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27 Best Weekend Getaways in the USA

One of the best parts of the beautiful USA is its sheer vastness and diversity. There are many incredible places to visit that don’t require a passport or expensive international flights. Looking for a romantic beach getaway? We got that. A quiet weekend trip through mountain hiking trails? Got that, too. City trips? Boston and New York City can’t be beat.

Each state offers incredible places to visit and things to do that can usually fit into a weekend. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite weekend getaway destinations that are great whether you want a staycation, a fun family road trip, or a quick trip away with the girls (or guys).

Continue reading to discover weekend trip ideas in every corner of the country. Whether you’re looking for quick weekend getaways nearby or don’t mind a short flight or drive, we’ve got you covered.

Best Weekend Getaways in the U.S.

1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

Our nation’s national parks make amazing weekend getaways in the USA. They’re absolutely beautiful, and with over 424 sites in the National Park system, there’s usually one that’s not too far away from home. One national park not to miss is Grand Canyon National Park, located on the Colorado River in Northern Arizona.

Grand Canyon National Park spans over 1,902 square miles and is the second most visited national park in the United States. It features so many incredible things for the entire family to enjoy.

Start your visit at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, where you can find more information on the top things to see and do in the area. Some popular things include the Desert View Watchtower, Mather Point, Horseshoe Bend, and, of course, the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

If you want to relax and leave all the planning to the professionals, you can do that, too! This Grand Canyon signature Hummer tour takes guests around the south rim area of the Grand Canyon to discover the best viewpoints and most photographic locations. Alternatively, if you’d like a more unique perspective, opt for this 45-minute helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.

Visiting the Grand Canyon makes for one of the best weekend trips in the US for the whole family. Need a place to stay? The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is a great accommodation that features a lodge-themed lobby, swimming pool, a bar, and an on-site restaurant. Otherwise, you can check out our article on where to stay in Grand Canyon National Park.

See Related: Grand Canyon Packing List: What You Need to Bring

2. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park
Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock

If you live anywhere between Los Angeles and San Diego and your search history consists of the phrase “3-day vacation ideas near me”, you should definitely consider venturing out to Joshua Tree National Park. As one of California’s nine wonderful national parks, Joshua Tree features a unique desert climate filled with captivating plants (including thousands of Joshua trees) and wildlife.

Throughout the area, you’ll find countless hiking trails and scenic viewpoints to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. Some of the most popular hiking spots include Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Arch Rock Nature Trail, Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail, and the Split Rock Loop Trail. The desert isn’t the only thing to admire here, though.

Because of its seclusion away from large cities and minimal light pollution, Joshua Tree is a phenomenal place to enjoy stargazing. Bring your camera and your tripod because you definitely won’t want to miss getting a stunning photo of the night sky.

One of the most fun things about Joshua Tree is the variety of accommodations you can find throughout the park. If you’re visiting with a large group, the Sagebrush Bungalow offers a ton of space and a bright and light ambiance. Looking for something a little more unique? AutoCamp Joshua Tree offers the best of both worlds between camping or staying at a hotel. An Airstream becomes your hotel room as you enjoy the beauty of the desert landscape.

See Related: 2 Days in Joshua Tree

3. Palm Springs, California

Welcome sign with palm trees and blue sky in the background in Palm Springs, California
Jason Busa / Adobe Stock

Head to Palm Springs if you want to get out of the city but don’t want to be too far away from civilization. The glamorous desert destination is a perfect choice among last-minute weekend getaways from Los Angeles for those looking to disconnect for just a few days. It’s also just two hours north of San Diego.

Palm Springs makes the perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking for sunny weather, great food, amazing golf courses, and a relaxing atmosphere. There are several laidback activities to enjoy in Palm Springs, like admiring the art exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum, strolling through the Moorten Botanical Gardens, and taking a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

This is a great option for a fun yet chill girls’ escape out of the city. Looking to road trip down to the desert but don’t own a car? compares rates from the best rental car companies, so you know you’re getting the best deal.

No girls’ trip is complete without a cute vacation rental. This Racquet Club Road Estates home can accommodate up to six guests and features a resort-style pool and comfortable bedrooms with room for all your besties. If you look around, it’s easy to find some amazing places to stay in Palm Springs.

See Related: Visiting Tahquitz Canyon Trail

4. San Francisco, California

View of the iconic pastel Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies with downtown San Francisco in the background
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

San Francisco never disappoints as a short weekend getaway in northern California. There’s just no shortage of fun and entertainment when it comes to the Golden City.

Take in the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, and San Francisco Bay. It’s the perfect place to just get lost and wander, taking in the sites, sounds, and surroundings of this amazing city.

If it’s your first time in the city or you’re not quite sure about taking public transportation, a great option is a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour. The big red bus stops at all of San Francisco’s most popular attractions and has designated stops, so you can get on and get off as much as you need or want.

Alternatively, you can explore the city from behind the wheel of a GoCar! Driving these wicked, little, yellow three-wheelers around San Francisco is a blast.

If you’re short on time and just want one main place to explore, I recommend staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. It’s family-friendly and features all kinds of activities to enjoy for any budget.

You can watch the seals at Pier 39 for free, walk over to Ghiradelli Square to enjoy some delicious ice cream or visit the Aquarium of the Bay. You’re also within walking distance of the famous Lombard Street and City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

For a cheap and convenient stay, book a room at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Fisherman’s Wharf. This pet-friendly hotel features free breakfast, a modern gym, and a location that just can’t be beat. If you’re looking to make your weekend escape a bit fancier, two of the best luxury hotels in San Francisco are the Palace Hotel and the newly-opened 1 Hotel San Francisco.

See Related: Best Walking Tours in San Francisco [Free & Guided]

5. San Diego, California

Pacific Beach shoreline and Crystal Pier San Diego
Oxana Militsina / Shutterstock

Sunny San Diego is always a good idea for a weekend trip. The saltwater air, laidback vibes, and upbeat atmosphere make San Diego a fun place to spend a long weekend away. The city hosts one of California’s most famous urban parks, Balboa Park, which is home to several scenic walking paths, beautiful gardens, and the San Diego Zoo.

If you want to take in the area’s natural beauty and scenery, head over to La Jolla Cove or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Both of these places offer breathtaking views, incredible nature, and a serene atmosphere. Take in even more beautiful scenery with the knowledge of a local on this San Diego Scenic Tour.

For a romantic getaway, take the ferry over to Coronado Island. It boasts one of the best beaches in California and a charming selection of boutiques and restaurants. The historical Hotel del Coronado offers its guests luxurious accommodations, beach bar service, an expansive outdoor pool, and fun, family-friendly resort activities.

See Related: Best Museums in San Diego, California

6. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Skyline
jdross75 / Adobe Stock

Aspen is one of the best weekend trips in the US if you want to enjoy some winter skiing or world-class mountain biking. It’s the perfect year-round destination, especially for those who love to be in the mountains. Aspen has several nearby airports, though many opt to fly into Denver and rent a car to get to Aspen.

The main thing to do in Aspen is to enjoy some of the best ski slopes in the nation. Or, if you’re like me, some of the best apres ski festivities. Skiiers and snowboarders from all across the globe flock to this Rocky Mountains resort town to enjoy its amazing ski resorts, including Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. Buttermilk is the best for beginners and kids, while Snowmass is the largest of Aspen’s ski resorts and features a wide array of terrain and ski runs.

Best apres ski after a long day on the slopes? CHICA Aspen, for sure. The food is unmatched, and their special apres ski menu includes items that are either refreshing or hearty, depending on what you’re going for. Bottle service is also available – gotta keep out the cold somehow.

Even if you visit Aspen in the spring and summer, this gorgeous mountain town still has something to offer everyone. There are mountain biking trails for every level, from the Lowline Trail for beginners to Sky Mountain Park for intermediate riders and Snowmass Bike Park for advanced mountain biking.

Other recreational activities include climbing, horseback riding, golf, rafting, and hiking. For an all-out luxury experience, stay at the St. Regis Aspen Resort. For a budget-friendly alternative, The Inn at Aspen is amazing.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Colorado in the Winter

7. Washington, DC

Washington, DC at the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial during spring
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Our nation’s capital makes an awesome weekend getaway in the spring, summer, and winter. In the spring, you can enjoy DC in full bloom during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which happens annually from the end of March until mid-April. Though, if it was a more mild winter, the blooms could happen earlier.

In the summertime, Washington DC comes alive with no shortage of events and festivals, like the Food & Cultural Festival in July and the DC JazzFest at the end of August. And, of course, if you’ve never been before, make sure to check out all of the city’s most important sites and landmarks. This hop-on hop-off trolley tour is a fun and easy way to see the city, especially if you want to dedicate just one day to touring and don’t want to walk too much.

Winter, especially around the holidays, is one of my favorite times to visit DC. The whole town is decorated and gives off major cozy vibes. It’s also the perfect time of year to explore DC indoors – there are some of the nation’s finest museums in this city.

Another great area to visit during Christmas is National Harbor, which is technically in Maryland but boasts amazing views of DC. The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is an amazing place to stay and also goes all out with Christmas decorations and fun activities for the whole family.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Washington DC?

8. 30A or the Emerald Coast, Florida

Wooden steps and deck out to the blue water and white sand of Rosemary Beach in 30A, Florida
Derek / Adobe Stock

There’s so much that can be said about the Emerald Coast – commonly called “30A” – and what makes it one of the best weekend getaway ideas in the country. The name comes from the highway that spans from Destin to Panama City. Between the two cities are beautiful coastal towns boasting some of the clearest blue waters and fine white sand that the Gulf of Mexico is known for.

Some of the more popular towns along this stretch of the Florida Panhandle include Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and Alys Beach. These towns vary when it comes to the price of accommodations, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll have an amazing time.

Each town offers visitors an incredible beach to enjoy with several laidback restaurant options. If you’re looking for more fun and adventure, head to Panama City Beach, which hosts a ton of fun amusement parks for the family, like Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, ZooWorld, and WonderWorks.

This stretch is a seaside lover’s paradise, and also a great place to enjoy some once-in-a-lifetime excursions. Start your day watching dolphins up close, and then end your day off with a scenic sunset catamaran cruise in the Gulf of Mexico!

If you want to go full-out bougie, stay in Alys Beach. This resort town is totally reminiscent of southern Spain and Greece, with its stunning white facades and amazing architecture.

While a holiday home here can cost you upwards of $15 million, they do have several rental properties. If that’s a little out of your budget, the nearby town of Seacrest offers several affordable options, including this Old Florida Charm Beach House, which is located just five minutes from the beach.

See Related: Key West Day Trip: The Florida Keys in a Day

9. Miami, Florida

Downtown Miami architecture and skyline
Just dance / Shutterstock

On the other side of Florida, you have the fun and exciting Miami Beach. Miami is known for its trendy party scene, great beaches, amazing food, and bustling city life.

Its neighborhoods, like the Wynwood Arts District and South Beach, attract crowds from across the country and beyond. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that’s full of fun, excitement, and sunny weather, Miami is the place for you.

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Miami is Wynwood. Wynwood is known as Miami’s arts district and is home to some incredible art galleries, stunning street art, hip bars, and fun vintage shops.

Immerse yourself in the artistic culture of Wynwood by joining this Wynwood Graffiti Experience. This experience is open to everyone ages 3 and up, so it could make for a unique family memory of your time in Miami.

Miami is also known for its vibrant and thriving restaurant scene, so you definitely will want to indulge in some good food and drinks while you’re there. For a fresh take on local and southern flavors, head over to Red Rooster Overtown.

Lux-up your trip by staying at the Mandarin Oriental Miami. This five-star hotel boasts its own private beach and a great Peruvian restaurant called La Mar.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Miami

10. Orlando, Florida

Orlando downtown skyline panorama over Lake Eola at night
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock

It’s basically every kid’s dream to visit Walt Disney World, and it’s certainly one of the ultimate long weekend getaways for the family. But if a weekend is too short for you to enjoy all that Disney World has to offer, don’t worry; there are a ton of other fun things to do in Orlando instead!

Orlando is known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” so you can definitely try to fit your favorite parks into one day each. For me, the epicenter would probably be Universal Studios and Magic Kingdom.

Universal’s Super Nintendo World just opened in California, and it will soon also be part of Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe theme park, which is expected to open in 2025. If you don’t have time for a theme park, you can always pop over to Disney Springs (which is free to visit) for some shopping or dining with some major Disney vibes.

For some non-theme park fun, rent a swan-shaped pedal boat on Lake Eola. The lake is home to five species of swans and offers a relaxing atmosphere. Just 30 minutes outside of Orlando, you can visit the gorgeous Rock Springs Run.

Parts of this waterway feature extremely clear waters with the most stunning scenery. This two-hour glass-bottom guided kayak tour will take you to the most Instagram-worthy spots that will make your weekend getaway super memorable.

See Related: Orlando CityPASS Review: Is It Worth It?

11. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah River Cruise
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Savannah may not be the first place that comes to your mind when thinking of weekend getaways in the USA, but with its amazing weather, historic mansions, and old-world charm, it’s definitely worth the visit, even just for a weekend. Two days in Savannah should be the perfect amount of time to see all the best that the city has to offer.

This coastal city is perfect for history buffs who adore period architecture and stories of the paranormal. It is one of America’s most haunted cities, after all. The Sixth Sense Savannah Walking Ghost Tour will take you to all of the town’s most haunted places and historic sites. If ghosts aren’t your thing, opt for a historic Savannah guided walking tour.

In addition to Savannah’s rich history, this warm-weather city also features an incredible foodie scene. Head over to City Market, an open-air market dating back to the 1700s that houses charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Belford’s Seafood and Steaks is a popular pick, and they offer champagne brunch every Saturday and Sunday.

There are many beautiful options in terms of accommodations in Savannah. The Kimpton Brice Hotel is located in Savannah’s Historic District and features an Italian restaurant and a relaxing outdoor swimming pool.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia

12. Maui, Hawaii

Waianapapa State Park, Maui
shanemyersphoto / Adobe Stock

I know you might be thinking, “Hawaii just for a weekend?!” And I’m here to tell you, yes, it can be done! With major airlines adding new routes and flights to Hawaii every year, traveling to Hawaii has never been easier. We recommend signing up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) to get the latest travel deals to your favorite destinations straight to your inbox.

With over 27 cities on the US mainland offering nonstop flights to Hawaii, the Valley Isle is an easy direct flight or short 30-minute island hopper from Oahu. A holiday weekend with four days is probably best, and to avoid jet lag, make sure to stay up until your regular bedtime!

Maui is one of the best Hawaiian islands to explore, but you’ll definitely need a rental car. Sixt is a fantastic option and is conveniently located at Kahului Airport.

Now you’re ready to explore! If you’re looking for the best sandy beach on the island, I recommend Big Beach or Wailea Beach if you’re staying in that area.

Another thing not to miss is going up to watch the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala, which is also a national park. If you don’t feel like driving that early, there are plenty of sunrise tour options out there. Don’t forget a warm jacket!

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is a budget- and family-friendly accommodation option located on one of my favorite beaches on the island. Here, guests can enjoy learning authentic Hawaiian cultural activities, pristine beaches, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

See Related: A Complete Maui Itinerary You’ll Want to Copy

13. Chicago, Illinois

Aerial View of Gold Coast, Chicago
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

While the number of things to do and see in Chicago is enough to fill a months-long itinerary, it still makes an amazing city escape for a long weekend. The vibrant city hosts many food and music festivals throughout the year, and with its incredible location on Lake Michigan, it offers the perfect mix of scenic outdoor spaces and fun attractions.

Start your time in Chicago by exploring the city’s most popular landmarks and attractions. Pause for a photo op at Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) at the AT&T Plaza in Millenium Park.

The park is an awesome spot to admire Lake Michigan and also hosts some of the best things to do in Chicago with kids. This includes Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Children’s Museum.

The best place to take in awesome views of the city is the Skydeck at Willis Tower. It’s located on the 103rd floor, and on clear days you can take in views of four states! Chicago is known for its dazzling architecture, so don’t miss the opportunity to take a Chicago River cruise to learn more about the city’s architectural history.

After the cruise, head to West Randolph Street, known for having some of the greatest restaurants in the Windy City. Stay nearby at the Hyatt House Chicago West Loop so you can close out the night with a nightcap at an Irish pub.

See Related: Best Day Trips From Chicago, Illinois

14. New Orleans, Louisiana

Carriage in front of St Louis Cathedral in French Quarter in New Orleans
bleung / Adobe Stock

The Big Easy is easily one of the best weekend getaways in the USA if you’re looking for a good time on a budget. Most of New Orleans’ main attractions and things to do are quite affordable, especially compared to other U.S. cities. So whether you want to party in the French Quarter, indulge in unique cuisine, or explore the bayou, you can do all of that in a long weekend while eating beignets to your heart’s content.

Start in Jackson Square, the small park in front of NOLA’s famous St. Louis Cathedral. Here, you’ll often find street performers and jazz bands, so it’s a great place for free live music.

No trip to New Orleans is complete without treating yourself to some beignets. Take a short walk from Jackson Square to Cafe du Monde for the best of the best beignets. They’re delicious and reasonably priced.

If you want to take in a bit of history, visit The National WWII Museum, just a few blocks away from the riverwalk. Speaking of the Mississippi River – combine the waterfront atmosphere with New Orleans’ deep jazz roots with this Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise. Or, for a little more excitement, take an airboat ride through the bayou.

Now I said New Orleans is affordable, but if you want to add a touch of luxury, book a room at the Four Seasons New Orleans, which features a stunning pool that overlooks the Mississippi. If you want to keep things affordable all around, I recommend the Holiday Inn Express New Orleans Downtown, which is just a few blocks away from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street.

See Related: Do You Need A Rental Car in New Orleans?

15. Bar Harbor, Maine

Aerial View of Bar Harbor, Maine
mandritoiu / Adobe Stock

Maine is my all-time favorite state besides my home state of Hawai‘i. It is incredibly scenic and peaceful, with so many great places for hiking, boating, and fishing.

If you’re looking for a mix of a charming small town and outdoor adventure, head to Bar Harbor for a weekend. The town is a wonderful place to wander and explore and is also the gateway to the stunning Acadia National Park.

The town itself is small but can definitely keep you entertained for a few hours. It features a variety of small boutiques, charming bookstores, souvenir shops, and art galleries.

Definitely make time to take a guided boat tour of the harbor or go whale watching from late May to early October. After touring the town and bay, enjoy lunch or dinner with a view at Stewman’s L.obster Pound.

The main reason people come to Bar Harbor is to visit Acadia National Park. The top spots to visit here include Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond, and Sand Beach.

If you don’t want to drive through the park, there is a 2.5-hour narrated bus tour available. Complete your weekend itinerary in Bar Harbor by staying at the lovely Acadia Inn.

See Related: Most Beautiful Fairy Tale Towns Around the World

16. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts Sunset
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Boston is just one of those cities where you can wander and find the most amazing things to see and do. If you’re looking for an extraordinary new city to explore for a weekend, consider visiting Boston. The Boston Logan International Airport is a major hub, so it’s pretty easy to get to from wherever you’re located.

The city is known for its rich American history, beautiful architecture, and amazing food, so you’ll definitely need to add all of these things to your itinerary. The best way to see it all is on a guided tour (this one combines history AND food!), but if you want to do it on your own, the top places to see and visit are going to be found on the Boston Freedom Trail, which begins at the Boston Common Visitor Center and ends at the USS Constitution – the oldest ship still in US Navy service, and the world’s oldest ship still afloat.

If you’re visiting with kids, make sure to add the New England Aquarium to your list. It features a massive 200,000-gallon tank that simulates the Caribbean Sea and is included in the Boston CityPASS. Spend your weekend in Boston at the Encore Boston Harbor for amazing views and a fantastic location.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Boston?

17. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Strip aerial view at night
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Get that girls’ trip out of the group chat and hop on that plane to Sin City! Las Vegas makes for one of the best weekend getaways in the USA because of the multitude of budget-friendly flights available from across the country. There are also accommodation options available on the Las Vegas Strip for every budget, from the luxurious Encore at Wynn to the affordable (yet still lovely) Luxor hotel.

Shopping, gambling, world-class entertainment, and exhilarating tours can be enjoyed during your time in Vegas. I’m personally not a huge gambler, so when I’m in Vegas, I spend most of my time going to shows and trying new and exciting restaurants. It’s also kind of fun to simply walk around and people-watch; there are always interesting characters in this city.

Hands down, one of the best dining experiences in Vegas is weekend brunch at Border Grill in Mandalay Bay. It’s a sit-down brunch experience, so you can order as many small plates as you want for one flat rate. If you’d like to sample food from several of Las Vegas’ best restaurants, I highly recommend this Las Vegas Tasting Food Tour.

See Related: Best Day Trips From Las Vegas, Nevada

18. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City Boardwalk Aerial View
mandritoiu / Adobe Stock

Atlantic City is often compared to Las Vegas, and while there are definite similarities, it definitely has its own unique vibe to it. For starters, Atlantic City is on the coast, and it boasts a wide beach that’s perfect for lounging on during a hot summer day. It’s one of the most fun quick trips for those on the East Coast looking for a weekend escape.

The beach boardwalk is my favorite part of Atlantic City. It provides easy access to the city’s most popular hotels and casinos but also to the city’s wonderful beach, which is one of the best free public beaches in New Jersey. The boardwalk also features a variety of shops ranging from classic taffy shops to kitschy souvenir shops and small clothing stores.

Other non-gambling things to do in Atlantic City include visiting the Absecon Lighthouse, which has been around since the 1850s, or taking a relaxing evening cruise through the Back Bays of Atlantic City.

Entertainment-wise, you can’t go wrong with an event at Boardwalk Hall — Justin Bieber singing directly to me for five seconds there back in 2016 will be a core memory for me forever. In the spring and summer, Atlantic City hosts a food & wine festival and a few small music festivals.

See Related: Best Beaches on the East Coast

19. New York, New York

Street View of Times Square in New York City
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You can’t go wrong with a visit to New York City. It’s perfect to visit at any time of year and in any weather. There are just as many outdoor attractions as there are indoor, and there’s always something new to see or experience!

One of the best ways to enjoy a weekend in the city is by visiting some of its most fascinating museums. Some great ones include the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Met, and the American Museum of Natural History. CityPASS New York City can get you into a ton of the city’s best attractions, including the natural history museum, for one flat rate.

No trip to New York City is complete without a stroll or romantic carriage ride through Central Park. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy blue skies, have a picnic on The Great Lawn. If you’d like to enjoy a proper seated meal instead, check out Storico at the nearby New York Historical Society.

I’ve had to visit NYC many times in order to get and renew my visa to live in France. It may come as a surprise to some, but honestly, my favorite hotel has been the Sheraton New York Times Square. It’s the perfect place for tourists as it’s centrally located and features pretty spacious rooms by New York standards.

See Related: Where to Stay Outside of New York City: The Very Best Areas

20. Niagara Falls, New York

Visitors in ponchos at Niagara Falls
Lidiia Kozhevnikova / Shutterstock

Niagara Falls is one of the greatest cheap weekend getaways on the east coast. Niagara Falls State Park is a fun outdoor landmark that all ages can appreciate at least once. There are various activities to enjoy, including boat tours, guided walking tours, free fireworks shows in the summer, and so much more.

A great way to enjoy the falls is by taking a ride on the iconic Maid of Mist. You could also upgrade your ticket to include skip-the-line tickets to the Cave of the Winds, a naturally-made cave behind the Bridal Veil Falls. This ticket also includes an all-day pass for the Niagara Scenic Trolley.

If you want to explore more nearby, check out the free botanical gardens, enjoy a wine tasting at Hernder Estates, or visit the Dufferin Islands on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Keep your visit to Niagara Falls on a budget by staying at Comfort Inn & Suites Niagara Falls.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Buffalo, New York

21. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina Aerial View
Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

Visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains and the charming town of Asheville, North Carolina certainly makes for an incredible weekend getaway. From the vibrant River Arts District to the ultra-scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville and the surrounding area is highly underrated and worth more than just a short stop on a road trip south.

Let’s start with the River Arts District. This industrial enclave has massively transformed into a sort of incubator for all things art.

Here, you’ll find working studios along with beautiful art galleries showcasing art made from all types of mediums. Every second Sunday of the month is Second Sundays, where visitors can enjoy live music, workshops, and awesome food and drinks.

Another incredible place to visit in Asheville is the Biltmore Estate. The mansion is considered “America’s Largest Home,” and the estate features lovely gardens, beautiful trails, and a winery. End your day with dinner at one of the town’s amazing restaurants.

A local favorite is Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen + Bar, which features Southern comfort food with an inventive twist. Need a hotel recommendation? The Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville is centrally located and is close to some of the town’s best breweries.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Burlington, North Carolina

22. Columbus, Ohio

View of downtown Columbus Ohio Skyline at Sunset
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Believe it or not, Ohio’s capital city is a genuinely wonderful place to spend a long weekend exploring. It features the perfect mix of tranquil nature parks and vibrant city life.

Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and though it has a young, hip vibe to it, the city still has a small-town country feel and its fair share of picturesque views, perfect for a romantic getaway. Yes! In Ohio!

The best time to visit Columbus is from late spring to early fall. The great weather during these months allows visitors to fully enjoy the Scioto Mile, Columbus’ gorgeous river walk.

Scioto Mile is made up of nine beautiful parks and green spaces lined with walking paths, restaurants, and the Cultural Arts Center. It also hosts several exciting events, including the Rhythm on the River Music Festival.

Other spots not to miss on a weekend trip in Columbus include the Columbus Museum of Art, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Otherworld Museum. Stay at the Hilton Columbus at Easton for a convenient and comfortable stay.

23. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Scenery at Night
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

Myrtle Beach is one of the best quick trips for families looking for a fun-filled weekend getaway. The coastal resort town features 60 miles of impeccable coastline and is one of the best vacation ideas in the Carolinas. Myrtle Beach is a year-round destination, though you’ll definitely have the most fun if you visit in the summer.

I recommend heading to the beach in the early morning when there are fewer crowds, and you can enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. After a dip in the sea or some surfing, take a stroll down the boardwalk, where you’ll find some of Myrtle Beach’s top attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, the SkyWheel, and Family Kingdom Amusement Park. You’re also not far from the Hollywood Wax Museum, which I have to make a point of going to every time I visit.

The Residence Inn by Marriott Myrtle Beach Oceanfront is perfect for families of all sizes and is pet-friendly! It’s also located just one mile from Myrtle Beach International Airport, allowing you to maximize your time during your weekend escape.

See Related: Things to Do in South Carolina & Top Places to Visit

24. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park Scenery
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National parks make incredible cheap weekend getaways that are both fun and affordable. Badlands National Park can easily be explored in just one day, but if you’d like to take your time, it’s great for a weekend.

This national park is known for its fascinating rock formations, massive canyons, and grasslands that seem to go on forever. It’s also the site of one of the country’s most famous landmarks: Mount Rushmore! If you’re not road-tripping to the Badlands, you’ll certainly want to rent a car. The most popular sites can be found along Badlands Loop Road.

Some places not to miss along this road include Sage Creek Road, Notch Trail, Fossil Exhibit Trail, and the Norbeck Pass. If you’d like a bit of a splurge, you can always take the stress out of planning your route by going on a private tour.

The closest town to Badlands National Park is Wall, where you’ll find several affordable hotels and motels. If you’d like to stay in a larger city, Rapid City is about an hour west of Wall. The Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City is a family-friendly option that features an indoor pool with a waterslide and a restaurant.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Custer State Park, South Dakota

25. Nashville, Tennessee

Downtown Nashville aerial view
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock

Tennessee’s legendary capital, also known as Music City, is known for its incredible music scene, both in terms of music venues and the music stars who have called this city home. It’s also one of the best places in the country for a party trip with friends.

Before you get your party started, check out some of Nashville’s most iconic landmarks. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has one of the world’s largest musical collections and is referred to as the “Smithsonian of country music.”

The most iconic music venue in Nashville is the Grand Ole Opry, which was founded in 1925. You can take a guided tour of the backstage area or catch a show there.

While many who visit Nashville will go on a pub crawl, if you want a more unique experience, check out this party tractor tour! After your long night (or day) out, relax at the Grand Hyatt Nashville, which has a stunning rooftop pool, beautiful guest rooms, and an on-site restaurant.

See Related: Best Hotels In Nashville

26. Austin, Texas

ATX Street Art, Austin, Texas
GalinaSt / Adobe Stock

Austin is the live music capital and also the capital of Texas! The hip and vibrant city is one of the most fun mini-vacations that you can take in the Lone Star State. It has an incredible balance of energizing outdoor activities, historic sites, and fascinating museums.

Some of the best things to do and see in Austin include relaxing at Lady Bird Lake, watching the sunset from Mount Bonnell, and visiting the Bullock Texas State History Museum. And, of course, the best and most unique thing of all: viewing the Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset!

Another thing I highly recommend doing in Austin is going on a walking food tour through downtown. If you’re a craft beer fan, check out some of Austin’s best breweries, like Hold Out Brewing and Austin Beerworks. The Hyatt Place Austin Downtown hotel puts you in the middle of all the action and features a swimming pool and fitness center.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Corpus Christi, Texas

27. Door County, Wisconsin

Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Never heard of Door County? Well, I’m here to tell you about one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets! This scenic Wisconsin county is on a peninsula located between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Door County is known for its wide array of outdoor activities and is one of the best cheap weekend getaways in the USA.

Three main places to visit on a weekend in Door County are Peninsula State Park, Cave Point in the Clay Banks State Natural Area, and Whitefish Dunes State Park. Peninsula State Park is the county’s biggest attraction and is a great place to swim, hike, boat, and fish. Those with Wisconsin license plates can enter the park for $8, while out-of-state cars are $11.

Stay close to the Peninsula State Park at the Homestead Suites hotel in Fish Creek. While you’re in Door County, you’ll definitely want to try some local cuisine, like a white fish fry. Check out our article on the best restaurants in Door County, Wisconsin!

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