Looking for the best weekend trips in the US? See the top 10 places to head for a weekend getaway and enjoy a change of scenery in a new, exciting place!
The 10 Best Weekend Trips in the US
When you don’t have a ton of time but want to get away, a weekend trip is just right for relaxation, adventure, or just a welcome change of scenery.
If you’d rather skip the so-so options that leave you feeling like your weekend was, well, wasted, you’ll want to focus your attention on the best weekend trips in the US.
The best places to head for a weekend getaway in the good ol’ US of A span across the nation and include spots famous for their lively, bustling atmosphere or those you can rely on for a secluded, serene trip.
You’ll see the best weekend trips in the US organized by region below: Northeast, Southeast, Central, and West.
Find a spot that’s close enough for a weekend jaunt – by car or plane – and pack your bags for a refreshing short trip somewhere new!
Best Weekend Trips in the Northeastern US
Massachussetts, New York, and Maine are home to some of the best weekend trips in the US if you’re looking to get away somewhere in the Northeast.
Cape Cod, MA
Ideal for a couples’ trip or the entire family, Cape Cod is one of my favorite spots for a weekend trip in the US. You’ll spend the trip wandering through museums, farmer’s markets, and seafood joints in between trips to the beach.
Get a feel for the history of the area by spending an afternoon touring museums, art galleries, and lighthouses. Stop by a farmer’s market (Chatham, Osterville, or Orleans) for fresh produce and visit a winery.
Stroll down the beach to watch whales, seals, and dolphins play. If you’re here in the summer, you can enjoy a refreshing swim close to the shore.
You’ve got to sample the fresh seafood on the shores of Cape Cod – dishes featuring lobster, clams, oysters, fish, and scallops star on most menus and are always served with their weight in unctuous drawn butter.
I love a trip to Cape Cod in the springtime – it’s one of the best times to visit Cape Cod with smaller crowds and lower prices. Flowers start blooming and the weather is mild with little rain!
Where to Stay in Cape Cod
- Provincetown Inn ($$): You can’t ask for a better spot in Provincetown – this historic beachfront inn overlooks the Cape Cod National Seashore and features a seasonal pool, onsite bar and grill, and a huge private beach.
- Frederick William House ($$$): Stately perfection right on the Shining Sea Bikeway, this cozy boutique inn is steps away from the beach and offers free bikes, gardens to stroll, and hot breakfast each morning.
New York City, NY
A weekend trip to New York City gives you a great opportunity to see some sights, sample tasty food, wander through cool neighborhoods, and catch some great shows and entertainment.
If you’re staying for a weekend, don’t get caught up in the usual tourist attractions – instead, take the time to dive deep into New York’s personality and fun side.
Visit a Brooklyn distillery, browse a massive flea market, stroll Central Park, admire cathedrals, try international cuisine and classic New York pizza, and head to a jazz club for evening entertainment.
Take an afternoon to forego the taxi or Uber and walk the streets of New York. You’ll find cafes, shops, and bodegas beckoning you inside for unexpected treats and finds.
In my experience, fall is indisputably the best time to visit New York City with a cozy chill in the air and colorful foliage that makes your trip feel scrapbook-worthy.
Where to Stay in NYC
- Empire Hotel ($$): It’s as iconic and conveniently located to some of the city’s best attractions and restaurants. Located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, you’ll be lounging on the sun deck with great views of the city with an onsite bar and nightly entertainment.
- Riu Plaza New York Times Square ($$$): This is the best spot for foodies, just steps away from Restaurant Row with an onsite restaurant and luxurious rooms! Attractions like Times Square and Broadway are within walking distance.
Bar Harbor, ME
Travel up to charming and picturesque Bar Harbor, Maine for a coastal taste of the Northeast that’s packed with chances to unwind or take on thrilling outdoor adventures.
Arrive by ferry, car, or plane on Mt. Desert Island, where you’ll be greeted with lighthouses on craggy coastlines and sailboats lining the harbor – a truly beautiful sight.
Dine on fresh-caught seafood served up in cute little shacks and restaurants by the water or head to any of the unique shops and eateries downtown that feel untouched by time.
Venture out to Acadia National Park, which Bar Harbor proudly serves as the gateway to, and spend some time strolling down the beaches while watching whales and seals play offshore.
To me, April and May are the best time to visit Bar Harbor – it’s the start of whale watching season, soft-shell clams and mussels are abundant, crowds are small, and the Acadia National Park is lush and green.
Where to Stay in Bar Harbor
- Bar Harbor Grand Hotel ($$): A favorite in the area, this stately hotel is conveniently located downtown and within walking distance of most attractions and beaches. Free deluxe breakfast and a heated pool make it special!
- Yellow House Inn ($$$): This truly special B&B in downtown Bar Harbor offers beautifully decorated rooms with unique personalities and antique furnishings. Daily hot breakfast is served and you’re steps away from the Bar Harbor Shore Path.
Best Weekend Trips in the Southeastern US
If you’re looking for a special weekend trip idea somewhere in the Southeast, look no further than Asheville, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina.
A laid-back weekend getaway with the potential for big adventure is in the cards for you in Asheville, NC, lovingly known as the Paris of the South.
This funky city has a thriving food and arts scene that makes it perfect for a short trip in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. If you enjoy a stiff drink, wineries, distilleries, and breweries abound here!
You’ve got to check out the River Arts District to tour the many galleries and studios featuring work by talented locals. Walk the Urban Trail to get a feel for the city with 30 unique stations along the way.
Set off on hikes from easy to challenging through the gorgeous wilderness that open up to amazing views. Or spend a day touring Biltmore and the gardens for a more relaxing option!
I highly recommend Asheville in the fall from September to November. You can go to festivals featuring apples, beer, and Caribbean culture while the leaves change color in the mountain ridges around you.
Where to Stay in Asheville
- Beaufort House Inn ($$): This quaint bed & breakfast is old Asheville in a nutshell, offering close proximity to the Biltmore and beautiful gardens of its own. An excellent daily breakfast is served.
- Village Hotel ($$$): Located in Antler Hill, this swanky South Asheville hotel is on the Biltmore Estate and very close to the Biltmore Winery. Hiking trails, an onsite restaurant, heated pool, and more await you!
Named one of the best cities to visit in the US again and again, there’s no denying that Charleston has a certain Lowcountry charm. Come here to relax, eat, shop, and play on the Southeastern shore.
Walk historic cobblestone streets downtown lined with oaks dripping with Spanish moss, popping into unique boutiques, bakeries, and cafes along the way.
It’s far from urban and missing those towering skyscrapers of other major cities, but you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, and museums to keep you busy in Charleston.
You’ll eat your fill of Lowcountry fare while you’re here, from crawfish and she crab soup to done-right shrimp and grits and seafood boils.
Do yourself a favor and come in the springtime! It’s the best time to visit Charleston with fun stuff like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Jazz Festival, Lowcountry Strawberry Festival, and Lowcountry Cajun Festival going on.
Where to Stay in Charleston
- 86 Cannon Historic Inn ($$$): If you’re lucky enough to score a vacant room, this is one of the best boutique hotels in Charleston housed in the Historic District with free breakfast, bike rentals, and beautiful rooms!
- Market Pavilion Hotel ($$$): Also in the Historic District with amenities like an onsite steakhouse and pool, this luxe hotel is steps away from the Waterfront Park and City Park with tons of attractions in walking distance.
Best Weekend Trips in the Central US
The central and Midwestern US is a huge area with tons of places for a weekend getaway. Chicago and Mackinac Island stand apart as some of the best and each offers a totally different experience.
Waterfront, historic, and jam-packed with things to do, Chicago is an unforgettable city to visit for a weekend trip. You’ll sightsee, eat great food, catch some evening entertainment, and peruse museums and galleries.
Check out the shops, restaurants, and attractions on Navy Pier overlooking the river. Head up to the Skydeck at Willis Tower, or if you dare, creep to the 1,353-foot high Ledge for excellent views of the city.
The Chicago Theatre and Cadillac Palace Theatre present amazing opportunities to see a play or performance. Make time to go to Millennium Park to see the famous Cloud Gate “bean!”
Of course, no Chicago weekend trip is complete without a massive slice or two of Chicago deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s, widely known as the best over-loaded pie in the city.
Fall and spring are pretty much tied when it comes to the best time to visit Chicago. Both offer smaller crowds, mild weather, and plenty of events and festivals to check out on a weekend trip.
Where to Stay in Chicago
- Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago ($$): Right across the street from famous Millennium Park, this top-rated hotel is affordable and has its own restaurant and bar with great views of the city and Lake Michigan.
- Hotel Lincoln ($$): Located in the family-friendly Lincoln Park neighborhood, this hotel is close to the zoo and Lakefront Trail with beach access. 5 onsite restaurants and stunning lake views make it excellent for a weekend trip.
Mackinac Island, MI
Dreaming of a relaxed weekend getaway to a place that feels secluded but not sleepy? Mackinac Island, Michigan perfectly fits the bill.
You’ll experience the beauty of the Great Lakes at this unassuming island on Lake Huron where cars aren’t allowed. Seriously! You’ll take a ferry to get here and use bikes, horses, or your feet to get around.
It’s home to Mackinac Island State Park, tons of museums, a military fort, and picturesque cottages and homes with lilacs and perfectly-groomed shrubs lining the streets.
The historic downtown area is packed with places to eat and cute little shops. Take a walking tour or hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a fun change of pace!
Rent a kayak to check out Arch Rock or explore Lake Huron. A visit to the state park is the perfect way to the spend a day before ending it with a trip to The Original Murdick’s Fudge for a sweet treat.
Where to Stay in Mackinac Island
- Mission Point Resort ($$): Called the “best on the island,” this lakefront resort has spectacular views of Lake Huron with a golf course, coffee shop, and upscale restaurant onsite. Grab an Adirondack chair on the huge lawn to soak in the views!
- Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast ($$): Operating out of a gorgeous home from the late 1800s, this period-decorated B&B puts you close to Fort Mackinac and the national park. A delicious buffet breakfast and afternoon tea is served daily!
Best Weekend Trips in the Western US
Out West, the US has myriad options for weekend trips of all kinds. Rugged Big Sur, mystical Sedona, and vibrant Vegas made the list of the best!
Big Sur, CA
Nature-lovers who appreciate dramatic scenery will appreciate a weekend trip to Big Sur, California for a 70+ mile stretch of iconic California beauty on and off the highway.
Big Sur is where you’ll find cascading waterfalls, hidden beaches, famous scenic drives, and rugged cliffs surrounded by mountains that create some of the most gorgeous scenery in the state.
It’s the perfect spot for a road trip with plenty of stops to admire the area up-close. Don’t miss McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach (I consider it one of the best beaches in California, period) on your trip!
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is absolutely stunning in its rocky, oceanside glory and the Bixby Creek Bridge is so gorgeously designed, it’s the most photographed bridge in the state.
Summertime is really the best time to visit Big Sur when temperatures are nice and warm to make exploring the region much more comfortable.
Where to Stay in Big Sur
- Monterey Bay Lodge ($$$): Located in nearby downtown Monterey, this hotel is close to Fisherman’s Wharf with beautiful gardens on the grounds and amenities like a pool and hot tub.
- Normandy Inn ($$): Normandy Inn feels like the French countryside came to California with flowing gardens, French decor, outdoor pool, and close proximity to Carmel Beach.
Plan a mystical retreat to Sedona, Arizona for a weekend getaway that leaves you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and perhaps even knowing yourself a little bit better.
Surrounded by red rock formations rising out of the desert landscape with cacti and scrub as far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder this places feels out of this world.
It’s the ideal setting for an awakening if that’s your speed. Many people come here to do spiritual work, yoga practice, and visit with shamans.
Outdoor adventures are unmatched in Sedona, with tons of biking and hiking trails to get out and enjoy the beauty of the area. Hang out downtown to immerse yourself in the thriving art and food scenes.
Spring, between March and May, is really the best time to visit Sedona. It’s busier with visitors, but that’s because the weather is great and tons of festivals are happening this time of year!
Where to Stay in Sedona
- Whispering Creek Bed & Breakfast ($$): Located in Uptown Sedona, this charming B&B has a shared lounge, sun deck with great views, and outdoor fireplace with a delicious daily breakfast.
- Matterhorn Inn ($$): Another Uptown spot, Matterhorn Inn features amazing views of the surrounding mountains from each room’s private balcony, an outdoor fireplace and pool, and a great snack bar.
Las Vegas, NV
While gambling, casinos, and all-night partying comes to mind at the mention of Las Vegas, this bustling city in the desert is really about so much more.
It’s perfect for a weekend trip whether you’re after table games and slot machines or shows and shopping.
There are some incredible restaurants here, with many located inside of world-famous casino hotels and headed up by Michelin-starred chefs.
You can eat and drink your way through the city, trying something new with every meal and sip. Take in daytime or evening shows from well-known singers and magicians to saucy cabaret.
Shopping is abundant with high-end retailers along the Vegas Strip and cool boutiques and shops off the beaten path.
Museums offer a great respite from the heat with everything from the Mob Museum to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
Spring and fall are usually regarded as the top time of year to go, but I’ll go out on a limb and say fall is the best time to visit Las Vegas. It’s cooler but still crowded.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
- Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino ($$): Located right on the Strip with a rooftop pool, indoor mall, and amazing Eiffel Tower replica, this is an affordable and fun place to stay right near the action.
- Wynn Las Vegas ($$$): One of the highest-rated hotels in the city, Wynn Las Vegas is pure decadence and luxury with high-end shops, oasis pools, a spa, casino, and great views of Vegas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Planning to head out on one of the best weekend trips in the US is exciting, but you’ll enjoy it even more if you take the time to read through other travelers’ FAQs to learn more!
Where is best to go for a weekend break?
The cities known for the best weekend trips in the US include Cape Cod, NYC, Bar Harbor, Asheville, Charleston, Chicago, Mackinac Island, Big Sur, Sedona, and Las Vegas.
Each of these destinations offers something a little different, from natural beauty and coastal charm to thriving nightlife and bustling downtown areas.
Are weekend trips worth it?
Weekend trips are definitely worth taking if you’re in need of a quick recharge but don’t have time for a full vacation.
A change of scenery and chance to explore a new city or area can leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!
What is the meaning of weekend getaway?
A weekend getaway is a short, 1-3 night vacation taken for the purpose of relaxing and enjoying new experiences.
Usually, weekend getaways are taken in cities or areas near you to allow for quick travel to and from your destination. But if you decide to fly instead of driving, you can take a weekend getaway just about anywhere!
What is a brief vacation as in a weekend called?
A brief vacation you take over a weekend is called a weekend getaway or a weekend trip. These short vacations offer a chance to shake things up and enjoy your weekend on a whole new level by spending it somewhere new!
What's the difference between getaway and get away?
A getaway, when spelled together, is a short vacation or trip taken for the purpose of recharging and relaxing. Example: We enjoyed our weekend getaway and weren’t ready to come home!
“Get away,” when spelled as 2 words, is an action phrase meaning to move away from. Example: We told her to get away from the edge.
So, What Are the Best Weekend Trips in the US?
Out of all the amazing cities and destinations in the nation, Cape Cod, NYC, Bar Harbor, Asheville, Charleston, Chicago, Mackinac Island, Big Sur, Sedona, and Las Vegas top the list as the best weekend trips in the US.
So how can you narrow the list down and discover which destination is perfect for you? Start with your region and see which places on the list are closest to you.
If you’re okay with booking a flight, your list can broaden a bit since any of these weekend trip spots will be open to you! You should also consider what you want to do on your weekend getaway.
Relax entirely? Hike and bike around a beautiful area? Gamble and drink? Explore a bustling city? Live like a local? Each destination on our list offers something unique.
The list is packed with cities and spots that can be thoroughly enjoyed in a quick weekend trip of 2-3 days. No matter where you decide to head for your getaway, you’ll come back with plenty of new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!
Read Next: Still looking for recommendations on where to go, but aren’t sure where to start? Use our trip finder tool to recommend destinations that you’ll love!