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Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, and there’s definitely no shame in that! Unfortunately, many of us only get a couple of weeks of vacation per year, and that’s not always enough to keep you satisfied, inspired, and sane.
Whether you have a persistent spirit of wanderlust or just crave an annual vacation when summer rolls around, there are lots of amazing places to take a road trip in the U.S. Depending on where you live, there are likely quite a few prime road trip destinations that you can reach and get back from in just two or three days. They make wonderful weekend road trip destinations because there’s so much to see and do in each city. Pick the one that you can reach by car, or book a flight to check out a new place that’s on the other side of the country. You won’t be disappointed!
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Asheville is such a fun city to visit for the weekend, whether you’re on a girls’ trip, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation. It’s easy to get around and get acquainted with after just a day, and there’s a wonderfully outdoorsy and artsy vibe that is unique to the southeast. Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, browse the quirky shops downtown, and sample local beers at one of the city’s many breweries. Don’t miss the Battery Park Book Exchange (it’s dog-friendly!) and the Asheville Pinball Museum. Chimney Rock State Park and Craggy Gardens are great places to go for a hike nearby.
The Big Easy is an awesome place for a weekend getaway if you love to party, listen to great music, and eat to your heart’s content. There are lots of hotels to stay in downtown and even a few hostels if you’re traveling on a budget. Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street are the big areas to walk around with a cocktail in hand, people-watch, and party. But the city is also full of fascinating history too, so visit the historic cemeteries and take a walking tour too. You can head to the outskirts of town to get active on a fantastic trail that’s a favorite among bikers, joggers, and dog walkers. It picks up at Audubon Park for a nice break from the craziness, and Magazine Street has a more local vibe where you can shop and dine.
Austin is a very unique city in Texas that makes a really fun weekend getaway in the South. Come here with your friends or significant other to listen to great live music and Texas barbecue. Austin is known for having lots of festivals, so plan your trip around one of them to get in on the local culture. It’s also a very active and outdoorsy city, so plan to spend some time outdoors hiking, kayaking, and biking. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a great place to get outside nearby.
Savannah is a beautiful Southern city that takes you back in time. It’s located along the eastern coast of Georgia and full of towering, twisted oak trees that provide shade and charm to the wide and inviting southern streets. This city makes a great weekend getaway trip because it has some of the best southern food you’ll ever try and gives you the opportunity to experience southern hospitality at its finest. You can walk around the streets with your favorite Southern cocktail in a to-go cup and watch the boats go by along the waterfront.
If your idea of a fun weekend getaway involves sipping delicious wine and gazing out at peaceful scenery, then head to Sonoma County for your weekend trip. Book a wine tour by car or bus in advance of your trip so you can sample the wines you want without having to worry about driving and traffic.
On par with Savannah, Charleston is a quaint, charming, and lovely city in South Carolina that makes a great road trip destination on the East Coast. This is a romantic destination where carriage rides are the norm and Southern hospitality is overflowing. Charleston is also a great destination for history buffs, so make sure to see Fort Sumter, which is a national monument here.
There’s much more to Oregon than just Portland, especially if you travel along the coast for a while. Cannon Beach is an artsy town that has many galleries, boutique shops, and oceanfront lodging. There are some nice vacation rental properties here to stay at too. Keep in mind this isn’t typically a beach that you need a bikini for, but it’s a beautiful and mysterious coastal area famous for iconic rock formations, like Haystack Rock.
Way down at the tip of the Florida Keys is Key West, a classic resort town that is a must-visit for anyone who hasn’t experienced it. You might be surprised at how long it takes to drive down to Key West, unless you’re coming from Miami, of course. So this might be a trip to book a weekend flight for unless you have a few extra vacation days to spend on the road. While in Key West, rent a scooter for the day and drive up and down the coast!
Finger Lakes, New York
The Finger Lakes region has been a long-time favorite destination of residents of New York City, and really showcases the stunning natural beauty of Upstate New York. This is a great weekend destination for wine lovers because there are many vineyards and wineries here. It’s also a great place to get cultured about the area because the Rockwell Museum, Corning Museum of Glass, and the Arnot Art Museum are all here. Adventure seekers have plenty of kayaking and canoeing options while racing fans can visit the Watkins Glen International road course.
If you’re in need of healing, inspiration, and rejuvenation, then Sedona is a perfect weekend getaway spot for you. This is a place of colorful and dramatic landscapes that will clear your mind and help you reconnect with nature. It’s been inspiring artists and outdoor enthusiasts for centuries. There are thought to be many New Age vortexes here to balance your energies, not to mention hiking and biking trails to explore. Consider taking this weekend trip in winter for cooler weather and fewer crowds.
If you need a break from life in Los Angeles, even if only for the weekend, head to Santa Barbara. Take a drive down U.S. 101 to get here if you’re in a rush, but Highway 1 offers the best views of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. You can stop at Ventura along the way to see the San Buenaventura Pier and Mission San Buenaventura. Once you reach Santa Barbara, there are lots of things to do other than the beach, but of course, the beach is a must-do too. Consider taking a self-guided walking tour to get acquainted with local landmarks.
When many people think of Portland, only the city in Oregon comes to mind. However, Portland, Maine has lots to offer travelers on a weekend and is a nice road trip destination for people living in New England. If you’re coming from the Boston area, opt to take Route 1 instead of I-95. This way you can stick closer to the coastline and see some nice little towns in Maine, like Kennebunk, along the way. Two of the top spots to check out once you reach Portland are the Shipyard Brewing Company and the Portland Museum of Art. You can take a whale-watching cruise here and check out local festivals centered on seafood, music, and crafts, especially if you visit during a weekend in the summer.