20 Best Weekend Getaways in the United States
With so little vacation days, it is important to make the best of your weekend. It is possible to travel to many destinations in the United States during a weekend without needing to take any additional vacation time. We curated a list of the best weekend getaways in the United States to get away from the office and explore nature, cities, beaches and national parks. Where will you go for your next weekend getaway?
1. Big Sur
Big Sur, California has the most incredible coastline with redwoods, bright blue water, large cliffs, and stunning waterfalls. A weekend road trip in Big Sur offers the perfect getaway to relax, hike, and explore. Big Sur is made up of several state parks and state natural reserves including Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Limekiln State Park, and more. At Point Lobos you can find beautiful ocean views, sea lions, beach coves, and tide pools. Our Point Lobos State Natural Reserve guide has more details on which hiking trails you should do and where you can find the best views. Another highlight of Big Sur is Pfeiffer Beach, a unique beach with purple sand and large rock formations. You can’t visit Big Sur without seeing McWay Falls, a stunning waterfall that falls into bright blue ocean water. One of our favorite hiking trails in Big Sur is Limekiln Falls Trail which takes you through Redwoods to a 100-foot tall waterfall.
A road trip in Big Sur, California offers one of the best weekend getaways in the United States. Start planning your trip to Big Sur with our Big Sur Road Trip Itinerary.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon yet, what are you waiting for? A 277 mile long canyon, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is breathtaking. To truly experience how vast and deep the canyon is, spend time hiking down the canyon on one of the trails. Remember that whatever you hike down you will have to hike back up, so plan accordingly. The best trails at South Rim are South Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail. If you are unable to hike down the canyon you can also follow the rim trail. Book your accommodation for the weekend in Flagstaff, about 45 minutes away, in order to save money as the options next to the Grand Canyon can be very expensive and have to be booked way ahead of time.
Portland is a vibrant city with unique cafes, boutiques, markets, and countless microbreweries. I lived in Portland for a summer and completely fell in love with the city. Portland is easy to explore in a weekend because it is very walkable and has great public transportation. On Saturday visit the Portland Farmers Market, then walk along the Willamette River to the Portland Saturday Market. Next, explore the Northwest neighborhood where you can find boutiques, restaurants, and bars and then check out the local breweries. On Sunday start the day eating waffles in Southeast Portland and then go to the International Rose Test Garden. Spend time exploring the Pearl District where you can find breweries, boutiques, great restaurants, and cafes. Finish the day getting lost in Powell’s City of Books, the largest used and new bookstore in the world.
Visit our guide to a weekend in Portland for more details on the best things to do during your weekend getaway to Portland.
4. San Diego
Visit San Diego, a relaxing city with the best weather year round. San Diego is easy to get to as the airport is located right in the city. You can easily explore San Diego without having to rent a car, as you can walk or use Uber or Lyft. Explore Little Italy where you can find many delicious Italian restaurants and a farmers market on Saturday mornings. Spend time walking along the Marina and visit the USS Midway Museum. Walk around Balboa Park which has many gardens and museums including a Japanese Garden and a Botanical Garden. A weekend in San Diego is not complete without spending time at Torrey Pines State Reserve where you can enjoy the ocean with great views. Spend time relaxing on Coronado beach where you can find soft white sand and a historic hotel. Finish your weekend in San Diego exploring unique bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter.
5. White Sands National Park
One of the best weekend getaways in the United States is visiting the worlds largest gypsum dunefield at White Sands National Park. White Sands National Park is located in southern New Mexico. Start your weekend trip on Friday night and book an Airbnb or hotel in Las Cruces, a town in New Mexico located 50 minutes from White Sands. The closest large airport is located about an hour from Las Cruces in El Paso, TX. On Saturday morning start your day at the Las Cruces Farmers Market where you can find local food and crafts. Next, start exploring White Sands where you can drive the eight mile Dunes Drive and stop at different spots to enjoy the sand dunes. Make sure to spend time at the furthest end of the road where the largest sand dunes are located. One of the best things to do at White Sands is hiking on the dunes following one of the marked trails or creating your own path. Another highlight is sledding down the sand dunes, so don’t forget to bring your own plastic disk or purchase one at the monument gift shop.
Continue planning your weekend getaway to White Sands with our article about the Best Things to Do in White Sands National Park.
Savannah is a historic city near the coast of Georgia, located on the Savannah River. With the Savannah airport located only 15 minutes from the Savannah Historic District, you can easily fly in for the weekend and not even need to rent a car. Spend the weekend enjoying Savannah with its southern charm and unique architecture. Walk around Savannah Historic District where you can find beautiful houses, Forsyth Park, River Street, and nice historic buildings. Visit the Prohibition Museum where you can learn about the early 1900s and end your visit at a speakeasy where you can get unique cocktails. Savannah is known for a lot of great restaurants and has a range of cuisine including southern food, Thai, Mexican, Italian, and more. There are also a lot of unique bars that are worth checking out. Make sure to wake up in time for Sunday brunch at J. Christopher’s.
7. Yellowstone National Park
If you are looking for a weekend getaway to see one of the most incredible and unique national parks in the United States, then you should start planning your trip to Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park protects an area where large volcanic eruptions happened with the latest an estimated 631,000 years ago. The park has diverse wildlife including bison, wolves, bighorn, elk, grizzly bears, black bears, and moose. Within the park there are over 10,000 geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents. Most of Yellowstone National Park forms a figure 8. On Saturday you can complete the top part of the figure 8 along with Lamar Valley, and on Sunday you can complete the bottom loop. Since Yellowstone gets a lot of snow, many of the roads in the park close in the winter between October and Memorial Day Weekend. Therefore, the best time to go would be when the roads are open but it is less crowded, which would be Memorial Day Weekend through middle of June or in September through early October.
Continue to our guide for how to spend a Weekend in Yellowstone National Park.
8. Page, Arizona
Northern Arizona has some of the most incredible natural wonders including Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell. You can see all these sights on a weekend getaway to Page, Arizona. The closest airports to Page are Flagstaff Airport (2.5 hours), Las Vegas (4 hours 20 minutes), and Phoenix Airport (4 hours 20 minutes). Arrive Friday night and book a stay at one of the hotels or Airbnbs in Page. On Saturday spend time exploring Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon formed by erosion from water and wind. Next, follow the path to Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe shaped part of the Colorado River with an incredible view. On Sunday you can rent a kayak and paddle Lake Powell to a slot canyon.
Continue to our Weekend in Page, Arizona guide for the perfect weekend itinerary to Page, Arizona.
9. Channel Islands National Park and Malibu
Channel Islands National Park is located off the coast of California and is made up of five islands: Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel Island, and Santa Barbra Island. The islands were formed by plate tectonics, underwater volcanoes, and changing sea levels. Santa Cruz Island is the largest island in Channel Islands National Park with 61,972 acres, 22 miles long and 2-6 miles wide. I recommend visiting Santa Cruz Island because at only about an hour away from the mainland it offers a lot of things to do and see and is possible to visit in one day. On Santa Cruz Island you can hike, swim, snorkel or kayak. Arrive to California on Friday night and try to stay near Ventura where the boats leave from to go to Channel Islands National Park. On Saturday visit Channel Islands National Park and on Sunday spend time exploring the beaches in Malibu.
Continue planning your trip to Channel Islands National Park using our guide to visiting Santa Cruz Island.
On Sunday explore Malibu, a beautiful coastal town in California. Start with brunch at Malibu Farm Pier Cafe, and then head over to the stunning beaches like El Matador Beach and Point Dume Beach. Enjoy your day in Malibu relaxing on the sand below California’s huge scenic cliffs.
10. Napa Valley
Napa Valley, a wine region located about 1.5 hours northeast of San Francisco, offers one of the best weekend getaways in the United States. Napa Valley is a great escape from the city for a relaxing weekend wine tasting and enjoying the beautiful wine vineyards and extravagant wineries. On Saturday, spend your time visiting the wineries in the south part of Napa which are more known for their Pinots. Start your day at Domain Carnerous which is known for their Pinot Noir. Next go to Artesa Winery for great wine, views, and water features. On your second day visit some of the further vineyards in the north part of Napa Valley. Start your Sunday feeling like a princess in Castello Di Amorosa, where you can tour the castle and do a wine tasting. Next visit Sterling Vineyards, where you will take an aerial tram up to the hills of the winery for breathtaking views and a self guided tour.
Plan your weekend in Napa Valley with our Napa Valley Weekend Getaway Itinerary.
It is hard not to fall in love with Boston. This city has interesting history, strong culture, sports, great food and ocean views. Boston is one of the top weekend getaways in the United States if you are looking to explore a city. Try to coordinate your weekend trip for spring through fall when the weather is nicer. Start your weekend with a Friday night dinner in one of the delicious Italian restaurants in North End and dessert from the well known Mike’s Pastry. On Saturday visit Quincy Market where you can find street performers, shops, restaurants, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Next walk along the harbor to the Seaport area where you can see a nice view of Boston. On Sunday spend time at Boston Public Garden and then wander around Beacon Hill, a neighborhood with beautiful red brick homes and cobblestone streets. Continue to Back Bay where you can find Newbury Street which is a nice street filled with shops and restaurants. Boston also has a lot of great museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
12. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon are incredible national parks located right next to each other which make for an exciting weekend full of beautiful nature. Fly into San Jose Airport and rent a car for the four hour drive to Sequoia National Park. Spend the first day walking beneath the huge Sequoia trees and seeing the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world. Hike the 3.2 mile Congress Trail which allows you to enjoy the Sequoia trees away from the crowds. On your second day visit Kings Canyon National Park, where you can drive the 50 mile road into the canyon with incredible views along the way. When you get to the bottom of the canyon you can see many waterfalls and experience a lot of great hikes. One of the best hikes at Kings Canyon National Park is Mist Falls Trail, an 8 mile hike in the canyon that takes you to a large waterfall.
Charleston, South Carolina is a cute coastal city with southern charm and colorful houses. If you are looking to stay in historic Charleston, a boutique hotel called King Charles Inn is a great option. Spend time exploring the many restaurants in Charleston and go shopping on King Street. Visit the Charleston Farmers Market on Saturday morning at Marion Square where you can find food and crafts. Next visit the Charleston Historic City Market which is located in Market Hall and spans four city blocks. The market is open daily and features a variety of gifts and crafts. One of the top things to do in Charleston is to see Rainbow Row, a stretch of colorful houses. As wander through the city, make sure to stop at Charleston Waterfront Park which has nice views and a water fountain.
14. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain is an exciting park with mountains as high as 14,000 feet, stunning lakes and waterfalls, and trails perfect for any hiker. Rocky Mountain National Park is located in Colorado, about 1.5-2 hours from Denver and 1 hour from Boulder. The best way to get to the park is to fly into either Denver or Boulder and rent a car. A weekend is a great amount of time to see the highlights of the park and will allow you to do a peak hike, lake hike, and see the alpine region. The best lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park include Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake Haiyaha. Deer Mountain Trail is a great peak hike to see a view of Estes Park, Moraine Lake, and surrounding mountains.
Plan your ultimate weekend trip to Rocky Mountain with our Weekend in Rocky Mountain Itinerary.
Nashville, Tennessee is a music city with lots of great bars and restaurants. Broadway Street is a fun street to explore with many bars, restaurants, and cowboy boots stores. Spend time exploring the bars and dancing to the live music. Some bars you shouldn’t miss are Tootsies Orchid Lounge and Honky Tonk Central. Wake up in time for Sunday brunch at one of the many brunch places throughout the city. If you have time, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Sedona is a town in Arizona surrounded by beautiful red rocks. Located two hours north of Phoenix, Sedona offers the perfect weekend getaway in the United States for a relaxing trip away from the city. Spend time hiking, exploring the shops and galleries, and dining with a view. Plan your hikes for the weekend using our articles on the most popular hiking trails in Sedona and off the beaten path hiking trails. Some of the best hiking trails in Sedona include Soldier Pass Trial, Broken Arrow, Devil’s Bridge, and Bear Mountain.
Plan your weekend in Sedona using our Sedona Weekend Itinerary.
Temecula is a beautiful wine region in southern California. Only a short hour drive from San Diego and an hour and a half from Los Angeles, Temecula offers a great wine filled weekend getaway. The best time to go to Temecula is during harvest season which usually falls between end of August and October. There are over 30 wineries in Temecula which gives you plenty of options for wine tasting. If you are looking for more to do in Temecula beyond wine tasting, you can find a farmers market on Saturdays in the old town and many restaurants and shops.
Continue to our guide for the perfect weekend getaway in Temecula filled with wine tasting, great food, and amazing views.
18. Las Vegas
Spend an exciting weekend in Las Vegas where you can find a lot of restaurants and cocktail bars, exciting shows, unique hotels, and nearby sights to explore. Las Vegas is a great place to go either with a group of friends or with your significant other. There is a range of nightlife options in Vegas from clubs, to casinos, to nice cocktail bars and restaurants. Drink a cocktail at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, where you can find an interesting selection of cocktails which you sip in what feels like a magical garden. Next go to Rose. Rabbit. Lie where you can enjoy a drink and dessert while watching live performances. If you are looking for live music and watching people dance on pianos, this is the spot. A weekend in Las Vegas isn’t complete without seeing one of the extravagant shows. Choose from one of the many Cirque Du Soleil shows, or one of the other exciting performances like Absinthe or Le Reve. Don’t miss the quick free shows in Las Vegas like the Bellagio Fountains Show and The Mirage Volcano Show.
Check out our itinerary for the perfect couples weekend getaway in Las Vegas.
19. Joshua Tree National Park
Spend your weekend exploring Joshua Tree National Park where you can hike, rock climb, boulder, and relax in the Mojave Desert with the funny looking trees. Throughout the park there are numerous pull outs from the main road where you can park your car and walk around. Between the West Entrance and Hidden Valley is the most unique part of the park where a high density of Joshua Trees are located. You can get out and hike for miles, climb rocks, and relax with a beautiful landscape. Make your way to Joshua Tree early Saturday morning, and book your accommodation for that night in the town of Joshua Tree, where there are many unique Airbnbs.
Continue to our Weekend in Joshua Tree guide to start planning your weekend getaway in Joshua Tree.
20. Monument Valley
Monument Valley offers the perfect weekend trip away from your computer, to do lists, and errands. Here you can find incredible rock formations formed through erosion by wind and water. Book your stay ahead of time at either The View Hotel or Goulding’s Lodge. Spend time driving along the 17 mile loop through Monument Valley, stopping at different points to take photos and enjoy the view. Hike the Wildcat Trail around Left Mitten Butte rock formation and stand between the rock formations. Don’t forget to wake up early Sunday morning to see the beautiful sunrise over Monument Valley.
Start planning your weekend getaway to Monument Valley with our Weekend in Monument Valley guide.
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