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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.

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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.

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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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A mini-vacation is a romantic weekend away, it’s 4 days of sun, sea, and sand, it’s an adventure for the whole family. It’s whatever you want it to be, mini-sized. To build your dream mini-vacation, enter your desired location and your travel dates, and let us take care of the rest. When you build your Expedia package deal, you bundle your accommodation, flights, and car rentals and save money.

Where should I go for a mini-vacation?

For a shot of sea and sun, head for the golden sands of Southern California , or hit the white-hot party heat of Miami . Prefer the great outdoors? Book a cosy condo in the mountains of Montana or enjoy the bo-ho chic of Washington State . Maybe you want a bit of culture and history, so stay at a spa hotel in Washington, DC . The choice is yours!

Where should I go for the best weekend getaway?

For a weekend of bright lights in the big city, try the high life and head to Vegas . If you want something a little more sedate, book a weekend in Waikiki . Or, if you’ve got the whole family in tow, book a stay in San Diego or a vacation rental in Myrtle Beach .

How can I find the best weekend getaway deals?

Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a mini-vacation, Expedia always has amazing deals. You can choose from our attractive offers that include accommodation, flights, and car rentals, or build your own package and still bundle to save. Our vast network of partners and advanced filters make it easy to find, compare, and craft a trip that speaks to you and your wallet.

How do I plan a cheap weekend getaway?

To find cheap getaways, you can filter your Expedia search results by your per-night budget, so you only see available accommodation that suits you on the dates you want to travel. Look out for special offers and sign in to see member prices on all kinds of cheap weekend getaways. You may be best off looking in the low season and away from the main tourist areas to find more cheap trips ideas. If you’re traveling in a larger group, you might find a vacation rental or condo resort is a cheaper option than everyone booking a hotel room.

How do you plan a weekend romantic getaway on a budget?

Expedia makes it easy to plan the best weekend getaways for couples, even if you’re on a tight budget. You can filter your tempting search results by price, but more importantly, you can filter by amenities, such as hot tub, ocean view, spa to tailor make your unforgettable couple’s retreat.

Where should I go on a girls’ trip?

A weekend of skiing in Colorado –party included–or lounging on the beach in Cancun ? Mooching through the markets in Portland, Oregon , or hitting the big shops in New York . Whatever makes your best weekend getaway with the girls, you can get a great deal that suits everyone’s pocket with Expedia.

What are some excellent family weekend getaways?

If your family has a sense of adventure, head for Alabama and a mini-vacation that could include dolphin spotting, fishing, jet-skiing, and more. If you’re a brood of city slickers, take in the culture of Milwaukee , with exhibitions, museums, and sightseeing for all ages. Whatever family weekend getaway you’re looking for, we have it at Expedia.

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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

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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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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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15 Affordable Weekend Getaways Around the U.S.

Need a vacation but are short on time and money? One of these affordable weekend getaway ideas might be the solution.

long weekend travel

You might feel the urge to get out of town for a couple of days, even if your budget is a bit tight. With some planning, you won't have to break the bank to enjoy a much-needed change of scenery. Not that we really needed proof, but studies have shown that even a short vacation and time outdoors can be beneficial to our health. The good news is you don't have to venture too far to experience the benefits of a change in your environment.

If you're seeking an affordable weekend getaway near you, take a look at our suggestions for trips from these 15 major cities. No matter which destination you pick, we're sure you'll return home refreshed and with your wallet not too much lighter.

Los Angeles to Hermosa Beach, California

Makito Umekita/Travel + Leisure

Just a few miles away on the coast, the town of Hermosa Beach is ideal for a budget-conscious getaway from Los Angeles. Check into one of the charming beachfront hotels tucked into the shore, like the laidback Sea Sprite Hotel . Or, try the affordable elegance of H2O Hermosa . Pizza, burgers, tacos, and more are available just steps from the pier. Grab a slice from Paisanos Pizza & Pasta for lunch and picnic on the beach.  

Pass a lazy day relaxing on the sandy beach or splashing in the waves. Rent a bike to cruise The Strand or stroll along and check out the homes bordering the path. Visitors can also enjoy Hermosa's murals , painted on various walls and buildings to commemorate the city's history and culture. If your budget allows, opt for jazz brunch at The Lighthouse Cafe , which has been around since 1949, or catch a show at The Comedy & Magic Club .  

New York City to Montauk, New York

The towns on Long Island make for great getaways from New York City, and a wallet-friendly weekend is possible when you pass by the tony Hamptons spots and continue east on Montauk Highway. Head to the South Fork town of Montauk , the easternmost point on Long Island and New York state. There's an array of lodging and restaurants here, as well as beaches, wineries, and historic sites.

Hither Hills State Park , one of several parks in the area, offers an ocean beach, picnic areas, fireplaces, fishing, a playground, and campsites, in addition to hiking and biking paths. Walk along the rocky shoreline at Montauk Point State Park and enjoy the ocean view or hike one of the nature trails. Nearby, the historic 1796 Montauk Lighthouse and museum are reminders of the area's role in U.S. history.

Washington, D.C., to West Virginia

West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle is a scenic two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., but it feels worlds away from the city. Spend your thrifty weekend enjoying nature, a small-town atmosphere, history, and shopping in places like Shepherdstown , a picturesque college community. In Harpers Ferry, where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, visit the National Historical Park for hiking, rock climbing, and a dose of history. Thrill seekers will even find zip lining in the area.

Relax and rejuvenate with a dip in Berkeley Springs , natural hot springs that have attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Browse the walkable downtown antique shops and dining spots. Or, visit a distillery in Martinsburg or Charles Town and take home a souvenir to enjoy back in D.C.

Seattle to San Juan Island, Washington

For an island getaway, head to San Juan Island , a few hours away by car, plus a ferry ride from Anacortes. Upon arriving, reconnect with nature with a hike , bike ride, or beachfront walk. Fishing, boating, and kayaking are also available options. For some liquid fuel, visit a winery, brewery, or cidery and enjoy a refreshing tasting.

There's also a variety of accommodations on the island that suit all budgets. At Lakedale Resort , for example, visitors can choose a log cabin, lake house, yurt, campsite, RV spot, or glamping retreat in a luxury canvas cottage.

San Francisco to Paso Robles, California

For a welcome change of scenery, a road trip from San Francisco to Paso Robles , about 200 miles south, provides an enjoyable drive. Commune with nature and enjoy the outdoor activities and relaxed surroundings of Lake Nacimiento , which offers miles of beautiful shoreline, mountains, forests, and waterfalls — an ideal spot for fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

As for accommodations, visitors can stay in a bed-and-breakfast, vacation rental, or at The Piccolo downtown. The walkable town is home to coffee shops, restaurants, antique shops, and boutiques. An alfresco picnic lunch at a local winery also makes for a fun experience. Visit Denner Vineyards ' stunning tasting room (by appointment) or taste the outstanding wines at Alta Colina , where you can even spend a night in a vintage trailer alongside the on-site pond. Stop by Thacher Winery , another family-owned vineyard in a lovely setting.

Portland to Sherwood, Oregon

You don't have to go far from Portland to get out of the city. Less than 20 miles south in Sherwood , the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is home to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants — a perfect place to unwind while exploring the habitats on the trail or from the wetland observation deck. Enjoy the drive through the area's rolling hills and stop at a local winery for a tasting or to pick up a bottle for later.

For a fun and budget-friendly experience, stay at My Tiny House Village , a micro-resort set on an old Christmas tree farm. The collection of tiny homes, each one unique and creatively decorated, is conveniently located near wineries and the quaint town. Farther into Willamette Valley wine country, The Vintages Trailer Resort offers refurbished and beautifully styled retro trailers with amenities like luxurious robes, a pool, and lawn games.

Dallas, Texas, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Just about 200 miles north of Dallas on I-35, Oklahoma City is an easy weekend getaway and a great place to enjoy the outdoors. In the city's Boathouse District , along the Oklahoma River, you can choose canoeing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. When the day is done, head for nearby Bricktown , formerly a warehouse district and now home to restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment.

If your furry friend will be joining you, you'll find dog-friendly parks , including one at Myriad Botanical Gardens , with more than 1,000 plant varieties, a waterfall, and a sky bridge with views into a tropical forest. Visit Frontier City for thrilling rides, or check the schedule and catch one of Oklahoma City's horse shows . The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is another great stop if you can fit a visit into your weekend itinerary.

Denver to Fort Collins, Colorado

A one-hour drive north from Denver, your weekend getaway in Fort Collins might begin with a stop at one of the many breweries , or if you prefer, there are several local distilleries waiting for you to sample their spirits. Spend a day outdoors hiking, biking, birdwatching, or horseback riding. Nearby rivers, lakes, and reservoirs offer lots of water activities , from whitewater rafting to paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming.

Spend at least a day in downtown Fort Collins , exploring the shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants. The picturesque streets, alleys, and restored historical buildings inspired Disneyland's Main Street USA. For an authentic, comfortable, and convenient stay that will fit your budget, stay at the Armstrong Hotel set in Old Town Fort Collins. The hotel will pamper your dog, too, with a Pendleton dog bed and New Belgium Brewing Company dog bowl to use during your visit.

Atlanta to Asheville, North Carolina

About 200 miles north of Atlanta is the affordable weekend getaway of Asheville . Indulge in the city's thriving arts scene with a day strolling the River Arts District . From paintings to pottery to ceramics, there are hundreds of works and studios to explore. Refuel along the way at Ultra Coffeebar or Wedge Brewing Company .

Dining is taken to a whole new level in Asheville, even for the budget-conscious. Sink your teeth into the pulled pork at 12 Bones Smokehouse , try the biscuits at Tupelo Honey , or satisfy your sweet tooth at Vortex Doughnuts . Walk off your meal by hiking the scenic trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains. When you're ready to turn in, there's plenty of lodging available, whether you prefer a hotel stay or cozy cabin weekend.

Chicago to Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

The natural wonder of Indiana Dunes is less than an hour's drive from Chicago. The 15-mile national park curves around the southern shore of Lake Michigan and offers a full weekend itinerary of hiking, biking, and horseback riding complete with woodland and beach views.

Hike down to Mount Baldy Beach for an afternoon of sand and sun, or through the area's bird population on the Great Marsh Trail . If you're really feeling adventurous, try the Diana of the Dunes Dare challenge . Visitors have the option of vacation homes, hotels, or bed-and-breakfasts around Indian Dunes, but of course, the best way to experience the outdoors is by camping out .

Philadelphia to Richmond, Virginia

Philadelphians can head a few hours south to the historic southern city of Richmond. If you're looking for a cheap weekend vacation, Richmond offers a variety of attractions that won't cost a dime , including museums, galleries, and outdoor fun. Tour the city's 400 years of history , then sip your way through the local wineries which offer glasses of vino with a view. Weekenders can choose from accommodations in any corner of the city they want, including the boutique Quirk Hotel for an authentic Richmond experience. Don't leave without trying a few of Richmond's 900-plus restaurants, including James Beard Award nominees like Mama J's and Peter Chang .

Nashville to Blue Ridge, Georgia

For a thrifty trip with scores of natural delight, Blue Ridge , about 200 miles south of Nashville, is the perfect scenic sojourn. In warmer months, cool off by whitewater rafting the Ocoee River, tubing down the Toccoa, or heading out in a pontoon boat on Lake Blue Ridge. Or, hike to one of the area's 16 waterfalls. If you're headed there in the fall (one of the best times to go for the autumnal scenery), you can't miss a trip to Mercier Orchards where you can apple pick the day away before sipping cider with a side of apple fritters.

Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway along the Toccoa River for some of the best sights in the country. When you're worn out from sightseeing, the mountain towns of McCaysville and Copperhill offer shopping, dining, and historic sightseeing. Naturally, there are plenty of cabins and lakeside lodges in the area. Whether you're getting away for a fishing trip, family fun, or a romantic rendezvous for two, accommodations include picture-perfect vacation rentals, hotels, treehouses, cabin rentals, and bed-and-breakfasts.

New Orleans to Meadville, Mississippi

Sometimes even New Orleanians need a break from the city. When you're looking for a restful weekend of mountain air and quiet nights, Getaway provides hideouts just a couple of hours up the road from The Big Easy. The NOLA outpost is set back in the Homochitto National Forest near Meadville.

With all of the essentials like cookware, AC/heat, toiletries, and s'mores (plus no WiFi), these cabins are a perfect, cheap way to unplug and refresh on a weekend away. Don't forget to bring your furry friend as the cabins are dog-friendly and provide pup essentials as well. And if you want to venture out from your cozy little cabin, there's plenty to do and see in the area, from hiking to dining to local muscadine wining.

San Diego to Solvang, California

The quaint Danish town of Solvang is only a few hours up the coast from San Diego. Step back in time into the old-world European architecture and really get a feel for Little Denmark with a ride on the wooden, horse-drawn Solvang Trolley . Located in wine country, Solvang has over 120 vineyards to explore and a distinctive dining scene.

This walkable village has plenty of affordable lodging close by. Enjoy Danish-style inns, quaint vacation cottages, or full-service hotels.

Las Vegas to Phoenix

Those looking to escape the City of Sin can head a few desert miles away to Arizona's Valley of the Sun . For a budget-friendly weekend trip, stay in Phoenix , home to can't-miss dining, shopping, culture, and nightlife. Get acquainted with the Sonoran Desert flora at the gorgeous Desert Botanical Garden , or see historic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home Taliesin West in Scottsdale .

Once you've had your fun in the sun, grab a quirky cocktail at Bitter & Twisted before indulging in Phoenix's superb restaurant scene. Dine in the shadow of Camelback Mountain at local favorites like Barrio Café and Pizzeria Bianco . In terms of where to stay , Phoenix has an abundance of options, with plenty of pools and desert sky views.

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