Best American Destinations for a Long Weekend

When life-weary humans need a break, there’s nothing like a long weekend to soothe the nerves. For those who want something more than spending an extra day in their pajamas, the perfect solution for the extra downtime is a fun getaway. Whether it’s panoramic views, romantic accommodations, or tasty cuisine you need, there’s no shortage of American destinations that will rejuvenate and replenish your psyche. And, luckily, many of the destinations won’t drain your bank account.


01 The Berkshires, Massachusetts

In the mountains of western Massachusetts, there’s a rural region bursting with orchards, museums, art galleries, spas, antique shops, cafes, and endless scenic vistas. The Berkshires has long been a place where writers and artists find inspiration in the area’s natural surroundings. Outdoor adventures and fresh air are plentiful, with year-round hiking trails, skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, and fishing, whitewater rafting, and canoeing in the warmer months. Visitors discover a perfect balance of nature and cultural offerings for a perfect long weekend away from home.

02 Okoboji, Iowa

Travelers unaware of the majestic beauty of northwestern Iowa are in for a pleasant surprise when they visit Okoboji. The area features five glacier-carved lakes covering 15,000 acres. For those who love picture-perfect views, an eclectic choice of restaurants, and beautiful waterfront accommodations, Okoboji ticks all the boxes. Stretch your legs on a 14-mile hike along the Great Lakes Spine Trail or visit the Dickinson County Nature Center. Or, catch some sun at one of the area’s many public beaches.

03 Finger Lakes Region, New York

Just four hours from downtown Manhattan, the Finger Lakes Region is a year-round playground for travelers and an excellent spot to spend a long weekend. Sure, it’s a family-friendly destination, but there are endless possibilities available to create the perfect romantic getaway, as well. From award-winning eateries to hot air balloon rides, beer gardens, hiking trails, shopping, and vineyard tours, there are options for everyone seeking some fun and frolic or rest and relaxation.

04 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

A trip to Chicago may be a great weekend getaway, but while you’re there, take a 90-minute drive north to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and spend a night or two. With its upscale, gourmet dining establishments and nationally renowned spas and salons, visitors marvel at how budget-friendly a weekend stay is. Choose from full-service resorts, dog-friendly hotels, or one of the charming bed and breakfasts. The 21-mile Shore Path is eye candy for photographers, hikers, and nature lovers alike.

05 Ruidoso, New Mexico

This small village sits in the southern part of the state, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from El Paso or Albuquerque. Only 8000 people live here, but travelers soon learn there’s a lot of fun packed within Ruidoso’s borders. Spend time at one of the five casinos, bet on the horses at Ruidoso Downs, shop for handcrafted goods, or explore the wonders of New Mexican cuisine at one of the local restaurants or cafes. Like other resort areas in New Mexico, the breathtaking natural areas surrounding Ruidoso also provide a wide array of outdoor activities year-round.

06 Catalina Island, California

Taken off the mountainous coast of Catalina Island, California Justin Lewis / Getty Images

Just 45 minutes from Los Angeles, Catalina Island lies 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. Catch a boat from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, or Dana Point to get there. An hour later, you’ll be exploring the island. Arrange for a sightseeing tour via bicycle or helicopter. Or, rent a golf cart and explore Catalina on your own. Jump in the water for some scuba diving or parasailing, stretch out on the beach for some of that glorious California sunshine, or try your luck at the casino.


07 Nashville, Tennessee

Neon signs on Lower Broadway Area in Nashville, Tennessee f11photo / Shutterstock

Nashville’s nickname is Music City, and there are plenty of sights and sounds to keep visitors busy through a long weekend. The neon lights up and down Broadway are part of the city’s charm, as are the buskers that perform here. Head to Lower Broadway to experience Nashville’s nightlife at any of the live music venues and honky-tonks. South of Broadway, or SoBro, is home to the historic Ryman Auditorium and other famous landmarks. Don't leave without trying the city's traditional and unique-but-delicious takes on homestyle, southern cuisine. Or, sample the fare from Nashville's array of eclectic restaurants.


08 Las Vegas, Nevada

USA, Nevada, downtown Las Vegas, neon signs on Fremont Street B. Tanaka / Getty Images

If there was any city set up for a long weekend, it’s Las Vegas. Hotels are cheapest in July and August. Although everything seems to revolve around the casinos here, you don’t have to be a gambler to find things to do. You’ll find a long list of shows to enjoy, from cabaret acts to big-name celebrity performances. Dine at a high-end restaurant or grab a pizza and a brew on the Strip. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Vegas, beautiful Red Rock Canyon is just 25 miles away.


09 Fredericksburg, Texas

Even the most seasoned traveler may not know that Fredericksburg and its surrounding area is home to one of the largest wine tourism regions in the U.S., second only to California’s Napa Valley. More than 100 wineries are located across the sprawling, lush, and colorful Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg, founded by German immigrants in 1846, is only about an hour and a half drive from Austin and a great place to start a winery tour. Visitors will find authentic German cuisine and just about any other type of fare you can imagine, live music and theater performances, and a variety of nightlife and cultural events to explore.

10 Tampa, Florida

Pier 60 at sunset on a Clearwater Beach in Florida. Long exposure. miroslav_1 / Getty Images

It’s not just the big attractions that send travelers to this city on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Tampa is also a well-respected hub for craft beers, and it ranks high on the list of great foodie destinations. Plus, it’s a less-expensive alternative to Orlando. Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa’s downtown area is a unique area to spend a long weekend. Art galleries, festivals, shops, and a myriad of nightclubs will entertain you for hours on end. Late-night dining fans will appreciate the dining options in the neighborhood.


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