Sometimes all it takes is a short getaway to put things back in perspective.
And if you need a few days to regroup, consider one of the best weekend trips around America. Fly, drive or take a train to any of these incredible destinations. While some are among the most populous and busy cities in the country, you won't need weeks to explore. You can find plenty of great things to do over a weekend and leave with lasting memories.
Get back to work by Monday with a new outlook on your job and the daily grind. Maybe you'll want to choose one of the best weekend trips in your neck of the woods. Or maybe you prefer to fly somewhere much further to visit a different climate or environment. Whatever you choose, we think the options our list will give you the renewal you need in a short outing. Check them out for some inspiration and leave your favorite destinations in the comments section below.
The Best Weekend Trips for Travelers of All Tastes
Though our list is geared toward Americans, not all of our destinations are in the U.S. There are great destinations in every direction. And if you're looking for an unforgettable stay, you might want to consider some new spots. A few of our best weekend trips you might be able to guess before reading further. But there will be a few that might just spark a new idea of what your next getaway could be.
1. Vancouver, British Columbia
This waterside city in British Columbia is one of our Canadian choices. It doesn't have quite the history or ingrained culture of some other cities in North America. But if you're on the Pacific Northwest, it is a great getaway with many incredible opportunities. For starters, there is the incredible backdrop of both beautiful beaches and tall mountain peaks.
Love keeping healthy? Vancouver is one of our favorite spots to pick up healthful but delicious food at a variety of location. Plus, there are plenty of great places outdoors to elevate your heart rate. It depends on the season, but there are some very comfortable times to visit this northern getaway.
And then there are the shopping districts and other fun destinations. Find some unique boutiques and other one of a kind shops to keep you busy during your weekend away. If you crave entertainment, Vancouver is a hub of Canada's popular culture. There are television studios and a range of backdrops for popular films and shows.
Other cultural options include a wide array of museums to expose visitors to plenty of information and enlightenment. And as you travel around, you're likely to notice some incredible architecture and infrastructure. Combine that with the many natural reasons to visit and you might just want to book a trip. There are miles of stunning shoreline along with great nightlife and opportunities to stay active. Visit a park, go rafting or hiking during your stay. Or take a load off at a cafe and watch the busy city move by outside. In this neighborly city to the north, there aren't really any bad options.
2. San Diego, California
Of course, many Pacific Coast beaches have a charm of their own. So if you'd prefer to stay in the U.S., we recommend visiting San Diego. You can find plenty to do to fill out a weekend. Or you can use the occasion to transform into a beach bum for a few days. You've got to check out some of the most popular ocean views. And with about 70 miles of coastal beaches, it is easy to find just the right spot to relax.
And when it's time to get active, you'll have lots of other options. For starters, there is some great food available throughout the region. Whether you're looking for authentic Mexican or stunning seafood, take your pick. And resort hotels will welcome you to the region in style and hospitality. Enjoy the club scene with a great range of destinations to dance the night away.
Want something a bit more luxurious? Check out the Gaslamp Quarter for some upscale entertainment and nightlife. Of course there are endless chances to head out on the water with great weather much of the year. Cultural options abound and if you're in the mood to see wild animals, you're in luck. The San Diego Zoo is one of the most popular in America and warrants its rave reviews.
3. New York City, New York
Just because it is massive and packed with people doesn't mean you can't experience New York in a weekend. Of course, you won't see it all. But arranging an itinerary that hits the hot spots will give you a full schedule. If you've only got a few days, you might consider spending some time in Brooklyn's neighborhoods. There are legendary communities, buildings and businesses you can visit and get the city's real feel.
Of course, catching a Broadway show is an experience like no other. So finishing up one evening with your favorite performance is a great use of your time. World class dining is available throughout all five boroughs. And there is no place like Times Square to give you a true perspective of the city's huge size. Everything is larger than life and the bright neon makes it clear where you are.
Everywhere you turn, you'll see why it's called the city that never sleeps. There is always something going on, from the strange occurrences on the sidewalk to an occasional celeb sighting. You'll never be able to predict what the experience will be like when you arrive. But by the time you leave, we think you'll have a range of new and unforgettable memories. The food is world class, the shopping options are unparalleled and there is truly something for everyone.
4. Chicago, Illinois
Moving toward the Midwest, there is no option quite like the Windy City. It's the third biggest American city and long ago earned a reputation for a bustling metropolis. There's a rich, deep history you can explore while you're here. A diverse population will give you varied experiences you won't soon forget.
Then there is the impressive architecture, punctuated by buildings including Willis Tower and other skyscrapers. This is truly one of the best weekend trips because it will offer something for everyone. Romantic dinner dates, world class museums and lots more will help you create incredible memories. And then there are some of the one of a kind offerings. You'll have to try the deep dish pizza. Doing the classic dish in a big new way, Chicago is the best place to enjoy this hometown dish.
5. New Orleans, Louisiana
Visit this Cajun wonderland if you're looking for some real fun during one of the best weekend trips. For starters, there is always something incredible going on here. And the cuisine is unlike anything else you'll find in the entire country. Plus, the music is some of the most entertaining anywhere. Talented musicians grace clubs small and large with the best rock, Jazz, rythym and blues or Zydeco tunes.
The city might be known for Mardi Gras. But that is hardly the only time there's a great party to join. No matter which weekend you visit, there will be lots of things on the agenda waiting for you to find it. Hang out on Boubon Street to catch an authentic local vibe. Of course, you might be familiar with the devastation Hurricane Katrina took on the area. And the scars are still visible today. But this is a vibrant and beautiful city that is back on its feet and ready to entertain. Spend some money here, support the local economy, and come back with some long lasting memories.
6. San Francisco, California
We had to put another California destination on our list of the best weekend trips. San Francisco is a city all its own with incredible history and culture on display. Sure, there are some oddballs, but some of the best destinations around the world are quirky. Landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are unforgettable sights during your stay.
Riding on the city's cable cars is a direct way to get in tune with the city's history. Then there is the incredible nightlife, featuring just about anything you could imagine. Visit some of the small cafes or art shops around town. And be sure to visit some of the unparalleled communities throughout San Francisco. You could plan one of the best weekend trips just by hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood. Moving from Castro to the Mission District and beyond will showcase the diversity and beauty of this city.
7. Charleston, South Carolina
Southern charm abounds in this coastal city in South Carolina. And great weather year round makes it a popular option among the best weekend trips. You'll have plenty of culture to appreciate, including some of the south's finest shopping and galleries. From scenery hearkening back to "Gone With the Wind," you'll find breathtaking sights all around. Visit the Charleston City Market for a great experience with local vendors. And there are smaller beach communities like Sullivan's Island that are definitely worth a visit.
Whether you want to work on your golf game or relax on the beach, there is plenty to do. And if you're a history buff, there are few places with a deeper American past. Fort Sumter is a popular destination. Of course, it's not all a rosy past where this region is concerned. But you can learn a lot about the Civil War, the periods past that, and even the civil rights struggles. But today, there is hospitality for every visitor and welcoming beaches for visitors of all types.
8. Washington, D.C.
There is nowhere in America quite like D.C. Not only is it the nation's capital, it is stacked with history and information about the country's history. Maybe you remember a class trip from when you took high school civics. But as an adult, we think you'll find many new things to appreciate. And if you have kids, it's an excellent opportunity to expand their minds while keeping them entertained.
Architecture, buildings, monuments and much more will immediately capture your interest. Much of it leads back to government operations, so keep that in mind. Take a White House visit, check out the U.S. Capitol building and lots of other locations. But there is much more going on in this district. You'll find great boutique shops, quaint cafes and lots of fun clubs to stay busy all day long. Then there is the Smithsonian museum, which contains more knowledge and trivia than you can process.
Finding one of the best weekend trips for you is a great way to plan a refreshing getaway.
Maybe you want to look for a regional option. Perhaps you have a specific activity you want to take part in during your trip. But no matter what you are hoping to find, we're sure the perfect spot is out there.
Hopefully you found our guide helpful as you try to narrow down your search. If so, share this article with the day trippers in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.
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