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

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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"

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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!

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15 Cheap Weekend Getaways To Take in 2023 [U.S., Mexico & Dominican Republic Ideas]

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15 Cheap Weekend Getaways To Take in 2023 [U.S., Mexico & Dominican Republic Ideas]

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Cheap weekend getaways, final thoughts.

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If you’re short on time and money but are desperate for a quick trip away, you need to find somewhere that is easily accessible and won’t cost the earth.

Whether you’re looking to unwind on a beautiful beach after a busy working week, or are on a mission to discover the best places to eat and drink, these 15 destinations are perfect for a cheap weekend getaway.

Cancún, Mexico

Cancun

Cancún is warm year-round, and you can bag yourself a bargain in late spring, summer, or fall outside of the high season months of December to April. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, Cancún is a short hop from many southern and eastern U.S. cities, and with round-trips from Atlanta or New York starting at $200 , it’s the perfect weekend beach escape.

Treat yourself to an all-inclusive hotel so you know what your upfront costs will be, or book a room-only rate and eat like a local at cheap food stalls. The beaches are all free to visit , and you could even take a travel cooler with a picnic if you’re on a serious budget.

Where to Stay

  • Aloft Cancun : Located in the Hotel Zone, this 4-star hotel has an outdoor pool, roof garden, gym, and steam room. The beach is just 200 yards away, and guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar. Prices run around $218 or 30,000 Marriott points per weekend
  • Flamingo Cancun Resort : This 4-star beachfront hotel is 20-minutes from downtown Cancún. All rooms provide lagoon or sea views, and facilities include 2 outdoor pools, a restaurant, and a bar. A stay at the Flamingo Cancun Resort runs around  $283 per weekend (all-inclusive) .

Hot Tip: You can save even more money by flying to Mexico using points and miles and looking for a Cancun hotel that you can book with points . You may also be able to save money by booking a vacation package that includes your flight and hotel — check out some of these websites for great deals.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago

With free museums, music, parks, and beaches to explore, Chicago is great for a cheap city break. Book your flight at least 3 weeks before your departure date and visit outside of summer for the best rates. You’ve got the choice of flying into Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) or Chicago Midway International ( MDW ).

Before your weekend break, check out these fun things to do in Chicago.

  • Warwick Allerton Chicago : This reasonably priced 4-star hotel can be found along the Magnificent Mile, in the heart of downtown Chicago. Navy Pier and Millenium Park are around 1 mile from this boutique hotel. A stay here will cost around $228 per weekend .
  • Club Quarters Hotel, Wacker at Michigan : This historic 4-star hotel is located inside Mather Tower and overlooks the Chicago River. Rooms are stylish and offer river or city views, and Grant Park is just a 10-minute walk away. Staying here will cost you around $258 per weekend .

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park

Estes Park is the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park . Take the Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the summit of Prospect Mountain or hike one of the many trails within the national park. Estes Park attracts visitors year-round — hiking in the warmer months and snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during the winter.

Accommodation can be 50% cheaper outside of the summer season, and you’ll be sharing your spectacular surroundings with fewer people.

  • Nicky’s Resort : This 2-star resort is next to Fall River, just 2 miles from the north entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. There’s a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, and sun terrace. A stay here will start around $175 per weekend.
  • Murphy’s River Lodge : This 3-star lodge is a 5-minute walk from the town center and has an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. BBQ facilities are provided, and breakfast is included in the rate. Staying here will cost you around $185 per weekend .

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region consists of 11 long, narrow lakes surrounded by rolling hills, forests, and waterfalls. Around a 4-hour drive from New York City , Finger Lakes is the perfect weekend escape from the bustling city. Sample some of the region’s fantastic wine at one of the many wineries or go hiking in the spectacular Letchworth State Park.

Summer and fall attract the most visitors as the orange and red trees look striking against the lake waters. Rent a car from New York City or fly from Boston Logan International (BOS) into Greater Rochester International (ROC) starting at $70.

  • Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham – Geneva : This 2-star, pet-friendly hotel is located 1 mile from Seneca Lake. Guests may use the fitness center, and rooms include a continental breakfast. A weekend stay here would cost you around $263 or 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points .
  • Quality Inn near Finger Lakes and Seneca Falls : This 3-star hotel is just a 4-minute drive to Seneca Falls and is 6 miles from Cayuga Lake State Park. Facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, sauna, and tennis court. Rates here start around  $281 or 32,000 Choice Privileges points per weekend.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park

Outdoor enthusiasts will love spending the weekend hiking the miles of trails in Glacier National Park . You can also admire the spectacular mountain views, alpine meadows, and waterfalls from the comfort of your car when driving the 50-mile Going to the Sun Road that stretches from east to west of the national park.

Although lodging and park entry fees are the lowest in fall, winter, and spring , you’ll need to consider the weather and avalanche risk if there has been a heavy snowfall. July and August are the most popular months to visit, as most trails and roads are open, along with general facilities and campsites. Camping is the most affordable way to experience Glacier National Park or take a look at the accommodations below that are situated in gateway communities.

  • Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins : The lodge is 8 miles from the west entrance to Glacier National Park. All cabins feature fully-equipped kitchens, and the lodge has a seasonal restaurant and espresso bar. Prices run around $191 per weekend .
  • Glacier Peaks Hotel : Located in Browning on the eastern edge of the Glacier National Park, this 2-star hotel offers comfortable rooms, including breakfast. Guests may use the indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center. A weekend stay here will start around $265 .

Hot Tip: You can enjoy the spectacular mountains, lakes, and forests of Glacier National Park from the comfort of your home — the park is featured in our guide to virtual tours of iconic U.S. national parks !

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores Alabama

Gulf Shores is located at the southernmost tip of Alabama and boasts sparkling white sandy beaches made from quartz crystal . When you’re not splashing around in the turquoise water, you can cycle through Gulf State Park, take a dolphin-watching cruise, or go fishing.

As a beach resort, summer is the busiest time for visitors with the highest rates for accommodation, but spring and fall can still be warm enough to enjoy a weekend beach break with fewer crowds. Staying in a beachfront hotel will set you back more than inland accommodation, so if you’re on a budget, opt for the latter.

  • Comfort Inn & Suites : This 2-star hotel is 200 yards from the beach and is close to Gulf State Park. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, and rates include breakfast. A weekend will cost starting around $224 or 50,000 Choice Privileges points .
  • Quality Inn Ft. Morgan Road-Hwy 59 : This 3-star hotel is 1.5 miles from the beach and has an indoor pool. Rooms feature a refrigerator and microwave and include breakfast. Rates start around $102 or 50,000   Choice Privileges points per weekend .

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas

When you can book a round-trip flight from Los Angeles for as little as $65 or from Chicago for $140, Las Vegas can be an excellent destination for a weekend getaway. Although the city is all glitz and glamour, there are ways to ensure that you don’t spend all your cash before you get a chance to hit the slot machines.

Check the Las Vegas convention calendar before you book your trip to plan around any large conventions that might bump-up hotel prices. Stroll along and enjoy the free entertainment along the famous Las Vegas Strip , but don’t choose a hotel right in the heart of the action, as these charge the highest nightly rates.

Unless you’re planning to take a day trip to the Grand Canyon, you won’t need to rent a car for the weekend as you can walk, ride the bus, or take a cab along the Strip. For the cheapest flights and hotel rates, visit in the low season (February) and check out Tix4Tonight for cheap last-minute show tickets. Lastly, opt for a vacation package that combines flight, hotel, and even a rental car to save money!

  • El Cortez Hotel & Casino : Located on Freemont Street, this hotel is home to the longest continuously-running casino in Las Vegas. Bedrooms have a retro touch, and there are dining options onsite, as well as a fitness center, and a beauty salon.  Rates start around $188 per weekend .
  • Excalibur : This castle-themed casino and resort is located directly on the Strip and offers great value accommodation. There are 4 seasonal outdoor pools and a choice of 6 exciting restaurants. Due to MGM’s relationship with Hyatt , this Category 3 hotel can be booked from 18,000 World of Hyatt points per weekend or $309 per weekend .

Hot Tip: Don’t miss a chance to earn perks — like free slot play and discounts — at over 13 Vegas casinos, including Bellagio , Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and MGM Grand. Check out our guide on everything you need to know about the MGM Rewards loyalty program .

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis

Memphis is the home of blues, soul, and rock and roll, with former residents including Elvis and B.B. King. The cheapest months to spend a weekend in Memphis are November and February  when no large events are taking place, but there are still tons of bars and restaurants hosting live music that will be sure to get your toe-tapping.

If you’re visiting on a budget and want to see where Elvis Presley once lived, Graceland offers free admission to the Meditation Garden daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Round-trip flights from Denver cost around $110 and $200 from Los Angeles.

  • Best Western Plus Gen X Inn : This 3-star hotel is 2 miles from downtown Memphis and a 15-minute drive from historic Graceland. Rooms include a refrigerator, coffee machine, and include breakfast in the rate. Weekend rates start around $285 or 40,000 Best Western Rewards .
  • La Quinta by Wyndham Memphis Downtown : Located in downtown Memphis, this 3-star hotel is close to the Sun Studio and Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Guests may use the indoor swimming pool and fitness center, and rooms include breakfast. A stay here starts at $295 or 60,000 Wyndham Rewards points per weekend .

Hot Tip: Memphis is a popular stop on The Great River Road , a 3,000-mile stretch along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is the ideal destination for an affordable family beach vacation , with cheap accommodations, budget-friendly dining, and many free activities . Late fall to early spring is off-season, so you may not want to take a dip in the ocean, but you will find the cheapest hotel rates.

Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) is close to the coastline and many other city attractions, and you can jet in from Philadelphia for around $95 or New York for $115. Rent an apartment or hotel with a kitchenette and take picnics to the beach to save money on dining out.

  • Vancouver Motel : Located on the beachfront, this 2-star motel has comfortable rooms with a pool or ocean view. BBQ facilities are available to use, and each room has a refrigerator and microwave. Rates start around $111 per weekend .
  • Caribbean Resort Myrtle Beach : This 3-star hotel has an oceanfront pool and a waterpark, including a lazy river. Most rooms have a fully-equipped kitchen and private balcony with ocean views. A stay here starts at around  $134 per weekend .

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park consists of nearly 1 million acres of rugged coastline, snow-capped mountains, and lush rainforests. Visitors must pay to enter the park; however, if you visit on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, or the first day of National Park Week, entrance to the park is free .

Spring is an excellent time to visit for wildlife watching, and accommodation rates are cheaper than in the popular summer months. Drive the Olympic Peninsula Loop and stop at the driftwood-dotted Ruby Beach, stroll through the Hoh Rain Forest, or hike along Hurricane Ridge. To start exploring, fly from Los Angeles to Seattle for $115 or from Chicago for $160.

  • Olympic View Inn : Located 15 miles from Port Angeles, the Inn provides comfortable rooms with refrigerators and microwaves. Room rates start at around $124 per weekend .
  • Lake Quinault Lodge : The 3-star lodge is located on the edge of Lake Quinault and has an indoor pool and sauna. Some units feature a kitchen and some have balconies. Rates are a little higher than others on the list, starting at $310 per weekend .

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence Rhode Island

If you’re a bit of a foodie, then Providence should be high on your list for a weekend break. Downtown Providence is home to some fantastic restaurants such as Oberlin, serving mouthwatering Rhode Island Seafood. In between discovering the city’s burgeoning food scene, marvel at some amazing architecture, including the Fleur-de-Lis Studios and Providence Athenaeum.

Fall is a lovely time to visit Providence with the beautiful colors of the fall foliage . If you visit up until early November, head to the river for the famous WaterFire Festival. Round-trip flights to Providence from Charlotte start at $75 and start at $115 when flying from Orlando. Read our review on some of the best fall weekend getaways for more ideas.

  • Christopher Dodge House : This 3-star bed and breakfast is just over a mile from Brown University and a 10-minute walk to Waterplace Park. Rooms are elegantly decorated and include a superb breakfast in the rate. Rates start at around $246 per weekend .
  • Hilton Garden Inn Providence : Overlooking Providence Harbor, this 3-star hotel is 1.5 miles from the historic district. Guests may use the on-site fitness center and restaurant. A stay here starts at around $376 or 88,000 Hilton Honors points per weekend .

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana

Relaxing on Punta Cana’s white sandy beaches is the perfect way to unwind after a busy week. With just a 3-hour time difference from the West Coast U.S. and even less from the East, you can enjoy a weekend in Punta Cana knowing that you won’t spend the duration adjusting your body clock.

Hotels offer great value, and many are 5-star all-inclusive, so you can enjoy a luxurious weekend without budgeting for additional food and drink. Avoid peak season from November to January for the cheapest flights to Punta Cana, which run around $350 from Boston and $320 from Chicago.

  • Occidental Caribe : This 4-star beachfront resort has 2 lagoon-style swimming pools, 6 restaurants, a spa, and a casino. There’s plenty of entertainment for kids and an adults-only club. A weekend at this all-inclusive resort starts at around $366 per weekend (all-inclusive) .
  • Catalonia Punta Cana : Located on Bavaro Beach, this 5-star all-inclusive resort has fabulous reviews and 10 restaurants. The hotel has a wide range of day and evening activities, including water sports and live music. A stay here starts at $326 per weekend, which is the all-inclusive price.

Hot Tip: You can also save money by booking your Punta Cana hotel with points  or considering an all-inclusive resort .

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City

Spend a weekend exploring the Great Salt Lake — the largest lake west of the Mississippi River — and take a free guided tour of Temple Square. Whether you’re visiting in winter to hit the slopes or in the warmer months to take the scenic aerial tram to the top of Hidden Peak, there’s so much to see and do in Salt Lake City.

The cheapest weekends to visit Salt Lake City are in September and October before the skiers arrive. Fly from San Francisco for around $125 or Washington, D.C. for around $250.

  • Econo Lodge Downtown Salt Lake City : This 2-star hotel is located 1 mile from Temple Square and is 3.8 miles from the airport. Rooms include a continental breakfast, and guests can use the outdoor pool (seasonally). Rates start at around $119 or 16,000 Choice Privileges points per weekend .
  • Hyatt House Salt Lake City Downtown : This 3-star hotel is located in Downtown Salt Lake City and offers guests comfortable accommodation, including breakfast. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center. A stay here starts around $252 or 16,000 World of Hyatt points per weekend .

Hot Tip:  Salt Lake City International (SLC) was found to have the best average TSA security wait times so getting home from your trip will be a breeze.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio

Historic sights and fantastic shopping and dining make San Antonio the perfect destination for a weekend city break. Stroll along the cafe-lined River Walk or discover 18th-century frontier missions , including the Alamo. Visit between November to April to avoid the crowds and take advantage of the low-season hotel rates.

Visitors from New York can fly round-trip to San Antonio starting at around $190. Staying downtown, you’ll be looking at a minimum nightly rate of $200 plus, so stay slightly further out if you’re on a budget.

  • Quality Inn Downtown – near Market Square : This 2-star hotel is just 5 minutes from the city center and 2 miles from the River Walk. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, and room rates include breakfast. Rates start around $187 or 24,000 Choice Privileges points per weekend .
  • Best Western Plus Downtown North : Located in the east district of San Antonio, this 3-star hotel is 2 miles from the Alamo and River Walk. Hotel facilities include an outdoor pool and fitness center, and rooms come with a fabulous breakfast. A stay here starts around $252 or 40,000 Best Western Rewards points per weekend .

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah

Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in the U.S., but its eerie reputation forms part of the intrigue for many visitors. Spot dolphins off the coast of Tybee Island or ride the free Belles Ferry across the Savannah River . At the heart of the city is the old district, with quaint cobbled streets and tree-lined roads dripping with silvery Spanish moss.

There’s lots of history to discover in Savannah , and many of the monuments and museums are free to enter. Spring is the busiest time to visit, and the cheapest hotels and flights into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) can be booked in January.

  • Planters Inn on Reynolds Square : This 3-star boutique inn is located in the historic district just a few blocks from River Street and a short walk from the city market. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, bar, and fitness center. Rates for a weekend start around $295.
  • Best Western Savannah Historic District : The hotel is a 2-minute walk to the riverfront and 700 yards from the Belles Ferry landing. Guests may use the heated outdoor pool and fitness center. You can book a stay here starting at $327 or 48,000 Best Western Rewards points per weekend .

There are plenty of places where you can enjoy a weekend getaway without breaking the bank. Savvy travelers will save money by booking off-season when flights and accommodations are at their cheapest. Check the tourism board’s calendar to see if there are any major events or conferences taking place that weekend that are likely to inflate accommodation rates and avoid staying right in the middle of town.

Take advantage of free attractions such as live music, museums, and galleries, and book a hotel with a kitchen or at least a refrigerator so you don’t need to eat out 3 meals a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i get a cheap weekend getaway.

There are plenty of places that you can enjoy a weekend getaway without breaking the bank. Savvy travelers will save money by booking off-season when flights and accommodation are at their cheapest. Check the tourism board’s calendar to see if there are any major events or conferences taking place that weekend that are likely to bump-up accommodation rates and don’t stay right in the middle of town.

Where can I go on a budget in the U.S.?

Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, and Savannah are all great destinations for a budget weekend break. See the full list of 15 destinations in this article.

Where is the cheapest place for a city break?

Some of our recommended city breaks for a cheap weekend getaway are Chicago, Las Vegas, Memphis, Myrtle Beach, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Savannah.

Is 3 days a good vacation?

When staying fairly close to home, any of the cities mentioned in our guide would be perfect for a 3-day escape to relax and recharge.

Was this page helpful?

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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17 Easy Weekend Getaways From NYC

By Alex Erdekian and Hannah Towey

Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport Rhode Island

Weekend getaways from NYC can do wonders for the mind and soul. When in the city, most people can’t help but hustle—but a break from subway rides and cramped apartments is something we all need once in a while. (As for visitors, you too can get the true New England experience by pairing your city break with a local-loved side trip, or two.)

Disappearing into the woods, soaking up salty sea air, or getting lost in wine country all have their charms—and thankfully, all of the above are available just a few hours from Manhattan via rail, bus, or rental car . From the Hamptons to the Adirondacks, beaches, islands, and mountains are all easily accessible from New York City. Some of them may leave you wondering why New York's surrounding destinations don't get more buzz in the first place.

Below, the 17 best weekend getaways from NYC. Here's to checking them all of your bucket list. (For the best restaurants, hotels, and more in the city itself, check out our New York City travel guide .)

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

The boardwalk in Asbury Park with morning sun and shadows

The quintessential beach town: Asbury Park, New Jersey

Just over an hour’s drive

We’ve long held the opinion that the classic Jersey Shore town, Asbury Park, doesn’t get enough attention . Super accessible from the city, it’s just an hour and fifteen minutes by car on the Garden State Parkway, and only thirty minutes longer if you're traveler from Penn Station on a Bay Head-bound North Jersey Coast Line train. From Asbury Park’s bustling boardwalk to its famous mile-long beach, this town offers the perfect blend of relaxation and action. Experience the exciting local food scene by making stops at Reyla (for Mediterranean small plates) or beachside coffee shop Asbury Park Roastery. Consider staying at the Asbury Ocean Club, Surfside Resort and Residences for an elevated beachside experience or the eclectic ​​Asbury Hotel , which has the perfect rooftop.

Image may contain Grass Nature Outdoors Park Plant Scenery Tree Vegetation Tree Trunk Landscape Land and Woodland

The suburban sanctuary: Fairfield County, Connecticut

About a one-hour train ride via Metro-North

When you’re pressed on time and need a low-key break from the city, do as commuters do and escape to the ‘burbs. Hop on the Metro-North New Haven Line out of Grand Central and take an hour train to one of Fairfield County's numerous charming towns and cities. From coastal enclaves like Greenwich and Westport to more wooded areas like New Canaan and Wilton, the variety of Connecticut's suburbs may surprise you. Fairfield County doesn’t claim the tri-state’s best beaches, to be sure, but there’s plenty of summer fun to be had along Long Island Sound: take a kayak, sailboat, or ferry between the Norwalk Islands, stroll down one of the area’s many public beaches , or savor local seafood (be sure to order a round of Copps Island oysters) at Knot Norms , Rowayton Seafood , The Whelk , or L’Escale . There’s outdoor attractions beyond the beach, too: New Canaan’s Grace Farms, Stamford’s Cove Island Park, and Darien’s newly-opened Great Island offer acres of walking paths and recreational space. Book a stay at the Inn at Gray Barns or the Delamar Greenwich Harbor hotel, or rent a cozy Airbnb to truly settle in—without settling down.

Image may contain Plant Tree Vegetation Leaf Landscape Nature Outdoors Scenery Grove Land Woodland and Autumn

The rural retreat: Manchester, Vermont

About a four-hour drive (or bus)

When you feel the need to go off-the-grid, the Green Mountain State is always a good idea for a long weekend in nature—whether you’re after winter snow or fall foliage. The idyllic town of Manchester located nearby Stratton Mountain Resort allows for just the right amount of isolation where you can relax in peaceful solitude without sacrificing top-notch restaurants, shopping, and human interaction (should you desire). Pro tip for the driving-averse New Yorkers out there: the Hampton Jitney runs a winter route between NYC and Manchester from December to March, departing on Fridays and returning each Sunday (fares start at $69). Stay at local establishment The Equinox , or drive a few towns over to exciting newcomer The Weston .

Image may contain City Urban Metropolis Water Waterfront Architecture Building Cityscape and Office Building

The historical jaunt: Boston

About a four hour train ride via Amtrak Acela

New Yorkers and Bostonians may go head-to-head at times, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery without giving up your cosmopolitan comforts, a weekend trip to Boston might just be what the doctor ordered. The Amtrak Acela departing from Penn Station clocks in at just under four hours, arriving at South Station between downtown Boston and the waterfront. Upon arrival, walk along the cobblestone streets of the Freedom Trail and duck into some of the country’s finest restaurants, bars, and historic sites along the way. Take in the architecture of Boston’s South End or explore neighboring communities Cambridge and Sommerville . There’s no shortage of great hotels in Boston —old or new—making the classic New England city an ideal weekend excursion for every type of traveler.

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The good-time island: Fire Island, New York

About a two-and-a-half hour drive, plus a 30-minute ferry ride

An all-time favorite summer escape, and one that is especially important to NYC’s queer community, is Fire Island. With its many towns and beaches, each boasting their own local flavor, the Long Island barrier island makes it easy to choose the spot to match your vibe. A few popular spots: Cherry Grove is a fun-loving party destination, Kismet is known for its nightlife, and Fire Island Pines is an affluent community with a dining and shopping scene and some of the island’s most expensive addresses. A worthwhile hotel option is the Madison , the boutique bed and breakfast where the cast of Fire Island stayed while shooting the recent film. (A few other spots it featured? The bar Cherry’s which offers harborside drag shows, vintage shop DENIZEN , and the Belvedere Fire Island , a palatial resort for gay men.)

About a twohour drive about an hour and fifteen minutes via Amtrak  It may be obvious but its too easily forgotten by...

The city break: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

About a two-hour drive; about an hour and fifteen minutes via Amtrak

It may be obvious, but it’s too easily forgotten by New Yorkers: the easy urban getaway to nearby Philadelphia. The city is budding with things to do, whether you’re in search of great new restaurants, fantastic art exhibits, or just a change of pace. A few of our favorite to-dos in Philly include visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, followed by the perfect cheesesteak at John’s Roast Pork . Betsy Blumenthal, former Traveler features editor—and resident Philly expert—recommends the city’s Four Seasons for its spectacular aerial views of landmarks like Independence Hall. (For even more destination tips, check out our comprehensive Philadelphia city guide. )

Best NYC Weekend Getaways The Hamptons

The posh beach hang: The Hamptons

About a two-hour drive

For many, the Hamptons conjure visions of Upper East Siders summering in their mansions, and flitting between high society parties. A weekend is the perfect stretch of time to slip into that whirlwind before letting the city ground you once again. Classic to-dos like visiting the Pollock-Krasner house in East Hampton (open May to October), designer shopping in the villages, and waterfront dining are always a good idea, as are summery outdoor activities. Pedal around the Atlantic Avenue Beach area with a bike rental from Amagansett Beach & Bicycle Company , savor a hefty lobster roll at the Dock House in Sag Harbor, or find inner peace in bird-filled Hither Hills State Park . A classic East Hampton stay, the Maidstone Hotel is the perfect place to post up (if you don't have an invite to one of the aforementioned mansions, that is).

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Marthas Vineyard

The eclectic island: Martha’s Vineyard

A five-hour ferry ride

Sometimes an island is the best escape. Martha’s Vineyard, with its lighthouses , arcades and carousels, sandy shores, and vast landscapes fits the bill. To get there, take a five-hour Seastreak Ferry from Midtown Manhattan, fly from JFK airport, or drive to Falmouth, Massachusetts (about 4.5 hours), and pay for overnight parking before grabbing the 30-minute ferry from there. The colorful, fairytale-ish town of Oak Bluffs is one of our favorite East Coast beach towns ; there, an ideal spot to post up is Summercamp Hotel . Deeper into the island, stop at Aquinnah, which feels martian-like with its clay-red lighthouse and cliffs.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways The Finger Lakes

The wine tour: The Finger Lakes

About a four-and-a-half-hour drive

New York’s biggest wine region offers plenty of options for sampling its famous riesling—but wine tasting is hardly all the area has to offer. The adventurous can pencil dive into a gorge or wade under a waterfall. Or stay above water: Canandaigua Sailboard offers paddleboard yoga , kayaking, and windsurfing. Between four and five hours from New York City , the Finger Lakes are just far enough to be a true escape. From Ithaca to quaint Skaneateles, there are a number of places that make for an ideal home base. Boutique hotel Argos Inn in Ithaca is one of them. We love the romantic renovated mansion for the original art prints in each room, some by Salvador Dalí.

Historic Mystic Seaport in Connecticut just seconds after sunset

The nautical overnight: Mystic, Connecticut

About a two-and-a-half hour drive, three hours by train via Amtrak

Mystic’s maritime history gives this town a classic New England feel. Even today, it remains recognizable by the boats that sail the Mystic River and Long Island Sound. History buffs can immerse themselves in the lore with a visit to the Mystic Seaport Museum , where there are reproductions of the Mayflower II. For another take on all things aquatic, visit the Mystic Aquarium , where African penguins waddle and Beluga whales swim. Enjoy the charm of eateries like Nana’s Bakery and Pizza , which mills its own flour, as well as the Oyster Club for fresh and locally-caught fish. Stay a night or two at the Whaler’s Inn , which has historical pull (it’s been around since 1818), yet was renovated in 2021. Its modern comforts include four-poster beds, gas fireplaces, water views, and an excellent farm-to-table restaurant, the Shipwright’s Daughter .

Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport Rhode Island

The classic coastal destination: Newport, Rhode Island

About a three-hour drive

There’s so much to see in Newport , one of New England’s most storied summer towns. Do up your weekend T-Swift-style with winding coastline drives, half-pound lobster rolls, and wanderings through Gilded Age summer “cottages” as they were called in the 1920s. During the day, take in sweeping Atlantic Ocean and mansion views on the famed Cliff Walk or boogie board at First Beach. Then, when it starts to get dark, visit the Roof Deck at the Vanderbilt hotel for a sunset drink. For a luxury stay, consider spending a couple nights at the aforementioned Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection . If you’re looking for a homey group spot, check out this two-bedroom cottage a few steps from the beach. However you do it, it'll be easy to see why Newport is one of the best weekend getaways from NYC. 

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Cold Spring NY

The quick camping trip: Cold Spring

About an hour-and-a-half train ride or drive

For an easy camping trip that doesn’t require a car, your spot is Fahnestock State Park . The campsite is near the Cold Spring stop on the Metro-North’s Hudson line—a short Uber ride covers the gap from the train station to the park itself. Squeeze everything you need for a night or two into a backpack , and relish in the empowerment and self-sufficiency of being 100% mobile. The hiking trails that run through the park connect to the vast Appalachian Trail, which touches 14 eastern seaboard states from Georgia to Maine . Besides hiking, the park has a beach on Canopus Lake, and fishing on four ponds and two additional lakes. On your way home, stop at Hudson Hil’s for a decadent brunch in the town of Cold Spring (we’re eyeing the Creole omelette) then walk to the train. If you’re looking to expand your journey throughout the region, there are many towns to love and explore in the Hudson River Valley area, including Beacon , Hudson , Kingston, and Rhinebeck.

Beautiful Lake Placid in Autumn

The off-season gem: Lake Placid

About a five-hour drive

Better known as a winter destination , Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, has a wealth of outdoor recreation in the summer months, too. At glassy, serene Mirror Lake, visitors can paddle out on canoes and kayaks . On the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers will pass the shimmering lake, cedar trees, and a population of otters. The Olympic sites include the magical Cloudsplitter Gondola ride, a rifle range, a glass elevator, a speed skating oval, a zip line park, the Herb Brooks Arena, and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. If you're craving some time indoors, don't fret: The area’s old-fashioned movie theater at Tupper Lake Municipal Park, Adirondack State Theater, is currently screening One Life. Bed down at Lake Placid Lodge , a former summer camp .

Sunset at a view looking out

The mountain escape: The Berkshires

About a three-and-a-half hour drive

The Berkshires , in western Massachusetts and northwest Connecticut, is one of those places that offers entirely different types of trips with every passing season. In the summer, the region is known for the anticipated Tanglewood season, in which the Boston Symphonic Orchestra and Boston Pops take residence and perform. In the fall, visitors can drive through some of the world’s most vibrant foliage along Route 2 and 7. Come winter, cold-weather sports are on offer—whether you’re looking to downhill ski or snowshoe. With the thaw of spring, hikes with waterfall views are easy to find at Bash Bish Falls State Park. Year-round, the food and drink scene won’t disappoint either: For an artisan cocktail after the sun goes down, visit Berkshire Mountain Distillers ; to enjoy a plate of shrimp gumbo, visit Nudel ; and to savor the notorious local cheeses, visit the North Adams’ Farmers Market. As far as hotels go, we have a few ideas. Restorative Canyon Ranch, Lenox is a six-time Readers’ Choice Awards winner, while Miraval Berkshires is one of New England’s largest and most renowned spas.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Lake George New York

The great outdoors: Lake George

About a three-and-a-half-hour drive

Set in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Lake George offers lots of open space and a slower pace of life. Take in the natural beauty with a scenic drive on NY-9 or NY-418, admire falcons at Bolton Landing, or shack up in a tent at the Lake George Island campsite . Other summer outdoor activities include fishing, cycling down the Warren County Bikeway, and golfing at the breathtaking Top of the World course. Boathouse Bed and Breakfast is the only B&B located directly on the lake , and has the most serene water views.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways North Fork NY

The peaceful spot: North Fork, Long Island

For a low key Long Island alternative to the Hamptons, the bucolic North Fork and adjacent Shelter Island are what you're after. Head first to Greenport, North Fork’s largest town which is known for its marinas, fishing boats, neighboring vineyards, and blooming fields of lavender in July. Sound View Greenport is our pick for where to stay in town. Their fisherman-and-farmer-forward restaurant the Halyard is open, too—don't sleep on the summer truffle and fresh cavatelli. Then, take the ferry from nearby North Haven to Shelter Island, where you'll find hiking trails, osprey, and salt marshes at the Mashomack Nature Preserve, and even more land to explore on the protected beaches or in the acres of forest. If you are strategic about avoid common travel times (Friday evening out of the city, Sunday evening to return), you can be in North Fork in just two hours, making it a surprisingly quick weekend getaway from NYC. 

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Woodstock NY

The artist’s haven: Woodstock

The best place to start in Woodstock may be the slopes of Overlook Mountain. The limestone peak, full of red oaks, firs, and (keep your eyes peeled) timber rattlesnakes, features some interesting ruins, like the eerie remains of Overlook Mountain House, which brought tourists to the Catskills in the 19th century and sits just south of the Overlook fire tower. If privacy is what you’re looking for, you might consider this bright and airy studio loft decorated in a farmhouse style. While you’re there, scoop up quality produce at Sunflower Market , or if you don’t want to turn on an oven in the summer heat, snag a table outdoors at Phoenicia Diner . The cult favorite is a treat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Highly recommended: the Phoenicia Smash sandwich (beef griddled into caramelized onion, mustard, mayo, New York cheddar, and pickles on a Brioche bun).

Warren Street Hotel

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25 top family weekend getaways in the u.s..

Explore destinations for memory-making vacations with loved ones.

25 Top Family Weekend Getaways

These are the 30 best family weekend getaways.

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Use family trips to make lasting memories before the children grow up.

From shores to slopes, many top waterfront, mountaintop and urban destinations welcome families with special experiences, affordable lodging , and sophisticated dining and entertainment. These 25 top weekend getaways across the country guarantee enriching activities for all ages and will inspire your family to enjoy some quality time together.

Sleep in a Pullman train car in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station

All ages will be wowed by the vintage trains inside the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis – Downtown Union Station. This Indianapolis hotel was built around 13 restored Pullman cars parked in the steel-girded rail shed, and those carriages have been converted into 26 guest rooms you can book for a unique weekend away in the Midwest .

Rest up before heading to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis to check out its Sports Legends Experience, an interactive athletics exhibit and seasonal fun park that will get everyone's blood pumping. Alternatively, you can keep to the train theme by touring the museum's 1890s steam locomotive. For something even faster, there's the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway : Even if there's not a race taking place during your visit, the Speedway has an on-site museum that should get the whole family revved up.

See more of Indianapolis:  Things to Do | Hotels

Cruise to Alaska

An Alaska cruise is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

With mild temperatures and longer days, late spring, summer and early fall are the best times to cruise Alaska's Inside Passage and take in its unforgettable scenery and wildlife. This type of trip is probably best saved for a long weekend: Most cruises around the fjords and islands of the Passage last at least three days, although there are scenic day cruises that depart from Juneau and Ketchikan, or cities like Valdez and Whittier, which explore similarly gorgeous landscapes closer to Anchorage .

If you're looking for a multiday experience, consider a sailing with Princess Cruises , whose ship, train and helicopter tours let families experience almost every aspect of the 49th state. What's more, crews cook seafood caught during onshore excursions, organize kids activities with rangers from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve – one of the best places to visit in Alaska – and even bring cuddly sled dog puppies on board for cruisers to meet.

Read: The Best Times to Cruise to Alaska

Enjoy live entertainment at Disney Springs in Orlando

Orlando's Disney Springs is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Orlando boasts plenty of top attractions for kids . This Florida city also has hundreds of hotels to choose from, including affordable properties near fun destinations like Disney Springs. This themed outdoor mall, while part of the Walt Disney World Resort , is open to the public with no tickets required to access it. The Disney Springs entertainment complex hosts free performances ranging from nightly bands at the Stargazers patio lounge to events on the AdventHealth Waterside Stage. When it's time for a meal, take the kids to Morimoto Asia for Pan-Asian street-style noodles and dumplings, or head to Wine Bar George, where adults can choose from more than 140 wines as everyone enjoys globally inspired fare – among many other dining options on-site.

See more of Orlando:  Things to Do | Hotels

Relax at a dude ranch in Montana

Young Family of four vacationing on horse back at Dude Ranch

Expect western hospitality plus horseback riding and children's programs on a dude ranch vacation . While many dude ranches focus on weeklong stays, Montana's Lone Mountain Ranch offers stays as short as three nights, with a package that covers cabin lodging, meals, horseback rides, an outdoor youth adventure program and plenty more entertainment. If you're not sure which ranch is right for your family weekend getaway, the Dude Ranchers' Association offers an online database where travelers can filter ranches according to their interests, budget and ideal season for a visit; you'll be able to see the top results from an inventory of more than 100 North American ranches.

Read: The Top Things to Do in Montana

Delight in new attractions at California's Disneyland

Throughout the day at Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park, recruits have the chance to witness Spider-Man swing into action high above Avengers Campus with gravity-defying, acrobatic feats never before seen in a Disney park. Spider-Man flips 60 to 65 feet in the air above the rooftop of the WEB building. Following those stunning moves, Spider-Man swings down off the building to ground level to say hello and inspire the “new recruits” he meets on campus. (Ty Popko/Disneyland Resort)

Ty Popko | Courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Regardless of whether you and your family are fairy-tale fans or mad about Marvel, there are new attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, that'll give you a taste of your favorite films. Head to the Avengers Campus, for example, to take part in thrilling missions with Spider-Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy – with more attractions on the way in coming years. If that's a little too action-packed, consider Snow White's Enchanted Wish, a Disney classic that just received a major overhaul: This magical, multisensory ride will introduce the whole family to the Seven Dwarves, taking you on a journey from gemstone mines through to the evil queen's abode.

See more of Anaheim-Disneyland:  Things to Do | Hotels

Get active in the Rocky Mountains in Breckenridge, Colorado

The Rocky Mountains in Breckenridge, Colorado is one of the best family weekend getaways

Andrew Maguire | Courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort

For an active and rewarding mountain getaway in Breckenridge, challenge the family to a weekend at the Breckenridge Ski Resort . In summer, visit the Epic Discovery course at this Colorado destination , and you'll be treated to an array of high-altitude fun, including slides, zip lining, chairlifts with sky-high views, hiking trails, a rock climbing wall and other Alpine Camp offerings. The pass and its activities are offered from mid-June to early September. Otherwise, families can stop by in the winter and hit the slopes for skiing, snowboarding and the Gold Runner alpine coaster, or head over to Keystone Ski Resort for snow tubing.

See more of Breckenridge:  Things to Do | Hotels

Appreciate the performing arts in New York City

New York City is one of the best family weekend getaways

Darial Sneed | Courtesy of Battery Dance Festival

From free performances and $1 dance workshops at the Battery Dance Festival each August to two-for-one show tickets during Broadway Week in January, February and September, keeping kids entertained is easy in New York City (and surprisingly budget-friendly). Year-round, you can go underground to various subway stations to appreciate upcoming stars selected by Music Under New York, an audition-based system that supports buskers. Meanwhile, older kids will love attending free late-night comedy shows: You can find listings on the website Free Standup NYC or on event sites like Eventbrite.

See more of New York City:  Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

Raft down the Lower Klamath River in northern California

Northern California is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Josh Miller Photography

Imagine taking a swimming break in cool, clear running water and you'll appreciate why summer is the best season to go river rafting. Kids as young as 4 can safely conquer Class II rapids on an escorted trip with a professional outfitter such as OARS. The company offers a guided, three-day Lower Klamath River trip in northern California in the summertime. In addition to rafting, travelers will enjoy access to swimming holes, blackberry picking, camping under the stars, staff-prepared meals, wildlife-watching opportunities and more.

Go on an off-road adventure in New Hampshire

short weekend trips away

Courtesy of Bear Rock Adventures

Explore the lush mountain scenery of New Hampshire's Grand North region – only about three hours from Boston – in an all-terrain vehicle. Outfitter Bear Rock Adventures rents two- and four-seater vehicles so you can ride along one of the world's best interconnected ATV trail networks, or head into nearby Vermont to visit a maple syrup farm. Take note: Kids must be at least 7 years old or 57 inches tall to ride as a passenger on the ATVs. Alternatively, families can stop by in winter and rent out a snowmobile for a spin through the snow-covered wilderness. If you're looking for something a bit slower-paced, Bear Rock Adventures also rents out glamping tents perched around the majestic mountains and forests of northern New England.

Soak up the culture and cuisine in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the best family weekend getaways

In New Mexico's capital of cool, visitors quickly learn the difference between red, green and Christmas chile at classic eateries like El Pinto. Pueblo-style jewelry; Hispanic art; and dozens of breweries, wineries and distilleries make Albuquerque a multicultural destination that families with young adults will especially love. For an authentic stay, bed down at Hotel Chaco , near Old Town, where an outdoor pool and library complement a Native American-inspired reception area.

See more of Albuquerque:  Things to Do | Hotels

Learn about Black culture in the District of Columbia

Washington, DC is one of the best family weekend getaways

Alan Karchmer | Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

One of the most impactful places to revisit the U.S. civil rights movement and put it in context for children is at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. Be sure to reserve timed-entry tickets for the museum starting 30 days before your visit: They're required for entry. Like all the Smithsonian museums (many of which are concentrated on the National Mall), this attraction is free to enter and enjoy. Spring is the high season in D.C. – in large part due to the popular cherry blossom blooms – but hotel rates tend to fall in August and midwinter.

See more of Washington, D.C.:  Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

Be a revolutionary in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the best family weekend getaways

Philadelphia is an ideal city for history buffs. Independence National Historical Park can be found in the city's downtown, encompassing the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall – where politicians debated the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – and sitting near the Betsy Ross House in the city's Historic District. To take in all Philadelphia has to offer, book a guided walking tour through companies like Viator, or see the city's myriad sights on your own. Bonus: Many of the historical sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, are free to enter. You also won't want to miss the Museum of the American Revolution, which offers interactive experiences and engaging collections.

See more of Philadelphia:  Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

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Laugh out loud at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of the National Comedy Center

The National Comedy Center is the first nonprofit cultural institution focused on the art of comedy. You'll find it in Lucille Ball's hometown of Jamestown, in the southwest corner of New York State, about 70 miles from Buffalo. Begin your visit by answering questions that will analyze your sense of humor, then explore more than 50 interactive exhibits or try taking a role in an iconic "Saturday Night Live" sketch. From hologram performances of classic routines to an adults-only Blue Room where more mature material is on display, there's a wide range of humor to make all ages laugh out loud.

Read: The Best Weekend Getaways From New York City

Camp and canoe in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the best family weekend getaways

Gary Hamer | Courtesy of Explore Minnesota

There's no shortage of beauty in the Land of 10,000 Lakes – one great tip is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a pristine natural wonder that was carved by glaciers thousands of years ago. Visitors of all skill levels can explore more than 1,200 miles of canoe routes crossing the thousands of lakes and streams within the 1 million acres of land. For overnight stays, you'll need a paid permit; these should be reserved in advance if you're visiting from May to September (for daytrips, permits are free). If you don't have canoes or equipment, don't worry: Numerous outfitters in nearby Minnesota towns like Ely and Grand Marais can set your family up for multiday paddle trips, with campsites or cabins to stay the night in.

Stroll San Francisco's happening waterfront

Beautiful view of historic Pier 39 with famous sea lions in summer, Fisherman's Wharf district, central San Francisco, California, USA

The San Francisco waterfront – most notably around the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf areas – is a hive of activity packed with kid-friendly fun. If you're not sure where to start, go for a walk along the tree-lined promenade, from the Ferry Building Marketplace north and west around to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. You can stop for a break at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) or Pier 39 to watch sea lions lounging on the docks.

Along the way, you'll encounter the Exploratorium, a science museum with plenty of hands-on activities, and the Aquarium of the Bay, ready to offer a peek at creatures like jellyfish, sharks and otters. From this part of the city, you can also catch ferries out to destinations such as the waterfront town of Sausalito or the infamous Alcatraz prison – but be sure to reserve tickets in advance.

See more of San Francisco: Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

Soak in healing waters in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

New Mexico is one of the best family weekend getaways

Ron Bozeman | Courtesy of RKR Media

Teens can develop lifelong healthy habits on a budget wellness getaway in Truth or Consequences, a New Age spa town in New Mexico . Imagine deep soaks in the town's famed healing waters paired with health-conscious dining. The rustic-chic Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa is one great option, with a daily hot spring soak included in your stay; the four-star hotel also offers trips out to nearby natural areas. A slightly more affordable option is the stylish Blackstone Hotsprings resort, with an array of rooms themed after classic American TV shows; it has multiple hot spring baths on-site for use by guests aged 16 or older.

Read: The Best Wellness Retreats in the U.S.

Chill at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

At top resorts like the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess , a family vacation by the water will make you forget about Arizona's heat. The resort's facilities include posh rooms, six outdoor pools (some with waterslides), a white sand beach , golf courses and a spa. You'll eat well, too, with five resort restaurants plus in-room dining options. The resort regularly offers special packages, including options for families, to sweeten the deal. And the Fairmont isn't the only kid-friendly destination in Scottsdale: Others include the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North , which offers a day camp for kids, and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa , with a kids club and family cabanas by the pool.

Read: The Top Things to Do in Arizona

Feed hummingbirds in Ohio

Juvenile calliope hummingbird on woman's gloved finger while woman is feeding it drops of sugar-water from tip of another finger.

Partake in the unique experience of hand-feeding ruby-throated hummingbirds at Ohio's Lake Hope State Park. Naturalists will teach visitors to draw the tiny birds by holding a nectar-filled tube. The hummingbirds may descend and drink from a hand that is kept perfectly still – a rewarding lesson in patience for little ones. The park also boasts other offerings from bike rides with its naturalists to sunset kayaking; activities including the hummingbird feeding happen at scheduled times (typically only in summer), so be sure to check the park's website in advance.

Read: The Top Things to Do in Ohio

Have a fun-filled mountain getaway in Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States.

For a woodsy, breezy getaway, consider beautiful Lake Placid, a 290-mile drive from New York City. Since Lake Placid is a two-time host of the Winter Olympics, you can visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum to learn about all manner of athletic feats on the snow and ice. But with no shortage of mountains and lakes in the area, you'll definitely want to spend some time outside: Families can take to Mirror Lake on a kayak or paddleboard rented through companies like SUP Lake Placid, or trek past waterfalls at High Falls Gorge, with its elaborate network of bridges and walkways.

Snorkel in Maui, Hawaii

Happy family - girl in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool. Travel lifestyle, water sport outdoor adventure, swimming lessons on summer beach holiday with child

With unusual snorkeling venues ranging from a volcanic crater islet to crystal-clear Honolua Bay to the protected Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Maui is a great learn-to-snorkel destination. Companies like Pride of Maui specialize in snorkeling trips for families and can even cater to infants; these tours give you the chance to snorkel alongside turtles or to the spectacular Molokini Crater. Kids aged 8 or older can even try their hands at SNUBA diving, a hybrid of scuba diving and snorkeling.

See more of Maui:  Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

Build sandcastles on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama is one of the best family weekend getaways

Courtesy of Sand Castle University

Anyone who wants to refine their sand sculpting skills should enroll at Sand Castle University on Alabama's Gulf Coast. Sand Castle University professors will meet you on the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, Alabama. Groups can participate in the Sand Castle 101 class (each session can include up to 15 students) and get plenty of tips and tools to use. For a bigger challenge, try the Sand Castle 201 class to make more elaborate creations; there's also a class dedicated to crafting sea creatures out of sand. The company offers its classes year-round.

See more of Gulf Shores: Things to Do | Hotels

Hit the water parks in Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia is one of the best family weekend getaways

Williamsburg, about 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., is a great escape for splashy family fun, with three large water parks close by. Water Country USA is the largest in Virginia , with a lazy river, wave pool and waterslides for serious thrill-seekers. There's also a Great Wolf Lodge, offering an indoor park for rainy days, and Busch Gardens, which is part theme park and part water park. Once you've had your fill of aquatic activities, spend a day at Colonial Williamsburg , where you can stay in a Colonial-era home and watch costumed interpreters bring 18th-century events to life.

See more of Williamsburg:  Things to Do  | Hotels

Chill out by the pool in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Giant Flamingo and watermelon Pool Float in swimming pool

Sun, sand and splashy resorts are the name of the game on this stretch of South Carolina's coast. Family-friendly resorts abound here: Consider The Breakers Resort, with its on-site water park, games, and one- to four-bedroom condos for any size of family. Another top option is Myrtle Beach's newest resort, the Hilton-owned South Bay Inn & Suites, with an indoor water park and a location right by the boardwalk. For those on a budget, there's Captain's Quarters Resort, which still offers numerous pools and hot tubs. It's easy to get to this South Carolina locale – despite Myrtle Beach being a small city, its airport offers direct flights to a large number of destinations across the country.

See more of Myrtle Beach:  Things to Do | Hotels

Make a splash at a Great Wolf Lodge resort

Exterior shot to entrance of Great Wolf Lodge.

Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

With more than 15 locations around the country, Great Wolf Lodge is an accessible family getaway. This resort chain centers around indoor water parks with slides and wave pools; you'll also find other kid-friendly activities like mini golf and ropes courses (the exact activities vary between resorts). Many Great Wolf locations are in urban areas, such as Atlanta , Chicago , Minneapolis , and Anaheim, California, though there are a couple in more off-the-beaten-path spots such as Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin , or Grand Mound, Washington, for those looking to get away from it all. The resorts have on-site accommodations with regular and themed suites that can sleep the whole family, but day passes are also an option for a shorter visit.

Read: The Top Indoor Water Park Resorts in the U.S.

Hit the lake in the Poconos

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Courtesy of Woodloch Resort

It might be relatively close to New York City, but you'll still feel at one with nature here, thanks to the swaths of forest and 150 lakes in the Pocono Mountains. The family-run Woodloch Resort is a top-notch accommodation option: It's been ranked among the best hotels and resorts for families in the U.S. You can choose between hotel-style rooms or a full holiday rental house with a grill for barbecues, full kitchen and more. The resort is stacked with activities from bumper boats to archery, as well as daily fun like scavenger hunts and live entertainment. You won't even need to worry about food, since a stay at Woodloch is all-inclusive .

See more of the Poconos:  Things to Do | Hotels

Commune with exotic animals in San Diego

The tail of a gray whale emerged out of the water as tourists watched from a boat in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Southern California.

San Diego is home to one of the country's top zoos , and for good reason: This institution has 12,000 rare and endangered animals from more than 650 species within its 100-acre premises. Monkeys, lions, birds, kangaroos – you name it, and the San Diego Zoo probably has it. But it's not the only source of fun in town for your family weekend getaway. SeaWorld San Diego boasts plenty of rides and interactive attractions, or you can hop aboard a whale watching tour off the city's coast, especially if you visit around December to April or June to September. Otherwise, head less than 15 miles northwest of the city to La Jolla Cove to see seals and sea lions in their natural habitat – and to enjoy the coastal village's many restaurants and cafes.

See more of San Diego: Things to Do | Tours | Hotels

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Caribbean vacation charm is the order of the day in The Bahamas, where you’ll find pristine beaches and calypso beats down every street. And at the newly revamped Perfect Day at CocoCay, a Royal Caribbean® private destination, you’re in for game changing ways to chill and record-breaking thrills, like the tallest water slide in North America. Soak up all the adventure on 2, 3 or 4-night cruise sailing from Miami ,  Fort Lauderdale , or Port Canaveral (Orlando) .

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A respite for sun and sand seekers, the Bahamas is home to light blue beaches, translucent underwater caves, a rich royal heritage and exclusive private isles. These can all be found throughout a beautifully scattered string of 700 islands. Cruise to the Bahamas to take a dive and witness a majestic coral garden at Orange Bowl reef, hang out at ultra-luxurious resorts like Atlantis, and shop resort fashion in Paradise Island or Nassau .

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Four convenient home ports make Florida the undisputed cruising capital of the world. Depart from sultry Miami or tropical Fort Lauderdale . Venture to the Gulf Coast and sail from Tampa . Or blast off on a weekend cruise from Port Canaveral .

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IT'S BIGGER IN TEXAS

Start your adventure with some good old-fashioned southern hospitality in Galveston, Texas . Don’t miss the city’s must-see landmark buildings and bustling Pleasure Pier. Then board your ship and sail on a short cruise getaway to the beautiful shores of Mexico and the western Caribbean.

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Los Angeles isn’t just the city for the stars — it’s the place to get your ultimate weekend getaway started. You’re in for incredible sights on picture-perfect west coast shores — from the Old-World Mediterranean charm of Catalina Island to Baja gem Ensenada and energetic Cabo San Lucas.

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Take memories to the max on short cruises to Perfect Day at CocoCay — our award-winning private destination in The Bahamas, where you can dial up the adventure with record-breaking ways to thrill and chill. Plus, savor craveworthy flavors onboard and ashore on your short cruise getaway.

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Chill out at your choice of six stretches of beach, each with its own vibe. Take a dip in the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, Oasis Lagoon® . Or luxe the day away in your choice of cabanas — including the first Overwater Cabanas in The Bahamas.

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Perfect Day at CocoCay delivers plenty of thrills to get your adrenaline pumping. Take on the longest waterslide in North America at Thrill Waterpark® . Conquer the Caribbean’s largest wave pool. Zoom along 1,600 feet of zip line. And even soar above the island on a helium balloon flight !

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When it’s time to refuel, the signature wings at Captain Jack’s® hit the right spot. Dig in to all-you-can-eat deliciousness at two buffets. Try one of the famous chicken sandwiches dressed in our secret sauce at Snack Shack. Or indulge in the lobster roll at Coco Beach Club® .

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Discover the ultimate beachfront party for your weekend getaway — Hideaway Beach℠ . From non-stop beats and endless craft cocktails to cabanas with exclusive plunge pool access and a personal attendant, this is your adults-only weekend in paradise.

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No matter which coast you’re on, you don’t need a lot of days off to enjoy a short weekend getaway. Snag our best weekend deals and level up a quick vacation getaway like never before. From laid-back beachside lounging to adrenaline-amping thrills — do it all along the tropics’ most sought-after shores.

Unwind on Cabo ’s world-famous beaches. Swim with stingrays in the turquoise waters of The Bahamas . Or brave the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean at our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay. Whether you sail from L.A. , Miami , Fort Lauderdale , Tampa or Orlando , you have more ways than ever to pack big adventures into a short weekend getaway — onboard the best and boldest ships in the world.

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Planning your time at the new CocoCay? If you want to unwind, head to Chill Island on the east side of CocoCay. Or visit the Oasis Lagoon or the Thrill Waterpark to get on the side of adventure.

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The Ultimate College Spring Break Cruise Vacation

If you are looking for an all-out college spring break vacation filled with beach vibes, thrilling rides and amazing parties it doesn’t get any better than a spring break cruise to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Find cruise deals to Perfect Day at CocoCay

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Explore all the restaurants on the Perfect Day at CocoCay island and discover all the complimentary dining venues that offers loads of food and drink favorites that will fuel you up in between adventures.

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Discover Chill Island insider tips to all the relaxing things to do from renting overwater cabanas with VIP services, snorkeling with the friendly manta rays to finding the best places to unwind and soak up the island vibes.

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The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Vacation to Perfect Day at CocoCay

Set sail to the best kid-friendly destination in the world on a cruise from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando to Perfect Day at CocoCay and discover all the amazing family-friendly activities, award-winning shows, and record-breaking attractions.

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Enjoy your family summer vacation on a cruise to Perfect Day CocoCay and discover the private islands beautiful beaches, kid-friendly attractions, great restaurants and record-breaking water rides and activities for all ages. Find summer cruise deals.

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Door county

The 25 best weekend getaways from Chicago

Eat, play and explore a different city (without venturing too far) by booking an amazing weekend getaway from Chicago.

Although we adore our city’s endless restaurants , museums  and attractions , a change of scenery is always nice.  Luckily for us, the Midwest has plenty to offer with exciting destinations only a few hours’ drive from Chicago. You can lounge in transparent waters and hike sand dunes in the “Malibu of the Midwest,” recharge at a bed and breakfast on a farm surrounded by friendly sheep, and marvel at modernist architecture in a small southern Indiana town. Many of these places are also great for a day trip  or family-friendly getaway . So if you're looking to skip town, here are the best weekend getaways from Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: The most unique day trips from Chicago Historic Airbnbs near Chicago

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Top weekend getaways from Chicago

Milwaukee, WI

1.  Milwaukee, WI

Driving time from Chicago:  One and a half hours

Our neighbors to the north will make you feel right at home with a seemingly endless supply of craft beer and cheese. Leave time to explore world-class cultural institutions before hopping on the Amtrak for a stress-free ride back to Chicago.

Do this:  Start your day at the Milwaukee Art Museum , an architectural masterpiece along the shores of Lake Michigan that houses almost 25,000 works of art. Quite honestly, the building itself—designed by Spanish architect  Santiago Calatrava— is a masterpiece in its own right, even if you don't want to splurge on admission.

Stay here: Sleep in the heart of the city   when you check into the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in Milwaukee's Third Ward. Located within walking distance of some of the city's best restaurants and bars, this beautiful boutique hotel also has a jaw-dropping rooftop terrace and rooms that are outfitted with lavish touches—perfect for a weekend away.

Kohler, WI

2.  Kohler, WI

Driving time from Chicago: Two hours and 15 minutes 

New York City’s Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted left his legacy in several places in the Midwest, including rural Wisconsin when the Kohler Company commissioned him in the early 1900s to design its new planned “industrial garden community” five miles west of Sheboyan. Today, this community of 2,000 is ideal for unplugging. 

Do this: Climb the dunes at Kohler-Andrae State Park before indulging in a spa service at Kohler Waters Sp a , the only five-star spa in the Midwest. After your treatment, take advantage of the hydrotherapy circuit, a combination of cold plunges, steam room and sauna visits, and a relaxation pool.

Stay here: Splurge on one of the three Destination Kohler lodging options—a luxury resort, a lakeside inn or one of the cabins—or opt for the more moderately priced and equally exciting  Velvet Sheep Farms Bed & Breakfast and Fiber Farm , just a ten minute drive north of Kohler. Embrace the slower pace of life as you get to know the farm’s beloved sheep by name and take a tour of their fiber production facilities.

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3.  Galena, IL

Driving time from Chicago:  Three hours

A charming, small Illinois town known for its history, 19th-century architecture and resorts. 

Do this: Make your way through over a hundred shops and boutiques in the downtown area. History buffs can head over to the Ulysses S. Grant Home  to tour the city’s proudest attraction. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop into Log Cabin Steakhouse , which has been in operation since 1937. During the third weekend of June, tourists and locals alike gather for the annual Great Galena Balloon Race .

Stay here: The 6,800-acre Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has everything you could need for a relaxing vacation. Play a round of golf on any of the four courses (there are 63 holes in total), book a spa treatment or go for a swim. The resort also offers 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, three restaurants on site and lodge-style rooms outfitted with jacuzzi bathtubs.

Indianapolis, IN

4.  Indianapolis, IN

Driving time from Chicago: Three hours 

Indianapolis’s nickname may be “Naptown,” but there’s nothing sleepy about the locally-owned and farm-to-table restaurants, busting jazz clubs, bookstores and quirky gift shops found around Indy. Fanning out from Monumental Circle, the heart of downtown Indy, Indianapolis’s neighborhoods are home to a friendly and welcoming cultural scene.

Do this:  Spend your time browsing the stores, spotting art (and fairy homes!) and eating in the Fountain Square Cultural District, a diverse and LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood just south of downtown. By day, make time for coffee and snuggles at Nine Lives Cat Cafe and at night, see a drag show at White Rabbit Cabaret or coincide your visit with swing dancing at the historic Fountain Square Theater Building, a longstanding Indy tradition. 

Stay here: Housed in the restored art-deco architecture of a former Coca Cola Bottling Plant, Indy’s Bottleworks Hotel was used by Indianapolis Public Schools for years before becoming one the city’s most unique luxury accommodations. The Bottleworks grounds also includes a food hall and several small businesses.

Madison, WI

5.  Madison, WI

Driving time from Chicago: Two and a half hours

Life in “Lake City,” as Wisconsin’s second largest city is often referred to, is undeniably beautiful—and full of year-round water-focused recreation. Between the parks and shorelines of lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra, visitors can expect to be in close proximity to nature and green living. In fact, wherever you live in Madison, you’re no further than 10 minutes from a park. 

Do this: Spend a day at Olbrich Park along the shores of Lake Monona. In the summer, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle to relax on the water, and in the winter, opt for snowshoes and remind yourself there’s no bad weather—only bad clothing. After, head to Giant Jones Brewery , one of the best boozy destinations from Chicago . 

Stay here: One of Madison’s newest hotels is the centrally-located boutique Hotel Indigo Madison Downtown , housed in the former Mautz Company Paint Building. It’s a short walk from Giant Jones. And as far as we’ve heard, the fumes are gone.

Door County, WI

6.  Door County, WI

Driving time from Chicago:  Four and a half hours

The 300 miles of shoreline separating Green Bay and Lake Michigan offers vacationers a mix of natural beauty, history and locally sourced food.

Do this: Start with breakfast at Blue Horse Cafe , where you can dig into eggy breakfast sandwiches and delightful baked goods. That should provide you with the energy for hiking on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which features dramatic landscapes carved by glaciers 12,000 years ago.

Stay here: Historic bed and breakfast White Gull Inn   is a quaint experience that dates all the way back to 1896. All of the rooms have been meticulously restored with modern amenities through the years, ensuring guests get a comfortable night’s rest. In the morning, wake up to French toast stuffed with Wisconsin cream cheese and Door County cherries, served with Door County maple syrup.

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7.  Detroit, MI

Driving time from Chicago: Four and a half hours

The renaissance of Detroit has brought with it a vibrant downtown area, oodles of amazing restaurants and bars and several destination-worthy boutique hotels—all the makings of a weekend trip away.

Do this: Plan your visit around award-winning restaurants like Selden Standard and Sister Pie . Between bites, hit up John K. King Used & Rare Books , a four-floor emporium of old tomes, as well as Belle Isle Aquarium along the Detroit River.

Stay here: Book an affordable room at the Siren Hotel , a 106-room property in the historic Wurlitzer Building. You don't have to go far for a great cocktail—downstairs watering hole, the Candy Bar , serves funky creations in an all-pink, chandelier-adorned room.

Des Moines, IA

8.  Des Moines, IA

Driving time from Chicago: Five  hours

Iowa’s capital city doesn’t get the love it deserves, but you’ll find plenty to do in a weekend, with tons of art, food and breweries and a packed summer calendar of local events and festivals. 

Do this: There’s a lot of beauty in Des Moines, including at the sprawling indoor-outdoor Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden , and the six-mile  Art Route  connecting more than 80 pieces of public art. Plan your trip around one of the city’s many massive summer festivals, like the packed indie music celebration 80/35 , the inspiring Des Moines Arts Festival and Interrobang Film Festival, and—you guessed it—the Iowa State Fair . 

Stay here: For luxe accommodations, it’s hard to beat the  Surety Hotel , featuring modern rooms and the elegant Mulberry Street Tavern downstairs. Grab a martini at the bar at the punnily-named Des Lux Hotel before an evening on the town, or just curl up in your room with a fireplace. 

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9.  Traverse City, MI

Driving time from Chicago: Four hours and 50 minutes 

Situated in Grand Traverse Bay’s 180 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Traverse City is a small town with arts, culture, water recreation and summer street festivals. There's also easy access to the Old Mission Peninsula, Leelanau Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes and the strings of other small towns dotting the pastures and hills of what Michiganders call “Up North.” 

Do this: Meander by car or bike around the wineries of Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Featuring over 20 award-winning Michigan wineries, you’ll pass rolling hills with views of Lake Michigan. Stop for lunch at  the tranquil Farm Club for a selection of al dente pastas, local meats, pan-seared vegetables and leafy salads straight from the garden.

Stay here: Cozy up in one of the six rooms at downtown boutique hotel The Flats and Iron + Union . The 1890s-era building housed many beloved local businesses throughout the past century and is now a prime location for visitors.

Louisville, KY

10.  Louisville, KY

Driving time from Chicago: Four hours and 45 minutes

Kentucky’s largest city, just across the Ohio River from southern Indiana, is steeped in bourbon and long on charm.

Do this:  The home of the old-fashioned and the mint julep embraces its role as the gateway to Bourbon Country. The city has a number of tourable distilleries, including Evan Williams , Angel’s Envy and Old Forester .

Stay here:  True to its name, 21c Museum Hotel is part boutique hotel, part contemporary art locale. With more than 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, there's bound to be something for everyone. The hotel is also home to one of Louisville’s finest restaurants, Proof on Main , where chefs craft Southern fare using seasonal ingredients sourced from the Ohio River Valley. 

Ann Arbor, MI

11.  Ann Arbor, MI

Driving time from Chicago: Four hours

Situated just west of Detroit, Ann Arbor is home to University of Michigan, a slew of breweries and a handful of phenomenal restaurants. If you’re a roaming foodie or beer nerd, this is the low-key vacation spot you’ve been searching for.

Do this:  You’ll want to make it a point to visit Spencer , an exquisite neighborhood spot that offers pastries and coffee in the morning and a selection of seasonal small plates, cheese and wine when the sun goes down.

Stay here: Graduate Hotels  is a collection of boutique properties that celebrate the youthful feel of college days past, and Ann Arbor is one of the group’s many locations in the country. The space is outfitted in Persian rugs, plaid chairs, velvet couches, reclaimed wood and gorgeous chandeliers. Think of it as the prep school of hotels.

St. Louis, MO

12.  St. Louis, MO

If you only know the big Arch, Busch Stadium and deep-fried ravioli, we assure you there’s a lot more of STL to explore. 

Do this: Like Chicago, one of the best ways to get to know St. Louis is by visiting its neighborhoods—browse local makers and antiquers on Cherokee Street , explore a host of breweries like Side Project and Schlafly , and savor a traditional red-sauce meal on The Hill. The 1,300-acre Forest Park , one of the most stunning urban green spaces in the country, is a must. If you’re traveling with kids (or kids at heart), don’t miss the interactive, immersive City Museum , an educational playground with slides, sculptures you can play on and even vintage pinball machines. 

Stay here: The art deco Royal Sonesta Chase Park Plaza St. Louis   offers views of Forest Park and renovated guest rooms in the popular Central West End. The quirky Moonrise Hotel on the Delmar Loop leans into the lunar theme and offers an enticing all-seasons rooftop bar. 

Peoria, IL

13.  Peoria, IL

Once a small riverfront European settlement in early Illinois history, Peoria is now a safe haven for the Midwest LGBTQ+ community looking for affordable housing. Plan a visit during the River City Pride Festival to support local LGBTQ+ artists and vendors and enjoy arts, culture and food.

Do this: Drive the two and a half mile scenic Grand View Drive , one that Theodore Roosevelt famously reported was the “Most Beautiful Drive in the World.” The panoramic views of the Illinois River are stunning no matter the season, but visitors flock to Peoria for fall foliage spotting.  

Stay here: There are plenty of small, historic bed and breakfasts in and around Peoria, but for a unique experience, opt to stay 20 minutes west of downtown Peoria at Wildlife Prairie Park’ s converted Santa Fe train caboose or old grain bin.

Eau Claire, WI

14.  Eau Claire, WI

Driving time from Chicago: Five hours

You’ve been to Madison and Milwaukee, but a trip to the Chippewa Valley in northern Wisconsin is an experience unto itself. You’ll find rolling hills and colorful foliage, plus plenty of beer and cheese to smuggle back to Chicago.

Do this:  Hiking is nice and all, but if you really want to see what autumn looks like here, hit the Chippewa River. Head to Riverside Bike & Skate in downtown Eau Claire, where you can rent kayaks and hire a shuttle service to drive you upstream.

Stay here:  Bon Iver frontman and Eau Claire native Justin Vernon is one of the partners behind the Oxbow Hotel , so it’s no surprise that it’s easily the trendiest joint in town. The renovated motel has its own bar and restaurant, and each room contains a turntable. You probably won’t write a hit indie-rock album in your room, but at least you can listen to one.

Iowa City, IA

15.  Iowa City, IA

Driving time from Chicago: Three and a half hours

Nothing says fall like holing up in a college town and reminiscing about football tailgating, dorm food and campus crushes.

Do this: Starting in September, the walkable University of Iowa campus turns into a postcard-worthy scene that spans from the downtown pedestrian mall to the darling surrounding neighborhoods. Start your self-guided tour in the epicenter of it all, the Pentacrest, where four buildings on the campus surround the Old Capitol Museum.

Stay here: Bunk up at the super-modern Hotel Chauncey , which has 51 spacious suites outfitted with sleek furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows and minimalistic accents. Toss in a rooftop deck, gym and in-room kitchens, and it’s no wonder this place books up early during football season.

St. Joseph, MI

16.  St. Joseph, MI

Driving time from Chicago:  One hour and 45 minutes

This Michigan beach town and its twin city Benton Harbor offer picturesque sandy shores, as well as plenty of wine.

Do this: Soaking up the sun on beaches is the most obvious attraction, but once you’ve gotten your fill of vitamin D, hit up the nearby Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail . It’ll take you to wineries up and down the coast, and you can easily spend an entire weekend just swirling, sniffing and sipping.

Stay here: Located along the St. Joseph River, the Inn at Harbor Shores boasts waterfront views and amenities like a spa and a golf course that’s close by. If you don’t feel like leaving the hotel, grab a seat on the patio of the in-house restaurant, Plank’s Tavern on the Water , for a relaxing meal.

Spring Green, WI

17.  Spring Green, WI

Quiet and quaint, it’s easy to see why the scenic village of Spring Green on the Wisconsin River attracted the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, who made his summer home here at the must-see Taliesin.

Do this:  Get weird and head to the House on the Rock , a curious wonderland of oddities and artifacts that’s set quite literally on a giant rock surrounded by panoramic views of towering trees. Don’t miss the massive indoor carousel or the Infinity Room, an engineering wonder with 3,264 windows that juts out 218 feet over the valley.

Stay here:  Step back in time at Spring Valley Inn , designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The small inn on 10 acres of wooded prairie offers unbeatable views of the valley, plus a relaxing bar, patio, fire pit, indoor pool, hot tub and workout room.

Bloomington, IN

18.  Bloomington, IN

This next-level college town has all the big-city amenities you crave, but it’s tucked in the middle of hills, forests and nearby lakes. 

Do this:  Fill up at the intimate Feast Market and Cellar , a family-owned kitchen with a lovely corner porch. The restaurant makes everything from scratch daily, so you know you’re consuming fresh eats, from the mayonnaise to the bread to the macarons.

Stay here: Grant Street Inn , which is within walking distance of downtown and the attractive Indiana University campus, has four-star hotel accommodations with bed-and-breakfast charm. Choose from the main house, built in the 1890s, or any of the other four buildings, each with unique themes and features, from those done up in traditional antique decor to the newest space, a LEED-certified addition.

Toledo, OH

19.  Toledo, OH

Once a popular stop on the railway line between Chicago and New York, Toledo is still worth a visit, full of Great Lakes history, native greenery and other surprises.

Do this:  Toledo is a paradise for flâneurs—wander the Old West End to take in beautiful Victorian homes that line the peaceful streets, or take a nice, pastoral break in the Swan Creek Preserve . The National Museum of the Great Lakes   offers a fascinating look at the region's history. For a livelier evening, take in some minor league baseball with the Toledo Mud Hens .

Stay here:  Get a room with a view of Lake Erie at the Maumee Bay Lodge , located amid 1,336 acres of natural splendor in Maumee Bay State Park. When you’re not enjoying the private balconies and patios, grab food from the Lodge’s restaurant, hit the links at an 18-hole golf course or go for a hike on a nearby trail.

Fort Wayne, IN

20.  Fort Wayne, IN

Driving time from Chicago: Three hours

Indiana’s second largest city was once a booming industrial hub with more than 300 churches. But make no mistake—there’s no shortage of small-town charm and plenty of places to let loose.

Do this: Spend an afternoon at Promenade Park where locals congregate on the riverfront for festivals, picnics and water recreation. Grab pizza and beer from local favorite Pint & Slice and don’t miss the photo opportunities in front of murals in the alley.

Stay here: Located in the heart of downtown, The Bradley   is a 124-room, nine-suite boutique hotel featuring murals and decor from local artists. Get great views of the city from the hotel’s rooftop bar, Birdie’s .

Dubuque, IA

21.  Dubuque, IA

This historic Mississippi River settlement’s attraction goes far beyond a visit to the Field of Dreams. It’s easy to get lost in the vivid murals, craft breweries and outdoor art galleries.

Do this: What’s a weekend getaway without a ride up the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway? Head to Fenelon Place Elevator Co for a 189-foot trip from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place, where you can take in an aerial view of the city.

Stay here:  The century-old Hotel Julien Dubuque  is full of elegance, blending modern luxury with historic charm. It offers 133 rooms and amenities like an indoor pool, spa and fitness center.

Carbondale, IL

22.  Carbondale, IL

This Southern Illinois university town was developed as a result of the railroad, but today is a great jumping off point for exploring Shawnee National Forest and nearby wineries.

Do this: With Carbondale as your home base, take your time exploring the 11 wineries that make up the 40-mile Shawnee Hill Wine Trail . Between wineries, pick up one of The Iron Whisk’s famous Dutch babies (a puffy pancake made in a cast iron pan) from a converted auto garage kitchen in Cobden.

Stay here: Referencing Carbondale’s past as a railroad destination, the  Train Inn is a four-room bed and breakfast in a renovated early 1900s bungalow featuring art deco styling and train memorabilia. Owner Paul Lewers will make your breakfast according to any dietary preferences, but he encourages those willing to venture outside their typical palate to try his red-eye gravy, a speciality made from country ham and coffee.

Columbus, IN

23.  Columbus, IN

In the heart of Southern Indiana, Columbus is an unexpected center for boundary-pushing architecture—in fact, the American Institute of Architects ranked the city sixth in the nation for architectural innovation.

Do this: Take an Architectural Highlights Tour  of more than 30 of Columbus' structures and learn how this city became the state's award-winning arts and design destination. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Columbus Bar , the oldest bar and restaurant in town.

Stay here:  Columbus’  Hotel Indigo is a perfect place for architecture- and design-lovers to rest their heads, outfitted with an in-house gallery featuring pieces by regional artists.

Davenport, Iowa

24.  Davenport, Iowa

Driving time from Chicago: Two and a half hours

You’ve tried Quad Cities-style pizza, but now it’s time to explore Davenport’s museums, gardens, parks and charming riverfront.

Do this: Glimpse permanent and rotating exhibitions of international and regional works at the Figge Art Museum situated downtown just blocks from the river. Then, make you way to the German American Heritage Center to learn about German immigration and culture—and why some consider Davenport to be the most German city in the U.S. Stay here: Built on the site of Davenport’s first hotel, the city’s industrial and agriculture roots mingle with modern art and design at The Current Iowa , decorated with split canvas photographs of freight cars and colorful paintings of pastoral scenes. Sip the hotel’s namesake cocktail with gin, elderflower, lavender and mint and relax at the  UP Skybar as you watch the sun set over the river.

Kalamazoo, MI

25.  Kalamazoo, MI

Western Michigan boasts spectacular fall foliage and, in turn, excellent apple-picking conditions. Make Kalamazoo your home base for an excursion and reap the benefits of the lively Midwestern town.

Do this: Husted's Farm Market & Cider Mill is one of several autumnal havens in the region, featuring fresh, pickable produce June through October. When the asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries are gone, you’ll find pumpkins, apples (23 varieties) and gourds in their place.

Stay here:  Enjoy the royal treatment at the Henderson Castle Inn , a bed-and-breakfast in a historic 19th-century mansion. The inn features 12 ornate rooms, spa amenities, a steakhouse, a craft cocktail lounge and high-tea service.

More weekend getaways from Chicago

The best Chicago staycation ideas

The best Chicago staycation ideas

These Chicago staycation ideas include modern rooms with amazing amenities and classic comforts near top attractions

The 18 best day trips from Chicago

The 18 best day trips from Chicago

Hit the road on these easy day trips from Chicago, where affordable fun awaits busy city dwellers

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The Best Weekend Getaways for Couples

Want to spice things up in your relationship? Then it's time to get out of town.

Patrick Tappe/EyeEm/Getty Images

Nothing keeps the sparks flying like traveling together. Navigating new places with your significant other while spending quality one-on-one time is a great way to deepen your bond and create lasting memories.

Whether for Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or just a long holiday weekend, why not go away together to a rustic lodge, laze on a tropical beach with an umbrella-topped beverage, or cheers to your love at a countryside winery somewhere warm and sunny? Whatever your idea of a romantic escape is, we'll help you get there with these great weekend destinations perfect for couples. Get ready for starry-eyed bliss.

Montreal, Canada

If you're seeking a European-esque destination without the transatlantic flight, head to Montreal. This sophisticated Canadian metropolis is rich with history, centuries-old architecture, and bustling French bistros.

Most tourists shy away from Montreal until spring, so those who enjoy a winter wonderland vibe can delight in a quieter visit full of cold-weather charms, like ice skating at Parc La Fontaine, dogsledding in Mont Tremblant, and guided nighttime snowshoeing on Mont Royal complete with beautiful views of the city lights. Travelers can then warm up with hot chocolate by a roaring fire at one of Old Montreal's cushy hotels.

After checking out the vibrant downtown scene, couples can treat themselves to an indulgent massage or facial at the luxurious Spa St. James at The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal, or enjoy cocktails and tapas at the W Montreal's Living Room . The sexy space and its relaxed vibe will set the mood for romance.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Just a short drive from many locations in the northeast, Watch Hill is an idyllic place to visit year round. For an intimate stay, hightail it to Ocean House , a grand 1868 Victorian oceanfront beauty and the crown jewel of the New England town. Couples can enjoy long walks on the private white-sand beach and canoodling in front of the stately stone fireplace, cocktail in hand. There's a farm-to-table restaurant on site, plus a prestigious cooking school offering guests gourmet classes and intimate tastings.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is one of the Caribbean's best destinations for a romantic retreat. These easy-to-access islands — flights are under two hours from Miami and under four from New York — will have couples in paradise in no time.

For a dreamy place to call home for a few days, settle in at The Shore Club . The first resort on beautiful Long Bay Beach — the most private stretch of sand on the island of Providenciales — offers seclusion and modern amenities. Start your day on a paddle board over dazzling turquoise waters, lap up some much-needed R&R at four cabana-lined pools, and cap off your night with fresh seafood at SUI-REN, the resort's Japanese-Peruvian restaurant.

In between lounging, couples can embark on a lovely horseback ride along the white-sand beach or indulge in a stress-relieving spa treatment. And don't miss downtown Grace Bay, a hub for eateries, bars, shopping, and nightlife. There's so much on offer to refuel the spark in any relationship.

Palm Springs, California

Glamorized as Old Hollywood's vacation destination of choice, Palm Springs is still as hip as it was in Frank Sinatra's day. The desert oasis entices travelers with stylish resorts, world-class restaurants, and majestic desert views. It's a haven for hikers, adventure seekers, and golfers — with more than 100 area courses.

Try a backcountry Jeep tour through the San Andreas Fault Zone or make a trip to Joshua Tree National Park , about an hour's drive away. Looking to unwind? Soak in the natural healing waters at Desert Hot Springs or head to one of the area's many day spas for a hot-stone couples massage. Palm Springs also has a foodie scene, and many of the city's finest establishments offer patio dining under the stars.

For a relaxing staycation, book a suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage . With everything from clifftop dining to a luxe spa surrounded by the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains, you won't have to leave the grounds to have an unforgettable weekend. There's postcard-worthy scenery in every direction, and we recommend taking it all in from a cabana at the pool while sipping an Arnold Palmer. The golf legend debuted the now-famous iced tea-lemonade drink in Palm Springs in the late '60s.

Walland, Tennessee

Take your love of adventure to new heights with a luxurious mountain retreat. Blackberry Mountain , a Relais & Châteaux resort nestled among 5,200 wondrous acres in the Great Smoky Mountains, is the perfect place to get cozy with your other half.

This rustic sanctuary balances a peaceful environment with active and wellness offerings. Outdoorsy couples can revel in everything from hiking, mountain biking, and candlelight yoga to relaxing forest baths, woodland meditation, and restorative spa treatments. After nourishing your mind and body, feed your soul at three one-of-a-kind restaurants that showcase Blackberry Farm's celebrated hospitality and culinary program.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston , called "Holy City" because of its long history of religious tolerance, is a beloved destination of many travelers due to its historic landmarks, cobblestone streets, booming food scene, and Southern charm.

Foodie couples will be in heaven: The culinary capital of the South boasts a myriad of standout spots and immersive experiences. Don't miss oysters at King Street's seafood stunner, The Ordinary , spicy fried chicken at Leon's Oyster Shop , and Texas-style brisket at Lewis Barbecue , just to name a few. For a post-dinner classic cocktail, belly up to The Bar & Patio at Husk . Fancy some bubbly? Check out the Champagne bar Camellias at Hotel Bennett.

Opt for a stay at the French Quarter Inn , a boutique gem in the heart of the historic district. At the end of a jam-packed (and no doubt delicious) day, the hotel's top-notch turndown service with a "pillow menu" — featuring seven different comfy options for resting your head — will ensure the sweetest dreams.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The largest of the three Cayman Islands is the ultimate sanctuary for couples looking for a Caribbean beach oasis — at any pace. With warm, dry weather and fewer crowds than during the height of winter, early spring is an ideal time to visit Grand Cayman and its world-renowned Seven Mile Beach.

A range of water sports invites epic adventures surrounded by the island's sparkling waters. You can kayak through lush, tropical mangroves or charter a catamaran to Rum Point on the north coast. Want to indulge in some rest and relaxation with your beloved? Sun-drenched afternoons spent lounging on pink-sand beaches or entwined in a hammock will do the trick.

Grand Cayman's spectacular sunsets are a quintessential backdrop for passionate evenings. Catch magical views of the fiery spectacle at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa , followed by an exceptional dinner experience at Avecita with a custom chefs' counter tasting of seasonal, wood-fired fare that's unique to the Caribbean. Pro tip: snag a reservation in advance — there are only 30 seats and just one seating per night.

Paso Robles, California

Uncork that lovin' feeling with a jaunt to California 's third-largest wine region (following more famous territories, Napa and Sonoma). Nestled halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the state's central coast lies a vast rolling countryside speckled with vineyards, olive groves, farms, and ranches.

With its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, Paso Robles is a perfect stop for a relaxing long weekend. Wine is the main attraction here: Sip your way through cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, merlot, and more at 200-plus wineries. Many tastings take place on sun-drenched outdoor spaces with breathtaking vistas, creating a next-level experience. Visitors tend to fall in love with Paso's chill ambiance, and lodging is typically more affordable than in California's more well-known wine regions.

If you get wined out — is that even a thing? — you can switch it up by sampling local olive oils, touring a craft brewery, or taking a dip in a hot spring. Downtown, you'll find interesting boutiques and great eateries. Stop by The General Store for honey, olive oil, soaps, and handmade goods from area producers to bring home.

Park City, Utah

Tessa Desjardins/Travel + Leisure

What's more dreamy than cozying up by a fireplace in a snowy mountain lodge? Having local whiskey and chocolates in hand, of course. Park City is a winter wonderland rich with small-town charms, and it's quickly accessible from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Hit the slopes at two world-class resorts — Park City Mountain and Deer Valley — which offer some of the world's greatest ski conditions. In between runs on fresh powder, savor magnificent snow-capped landscapes and gourmet fare at several on-mountain pit stops. For a stellar après-ski situation, make your way to the ski-in, ski-out St. Regis Deer Valley resort for decadent hot chocolate, fireside s'mores, and craft cocktails.

Beyond mountain sports, Utah's historic mining town is like a holiday postcard come to life, full of perfect date activities like sleigh rides, ice skating, hot-air balloon rides, dogsledding, and shopping along historic Main Street, where the facades of many acclaimed restaurants and saloons are preserved from the 1880s. Unwind with a whiskey flight at Park City's own High West Distillery . For an excellent candlelit dinner featuring local live music, head to Riverhorse on Main , then saddle up to popular No Name Saloon Bar & Grill for a nightcap. There's so much for couples to see and do in "Winter's Favorite Town."

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Just a short drive south from the Cancun airport, Playa del Carmen is situated along the Yucatán's palm-lined Caribbean coastline. With its unspoiled natural setting and upscale hotels, Mexico's Riviera Maya is a first-rate vacation destination — and an ideal escape for lovebirds seeking warm weather.

If privacy and luxury is your speed, say "hola" to the area's most romantic resort: The five-star Rosewood Mayakoba . Set along the edges of a freshwater lagoon, the property features refined accommodations with over-the-top amenities, heated plunge pools, and in-room mezcal to spice things up. You'll also find three infinity pools sunken in the sand, an open kitchen for interactive culinary experiences, and a beachfront fire pit to curl up next to in the moonlight.

New Paltz, New York

Looking for a place that's a short drive from New York City but feels worlds away? Reserve a room at Mohonk Mountain House . Family-owned and -operated since 1869, this Victorian resort is perched on the the banks of crystal blue Lake Mohonk in New Paltz.

The grand, castle-like property offers couples an award-winning spa, farm-to-table cuisine, and a range of daily outdoor activities. In winter, you can go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on groomed trails and ice skating on the private pavilion. Warmer months bring horseback riding, canoeing, and hiking in the surrounding Shawangunk Ridge.

Leisurely, romantic days are also welcome: Sip hot chocolate and snuggle up by one of the stone fireplaces, soak in the outdoor heated mineral pool, or watch the sunset from rocking chairs on the porch. Just being with your sweetheart, surrounded by pristine mountain wilderness, is enough to make you fall in love all over again.

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