and the Trolley Museum of New York , which offers a 1.5-mile ride on weekends and holidays along the Rondout Creek waterfront to Kingston Point Park.

Where to stay:  The  Hotel Kinsley  for a beautiful, historic stay or  the Newkirk , an entire 1856 home you can rent on Airbnb.

Don’t miss it:  Rough Draft , a bookstore and taproom, where you can enjoy a pint with a good book and friends.

Nearest airport: Newburgh Airport (SWF)

— Shaye Weaver, Time Out New York Editor

Narragansett, Rhode Island

12.  Narragansett, Rhode Island

The seaside town of Narragansett is just 22 minutes by car from the Gilded Age glamour of Newport, but you’d never know it. Narragansett is beloved for its laid-back and low-key vibes. It’s also a popular spot for surfing, and travelers of all experience levels can sign up for lessons and/or rent gear from local businesses like Narragansett Surf & Skate Shop . Whether or not you choose to actually explore the water—you can, alternatively, simply walk along the beach and soak up the sun on your own—hit up neighborhood faves like Cool Beans Cafe for acai bowls or Fuel Coffee Bar for a cold brew and a fresh pastry.

Where to stay: The 31-room Shore House  blends nautical charm and Victorian elegance; plus, we’d be remiss not to highlight the beachy-chic accommodations and Instagram-worthy ocean views.

Don’t miss it: Snag a table at The Coast Guard House Restaurant and savor fresh seafood like freshly shucked oysters, hearty New England clam chowder, and gooey lobster mac.

Nearest airport: Westerly Airport (WST)

Saugatuck, Michigan

13.  Saugatuck, Michigan

This welcoming West Michigan town combines local charm with a beautiful lakefront setting to provide visitors with the platonic ideal of a midwestern beach getaway. Long known for its vibrant arts community thanks to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts and the Chicago Art Institute’s Oxbow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, the laid-back destination is now emerging as a culinary hot spot. Virtue Cider , founded by the former brewmaster of Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery, turns out award-winning cider while Pennyroyal Café & Provisions , helmed by former Chopped winner Missy Corey, serves elevated takes on local specialties like fried perch. Meanwhile, James Beard-nominated eatery The Southerner serves dangerously (in a good way) spicy fried chicken sandwiches. The town has also been long known for welcoming LGBTQ+ travelers thanks, in part, to lively party spots like The Dunes Resort .

Where to stay: The Lake Shore Resort , just north of Saugatuck, provides stunning views of Lake Michigan from a dramatic bluff.

Don’t miss it: The Venetian Festival , taking place this year on July 28 and 29, sees creative, over-the-top floating floats and decorated boats take to the water in a spectacular nighttime parade.

Nearest airport:  Muskegon County Airport (MKG)

Sarasota, Florida

14.  Sarasota, Florida

Nestled between Tampa and Fort Meyers, Sarasota boasts nearly 40 miles of white sand beaches and wildlife along Florida’s balmy Gulf shoreline. But this quaint beach town also touts a quirky history and some serious urban amenities. Circus mogul John Ringling moved his shows here for the winter in 1927. Since then, the city’s become an eclectic cultural hub, home to the renowned Sarasota School of Architecture, numerous respected art programs, museums and performance venues.

Work up an appetite exploring Sarasota’s galleries, botanical gardens and famed keys like Siesta and Longboat, then bounce around its bustling waterfront downtown for dinner and nightlife—but not before indulging in homemade pies from Yoder’s Amish Village . This spring, Circus Sarasota celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the 16th season of Sarasota’s Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival kicks off on April 20.

Where to stay: The Lido Beach House ’s charming mid-century modern digs are a short, scenic bridge away from downtown.

Don’t miss it: John Ringling's former home, Ca’ d’Zan , is a Venetian Gothic-style stunner with ornate interiors and sweeping views of Sarasota Bay. It also served as the location for Miss Havisham’s dilapidated mansion in the 1996 film  Great Expectations.

Nearest airport:  Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)  

— Falyn Wood, Time Out Miami Editor

Laughlin, Nevada

15.  Laughlin, Nevada

Located 90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin, Nevada is a smaller, quieter version of Las Vegas with a small-town feel. With less than 10,000 permanent residents, Laughlin boasts eight casinos plus dozens of casino resort restaurants like the Western-themed Claim Jumper and bars with live bands like Losers Lounge along the Colorado River. Surrounded by the Mojave Desert and boasting a beautiful mountain backdrop, Laughlin is a paradise for gamblers and outdoor enthusiasts who can kayak or river cruise along the Colorado River that runs through the heart of town, hike the Colorado River Heritage Trails that runs parallel the water, explore stone mazes at Laughlin Labyrinths , and chill in a poolside cabana at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort and Harrah’s Laughlin Beach Resort & Casino. Nearby, sunbathers can enjoy Lake Mohave’s 200 miles of shoreline and explore its coves and wildlife, drive Route 66, visit Hoover Dam , and visit Arizona’s oldest distillery, Desert Diamond Distillery .

Where to stay: Most of Laughlin’s 9,000 hotel rooms are less than $50 a night. Aquarius Casino Resort is the largest.;

Don’t miss it: Stroll along Laughlin Riverwalk , a paved walkway along the Colorado River that connects most of the casinos.

Nearest airport:  Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP)

— Lauren Mack

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

16.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tucked in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh offers a getaway that combines city amenities, lots of green space, and plenty of charm. The city dazzles in the springtime with beautiful parks (meander through Point State Park and visit Blue Slide Park made famous by rapper Mac Miller). On a rainy day, head to The Warhol Museum dedicated to Pittsburgh’s own Andy Warhol; there’s a special exhibit on The Velvet Underground coming up. A ride on the incline , a funicular, is a must for a thrilling view of the city. Eat pierogies (and lots more) at the renowned Apteka , which specializes in central and eastern European cuisine, then grab tiki drinks at Hidden Harbor .

Where to stay:  Kimpton Hotel Monaco  is located Downtown within walking distance of bars and restaurants as well as transit access.

Don’t miss it:  Picklesburgh , this summertime food festival celebrates all things pickled—the weirder, the better.

Nearest airport: Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)

— Rossilynne Skena Culgan, Things To Do Editor, Time Out New York

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Best Weekend Getaways in USA Top 24 Destinations

24 Best Weekend Getaways in the USA for 2024

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Craving a vacation, but short on paid time off? No worries: you can get your travel fix on a quick US weekend trip! The United States may be vast, but it is also well-connected – and there is no shortage of short US trip ideas. To help you effortlessly plan your end-of-the-work-week vacation escape, we have rounded up the best weekend getaways in the USA!

Where To Go For a Long Weekend in USA?

We have first-hand experience balancing the tiring work week with easy weekend getaways.

We spent years grinding away on 40-plus-hour work weeks – already looking forward to Friday afternoon on Monday morning. To get through the grueling workload, we became pros at planning the best weekend getaways in the US.

Our Friday-to-Sunday 3-day trips took us to destinations across America. From top US cities to lesser-known locales, we discovered many places to go on a mini weekend getaway.

Some of our favorite long US weekend destinations landed us on sandy beaches, atop rugged mountains, in historic towns and amid modern metropolises. As a bonus, the quick US vacation spots we chose were highlighted by regional cuisine, local craft beer or the area’s best wine.

What Makes the Best US Weekend Getaways?

Before we answer your burning question, Where should I go for a weekend in USA? , let’s chat about what makes good weekend trips. Limited to just a 3-day trip, you will want to maximize your experience. We are detailing our criteria for what makes the best long weekend getaways destinations in the US.

How To Get To Fun Getaway Trips

When planning the best long weekend trip in US, you need to consider how you will get to your destination. Will you need to fly? How long is the flight? Are there direct flights? Is it possible to drive? How long will it take?

You don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on planes or in cars. The best long weekend trips in US will be relatively easy to get to from your current location.

How To Get Around on USA Weekend Getaways

An often-overlooked consideration for 3-day trips in USA is how you will get around your destination. Is the area walkable? How close are the attractions? Is there public transport? Is it easy to use? Does the destination have Uber/Lyft? Will you need to rent a car ?

When you plan a quick getaway for the weekend, make sure there are no surprises in the effort and cost involved in getting around. 

What To Do on 3-Day Vacations in USA

Of course, the best weekend vacations in US will offer activities and entertainment that are suitable to your style. What activities does the destination offer? Do you need a ticket or reservation? If so, are there tickets available? We use Viator to find tickets, tours and reviews for the best attractions in the USA.

Furthermore, if you plan to fill your itinerary for fun US weekend trips with outdoor activities, be sure to check the typical weather at your destination before booking your trip.

Affordable Weekend Getaways United States

As you make plans for short vacation trips, you will want to keep your budget in mind.  Some of the top weekend getaways in the US can be pricey – especially when considering airfare , accommodations , city transport, activities and eating out over a short period of time. If you are looking for cheap getaways in the US, be sure to price out your trip before booking anything that is non-refundable.

That said, travel insurance may help cover expenses paid when plans go awry (and, these days, we all know how quickly that can happen!). Check the affordable rates at World Nomads to insure your weekend getaways in United States.

Budget Weekend Getaways in US

If you are worried about the best getaways in the US costing a bundle, we don’t blame you! Travel costs even for the best mini vacations in the US can add up. 

To be honest though, we believe that any destination can be affordable! In fact, we have created a step-by-step guide to help you plan the best cheap weekend getaways in USA – plus, we share our free vacation budget planner. Get it now!  

Get a Free Vacation Budget Planner from JetSettingFools.com

24 BEST WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN THE USA

Alright, so what are the best weekend getaways in the USA? In our roundup, we feature the best cities for a weekend trip in the United States. The long weekend destinations we feature are perfect for traveling couples, groups of friends and families. At the end of the list, we offer our insider tips on how to plan the best mini vacation is the US – including packing tips !

Save, Pin or Bookmark our US Weekend Trip Destination Guide to plan your getaway!

#1 New York City, New York

When it comes to the best cities for a long weekend, New York City tops our list! The Big Apple dazzles visitors with iconic sights, incredible attractions and fabulous food. The only problem with choosing NYC as a quick getaway for the weekend is that there are so many things to do!

New York City offers something for everyone – which is why it ranks as one of the best weekend destinations USA. History buffs will be just enthralled by the city as fashionistas. Fans of Art Deco architecture get as excited about NYC as foodies. Although the weather is seasonal, there isn’t a bad time to visit NYC – each season has its perks.

Travelers will find there are endless ways to plan a fun 3-day trip to NYC. Even budget travelers can explore the city on a dime – find all of our tips on how to Visit NYC on a Budget .

First-time visitors on short vacation trips to New York City can spend the weekend seeing the highlights – like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park. Return travelers, who have already checked off their bucket list of must-see sights, can instead plan a weekend of unique sightseeing and neighborhood discovery. Are you planning a weekend trip to NYC for the Holidays? Get all our top tips for Christmas in New York !

Use the advice in our New York Itinerary for planning your quick NYC getaway!

New York City One-Week Itinerary JetSettingFools.com

#2 San Francisco, California

San Francisco ticks all the boxes for a fabulous weekend getaway in the US! It is simple to get to, easy to get around without a car, and is packed with an array of entertaining sights that travelers can choose to visit on their trip.

On getaways for the weekend, visitors can take in SF’s iconic sights – like the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39 – and ramble through the streets on a classic cable car. However, the reason we think it is one of the best weekend getaways is that you can see so much of the city by the bay on a short trip!

Even on a 2-day trip, visitors have time to discover San Francisco’s vibrant Chinatown, explore Haight-Ashbury and wander through Golden Gate Park. Even better, there is plenty of time to devour some of the best eats. If you happen to have more time, consider a California Coastal Road Trip !

Plan the best short weekend getaways to SF with our San Francisco Weekend Itinerary .

The Best Way To Travel to San Francisco Itinerary for a Weekend Trip

#3 Denver, Colorado

For a fun weekend trip in the US, Denver definitely fits the bill! In fact, when I lived in nearby Boulder, which is less than an hour from the city, we loved spending weekends in Denver. Sports, shopping, nightlife and nearby nature are just a few of the reasons Denver ranks as one of the best places in the US for a weekend getaway.

While Denver, undeniably, appeals to sports fans and craft beer enthusiasts, there are many more reasons to visit the Mile High City. The thriving downtown, which is easy to discover on foot, features diverse neighborhoods, magnificent museums and lovely city parks.

Traveling with family? Denver is one of the best weekend destinations in the US for family fun! The Denver Zoo and Elitch Gardens Amusement Park are right in the heart of the city.

However, what makes Denver one of the great weekend getaways in the US is the spectacular nature just outside the city limits. The top places to explore that are just a mere hour away are Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks and the Flatirons in Boulder.

Use our tips for three-day getaway in our Denver Weekend Itinerary .

Denver Itinerary A Perfect Weekend in Denver, Colorado by JetSettingFools.com

#4 Portland, Oregon

Hip and funky, Portland is one of the coolest weekend trips in US! “Stumptown” boasts a relaxed atmosphere, a phenomenal foodie scene and plenty of outdoor space. After my initial visit, Portland (and all of Oregon for that matter) became one of my favorite quick vacation destinations.

Perfect for a casual weekend trip, visitors can settle into the vibe and explore the city on two wheels – just like locals do. Spending time in the central historic Pearl District is a must, but it’s just a place to start! Visitors to Portland will want explore other parts of the city – from the famous rose gardens to the intriguing neighborhoods, like Hawthorne and Division Street. Time permitting, visiting the amazing Multnomah Falls is one of the best weekend vacation ideas in Portland!

For the best 3-day weekend getaways to Portland, travelers should plan where to eat, too. The food in Portland ranges from fabulous food trucks and fancy donuts to 5-star dining – and every bite is amazing.

We wrap our specific tips in our 3-Day Portland Itinerary . 

Portland Itinerary A Perfect Weekend in Portland, Oregon by JetSettingFools.com

#5 San Diego, California

Mmm. San Diego. Drink it in. San Diego is ideal for beach weekend getaways and summertime fun! The sunny coastal city is a dream for visitors looking for some quality R&R. Easy going and entertaining, San Diego is the quintessential California destination and one of the best places for a long weekend trip.

For many travelers, the beach is the main draw, but downtown SD is a must-see, too. Visitors who can tear themselves away from the sandy shoreline (and those visiting outside of the warm summer season) should spend time in the Gaslamp District, Little Italy and the expansive Balboa Park.

One of the highlights of San Diego weekend trips is iconic Coronado Island, which is fun to visit in all seasons!

Find more of our tips for SD weekend getaways in our San Diego Itinerary .

Weekend in San Diego Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

#6 Boston, Massachusetts

A wicked pissa , Boston gets our vote as one of the best weekend trips in America! Steeped in history, yet vibrant and modern, Boston appeals to an array of travelers.

By day, visitors can tour some of America’s most historic sites, wander through picture-perfect parks and go on a Duck Boat Tour , a bit of a Boston oddity. At night, Boston tourists will want to take a seat at one of the best seafood restaurants, tuck into a legendary tavern or cheer on the Red Sox at a baseball game.

While “Beantown” ranks as one of the top long weekend destinations in the summertime, we personally think it is one of the best fall getaways in US. Boston is absolutely gorgeous decorated in autumn leaves amongst the crisp weather; and it’s also a great time to enjoy the fine museums and cozy taverns.

Use our Boston Weekend Itinerary to help plan your trip to the city! 

Boston Itinerary A Weekend Trip to Boston, MA by JetSettingFools.com

#7 Seattle, Washington

Anyone looking for the best short vacation in the US should take a look at Seattle. The Emerald City boasts intriguing architecture, cool cafes and an abundance of outdoor space – making Seattle one of the fun weekend getaways in USA!

There are endless ways to plan a weekend trip to Seattle, but the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and Waterfront Park are must-sees (and can all easily be visited in a single day). Historic Pioneer Square, the unique Seattle Underground and Bainbridge Island are more top attractions not to be missed.

Experiencing the coffee culture is a highlight of any trip to the Pacific Northwest, but especially so in Seattle. Not only is the city home of coffee giant Starbucks, but is well-known for it’s many local Seattle coffee roasters, too.

Get more advice in our 3-Day Seattle Itinerary . 

Seattle Itinerary 3 Days in Seattle, Washington by JetSettingFools.com

#8 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For a long time, we only thought of Philadelphia as a layover city. However, when we finally ventured out of the airport, we fell in love with Philly – so much so that we now consider it to be one of the best long weekend getaways in the US!

Philadelphia is absolutely packed with fascinating historical sights – from the famous Liberty Bell to the iconic Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence was signed by the country’s founding fathers.

That said, there is so much more to the City of Brotherly Love than the past! South Philadelphia is filled with eclectic sights, street art murals and, of course, the best Philly Cheesesteaks. Meanwhile, the north side of Philly hosts an array of museums, the famed ‘Rocky steps’ and heaps of craft breweries.

Read more reasons why Philly is one of the top places for weekend getaway in our Philadelphia Itinerary .

How To Spend One Day in Philadelphia by JetSettingFools.com

#9 Chicago, Illinois

There is no doubt about it: A weekend in Chicago is one of the cool weekend trips in the US. Soaring skyscrapers, riverboat tours, shopping and spacious parks dotted with monuments and art are top attractions. As if that is not enough, the food scene in Chicago is amazing, as well!

There are many ways to plan a quick weekend getaway to Chicago, but we recommend first-time Windy City visitors get a little taste of everything (literally!). Explore downtown Chicago on foot and by boat, eat the most amazing meals (hello, deep-dish pizza!), and balance out the feasting with long walks on the Lakefront Trail, in Lincoln Park or along the 606 Bloomingdale Trail.

In the summertime, catch a baseball game in Chicago and we bet you will have one of the best weekend getaways in the USA!

For detailed tips use our 3 Days in Chicago Itinerary .

3 Days in Chicago Itinerary How To Plan a Chicago Trip by JetSettingFools.com

#10 Austin, Texas

With stellar live music, excellent BBQ and Texas-sized sights, Austin easily ranks as one of the best long weekend vacations in the USA. As a bonus, Austin delivers big on outdoor activities, as well!

If you are looking to escape frigid temperatures elsewhere in the States, be assured that Austin is one of the fabulous winter getaways in the US! High temps hover in the 60s throughout the winter, which is significantly warmer than most of the United States during wintertime.

Some Austin visitors could probably spend their entire weekend trip on Sixth Street – Austin’s legendary bar street (and if that is what you want to do, we won’t judge!).

However, we highly recommend spending the days exploring the Texas Capitol building, Lady Bird Lake, the University of Texas Longhorns campus and the incredible Barton Springs. Of course, listening to some live tunes is essential – Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World! 

We share specifics for the best quick getaways in our Weekend in Austin Itinerary .

A Perfect Weekend in Austin Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

#11 New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is one of the classic, great long weekend trips in the United States. Perfect for girls weekends, couples’ trips and even family vacations, NOLA welcomes tourists of all kinds.

New Orleans is a feast for the senses – from the buzzing street scenes to the jazz music that is perpetually played by performers. Weekend visitors to the Big Easy should wander through the fabulous French Quarter, dine on divine Southern dishes, step into a spooky cemetery and have a drink on Bourbon Street.

On a well-planned New Orleans weekend getaway, travelers can even plan adventures beyond the city center, taking in the sights in nearby districts or further afield on a swamp boat trip or plantation tour.

Read why NOLA is one of the best short trips in the US: How To Spend 3 Days in New Orleans . 

New Orleans Itinerary How To Spend 3 Days in New Orleans, Louisiana by JetSettingFools.com

#12 Glacier National Park, Montana

Hands down, Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the best places to go for long weekend in the outdoors. Although it can be a bit tricky to get to depending on where you are coming from, trust us, the Crown of the Continent is worth the effort!

Highlighted by soaring mountains and crystal-clear lakes, Glacier NP is stunningly beautiful. Hikers will take to the incredible and rewarding trails, but you don’t necessarily need to get out of your car to enjoy the beauty. Going To The Sun Road takes visitors through the heart of GNP up to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide.

As one of the best summer weekend getaways in the US, advance planning is essential. Do a little research before your trip to decide which Glacier National Park Hikes you may want to complete. Not into hiking? No problem. After driving through the scenic park, peruse the boutique shops or get a spa treatment in quaint Whitefish – or sip locally produced craft beer in cute Kalispell .

Use our detailed 3-Day Glacier National Park for tips to plan your trip!

A Perfect Glacier National Park Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

#13 Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas has long been touted as one of the best quick weekend getaways in the United States. Developed as a tourist destination since 1931, Sin City’s neon lights have been welcoming weekend visitors for decades.

While Las Vegas ranks as one of the top quick weekend getaways in USA for gambling and partying, there are plenty of other activities in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Adventure attractions, legendary Las Vegas shows, mesmerizing museums and celebrity chef restaurants all aim to please.

Once you have checked off your list of must-see sights in Vegas, leave The Strip behind and go on one of the excellent excursions – like a day trip to the Grand Canyon or the Hoover Dam .

For tips on what to see and where to eat, use our Las Vegas Itinerary Guide for First Timers .

Las Vegas Itinerary A First Timers Guide to 3 Days in Vegas by JetSettingFools.com

#14 Phoenix, Arizona

Ranking as one of the best long weekend getaways in USA, Phoenix doesn’t disappoint! With a revitalized and vibrant downtown, desert hiking close to the city center, a sprinkle of history and heaps of trendy dining options, the Valley of the Sun is an oasis of fun.

Although we do not recommend visiting the scorching desert city in the summertime, it is a fabulous place to visit in the wintertime. In fact, it’s one of the Best Winter Getaways in the United States !

Top wintertime activities include hiking at Phoenix Mountain Preserve, attending Las Noches de Las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens, dining al fresco at hip restaurants (like Postino and The Vig) and sipping local craft beer (check out Four Peaks and Angel’s Trumpet!).

Use our guides to the Best Phoenix Hikes and all the Top Things to do in PHX !

Phoenix Hikes The Best Hiking in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

#15 Spokane, Washington

Spokane flies under the radar as far as getaways go, but we are going to let you in on the secret: Spokane is one of the best long weekend trips in the US! The city is casual – almost quaint – but has plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained.

Outdoor activities abound in Spokane – from Riverfront Park where the beautiful Spokane Falls tumble downstream to the 37-mile Centennial Trail highlighted by art sculptures to the impressive gardens at Manito Park.

Historic enclaves – like the Browne’s Addition Neighborhood and classic Davenport Hotel – tell the story of Spokane’s past. Meanwhile, modern craft breweries and the youthful Gonzaga campus keep Spokane moving forward.

Plan your weekend getaway using our list of Things To Do in Spokane .

17 Things To Do in Spokane, Washington by JetSettingFools.com

#16 Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is often overlooked as a destination, but we think it is one of the best weekend getaways in America. The capital of the Buckeye State has a flair for the arts and thrives on community events – plus, the people are really friendly!

Weekend visitors can discover the many downtown districts (German Village is a must!), explore the numerous Columbus Parks  (Franklin Park Conservatory is a gem!) and feast on the city’s best food at North Market. The Short North is the hip place for nightlife – and features heaps of eateries, bars and fun events, like the Gallery Hop.

The best time to visit Cbus is in the summertime – when the festival season is in full swing and the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team takes the field. Although the weather starts to cool off quickly in the autumn, it is the best time to experience the thrill of the Ohio State Buckeyes football season.

Use our guide to help plan your long weekend trip to Columbus . 

The BEST 59 Things To Do in Columbus, Ohio

#17 Washington DC

As America’s capital, Washington DC regularly makes the list of Best Cities for Weekend Trips USA – and it makes our list for the best short trips in the US, too!

DC offers an incredible array of activities that appeal to a wide range of visitors. Not only is Washington DC a good choice for the best weekend getaways for families, but it is ideal for couples, groups of friends and solo travelers as well.

On weekend trips to DC, travelers have time to experience the essentials of the city – like visiting the monuments and museums on the National Mall, touring the Capitol Building and seeing the White House. Plus, there is plenty of time to visit the unique neighborhoods – like the Wharf, Capitol Hill, Penn Quarter, and Georgetown.

Plan your weekend getaway with our 3-Days in DC Itinerary .

Washington DC Itinerary How To Plan a Trip to Washington DC by JetSettingFools.com

#18 Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is often touted as one of the best girl weekend getaways – and while I can’t argue that fact, I actually think it is an ideal quick trip for all travelers! Savannah exudes Southern charm (it’s nickname is the Hostess City of the South!) with its pleasant squares, time-worn mansions, and eerily beautiful moss-covered trees.

Weekend visitors are warmly welcomed to the city that is best explored on foot and with wonder. History (and some say ghosts) lurk around every corner and savory Southern dishes simmer in restaurant kitchens around the city. Trust us, Savannah cuisine is not to be missed!

Even though Savannah has a small-town vibe, it really comes alive at night. Weekend guests can partake in live music and festive cocktails at the city’s numerous outdoor bars – or keep it cozy in one of Savannah’s secret speakeasys.

Use our quick trip ideas in our Savannah Itinerary to plan your vacation!

Perfect Weekend in Savannah Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

#19 Nashville, Tennessee

There is no question about it: Nashville is one of the best weekend getaways in the United States! Nicknamed Music City, Nashvegas and even Smashville, Nashville knows how to show weekend visitors a good time.

Many of the top attractions revolve around the epic country music scene – but visitors don’t need to be country music fans to appreciate the sights and sounds of Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum are top picks for sightseeing, but city sights – like the Capitol Mall State Park – are equally interesting.

That said, two things not to miss in Nashville are the Honkytonk bars on Lower Broadway and the famous Hot Chicken from Hattie B’s. 

Plan your best weekend getaways using our 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary . 

Nashville Weekend Trips A Perfect 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary

#20 Santa Barbara, California

Situated on the cool California coastline, Santa Barbara is a classic coastal town that is ideal for a relaxing weekend getaway. In fact, we think Santa Barbara is one of the best weekend vacations in the US for its laid-back ambiance, hip wine district and ample outdoor activities.

On arrival, visitors will want to head straight for West Beach and Stearns Wharf for time in the sun and sand. Later in the afternoon, travelers can take a leisurely stroll up State Street, shopping at the boutique shops and visiting art galleries. However, we highly recommend detouring into the cool Funk Zone to get a taste of local wines from the many Santa Barbara tasting rooms. 

While we think Santa Barbara is an ideal weekend vacation on its own, ambitious weekend travelers can tour more of the Cali Coast to nearby destinations – like Malibu , Solvang and Los Angeles.

Get our advice for planning long weekend getaways with our detailed guide to Driving the California Coast . 

California Coastal Drive San Francisco to Los Angeles by JetSettingFools.com

#21 Cincinnati, Ohio

A classic midwestern metropolis with a penchant for craft beer and sports, Cincinnati, OH is a prime destination for the best weekend trips in the US. In fact, growing up in Columbus , just a short two-hour drive away, Cincy has long been one of my favorite US getaways.

Visiting the fun Over the Rhine district is an absolute must on a trip to Cincinnati. Home to the Queen City’s hottest restaurants and coolest craft breweries, visitors could spend their entire weekend trip in the district eating and drinking…but then they would miss out on everything else Cincy has to offer!

Cincinnati is rife with fabulous and intriguing museums (many of which are free) and the city’s architecture is superb. That said, we actually rank Cincinnati as one of the best weekend vacations in US for the sporting events. The Cincinnati Reds are the beloved hometown baseball team and catching a game is a highlight of a weekend getaway to Cincy in the summer!

Read why Cincy ranks as one of the top weekend getaways in the US in our article, Things To Do in Cincinnati !

List of the 25 Fun Things To Do in Cincinnati, Ohio

#22 Louisville, Kentucky

With excellent museums, quirky attractions, cool districts and lots of bourbon, it is easy to understand why Louisville, KY ranks as one of the best weekend getaways in the US.

The city’s top attractions to visit on a weekend trip are the famous Louisville Slugger Museum (featuring baseball memorabilia), a repurposed pedestrian bridge (where trekkers can walk to Indiana) and the hip Nulu district (which is the place to go for food and drink).

Of course, a weekend getaway to Louisville would not be complete without sampling some of Derby City’s finest bourbon. Distillery Tours and Tastings abound in Louisville and it marks the official beginning of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Is beer your beverage of choice? There are numerous Louisville Breweries producing tasty local craft beer, as well!

Whether you are looking for cool weekend trips in the US for a guys’ weekend, a relaxing couples’ getaway or a fun family vacation, Louisville fits the bill!

Find out more in our article, Top Things To Do in Louisville .

The Best Things To Do in Louisville, Kentucky

#23 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A long way from its gritty Iron City past, Pittsburgh has become quite hip in recent years, which is why we rank it as one of the most fun cities for a weekend trip in USA.

The Burgh is marked by modern museums, historic sights, iconic architecture and an astounding number of beautiful bridges. Better yet, the downtown core is surrounded by casually cool neighborhoods that are a pleasure to explore on foot.

The North Side (along with its quirky attractions) and the revitalized Strip District (packed with fun bars and eateries) are top Pittsburgh districts to explore…and both are within walking distance from the city center. 

Toss a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game in the summer into the mix and there is no doubt that you, too, will be raving about how Steel City is one of the most fun weekend trips in the US. 

Use our list of Pittsburgh Things To Do to plan your best weekend trip!

Pittsburgh Itinerary: Things To Do in Pittsburgh in 1 2 3 Days

#24 Miami, Florida

While Miami has long been a popular destination for snowbirds escaping long and cold winters , the Magic City makes a fantastic spot for weekend trips all year long! Whether you’re seeking vibrant nightlife, a shopping extravaganza or just some R&R on the beach, Miami has you in mind!

From ritzy South Beach to hip Coconut Grove, Miami’s neighborhoods offer a different vibe for travelers seeking some weekend fun in the sun. Sports also features heavily as top Miami things to do, with the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all fielding professional teams. Additionally, there’s a certain soccer player named Messi attracting a lot of attention over at Inter Miami CF!

Night view across Miami, FLA, USA

How To Plan the Best Weekend Getaways in US

We have highlighted the prime weekend vacation spots in US, but we have a few more tips for how to plan your weekend trip.

Organize your Weekend Getaway USA

While we are all for taking USA weekend trips on a whim, a little research and organization is essential for great weekend trips in the US. Get (and stay) organized for your weekend vacation with our Trip Planning Printables !

Travel Planner Printables by JetSettingFools.com

Booking Flights for Long Weekend Getaways in US

If flying to your weekend destination is the most convenient option, you will want to score a deal on your plane tickets. When we buy plane tickets, we always look at Skyscanner first, so that we can compare prices and easily see the cheapest flights.

For more airfare tips, read our guide to Booking the Best Flights .

Where To Stay on Long Weekend Trips in USA

On short trips in the US, we think it is essential to stay in centrally located accommodations. You will want to be in the heart of your destination so that it is easy to reach the must-see sights.

While we usually opt for Airbnb during our travels, for quick weekend trips we actually recommend staying in a hotel. The Airbnb fees can be exorbitant on short stays and coordinating check in and check out can be time consuming. A hotel, on the other hand, will likely have 24 hour check in and you should search for the best hotel prices on Booking.com .

Find more of our tips in our article, Booking the Best Hotels .

What You Will Need to Pack for U.S. Weekend Getaways

Packing your backpack or suitcase for a weekend trip can be a bit tricky. You will want to make sure you bring everything you need…without over-packing.

We think the lighter the better when it comes to packing. It is best to plan coordinating outfits that can be layered. Also, determine which everyday items are necessary for such a short trip (especially if you are staying in a hotel where amenities are provided).

Use our Packing Hacks or top space-saving tips and find all of our advice on our Packing Page .

We Want To Know: What is your favorite destination for the best weekend getaways in USA? Do you have any travel tips or advice for planning long weekend getaways USA? Tell us in the comments!

Looking for somewhere off the beaten path? Check out our Underrated Places To Visit In The US !

Most Underrated Places to Visit in the US

Start planning your USA Trip ! Search for the lowest airfares , the best accommodations and fun things to do …then start packing !   Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning Page for more information on traveling!

Click here for a Free Vacation Budget Planner Banner by JetSettingFools.com

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Our guide to the Best Weekend Getaways in USA Top 24 Destinations

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Roaming the USA

68 Best Places to Visit in the USA in 2024 (Ultimate Bucket List)

Posted on Last updated: January 12, 2024

Home » USA Travel Inspiration » 68 Best Places to Visit in the USA in 2024 (Ultimate Bucket List)

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Working on your USA bucket list? Well, then you’ll love this list of the most mind-blowing places to visit in the USA!

Bustling cities, quaint towns, spectacular national parks, lively beaches, and out-of-this-world islands. America is a great country with incredible people and sights–that’s a fact.

While there are many popular places to travel in the US, there are a bunch of beautiful places equally impressive, but that doesn’t get as much of the bulk of the attention.

Well, that’s about to change. I’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in the USA in most states. How does that sound?

It was pretty challenging to keep a list of 68 places because the country is dotted with must-visit spots, and I wanted to make sure you were inspired about different types of destinations.

Still, I asked locals and travelers with personal experience who have spent years traveling to all corners of the United States. They told me below (some) of the best places to travel in the US, and I genuinely hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did (to be honest, I LOVED it!).

Also, I hope this article will sparkle your wanderlust and that you’ll add many of these places to your USA bucket list.

Table of Contents

How I Structured This USA Bucket List

To make it more organized, I divided this article into the best places to travel to in the US by category, so cities, towns, national parks, beaches, islands, and some other places and experiences. I hope you enjoy it!

Best Cities to Visit in the USA

Here are the best cities to travel to in the US in no particular order.

1. Austin, Texas

Exploring the city’s graffiti walls is one of the things to do on a weekend in Austin

Austin, Texas , lacks professional sports teams but boasts sunny weather and celebrates Eeyore’s birthday annually.

As the capital and fourth-most populous city in Texas, Austin is renowned as the state’s most progressive, earning the nickname “Hippie Haven.”

Notable features include the only nude beach in Texas , which is a short day trip from Downtown , old-fashioned moonlight towers, and the largest urban bat colony in North America at Congress Avenue Bridge during spring and summer evenings.

While staying in Austin , be sure to hit up the Cathedral of Junk, grab a tour of all the highlights, sip some local beer , and don’t pass up an opportunity to indulge in a local culinary favorite: breakfast tacos–a must in any Austin itinerary !

If you’re more into nature, there are many hiking trails in Austin worth checking out, both throughout the city but also in nearby state parks . This can honestly be a super romantic things to do with your significant other , but it can also be a fantastic activity for those visiting Austin with kids .

Austin, with its unique charm, is a must on any USA bucket list, and the Museum of the Weird is a fascinating attraction to explore.

Things to do in Austin

  • Check out the Congress Bridge Bats
  • Take a swim in Barton Springs
  • Stroll around Zilker Park
  • Enjoy Live Music

Where to stay in Austin

Here’s a handy article about excellent Vrbos and Airbnbs in Austin , including lofts and townhouses.

You might also like: 11 Festive Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Austin

2. Boston, Massachusetts

Dining at the top of the Hub is one of the romantic things to do in Boston

Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is one of the oldest U.S. cities, dating back to 1630.

Rich in history, it played a pivotal role in Puritan settlement and the Revolutionary War.

Today, Boston is a top urban vacation spot, attracting around 19 million domestic and three million international tourists annually.

History enthusiasts can explore Faneuil Hall and other landmarks like The Paul Revere House, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Old South Meeting House, and Freedom Trail.

Beyond history, Boston is celebrated for its New England seafood and craft beers, making it an enjoyable destination for couples and visitors alike.

Things to do in Boston

  • Wander around Boston Common and the Public Garden
  • Catch a ball game at Fenway Park
  • Take in the beautiful Steward Gardner Museum
  • Walk the Freedom Trail

3. Seattle, Washington

Public Market Center in Seattle

Seattle, Washington, the urban heart of the Pacific Northwest, is a must for coffee lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and seafood aficionados.

Nestled in an ecologically diverse region with stunning beaches and mountains, Seattle offers the unique experience of sunbathing in the morning and skiing or mountain biking in the afternoon.

Harbor cruise tours provide a serene alternative for nature appreciation. Key attractions include the Seattle Space Needle, Fremont Troll, Gum Wall, and the Museum of Flight, with Kerry Park offering a picture-perfect view of the skyline.

Just like Boston on the East Coast, Seattle boasts outstanding seafood, particularly delectable oysters.

Whether you have one or three days in Seattle , don’t miss the chance to savor a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market.

Just for fun: posting any pictures of the city on Instagram? Check out here my favorite quotes about Seattle so you can use them in your captions!

Things to do in Seattle

  • Shop and eat at Pike Place Market
  • Climb the iconic Space Needle
  • Be in awe at Chihuly Garden and Glass
  • Join a harbor cruise tour

Where to stay in Seattle

I wrote a handy guide on exactly where to stay in Seattle to make your trip planning experience less overwhelming. I hope it helps!

4. Houston, Texas

visiting Space Center Houston is one of the best things to do in Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas , the most populous city in the Southern United States and the country’s largest by area, is more than just a financial hub.

A weekend in Houston offers a taste of its vibrant and diverse atmosphere. The Houston Galleria, a four-story retail haven with 375 stores, is a must-visit, especially during Christmas .

For civic engineering enthusiasts, the seven-mile underground pedestrian tunnel links 95 blocks, 20 feet below the surface.

Nature enthusiasts can explore the city’s 337 parks with endless hiking trails , including the Houston Arboretum, and visit the Museum of Natural Science. There are also a bunch of pleasant state parks and beaches near Houston .

Popular tourist attractions include Old Market Square, Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, and the Space Center, ideal for those visiting with kids . Houston’s thriving food scene caters to every palate, from vegan gourmet to down-home BBQ.

Chinatown and the Mahatma Gandhi District offer diverse Asian flavors, while local beer, Houston breweries , and rooftop bars add to the culinary experience.

For a romantic dining experience , Houston boasts numerous romantic and rooftop restaurants .

Good to know: the best times to visit Houston are between February through April and September through November, when the weather is best.

Things to do in Houston

  • Learn about the dark sky at Space Center Houston
  • Grab something to eat at Chinatown
  • Check out the Museum of Natural Science
  • Stroll around Buffalo Bayou Park

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana is another winter vacation in the US not to miss

Known for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations, New Orleans offers year-round excitement, making it an ideal romantic getaway in the US .

Rooted in French and Spanish influences, the city boasts unique culinary, cultural, and musical traditions. The motto “Laissez les bon temps rouler” reflects its lively spirit.

Enjoying the French Quarter’s ambience with live jazz and buskers is a tradition, with numerous restaurants to explore.

Art and history enthusiasts can visit the National World War II Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Don’t miss touring the oldest cathedral in the US, St. Louis Cathedral, built in 1718. Plan your weekend trip between December and May to avoid the sweltering hurricane season from June to November .

Things to do in New Orleans

  • Wander through the French Quarter
  • Go bar hopping on Bourbon Street
  • Take a Voodoo tour
  • Fill up with Creole food

Where to stay in New Orleans

Oh, New Orleans! This bustling and colorful city has so much to offer, right? I know there is a lot to see, and you might be wondering what area would be best to stay so you can be near all the attractions. That’s why I wrote this super useful guide on where to stay in New Orleans . It has a nice summary of my favorite hotels in the city. I hope it’s useful to you!|

Read next: 15 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in New Orleans

6. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia is one of the warm winter vacations in the US

Atlanta , the seventh-most visited city in the United States , is a modern metropolis rooted in the South, nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

As Georgia’s most populated region, it features three distinct skylines: downtown, midtown, and the upscale district of Buckhead, often referred to as the Beverly Hills of Atlanta.

Downtown is a bustling commercial and retail hub, while midtown combines residential areas with vibrant clubs and restaurants .

Atlanta’s appeal as a top U.S. destination lies in attractions like the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, as well as Legoland, Six Flags Over Georgia, numerous museums, and parks.

The city’s thriving lounge and club scene caters to diverse tastes, from honky-tonk to hip-hop. Atlanta is also known for its festivals, offering a variety of options to coordinate with your weekend trip .

Things to do in Atlanta

  • Learn about ocean life at the Georgia Aquarium
  • Take in the beautiful flora at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Check out Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site
  • Get curious at the World of Coca-Cola

Where to stay in Atlanta

I wrote this article with a short list of my favorite hotels in Atlanta, Georgia to help you plan a fantastic trip to the Big A. Still, if you’re visiting it with your S.O., you might want to read this other article about my favorite romantic getaways in the city .

7. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida is one of the best spring break destinations in the US

Orlando, a top global tourism destination, offers attractions like Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Universal Orlando, Fun Spot America, and the Kennedy Space Center.

With over 100 lakes offering recreational activities, Orlando is a diverse destination featuring family-friendly restaurants, golf courses, and outlet shopping malls.

The city’s vibrant theatre and live music scene, along with tourist-friendly nightlife, add to its appeal.

Visitors can easily find deals in Orlando and explore nearby beaches to experience the Sunshine State’s coastal beauty.

Things to do in Orlando

  • Drink butter beer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Have lots of fun at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Be in awe at Discovery Cove
  • Have your dreams come true in the Magic Kingdom Park

8. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California is one of the most romantic getaways in the United States

San Francisco, among the most expensive yet charming cities in the country, boasts famous landmarks like the Painted Ladies, Pier 39, Lombard Street, and the iconic Golden Gate, the most famous bridge in America .

Ideal for architecture enthusiasts and those fond of old-timey throwbacks like the city’s trolley system, San Francisco also offers diverse museums covering modern art, science, and selfies.

Families can explore the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Exploratorium, while true crime enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Alcatraz tour . For couples, San Francisco provides a range of options for a fun date night , including wine bars , parks, and adventurous outings.

Despite California’s sunny reputation, San Francisco is cooler, with nighttime temperatures in June and July ranging between the mid-50s and mid-60s, so it’s wise to pack light sweaters.

Things to do in San Francisco

  • Go on an Alcatraz tour
  • Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Check out the historic cable cars
  • Say aww to the sea lions basking at Pier 39

9. San Diego, California

Visiting the Botanical Building is one of the things to do in one day in San Diego

San Diego, known as America’s Finest City, should be on every USA bucket list. Enjoying great weather year-round, the city offers beautiful beaches, surfable waves, and stunning sunsets, making it an ideal vacation destination, even for just a day in San Diego .

Explore Balboa Park for museums and galleries, and visit the historic district with buildings dating back to the 1700s.

Seagoing enthusiasts can discover notable vessels at the San Diego Maritime Museum, including the Star of India. The iconic San Diego Zoo, renowned for its cageless exhibits, is a major tourist attraction.

For foodies, the Gaslamp Quarter is the place to be, offering Mexican cuisine and seafood, while Little Italy provides delightful Italian fare, especially if you’re planning on going on a fun date in San Diego .

After dining, take a stroll through the Midway Museum or Seaport Village for a perfect end to your day in San Diego.

Things to do in San Diego

  • Check out the incredible equipment and airplanes at USS Midway Museum
  • Don’t miss the cuties at San Diego Zoo
  • Photograph the sea lions in La Jolla Cove
  • Stroll around the Balboa Park

10. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois is one of the best spring break destinations in the US

Chicago, often called the Windy City, is situated along Lake Michigan and is a global attraction for its vibrant art scenes, distinctive architecture, cultural offerings, and excellent shopping.

Renowned as a focal point for 20th-century art and architecture, the city features works by Picasso, Chagall, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Chicago is home to world-class museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, housing diverse artworks spanning thousands of years in various media, including sculpture, painting, decorative arts, architectural drawings, and impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

For stunning views , visit Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, where the Cloud Gate sculpture reflects its surroundings and the nearby Crown Fountain projects images into flowing water, creating a unique visual experience.

Things to do in Chicago

  • See why the Art Institute of Chicago is the only museum in the world to be top-ranked by TripAdvisor four years in a row
  • Stroll around the Millennium Park
  • Take a selfie in front of the Cloud Gate, aka The Bean
  • Check out Chicago Architecture Center

11. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the best spring break destinations in the US

For gambling enthusiasts, Las Vegas, Nevada, with its 30 flashy casinos on the main strip and numerous others on side streets, is the ultimate destination in the United States.

However, if gambling isn’t your preference, Las Vegas still offers a plethora of over-the-top experiences in the original “Sin City.”

From themed resorts like the Venetian to the French ambiance of Paris Las Vegas, the city is a glittering adult theme park.

Las Vegas is known for its extravagant options, with world-renowned chefs and opportunities for free food through deals and complimentary buffets.

The city also stands out with its never-ending entertainment choices and lively daytime pool parties, making it the perfect place for those ready to let loose and have fun.

Still, if you also want to enjoy the surroundings, consider going on a day trip to one of the many national parks near Las Vegas . You’ll be surprised at how many places you can visit near Las Vegas by car .

Things to do in Las Vegas

  • Watch the show at the Fountains of Bellagio
  • Hike at Red Rock Canyon
  • Be in awe at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden
  • Be blinded by the lights at The Strip

12. Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte is one of the best places to visit in the US

Charlotte, North Carolina, once the fastest-growing city in the country in the aughts, has evolved into a world-class destination, making it a must-visit on any USA bucket list.

Home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, the city hosts major events like the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 and the Wells Fargo Golf Championship, with the NASCAR Hall of Fame catering to driving enthusiasts.

Cultural offerings include the renowned Charlotte Ballet, and for Renaissance festival enthusiasts, the Carolina Renaissance Festival operates in October and November.

Popular annual events like Taste of Charlotte, Moo and Brew Fest, and the Yiasou Greek Festival add to the vibrant scene.

Referred to as the Queen City, Charlotte boasts stellar restaurants, attracting foodies looking for a unique weekend getaway.

To avoid crowds, plan your visit between March and May or September and November, as summer tends to be the most crowded travel season in Charlotte.

Things to do in Charlotte

  • Learn more about Billy Graham and his message of God’s love at Billy Graham Library
  • Enjoy amazing artifacts, interactive exhibits, and simulator rides at NASCAR Hall of Fame
  • Have lots of fun Carowinds
  • Learn a bunch about science at Discovery Place Science

13. Washington, DC

Washington is one of the best places to visit in the US

Washington, DC, home to crucial buildings like the White House and Capitol, is a quintessential destination for Americans, attracting nearly 25 million tourists annually.

Allocate a day for exploring the monuments and consider educational double-decker city tours .

History enthusiasts can view the nation’s founding documents at the National Archives Museum. Notable annual events include the Cherry Blossom Festival in spring and July 4th celebrations in summer.

While Washington, DC, is beautiful year-round, it’s an excellent choice for winter and fall vacations in the US , offering a quieter experience without the crowds.

Things to do in Washington DC

  • Photograph Lincoln Memorial
  • Have an incredible and free experience at the National Gallery of Art
  • Learn about wildlife at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • Take a tour at the Library of Congress

14. New York, New York

New York is one of the best places to visit in the US

New York City, famously known as “The Big Apple,” is a must on the USA bucket list, being arguably the most famous city globally.

Renowned for Broadway shows, it houses top museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, MOMA, Whitney, and the Cloisters.

The city features iconic parks like Central Park, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Explore the diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique personality, from Harlem’s cultural roots to SoHo’s art enclave and the Upper West Side’s old-money stronghold.

New York offers a life-changing experience, and its incredible restaurants include the historic Lombardi’s in Little Italy, serving some of the best pizza.

With an impressive 38 eateries holding Michelin stars, New York promises a culinary delight. Bon appétit!

Things to do in New York City

  • Take a stroll around Central Park
  • Pay your respect at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Climb the Empire States Building
  • Experience one of the best museums in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

15. Miami, Florida

Miami is one of the best places to visit in the US

Miami, one of the best vacation cities in the United States, boasts aqua waters, eclectic architecture, and a vibrant party vibe. Its golden-sand beaches are stunning, attracting a stylish crowd.

The city is an art hub with galleries lining palm-lined streets, hosting major international exhibits and festivals like Biennale.

Notable museums include the Pérez Art Museum Miami and The Bass, with science enthusiasts recommended to visit The Philip at Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

Miami’s legendary nightlife beckons, so don comfortable dancing shoes. Before hitting the night scene, fuel up at one of the incredible restaurants in Little Havana.

Things to do in Miami

  • Hit the beach, I mean, it’s Miami baby
  • Take in the beauty of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
  • Photograph the colorful Wynwood Walls
  • Eat and drink at Bayside Marketplace

16. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia is one of the best spring break destinations in the US

Savannah, Georgia , stands out as one of the most beautiful places in the USA with cobblestone streets, manicured parks, and Victorian mansions.

A slightly more conservative cousin to New Orleans, Savannah shares a love for jazz, great food, and throwback architecture, offering a more buttoned-up and slower-paced atmosphere.

Situated on the Savannah River, the city was once a crucial port in early America, evident in landmarks like the oldest black church, First African Baptist (1777), and the third oldest synagogue, Mickve Israel (1735).

For incredible photos, explore Wormsloe Historic Site, Olde Pink House, Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Owens-Thomas House, E Bryant Street (Rainbow Row), Forsyth Park, and the Historic District.

Savannah’s notable features include 22 squares, famous cemeteries, historic forts, and excellent shopping on Broughton and Bull Streets.

To experience the spookier side, take a Savannah Ghost Tour . Comfortable walking shoes are a must to explore the city’s stunning streets. Visiting in December? Savannah is a delightful place during Christmastime .

Things to do in Savannah

  • Wander through Savannah Historic District
  • Take in the gorgeous Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
  • Relax at Forsyth Park
  • Go on a Savannah Ghost Tour

Where to stay in Savannah

Savannah is easily among my favorite US cities! There are many hotels with exquisite architecture you can stay on, many of which are the perfect weekend getaway from Atlanta .

17. Portland, Oregon

Portland is one of the best places to visit in the US

“Keep Portland Weird” defines Oregon’s largest city, living up to its promise with quirky traditions like residents knitting for trees.

Nestled on the banks of the Willamette River and at the foothills of Mount Hood, Portland is a lush emerald city boasting 10,000 acres of public parks, including serene spots like the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden.

Explore Forest Park, one of the country’s most extensive urban forests, or visit landmarks like Old Town, Pioneer Square, and the iconic Portland Stag sign.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the surrounding area offers miles of hiking trails and camping grounds, with Multnomah Falls, Portland’s scenic highlight, just 40 minutes away.

Urban dwellers can enjoy the vibrant Pearl District, buzzing with restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries, and theaters.

Don’t leave without trying Portland’s culinary stars: ice cream at Salt & Straw and a doughnut from Voodoo.

Things to do in Portland

  • Smell the flowers at the International Rose Test Garden
  • Don’t miss Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Walk the pathways at Portland Japanese Garden
  • Check out Pittock Mansion

18. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is one of the places to add to your  USA bucket list

San Antonio , my favorite city in the Lone Star State, is an ideal November destination. A weekend here involves romantic River Walk dining and exploring historical missions, a cherished activity in the Texas Hill Country .

While the infamous Alamo is a highlight, San Antonio boasts six historic missions collectively forming the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

Mission San Jose stands out as the most crucial, offering an intact glimpse into the past with Native American living quarters, a church, workshops, and more.

My personal favorite, Mission Concepcion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest unrestored mission in the country, featuring a frozen-in-time chapel.

A visit to the iconic Alamo, with its pivotal role in Texas history and associations with figures like James Bowie, Davy Crockett, and William Travis, completes the mission experience.

Things to do in San Antonio

  • Savor Southern comfort food in a local restaurant
  • Sip Texan beer in one of the breweries in town
  • Enjoy warm days in a beach
  • Or go on a day trip to a state park and discover many hiking trails in the region
  • Stroll around a park in the city

Where to stay in San Antonio

The Alamo’s is located right downtown next to historic hotels and places to stay like The Menger and Crockett Hotel , or choose any of the many hotels on the River Walk . Like everywhere in Texas, you’ll need a car to get around because the missions are spread out across San Antonio.

Erin from Sol Salute

Read next: 16 Best National Park in Texas

19. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Los Angeles, the hub of the American film industry, is more than just wealth and glamour. Science enthusiasts can explore the La Brea Tar Pits, showcasing prehistoric fossils dating back 40,000 years.

For sun-seekers, Los Angeles offers beaches like Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice, Manhattan, and Hermosa—ideal for people-watching. The city boasts a wealth of museums, including the Grammy Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Families can enjoy Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, while those seeking a fun date can explore various options. For a glimpse into luxury living, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive are must-visit destinations.

Keep an eye out for celebrities, but remember, approaching them for selfies may not be well-received.

Things to do in Los Angeles

  • Take in the LA from Griffith Observatory
  • Marvel at world-class art of the Getty Center
  • Get ready for lots of fun at Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Visit the iconic Battleship USS Iowa Museum

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is one of the best places to visit in the US

Known as “Music City,” Nashville, Tennessee , is to country music as Los Angeles is to motion pictures. 

It’s home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Glen Campbell Museum, and the legendary Ryman Auditorium.

The Grand Ole Opry — America’s cathedral to gospel, country, and bluegrass — is also a Nashville staple.

In the mood for a gorgeous stroll? Head to the city’s 55-acre botanical garden.

If you’d rather walk and shop, make a beeline for the Gulch and 12th South, both neighborhoods are filled with locally owned boutiques and restaurants .

Good to know: Understand that you cannot buy liquor on Sundays in Nashville — and ice tea is called sweet tea.

Things to do in Nashville

  • Tour the famous grand Ole Opry
  • Have drinks at Ole Smoky Distillery & Yee-Haw Brewery
  • Catch a concert at Ryman Auditorium
  • Check out Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Where to stay in Nashville

If you’re spending more than one day in the city, here’s a guide on where to stay in Nashville that will get your hotel search started.

Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA

Here are the best small towns to travel to in the US in no particular order.

21. Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg is one of the best places in the US

Fredericksburg, Texas , a charming German town with deep roots (and restaurants ), might not be on every USA bucket list, but it’s on mine for its unique history.

Founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia, it was a stronghold of Texas German, a dialect favored by Bavarian immigrants.

The city is a geographical marvel with notable rock formations like Enchanted Rock, Balanced Rock, and Cross Mountain. Known as the Peach Capital of Texas, Fredericksburg is a peach lover’s paradise.

Adding to its appeal, Fredericksburg boasts world-class wineries , making it a great destination for wine enthusiasts.

While staying in Fredericksburg , stock up on peaches and consider a wine tour , but avoid traveling between June and August due to the intense heat.

Things to do in Fredericksburg

  • Sip Texan wine on a wine tour
  • Learn about the town’s German roots
  • Pay the National Museum of the Pacific War a visit
  • Climb the Enchanted Rock

Where to stay in Fredericksburg

Good to know: while there are a bunch of incredible Airbnbs in Fredericksburg to enjoy a laid-back getaway, you’ll want to stay in one of these romantic cabins if you’re traveling with your significant other.

22. Stanley, Idaho

Stanley is one of the places to visit in the US

Most people associate Idaho with potatoes, but Stanley ranks as one of the best USA travel destinations for people who enjoy the outdoors. 

Gateway to the Sawtooth Mountain range and Salmon River, Stanley is where you go to enjoy the fresh air and incredible mountain views.

The hike to Alice Lake is the area’s most popular. Don’t forget to make sure your phone is charged before leaving because you’ll want snapshots.

Oh, and only 63 people live in Stanley. So go for the nature — not the nightlife.

Things to do in Stanley

  • Go boating at Redfish Lake
  • Hike from Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake
  • Check out Stanley Museum
  • Don’t miss the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

23. Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is one of the best places to visit in the US

If you like to ski, add Breckenridge, Colorado, to your USA bucket list. The world-class resort and slopes attract visitors from around the world between November and April. So yeah, it’s a fantastic winter vacation in the US .

Summer in the region is also a good time, with hiking, fly-fishing, white-water rafting, and Lake Dillon boating on tap.

Fans of extreme sports should visit during the annual Winter Dew Tour, which draws a large crowd of XGame enthusiasts.

Also, remember that Colorado is a high-altitude region. If you have health conditions, consult with a doctor before booking a trip.

Things to do in Breckenridge

  • Stroll around the Main Street and take in its beauty
  • Hike to the Sapphire Point Overlook
  • Drive the Boreas Pass Road
  • Ski the slopes

24. Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Known as “Montana’s Outdoor Recreation Playground,” Whitefish, Montana, is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The area offers diverse activities such as fishing, boating, cycling, paddling, snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, llama trekking, and art classes capturing the state’s renowned “big sky.”

Downtown Whitefish features charming boutiques, and Glacier National Park provides stunning photo opportunities. Golfing and horseback riding are popular pastimes, weather permitting.

The optimal time to visit for sightseeing is between June and August, as fall and winter weather can be challenging.

Things to do in Whitefish

  • Watch a performance at Alpine Theatre Project
  • Grab a Espresso Martini at Spotted Bear Spirits
  • Check out Whitefish Depot
  • Hit the City Beach

25. Fairbanks, Alaska

Coldfoot, Alaska is one of the cool winter vacations in the US

Witnessing the Northern Lights in Alaska is a must on any traveler’s USA bucket list. While some places in the lower 48 may offer glimpses, Alaska, particularly Fairbanks, boasts the most brilliant and vibrant displays.

Fairbanks, often overlooked by visitors, provides stunning views of the Northern Lights in the entire state. Keep in mind that the Aurora Borealis is visible from late August to mid-April, with the summer months offering almost 24 hours of daylight.

For the best experience, consider Murphy Dome, a locals’ favorite about 20 miles outside Fairbanks.

Although there’s no guarantee of a nightly show, they tend to be more active in the late night and early morning hours.

Apart from this natural wonder, Fairbanks offers plenty of unique activities. Explore local history at Pioneer Park, hike Angel Rocks, or unwind in the natural hot springs at Chena Hot Springs, surrounded by nature.

Fairbanks is also a three-hour drive from Denali National Park, home to over six million acres of untamed Alaskan nature and wildlife.

Christina Ropp from Littles, Life, & Laughter

Things to do in Fairbanks

  • Watch the northern lights dancing in the sky
  • Learn natural history at the University of Alaska Museum of the North
  • Tour the Running Reindeer Ranch
  • Discover all facets of Alaskan culture at Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center

26. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is one of the best places to visit in the US

Have you always wanted to visit a traditional Bavarian village? If so, vacation in Leavenworth, a quaint town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in west-central Washington State.

Leavenworth was modeled to resemble a German town. The structures are built in the old-fashioned Bavarian style, complete with wood balconies outside every window and towers galore.

Like many places in the Pacific Northwest, Leavenworth is known for its wealth of outdoor activities.

Horseback riding is big, as is hiking in the surrounding wild. There’s also a ski slope and cross-country trails for winter recreation.

Still, set aside an hour for the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

Things to do in Leavenworth

  • Interact with reindeers at Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
  • Breathe fresh air at Waterfront Park
  • Walk around Front Street Park
  • Sip some beer at Icicle Brewing Company

Where to stay in Leavenworth

Here are some hotels you’ll absolutely love, including some with Bavarian vibes.

27. Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis is one of the best places to visit in the US

Annapolis, Maryland, the state’s capital on the Chesapeake Bay, is often overlooked, but I consider it one of the top places to visit in the United States.

Known for its sailing culture, pristine beauty, and charming downtown with red cobblestone streets, brick buildings, and gaslamp street lights, Annapolis offers a picturesque setting.

Rich in history, the city features landmarks like the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, United States Naval Academy Museum, Hammond–Harwood House, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, and Thurgood Marshall Monument.

Additionally, Annapolis is renowned for its incredible seafood, especially crab, making it a delightful culinary destination.

Things to do in Annapolis

  • Tour the U.S. Naval Academy
  • Check out eateries and shops at Annapolis Historic District
  • Learn more about history at Maryland State House
  • Tour the historic house at William Paca House & Garden

28. Chincoteague, Virginia

Chincoteague is one of the best places to visit in the US

Home of the Assateague horses, one of the few wild horse populations in the United States, Chincoteague offers a classic summer vacation vibe without the crushing crowds. In a word, Chincoteague is all about serenity.

During the summer, Chincoteague’s population swells somewhat as visitors flock in from across the country. But it’s never a massive crowd. 

People come for the beaches, ice cream parlors, miniature golf, cute restaurants, and a glimpse of the wild horses.

Beebe Ranch and the Museum of Chincoteague Island are also popular with tourists.

Things to do in Chincoteague

  • Photograph the wild ponies at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
  • Check out the interactive exhibits at Museum of Chincoteague
  • Sip local beer at Black Narrows Brewing
  • Take a look at the oldest building on the island: Captain Timothy Hill House

29. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe is one of the best places to visit in the US

If you appreciate the pastoral beauty of New England, Stowe, Vermont, might make your list of best places to visit in the USA.

Dubbed the “Ski Capital of the East,” Stowe is a classic alpine town, showcasing a charming village and ranking among the most idyllic places in the country.

Even if skiing isn’t your interest, Stowe is incredibly picturesque in fall and spring, with more affordable rates during these seasons.

Key attractions include Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, Stowe Mountain Resort, Trapp Family Lodge, the Stowe Recreation Path, and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum.

With visitors from all over coming for the slopes, Stowe boasts excellent restaurants, and indulging in fresh oysters, sourced from Chincoteague’s waters, is a culinary highlight.

Things to do in Stowe

  • Go for a Stowe Recreation Path
  • Ride the gondola to Mount Mansfield
  • Photograph the Moss Glen Falls
  • Experience New England in Smugglers Notch State Park

30. Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Broken Bow is one of the best US destinations

Broken Bow, Oklahoma, serves as the gateway to Hochatown State Park, Beavers Bend Resort Park, and Cedar Creek Golf Course, featuring the picturesque Broken Bow Lake.

The area offers abundant outdoor activities, including fly fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, horseback riding, and kayaking.

Families can enjoy mini-golf courses and go-karting tracks, while gambling enthusiasts can explore legal gaming options in Broken Bow.

Nature enthusiasts can visit the Forest Heritage Center Museum, and for those seeking a challenge, nearby Hochatown offers a 29,000-square-foot wooden maze along with puzzle and escape rooms.

Things to do in Broken Bow

  • Sip some wine in Girls Gone Wine
  • Go fishing at Broken Bow Lake
  • Relax at Beavers Bend Brewery
  • Check out a variety of animals at Hochatown Petting Zoo

31. Hatteras, North Carolina

Hatteras is one of the cool US destinations

Hatteras, North Carolina, located in the famed Outer Banks, is renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance.

Visitors can enjoy wildlife watching, windsurfing, and fishing in Pamlico Sound, along with snorkeling and scuba diving around the area’s shipwrecks. Additionally, beach lounging and mini-golf are popular pastimes.

It’s essential to note that Hurricane season in the Outer Banks spans from June to November, so travelers planning a visit during this period should consider obtaining travel insurance.

Things to do in Hatteras

  • Hit the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Check out the absurd amount of shells at Frisco Beach
  • Go on a turtle patrol program at Hatteras Island Ocean Center

32. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem is one of the best places to visit in the US

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a charming small town, deserves a spot on your USA bucket list with its exciting activities and attractions.

Often overshadowed by Philadelphia, Bethlehem offers plenty to explore, especially during Christmas, earning its title as the Christmas City.

The festive season brings highlights like Christmas markets. The town features attractions such as the Hoover Mason Trestle, National Museum of Industrial History, Musikfest, Apollo Grill, Fegley’s Brew Works, and 1741 on the Terrace.

Despite its history and the shift from its primary industry, Bethlehem thrives as a vibrant and appealing destination, catering to those seeking relaxation, outdoor fun, or a love for history.

Things to do in Bethlehem

  • Book a tour at the SteelStacks
  • Learn history at Hoover Mason Trestle
  • Hear about Bethlehem steel history at National Museum of Industrial History
  • Experience the town’s religious community at Moravian Museum

33. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is one of the cool USA bucket list destinations

Newport, Rhode Island, stands out as a top travel destination in the USA, offering a plethora of activities. Whether you’re into historical and food tours or sailing and mansion tours , Newport has diverse options.

Situated by the sea, the city boasts a rich history, making it an ideal spot for history enthusiasts. Mansion tours and sailing adventures, including private yacht charters and romantic cruises, are must-tries.

With its abundance of history, Newport promises endless exploration, ensuring each visit brings something new to discover.

Things to do in Newport

  • Tour the Breakers
  • Hike the scenic 3.5-mile Cliff Walk
  • Learn about history at the Elms
  • Take in the dramatic views along Ocean Drive

34. Page, Arizona

Page is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Page, Arizona, though small, is a must-visit on your USA bucket list, boasting some of the Southwest’s most stunning sights. Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are iconic attractions in the town.

From Page, enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Powell and the expansive Glen Canyon Dam, among the largest in the US.

Despite its size, Page offers numerous outdoor adventures, diverse dining experiences, and captivating landscapes, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Things to do in Page

  • Take a selfie at Horseshoe Bend
  • Go on a boat tour at Lake Powell
  • Discover the Antelope Canyon
  • Tour Glen Canyon Dam

Best National Parks to Visit in the USA

Here are the best national parks to travel to in the US in no particular order.

35. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US

Yellowstone National Park is a must on your USA bucket list! Established in 1872, it’s the oldest national park and offers something for everyone.

Wildlife enthusiasts can explore Lamar Valley for bison, grizzly bears, wolves, and more. Geology enthusiasts will appreciate fantastic formations and hot springs, including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone .

Photographers shouldn’t miss the breathtaking Grand Prismatic Lake. Avoiding summer holidays is recommended to escape traffic jams and enhance wildlife sightings.

Things to do in Yellowstone

  • Take in the beauty of Grand Canyon
  • Be in awe at the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring
  • See wildlife at Lamar Valley
  • Watch as the Old Faithful Geyser erupts

Leona from Wandermust Family

36. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the places to visit in the US

The Grand Canyon is a top destination on many USA bucket lists, and hiking offers a superior experience compared to observation decks.

Trails allow hikers to explore around or descend into the canyon, offering unique and panoramic views. Research different hikes for varied views and difficulty levels, and plan during spring or fall for optimal weather.

Bring sufficient water and sun protection to prevent dehydration and overheating, common causes of hiking-related incidents.

Assess your fitness level, as descending is easier than ascending. With caution and preparation, your Grand Canyon hiking experience will be truly amazing.

Things to do in Grand Canyon

  • Hike the Bright Angel Trail
  • Discover the South Kaibab Trail
  • Take in the sweeping views from the South rim
  • Photograph the dramatic landscape at the north rim

Serena from Serenas’ Lenses

37. Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park is one of the places to visit in the US

Include Death Valley National Park in your Southwest road trip for a thrilling drive through the lowest point in North America.

Despite being one of the hottest places globally, it offers diverse landscapes, historical sites, and natural wonders.

Witness bright salt deposits, colorful lava formations, and striated rock faces. The valley hosts traces of early pioneers, prospectors, and miners.

Don’t miss Zabriskie Point’s breathtaking views of the Badlands’ pastel-hued rock formations.

Ensure you have ample water, a paper map, and a full tank of fuel, as GPS signals may be unreliable. Keep the air-con off to prevent engine overheating.

Things to do in the Death Valley

  • Take in the view from Dante’s View
  • Watch the sunset from Zabriskie Point
  • Experience Badwater basin, the lowest point in North America
  • Hike tot he top of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Suzanne Jones at The Travelbunny

38. Acadia National Park, Maine

Bass Harbor Lighthouse at sunset in Acadia National Park, Maine USA

It would be best if you considered visiting Acadia National Park, located in Maine. It is among the most beautiful national parks in the eastern US, and it showcases the Maine Coast’s beauty perfectly. 

There are several miles of biking and hiking trails on Acadia , and if you prefer sailing and kayaking, there is easy coastal access.

There are many different ways to spend your time at the national park, but ensure you spend at least two days. This way, you get to fully enjoy everything that the park has to offer and take in its beauty. 

If you wanna catch a sunrise, you will enjoy watching the most breathtaking sunrise at Cadillac Mountain.

The view combined with the sunset is pretty stunning since you will see all the islands dotting the coast. 

If you would like to visit some of the most famous attractions in the park, such as Jordan Pond, Thunder Hole, and Sandy Beach, drive through the park loop road. This place is worth adding to your USA bucket list.

Things to do in Acadia

  • Hike to Cadillac Mountain’s summit
  • Road trip the Park Loop Road
  • Watch the sunset at Jordan Pond
  • Cool off at Sand Beach

Where to stay in Acadia

The Blackwoods is a an excellent camping spot with running water and toilets. On the downside, they don’t have showers on site, only down the road.

39. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US

Explore the wonders of Arches National Park in Utah, a top-notch destination in the US. Hike through Devil’s Garden to witness impressive arches, including the iconic Delicate Arch.

Experience stargazing and dark skies by visiting the park after sunset. With over 2,000 sandstone arches, Arches offers diverse landscapes, including mountain peaks, petrified dunes, and rock spires.

Beyond hiking, it’s a prime spot for mountain biking. If you love the outdoors, make sure to include Arches National Park in your travel plans, and discover additional scenic spots across Utah after your exploration.

Things to do in Arches

  • Take a photo at the Delicate Arch
  • Hike to the Double Arch
  • Get to Fiery Furnace on a tour
  • Take in the sweeping views from the Windows

Read next: Utah National Parks Road Trip

40. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US

Include Glacier National Park in your U.S. travel itinerary for a breathtaking experience. Marvel at glaciers, waterfalls, two mountain ranges, and over 700 lakes.

Hiking enthusiasts can choose from a variety of trails , ranging from challenging routes like Highline Trail and Grinnell Glacier to easy options like Rocky Point.

The park offers activities for all seasons, from fishing and canoeing in summer to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.

Wildlife sightings, including elk, bears, and moose, add to the park’s allure. Enjoy the picturesque landscapes while engaging in diverse activities, such as driving along Lake McDonald and spending time at its beach.

Things to do in Glacier

  • Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Hike to the Grinnell Glacier
  • Relax at Lake McDonald
  • Enjoy the scenery at Logan Pass

41. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US

Just a two-hour drive from Seattle and Portland, Mount Rainier captivates visitors year-round with its natural beauty.

Summer offers vibrant meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers for hiking enthusiasts. In the fall, snow-free lakes and berry-laden trails provide a picturesque setting.

For those preferring a more leisurely experience, a scenic drive through the park reveals stunning views of lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and the chance to spot wildlife.

Things to do in Mount Rainier

  • Take in the views of Mount Rainier
  • Challenge yourself at the Skyline Trail
  • Photograph the scenic Paradise Valley
  • Hike the Mt. Fremont Lookout Trail

42. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best places to visit in the US

Add Rocky Mountain National Park to your USA bucket list for a breathtaking experience in Colorado .

A day trip from Denver provides easy access, with various small towns around for accommodation options based on your budget. Having a car is recommended for convenient exploration.

The park boasts numerous vista points, each offering hiking trails suitable for all levels. Whether you prefer challenging or easy, long or short hikes, there’s something for everyone.

If hiking isn’t your preference, the spectacular scenery at vista points, along with attractions like Bear Lake, Sprague Lake, and Grand Lake, ensures a memorable visit.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain

  • Road trip the Trail Ridge Road
  • Walk around Bear Lake
  • Hike the Emerald Lake Trail
  • Picnic at Sprague Lake

43. Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park is one of the USA bucket list destinations

Sequoia National Park , a must on any US bucket list, sits in California alongside Kings Canyon National Park, hosting the planet’s largest trees.

While redwoods claim height, sequoias reign in size, notably in the Giant Forest region. The Congress Trail offers an easy hike, featuring the colossal General Sherman Tree and other giants like the President Tree.

Round Meadow provides a scenic stroll amid notable sequoias, and at dusk, black bears often forage. Explore tunnel log for a unique walk and the Giant Forest Museum for insightful displays.

Summer is popular, so book campsites or lodges well in advance, and shuttle buses simplify travel.

Things to do in Sequoia

  • Pose next to General Sherman Tree, a 250-foot ancient tree
  • Walk up 400 steps to spectacular views at Moro Rock Trail
  • Visit Boyden Cavern
  • Hike the Congress Trail

James Ian from Parks Collecting

44. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Cholla Cactus Garden is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree National Park

Explore Joshua Tree National Park , a captivating addition to your US bucket list. A two-day trip from LA, it offers unique desert landscapes and vibrant Joshua trees.

Hiking highlights include Lost Horse Mine, blending Joshua trees with gold mining history, and Lost Palms Oasis, home to distinctive fan palm trees.

For gentler walks, discover Cholla Cactus Garden, Jumbo Rocks, Hall of Horrors, and Hidden Valley. Plan ahead, as the park lacks shops or restaurants – bring ample water, food, and emergency supplies for a day of exploration.

Things to do in Joshua Tree

  • Trek the Lost Palm Oasis Trail
  • Photograph the Skull Rock
  • Check out Cholla Cactus Garden
  • Take in the wildflowers

Michael from Michael Turtle

45. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is one of the best places to add to your USA bucket listces to add to your USA bucket list

Explore the stunning Zion National Park in Utah, with a must-try adventure: hiking the challenging Angels Landing route .

Spanning 5 miles with a 1,488-foot elevation, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Best tackled in summer or fall, the park’s shuttle bus conveniently transports you to the trailhead.

While Scout Lookout offers fantastic views for those with a fear of heights, reaching the top requires courage due to sheer drops and a narrow pathway. The use of chains is advised.

Once at the summit, savor breathtaking views, making it a highlight of your USA travel experience.

Things to do in Zion

  • Challenge yourself at The Narrows
  • Venture out on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
  • Take in the dramatic views at the end of Canyon Overlook Trail
  • Hike the demanding Angel’s Landing

Zoe from Together in Transit

Best Beaches to Visit in the USA

Here are the best beaches to travel to in the US in no particular order.

46. Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida is one of the winter vacations in the US

Discover the vibrant and free-spirited Key West, a top destination in the US. Enjoy unique culinary experiences, deep-sea fishing, and relaxing on local beaches.

It’s an ideal spot for a fantastic beach vacation and a favorite spring break destination .

Explore historical sites and traditional homes, and if you’re on a road trip, make a stop at Bahia Honda State Park for one of the world’s most incredible beaches.

Key West promises a delightful stay with numerous activities and attractions.

Things to do in Key West

  • Snorkel in turquoise waters
  • Visit Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Don’t miss the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
  • Check out butterflies at Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

47. Kailua Beach, Hawaii

Kailua Beach is one of the beautiful places to visit in the US

Out of all the beaches found in Big Island, Kailua ranks as the second most beautiful beach. 

If you are looking for incredible places to visit in the US and enjoy beach vacations, visiting Kailua should be on top of your list. This place has white and soft powder sand, and the water is turquoise blue.

Enjoying yourself at the beach does not get any better than being at Kailua, and other than the beautiful white sand and turquoise water, its stretch is two and a half miles long. 

The beach has three separate parking lots, the first one being for windsurfing sports and a launching spot for kites. The second connects to the main beach spot, and the third has a boat ramp.

You can take your family out on the beach since the park grounds have picnic tables, beach showers, and bathroom facilities.

This is pretty convenient, and it is also worth mentioning that they have a few lifeguards who ensure ocean safety and may answer any questions you have.

Things to do in Kailua Beach

  • Bask in the sun
  • Be adventurous and go windsurfing
  • Picnic with your family
  • Watch the sunset

Where to stay in Kailua

The Four Seasons Resort is my all-time fave because of the ocean views, wonderful pools, and many amenities. Thank me later!

Read next: Best Beaches in Hawaii

48. Folly Beach, South Carolina

Folly Beach is one of the beautiful places to visit in the US

Escape your routine and embrace the tranquility of Folly Beach, South Carolina—a laid-back, family-friendly haven near downtown Charleston.

Ideal for year-round enjoyment, it caters to those who appreciate a relaxed beach lifestyle, fishing enthusiasts, and surfing aficionados.

Indulge in diverse activities like paddleboarding, photography, sailing, and kayaking. Dive into the local scene with live music, a fantastic pier, and a variety of bars and restaurants.

Extend your getaway to bask in the soothing breeze and ocean waves for a few delightful days.

Things to do in Folly Beach

  • Have breakfast at Lost Dog Café
  • Take in the view of Morris Island Lighthouse
  • Rent a stand-up paddleboard
  • Lunch with oceanfront views at BLU Beach Bar

49. Sand Beach, Maine

Sand Beach is one of the US destinations not to miss

Include Sand Beach, Maine in your USA bucket list. It features unique shell fragments, accessible amenities, and a captivating view.

Explore the popular hiking trail for spectacular beach views and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beautiful coast of Maine.

Located in Acadia National Park, Sand Beach sits in a small inlet between Mount Desert Island’s rocky shores and granite mountains.

Accessible via Park Loop Road, it is a must-visit point of interest on the Island.

Things to do in Sand Beach

  • Hike your way to the beach
  • Relax on the sand
  • Take a swim, but be careful as the water is very cold
  • Stargaze with your significant other

50. El Matador Beach, California

El Matador Beach is one of the best places to visit in the US

Explore El Matador Beach in California, one of the best places to visit in the USA.

Enjoy picturesque views from picnic tables overlooking the Pacific Ocean, especially popular for photographers capturing breathtaking sunsets and unique sea stacks.

Explore the north side with arches and caves (avoid during high tide) or head to the tranquil south side with stunning homes for a peaceful getaway and photo opportunities.

Things to do in El Matador Beach

  • Photograph the dramatic cliffs
  • Picnic on the sand
  • Stroll along the water
  • Snorkel and experience the colorful world under water

51. Shi Shi Beach, Washington

Shi Shi Beach is a beautiful US destination not to miss

Enjoy a variety of adventures on Washington’s Shi Shi Beach, featuring beach walking and rainforest hiking.

Ideal for backpacking or a one-day hike, you can extend your journey to the Hole in the Wall or the Ozette Loop Hike.

Check the tide chart for safety, especially if heading south past the arches where tides can be high.

The beach provides amenities like restrooms and parking, but be aware that night parking and day parking have separate lots, and there’s no RV parking available. 

Things to do in Shi Shi Beach

  • Camp at the beach
  • Photograph the majestic landscape
  • Take in the sunset

Where to stay in Shi Shi Beach

You can camp on the beach and wake up to the fantastic ocean view.

52. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is one of the best places to visit in the US

Visit Cannon Beach in Oregon for a stunning escape. It’s one of the best travel destinations in the USA, featuring beautiful coastline views, dramatic rock formations, and luxurious beachfront lodgings .

Experience puffins nesting on Haystack Rock, elk grazing in coastal meadows, and colorful sea stars adorning the rocks.

Take in this beauty through hikes or relaxed moments on the sand. Recognized by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places globally, Cannon Beach offers marine life sightings during low tides.

Explore local art galleries and try out restaurants to complete your visit.

Things to do in Cannon Beach

  • Sip brews at Pelican Brewery
  • See cute puffins at Haystack Rock
  • Go whale watching off the coast

53. Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Waikiki Beach is a must on your USA bucket list. Considered a top tourist destination, it boasts a long oceanfront stretch with golden sand, backed by hotels and retail establishments in Honolulu, on Oahu island.

Apart from the scenic view, enjoy activities like surfing, dining, and shopping.

Whether solo, with a partner, friends, or family, Waikiki offers all comforts amidst the Pacific Ocean on a tropical island, making it a worthwhile visit.

Things to do in Waikiki

  • Take surfing lessons
  • Take a swim in the calm waters
  • Bask in the sun while people watching
  • Dine with beach views at one of the restaurants or food stalls in the area

Best Islands to Visit in the USA

Here are the best islands to travel to in the US in no particular order.

54. Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii is one of the best spring break destinations in the US

Kauai in Hawaii is among the best places to visit in the United States, often referred to as the Garden Island.

It distinguishes itself through its natural beauty, with a rule limiting building height to the palm of a coconut to preserve the pristine beaches.

Inland, explore Wailua River State Park and Koke’e State Park. Overall, Kauai stands out as one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the United States.

Things to do in Kauai

  • Relax by the beach
  • Check out Opaekaa Falls
  • Hike in the Waimea Canyon State Park
  • Take a helicopter tour on Na Pali Coast

55. South Padre Island, Texas

Chilling at Isla Blanca is one of the best things to do on South Padre Island, TX

South Padre Island, Texas , is an ideal travel destination with endless activities and attractions.

Whether planning or spontaneous, enjoy live music, diverse restaurants, fishing, bird watching, and water sports.

Family-friendly, it’s renowned for white sandy beaches, clear Gulf waters, and calm weather, offering a perfect tropical vacation experience year-round.

Clean beaches and excellent weather make it a unique tropical paradise in Texas, catering to both laid-back and adventurous vacations.

Things to do in South Padre Island

  • Go bird watching
  • Try some fishing
  • Enjoy live music
  • Do absolutely nothing by the beach and just enjoy yourself 

56. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is one of the best places to visit in the US

Cape Cod in Massachusetts is an excellent place to visit in the USA for tropical vacation enthusiasts. Enjoy the best seafood, sandy beaches, and charming beach towns.

Explore diverse activities like trying local cuisine, relaxing on sandy beaches, visiting lighthouses, or hiking scenic trails.

Customize your vacation based on preferences, but note the short swimming season and plan accordingly to make the most of your visit.

Things to do in Cape Cod

  • Have some delicious seafood
  • Visit the iconic lighthouse
  • Go hiking around the island
  • Weather-permitting, go swimming

57. Florida Keys, Florida

Florida Keys is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Experience a Caribbean vibe without leaving the U.S. by visiting the Florida Keys, a short drive from Key West and Miami.

Enjoy a scenic road trip with great food, vibrant architecture, and beautiful beaches.

Don’t miss trying the famous Key lime pie, visiting the Ernest Hemingway House, exploring Duval Street, and engaging in water activities like swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling.

Savor a drink, soak in the stunning views, and capture memories with beautiful pictures during your visit to the Florida Keys.

Things to do in Florida Keys

58. big island, hawaii.

Big Island is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Dreaming of a trip to the USA? Consider adding a helicopter tour around Hawaii’s Big Island to your bucket list.

Experience breathtaking views, lush green landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and the unique opportunity to fly around an active volcano, witnessing flowing lava beneath you.

I’ve personally experienced it in the stunning Big Island and highly recommend this unforgettable two-hour tour for a once-in-a-lifetime experience during your visit to Hawaii.

Pro Tip: Wear dark-colored clothing to minimize window reflections.

Things to do on Big Island

  • Take a helicopter tour around Hawaii
  • Scuba dive in Kona to see the manta rays
  • Visit a coffee farm
  • Visit Volcanoes National Park

Claire from Curious Claire

59. Mount Desert Island, Maine

Mount Desert Island is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Mount Desert Island in Maine is renowned for being a summer feeding ground for whales, making it arguably the most beautiful spot in New England.

Accessible by flying or driving (though driving is challenging), the island offers the added bonus of proximity to other attractions like Acadia National Park.

Engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and watersports, creating an experience so immersive that returning to reality becomes a reluctant thought.

Things to do on Mount Desert

  • Discover Acadia National Park
  • Partake in watersports
  • Photograph Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
  • Go shopping in Downtown Bar Harbor

60. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Oahu, Hawaii, stands out as one of the most beautiful places in the US, often overlooked for its rich offerings beyond tourist attractions and beaches.

In a 3-day visit , explore Honolulu’s diverse cuisine and immerse yourself in the local culture. From the best Asian dishes to traditional Hawaiian food, savor delicious meals.

Explore Honolulu further by visiting Pearl Harbor, hiking, or relaxing at Waikiki Beach. Venture beyond to discover the North Shore, Polynesian Cultural Center, Dole Plantation, and Kualoa Ranch.

For a tropical vacation experience, simply head to the beach, dip your feet in the sand, and enjoy the stunning view.

Things to do in Oahu

  • Take a tour at Dole Plantation
  • Learn about history at Pearl Harbor
  • Don’t miss the famous Lanikai Beach
  • Visit the iconic USS Arizona Memorial

Other Incredible Places to Visit in the USA

Here are the best places to travel to in the US in no particular order.

61. Havasu Falls, Arizona

Havasu Falls is one of the  places to visit in the US

Havasu Falls in Northern Arizona is a breathtaking paradise, accessible through a challenging 10-mile hike in a desolate desert canyon.

The 80-foot turquoise-blue waterfall flows through red sandstone walls, with a campground shaded by trees near the river.

Freshwater springs provide drinking water, and numerous pools and swimming holes create an oasis in the desert.

While Havasu Falls is the most famous, there are five waterfalls in total, including Mooney Falls reached through a steep cave, and the tiered Beaver Falls downstream.

Havasu Canyon continues to the Grand Canyon’s confluence with the Colorado River, making it my favorite among stunning US locations. If it’s not on your bucket list, it definitely should be!

Things to do in Havasu Falls

  • Swim in the turquoise waters
  • Take in the views while you’re grateful of such beauty
  • Be prepared to take lots of photos
  • Have a picnic there (remember to take all your trash back with you)

Where to stay near Havasu Falls

Havasu Canyon is owned and managed by the Havasupai Tribe, and camping reservations are limited to 300 people per day. You’ll need to plan well in advance if you want to visit this surreal location.

Camping permits for the entire year go on sale February 1st and sell out within a few hours. Lodge reservations go on sale in June of each year and similarly sell out almost immediately.

Nick from Wandering Wheatleys

62. Disney World, Florida

Disneyland is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Disney World in Florida is a must-visit on your USA bucket list. Although not a city, it’s a world-famous theme park and a favorite vacation spot for families.

When in Orlando, make sure to experience Disney World, where you can meet beloved characters, ride roller coasters, get autographs, and witness scenes from Disney movies.

Ideal for those who grew up with Disney or have young children, the park offers a plethora of activities and attractions, ensuring a fantastic time for all.

While Disney World is not exactly a city, it is still a must-see and experience place in the USA.

Things to do at Disney World

  • Ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Take an indoor cruise through the scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree musical show
  • Walk the informative Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek

63. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is one  of the best places to visit in the US

Antelope Canyon in Arizona is among the best and uniquely beautiful places to visit in the USA.

This famous slot canyon, located just 15 minutes from Page, features red and orange rock formations that create stunning light beams due to its “V” shape.

To visit, sign up for a tour, pay a fee to the Navajo people, and explore the canyon for 1-1 1/2 hours. While popular and not secluded, witnessing the canyon’s beauty is worth it.

For a less crowded experience, consider visiting Lower Antelope Canyon, just 10 minutes away from the Upper Canyon.

Although lacking light beams, Lower Antelope Canyon is still picturesque, adventurous, and often less crowded, providing an enjoyable alternative.

Regardless, Antelope Canyon is a natural wonder and a must-see in the Southwest of the USA.

Things to do in Antelope Canyon

  • Take a walking tour in the antelope canyon
  • Take as many photos as possible
  • See the famous Horseshoe Bend
  • Take in the views of Lake Powell

Jessica from Unearth the Voyage

64. Big Sur, California

Big Sur is one of the places to visit in the US

Include a drive along the Big Sur Coast in your Northern California visit. Stretching over 60 miles between Carmel and Ragged Point, it offers some of the most scenic Pacific Coast Highway views.

Allocate several hours to explore highlights, starting from Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for boutiques and gourmet restaurants.

Visit Point Lobos State Reserve for stunning ocean views and ancient cypress trees on your California road trip . Continue to Garrapata State Park for wilderness trails and a sandy beach.

Don’t miss the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge and the picturesque McWay Falls. For the best views, drive from north to south along the water, enjoying the breathtaking coastline.

Things to do in Big Sur

  • Spot birds at Point Lobos State Reserve
  • Relax in a white-beach at Garrapata state Park
  • Photograph Bixby Creek Bridge
  • Hike the East Molera Trail

Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

65. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Lake Tahoe is one of the best places to visit in the US

Lake Tahoe, straddling Nevada and California near Yosemite National Park, stands out as one of the most breathtaking places to visit in the United States.

With crystal-clear water, the lake offers both water and land activities, including swimming, SUP, hiking, and serene moments to appreciate the surroundings.

Summer is ideal for a visit, but winter provides a stunning view framed by snow, perfect for skiing.

Whether seeking outdoor adventure or peaceful retreat, Lake Tahoe is an excellent choice year-round.

Things to do in Lake Tahoe

  • Tour the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion
  • Look for wildflowers in the summer
  • Take the aerial tram to High Camp
  • Hike the Shirley Canyon Trail

66. Route 66

Route 66 is one of the best US destinations

Driving Route 66 is a top experience for any USA bucket list. This iconic 2,448-mile route passes through nine diverse states, offering a unique perspective of America beyond typical tourist cities.

Along the way, explore quirky neon-filled towns, historical cities, abandoned ghost towns, and national parks like Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Stay at smaller motels to connect with the locals and support the route. For a fulfilling road trip, take your time—three weeks is ideal for the entire journey.

Use guidebooks to navigate and avoid Interstates, as it can get complicated with a Sat Nav.

67. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is one of the best places to visit in the US

Include Napa Valley, California, on your USA bucket list, especially if you love wine.

This picturesque region, known as Northern California’s wine country, offers a relaxing getaway with delicious sips, vineyards set amidst rolling hills, charming boutiques, and small towns.

Stay in various accommodations and indulge in wine tasting and vineyard tours .

While Napa Valley offers diverse activities, sipping and relaxing amid the scenic surroundings should be your primary focus.

Things to do in Napa Valley

  • Take a train ride
  • Eat your through the Napa Valley
  • See the famous geyser
  • Visit wineries that offer more than wine

68. Bluebonnet Trail, Texas

Bluebonnet Trail is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list

Experience the beauty of the Bluebonnet Trail in Texas at least once, ideally during spring when Indian paintbrushes and bluebonnets adorn the Hill Country.

With over 40 miles of mapped driving trails near Ennis, you’ll enjoy a fantastic view. Blooming times vary, but early April is often ideal.

Plan ahead to ensure you don’t miss this mesmerizing experience. If you love the outdoors, add exploring the Bluebonnet Trail to your USA bucket list.

Wrapping Up on Your USA Bucket List

Creating a USA bucket list with fewer than 1,000 places and experiences was a rather challenging task. After all, America is filled with some of the most incredible cities, towns, and outdoor areas on the planet!

Still, I did a pretty good job of showing what each state has to offer. But don’t limit yourself—there’s much more to be seen and epic best places to visit in the USA.

What places would you add to this list? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Did you enjoy this article about the most beautiful places in the USA? Then share it with a friend who might enjoy it too!

Best Places to Visit in the US, Pinterest Graphic

Dee Treloar

Tuesday 23rd of May 2023

I'm looking to see West Virginia and Kentucky to complete my USA bucket list. Can you help!

Thursday 6th of April 2023

No doubt all of these are the best places to explore in the USA. I will explore these places one by one. First of all, I will explore NYC through taking the cherry blossom in nyc.

Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Hi please update this list. Austin does have a sports team. Austin FC. It began playing in 2021. I know it's not one of the big 4 sports, but in Austin, we are very proud and have qualified for the CONCACAF champions league ahead of the biggest teams in the continent. We sold out all 36 games in our first season, the longest streak out of ANY other US team.

Monday 22nd of August 2022

I hope to visit one of this places in usa

Monday 16th of May 2022

This site was cooler than I thought.

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USA Weekend Trips: 26 Perfect Destinations for a Weekend Getaway (2024)

A World in Reach contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you! Read my full disclosure here .

Planning a quick weekend getaway but struggling to decide where to go? Keep reading for the best USA Weekend Trips to take this year!

Whether you’re a college student with classes during the weekdays or working a full-time job with limited vacation time, taking a 2 or 3-day weekend getaway is a great way to scratch your travel itch!

I love taking weekend trips to both new destinations and old favorites.

Why hang out at home watching Netflix all weekend when I could be exploring a new place, trying new foods, and knocking things off my bucket list?

Weekend trips in the USA are also perfect for when you can’t travel internationally.

Sometimes, visiting a different state can feel like you’re visiting a completely different country.

Plus, for me, the excitement of visiting a new place in the United States is just as fun as going abroad!

Are you wanting to take a USA weekend trip soon but struggling to decide where to go? Look no further than this post!

I’ve compiled a list of the best weekend trips in the United States – some that are favorite spots of mine and others that are on my bucket list.

There’s a nice mix of spots on this list, including city breaks, small towns, national parks, and hidden gems.

Whether you want a jam-packed weekend full of sightseeing or a relaxing weekend on a lake or in the mountains, you’ll find a destination here that’s perfect for you!

Table of Contents

Map of the Best US Weekend Trips

Best usa weekend trips, 1. usa weekend trips: savannah, georgia.

Forsyth Fountain in Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia, one of the best USA weekend trips

One of my absolute favorite destinations for a quick weekend getaway in the United States is beautiful Savannah, Georgia .

There’s so much to do in Savannah to see and do on a weekend trip.

The city is home to the largest Historic District in the country.

Here, you’ll find beautiful mansions and historic homes, churches, shops, restaurants, and 22 historic squares.

In the southern part of the Historic District you’ll find Forsyth Park, the oldest and largest park in the city. This is the perfect place to relax, have a picnic, and people watch.

Don’t miss the beautiful Forsyth Fountain in the north end of the park – this fountain is a Savannah icon and one of the most photographed spots in the city.

One of the best parts about the Historic District? You can legally explore with an alcoholic beverage in hand, so grab a to-go drink from one of the spots on River Street ( Wet Willie’s is my favorite) before heading down to explore the Historic District.

Savannah is often said to be the most haunted city in the United States – because of that, there are tons of different Savannah ghost tours.

I highly recommend this Savannah dark history and ghost encounter walking tour .

Ride around in style to Savannah’s spookiest spots on a hearse tour, or opt for an adults-only haunted bar crawl .

You can also spend a few hours exploring the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery in the eastern part of Savannah. This guided cemetery walk is perfect for learning about the cemetery’s history while taking in its haunting beauty.

Savannah is a great city for foodies – don’t miss the chance to try some hearty Southern cuisine. Check out a Savannah food tour or hit up some of the city’s best restaurants.

The Olde Pink House is one of the best restaurants in town, but it is a bit pricey. It’s the perfect spot for a special occasion!

After dinner, get in line for some of the best ice cream in the USA at Leopold’s . Don’t let the long lines scare you off – the wait will be worth it (and the lines move pretty quickly).

Where to Stay in Savannah

The Historic District is the best area to stay in Savannah. The district is very walkable, so you won’t need a car unless you want to venture further afield to Wormsloe Historic Site or Tybee Island .

Hotels in the Historic District are a bit more expensive than hotels in other areas of town, like around the airport or Midtown Savannah. But, the money you’d save in hotel costs will be spent on Ubers to get downtown – just spend a little more on your hotel so that you can walk everywhere.

For an affordable place to stay in the Historic District, check out The Thunderbird Inn or the Holiday Inn Historic District .

I also really like the Hyatt Regency , which is perfectly located right off of River Street.

You can also find Savannah vacation rentals on VRBO – these are perfect for traveling with a group of friends!

Savannah Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Savannah 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in Savannah

BEST WEEKEND TRIPS IN THE USA

2. weekend trip to louisville, kentucky.

The Louisville, Kentucky Skyline at night. Louisville Kentucky is one of the best USA weekend trips.

Outside of visiting for the Kentucky Derby or the Bourbon Trail, Louisville is a city that isn’t on the radar of many tourists.

But, Louisville is definitely a city worth adding to your USA weekend trips bucket list.

Kentucky’s largest city, influenced by both Midwest and Southern culture, is an up-and-coming destination that’s perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

There are so many things to do in Louisville to keep you occupied on a weekend trip.

You can explore downtown, visiting museums like the Louisville Slugger Museum or the free art museum in the 21c Museum Hotel .

You can also walk the Big Four Bridge over to southern Indiana for great views of the Louisville skyline.

Make sure to hang out in NuLu, visiting the shops and restaurants in the city’s hippest neighborhood (don’t miss the delicious Italian food at bar Vetti or ice cream from Louisville Cream ). Try some of the neighborhood’s best bites and learn about its past on a NuLu Food and History Walking Tour .

You can also visit the Kentucky Derby Museum and take a tour of the famed Churchill Downs (and check out a race if there’s one going on during your visit).

Kentucky is known for its Bourbon, and Louisville is a great starting spot for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail .

Visit some of the distilleries located in Louisville, like Angel’s Envy or Michter’s, or take a day trip south to Bardstown – the Bourbon Capital of the World.

Louisville is a great city for foodies. Some of my favorite restaurants in town include Mussel & Bourbon Bar , Hammerheads , The Irish Rover , and Seviche .

The Highlands is home to Louisville’s best nightlife and is where most locals go (avoid the bars at Fourth Street Live in downtown – they’re all tourist traps).

Louisville is within a day’s drive of over half of the US population, making it an easy destination to drive to for the weekend.

You can also fly into Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, which is served by most major airlines as well as budget airlines like Allegiant Air and Spirit.

If you’re not driving into town, you’ll definitely want to rent a car – the best places to visit in Louisville are pretty spread out and the city’s bus system is not the most convenient for getting around.

Where to Stay in Louisville

Most of Louisville’s hotels are located Downtown, near the airport, and in the east end of the city.

My pick for where to stay in Louisville? The AC Hotel Louisville Downtown is located in the middle of NuLu, putting you close to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

The rest of the city is just a quick drive or Uber ride away. It’s also affordable, with rates around $100 per night.

You can find more Louisville hotels on Booking.com , or check for Louisville vacation rentals on VRBO .

Louisville Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Louisville 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in Louisville

BEST UNITED STATES WEEKEND TRIPS

3. washington, dc.

The White House behind a tree in Washington DC

One of the best USA weekend trip destinations is none other than the nation’s capital city: Washington, DC.

The city’s location on the eastern seaboard makes for an easy train or car ride from many US cities. It’s also served by three airports – Reagan International (DCA), Dulles (IAD), and Baltimore (BWI) – if you’re flying in from further afield.

The very best part of visiting Washington, DC? Many of the city’s top things to see and do are completely free! You can easily spend a cheap weekend in DC, only spending money on your hotel and food.

As the US capital city, DC is home to many important governmental sites, monuments, and museums. Of course, you can’t visit DC without saying hi to the President at the White House and seeing the US Capitol Building.

Pay your respects to past presidents, notable figures, and veterans at the various monuments memorials in DC.

Visiting the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, among the many others, will be a highlight of your trip.

Most of the memorials are located around the National Mall, but wear your walking shoes because a lot of them are pretty spaced out. Don’t miss seeing the memorials at night as well, when they’re illuminated.

Washington, DC is home to some of the best museums in the country. The most famous are the various Smithsonian Institutions , like the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum.

All of the Smithsonian Museums are free to enter. Currently, you do need a reserved ticket to visit the Air and Space Museum due to ongoing reservations. Tickets are free and can be reserved online.

Where to Stay in Washington, DC

When planning your DC weekend trip, you’ll want to stay somewhere within walking distance of the city’s main attractions to maximize your time exploring.

Penn Quarter is a great neighborhood to look for a hotel. I loved my stay at the Embassy Suites near the Convention Center – the large rooms are perfect for traveling with family or friends. The free breakfast and happy hour drinks and snacks are a bonus!

For a cheaper option, the citizenM Washington DC Capitol Hotel is a great choice.

Washington, DC Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Washington DC 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in Washington DC

4. New York City

Explored by Kelly Duhigg from Girl with the Passport

Central Park aerial view, Manhattan, New York. Park is surrounded by skyscraper. Beautiful view of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in the center of the park.

One of the best weekend getaways in the USA is New York, New York .

Start your weekend off by checking into one of the charming rooms at Kasa The Duffy . It’s a fantastic place to stay since the rooms are reasonably priced and well-located in the Hell’s Kitchen area.

Once you’ve settled in, walk over to Times Square and enjoy the magnetic, electric hue of this vibrant area.

Afterward, enjoy a Broadway Show (use the TodayTix app to get tickets at 50% off) or see an amazing, modern production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the McKittrich Hotel. It’s entitled Sleep No More and is unique, totally immersive theatrical experience that is not to be missed.

Finally, head back to your hotel and wake up refreshed, ready to explore midtown Manhattan.

Start your second day off with a fresh bagel from Ess-A-Bagel and then walk over to Grand Central Terminal. Take in the constellation-studded ceiling here before visiting the Morgan Public Library.

Take in the stunning exhibitions here before heading to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, and eventually up Fifth Avenue.

Continue on Fifth Avenue, making stops at NYC bucket list spots like Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

When you’re hungry, descend into the basement of the Plaza Hotel and enjoy some of the fantastic food here. Highlights include Lady M Confections and Takumi Taco .

Once you’ve had your fill, visit Central Park and enjoy this expansive green space. Be sure to take some photos near Bethesda Fountain before making your way uptown to the MET and the Guggenheim Museum – the second of which has “pay what you wish admission” on Saturdays between 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Then, end your weekend with a decadent Sunday brunch at Sarabeth’s , a restaurant that serves some of BEST lemon ricotta pancakes ever.

Brooklyn Bridge View from South Street Seaport Area in NYC

Where to Stay in New York City

The 414 Hotel is a unique boutique hotel in the heart of midtown Manhattan, perfectly located for a weekend stay.

You can find more NYC hotels on Booking.com , or check out Hotwire for some insane hotel deals – some up to 60% off regular price!

New York City Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in New York City 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in New York City

READ MORE: The Ultimate New York City Bucket List

BEST WEEKEND TRIPS IN US

5. las vegas, nevada – weekend trips in the usa.

Explored by Erin from Pina Travels

A view of the Mirage Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip - USA weekend getaways

Las Vegas truly has something for everyone, making it one of the best USA weekend trips.

There are the classic things to do, like taking advantage of the city’s party scene, gambling in the casinos, eating at a buffet, and seeing an evening show. But there are plenty of unique and affordable things to do in Las Vegas , too.

Learn about the history of exotic dance in Las Vegas at the Burlesque Hall of Fame . This registered educational non-profit is a small museum that has an incredible collection of donated items.

If you’d like to have the classic Vegas experience, do some casino hopping! The themed casinos on the Strip are an attraction themselves, regardless of if you gamble. You can work your way from Circus Circus all the way south to The Venetian .

For a little bit of art and an incredible photo op, visit the Seven Magic Mountains . This is a public art installation that is on the outskirts of the city, and it’s free to visit.

Most visitors opt to stay on the famous Las Vegas Strip, but if you are willing to venture north to Fremont Street you’ll find that the hotels are more affordable.

Fremont Street has historical significance because it was Las Vegas’s first paved road. The street is home to the “Fremont Street Experience,” a pedestrian mall that has a canopy of lights and hosts street performances and free concerts.

The area is lively and fun, and has its own “hotel corridor,” with rates that are significantly lower compared to the hotels on the strip.

There are many great (and affordable!) restaurants nearby, like AmeriBrunch , a little brunch café that serves delicious, inexpensive breakfasts and coffee.

From Fremont Street, you can easily catch a bus, taxi, or Uber to take you south to the Vegas Strip.

Read More: The Ultimate 4-Day Las Vegas Itinerary

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

Fremont Street is home to many great hotels like The D Casino Hotel and the famous Golden Nugget . If you’d prefer to stay on the Strip, Bally’s Las Vegas is perfectly located in the middle of the Strip and is very affordable.

Las Vegas Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Las Vegas 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in Las Vegas

BEST LONG WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN THE USA

6. boston, massachusetts.

Explored by Nicole Rosania from The Abroad Blog

The Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the best cities in the USA for a weekend trip! It’s one of the most historical cities in the country, and its downtown is easily walkable.

A can’t-miss activity in Boston is to walk the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail runs 2.5 miles throughout downtown Boston, covering 16 Revolutionary War-era sites. You can even take a guided tour of the Freedom Trail to learn even more about the history surrounding the sites.

Begin your journey at the Boston Common Visitor’s Center and wrap up near the North End, Boston’s Italian neighborhood. The North End is a wonderful place to grab dinner. Packed with authentic Italian restaurants, you really can’t go wrong here, but top picks include Trattoria Il Panino and Carmelina’s . Be sure to swing up to Mike’s Pastry afterwards for a cannoli.

While in Boston, be sure to explore Faneuil Hall and the Boston Harbor. Here you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants, along with Boston’s New England Aquarium – the perfect activity for a rainy day.

Head to the Seaport, Boston’s newest neighborhood, for some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. This is where you’ll also find some of Boston’s premier rooftops, including the Envoy Lookout Bar and Deck12 at YOTEL Boston . The Seaport is also a great place to stay in Boston.

Looking for more ideas about how to spend a weekend in Boston ? Consider catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park! Fenway is the oldest stadium in the US and has lots of fun traditions for fans to enjoy. If you’re not able to catch a game, you can also take a guided tour of the iconic ballpark .

Where to Stay in Boston

The Seaport is an up-and-coming neighborhood and a great area to stay when visiting Boston. Aloft Boston Seaport District and YOTEL Boston are both affordable and great for a weekend stay.

There are also a couple of awesome hostels in Boston that are perfect for budget travelers! HI Boston is one of the best in town.

You can also check sites like VRBO for Boston vacation rentals that are perfect for groups of friends!

Boston Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Boston 📍 Click here for the best tours and things to do in Boston

USA WEEKEND TRIPS

7. austin, texas.

Explored by Nikki from She Saves She Travels

The "Greetings from Austin, Capitol of Texas" mural in Austin, T4exas

If you’re looking for a fantastic weekend getaway in the USA, consider Austin, Texas!

Filled with a ton of outdoor activities, excellent restaurants, and great nightlife. Austin is perfect for a couples weekend, bachelor/bachelorette party, girls’ getaway, or even a solo adventure!

The eclectic art scene in Austin is perfect for going mural hunting! You’ll find street art all over downtown and SoCo (South Congress Avenue), so grab your camera and go after some murals. The most popular murals are ‘Greetings from Austin’, ‘I love you so much’, and “You’re My Butter Half”.

This Austin mural tour is a fun way to see all of the city’s best street art!

The food scene definitely makes this weekend in Austin one of the best getaways in the USA. Between the amazing assortment of food trucks to some of the best BBQ spots in Texas, you really cannot be beat.

From breakfast burritos to Jamaican food, vegan dishes, and gourmet grilled cheese, you’ll be sure to find something at an Austin food truck. And bonus – it’s an affordable option for your weekend, too.

Austin is the l ive music capital of the world , which means a whole lot of nightlife! You’ll find live music in most restaurants, and even at the airport! Try out the popular 6th Street or Rainey Street for music, dancing, and more nightlife.

Experience the city’s live music scene on an Austin Live Music Crawl

Before you leave Austin, be sure to hike up Mount Bonnell. A short 106 stone steps will take you to the highest point in Austin where you’ll see the Colorado River. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset or get a great view of the Austin skyline from afar.

Where to Stay in Austin

Hotels in Austin can be on the pricier side. Rates tend to vary quite a bit between dates – check out Booking.com to see all Austin hotels and find one with the right price for your stay.

Sometimes, vacation rentals can be more affordable than hotels – you can find Austin vacation rentals on VRBO .

Austin Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Austin 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Austin

8. New Orleans, Louisiana

Explored by Gabby from The Office Escape Artist

Aerial view of the New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Downtown Skyline

If you’re looking for the perfect long-weekend destination, look no further than New Orleans.

It doesn’t really matter what you’re into – awesome food, partying, culture, or history – because New Orleans offers all that and more .

In terms of food, New Orleans is one of the best cities in the USA. For low-key dining, enjoy a beignet and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde or a muffuletta from Central Grocery . Other dishes that can be found all over the city – and are must-trys! – are po-boys, gumbo, and jambalaya.

Try all of NOLA’s best food on a New Orleans food tour !

For partying, New Orleans is unmatched. You can carry your drinks in the street and even get them to go, so be sure to get a mango-mango daiquiri or a Hurricane from one of the many corner shops. You don’t have to look hard for a party in NOLA… Bourbon Street is a party year-round.

For a unique nightlife experience, why not consider a New Orleans Haunted Pub Crawl ? You’ll learn more about the city’s spooky side all while enjoying a few drinks.

Besides eating and drinking, New Orleans offers so much to do. Take a haunted tour of the French Quarter and hear real-life ghost and murder stories.

Visit an above-ground cemetery and learn why New Orleans uses tombs instead of traditional graves.

Check out a voodoo shop and get your fortune read, or buy a gris-gris bag for good luck.

Take a bicycle tour of the Lower Ninth Ward and learn about the destruction that Hurricane Katrina wreaked on this city.

There is so much to see and discover – and a long weekend will leave you wanting more.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

For a long weekend, you’ll definitely want to stay in the French Quarter or very close to it.

You may be able to find a cheap vacation rental outside the French Quarter but the neighborhood may be less than ideal and the Uber fees will end up costing you a fortune.

Most of your time in the Crescent City will be in the French Quarter so you may as well stay nearby, too. Nearby Frenchman Street is a great alternative – especially if you like art and jazz.

The Old No. 77 Hotel is a charming boutique hotel that’s perfect for a weekend trip. It’s just a few blocks from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. There’s also the NOPSI Hotel – this hotel even has a rooftop pool!

New Orleans Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in New Orleans 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in New Orleans

9. Weekend Getaways in the USA: Nashville, Tennessee

Explored by Michelle from Moyer Memoirs

A view of honky tonks and bars on Broadway in Nashville Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee is a great weekend getaway destination that’s filled with activities and nightlife to make for an exciting vacation.

Nashville is called Music City due to its musical roots dating back centuries ago. However, even today it is a focal point in the music industry with over 200 recording studios as well as ‘listening rooms’ and cafes for locals and tourists alike, which function as performance outlets for up-and-coming artists.

Broadway is the main street in Nashville. It is populated on both sides of the street by Honky-Tonk bars providing a nice variety of free nightly entertainment in the multi-level establishments and rooftop bars. Consider a Nashville pub crawl to experience some of Broadway’s best bars and enjoy a drink or two at each one!

Pedal Bars cruise up and down Broadway with party-going guests singing, drinking, and pedaling to the music. You can also find Party Tractors – tractors pulling mobile dance floor complete with a DJ and drinks – cruising the street!

The combination of lively bars, live music, and fun things to do makes Nashville a popular destination for 21st birthday getaways and bachelorette parties.

Other must-see Music City venues include the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame. The Grand Ole Opry , located northeast of downtown, is another must, as well as the Ryman Auditorium – the original home of the Opry that’s also known as “The Mother Church of Country Music.”

Outside of Broadway, many Nashville wineries also offer entertainment in their vineyards while you taste samples of their latest spirits.

Nashville also has a very prominent art scene. There are galleries, art festivals, and art nights to take part in. Street art is also very popular. Morning mural tours along 12 South and other areas around the city are a great way to start the day and get some exercise. There are always over a handful of murals within a short walking distance.

Don’t forget to spend an afternoon at one of the parks around Nashville. Centennial Park, Riverfront Park, Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park, and Sevier Park all have trails, beautiful scenery, picnic areas, and other sites to see.

There are a lot of great places to eat in Nashville. The honky-tonk bars on Broadway and listening rooms around the city offer good dining in addition to the entertainment. The must-try Nashville dishes include spicy chicken from Hattie B’s , biscuits from Biscuit Love , and pulled pork or BBQ from many places around Music City.

Where to Stay in Nashville

One of the best budget-friendly places to stay in Nashville is the AC Hotel Nashville Downtown , which is located just a couple blocks away from Broadway.

Another fun choice is the Graduate Nashville , a bright and fun (and very pink) hotel in Midtown. Make sure to check out White Limozeen , the hotel’s Dolly Parton-themed rooftop bar. Even if you’re not staying at this hotel, the bar is definitely worth a visit.

Nashville Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in New Orleans 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in New Orleans

10. Charleston, South Carolina

Explored by Anna from PaddlingSpace

Pink, purple, and green buildings behind palm trees on Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is the perfect place for a USA weekend getaway as there is plenty to see and do in the city within a small radius. This means you won’t spend your weekend driving back and forth, but sightseeing instead.

If you only have a weekend to explore the city then you should spend most of your time downtown. Free Tours by Foot offers multiple wonderful free walking tours of the city, though you are expected to tip your guide.

These tours are a great way to see a lot of Charleston’s top sights, including the French Quarter, Rainbow Row, and the Pineapple Fountain.

If you’re interested in history, take the ferry over to Fort Sumter , where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

You’ll also want to spend some time just getting lost in the neighborhoods downtown, walking along the Battery and in White Point Gardens. If you want to get outside of the city, take a kayak tour with Charleston Outdoor Adventures .

I recommend this eco kayaking tour of the marshes surrounding Charleston !

You’re sure to work up an appetite and Charleston is known for its delicious cuisine .

Brown Dog Deli is a popular spot for locals and very affordable. The Rarebit is also a cute throwback diner. Poogan’s Porch is definitely a can’t-miss for tasty Southern food. Make sure to visit Kaminsky’s if you have a sweet tooth. There are incredible places to eat in Charleston everywhere you look.

Want to try all of Charleston’s best eats? This Charleston food tour is perfect!

Where to Stay in Charleston

The NotSo Hostel is a great choice for solo travelers or those visiting Charleston on a budget. The hostel has dorms and private rooms and is within walking distance of several great restaurants.

Vacation rentals in Charleston are the perfect option if you’re traveling with a group of friends or if you want a beach house a bit out of the city.

Charleston Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Charleston 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Charleston

11. San Francisco, California Weekend Getaway

Explored by Travel Girl from Let’s Jet, Kids!

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, one of the best USA weekend trips

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, city life, or history on your weekend trip, San Francisco has it all!

For an outdoor adventure, head to Golden Gate Park to experience a beautiful Japanese Garden full of plants, art, sculptures, bridges, and water.

Then, take an Uber or Lyft over to the Sports Basement where you can rent an e-bike (or regular bike) and cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge!

This beautiful ride will land you at the famous view point of the bridge on the other side.

You can also take in fresh air as you walk along Fisherman’s Wharf. Stop for a fresh seafood lunch at one of San Francisco’s best restaurants before heading to Ghirardelli Square for a massive selection of chocolate-everything (including some of the best ice cream in the USA )!

Of course, you can’t miss out walking up the side of Lombard Street. This manicured walkway climbs up the side of the most crooked street in the world, containing 8 switchbacks that cars maneuver down.

For an outdoor cultural experience, head to Little Italy and dine at one of many authentic restaurants. You can also head to Chinatown and do a little shopping and taste some authentic treats like Dragon’s Breath.

Looking for something more urban and upscale? Go to Union Square where you can relax in the beautiful main plaza area, watch vendors and artists, or just hang out and enjoy the scene. You can, of course, shop around this upscale area (Tiffany’s, anyone?) of San Francisco as well.

History lovers can take the ferry out to Alcatraz ( reserve in advance ) and discover the famous prison of Al Capone, and the movie The Rock . You can also take a classic ride on the San Francisco cable cars, the only ones in the world that still operate manually! No matter what travel style you dig, there is something for everyone to enjoy in San Francisco , one of the best USA weekend trip destinations!

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Located in San Francisco’s Nob Hill/Union Square neighborhood, White Swan Inn is a boutique hotel with a unique design and complimentary breakfast served daily.

San Francisco Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in San Francisco 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in San Francisco

12. Mendocino, California

Explored by Katherine Fenech from Bright Lights of America

California coastline from Mendocino Botanical Gardens

The Mendocino and Fort Bragg stretch of California coastline is the perfect weekend getaway from San Francisco.

There are so many things to do in Fort Bragg and Mendocino that you’ll want to return for more awesome weekend trips.

There are outdoor adventures aplenty – from kayaking in the Pacific Ocean or the Noyo River, to hiking the beautiful trails in Russian Gulch State Park and Jughandle State Natural Reserve.

If you’ve not ridden a railbike with a bestie or other half before, head to the California Western Railroad . Hop on a pedal-powered railway contraption and take yourselves on a tour through the magical redwood forest.

This railbike tour is one of the best things to do near Mendocino!

If you prefer to kick back and relax, appoint a designated driver, then check out some of the wineries on the Highway 128 Wine Road. There are 31 to choose from that won’t break your budget. Try Yorkville Cellars , Maple Creek Winery , or Foursight Wines for starters.

Don’t miss Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens for some truly Instagram-worthy moments across the 47 acres of blooms, cacti, and sculptures. The gardens butts up to the coastal bluffs, so you can enjoy the rocky California coastline.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Mendocino and Fort Bragg without visiting the renowned Glass Beach! Strewn with thousands of pieces of colored glass, this beach is a must-see, just remember not to take the glass home with you.

After a long day’s hiking, stop at North Coast Brewing Co. Tap Room for a delicious dinner paired with local beers. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try La Playa Mexican Restaurant for dinner. And at breakfast or lunch, you can’t go past Egghead’s Restaurant – a Wizard of Oz themed spot.

Where to Stay in Mendocino

There are lots of affordable places to stay in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Try the North Cliff Hotel , Mendocino Hotel & Garden , or camp at one of the state parks if you’re budget-conscious.

You can also see Mendocino vacation rentals on VRBO .

Mendocino Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Mendocino 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Mendocino

13. Mount Shasta, California

Explored by Sumeeta from Sumeeta Seeks

Mountains and a lake in Mt Shasta California

One of the best weekend getaways in the USA is in the Northern California town of Mount Shasta.

Only five hours north of San Francisco and just an hour south of Oregon, it’s in the perfect location for a weekend escape on the West Coast.

Mount Shasta is filled to the brim with fun things to do including stunning nature, great restaurants, and a vibrant spiritual community. Best of all, it isn’t overrun with tourists so you’ll feel like you have the place all to yourself!

The region offers great skiing and winter sports during the winter, and in the other seasons, there are a ton of amazing hikes for hiking lovers.

Some of the best include hiking from Castle Lake to Heart Lake, hiking to Castle Dome in Castle Crags State Park, and hiking any of the awesome trails on the mountain of Mt. Shasta itself.

If you prefer relaxation, you can laze about and swim in gorgeous spots including Mossbrae Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, and Lake Siskiyou.

You can finish up an awesome weekend day in nature with some spirituality and an incredible meal.

Be sure to check out the Gateway Peace Garden where you can say a prayer or meditate. Afterwards grab some food at one of the best eateries in town – Seven Suns for vegan fare, Lilys for cafe grub, Crave for Mexican and BBQ, or Bistro No. 107 for burgers and a great selection of microbrews and wines.

In neighboring Dunsmuir, local favorites include Café Maddalena for fine dining and Dunsmuir Brewery Works for local brewery vibes. Mount Shasta is a hidden gem you will be sure to love for your weekend getaway!

Where to Stay in Mt. Shasta

LOGE Mt. Shasta is a hotel-hostel hybrid that features standard hotel rooms, hostel dorms, and camping. There are also great community spaces like an outdoor firepit and a café – perfect if you want to socialize during your trip!

You can find more hotels in Mount Shasta on Booking.com , or find the perfect cozy cabin or chalet on VRBO .

Mount Shasta Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Mount Shasta

14. Boise, Idaho

Explored by Christina from Live a Wilder Life

A street in Downtown Boise, Idaho, including Main + Marketplace shopping center, shops, bars, and more

One of the best weekend getaways in the US is the flourishing and underrated city of Boise, Idaho.

Boise is in a major growth stage and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. This thriving city is a knock-out choice for anyone who wants to enjoy nature with big-city amenities.

One of the best things to do in Boise is rent a bike and travel down the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile path that takes you along the river where you can take a dip in the river, stop at a hip eatery, or take in Pacific Northwest artists at the Boise Art Museum.

You’ll want to spend time exploring the walkable downtown area where you can visit Freak Alley, the largest outdoor mural gallery in the North West.

For beer lovers, Boise has a happening craft beer scene, so you’ll want to take some time to do a Boise brewery tour to get a sample of Boise’s best ale.

To end the day, take the moderate hike to Table Rock to get amazing views of the city and watch the sunset go down on the “treasure valley.”

Where to Stay in Boise

When looking for lodging in Boise, you’ll want to stay in Downtown Boise for a central location that doesn’t require a rental car. The Hyatt Place Downtown Boise has a walking score of 100 on TripAdvisor and also includes free breakfast!

If you prefer to “live like a local,” get a rental home in the North End where you can admire the beautiful craftsman homes but still be close enough to downtown to enjoy the city.

Boise Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Boise 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Boise

15. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Explored by Debbie Fettback from WorldAdventurists

A view of Philadelphia City Hall from atop a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Philadelphia was the first capital city of the United States and is full of history. With its iconic historical monuments and innovative museums, the City of Brotherly Love is a wonderful weekend getaway.

The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. It is located within the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historic Park. No tickets are required but arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Visit Independence Hall to see where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed. Tickets are free for this too, but you must make a reservation.

Turn up the Rocky theme song on your phone and get pumped up as you run up the famous Rocky Steps in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Then, learn about notorious criminals at the Eastern State Penitentiary and see where Al Capone and Willie Sutton served time. It is both eerie and fascinating to wander between the walls of this U.S. Historical Landmark.

The Benjamin Franklin Museum explores the legacy of one of Philadelphia’s most famous citizens. Furthermore, learn about the lives of early Philadelphians in Elfreth’s Alley.

A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is a great way to get to know the city and to have an easy way to find all the major landmarks and attractions. If you want to see it all, don’t forget a Philadelphia Sightseeing Pass !

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City is right in the heart of Philadelphia. The hotel is near attractions such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Reading Terminal Market.

Philadelphia Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Philadelphia 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Philadelphia

16. Baltimore, Maryland

Explored by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler

A view of Baltimore Harbor and the Baltimore Skyline

Baltimore is nestled comfortably in the middle of the East Coast. It’s accessibility makes it a great weekend getaway in the USA.

One of the best things to do in Baltimore is explore the Inner Harbor. It’s an icon of the city and is home to a number of attractions.

The USS Constellation is a historic ship built in the mid 1800’s and used during the Civil War. Explore the numerous museums around the harbor. Get a bite to eat at Miss Shirley’s Cafe or Phillips Seafood for some fresh crab!

For incredible boutique shopping, head to Fells Point. This area of Baltimore had residents before America was even a country!

Fans of street art can visit the colorful Graffiti Alley for a glimpse into the local culture. You can visit Edgar Allen Poe’s house and final resting place near Lexington Market.

If you need a break from the city, head to Druid Hill Park for some open space. There’s a conservatory and botanical gardens in the park. Keep an eye out for a Druid carved into an old tree as well!

The ease of access and variety of things to do in the area makes Baltimore one of the best weekend getaways in the United States.

Where to Stay in Baltimore

The trendy and affordable Hotel RL Baltimore Inner Harbor is conveniently located near all of the Inner Harbor’s top attractions.

You can also search Baltimore vacation rentals on VRBO .

Baltimore Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Baltimore 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Baltimore

17. St. Petersburg, Florida

Explored by Destiny Snyder from Guided by Destiny

Palm trees and tall buildings in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida has so much to offer. It is truly one of the most special places in Florida. Whether you’re looking for white-sand beaches or a lively downtown vibe, St. Pete has got you covered.

If you’re wanting to spend some time in the downtown area, make sure to check out what I believe are some of the best things to do in Downtown St. Petersburg – including a brewery and coffee shop hop! There is such a fun, unique selection all within walking distance of each other.

3 Daughters is an amazing brewery that is a huge indoor and outdoor venue with tons of games as well as a nice variety of drink options. You may have a hard time choosing between all of their delicious ciders and beers, but no worries – they offer flights.

When it comes to the foodie scene, the only thing you’re going to struggle with is narrowing down which places you have the time to hit. If you’re a brunch person, be sure to check out The Library !

Aside from the foodie scene, St. Pete is also rich in art and history. Enjoy noticing all of the fun murals as you wander the streets (or rent a bicycle and see them that way).

Aside from Europe, St. Pete houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s work, so grab some tickets to the Dali Museum while you’re here. And of course, don’t forget to kick back, relax, and unwind with a fun tropical drink on the white sands of St. Pete Beach.

Where to Stay in St. Petersburg

The stylish and affordable Avalon Hotel is located in downtown St. Pete, perfect for exploring on foot.

Rather stay on the beach? Prices are a bit higher here, but the Plaza Beach Hotel has reasonable rates and is located right on the beach.

You can also check out VRBO for St. Pete vacation rentals – including beach houses!

St. Petersburg Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in St. Petersburg 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in St. Petersburg

18. Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, Florida

Explored by Lori from Naples Florida Travel Guide

A shrub and tree-lined walkway along a kayak trail in Fort Myers, Florida

Situated on the Caloosahatchee River just minutes from Florida’s southwest Gulf coast is Fort Myers, Florida and nearby Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, one of the best weekend getaways in the US.

Just a two hour flight from most major east coast and mid-west hubs into the international airport, Fort Myers is a bustling city surrounded by water.

Explore the revitalized retro downtown, and grab lunch at the City Tavern , a great bar with live music and pub style food. The nearby Millennial Brewing Co. is a favorite as well.

History buffs will love visiting the Edison and Ford Estates, the winter homes of good friends Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Fort Myers has great kayaking trails , with rentals that are easy on the wallet. Kayaking at Manatee Park or late afternoon shelling at Bunche Beach all make for a relaxing weekend. Then head to Fort Myers Beach for dinner on the water.

For the best shelling in the area, head to Sanibel Island. Pay to park and the beach and shells are free. Rent a bike and pedal the dedicated bike path from one end of the island to the other. Spend a few hours paddling the mangroves at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Grab a bite to eat at The Lazy Flamingo , always a winner for an inexpensive place to eat on Sanibel. And be sure to catch a fiery sunset from Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel or the Fort Myers Beach pier.

Where to Stay in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island

As for where to stay, small beach cottage rentals on Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach are still an inexpensive option for the weekend and are super family friendly.

For hotels, you can find places to stay in Fort Myers or Sanibel Island on Booking.com .

Fort Myers and Sanibel Island Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Fort Myers 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Sanibel Island 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do around Fort Myers and Sanibel Island

19. Asheville, North Carolina

Explored by Carrie Mann from Trains, Planes and Tuk Tuks

weekend trip destinations usa

Asheville, NC is one of the top weekend getaways in the United States. This little mountain town has it all – architecture, an incredible food scene, craft breweries, coffee shops, and of course, the mountains.

With just a weekend in Asheville, spend one day in the city and the other day outside. The top urban things to do include visiting the galleries in the River Arts District and exploring the charming shops downtown. The Biltmore Estate is another option, although the admission price is pretty steep.

On your second day, rent a car and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hike to waterfalls at Graveyard Fields, climb Mount Pisgah, and watch the sunset from Black Balsam Knob. These are just a few of the easy hikes near Asheville you could check out.

Asheville is a foodie city. Don’t miss brunch at Sunny Point Cafe – it’s 100% worth the line. Taco Billy and Biscuit Head are other good options in the morning, and Summit Coffee is the place to get your caffeine fix.

The best barbecue is at 12 Bones Ribs (although Luella’s and Buxton Hall are a close second and third). For dinner, Chai Pani is an essential stop.

For something a little more special, try Limones or Rhubarb .

Asheville leads the East Coast in breweries per capita. Stroll around the South Slope and stop in for a flight wherever looks appealing. Eurisko and Burial are top-notch. Give Wicked Weed a skip (it’s a tourist trap) and try the sours at off-the-beaten-path Twin Leaf instead. If you’re up for a drive to East AVL, Highland Brewing is the brewery that started it all – and is still the best in the city.

Where to Stay in Asheville

Downtown Asheville is full of awesome hotels. Aloft Asheville Downtown is perfectly located with mountain views – and it’s pet friendly! Parking is available for just $10 a night.

Prefer a cabin in the mountains or a luxe downtown condo? VRBO has got you covered!

Asheville Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Asheville 🏠 Click here for the best Asheville cabins and vacation rentals 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Asheville

20. Wilmington, North Carolina

Explored by MacKenzie from Rainbow Travel Life

A view of Kure Beach, one of the best beaches near Wilmington North Carolina and a perfect place for a weekend getaway

Wilmington, NC is a great choice for a weekend getaway from many of the surrounding cities like Raleigh or Charlotte. The things to do in Wilmington, NC span from awesome beaches to downtown shops and walks!

The best beach for budget travelers is just 20 minutes from Wilmington proper, Kure Beach. It has free parking and several access points, but it does get busy in the summer!

You can also visit the Fort Fisher Recreation Area and historic sites while you are there.

Another inexpensive activity that makes Wilmington a great weekend getaway is exploring New Hanover County Arboretum. Arboretums are fairly common, but the one in Wilmington is unique because of its cute purple and yellow house and sculpture art (like a gnome!) throughout.

It feels like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale when you visit, plus you can enjoy the flowers and plants in bloom.

Lovers of history can also enjoy themselves by exploring the 230-block historic district/downtown. There are three historic houses (the most popular being Bellamy Mansion), a riverwalk, an old cotton exchange turned into a mini-mall, and shops and restaurants aplenty.

Learn about Wilmington on this History and Architecture Walking Tour !

The Riverwalk is a scenic 1.75-mile stroll, and it was voted 2nd best in America according to USA Today. You can even see the USS North Carolina (open for tours) across the Cape Fear River!

Downtown also features dozens of unique shops like Black Cat Shoppe, Cape Fear Rum Cake, and Old Books on Front. There’s also plenty of clothing and souvenir stores if you are into that.

For cheap food, visit the college-student staple Island’s Fresh Mex Grill downtown. If you want to venture towards the university, Sealevel City Vegan Diner also has reasonable prices and yummy food.

Where to Stay in Wilmington

The Hampton Inn in Downtown Wilmington is perfect if you’re wanting to stay within walking distance of the Wilmington Historic District and Riverwalk. Rooms are decently affordable and also include free breakfast.

Wilmington Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Wilmington 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Wilmington

21. Seaside, Oregon

Explored by Chantelle from Flannels or Flip Flops

The sandy beach and an American flag in Seaside, Oregon

Seaside is one of the best stops on the Oregon Coast and makes a fantastic weekend getaway! It the cutest little town, and there is so much to do.

The beach is the first fun thing about Seaside. The beach is wide and sandy. There is even a swing set on the beach! This is a great kite flying beach too.

The little town of Seaside is basically packed into a few streets, so it’s easily walkable. There are a ton of cute little shops along the main street.

There is also the Carousel Mall which contains laser tag, video games, a few shops, and of course a working carousel.

Another must-do in Seaside is the tiny aquarium where you get to feed the seals. The aquarium isn’t too exciting, and is very small, for a few bucks you can buy fish and feed the seals. They are so funny and will act silly to get your fish (they are also well-fed, so they aren’t dependent on this food).

However, the most fun you will have in Seaside is to visit Seaside Inverted Experience . It’s a blast, and you’ll leave with great photo souvenirs to make your Instagram followers jealous! Definitely don’t leave town without trying this!

There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Seaside either! There are fish and chips places, ice cream and candy shops, and bars throughout. Seaside Brewery is a great place for lunch and dinner with awesome drinks! It’s an old jail, now brewery.

There is also karaoke at Twisted Fish Steakhouse and Sports Lounge which is super fun!

Where to Stay in Seaside

There are many affordable hotels and house rentals in Seaside, and because its so small, there isn’t an inconvenient place to stay. You can walk from most anywhere. You can check out all Seaside hotels on Booking.com , or find a rental house on VRBO .

Seaside Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Seaside

22. Broken Bow, Oklahoma Weekend Trip

Explored by Monica Champagne from Champagne on Deck

The lake and dock at Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow Oklahoma

Broken Bow, Oklahoma is a well-loved getaway for any outdoor lover looking to escape to the woods for some quiet time mixed with the small-town charm of trendy restaurants, wine tastings, live music, and sassy boutiques.

There is something for all types of travelers in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Hike to waterfalls on the Friends Trail, the newest trail to open up in 15 years. Kayak the Mountain Fork River, explore Beavers Bend State Park, or explore the deer-populated woods by horseback or train.

Dine in Hochatown at places such as Grateful Head Pizza Oven and Taproom or the Hochatown Saloon .

Sip local brew at Beavers Bend Brewery or locally fermented and produced wine at Girls Gone Wine .

Shop Trendy boutiques featuring the area’s unique personality of glamping sass like Hochatime, Savvy Chix, or Shabby Shack.

Broken Bow is a great destination to visit year-round. If you’d like to partake in water activities, visit in May or June when the temperatures are warm.

For lower rates, go in October or November and witness the colorful fall foliage.

Where to Stay in Broken Bow

Beavers Bend State park offers cabin, tent, and RV camping along the shores of beautiful Broken Bow Lake. For a more glamping experience, Broken Bow will more than deliver.

Extravagant cabins ranging in all sizes are available for rent on VRBO , such as Misty Blue Cabin or the Holder Hill Honeymoon Cabin .

You can find more places to stay in Broken Bow on Booking.com .

Broken Bow Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Broken Bow 🏠 Click here for the best vacation rentals in Broken Bow

23. Joshua Tree, California

Explored by Katy Shaw from A Rambling Unicorn

weekend trip destinations usa

Joshua Tree is a fun weekend destination for nature lovers and art lovers alike.

While most visitors to the area come to see the National Park, there are lots of interesting things to do near Joshua Tree as well. The small town of Joshua Tree is filled with a surprising number of random art installations, vintage treasures, and quirky sculptures.

The World Famous Crochet Museum is a good example. Located downtown in an old Fotomat Kiosk, the museum is a tiny shrine filled with crocheted animals in every shape, color, and size.

For art on a larger scale, the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Museum features 10 acres of impressive sculptures made from junked materials.

While you’re in town, whet your whistle at the Joshua Tree Saloon or browse through the Joshua Tree Farmers Market to connect with the local community.

Unique attractions are abound in the nearby area as well. In the neighboring town of Yucca Valley, Sky Village Swap Meet is filled with 7 acres of outdoor vendors, art, and recycled treasures.

Perched on a hillside above town, Desert Christ Park is home to over 40 steel-reinforced concrete statues depicting biblical scenes.

For those willing to drive a bit further, Salvation Mountain is a literal man-made mountain covered with thousands of gallons of bright paint and religious sayings.

Where to Stay in Joshua Tree

The best time to visit Joshua Tree is in spring or fall as temperatures soar in the summer months. Since it is near a National Park, however, the lodging can be expensive during these times.

There are 8 excellent campgrounds inside the park , but they fill up fast – make reservations early. Other camping options include wilderness backpacking inside of the park or Bureau of Land Management land outside of the park. Joshua Tree vacation rentals are another good option.

Rather stay in a hotel? You can find hotels near Joshua Tree on Booking.com .

Joshua Tree Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in Joshua Tree 🏠 Click here for the best vacation rentals in Joshua Tree 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in Joshua Tree

24. South Lake Tahoe, California Weekend Escape

Explored by Ann Marks from The Unorthodox Traveler

Large rocks on the edges of South Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada

South Lake Tahoe is one of those rare destinations with stunning natural beauty and world-class resorts. The sheer beauty of this alpine lake nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains calls to travel and adventure enthusiasts.

Believe it or not, but this lake at over 6,000 in elevation has some outstanding beaches! If you care to sit back and relax, enjoy some beach time while checking out the snow-capped mountains.

The lake straddles the California and Nevada state line. If you are looking for 24/7 entertainment, just cross the street into Nevada! The casinos   offer hotel rooms (look for deals online), gambling, entertainment, and restaurants. 

Heavenly Village  offers something for everyone. The village has over 40 shops, restaurants, and live music. There is also a movie theater, ice-skating (in the winter), and miniature golf to help pass the time.

A genuinely unique activity is to ride the  Heavenly Gondola! The 2.4 mile ride to the 10,067 feet summit will leave you speechless! Head to the top of the mountain for picturesque views.

Want more to do once you reach the top? You can access a series of hiking trails from here. These maps features the trails and amenities.

Emerald Bay State Park  offers stunning panoramic views of the granite cliffs, mountains, and lake

If you enjoy history and “castles,” then visit the historic Vikingsholm. The mansion was built in 1929 and is a prime example of Scandinavian architecture. The estate is open for tours in the summer months.

Add some unforgettable moments in your life here in South Lake Tahoe!

Where to Stay in South Lake Tahoe

Basecamp Tahoe South  is a fun hotel, beer garden, and place to chill. Each room has a California adventure theme. The courtyard is an inviting open space to sit back and relax, enjoy a cold brew, or play a game of corn hole.

South Lake Tahoe Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels in South Lake Tahoe 🏠 Click here for the best vacation rentals in South Lake Tahoe 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe

25. Everglades National Park, Florida

Explored by Victoria from Guide Your Travel

An alligator peeping over the water in Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors and getting back in touch with nature.

At 1.5 million acres, this national park is huge so there is always plenty to see and do.

Hiking, fishing, camping, boating and water sports are some of the most popular activities for tourists in the Everglades.

Of course, a tour on a traditional airboat is an absolute must-do. You might even be able to spot an alligator if you’re lucky.

This is the top-rated Everglades airboat tour (1400+ 5-star reviews!)

Airboat tours are made for tourists and might not be the right choice for you if you’re looking for a more authentic experience. A fantastic option is to go on a kayaking tour instead which will truly help you appreciate the beauty of the Everglades National Park.

You’ll be able to enter the maze of mangrove forests and spot rare birds. It’s a truly memorable experience and especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset.

Couple kayaking together in mangrove river of the Keys, Florida, USA. Tourists kayakers touring the river of Islamorada.

Where to Stay near Everglades National Park

Miami is a great starting point for a weekend trip to the Everglades but you could also stay in one of the small towns located close to the park. There are a variety of budget hotel options available although one of the cheapest ways to see the park will be to camp at a nearby campsite.

Ivey House Everglades Adventures Hotel is an adorable bed and breakfast located right outside of the national park. You can find more hotels and B&Bs near Everglades National Park on Booking.com .

Vacation rentals are also a great choice when looking for places to stay in the Everglades – find the perfect spot on VRBO .

Everglades National Park Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels near Everglades National Park 🏠 Click here for the best vacation rentals near the Everglades 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do in the Everglades

26. Acadia National Park, Maine for a Weekend

Explored by Neha from Travel Melodies

weekend trip destinations usa

One of the best weekend trips on the East Coast of the USA is to Acadia National Park.

This park, spread over 47,000 acres by the Atlantic Ocean, boasts, rocky coastline, green forests, iconic lighthouses, and magnificent vistas.

Acadia can be explored by driving along the Park Loop Road, a 27-mile scenic road passing along the major attractions of the park.

Some of the attractions include Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff, where the ocean waves crash onto the cliffs and rocks. Sand beach, surrounded by mountains, is another popular spot.

Cadillac Mountain is the best place to get a dazzling view of this beautiful park – especially during sunrise. It does get very windy at the top, make sure to bring a jacket. The summit can be reached by driving or hiking.

Where to Stay near Acadia National Park

There are campgrounds inside the park that are a great way to stay close to the nature, but they need to be booked well in advance.

There are also many hotels near Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor that are a great choice. Bar Harbor, the small town near the park, also has many shops and places to eat.

You can see all hotels in Bar Harbor on Booking.com , or search for a vacation rental near the park on VRBO .

Acadia National Park Travel Resources 🛏 Click here for top-rated hotels near Acadia National Park 🏠 Click here for the best vacation rentals near Acadia National Park 📍 Click here for the best tours and fun things to do near Acadia NP

There are so many amazing weekend getaway destinations in the USA – it’s a good thing you have 52 weekends in a year, right?

With all of these wonderful places, it’ll be hard to narrow it down to one destination.

So, what are you waiting for? Start putting those free weekends to good use by planning your next USA weekend trip!

Where will you go on your next USA weekend trip?

Pin this on Pinterest for future weekend trip planning!

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After traveling outside of the US for the first time while studying abroad, I quickly developed a love for travel and an obsession for exploring as much of the world as possible. Now, I'm on a mission to teach college students, young adults, and anyone else who wants to see the world how to travel while minimizing their expenses and maximizing their experiences.

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15 Best Weekend Beach Getaways in the US

From the beautiful California coast to the sunny Florida Keys, these are the best weekend beach getaways in the U.S.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

weekend trip destinations usa

We could all use a beach vacation every now and again, but taking a weeklong trip to a faraway coastal destination isn't always possible.

Enter: weekend beach getaways. When you're in need of some sand and surf, but short on time, a rejuvenating weekend trip is the perfect way to get your fix before heading back to work on Monday (or Tuesday, if you can squeeze in a three-day weekend). From the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest to the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore and the relaxing beach resorts of the Florida Keys , there's a perfect beach getaway for every type of traveler.

We've rounded up 15 of the best weekend beach getaways from major cities around the U.S., so you can start planning your next escape.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Get out in nature and enjoy the stunning rocky beaches of Olympic National Park in Washington. A perfect weekend trip from Seattle or Portland, Olympic National Park is an ideal destination for those looking to explore the great outdoors during their beach weekend getaway. Ruby Beach is known for its incredible rock formations, piles of driftwood, and active tide pools. Kalaloch Beach and Rialto Beach (known for the Hole in the Wall tide pools ) are other popular beaches in the park. There are several campsites, cabins, and lodges available for your stay so you never have to leave the area. If you do want a break from the beach, the park's nearby Hoh Rain Forest is a great place to hike — its lush, green foliage will be a stark contrast to the rocky shores just a few miles away.

The Hamptons, New York

If you're a New Yorker looking for a beach weekend getaway, the Hamptons is a natural choice. East Hampton, Southampton, and Montauk are among the most popular destinations, and they're all worth visiting, thanks to their beautiful hotels, great shopping, delicious food, and of course, pristine beaches. Gurney's Montauk is a luxury hotel offering 158 rooms, suites, and beachfront cottages with ocean views and a private beach. The Baker House 1650 in East Hampton is a charming choice, as is Baron's Cove in Sag Harbor.

Monterey County, California

Covering some of the most picturesque spots on the California coast, Monterey County is perfect for a beach getaway from San Francisco . Opt to stay in a charming waterfront town like Carmel or Monterey to enjoy great local dining and sandy beaches. Try the L'Auberge Carmel , a historic Relais & Châteaux property just blocks from the beach. This area is heaven for golfers, too, with several stunning courses located on the water.

Laguna Beach, California

Although there are several great beaches in Los Angeles , sometimes you just want to get away. An hour's drive from downtown L.A., Laguna Beach feels like a vacation from the city without having to go too far. Relax on the beach, see marine creatures in the tide pools, or enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, or skimboarding, which actually started in Laguna. Book a stay at the five-star Montage Laguna Beach or The Ranch at Laguna Beach for a luxurious weekend away.

Saugatuck, Michigan

About a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Chicago and less than three hours from Detroit, Saugatuck, Michigan , is an ideal destination for a Midwestern beach getaway. On this slice of Lake Michigan shoreline, you can lounge on the beach and soak up the sun or go for a refreshing swim (no need to worry about sharks here).

This area is known as "the art coast of Michigan," so be sure to check out the local galleries or the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for a dose of culture during your beach vacation. Plus, with outdoor activities like kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, and hiking, there's really something for everyone here. Try The Hotel Saugatuck , a charming boutique property in the Historic District, for your stay.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia

Escape Baltimore for a weekend and enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of Assateague Island National Seashore , located just a three-hour drive from the city. This 37 mile-long island is best known for the wild horses that roam its sandy shores, so get your camera ready for unique wildlife photography opportunities (while maintaining a safe distance from the animals, of course). Hiking, swimming, surfing, birding, and kayaking are among the many other activities visitors can enjoy in this park. Oceanfront campsites also make Assateague Island one of the most scenic places to camp in the U.S. , so bring a tent and your camping supplies to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors for a weekend.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The string of barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks in North Carolina are perfect when you need a heavy dose of sand and surf in a peaceful, quaint setting. Duck, North Carolina, is located just under five hours from Washington, D.C. by car, making it a great destination for a long weekend away from the nation's capital.

The Outer Banks are also home to some of the best beaches in North Carolina — Nags Head, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Ocracoke are just a handful of the destinations worth visiting in this scenic region. The area is a prime camp spot and this is one of the best ways to experience the beach, but there are also rental options as well as hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks .

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Located an hour and a half to two hours from Boston by car (depending on where on the Cape you're going), Cape Cod is the quintessential Massachusetts beach weekend getaway. There are a number of quaint towns to choose from, including Hyannis, Provincetown, and Chatham. Of course, when it comes to lounging on the sand, you can't beat the Cape Cod National Seashore , which offers six swimming beaches. The Coast Guard Beach is a family-friendly option, while mile-long Nauset Light Beach offers great surfing. For luxury accommodations, head to the Chatham Bars Inn right on the beach.

Florida Keys, Florida

The three-and-a-half-hour drive from Miami to Key West is one of the most scenic journeys any traveler could ever take. With stunning views of the islands and ocean, plus plenty of places to stop for a slice of Key lime pie, this is truly the ultimate beach road trip , and it can be done in a weekend if you live in or around Miami.

Once you arrive in Key West, home to some of the prettiest beaches in Florida, you can enjoy the shore, visit the southernmost point in the continental United States, or check out the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory . Get a room at The Gates Hotel Key West for a bright, airy escape with a rum bar. Finish the day with a seafood dinner and sunset cruise, and you've got a perfect weekend.

Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island is the closest beach destination to Atlanta , so it's the perfect weekend escape when you want a break from the city traffic. There are plenty of beautiful Georgia beaches to choose from, but Tybee is great because it has something for everyone. North Beach is a popular spot to enjoy the sand and surf, but Back River Beach is the place to go if you want to avoid the crowds. Plus, downtown Savannah is just a short drive away from Tybee Island, so you'll have tons of great restaurants, museums, shops, and bars within reach, as well as historic lodging options like the Mansion on Forsyth Park .

Galveston, Texas

Just an hour from Houston , this Gulf Coast destination is the place to go when you need a nearby beach vacation . Galveston has attractions the whole family will love, like Schlitterbahn Waterpark , Pleasure Pier , the Galveston Naval Museum , and more. There are several beaches to choose from, too, like the popular East Beach or the Galveston Island State Park . At the end of the day, you can enjoy the gulf-front views from your room at the Grand Galvez or take a ghost tour to learn about the area's history.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

There are dozens of great South Carolina beaches to visit for a weekend getaway, but one of the best destinations in the Palmetto State is Hilton Head Island . Hilton Head is consistently ranked among the best islands in the United States , and once you visit its white-sand beaches, you'll see why. Approximately two hours from Charleston and less than four hours from Charlotte, North Carolina, Hilton Head is perfect for families. You'll be able to see the beach itself from your window at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort , plus you'll have access to the links of one of the area's famous courses. With more than 33 championship golf courses, this is the ultimate place to go for a golf vacation .

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

From beautiful Cape May in the south to bustling Atlantic City and Ocean City, there are plenty of New Jersey beaches that are perfect for a weekend trip from New York City or Philadelphia. If you're looking for a quiet, family-friendly spot, consider Point Pleasant or Asbury Park , which have fun boardwalks and nice beaches. No matter where you go, it's sure to be a welcome reprieve from hectic city life. The James Bradley is a stylish, recent addition to the area and perfect for a weekend stay.

Amelia Island, Florida

Located near the Georgia border just north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a picturesque barrier island on Florida's Atlantic Coast perfect for an affordable beach vacation. It's home to golf courses and a charming downtown area, and with 13 miles of coastline, there's plenty of space to spread out on the beach. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is the place to stay for oceanfront luxury accommodations.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

A peaceful South Carolina sea island located under an hour from Charleston , Kiawah is the place to go for a blissful weekend away. World-class golf, soft beaches, friendly hospitality, and five-star stays at The Sanctuary , a beachfront luxury hotel, make this island a great place to unwind for the weekend.

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  • 1 Asheville, North Carolina
  • 2 Seattle, Washington
  • 3 Miami Beach, Florida
  • 4 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 5 Austin, Texas
  • 6 Chicago, Illinois
  • 7 Boulder, Colorado
  • 8 New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 9 Savannah, Georgia
  • 10 San Diego, California
  • 11 Portland, Oregon
  • 12 Palm Springs, California
  • 13 Shelter Island, New York

America’s Best Long Weekend Getaways

Of course you want months off for vacation. Who doesn’t? But sometimes the best we can do is a restorative (or raucous) two-night weekend trip to somewhere fantastic. Here, the highlights from 13 of our favorite quick trips.

See recent posts by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

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Asheville, North Carolina

For a low-key romantic weekend away, the art-centric mountain town of Asheville won’t do you wrong. Perhaps the crowning jewel of the trendy yet traditional city, the Biltmore Estate simply isn’t to be missed. The 250-room Gilded Age chateau sits on 8,000 acres of highly-curated gardens and meadow (all designed by the very guy behind NYC’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted) with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a super casual backdrop. Peeling yourself away from the largest mansion in the U.S., you’ll get your night’s sleep at The Windsor Boutique Hotel , a homey 14-suite rustic stay right in the heart of downtown. End your mini-retreat with brunch at Cúrate , a buzzy tapas-inspired restaurant with crowd pleasers like honey-drizzled fried eggplant and traditional tortilla española.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Asheville, NC hotels

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Seattle, Washington

Kimpton Hotels know how to turn on the quirk, and the historic Palladian is no exception. Guest rooms at the Belltown spot work screenprinted Mr. T and David Bowie pillows, vintage maps, and smart brass fixtures into an otherwise classic mix. Two blocks away, you’ll find the famous Pike Place Market , your go-to place for quick bites, while luxe sit-down meals are best at The Butcher’s Table , which delivers with a raw bar, inventive sides, and every cut of steak known to man. To walk it all off, head for exhibits at Chihuly Garden and Glass , an IG goldmine dripping in galleries of vibrant glass sculptures—the center of which is a suspended red, yellow, and amber floral piece that lives in the Glasshouse.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Seattle, WA hotels

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Miami Beach, Florida

Bed down at the ultra-quirky Freehand Miami for a stay packed with vintage travel ephemera, mod furniture (making use of a ROYGBIV palette), and a social courtyard with a pool, bocce, yoga, and art classes. Dinner is to be had at Byblos , a design-savvy, family-style Eastern Mediterranean joint that serves up duck kibbeh, Persian fried chicken, and fattouche, in an impossibly bright (and chic) dining room. Art is all around in the Magic City, and to see the best of it, you don’t need a ticket or a proper tour—simply take yourself on a self-guided walk around Ocean Drive’s Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings, making sure to stop for photos at favorites like Hotel Breakwater South Beach , the Leslie Hotel , the Essex House Hotel , and The Tides South Beach .

RELATED: Save BIG with these incredible deals on Florida hotels going on right now >>>

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Miami Beach, FL hotels

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The boutique Palomar Philadelphia deftly spins an eccentric take on a classic American design scheme with neon presidential portraits, rainbow-hued busts, and plush velvet seating. Take an hour or so to hit Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens , a museum, outdoor art installation, and indoor gallery from mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, which takes up half a block on the once-dilapidated (and now handsomely revitalized) South Street. Or swing by the Barnes Foundation  to see a stunning display of French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. For some Philly history that isn’t the Liberty Bell, you can check out Eastern State Penitentiary —a massive, fortified prison that once held Al Capone—on an audio-guided tour narrated by the one and only Steve Buscemi. Afterwards, skip the over-hyped cheesesteaks at dueling shops Geno’s and Pat’s , and head instead for the Reading Terminal Market , where you can nom on pad thai, oyster sliders, and sweet dessert crepes all under one roof.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Philadelphia, PA hotels

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Austin, Texas

A weekend is all you need to see the very best of Texas’s coolest city. Kick it off with a locals-only brunch at Elizabeth St. Cafe , a chic French-Vietnamese boulangerie where coconut water and preserved tangerine margaritas are served in Chinese takeout containers. Newer spots on our radar include the Southern-inspired Colleens Kitchen, Pool Burger (we love the Blue Hawaiian, topped with grilled pineapple slices, bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and Thousand Island dressing), and Aviary Wine & Kitchen. For some retail therapy, head to South Congress for an afternoon at the boutiques; United Apparel Liquidators is the place for designer couture (Balenciaga, Rag & Bone, Givenchy, to name a few) at bargain basement discounts. Don’t leave the city without going for a dip at Barton Springs Pool , the aquifer-fed swimming hole of choice where a young Robert Redford learned how to swim.

RELATED: How to Plan the Ultimate Girls’ Weekend Getaway in Austin

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Chicago, Illinois

You can’t go to Chi-town without stopping by the Art Institute of Chicago . We’d say the same about leafy Garfield Park Conservatory , built on nearly five acres in 1906 and often referred to as “landscape art under glass;” the Chicago architecture river cruise ; and, of course, Wrigley Field . (Yes, all of these are touristy, but so worth it.) You could spend an entire weekend eating your way through this city. Some of our favorite spots to hit up now include the Michelin-starred brewpub, Band of Bohemia; the wildly popular Korean-American restaurant, Parachute (book early!); and the British-inspired Owen and Engine , which serves one of the finest burgers in town. As for where to stay, we’re digging Hotel Zachary , with its stunning grand staircase and knockout views of Wrigley Field from almost every room.

Trip Ideas Weekend Getaways chair indoor floor recreation room ceiling room billiard room conference hall auditorium sport venue interior design convention center estate furniture area

Boulder, Colorado

Just north of Denver, an outdoorsy paradise where locals are tanned, toned, and likely just back from a trail run awaits. Catch up with the best of them on the one-mile First Flatiron trail , which winds through Boulder’s iconic sandstone slab rock formations. Break for afternoon tea in an intricately carved wooden teahouse at Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse originally made in Tajikistan—it’s a highbrow prelude to an afternoon tour of Avery Brewing , home to the hoppy India Pale Ale. After a couple of brews, head back to your hotel (there’s the funky, low-key Basecamp and more upscale St. Julien Hotel and Spa ) for a quick nap before dinner at the ever-popular northeastern Italian-inspired restaurant Frasca Food and Wine run by Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson.

Hotels Trip Ideas Weekend Getaways indoor restaurant interior design Bar Boutique coffeehouse Design Lobby retail library furniture

New Orleans, Louisiana

In the land of beignets, po’ boys and kicked-up cajun cuisine, a weekend in NOLA is all about EATING. Start the gluttony with the classic creole-inspired brunch (and 25 cent martinis!) at Commander’s Palace —the wild Louisiana white shrimp stuffed with spicy tasso ham, Crystal hot sauce, pickled okra, and pepper jelly is a must. And we can’t leave out classics like Cafe Du Monde’s famous deep-fried pastry, Bon Ton Cafe’s jambalaya, and Bevi Seafood Co.’s peacemaker po’ boy full of fried shrimp, swiss cheese, and roast beef gravy with a side of seafood gumbo. Newcomers worth checking out include Josephine Estelle , the Italian osteria at the Ace Hotel . Alternatively, skip all of that and go from breakfast to lunch to dinner at the Roch Market food hall. You’ll want to pack those fat pants.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all New Orleans, LA hotels

Fountain in a park at Savannah, GA

Savannah, Georgia

Warning: A trip to Savannah is highly caloric. But if you don’t indulge, you’re not doing it right. The line runs down the block for Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room , for very good reason: the fried chicken, candied yams, and macaroni and cheese are so good, you’ll want to get in line all over again for dinner. Explore the city’s art scene at the various galleries around City Market on your own or sign up for a tour on the second Saturday of every month. History buffs can learn about Savannah’s past at the 1868 Mercer Williams House , the former home of Jim Williams and the site of the killing of Danny Hansford in May of 1981 (remember, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?). It’s also worth checking out the iconic Bonaventure Cemetery , dripping in Spanish moss and rumored to be full of ghosts—you can shake off the heebie-jeebies with a jalapeño margarita at the 18th century Olde Pink House .

RELATED:   8 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Savannah

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San Diego, California

Of course, you’ll want to hit the beach in San Diego. La Jolla Cove is our personal favorite, with verdant grass that leads to craggy cliffs, but there’s so much more to do in this SoCal city. Wander the 15 (!) museums at the 1,200-acre Balboa Park , hike to the lagoon at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve , and feast on some of the best Mexican food north of the border at Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop (we love the steak, shrimp, avocado and chipotle taco).

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Portland, Oregon

Portland has a reputation for being the Brooklyn of the West—which isn’t entirely unfounded, given its profusion of microbrews and macro-beards. Your first stop: Ned Ludd , where almost everything on the menu (local rabbit and roasted radishes, or chocolate chip cookies in a cast iron pan, for example) is cooked on a wood fire. Hike through the rainforest to feel the spray of the 627-foot waterfall at Multnomah Falls , just half an hour from downtown Portland. Leave time for a trip to peruse the two million-some volume at Powell’s City of Books , a local favorite on Burnside St.

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Palm Springs, California

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor — a who’s who of showbiz has long found solace in Palm Springs. Today this desert oasis is the perfect mix of modern and kitschy which attracts a hip L.A. crowd. Spend an afternoon wandering the Uptown Design District, where eye-catching boutiques (we love the Midcentury housewares at Christopher Anthony ) are joined by retro-chic restaurants and bars. Bootlegger Tiki , Palm Canyon Drive’s mixology-centered newcomer, has a 12–2 a.m. happy hour, kitschy luau-themed décor, and hangover-worthy cocktails (we love the cheekily-named Mango Unchained.) If live music is what you seek, check out Melvyn’s , the storied supper club-style hangout once frequented by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.

RELATED: The Coolest Things to Do in Palm Springs

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Shelter Island, New York

The 12-square-mile atoll sits between the tony North Fork and the Hamptons but feels a hushed world away (more than a third of the area is fiercely protected by the Nature Conservancy). Here, it’s all about unwinding, from the golden-sand beaches and hiking paths to farm fresh produce and sunset cocktails. The island’s newest place to bed down is Chequit Inn , with 37 shabby-chic rooms, C.O. Bigelow toiletries, and complimentary breakfast. For dinner, don’t miss the Montauk pearl oysters and lobster pot pie at Vine Street Café (or pick up goodies to go at the food market out back).

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Shelter Island, NY hotels

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27 Best Weekend Getaways on the East Coast of the USA (+ Where to Stay!)

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Looking for the best East Coast weekend getaways? From Maine in the north to Florida in the south, the East Coast of the USA offers unending options for great weekend trips.

You can pick from charming beach towns or gracious cities, beautiful national parks or unspoiled natural areas.

Enjoy the national parks in Florida, tour charming Charleston or Savannah, or relax at the many beach getaways in Florida.

Visit New England’s only national park, Acadia National Park , or the lovely Cape Cod National Seashore. Tour historic Boston and Portland, see Gilded Age mansions in Newport, RI, and much more!

Read on to discover the most spectacular weekend escapes on the East Coast!

Boston Common in fall

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Weekend breaks can be heaven when done right. Minimal packing, no spending hours on trip preparation, and no long haul flights.

Whether you choose to fly or get on the road, quick weekend jaunts can help you get acquainted with lots of places without the need to take vacation days. And they are great to recharge the mind and body!

With loads of history, spectacular natural beauty, infinite diversity, and a hopping food scene, the East Coast offers a dizzying choice of getaway destinations, and no matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll find some places that sound just right to you. 

And if you want to take to the road to experience the East Coast for a longer vacation, be sure to check out our round-up of the best East Coast road trips !

Best East Coast Weekend Getaways

We have our favorite places for quick East Coast vacations. We love Boston for its history, food, and culture. We are endlessly captivated by the gracious charm of Savannah and Charleston, and we enjoy smaller beach towns like Destin in Florida.

For this article, we asked other members of the travel blogging community to chip in with their favorite East Coast getaway destinations.

Washinton DC in the spring

After checking out some of their recommendations, we already have a list of new places we want to explore soon!

Excited to learn more? Let’s get started on discovering some of the most compelling weekend getaway destinations on the East Coast!

1. Boston, Massachusetts

One of the best weekend getaways on the East Coast has to be the historic city of Boston.

Boston makes for a fun weekend break for every type of traveler. Whether you are looking for historical monuments, great architecture, gardens and museums, or great restaurants, Boston has you covered.

You can enjoy a weekend getaway in Boston any time of the year, but Boston is especially pretty in spring and fall. Visit in the spring to enjoy the blooms in Boston’s gardens. Visit in the fall to admire the glorious colors.

Stroll through the Boston Common, and wander the paths at the adjacent Boston Public Garden . Enjoy the architecture around Copley Square.

Walk Boston’s famous Freedom Trail , or take a guided tour of the 16 historical markers and monuments along the 2.5 mile route.

Boston Common Massachusetts USA

Visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and step into the Boston Public Library to admire the art and architecture. Pop over to nearby Cambridge to stroll the Harvard Campus. Walk along the Charles River. Take a harbor cruise.

If you are a baseball enthusiast, take in a game at Fenway Park. It’s a historic ball park, home to the Boston Red Sox since 1912.

Enjoy your cuisines of choice in the wealth of restaurants or visit one of Boston’s famous food markets. Stop for a cannoli (or three!) at Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry. Lobster rolls and a slice of Boston cream pie are also musts!

Where to stay

Stay at The Godfrey Hotel , located just steps from Boston Common and close to a wide choice of restaurants and many major sights. Rooms are good-sized, with super comfy beds!

Suggested by us

2. Miami, Florida

Miami is hardly a hidden gem in American travel: in fact, it’s one of the most popular east coast vacation spots in the country.

Still, the city has so much to offer for every type of traveler from romantic Miami activities to foodie destinations in Little Havana and the vibrant clubs that attract party-goers year round.

Miami is a famous beach destination and the glorious weather make any time of year great for visiting. While the summer months can be humid, most days offer a nice ocean breeze.

Avoiding hurricane season, especially August and September, can guarantee you’ll have good weather for your trip.

One of the best beaches to visit is the famous South Beach. Even during tourist season, it dazzles! The white sand beaches and turquoise water are brilliant, and the Art Deco district is the perfect backdrop.

South Beach Miami Florida

The neighborhood was built in the 1920s and has maintained its charm with pastel buildings and vibrant nightlife. Make sure to visit Ocean Drive, which you’ll probably recognize from the movies, and find a spot for a mojito or even a salsa lesson.

Little Havana is another historic neighborhood with delicious foods and authentic Cuban kitchens. One of the best views in Miami is from South Pointe Park Pier. It can get crowded midday, but it’s perfect for a morning walk or run, with fewer tourists.

South Beach is the best place to stay in Miami if you’re traveling for nightlife. One 4-star option is Hotel Victor , an art deco hotel right on Ocean Drive with a pool and spa.

Travelers seeking a quiet location and families will enjoy their stay at the Mutiny Luxury Suites Hotel in Coconut Grove, which overlooks Sailboat Bay and is very close to shops and restaurants. This hotel is less than 6 miles from the South Beach Art Deco District.

Text by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting

3. Savannah, Georgia

With its beautiful antebellum architecture, draping Spanish moss, and delicious Southern-style cuisine, Savannah makes for one of the most romantic weekend getaways on the East Coast.

Spending a long weekend in Savannah is a great way to get an introduction to the charming city.

No matter your interests, you’ll find something fun to do in Savannah. During the day, explore the city’s Historic District, admiring the historic homes and city squares that dot the area.

To help stay cool during your walk, grab a frozen daiquiri or another cocktail – Savannah allows consumption of alcoholic beverages in plastic containers while in the Historic District.

Walk through the district until you get to the beautiful Forsyth Park, home to Savannah’s frequently photographed fountain. The park is a perfect place to relax after your stroll.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia

For something fun to do at night, make sure to book one of the famous Savannah Ghost Tours. There are several different tours throughout the city – some are adults-only, some are family friendly, and some are even held in a converted hearse!

The best time to visit Savannah is during the spring months. The city is beautiful at this time of year, and the weather is much more comfortable than in the hot, humid summer months.

If you’re planning your visit in March, consider visiting around St. Patrick’s Day. Savannah holds one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country, so this is a really fun time to visit, but keep in mind that there will be lots of crowds and prices may be higher than normal!

One of the best places to stay in Savannah is the Hyatt Regency . This hotel is perfectly located on the Riverfront and is reasonably priced.

For a true Southern experience, book a stay at one of the Historic Inns of Savannah: Kehoe House , The Marshall House , Olde Harbor Inn , and East Bay Inn are all great options.

Text by Sydney from A World in Reach

4. Asheville, North Carolina

Looking for a fabulous East Coast weekend getaway? A visit to Asheville, North Carolina , should be top on your list!

The best time to visit (and the most popular time) is in fall, when the striking fall colors are on display. If visiting in the fall, make sure to include a drive down the famous Blue Ridge Parkway on your itinerary.

Blue Ridge Parkway USA

Asheville has long been a haven for anyone wanting a nature-based holiday, but it’s also risen in the ranks for being one of the premier destinations for inventive Appalachian-inspired farm-to-table cuisine. It is also home to a large number of craft breweries.

Visiting the famous Biltmore Estate is one of the top things to put on your Asheville weekend itinerary. The mansion, built for George Vanderbilt, and its gorgeous gardens, are a joy to explore.

Stroll Downtown Asheville, where you can browse boutique stores and art galleries, and watch buskers perform. If you enjoy the outdoors, walk the lovely trails at the North Carolina Arboretum, or go boating down the French Broad River.

If you want to get a feel for Asheville’s thriving art scene, you can head down to the River Arts District, where over 200 artists showcase their work. Often there are live presentations and fun classes offered for locals and visitors alike.

For a short weekend visit, it’s best to stay near the downtown area so you can be close to everything you need. Hotel Aloft is a nice spot, located in Downtown Asheville.

Text and photo by Christina from Live a Wilder Life

Looking to rent a car for your East Coast weekend trip? Discover Cars offers you the ability to compare availability and prices across many major car-hire companies. Pick the car that best meets your needs! Check availability and book your rental car now !

5. Destin, Florida

With miles of white sand beaches and the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Destin makes for a wonderful beach weekend getaway in Florida.

It’s the perfect place to just kick back and relax, but it’s also fun if you are looking for an activity-filled weekend.

Sunset in Destin Florida

Walk the nature trail at Henderson Beach State Park, with sand dunes to climb and beautiful water views to enjoy. Take a dolphin spotting cruise, or go on a romantic sunset sail.

Or take a boat out onto Crab Island, where you can drop anchor and spend a few hours enjoying the water.

If you enjoy water sports and activities, the sky is the limit in Destin! You can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, jet ski, go deep sea fishing, parasail over the water, build sandcastles, or go stand-up paddleboarding.

On land, walk the lively Destin boardwalk. Enjoy shopping for souvenirs. And gorge on all the delicious food on offer at Destin’s upscale and diverse eateries.

With so much to do on land and in the water, Destin makes for a great family weekend getaway, if you are looking for places to escape with kids on the East Coast.

While there isn’t really a bad time to visit Destin, go in late spring or early fall for the best weather, lower crowds, and more competitive accommodation prices.

Stay at the Henderson Beach Resort , located right next to Henderson Beach State Park. Just 5 miles from Destin HarborWalk Village, the resort features private beach access, a full service spa, and balconies, some overlooking the water. Book a stay here

6. Stowe, Vermont

Nestled at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Stowe is the quintessential New England town, complete with a white church with steeple.

A fabulous New England vacation getaway in every season, and one of the top places to visit in Vermont , Stowe has something to offer every type of traveler. Couples looking for a cozy getaway and families seeking fun activities will love Stowe.

While winter sports enthusiasts will definitely want to schedule a visit in ski season, non-skiers will find lots to do in Stowe in winter as well, from sleigh rides to Christmas festivities.

The white church in Stowe, Vermont

One of the best things to do in Stowe in the warmer months is hiking, whether you choose to walk the popular Stowe Recreation Path (you can also bike it), or you want to trek to the top of Mount Mansfield.

Moss Glen Falls and Bingham Falls are two pretty waterfalls within easy reach of town and offer great photo ops.

There are many scenic drives you can take around Stowe: the countryside is very pretty year-round, but it is especially spectacular in the fall, when foliage in shades of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy creates a brilliant display.

Capturing Stowe’s famous white church against a backdrop of bright fall foliage is many a photographer’s dream!

If you enjoy landscape photography, you’ll also find some of Vermont’s famous covered bridges within easy driving distance of Stowe.

In the village, strolling the charming Main Street is a must. Here you’ll find many boutique shops and galleries to browse, plus a number of eateries. Shop for Vermont maple syrup to take home!

While you’re in Stowe, you’ll want to visit local breweries and cideries to sample the delicious offerings. The cider donuts are addictive!

Where to Stay

Trapp Family Lodge  is an Austrian-style lodge, run by the von Trapp family of  The Sound of Music  fame.

7. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence makes for the perfect East Coast weekend getaway and is one of the best places to visit in New England .

As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Providence is chock full of history and culture. In addition, Providence boasts one of the best ‘foodie’ scenes in the country, as well as a thriving nightlife.

Located in the smallest state in the nation, Providence is super walkable! There’s no need for public transportation, although if walking isn’t your thing, the bus system in the city is extremely reliable.

Providence Rhode Island makes for a fabulous East Coast weekend getaway!

The different neighborhoods in Providence offer a variety of activities and ambiance for every type of traveler. The West End and the East Side are perfect counterparts to each other.

The West End is trendy, gritty, and a little hipster. Think great brunches and craft cocktails.

The East Side is the historic center with beautiful streets and architecture as well as the city’s universities. Brown and Rhode Island School of Design are both located on the East Side.

There is no shortage of things to do in Providence. You can take a haunted Providence tour (H.P. Lovecraft was born here and many of his stories are based in the city), or wander the tree-lined streets and admire the beautiful architecture of the East Side.

If it’s summer, head to India Point Park for free concerts and festivals overlooking the Providence river. Head to the West End for all of your foodie needs.

Somewhere in between, you’ll find Waterplace Park. If you’ve never been to Waterfire before, be sure to check out this quintessential Providence event.

Generally held on Saturday nights in the summer months, fires are lit along the river and vendors and street performers line up to feed and entertain the masses.

Ready to book your weekend trip? The Dean Hotel has excellent mid-upscale options for rooms in a central location.

Text and photo by Jade from The Migrant Yogi

8. Panama City Beach, Florida

Why take a weekend getaway to Panama City Beach ? PCB features 27 miles of sugar-sand beaches along with the warm turquoise blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Reaching the beach is easy, with two state parks (St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park) and dozens of public beach access points. Visitors also enjoy fresh local seafood at waterfront restaurants and superb activities on the land and water.

Panama City Beach Florida

On land, visitors will enjoy shopping or riding the sky wheel at Pier Place or going to a myriad of tourist attractions like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Shipwreck Island, or WonderWorks.

The only thing more fun than being on the beach at PCB is being in the water. St. Andrews Bay has the largest population of bottle-nose dolphins in the world! Dolphin tours depart regularly and will often include a stop by the beautiful Shell Island.

A little farther off the coast, you’ll see why this area is called ‘The Shipwreck Capital of the South. Diving Panama City Beach features over fifty ships sunk as artificial reefs, as well as historic shipwrecks.

Panama City Beach is a fabulous destination for active visitors, or to relax and do nothing at all. It’s beautiful year-round, but particularly nice in the fall when the Florida heat breaks, but the Gulf water is still pleasantly warm.

At night, enjoy the sunset over the water and a delightful dinner of fresh seafood before retiring to a beach-front condo.

There are many condo and resort options to choose from, but the Hyatt Place offers beachfront accommodations, pool and hot tub, and evening entertainment.

Text and photo by Ed and Jennifer from Coleman Concierge

9. Wine Country, Northern Virginia

If you’re a wine lover or just want to enjoy the countryside, Northern Virginia wine country is a fantastic weekend getaway option on the East Coast that you may not have considered.

Northern Virginia is one of the most vast and beautiful wine regions in the United States , with rolling hills that stretch for miles, complete with lush vines and sprawling wine estates.

The best time to visit is in the summer and fall when the vines are full of fruit and there’s lots of activity happening in the cellars.

The Northern Virginia wine region, in Loudoun County, Virginia, is home to the Middleburg American Viticultural Area that covers around 190 square miles and contains 229 acres of vineyards.

The wine region starts just 20 miles west of Washington DC and extends all the way to the West Virginia border.

Northern Virginia Vineyards

You could spend the entire weekend wine tasting at your picks of the 24 wineries in the region. Our favorites include Bluemont, Chrysalis and 50 West Vineyards. All of these wineries offer tastings and have beautiful views and outdoor space to have a picnic.

When you’re done with the wine tasting, there are lots of antique markets in Loudoun, plus the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets for shoppers.

In the northwestern corner of Loudoun County is Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center for outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, tubing, and ziplining.

A popular place to stay for families is the Salamander Resort near Middleburg. If you want to stay in the heart of the action, The Red Fox Inn is a beautiful historic hotel with its own tavern and lovely rooms.

Text and photo by Laura from Savored Sips

10. Hudson Valley, New York

The Hudson Valley makes the perfect East Coast weekend escape, especially from New York or other major East Coast cities.

While it is well worth visiting any time of the year, the Hudson Valley is especially pretty in the fall, when the woods are ablaze with red, orange and yellow colors.

Hudson Valley New York

There are so many different things to do in the Hudson Valley! At several cider houses, including Brooklyn Cider House in New Paltz, you can sample locally made cider in the apple orchards from which the apples come.

In Gardener, you can try Hudson whiskey and tour the brewery where it’s made. There are also several vineyards and wineries you can visit.

If you have kids, several farms are set up for agritourism and have hay rides, corn mazes and u-pick seasonal fruit. Many farms also have farm stands where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

There are many mansions from the golden age you can visit. Tour the houses and then wander the grounds and even have a picnic overlooking the Hudson River.

There are also lighthouses on the Hudson River (the one at Saugerties even has a tiny B&B where you can stay).

From Kingston, you can take a cruise on the Hudson River and see the mansions and lighthouses from a different perspective.

If you prefer something more active, there are plenty of wonderful hikes to do in the surrounding hills and mountains. Popular spots include Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park.

If you prefer to spend time exploring antique stores, don’t miss the small town of Hudson, where dozens of stores crowd the main street.

One incredible place to stay is Mohonk Mountain House , which looks like something out of a Harry Potter book/movie! Surrounded by forest, the National Historic Landmark resort offers farm-to-table cuisine and a spa. Read reviews on Tripadvisor

Text and photo by James from Travel Collecting

11. Key West, Florida

One of the best vacation spots on the East Coast is Key West, Florida .

Whether you’re close enough to road trip down to the last stop on Highway A1A or you need to hop a flight, unplugging and relaxation are at the top of the list of things to do in Key West.

Lighthouse Key West Florida

If you fly in, you won’t need a car. Why bother renting a car when you can comfortably walk anywhere you like, especially if you’re staying in Old Town!

Plan a long weekend in Key West to enjoy great food in casual settings and a bar scene like no other, visit historical sites, or try every water sport imaginable. If your vacation vibe consists of just lounging in the tropical sun with an umbrella drink, that’s fine too!

One of the most relaxing things to do in Key West is take a sunset snorkeling cruise on a sailing catamaran. After you’re done snorkeling on the beautiful reef, you can enjoy your beverage of choice, often including champagne.

It’s so mellow to be under sail, listening to Bob Marley as the captain positions the boat to help you view an incredible sunset.

Our favorite place to stay in Old Town is Douglas House on Amelia Street. It’s a quiet tropical paradise in the heart of the district. And it’s an easy walk to Mallory Square for sunsets, and steps from Duval Street, where most of the action happens.

Text and photo by Lori from Travlinmad

12. Washington, D.C.

If there’s one city on the East Coast where you won’t have a problem filling up a weekend, it’s Washington D.C . Without a doubt, it is one of the top East Coast weekend getaway destinations!

The capital city boasts an incredibly long list of things to do and your Washington D. C. itinerary can be anything you want to make of it. However, there are a few top must-sees!

The National Mall is the perfect place to start and you may not even need to adventure very far off the entire weekend.

Here you can find the majority of Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian museums, world famous monuments and memorials like the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial, the impossible to miss Washington Monument, and the imposing U.S. Capitol Building. 

If you enjoy public art, you will plenty of excellent street art in DC to admire. Take a lunch cruise on the Potomac River. If you enjoy gardens, make a stop at the U.S. National Arboretum.

Washington DC

Additionally, Washington D.C. has some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Popular local restaurant chains like the innovative Farmers & Distillers and the understated Ben’s Chili Bowl are must-visits.

It’s a cosmopolitan city, and you can find almost any kind of food here that will make for an unforgettable meal.

Anytime is a great time to visit Washington D.C. but the most popular time would have to be cherry blossom season. During the early spring the entire National Mall area is covered in bright pink blossoms and is truly a sight to see. 

When visiting Washington D.C., one iconic place to stay would have to be the Watergate Hotel . Known around the world for its infamous past, today it’s a beautiful luxury hotel not too far from all the popular Washington D.C. sights. Book a stay here

Text and photo by Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life

13. Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock in Vermont is a charming town and makes for one of the most wonderful (and most romantic!) weekend getaways on the US East Coast, but maybe lesser known to some.

Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is a pastoral dream. In the late spring and summer months, the entire state comes alive in the most vibrant shades of emerald. You’ll never wonder where it gets its nickname when you visit in these seasons.

Woodstock Vermont

Then in the autumn, the foliage changes to reds, golds, and oranges, drawing visitors from across the world to see Vermont’s unparalleled color. And winter brings a thick blanket of snow: perfect for those who enjoy snow sports or just sitting by a cozy fire with a mug of hot cocoa.

Vermont offers all of this, and Woodstock is one of the best places to savor the quintessential Vermont experience. The town is quaint and charming, with a traditional Main Street and a classic general store (rumor has it its the oldest one in the state).

The mountains surround this area, so there are ample opportunities for hiking, as well as other outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and kayaking.

In June, don’t miss the annual Quechee Balloon Festival, when dozens of vibrant hot air balloons take to the skies over this pretty town.

When you’re not busy playing and exploring , you’ll be eating and drinking, as Vermont is a haven for foodies, especially those who love the farm-to-table movement.

There are some world-class restaurants here, as well as craft breweries, and farms where you can purchase freshly made Vermont cheese.

There are plenty of options on where to stay in Woodstock, but for a great central location and a reasonable price, check out The Shire , which is right on the river.

If you are planning a romantic East Coast weekend getaway in a quintessential New England bed and breakfast, check out the highly rated Woodstocker B&B !

Text and photo by Amy from New England with Love

14. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine , located near Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the best places to visit on the East Coast. It is the oldest, continuously occupied, European founded city in the continental US. It also has one of the most interesting histories!

Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, St. Augustine became the capital of the Florida territory until 1824. It changed hands several times between the Spanish and the British until 1822 when it became part of the United States.

This history has left it with a gorgeous historic district, perfect for exploring on a weekend getaway.

There are many fun things to do in Saint Augustine . In the Historic District, you will find many museums and attractions to learn more about the history of the area.

The Colonial Quarter is a great place to start and is like a big open air museum. It has four different sections based on different periods where you can experience and see things from that period of time. Entry includes a tour which is worth taking.

Another must visit place is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. It is a Spanish fort built in the late 1600s. It is located next to the historic district. There is a museum and canon firing.

Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine Florida

There are also countless charming restaurants, bars and shops and you’ll wish you had more than a weekend to visit them all.

And if you tire of the Historic District, there are also great beaches nearby, and the Fountain of Youth where you can drink from springs to help you stay young!

The best time to visit St. Augustine is between March and May, when you’ll have great weather and low crowds. Summer can be quite hot and humid. Winters are mild.

A good place to stay is St. George Inn , located in the Historic District, close to restaurants, shops, and sights. Opt for a suite with a balcony that overlooks the Castillo de Saan Marcos!

Text by Sharon from Baby Journey

15. Provincetown, Massachusetts

Just a two-hour drive from Boston lies vibrant, never-boring Provincetown . There are many reasons to escape to Provincetown for an East Coast weekend trip.

First of all, the city itself is beautiful. It’s like stepping back into time when you step into the old pirate port town.

Wood End Lighthouse in Provincetown MA

For those looking for nightlife, this sea-sprayed town has made a name for itself as a party hotspot. Bars and clubs line the street, offering a variety of nightlife and entertainment. Provincetown is also known for being extremely LBGTQ friendly.

But Provincetown (or P-town as the locals call it) is much more than loud clubs and packed bars. The town is also teeming with history.

This Atlantic coastal town was the spot of the Mayflower landing in 1620. This makes Provincetown literally the first entry in American history.  

Not sold yet? Well, Provincetown also has sandy beaches, a thriving art scene, panoramic viewpoints, and diverse wildlife. With so much going for it, there’s no doubt that Provincetown is one of the best places to visit in the United States .

A great place to stay is the Breakwater Hotel , which features rooms with views of the bay. Convenient to many sights and right across from the beach, the highly-rated hotel has bright contemporary furnishings and a laid-back vibe.

Text by Stephen from A Backpacker’s Life

16. New York City, New York

New York City has a little bit of something for everyone, so it’s no surprise it’s one of the top East Coast getaways. There are countless museums, outdoor activities, historical sites, and endless delicious restaurants. And if you plan well, you can even visit New York City on a budget !

Popular attractions include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Make sure not to miss the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walk the iconic Brooklyn Bridge , and catch a Broadway show if you can!

New York City New York

Visitors must grab a slice of New York pizza when visiting (check out John’s or Joe’s Pizza for the best pizza). If you are a history lover, head Downtown to Federal Hall, the first capitol building of the United States, or Uptown to President Grant’s Tomb.

The best time to visit depends on what kind of weather you like. During the holiday season, the weather may be colder, but NYC is decked out in holiday decorations with many special events.

If you want warmer weather, May and September are great times that are a bit less busy. If you want the cheapest time to go, February is very inexpensive but also very cold.

New York City is a city full of endless fun and entertainment and worth visiting for at least a weekend.

If it is your first time in NYC, stay in the Midtown area. One of the best value hotels is the Hampton Inn Times Square Central . Not only is it a great location and within walking distance of the subway, the rooms are spacious and it also comes with breakfast.

Text and photo by Francesca from Homeroom Travel

17. Marco Island, Florida

Marco Island is the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands in the southwest corner of the state and the only one of them that is developed.

It’s the perfect little (busy) island getaway that is close to plenty of other awesome places like Naples and Big Cypress National Preserve.

Marco Island Florida

There are plenty of things to do on Marco Island to keep you busy for a weekend. Visit the Marco Island Center for the Arts, or explore the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Take a shelling tour in the Ten Thousand Islands, or go shelling at Tigertail Beach or South Marco Beach, or visit the Marco Island Historical Museum to see Indian artifacts found on the island.

Look for dolphins and manatees, and if you want to get a little swampy, take a day trip over to Big Cypress and walk the boardwalks preserve in the Fakahatchee Strand State Park.

Marco Island makes for the perfect relaxing weekend getaway any time of the year, but winter will be a little less hot but still have great weather, making beach days still great.

The BoatHouse is the perfect place to stay: it’s right on the water, making it ideal for relaxing away from the busy beaches and highrises. Look for marine life from the private dock or lounge on the sun terrace!

Text and photo by Megan from Red Around the World

18. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston in South Carolina is a perfect eastern US destination for a weekend getaway. There are truly endless fun things to do in Charleston for families , couples, or even solo travelers.

Be sure to explore downtown Charleston, the City Market, and Waterfront Park. While it may seem super touristy, consider taking a carriage tour to see many of the downtown highlights.

Charleston SC

If history is your thing, you will love visiting Fort Sumter, Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, or one of the many local plantations. And don’t forget to grab photos in front of the famous pineapple fountain and by Rainbow Row.

Want to spend some time outdoors? Soak up the sun at one of the many nearby area beaches. Kiawah Island, Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Beach are some local favorites.

You can explore the boardwalk and experience waterfront dining at Shem Creek. Or for a more budget friendly option, visit the Angel Oak Tree on John’s Island: it is one of the oldest living organisms in the country!

Charleston is an incredible foodie destination too! Make sure you make reservations ahead of time as many restaurants can be difficult to walk into on the weekends. Some amazing choices are S.N.O.B., Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Husk, or Hall’s Chophouse.

Whatever you decide to do, you are guaranteed to have an epic weekend getaway in Charleston, SC!

Depending on your budget and needs, we recommend The Restoration Hotel overlooking King Street (just steps from the Historic District), or the Courtyard Charleston in nearby Mount Pleasant, six miles from the Charleston city center.

And if you are planning a girls’ weekend trip to Charleston, check out these rentals in exciting Charleston neighborhoods!

Text and photo by Julie from More than Main Street

19. Wilmington, North Carolina

Looking for the perfect vacation spot on the East Coast? You need to check out Wilmington , North Carolina! This charming southern city has beautiful Victorian mansions, a fabulous foodie scene, shopping, and a requisite beach.

Often overshadowed by nearby Savannah and Charleston, this underrated East Coast town should be on your must-visit list.

Wilmington, North Carolina Riverwalk

There are so many fun things to do in Wilmington . One fun thing to do is to explore Wilmington’s movie-making history. Wilmington is known as the “Hollywood of the East,” since over 500 films and TV shows have been filmed there, including Iron Man 3 and One Tree Hill. You can take a walking tour of the film locations with a local film expert.

History buffs should take a tour of Bellamy Mansion, a gorgeous antebellum home located downtown. Just 15 minutes from downtown is Wrightsville Beach, perfect for any beach lover.

When it’s time to eat, be sure to check out Caprice Bistro, a casual French restaurant that focuses on fresh seafood. Or Beer Barrio, for excellent margaritas paired with creative tacos.

Because Wilmington is a city full of southern hospitality, consider staying in one of its many charming and historic bed and breakfasts, such as The Verandas .

Text by Maggie from Pink Caddy Travelogue

20. Palm Beach, Florida

For a posh weekend getaway in a stunning coastal setting, look no further than Palm Beach . The glamorous beach town, located in Southern Florida, almost feels akin to a private island oasis within the continental US (which is because it is, in fact, an island – Palm Beach is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway.)

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about Palm Beach that makes it so appealing. For starters, it boasts some of the most stunning stretches of beach in South Florida.

And there’s also the fact that in Palm Beach, you’ll find a level of sophistication and old school refinement unlike anywhere else in the US.

Worth Avenue Palm Beach Florida

While there are so many incredible things to do in Palm Beach , one of the quintessential can’t-miss experiences is a tour of the stately Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.

It is located on the iconic estate owned by oil mogul Henry Flagler, and visitors can take guided tours that include the Flaglers’ palatial 75-room home that was once described as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe.”

Take a casual drive throughout Palm Beach and you’ll find plenty of palace-like estates, owned by local residents including Howard Stern, James Patterson, Jimmy Buffet, Rod Stewart, and most famously, Donald Trump.

You may even rub elbows with one or more of them at places like The Breakers (a hotel and resort), Lola41 (the hottest new restaurant in town), and Palm Beach Grill (an old standby).

Other top restaurants include Buccan, Cafe Boulud, Renato’s, and Sant Ambroeus.

While Palm Beach is beautiful to visit year-round, it’s particularly ideal for a winter East Coast escape. With less humidity, it’s more fun to stroll and shop along Palm Beach’s famed Worth Avenue.

In terms of accommodations, expect to spend a pretty penny. On the higher end is The Breakers , with a private beach and beautiful grounds, and for something at a more mid-range price-point (for the area) is the colorful boutique Colony Hotel .

Text by Lindsay from Lindsay Silberman

21. Bear Mountain, New York

Located in upstate New York and overlooking the stunning Hudson river, Bear Mountain has a lot to offer, from scenic viewpoints to hiking adventures!

Bear Mountain State Park is a perfect weekend getaway for couples and families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City or coming from other states to see the magic that New York State has to offer.

Bear Mountain New York

Bear Mountain is one of the best known peaks of New York’s Hudson Highlands and also includes the oldest section of the famous Appalachian trail, for those who seek a more challenging hiking adventure.

The park offers various hiking trails that cater for a range of abilities and adventure, these include day hikes and overnight camping hiking trails.

With many other activities including picnics at picturesque places, river fishing, swimming, biking on trails, and cross country skiing, the park is the perfect place for those seeking outdoor adventures. It is open year round, with the various activities dependent on weather.

The best time to visit would be late summer and fall, to take advantage of the milder weather and to see the stunning fall foliage throughout the park and along the Hudson River.

Stay at the historic Bear Mountain Inn, built in 1915 and listed on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places! The Inn offers a range of accommodation styles, including the Inn, the scenic Overlook Lodge (which includes pet-friendly rooms for those traveling with pets) and stone cottages. Read reviews on Tripadvisor

Text and photo by Kelly from Wanderlust by Kelleyy

22. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

One of the best weekend getaways in Virginia is Shenandoah National Park . This park features wonderful waterfalls and stunning mountains. The hikes in Shenandoah National Park are outstanding, and the views are spectacular. 

Shenandoah National Park Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is a must on everyone’s East Coast bucket list. The best time to visit is, of course, in the fall, to experience the beautiful fall colors.

One of the best things to do in the park is to hike Old Rag Loop Trail. This hike is strenuous and lengthy (9.2 miles and a 2,380-foot elevation gain). But it still brings in the crowds so get there early for a parking spot.

Another fun thing to do is to stop at all the viewpoints on Skyline Drive. This 105-mile road has many stops to take pictures of the beautiful mountains. I highly recommend stopping at many spots around sunrise or sunset.

The Skyline Drive is where many of the trailheads for other popular hikes start. You can choose from the Black Rock Summit Hike, White Oak Canyon Trail, Mary’s Rock, Stony Man/Little Stony Man, and Bearfence Mountain.

Since Shenandoah National Park is away from big cities, I recommend staying at one of the hotels in the park. You won’t have to do a lot of driving, and you can easily experience the magnificent sunrises and sunsets.

The best option is Skyland , located on Skyline Drive’s highest elevation point, from where you will have easy access to some pretty great views. Read reviews on Tripadvisor

Text and photo by Michelle from The Wandering Queen

23. Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville , South Carolina, has become a popular weekend destination – and with good reason! Due to its location, Greenville has mild temperatures year-round, making it a great destination at any time.

Perhaps Greenville’s greatest attraction is its easily walkable downtown. With a Main Street with wide sidewalks spreading approximately 10 blocks, the city’s downtown welcomes visitors to enjoy its attractions.

There are so many things to do in Greenville during a weekend. Some of the most popular sights in town include the Liberty Bridge found at the Falls Park on the Reedy.

The curved pedestrian bridge crosses the Reedy River, providing beautiful views of the city’s downtown waterfalls. The Falls Park’s trails intertwine with the more extensive Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Greenville SC

Outdoor lovers will enjoy accessing the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Popular with bikers, walkers, and runners, the approximately 20-mile trail connecting Greenville to Travelers Rest.

Nearby, lakes offer kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Or hike to find waterfalls and more tranquil nature spots.

The city is becoming a foodie favorite too. The Food Network, Southern Living, and several other publications have recognized Greenville’s cuisine and chefs.

An entire weekend itinerary could be planned around food and eating. The city’s visitor’s bureau has arranged foodie tours for those who prefer to let others do the planning. And don’t skip the city’s craft brewery scene!

A weekend getaway to Greenville, South Carolina, will certainly be an enjoyable one for visitors who like exploring laid back, walkable Southern cities.

Guests staying at the Westin Poinsett will be ideally located on Main Street. This classy hotel is located such that almost everything on Main Street is just a few minutes’ walk in either direction. It is the perfect property to come back to after a show at the Peace Center for the performing arts too.

Text by Annick from Common Traveler

24. Cape Ann, Massachusetts

A rocky cape in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, Cape Ann is a perfect weekend getaway. This New England coastal retreat is only 30 miles away from Boston, around the northern section of Massachusetts Bay.

A great way to visit the charming towns around Cape Ann is to go on a driving vacation, stopping in to explore Rockport, Gloucester, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea. The colorful towns, picturesque fishing villages, and rugged cliffs are stunning.

Cape Ann in Massachusetts

Other reasons to visit are the uncrowded beaches and good food. One of the best things to do in the region is to wander around Rockport, an impossibly scenic former fishing village with shops, cafes and galleries housed in former fishermen’s shacks.

The fishing shack on Bradley Wharf called “Motif No. 1” was featured on a postal stamp in the Greetings from America series.

Cape Ann is famous for its lobster and other seafood. For a tasty snack, order a lobster roll (perfect for summer) or try lobster chowder to warm you up in winter.

Cape Ann is also where fried clams were invented so make sure you try those at Woodman’s of Essex.

Cape Ann is a year-round destination but the most popular time to visit is in summer. If you are on a budget, fall or winter are the best seasons to go for cheaper accommodation and festivals.

There are plenty of places to stay around Cape Ann for all budgets. Luxurious accommodation picks are Beauport Hotel in Gloucester and the Rockport Inn and Suites . Midrange accommodation choices include the Sea Lion Motel in Gloucester or Eagle House Motel in Rockport.

Text and photo by Christina from Travel2Next

25. Outer Banks, North Carolina

One of the best places to vacation on the East Coast is the Outer Banks in North Carolina. This series of barrier islands off Carolina’s coast is famous for wild horses, stunning beaches, and historic lighthouses. It truly is the perfect beach getaway for anyone looking to escape!

The water here is warm and green, with rolling waves and stunning sunrises over the water. You can pick from some great Outer Banks beach towns spread across the different islands. Each offers something a bit different.

Outer Banks North Carolina

Head to Nags Head if you want to see wild horses, Buxton and Corolla for views of beautiful lighthouses, and Kill Devil Hills if your goal is to explore American history with a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial to see the where the first flight took place.

You can also visit Manteo on Roanoke Island, which was the location of the famous Lost Colony of Roanoke and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The great thing about the Outer Banks is that you can stay in one town and visit the others, so you can string together a great itinerary, or you can just relax on the beach! If your main goal is to enjoy the water, don’t miss a visit to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore!

Many visitors will rent out a beach house for a week, but if you’re coming in for a few days or a long weekend, then you might prefer to check into the lovely Hatteras Island Inn in Buxton.

Text and photo by Stephanie from History Fangirl

26. Acadia National Park, Maine

As the oldest national park in the United States situated east of the Mississippi, you know before arriving that Acadia National Park has to be something special – and it definitely is.

Set on the southern coast of Maine, Acadia National Park was once the haunt of legendary American families like the Rockefellers, and today is known for its natural beauty, gorgeous sunrises from Cadillac Mountain (during part of the year, this is the first place the sun rises in the USA!), and the varied number of things to do in Acadia National Park .

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia NP, Maine, USA at sunset

While you’re in the park, be sure to admire the view from Cadillac Mountain, drive the charming Park Loop Road, check out Jordan Pond, listen for the “thunder” created by the crashing ocean at Thunder Hole, hanging out on the beautiful Sand Beach and, if you’re not scared of heights, hike to the Beehive.

There are many hiking trails in Acadia National Park , so you’re sure to find a few trails to suit your skill level, from the easy Ship Harbor Trail to the epic Precipice Trail.

Nearby Bar Harbor, one of the best places to visit in Maine , is a quaint and beautiful small town, packed with great places to stay  and excellent dining – if you’re visiting Acadia National Park during the summer, be ready to try plenty of dishes cooked with the area’s delicious blueberries, and of course lots and lots of lobster rolls!

Of course, summer isn’t the only excellent time to visit: the stunning fall foliage turns the park into a colorful wonderland during its peak, making Acadia National Park one of the best fall weekend getaways on the East Coast.

The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel is a popular option in the town of Bar Harbor. Just a short distance from the park and within walking distance of the waterfront, the hotel is highly rated for its comfy beds!

Text by Kate from Our Escape Clause

27. White Mountains, New Hampshire

For unforgettable scenery, great hikes and drives, and a wealth of outdoor adventure opportunities, plan a weekend escape to the White Mountains of New Hampshire !

Covering about a fourth of the state, the White Mountains are an irresistible destination any time of year, but undoubtedly, fall is the most scenic season. When we lived in New England, driving the Kancamagus Highway during peak fall color time was an annual ritual we never missed!

White Mountains New Hampshire

On a weekend trip to the White Mountains, focus on a few activities for a more relaxed time. Do one of the scenic rail journeys: either the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the top of Mt. Washington, or one of the two routes on the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Ride the aerial tramway to the top of Cannon Mountain for panoramic views all the way to Canada on clear days.Visit some of the iconic covered bridges in the area: they make for fabulous photos! If you enjoy the water, short hikes will get you to lakes, ponds, or waterfalls.

Or drive the scenic White Mountains Trail, of which the Kancamagus Highway is one part. The trail winds its way through the White Mountains National Forest, and along the way, you can stop off at attractions and viewpoints.

There are numerous places to stay in the White Mountains area, depending on the community you choose as your base. The Adair Country Inn & Restaurant in Bethlehem is a charming option, with rooms furnished with antiques and a cozy vibe.

The Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods offers a variety of stay options from the Grand Hotel to townhomes.

To sum up, you have no shortage of choices when it comes to irresistible weekend getaways on the East Coast!

Whether you’re looking to do getaways with kids, escape as a couple, or just zip off on your own, you can’t go wrong with any one of these amazing destinations!

MORE US TRAVEL INSPIRATION

Looking to explore the western part of the country? Check out our round-up of the most epic  western US road trips  to take. And if you want to road trip the eastern part of the USA, read our article on the most exciting  East Coast road trips .

We also have a round-up of the most epic road trips in America , the ones you have to take in your lifetime!

And if you are looking for short escapes in the west, we have an article on the best  West Coast weekend getaways  and one on the  best weekend getaways in California .

Want to do a western US road trip covering national parks? Check out this article on the great  national parks in the west , from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Utah’s Mighty 5.

Love the vibrancy of US cities? Be sure to read our round-up of the  best USA weekend trips , from New Orleans and New York City to San Diego and Las Vegas.

You may also like:

National Parks: The Best US National Parks to Visit in the Fall Canada: Driving the Icefields Parkway Nevada: The Best Things to Do in Las Vegas Arizona: The Best Places to Visit in Arizona Caribbean: The Best Caribbean Islands for Your First Visit Nevada: 15 Beautiful Places to Visit in Nevada

Did you find this article informative? Pin it for later reference!

Discover the most irresistible weekend getaway destinations on the East Coast of the USA! From Boston to Miami and the White Mountains to Key West, discover the best vacation spots on the east coast.

Dhara's travel interests are eclectic, spanning everything from natural wonders to history, culture, art and architecture. She has visited 22 countries, many more than once, plus almost all 50 states of the USA, and has amassed a hoard of cherished travel moments.

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TheTravel

14 Ideal Destinations For a 3-Day Weekend From The US

  • Mexico: Experience diverse attractions in just 3 days - from beautiful beaches to ancient ruins and authentic cuisine.
  • Puerto Rico: Explore historic Old San Juan, lush forests, and stunning beaches - all in a compact yet enriching 3-day trip.
  • Costa Rica: Immerse yourself in nature and biodiversity, visit the active volcano, and relax on pristine beaches in 3 days of adventure.

For those who reside in the United States of America and have a long three-day weekend ahead of them, traveling is likely on the radar. While three days might seem too short, there are some nations that are ideal for a weekend with an extra-day getaway. For example, it's possible to see the essentials of Mykonos in a few days or have a glimpse of the natural wonders in Iceland . With the world feeling more accessible each day, who else needs 3 day vacation ideas?

Obvious choices like the Caribbean come to mind, but less obvious choices like smaller European nations shouldn't be overlooked. Sometimes, staying domestic even does the trick. Here are our top picks for a 3-day weekend getaway for those who live in the USA.

UPDATE: 2023/09/03 16:40 EST BY LUANA FERREIRA

New Places To Vacation For A 3-Day Weekend

It's not always possible to take a week off to discover a new place, but some places are ideal for a weekend getaway, and it's possible to do a lot in only three days. Planning is essential, so travelers should avoid long flights. This list has been expanded to include more countries to visit in just three days.

RELATED: Surprising Countries U.S. Travelers Need Visas For

Spending three days in Mexico is absolutely worth it, offering a taste of the country's diverse attractions. Begin with the beautiful beaches of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, or Puerto Vallarta, where travelers can soak up the sun, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, or simply relax.

For culture and history, explore the charming towns of Tulum or Mérida, known for their ancient ruins and vibrant markets. Savor authentic Mexican cuisine, from street tacos to fine dining. While three days won't cover all of Mexico's wonders, it's enough to experience its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.

  • Suggested cities: Ciudad de México, Tulum, Cancun, Merida, Oaxaca

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an ideal destination for travelers with a show time. Indeed, there are many things to do in the oldest European settlement in America , but three days offer this Caribbean gem's compact yet enriching taste. Visitors can start in San Juan, where historic Old San Juan's colorful streets and historic forts will transport you back in time.

Then, they can venture to the lush El Yunque National Forest, a tropical paradise for hiking and waterfall exploration. Tourists can take advantage of stunning beaches like Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island. On top of that, three days is enough to sample Puerto Rico's delectable cuisine, including mofongo and fresh seafood.

  • Suggested cities: San Juan, Ponce, Bayamon, Caguas

Costa Rica offers a whirlwind adventure through its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. While three days won't allow tourists to see it all, you'll experience Costa Rica's natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and a taste of Pura Vida, the country's laid-back way of life. An excellent way to be immersed in Costa Rica's nature is by staying in a rainforest resort .

Travelers can start in San José, exploring local markets and visiting the impressive National Theater. Then, head to Arenal to witness the active volcano, soak in hot springs, and hike amidst lush rainforests. Wrap up your trip with a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, home to white-faced capuchin monkeys and pristine beaches.

  • Suggested cities: San Jose, Tamarindo, Puntarenas, Liberia

Spending three days in Canada offers a glimpse into its diverse culture and natural beauty, and it is easy to plan due to its proximity to the United States. Travelers can consider Toronto, where they can explore the iconic CN Tower, visit vibrant neighborhoods like Kensington Market, and savor international cuisine.

Montreal is another city with much to offer, known for its European charm, historic Old Montreal, and dynamic arts scene. Quebec City also offers memorable days, with its charming cobblestone streets and French-inspired culture.

Suggested cities: Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, Vancouver

For those wanting to get away to a less-visited Caribbean tropical island, Grenada is the best option for a quick 3-day weekend. Grenada is underrated, but with direct flights from New York, Miami, and Charlotte, it's an easy jaunt down to paradise. For a true cultural celebration, head down anytime between May 17 and 21 of 2023 for the annual Chocolate Festival , where the island showcases the chocolates grown locally. Grenada is more than a Caribbean spicy island , offering a rich cultural connection to its cuisine, from chocolate to spices. With only three days, make sure to include enough time to snorkel or dive near the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, as well as explore some of the island's many famous waterfalls.

  • Where To Stay: Mount Cinnamon Resort

RELATED: Denver In 3 Days: A Full Itinerary Of Things To Do

While this might be tough for a three-day weekend from the West Coast, getting to Iceland from the USA's East Coast is an easy feat. With only a four-hour flight from New York and several airlines offering direct flights to Reykjavik from major US cities, a three-day venture to Iceland is not as unimaginable to pull off as one might think. Iceland is fairly small, so though three days won't be enough to see all that this stunning island has to offer, three days will certainly be enough to get a taste . Those who travel from October to March might even see the northern lights .

  • Where To Stay: Hotel Ranga

With Copa Airlines having connections in several US cities , a quick 3-day escape down to Panama is hardly a hurdle. Panama has much to offer, but for the best trip possible, situate a stay in Panama City and book day trips to explore. Panama City, particularly the neighborhood of Casco Viejo, is full of history, colorful buildings, delicious food, and of course, the notorious Panama Canal.

  • Where To Stay: The Santa Maria, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort

RELATED: Spend A Weekend In Homer, Alaska, For Unique Small-Town Charm

New York City

While this is not technically outside of the USA, New York City is an aspirational destination within the country that can easily be explored in three days. For those who don't want to whip out their passports but still want to get away, head to The Big Apple and see some of the country's most famous sites, such as The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, The Empire State Building, and of course, eat delicious late-night grub , sip post-Broadway cocktails , and indulge in some of the best pizza in the USA . For a real getaway that feels like a trip to a far-off land, stay at Henn na Hotel New York, a Japanese-themed hotel serving up delicious authentic Japanese cuisines, such as omakase, tonkatsu, and a wide selection of sushi, at their onsite restaurant Gostuke .

Henn na Hotel New York is conveniently located close to Penn Station, making it easy for those traveling via Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, or coming from any of NYC's major airports, and is a less-than-10-minute walk from Times Square.

  • Where To Stay: Henn Na Hotel New York

The Netherlands

Does it seem borderline insane to head all the way to Europe for a three-day getaway from the USA? Perhaps so, but if there is one place to explore in just 72 hours, it's got to be The Netherlands. Fly direct to Amsterdam with KLM Airlines, and explore the flowers and canals of this European favorite. Luckily, The Netherlands is one of the smallest countries in Europe, so though three days can be a little hectic, primarily due to air travel, it is ample time to explore this eclectic European nation.

  • Where To Stay: InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

Antigua & Barbuda

For travelers where heading down to the Caribbean is the only admirable option, Antigua & Barbuda is one of the best nations to head to. Why is this so? Well, they are notorious for having 365 beaches, meaning one beach a day per year! Antigua & Barbuda is increasing in popularity but is still nowhere near the ranks of nearby nations such as the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, or Jamaica. With so many unique things to do , travelers can head down for a peaceful, pristine, and paradisaical getaway, leaving all of their worries back in the USA while sipping rum, the national drink of the nation.

  • Where To Stay: COCOS Hotel

Visitors to Guatemala in 2022 jumped by tenfold , and for those who haven't caught onto this popular destination yet, what's the hold-up? Guatemala is a tiny nation in Latin America, and though it can easily be explored in two weeks or more, three days to the magical Lake Atitlán is the epitome of utopia. Stay at the heavenly Casa Palopó , situated right on Lake Atitlán, and kick it back for a few days in this popular Central American nation.

  • Where To Stay: Casa Palopó

Saint Lucia

Fewer places in the Caribbean are as aspirational as Saint Lucia. Notoriously one of the region's most beautiful islands , Saint Lucia, is known for The Pitons or volcanic plugs. The Pitons of Saint Lucia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and anyone who travels here will quickly understand why they have such notoriety. Saint Lucia makes for an easy three-day getaway from the USA. In just three short days, enjoy snorkeling, spa treatments at Point Serene Spa and Wellness, paddle boarding, and exploring Soufriere’s drive-in volcano. Three days might be enough to explore Saint Lucia but don't be surprised when it still somehow feels impossible to leave due to how relaxing and divine this island nation is.

  • Where To Stay: Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

Orlando, Florida

Similarly to New York City, as aforementioned on this list, Orlando might not technically be outside of the USA, but it is indeed an aspirational destination within and makes for an easy three-day getaway for those who don't want to deal with the hassle of leaving the country. Orlando is certainly not just for kids and has other things to do beyond Disney World . For adults looking to take a three-day weekend, take the money that would have been spent on park entry tickets, and live a luxurious lifestyle. Dine at the Michelin-star Spanish steakhouse Capa , indulge in a spa treatment , and for those who still want to get a beach day in, head to nearby Cocoa Beach.

  • Where To Stay: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Trinidad & Tobago

Finally, one of the most overlooked Caribbean islands is a land of delicious food, vibrant culture, one of the best Carnivals in the entire region, and two islands waiting to be explored. Trinidad and Tobago is easy to jaunt to from mainland USA thanks to Caribbean Airlines , and is a perfect destination to explore in just three short days. Tobago is where folks should head for a laid-back, typical "island" vibe, and Trinidad deserves to be explored by those who want the hustle and bustle of a busy city. Why not make time for both, as there is a lot to discover ? Just make sure to eat as much as possible when visiting since this fun nation is known to have some of the best cuisines in the Caribbean.

14 Ideal Destinations For a 3-Day Weekend From The US

In Vermont, an Austrian-inspired lodge that brings Nordic ski culture to life

Forty miles of groomed trails make the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.

There’s something satisfying about the kick and glide of cross-country skiing. I’ve never really taken to downhill ski resorts with their steep drops and even steeper ticket prices, but Nordic skiing has always been one of my favorite winter pastimes. And, having recently discovered there’s a whole world of cross-country ski resorts around the U.S. , I knew I wanted to try building a winter weekend around one for myself. 

There are a few cross-country ski lodges to choose from in the Northeast, where I live. I settled on the Austrian-inspired Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, because it was easily doable as a romantic weekend getaway for me and my husband, and its alpine elevation means there’s almost always a good base of snow. Having honeymooned in Stowe years earlier, I was excited to return and experience the idyllic Vermont town in a new season.

MAKE MEMORIES: 7 family vacations everyone can enjoy  

Cross-country skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont

The Trapp Family Lodge’s main guest house and nearby outdoor center are at the heart of about 40 miles of groomed trails , and there’s a trail for everyone. They’re well marked and easy to follow, and the lodge provides a free trail map to help you navigate. We stuck to cross-country skiing, but we did see snowshoers out enjoying the mountain, too. There are groomed trails intended just for Nordic skiers and others just for snowshoers, which makes it easier for both groups to maneuver without hindering anyone else’s enjoyment.

First-time Nordic skiers can take a ski class and practice climbing and stopping before heading out on a nice flat ski through the meadow. We skied the beginner, advanced beginner and intermediate tracks. I’m used to cross-country skiing in the woods close to home, plowing my own path or following in the trail of others. But the trails at the Trapp Family Lodge are all wide, well groomed and almost unbelievably scenic. It’s like a storybook dream version of European alpine skiing right here in the United States.  

FAMILY FUN: 11 best winter vacations in the U.S. for families  

Leaving the Austrian-inspired lodge with its warm fires, my skis freshly waxed, the first inhale of cold air quickly pushed the routine of my daily life far from my mind. We skied for about four hours, and there was nothing to think about but the motions of skiing and the snowy forested trails as we made our way to the rustic lunch cabin, where we knew we could look forward to hot soup and fresh bread. 

Making small elevation gains and losses as we skied, we met more slow skiers like us as well as others who glided by with speed and grace. The trail up to the lunch hut can be challenging in places, but nothing that a little duck walk or sideways walk can’t conquer. After a while we were skiing without our heavy sweaters and hats, and we passed skiers on their way back to the lodge who urged us on. 

Three miles from the ski center, the trail widened into an open dell with the rustic Slayton Pasture Cabin at the top. Everyone’s skis were upright in the snow banks awaiting their owners from inside. As we entered, we were greeted by two people behind the counter and large vats of soup bubbling away on the stovetop. A fire blazed in an open fireplace and damp clothes were hung around the hearth to dry out. We ate at a long wood table beside other skiers and snowshoers and learned that the food is brought up by Snowcat from the lodge. There’s one hardy soul who stays at the cabin through the night to light the fires in the morning.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: From toddlers to teens, these are the best all-inclusive family resorts for every age and interest

The trip to the lunch hut was mostly flat or uphill, so the loop trail back to the lodge was the opposite – a bit more downhill. After studying the trail map, we chose a path that was longer but seemed to be a more gentle descent. My husband, a cross-country skiing novice but who has lots of downhill skiing experience, quickly got the hang of gliding downhill on the long skis. I’ve cross-country skied my whole life, but going downhill while turning still intimidates me. We both managed, though. There were some places where my husband zipped down and I chose to remove my skis and carry them around a sharp bend. Not often, though, and before long we reached flat trails again and could ski easily back toward the rising smoke of the lodge’s chimneys. 

It was a day of cross-country skiing unlike anything I’ve experienced before, a true taste of Nordic life just a few hours from our suburban Boston home. It had a little bit of the alpine energy you feel at a downhill ski resort but with gentler trails, fewer people and no lift lines. It’s an experience I can’t wait to repeat again. 

Staying at the Trapp Family Lodge

The Trapp Family Lodge traces its history back to the family who inspired "The Sound of Music," and in many ways it feels directly lifted from the Austrian Alps. On winter weekends, you can even snuggle under blankets on a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snowy hills, literally laughing to jingle bells all the way.  

The lodge’s main dining room serves breakfast and dinner, and there’s a spa, hot tub and fitness programming like yoga classes to keep you occupied when you’re not on the trails. We spent our evenings playing board games by a roaring fire in the lounge. I recommend heading into downtown Stowe for a hearty breakfast before coming back to the lodge for skiing or snowshoeing the magical trails.

In Vermont, an Austrian-inspired lodge that brings Nordic ski culture to life first appeared on FamilyVacationist.com .

More from FamilyVacationist:

  • 9 New England winter getaways for families who don’t like to ski  
  • 13 best national parks for families to visit in winter  
  • 7 festive holiday destinations to visit with kids over winter break  

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY. FamilyVacationist.com and TourScoop.com are owned and operated by Vacationist Media LLC. Using the FamilyVacationist travel recommendation methodology , we review and select family vacation ideas , family vacation spots , all-inclusive family resorts , and classic family vacations for all ages. TourScoop covers guided group tours and tour operators , tour operator reviews , tour itinerary reviews and travel gear recommendations .

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Best romantic getaways in the u.s. for 2024.

Sometimes it's necessary to take a break from the stresses of real life and spend quality time with the person you love. And what better way to do that than to travel? To help you and your sweetheart plan the ideal romantic retreat, whether it's for an anniversary or just because, U.S. News considered ambiance, privacy and access to couple-friendly activities to rank the best romantic getaways in the USA. Use this list to pick your next one-on-one vacation, and vote for your favorite locales below. Looking to stay even closer to home? Check out these romantic weekend getaways by state .

Kaua'i

Napa valley, charleston, sc, big sky, mt, amelia island, adirondacks, martha's vineyard, jackson hole.

weekend trip destinations usa

Kaua'i offers many distinct ways for both thrill-seeking and sun-worshipping couples to up the romance factor. You and your sweetheart can lounge on secluded beaches , relax in a private luxury villa or go on a kayaking adventure along the picture-perfect Napali Coast. For even more opportunities to marvel at nature, check out Kaua'i's scenic state parks like Koke'e and Waimea Canyon. Once you've tackled the Hawaiian island's trails hand in hand, consider booking a private helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view you and your better half will never forget.

weekend trip destinations usa

Few things are more romantic than sharing a remote island with your beau. Lanai's exclusivity can make it feel like the two of you are alone with the Hawaiian island breeze. Head to a luxury hotel or resort to indulge in high-end cuisine and soak up some sun by the pool before exploring the tiny island's landscape side by side. For a memorable hike that requires little effort, follow the short trail from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai to the Pu'upehe overlook. Also known as "Sweetheart Rock," this landmark offers stunning views of Hulopo'e Bay, especially at sunset.

weekend trip destinations usa

Brimming with rolling vineyards , cozy wine caverns, chic restaurants and top-notch hotels, this wine lover's paradise 60 miles north of San Francisco is the ultimate romantic getaway. Wine enthusiasts can sip Napa's award-winning reds at intimate venues like O'Brien Estate and Jarvis Estate or while savoring gourmet cuisine on the Napa Valley Wine Train. When couples need a break from being wined and dined, they can explore the scenic Napa River via kayak, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride, or visit the town of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley for its spas and hot springs.

weekend trip destinations usa

Another ideal retreat for wine connoisseurs , Sonoma is known to be more laid back than its neighbor, Napa, and boasts more than 425 wineries. However, strolling through vineyard vines isn't the only must-do activity for twosomes. Outdoor lovers will want to explore regional parks such as Taylor Mountain (for its trails) and North Sonoma Mountain (to enjoy a picnic surrounded by the peaks of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley). Plenty of Sonoma's hotels offer spa treatments, but what could be more memorable than a massage in a 22-foot wine barrel? Book side-by-side treatments at Magical Massage for a one-of-a-kind experience.

weekend trip destinations usa

A low-key getaway, Charleston, South Carolina, is filled with pastel-hued historic homes, art galleries and tasty Lowcountry cuisine (perfect for foodie couples). To dial up the romance, take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage or sign up for a sunset harbor cruise just for two. For a quiet shoreside escape free from crowds, head to one of the nearby beaches like Sullivan's Island. Accommodations range from beachfront resorts to charming bed-and-breakfasts but keep in mind you'll likely have to pay a pretty penny for a stay in the historic district.

weekend trip destinations usa

It's easy to proclaim your love when you're suspended atop red rocks and looking out upon miles of colorful Arizona landscape. After working up a sweat hiking Sedona's sandstone buttes, bring those romantic vibes indoors for a couples massage at one of the city's world-renowned wellness retreats . Or, if you and your amour prefer relaxing with a glass of vino, save time for a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which boasts 15 venues ranging from small tasting rooms to vast wineries sprawling along the banks of Oak Creek. At night, hold your loved one close and gaze at the star-filled sky.

weekend trip destinations usa

Travel to Big Sur for its windswept coastline and rugged mystique. This peaceful destination carved out of the California coast offers a couple of luxurious hotels, but nature is the real star in Big Sur. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the area's redwood-lined trails and admire picturesque Pfeiffer Beach before setting up a tent and roughing it beneath the stars. For an atmospheric picnic, head to Sand Dollar Beach, where couples can admire the scenery sans the crowds. For a more upscale outing, take a day trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea for its art galleries and fairy tale cottages.

weekend trip destinations usa

Let Big Sky's vast terrain, fresh air and rustic romance carry you and your loved one away from the ins and outs of everyday life. Every winter, couples flock to this Montana destination for its top-notch ski resort (complete with a heated chairlift), though the offseason has its charms, too (think: fly fishing on scenic rivers, hiking under an endless blue sky or taking a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.) For a curated Montana experience, spring for an all-inclusive ranch, where you'll find private cabins, homegrown cuisine and personalized service.

weekend trip destinations usa

What could be more romantic than a sunrise beachfront horseback ride for two? Or a private sunset cruise aboard a 40-foot catamaran? You and your love can experience this and more on Amelia Island, one of Florida's Atlantic coast barrier islands. Hop on bikes and explore the scenic Amelia Island Trail, or pedal to downtown Fernandina Beach for its Victorian-style architecture, antique shops and galleries. After a day spent sightseeing, pamper weary muscles with a couples massage at one of the luxury resorts that call the island home.

weekend trip destinations usa

This tiny Massachusetts island exudes New England charm. Stroll arm in arm with your sweetheart down cobblestone streets, unwind on white sand beaches and snap selfies in front of iconic lighthouses, such as Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse. Then, grab a lobster roll to share from one of the island's premier seafood restaurants, and revel in the extraordinary Atlantic Ocean views from the Sconset Bluff Walk. When you're ready to retire for the night, you'll have your pick of quaint Nantucket inns.

weekend trip destinations usa

Whether you time your trip for summer boating, fall leaf peeping or snow season, upstate New York makes for an intimate setting. Depending on when you visit, you can bond with your beloved on a sleigh ride, a paddling trip or a scenic hike, where you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the Adirondacks' forests, lakes and mountains. When you're adventured out, bop between some of New York's most iconic small towns, including Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, for local dining and shopping. What's more, you can choose from accommodations ranging from luxe lodges packed with amenities to secluded wooden cabins for two.

weekend trip destinations usa

Savannah, Georgia, is tailor-made for a weekend getaway. Spanish moss hangs over sidewalks that lead past hundreds of historic homes. The lively River Street area features a bevy of shopping, dining and nightlife options, while nearby islands provide a relaxing respite. Meanwhile, Forsyth Park provides the ultimate romantic backdrop for memorable couples photos, and if you're feeling brave, you can hold each other tight during a ghost tour at the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery. For charming digs in the heart of the city, hang your hat at one of Savannah's charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations, or rent a snug carriage house.

weekend trip destinations usa

If your ideal romantic escape entails a lazy agenda, shingle-covered beach houses and quaint towns, Martha's Vineyard is just the place. On this Massachusetts island, you can relax on quiet beaches, sample decadent fare at upscale restaurants and explore the historic Edgartown Lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the harbor and neighboring Chappaquiddick Island. On a warm, sunny day, venture to Oak Bluffs, where you'll find charming gingerbread cottages at The Campground. For the ultimate romantic retreat, book a stay at one of the island's top hotels, some of which offer complimentary bike rentals, beach chairs and continental breakfast to guests.

weekend trip destinations usa

Reconnect with your sweetie during a getaway to Jackson Hole. This piece of Wyoming paradise is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, including hiking and skiing. Should you need to soothe your aching muscles after an active day, go for a dip in the Granite Hot Springs, Astoria Hot Springs or your high-end resort's outdoor hot tub. Whether your dream romantic vacation includes horseback riding through the majestic Grand Teton National Park, sipping wine by a crackling fireplace or unwinding at a world-class spa, Jackson Hole is the perfect place for you and your other half.

weekend trip destinations usa

For lovebirds who enjoy skiing and cuddling up by a fireplace, Aspen is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Spend your days sharing ski lifts in the snow-capped mountains before partaking in the highly touted après ski scene. If you arrive during the warmer months, take advantage of superb hiking and scenic gondola rides. Then, retreat to one of the many hotels and resorts that offer glitzy accommodations for two – not to mention some must-visit spas . If you're not ready to turn in just yet, Aspen's nightlife options include plenty of live music venues, clubs and cocktail lounges.

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With 40 miles of protected seashore, this region of Massachusetts offers plenty of space for that long walk on the beach. And the slow pace of Cape Cod means you don't have to focus on the hustle and bustle of daily life – you can spend quality time together swimming, biking and eating fresh seafood instead. Cape Cod is also home to a handful of breweries and wineries, so you can toast to your special someone during a tasting. Splurge on one of the Cape's five-star accommodations for spectacular ocean views and sumptuous amenities like soaking tubs for two, in-room fireplaces and private balconies.

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Willamette Valley

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Santa Barbara

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Fredericksburg, TX

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San Luis Obispo

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Newport, RI

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Grand Canyon National Park

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