Whether you’re sneaking in one more summer vacation or getting ahead of planning a future escape—FlipKey is here to help! There’s no need for far-flung airline tickets in this wanderlust-worthy roundup. We’re featuring the best weekend trips by region so you can find one that’s close to you. These top weekend getaways across America offer amazing activities, scenic sightseeing, great attractions, stellar weather—or all of the above!
Even if you’re only on vacation for a couple days, finding the perfect place to stay is easy with FlipKey. From cozy cabins or breezy beach houses, to downtown condos and apartments, FlipKey has affordable rental properties available to book right on our site. Whether a quick weekend break or long weekend getaway, these destinations are worth the car ride!
Cape May, NJ
Don’t let its location fool you—Cape May is the antithesis of the Jersey Shore. This iconic beach destination sets itself apart from other Jersey Shore destinations with its rich history and architecture, but still has the same super-convenient location from major Northeastern cities. In fact, the entire city was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Though the town has clean beaches and fine dining options, you can also escape the sun at a beautiful beach rental or a number of museums, including the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.
The charming and free-spirited city of Burlington is one of the USA’s best weekend trips for two reasons: the downtown scene and the lake. Burlington’s Church Street, a pedestrian-only, cobblestone-and-brick-paved strip, boasts restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. Head down Main Street to the water to experience the beauty of Lake Champlain, where you can take a sunset cruise, or—during July—hit the Annual Vermont Brewers Festival. The exciting event features dozens of craft brewers and food tents against a scenic backdrop of lake views and the Adirondack Mountains.
For a sophisticated weekend getaway, Providence delivers. Get your fix of culture with the small town’s many art shows, plays, and culinary delights, all delivered with Ivy League charm. Between the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art and the grand buildings of Brown University, you’ll find plenty to explore.
Saranac Lake, NY
New Yorkers have long flocked to Saranac Lake for its supposed healing powers—the Adirondack lake was considered a place to heal from tuberculosis during the 19th century. Today, visitors can still reap the same healing benefits from fresh air and quality time away from big city crowds. A stroll through the downtown introduces you to the city’s charming character: find bookshops and art galleries intermingled with farm-to-table restaurants and local watering holes. Of course, the lake itself and nearby hiking trails are a huge draw in and of themselves, so be sure to schedule some time for outdoor fun.
Greenville’s getting a lot of press lately, and with good reason. This once quiet Southern town has had something of a revival, now boasting hundreds of events per year, fantastic food, drink and shopping, and a lively yet relaxed vibe that makes it one of the country’s best weekend getaways if you live nearby. Why not tour the downtown area and follow the Swamp Rabbit Trail on a guided Segway tour? Put Greenville on your weekend travel list—you won’t be disappointed.
The town of Williamsburg is best known as the home of Colonial Williamsburg, an authentic colonial city that puts history books to shame. Lifelike historical reenactments and an almost entirely preserved town make you feel like you’re actually a colonist (taking a Williamsburg tour helps). If you need to get back to the modern world, though, it’s easy enough to do. Just take a short drive to Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Water Country USA for full days of kid-approved fun.
St. Augustine, FL
If you want more to do on your Florida weekend getaway than just chill on the beach, St. Augustine is a good pick. This historic city was the first and longest-inhabited European settlement in Florida, boasting a history dating back to 1565. Fort Matanzas National Monument the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park are good places to start learning about Florida’s settler history (or take a ghost tour for a spookier recounting). In addition, you can see white tigers and other rare rescued animals at the St. Augustine Wild Reserve or head out to St. Augustine Beach, just a short drive away.
Nashville saunter and Appalachian ease come together in Chattanooga, one of the best weekend trips in the Southeast. Here you’ll find homestyle barbecue and upscale cuisine in equal measure and enough outdoor entertainment and cultural activities that your escape practically plans itself. Get a lay of the land on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, and then head to the Tennessee River for a stroll along the renovated riverwalk or a cruise past the city skyline and under its well-recognized Walnut Street Bridge. Plus, Chattanooga is conveniently located within driving distance of big Southeastern cities like Nashville, Knoxville, and Atlanta, so you can turn your long weekend getaway into a memorable road trip.
Bavarian bakeries and German architecture meet Southern hospitality in Helen, an alpine city with strong Bavarian roots that might trick you into pulling out your passport. The downtown doesn’t take long to explore—it’s small-town charm at its best—but luckily, there’s plenty to explore once you’re done. A handful of waterfalls including Anna Ruby Falls and Raven Cliff Falls are right nearby, as well as Unicoi State Park (its beach is pictured above) and the Yonah Mountain Hiking Trail, all of which let you enjoy the area’s beautiful location in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Saugatuck is a vibrant, artsy town along Lake Michigan known for Oval Beach, a pleasantly uncrowded shore with drifting sand dunes, shallow water, and gentle waves—great for kids. Nearby, Saugatuck Natural Area runs north of Oval Beach and features 173 acres of duneland with winding hikes overlooking the lake and Kalamazoo River Channel. The pristine area is known for its excellent fishing, sailing, swimming, and blueberry picking. With a quaint downtown filled with homey pubs and unique boutiques, Saugatuck is just the place to hit “pause” and escape the bustle of everyday life… if only for a weekend!
Door County, WI
Summer is arguably the best time to take a long weekend getaway to Door County. The skinny Door Peninsula sticks out from the rest of Wisconsin to just into Lake Michigan, leaving 300 miles of lakefront beaches in its wake. Grab a kayak or hire a boat charter to explore the lake, bring the whole family along for zipline adventures in Wisconsin’s woods, or check out popular outdoor sites like Peninsula State Park. A rich mix of cultural activities means that on either end of your outdoor adventures you can peruse art galleries, head to the Peninsula Players Theatre, or sample authentic Wisconsin cheese at the Door County Creamery.
A quaint downtown and off-the-beaten-track feel make Galena one of the best weekend getaways from many Midwestern cities, including Chicago and Milwaukee. The city is well-stocked with historical homes: The Ulysses S. Grant Home has the most star power because it was a gift to the country’s president after the Civil War. After touring sites and monuments, wind down with a taste of craft spirits at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., an extremely popular watering hole in town.
Sioux Falls, SD
Slip away to Sioux Falls for one of the best weekend trips in the Midwest. This scenic city blends gorgeous outdoors with enough urban activities to keep you entertained. The city has plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife in its downtown area, and also has Falls Park and the Sioux Falls Bike Trails right in the city so you don’t need to travel far for your fix of outdoor fun.
Long gone are Cincinnati’s dreary industrial days. Discovering the city’s polished character is a pleasure as you explore museums and attractions in each of Cincinnati’s personality-rich enclaves. Though there is plenty to see as you wander through the historic neighborhoods, make sure you also get to must-see destinations like Smale Riverfront Park, Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. On busy weekends, it helps to book tickets to top destinations like the Cincinnati Zoo in advance.
Cannon Beach, OR
Stunning views, coastline hikes, and quaint cafes make Cannon Beach a super romantic weekend getaway (just 90 minutes from Portland). Whether you want to hunt for tide pools or hike through Ecola State Park, you’ll find a rental in Cannon with your name on it—within walking distance of the waves. Top area attractions include art galleries, outdoor concerts, and a summer farmer’s market.
Coeur D’Alene, ID
As one of the best weekend getaways in the Northwest, Coeur D’Alene knows how to show visitors a good time. The town offers a mix of everything: tee-up at golf courses right on the lake or bring the kids along for days packed with roller coasters and water sports on Coeur D’Alene Lake. No matter how you spend your days, you’ll find the whole town turning out at night to enjoy the city’s restaurants and bars along Sherman Ave.
Friday Harbor, WA
You don’t need to go far for an island getaway when visiting Friday Harbor, a top weekend trip in the region. This small town in the San Juan Islands is convenient to Northwestern cities, but is nestled deeply enough in the San Juan archipelago to feel remote. Appreciate the stunning scenery on a seaplane tour, catch sight of wildlife aboard a dolphin and whale watching cruise, or check out walking trails and a lighthouse at Lime Kiln Point State Park.
If the mountains are calling, Whitefish is the place to go for your weekend trip. Located at the edge of Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a quaint mountain town backed by the over-the-top beauty of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Use the town as your basecamp for Rocky Mountain adventures, whether it’s a day hike in Flathead National Forest or a canoe ride across Whitefish Lake.
Boise is topping a lot of travel lists these days, and even a weekend trip to Idaho’s trendiest city gives you enough time to discover why. A walk through the downtown reveals that this city is no longer sleepy—from boozy brunch tours to tacos and tapas happy hours, Boise has developed a fantastic cosmopolitan feel. When you’re not hanging around downtown’s shops, galleries, and historic sites, visit popular parks like Camel’s Back and Barber Park, where you can put in for rafting trip down the Boise River without leaving the city.
Sedona is a true oasis, a weekend vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert. Bell Rock and Oak Creek Canyon are great hiking spots, and the dramatic architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a religious experience itself. When the sun dips down below the horizon it introduces the best show in Sedona: the night sky. You won’t need to travel far to see it, either. Many vacation rentals come with a private outdoor terrace gazing upon the fiery orange and red sky above illustrious red rock formations.
Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Temecula is one of the best weekend getaways in SoCal—that you may not have considered. Though not as renowned as Napa Valley, the area is known for its wines—a wine tour is an easy way for first-time visitors to discover the best sips around. The city’s other claim to fame is as a hub for hot air balloon rides, and with gorgeous vineyards and California-quality sunrises, there’s plenty to admire.
Sandwiched between Phoenix and Scottsdale, the small city of Tempe holds its own with its shops, restaurants, and galleries in the Mill Avenue District, balanced by plenty of outdoor activities that take advantage of year-round warm temperatures. Although it’s home to the Arizona State University’s main campus, the city offers entertainment for visitors of all ages. Kids particularly love the SEA LIFE Aquarium, which has a surprisingly large collection of fish and other animals for an aquarium in the middle of the desert.
San Marcos, TX
If Austin keeps things weird, San Marcos puts weird off the charts—in a good way. This small Texas town is where hippies mingle with college kids over craft brews, and long days out on the river lead to long nights listening to blues at outlet malls. San Marcos vacation rentals match the town’s funky character and run the gamut from riverfront cabins to renovated downtown lofts, so you can take a weekend getaway that matches your style.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Wine, dine, and take your time on a trip to San Luis Obispo, central California’s laid-back response to the Bay Area’s bustle. Food and wine tours are a top industry in SLO, making it one of the best weekend getaways for culinary enthusiasts, while outdoor attractions like Bishop Peak pay homage to California’s adventurous spirit.
This post was originally published on the TripAdvisor blog. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company.