Best Long Weekend Destinations In The US

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Monterey, CA, via

Sometimes the best vacations are the ones that are truly spontaneous. Maybe you see you have a three day weekend coming up, or happen upon a can’t-miss airline deal, for example. Short jaunts to nearby destinations can offer some truly great surprises. In the United States the main cities are often very far from each other. Hopping a couple state lines, rather than flying across the continent, can offer a great opportunity to maximize a limited amount of vacation time. Plus, by going to some of the less well-known destinations, you can get away from the throngs of tourists.  This offers a chance to unwind, and take in some seriously underappreciated American destinations. After all, vacations are supposed to be about relaxing, aren’t they? But, if you’ve been itching for the big city experience, there are a few of those on this list, too. Here are a few destinations that are perfect for a quick getaway.

Austin, Texas

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Everyone loves Austin’s country-cool Texas vibe. Spend a long weekend here and eat all the queso and tacos you can! When you’re not enjoying the booming Tex-Mex food scene, you can visit one of the many outdoor recreation areas located in and around the city.

Nashville, Tennessee

Country music lovers know that Nashville can’t be missed, but there are plenty of things to do for those of us who aren’t into the honky-tonk scene. In addition to classic sites like the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville is home to some unique attractions. Take a walk in Centennial Park, which has a full-sized replica of the Greek Parthenon. Check out Germantown, a neighborhood in Nashville that has boutique shopping and a large farmer’s market. Make sure to try some Nashville hot chicken and barbeque before you leave!

 Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is the perfect long weekend destination for someone looking for an outdoor adventure. The town is located near the Red Rock State Park, so there are lots of places to hike in the area! Sedona has a distinctive New Age feel, and you can find plenty of psychics offering to read your palm or aura. Visit nearby vortexes or UFO spotting sites for a unique, extra-terrestrial experience.

Charleston, South Carolina

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Elizabeth Rhodes

Charleston was ranked #10 in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Top 15 Cities List” for 2018, and it fully deserves its spot among cities like Kyoto, Japan and Florence, Italy. Once known for its colonial roots and historic significance throughout the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Charleston is now a vibrant city with so much to offer. You can enjoy fine dining and shopping on King Street, with beautiful beaches just a stone’s throw away.

Chicago, Illinois

As the unofficial capital of the Midwest, Chicago is filled with great food and interesting attractions that make it a great long weekend destination. Visit classic tourist sights like Millennium Park’s Bean sculpture (designed by artist Anish Kapoor) and the iconic Wrigley Stadium before chowing down on classic Chicago dishes like deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Be sure to catch an improv show at Second City, where stars like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler got their start. Finally, take a boat ride down the river on an architecture tour to learn about the buildings that make Chicago’s skyline unique.

Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the hills of North Carolina, Asheville is a great long weekend destination for those who love a combination of outdoor adventure and modern luxury. The area is close to several state and national parks that feature great hikes and large waterfalls. The Vanderbilt family once called Asheville their home, and you can tour their magnificent Biltmore Estate and gardens! The estate is stunning, reminiscent of a French chateau, and it has its own winery. Head to downtown Asheville for a charming touch of rustic Appalachian culture. You might even stumble upon the weekly drum circle!

 Sonoma, California

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George Rose/Getty Images, via Travel + Leisure

What could be more perfect than spending a long weekend touring vineyards and wineries in California? Napa and Sonoma are classic long weekend destination for west-coasters. There are so many luxurious resorts in the Northern California wine region, so kick back and relax with world-class wine in Sonoma.

Miami, Florida

Looking for a rowdy long weekend destination? South Beach in Miami is perfect for anyone looking for nightlife and beaches! Its party reputation makes Miami the perfect place for Bachelorette parties, but the city has so much more to offer if you’re not into the nightlife scene. Head to historic Little Havana for a taste of Cuban culture, or visit the Wynwood Art District for beautiful murals.

Monterey, California

If you’re looking for a relaxing long weekend getaway on the West Coast, visit Monterey. There are so many lovely waterfront hotels in the center of the town that feature beautiful views of the pristine blue water. Take a kayaking tour on the coast to see otters, seals, and sea lions up close, or walk down Cannery Row to check out the old sardine factory that has been converted into a modern shopping area!

Article by Elizabeth Rhodes. Find her on TwitterInstagram, and her website. Also, check out her guide to Florence.