Starting off on a perfectly planned summer vacation is always the highlight of each year, but for the last two, it’s been more difficult than ever to pull it off. Even as COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased, gas and fuel prices have skyrocketed, making a long road trip or an international flight simply out of the question for many.
Instead, stay close and take a short trip to a weekend-friendly destination within the US. Big cities across the country have plenty of smaller towns and cities that are packed with fun-filled activities and sights. From museums filled with masterpieces to cheap beaches, there are so many things to see and do that aren’t too far away.
Here are some of the best weekend trips you need to take this year. And next, don’t forget to check out the 10 Best National Parks You Need to Add to Your Bucket List.
Although it is a relatively small city, every baseball fan in the country knows about Cooperstown, New York. Located a few hours from New York City, Boston, and Philly, it is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, enough to make any team fanatic eager to visit.
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“Cooperstown is nestled in the Catskills, so your drive is pretty and quiet,” says Mallory dear Mindy Bianca of Public Relations, focused on travel. “As you get closer to your destination, you will be treated to rolling hills, lush pastures and breathtaking mountain views.”
Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, there are plenty of things to do in Cooperstown that aren’t centered around America’s entertainment. In fact, the city has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best places to visit in the entire state, both because of its connection to baseball, but also to its other attractions.
“The area is culturally rich with many well-known museums, such as the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers Museum,” Farry says. “The Glimmerglass Festival, a summer opera and musical theater festival, is the most anticipated event of the season. People come from all over the country to see the performances.”
Located on the Florida panhandle, Panama City is only a few hours away from cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, and New Orleans. With a population of over 32,000 residents, the city is known for its Art Deco architecture and giant oysters.
“Panama City’s historic neighborhoods are best explored on foot and are full of locally owned shops and restaurants—you won’t find chains or franchises here,” says Amy Bagner Destination of Panama City.
It is also a stop on the US Civil Rights Trail as it serves as the home of the courthouse of Gideon v. Wainwright, a famous case in which the Supreme Court ruled that states were required to provide attorneys to criminal defendants who could afford could not lift.
“Panama City is located at the geographic center of the Florida Panhandle, so it’s the perfect launching point for unforgettable day trips to some of Florida’s most breathtaking beaches, parks, and natural waterfalls,” Bagner says. “Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach are also easily accessible.”
If you love the Bay Area but hate the crowds, take a short drive down the coast to Half Moon Bay, a small town with many beaches. The expedition to Half Moon Bay is an experience in itself, as the trip from San Francisco follows the famous California State Route 1, which hugs the coastline and stunning ocean views as the driver cruises near rocky cliffs presents.
“It’s a beautiful stretch of California beach and the perfect place to spend some time away from the really big city,” says Mark BromhallFounder of Surf Up Magazine.
Half Moon Bay is an ideal weekend destination because, for a small town with a population of about 12,000, there is an abundance of activities to do even if you don’t feel like sitting on the beach.
“You can go horseback riding along a beautiful beach, play golf on a spectacular course overlooking the ocean, or browse through the many artsy shops and art galleries in the historic section,” says Bromhall. To make reservations and enjoy time in the seaside location.
You don’t have to be a top-class skier to find Breckenridge, Colorado, just 80 miles from Denver, a top weekend destination, but of course, it doesn’t hurt because the city is one of the best places to visit. is one. According to US News & World Report, skiing country.
“In the heart of the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by spectacular scenery, the Victorian mining town of Breckenridge sets the stage for the perfect weekend getaway,” says Kirsten Kozores Handlebar pr.
“Visitors flying into Denver International Airport have a choice between several airport mountain shuttles in the summer to get to Breckenridge,” Koszoras says. “Once in Breckenridge, no car is needed to bike or e-bike, break free ride bus route and walk. No reason to deal with the hassle of rental car (or gas prices) on a trip to Breckenridge Is .”
Atlantic City is mostly known for its gambling and casinos, but there is more to this place. Located on the southern side of the Jersey Shore, downtown is a quick weekend getaway for Philadelphia residents and ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best day trips from nearby New York City.
“Atlantic City is a great place for a quick escape for anyone who wants to soak up the sun on the shore on the weekend,” says Hallie Moore, an Account Coordinator for MMGY NJF. “With panoramic ocean views, a boardwalk filled with iconic food, and over-the-top entertainment at the destination’s many spots, there really is something for everyone.”
Of course, you can spend the weekend at the casino, but if you’re looking for other entertainment, there’s also Steel Pier, an ocean-facing amusement park with a 227-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Or, spend the weekend biking along the boardwalk or catch some rays at the beach.
Just 90 minutes outside of Nashville is Lynchburg, the perfect small town to hang out on the weekend and enjoy a drink or two.
“Start your trip with a stroll through Tims Ford State Park on some of the 6.5 miles of unpaved hiking trails,” says Mary Caitlin Price, a communications specialist in the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. “Seven miles of paved biking trails connect major areas of the park. Explore the multi-use mountain biking trail that runs along the shoreline of Tims Ford Reservoir.”
One of the things Tennessee is best known for is its whiskey production.
“Tour to see how the world’s leading whiskey is made at the Jack Daniels Distillery,” suggests Price. “Before you head back to town, stop at Miss Mary Bobo’s for family-style, country cuisine, or dig into the perfectly smoked barbecue at Barrel House BBQ.
It should come as no surprise that Charlottesville, located just 117 miles from Washington DC, is packed with presidential history.
“Home of three former US presidents—Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison—and nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the area is full of history,” says Brantley Ussery, director of marketing and public relations for the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visitors can check out the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, and walk along the lawn, a vast, meadow area that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Charlottesville is also known for its wine production and is full of vineyards.
“The Charlottesville area has quickly become known as one of the most acclaimed wine regions on the East Coast,” says Usseri. “Home of the Monticello Wine Trail, there are now more wineries in the region, many of which have received national and even international awards.”
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It can be hard to imagine for those on the mainland, but even when you live in a place as seemingly idyllic as Honolulu, you need to take a weekend break. The capital city is regularly ranked as having some of the worst traffic in the country, so take a weekend break for a more peaceful island. Located about 100 miles from Honolulu, Maui is a 45-minute flight or 90-minute ferry ride away.
“With an average of 20 hours of sunshine per day, Maui is the ideal place to relax and rejuvenate,” says Fred Baker, Senior Travel Editor at Travelness. “It should come as no surprise that Maui is known as a ‘paradise’ because of its sandy beaches, tropical warmth, and lush greenery.”
Sure, there are plenty of areas for a weekend trip in Maui to relax and unwind, but if you’re up for more adventure, hit the road to Hana—a 64.4-mile stretch of highway with pinpoint turns. Long stretches, beautiful drop offs, and waterfalls on almost every corner. Or, head to Maui’s National Park on the island’s dormant volcano, Haleakala.
“Visitors can enjoy amazing views of the surrounding area from the summit of Mount Haleakala,” says Baker. “You can go while staring at the dark sky above, and the peak can be reached by hiking from the Kipahulu Visitor Center or via helicopter.”
“Most people know Gettysburg as a quaint little town that was made famous by a three-day battle in 1863, so sure, it appeals to history buffs and families, but the city is one of a kind shops, Also full of pubs, and restaurants,” says Gettysburg native, author and travel blogger Jessica James,
The city is home to the Gettysburg National Military Park, which includes the battlefield. But for a more modern taste of history, there is also the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the home and farm of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Gettysburg, which is less than two hours from Philadelphia and about 90 minutes from Washington D.C. and Baltimore, has a population of about 7,000 people, but for those who believe in the supernatural, when you look at ghosts and terrifying, haunted sites. If we consider the number, then this number skyrockets. ,
“There are a lot of ghost tours for ghost hunters of all ages,” James says. “Gettysburg has been called one of the most haunted small towns in the country.”
If you’re looking for a creative weekend getaway from Minneapolis, Milwaukee, or even more distant Chicago, Eau Claire is located in northwestern Wisconsin.
“Located at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, Eau Claire has hundreds of miles of bike trails, numerous bridges, countless murals, and is home to the second largest outdoor sculpture tour in America,” confirms luke Alex Visit Eau Claire’s.
Many visitors make their way to Eau Claire because of its growing music scene, which grew rapidly after the success of hometown hero Justin Vernon. “He is the frontrunner for the Grammy-awarded Bon Iver. He grew up here and still lives here,” says Alex.
Vernon co-founded Eux Claire, a two-day music festival that saw headliners such as Chance the Rapper, Wilco, and Paul Simon. For more weekend getaway ideas, check out The Best Tourist Attractions in Every State.