Plan a quick, cheap weekend getaway right here in the US! From Caribbean beaches to the Teton Mountains, get ready to be inspired to spend your weekend traveling.
Are you looking for a few days to get away from work and enjoy a little rest and relaxation? Or maybe you’re ready to head to the big city for a weekend full of new restaurants, shopping, and maybe a show? Keep reading to be inspired with my best US weekend getaway ideas!
How to Plan a Weekend Getaway
When I travel, I love to think of exotic locations with sandy white beaches, sipping a cocktail in hand. Or, I might imagine the new countries I can explore or cities to get lost in, all while trying to add stamps to my passport and stumble my way through learning a new language.
However, sometimes it’s just not possible to spend a full week or two away from work in a new travel destination. Fortunately, there are so many amazing places right here in the United States to escape for a quick weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for an action-packed weekend in the city or a relaxing few days at a beach or ski lodge, these weekend getaway ideas are sure to get your trip-planning juices flowing.
When planning a weekend getaway, there’s a few things to think about:
-Do you want a lot of activity? Or are you looking for rest and relaxation?
-Would you like to book a hotel? Or stay in an Airbnb with a kitchen to cook your meals?
-Do you want to plan your itinerary ahead of time? Or just “wing it” seeing where the weekend takes you?
When you only have 2 to 3 days for your weekend escape, I recommend trying to plan as much as you can ahead of time, so that you don’t waste time. If you wait too long to plan, you might end up spending too much time and energy trying to figure out transportation, last-minute hotels, and last-minute restaurant reservations. You only have around 36 hours to spare, so make them count.
Put your travel planning hat on and try to coordinate ahead of time where you will stay, maybe a few restaurant locations, and the top 2 to 3 things you would like to see. This will save you a lot of time in the long run!
Tips for a Quick Weekend Getaway
When planning your weekend getaway, here are a few things you might want to consider:
-How far in advance would you like to book your plane tickets? Consider using Skycanner to find great plane fares at low prices.
-How will you get from the airport to your hotel or Airbnb? Consider reserving an Uber ahead of time on your Uber app.
-Check out last-minute reservation apps like Hotel Tonight. You can easily score a great deal on a hotel if you’re willing to book the day before your trip.
-Pack light! If you’re traveling for 3 days max on a weekend getaway, consider just bringing a carry-on bag. You can pack 2-3 pairs of pants/dresses, 2-3 pairs of shoes, 2-3 shirts and tops. Try to mix and match as much as possible and bring comfortable shoes for exploring a new city.
-If you’re looking for a last-minute excursion in a new city, consider using the Airbnb Experiences app. This section of Airbnb features hosts that take you on all types of experience, including a night of dancing, cooking classes, city walking tours, or out for an afternoon on the water. You never know what you might find!
Best Weekend Getaway: #1 New York City
If you’re looking for an action-packed weekend with eclectic shopping and every type of restaurant you can image, of course you’ll want to head to New York City. The Big Apple is known as the “city that never sleeps” and for good reason. You can always find a myriad of things to do in New York.
A weekend in New York City could include catching a Broadway show or an afternoon strolling through Central Park. Next, check out High Line which is a public park built on a historic freight rail line, with events, walking tours, spoken word nights, and art installations. Finally, once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Chelsea Market for some grub and treats like L’Arte del Gelato and the Doughnuttery.
Best Weekend Getaway: #2 St Petersburg, FL
St Petersburg, FL is a perfect place to spend an extended weekend. The growing city has an enticing blend of beaches, bay-front waters, eclectic restaurants, and boutique shopping. You can’t beat the weather either. The best time to visit is during the winter when the temperatures average around 70 degrees with low humidity. Christmas on the beach anyone?
If you’re looking to stay right on the beach, check out the famous Don Cesar Hotel right on the water, with a spa, white sand beach, spa, and gourmet restaurant. The hotel has a century of history and is a staple of St. Petersburg.
On Saturday morning, visit the extensive collection of surrealist art at the unique Dali Museum (check out the Abe Lincoln painting, it’s trippy!). Then, head to Fort Desoto on Saturday afternoon which has been named by Trip Advisor as one of America’s Top Beaches with 1.1K+ acres of park and five interconnected islands (keys).
Best Weekend Getaway: #3 Lexington, KY
If you’ve never visited Lexington, I can give you plenty of reasons to spend a weekend getaway in the Bluegrass State. This bustling college town is known for its basketball, horses, and bourbon. That’s a triple threat!
Visit Lexington during April and October, and you’ll join the thousands of horse lovers at the famous Keeneland Racetrack. Spend an afternoon sipping on bourbon cocktails and betting on the pony surrounded by beautiful farmland. Then, head out on the “bourbon trail” and learn all there is to know about how it’s made right at the distilleries.
If you’re a basketball fan, be sure to visit Lexington during March Madness and score tickets to a University of Kentucky game. UK fans “bleed blue” and it can get pretty wild at the games!
Read More on Lexington: 21 Best Things to Do in Lexington, Kentucky
4 Jackson Hole, WY
Nestled in the Teton Mountains just south of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole is a major tourist attraction year-round. When you fly into Jackson Hole, you’ll land in the only airport located in a US national park. During the summer, families head through Jackson in their camper vans and RVs on their way to Yellowstone, hoping to catch a glimpse of its hot springs and abundant wildlife (think moose, bears, elk, oh my!).
If you’re more of a snow type of person, Jackson Hole makes for a great weekend of skiing and sipping cocoa around the fire. The town has its own “ski village” with five-star skiing resorts like The Four Seasons. Downtown Jackson also makes for a weekend full of shopping at specialty Western shops and boutiques. Pro Tip: Take a pic with the downtown square’s antler arch!
5 Albuquerque, NM
If you’re looking to dry out a bit in the desert sun, visiting Albuquerque makes for a perfect weekend getaway. With an abundance of things to do in Abluquerque, from the food to the spas and adventure excursions (like mountain biking the Sandia foothills), you won’t get bored. Hop on a hot air balloon ride to catch a view from up above or play a round at one of the many award-winning golf courses.
You can also hop on a kayak to head through the waters of the legendary Rio Grande. Once you’ve finished an action-packed day exploring everything Albuquerque has to offer, take a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway climbing to the mountain’s 10K+ foot peak, an incredible way to see a breathtaking New Mexico sunset!
6 San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is filled with culture, delicious food choices, and exciting things to do, making it a great travel destination for a weekend getaway. Once you’ve done the traditional touristy things, like checking out the Golden Gate Bridge and heading down to Fisherman’s Wharf on the waterfront, you can explore some of the off-the-beaten path things. Like embracing the Chinese culture in China Town or catching a San Francisco Giants game.
If you’re feeling adventurous, plan a trip to Alcatraz Island which is part of the U.S. National Park Service; or check out Angel Island, the second largest island in the bay. With a small population of around 60 people, you can get to Angel Island by ferry from San Francisco and take an open-air tram or Segway tour around the island once you land there.
7 San Juan Puerto Rico
Want a Caribbean beach getaway without having to use your passport? Then hop on a quick flight south to Puerto Rico where you can enjoy some time in the Caribbean sun. Puerto Rico has some of the most incredible beaches, including Isla Verde which was named as a “Best Urban Beach” by USA Today, just minutes from the San Juan airport.
After you’ve spent a day in the sun, head to the Old San Juan area for a day of getting lost walking the cobblestone streets and admiring the brightly colored houses and architecture. The afternoon can be spent exploring El Morro, a citadel built between the 16th and 18th centuries that sits right on the water. Once the sun slips away, spend the night salsa dancing the night away at the famous La Factoria bar, named a Top 50 Bar in the World.
Read More on Puerto Rico: 19 Best Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Where Will You Spend Your Weekend Getaway?
If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway, we have so many incredible travel destinations right here in the United States. Grab a friend, your spouse, or just head out solo. Whether you’re looking for a few days soaking up the sun or a weekend skiing the slopes, these travel ideas will inspire you to pack your bags and go!
8 thoughts on “Best US Weekend Getaways: Ideas to Spend a Quick, Cheap Weekend Getaway”
These are such great ideas for a weekend getaway in the us! You definitely can’t beat NYC for a city break – there is just so much to do there!
Great list – will definitely serve as inspiration for folks in the us to not laze around over a weekend and instead make the best of it! Here in europe i’ve tried to use as many weekends as possible to explore – easier to do in Europe than in the US!
Sorry, I am not intentionally typing all caps and my caps lock is not on either. I would say that travel should not be more than 4h, otherwise you spend much of your weekend on the road. Sometimes, long travels may be intentional, however, if you are driving through a scenic region and observing the scenery (e.g. in a National Park) is the goal.
WHAT A GREAT RECOMMENDATION AND THE LISTS ARE FULL OF AWESOME PLACES! THANKS FOR PUTTING THIS TOGETHER. New york city is easier for us as it is nearer and cheaper as we can make road trips.
I’m not from the Us, so it’d def not be a weekend getaway, but I love your suggestions! So far I’ve only been to NYC, but I’ll add the other 6 to my list of places to visit in the US.
I guess it depends where you live, some of these would feel a bit far for me to pack them into a weekend, but they all look fun. The views from Jackson Hole look spectacular, I think I would like spending a long weekend (or even longer) there!
Great ideas for weekend getaways. We did all these when we were RVing!
It has some really great ideas. AFTER reading the post I realised I have to visit so many places!