FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.
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.
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.
Provincetown is such a great option for a fun-filled weekend getaway. The famously LGBTQ-friendly beach town is packed with things to do (everything from great nightlife to dolphin watching tours), all with gorgeous beaches close by. The town is also home to the Pilgrim Monument, a big nod to American heritage and a commemoration of where the Mayflower Compact was written.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dust off your hiking boots and grab your backpack for this wanderlust-worthy roundup of hiking vacations in the US. From family-friendly, scenic trails to heart-thumping climbs, we’ve uncovered 15 great hiking trips you can take—no matter the season.
If your favorite part of a hike is getting back to home base with a sense of accomplishment, FlipKey has you covered. Each of these outdoor getaways offers amazing cabin rentals available to book right on our site. Enjoy a celebratory, post-hike drink on the private patio, utilize the full kitchen for a home-cooked meal, then light up the fireplace and hunker down for a movie night.
And it’s not just the stellar trails and cabins that make these some of the best hiking vacations in America—after all, you may want at least one day of lighter outdoor recreation. That’s why we’re also featuring top tours, activities, and in-destination experiences to enjoy during your stay—courtesy of our friends at TripAdvisor (FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company). Think guided photography tours of Yosemite, visiting a conservation center in the Adirondacks, or a wine-and-waterfalls excursion in Oregon.
Acadia National Park, ME
Acadia National park is one for superlatives—both the most-visited national park in the Northeast and home to the highest peak along the North Atlantic seaboard, Acadia is one of the best hiking destinations in the US. Make the drive up Cadillac Mountain to take in stunning views from the 1,500-foot tall peak, or challenge yourself to hikes like the Gotham Mountain Trail. You can even rent canoes and kayaks to take out from Bar Harbor. Check it all out on your own or join a guided tour, like this 7-day Food, Brews, and Hiking tour of New England, to see the park’s highlights.
Montana may be landlocked, but a visit to Glacier National Park is all about the water. Hike to pristine alpine lakes, drive past waterfalls, or take a white-water rafting trip down the Flathead River. The Grinnell Glacier stands as a looming challenge over the park, but its rewarding views are unbeatable—be sure to bring plenty of food and water if you do the 8-mile trail on your own. Then, give your legs a break when you drive down the 52-mile Going-to-the-Sun-Road, a scenic highlight reel of Glacier National Park’s diverse wildlife and incredible landscapes.
In Yosemite, steep granite cliffs tower above redwood trees and host tumbling waterfalls. Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan stand out as the park’s most recognized natural formations. Though so much wilderness makes Yosemite one of the best hiking vacations you can take, the park is also a hit among photographers. Follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams on a Yosemite photography tour to find the park’s best angles. Plus, unlike many parks that are far from urban centers, Yosemite is easily visited on a day trip from San Francisco, Tahoe, or San Jose.
Update: Due to the recent wildfires, please refer to the National Park Services’ website for information about accessibility and permissibility in Yosemite.
Rocky coastlines give way to crashing Pacific waves in Big Sur, a gem of a hiking destination along the California coast. Big Sur is easy enough to fit in during a California road trip—the area is right off Highway 1—but Big Sur’s incredible natural beauty merits its own visit. Take a hike through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or at the Point Sur State Historic Park for gorgeous views of mist-shrouded cliffs and waterfalls dropping straight into the ocean. If you don’t have your own car, consider visiting as part of a tour, like this Pacific Coast Highway day trip.
The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the best hiking vacations for their rolling hills and scenic trails. Hike up Mount LeConte to see the Smokies stretching endlessly into the horizon, or check out the popular Alum Cave Trail, which leads you past rushing rivers through fields of wildflowers. Though well-marked trails make it easy enough to explore on your own, go with a guide to make the most of every moment. Specialty tours include a Smoky Mountains Waterfall Adventure and a historic Smoky Mountain hike that highlights Cherokee and settler history in the area.
Zion National Park is easily one of the most-recognized hiking destinations in the US, known for its mesmerizing red rocks smoothly carved out by water. Bring your A-game to the trails at The Narrows, aptly named for the tight squeezes needed to get through columns of river-bound rocks. Once through, you will be richly rewarded by a number of viewpoints around the park that will surely take your breath away. If you’re looking for extra adventure, try a rock climbing and canyoneering tour or combine a visit to Zion with other nearby parks on a multi-day guided tour of Utah.
The sleepy town of Blue Ridge is full of historic Southern charm. Ride down old train trestles on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, stroll through the quaint boutique-filled downtown, or bring the whole family for a day of outdoor fun at the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge or Long Creek Falls. Plus, because it’s nestled in the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town is an ideal home base for a mountain retreat.
Estes Park is the quintessential Rocky Mountains vacation destination and aptly known as the Gateway to the Rockies. Between its homey downtown and easy access to some of the best hiking trips in Colorado, Estes Park is a top stop for serious backpackers and casual hikers alike. Experienced hikers can use Estes as a basecamp for longer ascents into the Rocky Mountains, while nature-lovers of all hiking abilities love the easy Adams Falls Trail and hike to Lily Lake. If you aren’t looking to attempt hikes on your own, a guided tour like the Discover Rocky Mountain National Park tour or a private wildlife safari offer good introductions to the area’s rich wildlife and scenery.
Big Bear Lake may be small, but it packs in plenty of outdoor activities. This lakeside retreat in southern California is best known for its winter skiing, but also offers a number of hiking trails like Castle Rock Trail that are perfect for exploring in the summer. The area also features the popular Big Bear Alpine Zoo, which rehabs native animals and offers visitors a great chance to learn about local wildlife, including the lake’s namesake creatures.
In addition to being one of the best hiking destinations in the US, Columbia River Gorge is one of the most popular and scenic day trips from Portland. Take a half-day tour from Portland to the picture-ready Multnomah Falls—a wine-tasting and waterfalls tour is also an option—or spend the afternoon wandering down well-marked trails and taking scenic drives on your own. Dewy forest floors and wildflower-filled fields make Columbia River Gorge a hiker’s dream. Opt for a cabin in Hood River and you’ll be just a few miles away.
Clear glacial waters hemmed by towering snow-capped peaks make South Lake Tahoe a popular vacation destination. Though hiking Mt. Tallac Trail or to Lower Eagle Falls are good trekking options, the area is also well-known for its water sports and cultural activities. Take a cruise on Emerald Bay, book a parasailing adventure, or snag a kayak for a day paddling through blue waters. Then, hit up the town’s many restaurants, bars, and clubs for a fun end to a full day.
Jackson Hole is a skiing paradise in the winter, but has hikes to waterfalls, crater lakes, and woodland wonderlands during warmer months. From the family-friendly Cascade Canyon Trail to the heart-thumping Static Peak Divide, Grand Teton National Park is by far one of the best hiking vacations you can take. Pack in even more adventure by booking a Grand Teton safari for chances to see animals like elk, bears, and bison in the wild.
A high-end ski resort turns summertime bucket-list destination in Jay, a cozy city with family-friendly amenities and plenty to keep kids entertained, including the popular Jay Peak Pump House. The town’s best hike is to its namesake summit, Jay Peak, a moderate 3-mile trail past wildflowers, boulders, and pastures.
There’s something about America’s most beautiful waterfalls that makes them worth the chase, whether a road trip to a new destination or an overnight hike in one of country’s magnificent national parks. From stunning chutes of water jutting from tropical cliffs to gentle tumbles down the side of a glacier, here are 10 of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA that should definitely make your bucket list.
At FlipKey, we’re here to help with the first step of any adventure: where to stay! FlipKey offers hundreds of thousands of rental properties around the world—particularly in these amazing waterfall destinations. Imagine coming home to your cozy cabin after a scenic day hike of the falls—lounging on the outdoor patio with a drink in hand, reflecting on the beauty you just witnessed. A vacation rental provides extra living space, a full kitchen, and amenities like laundry or even a hot tub. No matter which of these falls you want to explore, you’ll find the perfect home base right on Flipkey.
Waimoku Falls | Maui, Hawaii
Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park Kipahulu is more about the journey than the destination. The scenic 1.8-mile Pipiwai Trail leads you through towering bamboo forests and past series of waterfalls in a pristine tropical rain forest before dropping you near the base of the 400-foot tall Waimoku cascade. However, due to safety concerns, you have to keep a distance from the water. This trail is known for being well-maintained and not too difficult, with an intermediate incline slowly leading up to the falls.
An 80-foot plummet straight into the Pacific Ocean, McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a must while in the Big Sur area. Visit as a quick pit stop off Highway 1, taking the short and easy hike to the falls, or opt for one of the longer linked hiking trails for rewarding views of the California coast and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA.
Quality and quantity collide at Silver Falls State Park in Sublimity, Oregon, where the 7.2-mile long Trail of Ten Falls takes you past 10 amazing waterfalls in a row. The trail may be most famous for South Falls, a tall cascade whose unique position allows you to walk directly behind the waterfall for a look at the side less seen. Tack the trip onto your Portland itinerary by joining a guided day trip to Silver Falls from Portland.
The king of America’s most beautiful waterfalls, visiting Niagara Falls is a surefire bucket-list experience. Three magnificent falls, two American and one Canadian, mark the point at which the Niagara River rumbles over the Niagara Escarpment. Reviewers claim that the scenic attraction is “Heaven on Earth…Everyone should visit the fall at least once in their lifetime. Words cannot describe the feeling or the euphoria of being there.”
Leave your boots behind for a trip to Wailua Falls, a frothy cascade just steps from a main road. You might recognize these famous waterfalls from their appearance in the opening credits of the hit TV show “Fantasy Island” or promotional materials for Kauai, as they are largely recognized as some of the most amazing waterfalls on the island. Though there aren’t any surrounding hiking trails, the falls’ beauty make them worth a quick pit stop. Or, make a day of it by visiting as part of a Hawaii movie tour or private Kauai sightseeing tour.
Take an easy half-mile hike down a paved trail to see Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls emerge from Hawaii’s lush tropical landscape. Walk past wild orchids and drooping banana trees en route to the falls, stopping to admire the sights from multiple viewing platforms along the way. A Big Island waterfall tour makes it easy to see Akaka Falls and other amazing waterfalls in a single day.
From Ansel Adams to Instagram, Bridalveil Fall is one of the most iconic views in Yosemite National Park. This famous waterfall tumbles 620-feet down to the base, with enough water in the spring and early summertime to mist its visitors and a delicate yellow glow in the winter. Though the waterfall is not wheelchair accessible, it is only a 10-minute walk down a paved path from the main visitor parking lot. Visit as part of a larger trip to Yosemite from San Francisco or Los Angeles to make the most of your time in California.
Nugget Falls is all about location, with its position at the tail end of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier helping it make the cut as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA. The falls are formed from a glacial creek and make their way into Mendenhall Lake over the course of a 2-tiered drop. Though accessible on there own via a graveled path, they are often visited as part of a Juneau shore excursion or Mendenhall Lake tour.
Hike past three waterfalls in three miles on a trip to Virginia Falls in Glacier National Park. A moderate trail passes by Baring Falls and St. Mary Falls before culminating at Virginia Falls, widely considered one of the best waterfalls in all of Glacier National Park for its turquoise waters and crystal pools perfect for dipping your feet in.
At 811-feet tall, Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Eastern United States, with beauty to boot. The multi-tiered falls break over a series of jutting rocks, all clearly visible from two observation decks. Take a short hike down a paved walkway to the upper overlook, or head down the 154-step staircase to reach the lower observation area, considered by many to have better views.
A 20th-century stone bridge strung between two cliffs offers the best views of Multnomah Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in all of Oregon. Stand on the bridge to admire views of the 542-foot tall upper tier and 69-foot tall lower tier from a single vantage point, providing a contrast that puts the falls’ sheer size into perspective. See the falls on their own, or combine with a trip to the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge. The falls make an ideal Portland day trip when combined with other Columbia River Gorge attractions.
Bushkill Falls is not just one waterfall, but a series of eight equally impressive cascades in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains. Get up close to all eight falls as you hike down a network of trails ranging from easy to difficult, or admire views from the park’s miniature golf course or paddle boats as you cruise across Twin Lakes. The amicably nicknamed “Niagara of Pennsylvania” is open seasonally from March through November.
The little-known Union Falls is a gem of Yellowstone National Park—and getting there might feel like a treasure hunt. Those willing to make the 8-mile hike each way through rugged terrain will be rewarded with a view of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA, likely without another soul in sight. Plan to spend the night at one of the backcountry camping areas along the way or start out early and prepared for a full day of hiking.
Though the park is in Wyoming, it’s suggested that West Yellowstone, Montana, is the place to stay for best exploration.
A 115-foot cascade billows over the remnants of an ancient volcanic eruption at Mesa Falls in Ashton, Idaho. The Lower Falls can be seen from a drive-up parking area with a lookout point, but the real show is at the Upper Falls, accessible by a short paved path from the visitors center. Mesa Falls is yet undiscovered by most area visitors, making for a more tranquil viewing experience.
Escape the desert heat on a hike to Calf Creek Falls, located in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Though there are an upper and lower portion of the falls, the lower is by far the favorite, with a relatively flat six-mile out-and-back hike, a taller cascade, and more scenic views along the way. Pack a picnic and swimsuit for a perfect summer day.
Are you looking for your next travel destination? With thousands of cities in the world, it can be hard to choose which is the right one for your trip. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with the top 10 “Most Excellent” cities.
This ranking is based on the places that have the most TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recipients (FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company). To get one, restaurants, experiences, and accommodations in that destination need to deliver great service and consistently achieve high reviews on our sites from travelers like you.
So without further ado, here they are—the “most excellent” cities in the world!
Key West, USA
Key West might be the lowest latitude of land in the United States, but it’s at the top of our list of most excellent cities in the world. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the sun is always shining, the locals are always smiling, and the people are always dining (on key lime pie).
Reykjavik is the world’s most northernmost capital filled with day excursions and Northern Lights that will be sure to brighten up your experiences. Don’t forget to check out this destination’s geothermal springs and amazing spas.
The colorful homes of Amsterdam surround the canals and bridges, creating a picturesque moment for a traveler’s vacation. Must-sees of Amsterdam include (but aren’t limited to), the Anne Frank House, I Amsterdam sign and the Van Gogh Museum.
Hop off the plane in Dublin and grab yourself a pint of Guinness fresh from the iconic Guinness factory. If you get too full eating and drinking at some of Dublin’s famous pubs, be sure to check out the Dublin zoo or the Dublin Castle.
The romantic city of Bali is like a fantasy come true. Soak up the sun while swimming in the bright blue water or walk along the fine white sand before heading on shore to explore the Sacred Monkey Forest or the many temples on this tropical island.
Krakow is culturally and politically momentous. Many travelers come to pay their respects at the Plaszow Concentration Camp and the Oskar Schindler Factory. The modern city is also home to cafés, shops, pubs and a 10-acre Main Market Square.
Scotland’s largest city is a popular spot for soaking in history, going on shopping trips or exploring its many free museums and galleries. The city also hosts some great musical events for a fun evening out.
New Orleans is the life of the party. Saunter down its famous Bourbon Street and historic French Quarter. Sample Creole cooking or even visit the city’s beautiful Garden District. And if the timing is right, you might even be able to visit during Mardi Gras, a party so big it’s world-famous.
Certificate of Excellence winners were selected using a proprietary algorithm that takes into account the quality, quantity, and recency of user reviews, as well as the business’ tenure on the site. Recipients must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least twelve months. A business must be listed for the full 12-month qualifying period between April 1 to March 31 to be considered. Recipients are announced only once a year in late May. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company and part of TripAdvisor’s vacation rental business.
“Most Excellent” Methodology
“Most Excellent” cities and countries were calculated as a percentage of businesses listed on TripAdvisor that received a Certificate of Excellence recognition within that destination during the qualifying period. Cities must have had a minimum of 1,000 businesses (i.e., accommodations, restaurants, experiences) listed on TripAdvisor. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company and part of TripAdvisor’s vacation rental business.
This post was originally published on the TripAdvisor blog. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company.
Here are five tours you can book on TripAdvisor that will guide you deeper into some of the world’s most famous markets, for a delicious taste of the homegrown way of life. And if you’re planning a trip to one of these cities, consider staying in an apartment rental from FlipKey as your home base! You’ll no doubt make use of the full kitchen after visiting these world-class markets.
The vivid colors, the mouth-watering aromas, the sounds of good-natured bargaining…. In any corner of the world, a local food market is a multi-sensory snapshot of that region’s culture. Here are five tours and popular foodie attractions that are worth the trip.
Just about every tourist who comes through Seattle stops to watch the fishmongers throwing their catch around. Few get to actually try their hand at throwing a fish, but that’s what you’ll get to do on Savor Seattle’s special-access tour of the Pike Place Market. You’ll arrive just as the market opens, before the crowds descend, and sample at least 17 delicacies from nine different vendors during the two-hour tour. Leave with a discount card that gives you 10-15% off at more than 40 of the city’s restaurants and attractions.
Speaking of fish, Tokyo is home to the world’s largest seafood market, and this four-hour tour combines an exploration of Tsukiji’s inner workings (where tuna are auctioned off to restaurants and retailers from around the globe) with a sushi-making workshop led by a sushi master—capped off with lunch to taste your creations. You’ll return home knowing how to choose the freshest fish in your neighborhood grocery store.
France’s capital is full of food markets, but the Marché d’Aligre, in the 12th Arrondissement’s Bastille district, is one of the most authentic and traditional. Book an apartment with a kitchen so that you can load up on produce and other gourmet ingredients during this three-hour market tour by The French Way, which includes food, wine, and olive oil tastings. The tour ends in an elevated garden built atop abandoned train tracks, a spot known to locals but few tourists.
If Mexican food means little more than tacos to you, prepare to be surprised by the breadth and depth of the country’s culinary history during a food tour on Mexico City’s street food. Taste grasshoppers, edible flowers, organic coffee, and gourmet cheese at the San Juan Market, then head to the nearby Artisan Market to browse through handmade pottery, silver, leatherwork, and more from around the country. At both markets, your guide will lead you to the booths with the finest goods, where you can speak directly to the people who prepared the snacks or produced the crafts.
With countless places to choose from in the region, we’re highlighting the best Southern vacation spots for renting a summer house. Travelers have spoken, and these destinations have the top-rated review scores for their rental accommodations on FlipKey.
Top-Rated Southern Vacations This Summer
Summer is a fabulous time to visit the South. Warm temperatures linger long into the evenings, allowing plenty of time for exploration, and the region’s cities buzz with activity. Not to mention, the area exudes Southern hospitality, making it a popular place to visit—any time of year.
Whether summer is just beginning or inching to a close, it’s never a bad time to plan that getaway down South! To help you choose your destination, we looked at the average vacation rental review scores for summer stays. The result? Nine of the best vacation spots down South receiving top praise from fellow FlipKey rental guests. From Tennessee to Texas, these Southern vacations (and their top attraction!) come highly recommended by travelers like you.
Consider booking a vacation home for your trip and you’ll be right in the middle of all the action. Not only do rentals provide an affordable home base during your stay, they let you experience the city like a local!
Ratings are based on the lifetime average vacation rental review score for that destination (for stays during summer months), according to reviewers on TripAdvisor. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company.
“Lots of heart and soul went into preserving this very special home—if you appreciate craftsmanship and cool old houses, it is worth a visit for that alone!” – FlipKey Traveler
A trip to Decatur reveals what makes this destination so special: beautiful historic homes, a range of unique attractions, and a friendly, small-town atmosphere that is truly one-of-a-kind. At just six miles east of Atlanta, getting to this city—which offers a variety of attractions for foodies, fashionistas, fun-lovers and beyond—is a breeze. Grab a bite to eat on-the-go at Your Dekalb Farmers Market, take a walking tour of the area, or perch yourself on a park bench in Decatur Square. Described as “four square miles of hometown hippiness,” this vibrant city is a hot spot for Southern vacations that can’t be missed.
“We spent the majority of our time on one of the two decks when we weren’t out hiking. We watched birds fly, the clouds float by, and the hang gliders soar. What a wonderful, relaxing place to enjoy!” – FlipKey Traveler
Nicknamed the Scenic City, Chattanooga lives up to that claim with soaring mountains, extraordinary rock formations, roaring waterfalls, and lots of outdoor activities that let you enjoy it all. Explore the mysterious caverns of Ruby Falls, hike Lookout Mountain for jaw-dropping views, or familiarize yourself with the area on a train ride through the countryside. For an even more memorable stay, rent a cabin amidst towering trees or a private vacation home just steps from the river and make Chattanooga your home, if only for a weekend getaway.
“Perfect spot in the Marigny!! We could walk easily everywhere we wanted to go and experienced lots of great music and restaurants.” – FlipKey Traveler
Whether your plan is to soak up the local history or dance your way down Bourbon Street, New Orleans is no doubt one of the best vacation spots in the South. It’sa hub of activity from sunrise to sundown. Tour the Garden District—an elegant neighborhood full of Southern charm—where you’ll find pristine gardens and opulent, antebellum mansions. When you’re ready to party, head to Bourbon Street. You’ll find this carnival of sights and sounds in the historic French Quarter. Add to your New Orleans experience by booking a traditional, shotgun-style vacation home just blocks from your favorite attractions.
“Absolutely LOVED this home away from home!! We actually stayed in Friday night instead of going to downtown Nashville just because we loved the house so much!!” – FlipKey Traveler
If you’re looking for world-class music venues, hearty Southern fare, and the chance to spot celebrities both on the stage and in the street, then Nashville is the Southern vacation for you. Take a stroll along the Music City Walk of Fame, check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, or attend a show at the iconic Grand Ole Opry. At the end of a music-filled day, retreat to the quiet of your beautiful Victorian home rental in Germantown, Nashville’s oldest neighborhood.
“This was a great location right in the middle of everything in historic Fredericksburg. A wonderful place to stay with hosts that make you feel like friends.” – FlipKey Traveler
Southern charm will sweep you off your feet in Fredericksburg. It’s located deep in the heart of Texas and is known for its hospitality, rich history, and thriving German traditions. A visit during August lends itself to lazy afternoons watching the grape harvest at a vineyard and warm evenings strolling at the county fair. If you can’t squeeze a trip to Fredericksburg in this summer, don’t fret! With bluebonnets blooming in the spring and Oktoberfest celebrations during the fall, this city is one of the best Southern vacations to take, no matter what time of year it is.
“All the comforts of home. This was much better than a hotel. It was great to have easy access to our events, then drive back into a quiet neighborhood (with deer) in the evenings.” – FlipKey Traveler
With the annual Kentucky Derby spectacle, tasty mint juleps, and a variety of exciting attractions, it’s no surprise that Louisville makes our list of top-rated Southern vacations. Follow the city-wide “Urban Bourbon Trail” to award-winning micro-distilleries, each with its own unique offering of the city’s signature spirit. If you’re a baseball fan, check out the Louisville Slugger Museum, a celebration of the sport’s legends. Choose an historic home within walking distance of downtown, and you’ll never want to leave Louisville!
“Paradise. This is the first time I ever stayed in a vacation rental—and I think I’ll never go back to hotels again. I felt the most not like a tourist on this vacation compared to others in the past.” – FlipKey Traveler
Known as the “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg boasts an average of 361 days of sunny skies a year, making it a safe choice if you’re looking to spend your vacation days outdoors. Walk the waterfront for stunning views of Tampa Bay (and even a leaping dolphin or two!) or explore the century-old Sunken Gardens in the midst of this bustling city. One walk along the sugary-sand beaches, one dip in the crystal-clear waters, one stop at the Saturday Morning Market—that’s all it will take to fall in love with St. Petersburg.
“It was the most gorgeous scenic retreat I could’ve asked for. A beautiful hidden gem, just like Arkansas itself!” – FlipKey Traveler
Set among an array of naturally heated springs, Hot Springs bubbles with adventure. From hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking, this Southern city speaks to outdoor enthusiasts. Climb to the top of Hot Springs Mountain to take in the majestic views, discover the beauty of Lake Catherine State Park, or spend a relaxing day at the lake. Book a Hot Springs vacation rental as your base to make exploring even easier during your stay.
“Cozy place, perfect for two. Perfect for peace and quiet and restful relaxation.” – FlipKey Traveler
When it comes to Southern charm, Greenville offers an unforgettable dose. From outdoor concerts to annual street festivals, the city hosts more than 300 events annually, guaranteeing a good time is had by all. Saunter around downtown Greenville—ranked among “America’s Ten Best” by Forbes magazine—taking in the sights and tasting a variety of palate-pleasing cuisines from the more than 600 restaurants in town. This charming destination gets FlipKey travelers’ vote as one of the best vacation spots in the South to rent a summer house. Book a vacation rental here and enjoy all the city has to offer with the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop.
Forget the oceanfront hotel. We’re all about a stunning lake house this summer. Okay, so we’re not totally against the beach. But there’s another type of vacation that was made for America: a classic summer cottage on the lake. Or a cozy cabin. How about an eight-bedroom summer lodge for a full-family affair?
You get the point.
America boasts some of the best lake destinations in the world for outdoor recreation, incredible scenery, and action-packed adventure. In other words: the perfect combination of activities for a thrilling (or relaxing) summer escape.
A summer lake house often comes with kayaks, canoes, paddleboards or even your own personal boat for use (assuming you have a license)! You’ll stay just steps to the water—or hiking trails—and enjoy substantial privacy.
But with so many great lake house options, where should you choose? Enter FlipKey. We’ve bypassed the touristy, crowded lakes—nobody wants to share the bay with other jet skiers, after all—and instead identified 11 amazing summer lake retreats that aren’t quite as…occupied. You’ll find affordable summer cottages and cabins in each of these spots just waiting for you to make new lifelong memories.
Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake has everything you could dream of in a summer vacation. The surrounding towns of McHenry, Oakland and Swanton all offer lake house rentals of various types. Get the adrenaline pumping with whitewater rafting or opt for more leisurely pursuits in fly-fishing, a scenic kayak ride, horseback trek or walking through Deep Creek Lake State Park. A summer lodge, complete with outdoor patio and barbecue grill, is the perfect home base after the day’s adventure. As night falls, spark up the fire pit and gaze at the stars.
As its name would suggest, this Maine gem has abundant wildlife. When you aren’t fishing for landlocked salmon or trout, keep your eyes peeled for moose and other four-legged friends that roam the land. A summer cottage on Moosehead Lake puts you just steps to unlimited water recreation. And the lake is especially good for canoeing and kayaking, boasting tons of hidden coves, inlets and islands to explore. Lake houses are mostly located in the towns of Greenville and Rockwood, both offering rentals from charming summer cottages to classic log cabins. Some properties even come with personal ATVs – the trails around the lake are ripe for off-roading.
Part of the “Lakeland” area of Northern Wisconsin, Minocqua is a small town as cozy as the summer cabins themselves. There’s the aptly named Lake Minocqua, plus Blue Lake, Kawaguesaga Lake and Tomohawk Lake all in a short vicinity of each other. If you’re seeking a peaceful summer escape, look no further. Vacation rentals here are fewer than some other popular lake spots, meaning your summer cottage will have the utmost privacy. Enjoy a morning coffee on the porch while watching water skiers slice across the clear waters. Choose to join them with some aquatic adventures, or simply take another sip as the sun warms the air.
This 32-mile-long “Queen of American Lakes” is chock-full of summer lodging, attractions, eateries and just about any form of recreation you can name. Take your pick: parasailing, fishing, diving, jet skiing, hiking, golfing, mini-golf, horseback riding and more. If you’ve got kids in tow, you can spend a day at the Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom, New York’s largest amusement park. Hikers gravitate to Prospect Mountain, which offers panoramic views from the top. Among the cleanest and clearest of major US lakes, Lake George is as splendid today as when Thomas Jefferson described it as “…without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw.”
Take your family to Grand Lake and enjoy stunning Shadow Mountain scenery with the tranquility of a private summer lake house. Spend a lazy afternoon lounging on the hammock, or rent a pontoon boat for leisurely lake cruising – just don’t forget to bring the cooler! Nearby Rocky Mountain National Park offers great hiking trails, often shared with deer, elk and foxes.
Lake Champlain is one of the Eastern United States’ most beautiful attractions. It stretches almost the full length of Vermont, separating the Green Mountain State from neighboring New York. Summer lake houses are abundant in many of the surrounding towns, most notably Shelburne, Colchester, Burlington and the Grand Isles (VT); and Plattsburgh, Keeseville and Willsboro (NY). Lake Champlain is great for families, offering calm waters and great outdoor recreation. For a unique cabin experience, stay in a Burlington rental right on the lake. You’ll be close to the charming downtown area of Church Street (shops, bars, restaurants and live music), yet have adventurous activities like hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, boating and swimming right at your fingertips.
Meredith is New Hampshire’s go-to lakeside destination, with Lake Winnipesaukee offering incredible summer lodges, cottages and cabins for groups of all sizes. Popular with 20- and 30-somethings, Lake Winnipesaukee visitors are often a lively bunch, enjoying the water sports and warm weather to the fullest. Though there’s still plenty of privacy to be had, as many rentals have their own docks at secluded areas along the lake.
Heading to The Last Frontier? You’ll soon be basking in the dramatic, diverse terrain of wide-open spaces, mountains and forests, with wildlife galore and many small towns. If it’s a summer lake house you seek, just follow the Kenai River! The gorgeous body of water runs westward from Kenai Lake to the Cook Inlet, through the towns of Sterling and Soldtona. A summer rental here is as close to nature as you can get without actually camping. It’s truly a mesmerizing experience, capped by the “midnight sun” – when the sun sets around 12:00am due to the long daylight hours during summer season.
Talk to anyone about a Virginia vacation and you’ll hear about Williamsburg’s rich history or the boardwalk at Virginia Beach. But avid summer vacationers would be wise to consider a different destination, some 240 miles away from the ocean. We’re talking about Smith Mountain Lake, the state’s popular lakeside retreat though not as frequented by the outside masses. A summer cottage on “SML” means sunshine, scenery and s’mores all week long. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountain landscape, with most rental accommodations in the community of Moneta.
If we were giving out nicknames, Lake Coeur d’Alene would get “that of many bays.” Summer lodges are cozily tucked within numerous bays across the lake, like Bennett Bay, Windy Bay, Sun Up Bay, Kokanee Bay and Rockford Bay, to name a few. This means plenty of privacy and calm, kid-friendly waters. But Coeur d’Alene is notable for more than its stunning lake: it’s a unique combination of five-star resort town (fine dining, theaters, golf courses and spas) and natural wonder (unspoiled hiking trails, scenery for days). An affordable cabin gives you the best of both worlds – sunshine free of charge.
Mount Desert may better be known as the side of Acadia National Park that doesn’t include Bar Harbor, which makes it the perfect uncrowded, relaxing escape for a summer lake house. Echo Lake and Long Pond Lake are the two staples for outdoor recreation or leisurely sunbathing. Picture this: you’re eating breakfast on your private patio looking out over the vast clear waters. The kids are readying for a day of swimming, canoeing or kayaking. Maybe even a ride on the pontoon boat. As evening falls, the family enjoys a home-cooked meal before a nightcap in the hot tub. Pure bliss.
Planning your next ski getaway? Whether you’re an avid skier or you prefer the après-ski lifestyle, a luxe hot tub is the perfect amenity for every mountain vacation. To make planning easy, FlipKey has rounded up nine chalets in top ski destinations around the world with stunning hot tubs. From a hot tub in a French cave to one set outside a 16,000 square foot castle in Park City, these relaxing spots are perfect for your next group ski trip.
Soak in the hot tub under the stars at this stunning Jackson Hole home. With mountain and lake views, Lake Vista is the perfect place to relax after a long day on the slopes. Inside, guests will find multiple fireplaces, including fireplaces in the master suites, game room, theater room, gym and wine cellar. Glass walls and massive picture windows throughout the house allow for plenty of sunlight during the day, and spectacular views around the clock.
This Vail home is the definition of mountain luxury, located at the top of Forest Road for some of the best views of Vail Valley. Guests will love the A-lister experience, including an elevator and 20-foot windows for plenty of sunlight and stunning sunset views. Relax in the state-of-the-art media room, or arrange for a massage with the professional massage table inside. Outside, the driveway and patio are heated, so no need to worry about ice and snow removal, and the hot tub and outdoor sound system are both operated by a touch screen for easy adjustments. The home offers ski-in/ski-out access to the Born Free catwalk, and features personal ski lockers and glove and boot warmers for the ultimate ski experience.
Enjoy all of Mont Tremblant’s charm from this luxury waterfront cottage. Guests will love the home’s rustic architecture, stunning views, beach access and relaxing atmosphere. After a long day of skiing, settle into the hot tub with breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains and valley. While Mont Tremblant is best-known for its skiing, this home is a favorite year-round. Head out for a hike in the spring, hit the beach in the summer, or watch the leaves change from the hot tub in the fall.
Chalet Devlin in Lech, Austria offers a premier chalet experience in a world class ski destination. The home can sleep 10 adults and 4 children over four luxurious floors. The house is ski in/ski out above the Schlosskopf lift, and offers easy access to the exclusive enclave of Oberlech. The elevated location offers unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains, which guests can enjoy from the cozy outdoor hottub. In addition to the spectacular location and beautiful outdoor space, the home includes a cinema room, wine cave, sauna, hammam, fitness area, bar, library, ski room, dining room, luxe sitting area, and fully-equipped kitchen.
Plan your Big Sky escape in style at this striking private home, which includes access to the resort’s fully staffed private lodge with ski-in/ski-out access. The lodge offers equipment lockers and glove and boot dryers, so guests can leave their gear and relax at home. After a long day of skiing, relax in the indoor-outdoor pool or the luxe hot tub at this hilltop escape. The location allows guests to enjoy views of three different mountain ranges in the Big Sky valley. Love your ski trip? Return in the summer for plenty more outdoor activities, like mountain biking and hiking, and enjoy the proximity to Yellowstone National Park, which is under an hour away.
Contemporary isn’t usually the first adjective to come to mind when you think of chalets—but it will be after a stay at Chalet Valentina. Designed by acclaimed Swiss designer and architect Heinz Julen, this cutting edge home will make you rethink chalets with its use of clear glass walls, a glass-enclosed hot tub with spectacular views, and custom made furnishings. The most amazing feature? A unique architectural system in the open plan dining room allows guests to raise the table up to the ceiling to create more space for pre-dinner drinks or dancing! Guests will also have access to a professional chef, concierge, ski instructor, and hosting staff during their stay.
For an authentic Alpine experience, head to Chalet Anchorage in Courchevel. Guests are greeted with champagne and fresh flowers, and will immediately feel welcome and cozy in the great room, made from old wood and local materials, and centered around a corner fireplace. The most picturesuqe area of the home, however, is the wellness area in the lower level, with a stone plunge pool, shower, hammam, and sauna. Added bonus: if your group is larger than ten, consider booking its companion chalet, Chalet Alaska, for additional space.
Whistler is consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in North America, making it the perfect place for your next ski getaway. The Villa is perched on the side of Whistler Mountain with ski-in/ski-out access, and offers unparalleled southwest views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The Villa offers guests a top notch experience, with a billiards room, steam room, exercise space, indoor resistance pool with waterfall, in-floor heating, and of course an outdoor hot tub with mountain views.
This contemporary, single floor home was remodeled in 2014, and offers the perfect homebase for an Aspen getaway. The home’s original wood-burning fireplaces are perfect for après-ski plans, and floor-to-ceiling windows make it easy to enjoy 180-degree mountain views of Aspen and Snowmass. The living, dining and kitchen areas are open plan, and extend out onto a private patio that runs the length of the home. Outside, guests will find a built-in barbeque, fire pit and a private hot tub, perfect for soaking in the beautiful surroundings.
This rental is truly fit for royalty. Styled as a grand chateau and set in a gated community, guests will be greeted by a luxe porte cochere and an arched entry hall with carved limestone fireplace and marble floors. The home sits on 5.8 acres and offers ski-in, ski-out access to the Quicksilver Gondola, six bedrooms, and 16,000 square feet of space that sleeps up to 22 guests. The home features about every amenity guests could imagine (pool table, steam shower, wine room, fireplace, boot warmers, three laundry rooms, fully-equipped kitchen plus prep kitchen, library, media room) but after long days of skiing, the luxe private hot tub on the home’s lower deck will be the most appealing.
Summer or winter, there’s nothing like heading up, up, and away into the mountains. Let’s explore some charming cabin vacations down South where the welcome’s warm and the scenery is second to none.
Southern Mountain Getaways With Small Town Charm
We’ve chosen 15 charming mountain towns where you can have a fantastic getaway, whatever the season. These places are blessed with a small-town air and breathtakingly scenic backdrops of forested peaks and endless sky. Take your pick of quaint cabin vacations in the South, whether you fancy fall foliage, winter snow, spring greenery, or summer splendor. That’s the wonderful thing about the great outdoors—it’s open all year round!
Once you know where you’re going, it’s time to get that cozy mountain rental sorted. There’s plenty of choice, ranging from cabins with forest views to quaint downtown apartments just steps from the local restaurants. When you book a vacation rental, you have access to amenities like a full kitchen, bubbling hot tub, and loads of space, so you can check in and feel right at home.
Here are 15 southern mountain getaways we think deserve a closer look. When you’re finished browsing, vote for your favorite at the bottom of this list!
Time for an adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Start with a ride on the Unicoi Zip Line or an afternoon of horse trekking on a Chattahoochee Stables tour. Add a few rounds of mini golf, some tubing on the river, and maybe a vineyard tour to round a perfect day during your mountain getaway. Evenings in Helena are meant for kicking back with a beer and a plate of the Bavarian-style cuisine this place is famous for.
First stop in Mountain View should be the Ozark Folk Center State Park, where you can learn about local history, traditional craftsmanship, and folk music. Leave some time to browse the antique stores in the afternoon, then at the end of the day catch some live folk music, especially exciting in the warmer months when the musicians spill out into the town and play in the open air.
Come to Brevard to experience the stunning natural beauty of Transylvania County. With its tumbling waterfalls and cycling trails with jaw-dropping views, this mountain getaway is sure to delight. Spend a day kayaking on the French Broad River and retreat to your private cozy cabin as the sun goes down.
“We felt like it was just us on that mountain. Sitting in the chairs on the huge back porch with a steaming cup of coffee was just what I needed. The view was breathtaking. The cabin was perfect.”— FlipKey Reviewer
Hiawassee is perched on Lake Chatuge, a beautiful spot for boating, jetskiing, fishing, and more. This really is a four-season cabin getaway, with the Georgia Mountain Fair in summer, the blooming rhododendrons at Hamilton Gardens in the spring, eye-catching leaf tours in the fall, and foggy lake vistas and snowbound scenery in winter.
Book your Highlands rental and set out to discover the Nantahala National Forest. Go fly fishing in the Chattooga River, enjoy a round of golf with mountain views at the Old Edwards Club, and drive right under the Bridal Veil Falls. In town, you can stroll around the art galleries and round off your day with a meal at Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro.
Hot Springs is a top choice for snow sports, with good snowboarding and skiing amenities on offer at the Homestead Resort. Alternatively, take your bike out along the Hidden Valley Trail or rent some clubs and hit the Cascades Golf Course. Whether you prefer snow-covered slopes in the winter or verdant mountains during the summer, Hot Springs offers mountain getaways like no other.
A picturesque mountain town cradled by the Appalachians, Birmingham welcomes outdoorsy types, so pack your mountain bike or hiking gear. You’ll need them if you plan to explore Oak Mountain State Park—the Red Trail is particularly recommended for avid cyclists. Locals recommend filling up for breakfast at neighborhood favorite Bogue’s and relaxing with a craft beer in the evening.
“Great location. Beautiful home. Clean. Well stocked with everything needed to relax. Even stayed an extra night because it was so nice. Would come again and recommend.”— FlipKey Reviewer
When visiting Pigeon Forge, you must take a driving tour to fully appreciate the epic scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains. Wind along the tree-lined roads, and be careful not to miss Cades Cove, a valley where you’ll find pioneer log cabins and grist mills, and maybe some white-tailed deer or coyotes. There’s also the Dollywood theme park and water park, part-owned by local country-singing legend Dolly Parton.
The main attraction in Slade is Natural Bridge State Park, with its sandstone bridge and scenic hiking trails. Next door you can see the geological delights of the Red River Gorge. From spectacular cliffs and roaring waterfalls to fields of beautiful wildflowers, there’s nothing quite like a mountain getaway in Slade. Book your cabin rental to get one step closer to discovering it all.
Here in the Blue Ridge foothills, you can pan for gold in the river, sample the goods in a local winery, and explore the historic center filled with 19th-century buildings. Make sure you stop in at the Dahlonega Gold Museum for some fascinating gold rush history. Ready for an adventure? Leave town and head west to see the impressive 600-foot Amicalola Falls and wander through the surrounding state park.
Asheville is a breath of fresh air, any time of year. For a bit of local history, take an audio tour of the grand Biltmore House, then set off on a hike through Craggy Gardens, culminating in a picnic with soaring views. When you’re not exploring the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, retreat to a comfy cabin on the outskirts of this majestic mountain town.
“The barn is the most beautiful cabin I have ever seen. We enjoyed our stay & will be back again soon!” — FlipKey Reviewer
Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains and known for its flowing natural springs, Eureka Springs is an idyllic cabin vacation destination down South. Spend a day soaking in a spa or choose a high-octane tour of the treetops with Ozark Mountain Ziplines. Just 11 miles north you’ll find the Promised Land Animal Park, complete with a petting zoo for the kids. With its awe-inspiring beauty and vibrant downtown packed with enticing shops and places, this alluring mountain town boasts something for everyone.
From summer hiking to winter skiing, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in the Shenandoah Valley. Grab a mountain cabin hideaway to make the most of those inspiring valley views, and spend your days touring the wineries, seeing the splendid formations in the Luray Caverns, or fishing in the Shenandoah River.
Burnsville’s a friendly little place, known for its quaint town center, its local arts and crafts scene, and its farmer’s markets. Hop in your car to track down the area’s 200 Quilt Blocks, painted squares mounted on local buildings. This charming mountain town is just a short drive to lovely Asheville and a couple of hours’ drive from our next and final pick, Gatlinburg.
“The cabin exceeded our expectations. It is especially clean, and most importantly, comfortable. There is a home away from home feel to the cabin. It was far enough away from the noise and close enough to be convenient to the attractions of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.” — FlipKey Reviewer
A family-friendly vibe, lively center packed with places to eat, and the splendid Smoky Mountains right at your doorstep—Gatlinburg ticks all the boxes for an unforgettable mountain getaway. Try your hand at horseback riding, fly fishing, and black bear spotting along 800 miles of hiking trails, and don’t miss the waterfalls of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Looking to plan the perfect Christmas vacation in the United States without breaking the bank? Then you’re in luck, as FlipKey has rounded up 20 affordable destinations in America where the nightly cost of a two-bedroom vacation rental is under $150. Rental homes in these top Christmas getaways range from $89 – $149 per night for the holiday break (December 22-26).
Best Christmas Vacations On A Budget
Whether you prefer a tropical escape in Hawaii, an outdoor adventure in Alaska, or a sunny retreat in Texas, FlipKey is committed to making your Christmas vacation as affordable as it is enjoyable.
Expenses can add up quickly around the holidays, but booking a vacation rental for your Christmas getaway is a great way to plan an affordable trip. Whether you’re visiting family or taking a personal vacation, rental amenities like a full kitchen and access to laundry facilities can make your trip more convenient and cost effective. Book a home with multiple bedrooms and plenty of living space for a comfortable holiday stay.
Spend less on your Christmas vacation and you’ll have more money for gifts—or treating yourself! With median nightly rental rates under $150, these 20 destinations are definitely on the “nice” list when it comes to the best Christmas vacations.
Methodology: Median nightly rates are for all two-bedroom properties on FlipKey in each destination for a stay occurring from Friday, December 22 – Tuesday, December 26, 2017.
When To Book Your Christmas Vacation
A survey of FlipKey travelers revealed that while most travelers book their stay in a vacation rental 6-12 months in advance (40%), a combined 54% of travelers book 3-5 months out (34%), or 1-3 months out (20%). The holiday season is popular for travel, so book now to secure your perfect rental.
Stunning properties in all 20 of our affordable Christmas vacation spots are available to book on FlipKey, where travelers can search, compare, and book hundreds of thousands of rentals worldwide, including cabins, apartments, beach houses, desert hideaways, and more. Feel confident in your decision with our Payment Protection.
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 240,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.