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Where to Spend a Long Weekend in the USA

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Americans are notorious for not using their vacation days. Either they do not get enough vacation days throughout the year or do not want to ask for the time off. But traveling during a long weekend is the best time to use those vacation days. Long weekends are the perfect way to make a short trip extra special.

Depending on where you live in the United States, an extra day off for the weekend is an excellent reason to take a short drive or flight for a long weekend trip. The best option for a long weekend trip is to visit a city, town, or national park with less than 3 hours of travel time. This way, you are far enough from home while still enjoying your time off.

When is the next Long Weekend in the United States?

Taking a trip over a long weekend is one of the best ways to stretch your vacation days. Many employees have some time off for these holidays.

New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Martin Luther King Jr BirthdayThird Monday of January
President’s DayThird Monday in February
Good Friday/Easter WeekendThe Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox (March 20)
Memorial DayLast Monday of May
Independence DayJuly 4
Labor Day WeekendFirst Monday in September.
Thanksgiving Day and Black FridayFourth Thursday and Friday of November
Christmas Eve and Christmas DayDecember 24 & 25
Above are some common holidays that school children and employees will be off for.

Best Long Weekend Trips in the United States

I worked with a long list of travel bloggers to find the most popular destinations for the best USA weekend trips. These different cities and towns are good weekend trips for almost everyone in the United States!

1. Portland, Maine

Pafoua from Her Wanderful World

Portland, Maine, is a city with a rich history. Portland is a popular tourist destination for its charming architecture and vibrant culture.

Spending a weekend in Portland, Maine, will sweep you away to cobblestone streets, nostalgic days of the past, and delicious seafood. And if you’re an outdoors fan, Portland has plenty of nature to explore.

One of the most popular activities is exploring the city’s charming architecture. Old Port, the heart of Portland, has cobblestone streets to walk on as you explore the shopping area and take in the old buildings. Make sure to stop by The Holy Donut for a sweet treat!

While there are many outdoor experiences you can explore, you cannot miss a visit to the Portland Head Light! This iconic lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in America. You can follow the trails to the cliffs and view Casco bay or walk down to the beach and dip your toes in the water. The wind can be a bit breezy here, so you’ll want to dress in layers in case you get cold.

Another great thing to do in Portland is to eat some delicious seafood. The city is right along the coast, so numerous seafood dishes are available! Head to The Portland Lobster Company for a Lobster roll or J’s Oyster for their steamed clams.

To make the most of your long weekend, book a stay in or near Old Port, where everything is generally within walking distance. Hyatt Place-Old Port is an excellent option for accommodations in Portland. You can walk to the shopping center, museums, and metro train stations within 10-minutes.

With so much to see and do, Portland, Maine, is an enchanting city, and your first visit will make you want to go back!

Photo by Pafoua at Her Wonderful World

2. Boston, Massachusetts

Samantha from PAonPause

Boston is an excellent destination for a long weekend in the USA. There is so much to do in the city. While you can never get to everything in a city as large as Boston, a long weekend is a great way to make a dent in your Boston bucket list.

History buffs will love taking in the historic landmarks along the Freedom Trail. Sports enthusiasts can’t pass up a behind-the-scenes tour of Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in major league baseball.

Take in a game at the park if you visit when the Red Sox are at home. Explore the beautiful Public Garden and watch the swan boats float around the pond. Make sure that you enjoy fresh seafood while visiting the city.

Grab a lobster roll at Row 34 or traditional Irish fare at Mr. O’Dooley’s Downtown. Grab a slice of the original Boston Cream Pie from the Omni Parker House for dessert.

After exploring Downtown’s touristy things, get out and explore some other neighborhoods. Check out the art scene in the South End or mingle with the academics in Cambridge.

Stay at the conveniently located Whitney Hotel and access complimentary bikes to explore the city.

Photo by Samantha of PAonPause

3. Provincetown, Massachusetts

Samantha from The New England Wanderlust

One of the best coastal destinations in New England for a long weekend is Provincetown. Provincetown is located on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. As one of the bigger towns in this region, it has everything from countless restaurants to fantastic nightlife and stunning beaches. Still, it maintains a small-town feel that’s more than manageable for a weekend getaway.

One of the best things to do in Provincetown is to visit one of the sandy beaches at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach are two of the most beautiful in the area and are perfect for both lazy days in the sand and romantic sunsets. 

For some of the best seafood in Provincetown, head to the famous Lobster Pot for a lobster roll. And you don’t want to miss strolling down Commercial Street, which is one of the East Coast’s most exciting Main Street experiences. This 3-mile-long stretch in the heart of town is packed with unique shops, restaurants, cabarets, and art galleries.

Provincetown makes for an effortless long weekend from Boston, even if you don’t have a car. There’s a direct ferry from Boston to the center of Provincetown; from there, you can walk everywhere. 

One of the best places to stay in Provincetown for a long weekend trip is the cozy Clarendon House B&B, just a few blocks from the heart of Commercial Street. From here, you can walk everywhere and enjoy amenities like a complimentary breakfast each day, a saltwater pool, and a rooftop deck.

Photo by Samantha from The New England Wanderlust

4. Austin, Texas

Victoria from Texas Travel 365

If you want one of the best weekend getaways in the USA, you can’t beat Austin, Texas. 

After all, this magical city is known for a funky live music scene that features some of the country’s best up-and-coming blues and rock music. 

So, check out The Continental Club, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, and Stubb’s BBQ to enjoy the best music in the city. 

Austin’s location is also home to many parks where you can hike, bike, swim, and boat until your heart’s content. 

In particular, Ziker Park is great since it’s home to Barton Springs, a gorgeous natural spring where you can swim all year since the water stays at 70F.

Otherwise, if you time your visit between March and November, you can see a colony of 1.5 million bats emerge nightly from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge as they look for food. 

However, if you’re not into bats, you can always tour the Texas Capitol Building before embarking on a ghost tour of the many haunted restaurants, hotels, and stores in the area. 

Finally, don’t leave Austin without indulging in a decadent breakfast at 1886 Cafe and Bakery. This place is known for serving up the most Instagram-worthy breakfast in Austin since they offer a Texas Shaped Pecan Waffle that is generously adorned with bananas, fresh berries, pecans, whipped cream, and more. 

Then, when you need to unwind after enjoying all that delicious food, spend the weekend at the Austin Hotel, which has a series of fun rooms that pay homage to the place’s historical past.

Photo by Victoria from Texas Travel 365

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

Mallory from Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

New Orleans is the perfect spot for you to take a long weekend. You can always find a party or a festival in New Orleans. However, coming here for a long weekend is perfect for a foodie getaway.

While in New Orleans, you can eat to your heart’s content while exploring different neighborhoods like the French Quarter, Garden District, or Warehouse District.

There are many free things to do, but while in New Orleans, you should try to go on a local swamp or cemetery tour. 

Many restaurants and businesses are closed on Monday, which makes it the perfect day to fly or road trip back home. 

The Warehouse District is the best spot to spend a long weekend, and you should look into booking with The Old 77 Hotel is steps away from the French Quarter.

new orleans labor day6
Photo By Mallory of Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

6. Savannah, Georgia

Mallory from Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

Savannah, Georgia, is known for its beauty, architecture, and fun. You can easily squeeze in many of the sights and tastes of Savannah in a long weekend trip. Centrally located on the east coast, Savannah is an accessible destination for most of the country.

While in Savannah, make sure you hit up the Prohibition museum, take a walking or trolly tour, and enjoy all the sights of the city. For food, you cannot go wrong with eating at The Old Pink House Restaurant.

On the weekends, the famous spots of Savannah can get packed with tourists and bachelorette parties but do not let this deter you from planning a vacation over a long weekend. 

The Staybridge Suites is the perfect place to stay if you need extra space and free breakfast within walking distance of some major attractions.

Photo By Mallory of Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

7. Atlanta, Georgia

Jillian from Adventure Dragon

There’s so much to do during a long weekend in Atlanta. Often called the “City in a Forest,” Atlanta is full of opportunities for enjoying nature and the outdoors.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the unique places to visit. It’s known for its 20-foot-tall botanical sculptures of dragons, mermaids, and other fantastical creatures that make great photo souvenirs.

At Piedmont Park, located next door to the gardens, you can get lost in the quiet solitude of over 200 acres of forest, even though the park is in the middle of Atlanta’s busiest neighborhoods.

For outstanding aerial views of the city, head to SkyView Atlanta and ride the 20-story-tall Ferris wheel that overlooks downtown. You’ll also find the largest aquarium in the United States in downtown Atlanta-the Georgia Aquarium.

If you’re a film lover, you’ll love that Georgia is number one for feature films produced in the United States, surpassing even California since 2016. Atlanta is the primary filming location for popular shows such as The Walking Dead and Stranger Things, and you can even opt to book a film tour to visit popular film sets showcased in these programs.

For a unique dining experience, eat inside the famous skull-shaped building at the Vortex in Little Five Points. Stay Downtown at the Marriott Marquis within walking distance to MARTA–Atlanta’s subway system. The inside of the hotel looks like a spaceship and was recently featured in Marvel’s Loki TV series.

Jillian from Adventure Dragon

8. 30A in Florida

Roshni from The Wanderlust Within

One of the best places in the US for a long weekend has to be 30A in Northwest Florida. This coastal destination has 26 miles of powdery white sand beaches and crystal clear emerald green waters, but surprisingly it is still a hidden gem!

The area comprises 16 different beach communities with personalities, but each suits a particular type of person, from adventurers to foodies and art lovers.

During a long weekend, it is advised to visit as many of the neighborhoods as possible and take part in the different activities such as kayaking on the coastal dune lakes, doing a cycle tour of the art and sculptures dotted around the destination, cocktail-making at the local vodka distillery, and visiting the studios of famous local artists such as Justin Gaffrey. 

Food and drink lovers should visit Hotel Effie for its rooftop cocktails and Ovide for its fine dining. If you want something more casual, head to Airstream Row in Seaside, and grab some street food.

One of the best places to stay in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. It has villas, hotels, and apartments, so it is suitable for any group size or budget, and there are golf buggies throughout the resort to help you get around.

Photo by Roshni The Wanderlust Within

9. New York City, New York

Lanie from Make More Adventures

New York City is a fun place no matter how long you have to spend, and it is the perfect location to enjoy a long weekend.

While there are so many things to do in NYC that you wouldn’t be able to see them all in a year, much less a weekend, first-time visitors can easily see the highlights in a long weekend, and return visitors can focus on the less touristy locations or even focus on a specific area of the city.

A long weekend in New York City is enough to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, stroll through Central Park, and explore Greenwich Village. The city is open late so that visitors can see more.

Nighttime in NYC is perfect for attending a Broadway show, viewing the city from the top of the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, or enjoying the bright lights of Times Square. Some museums are even open late on certain nights.

Even if it is your first visit to NYC, get out of midtown and explore the neighborhoods. Tours allow you to see a lot quickly, and food tours are a fun way to learn about an area while trying delicious items from various restaurants and bakeries.

Stay at the Crosby Street Hotel in SOHO. The hotel is close to multiple subway stations and is surrounded by delicious restaurants and unique shops. SOHO is within walking distance of many attractions, and staying there ensures you see more of NYC than the typical attractions.

Photo By Lanie from Make More Adventures

10. Charleston, South Carolina

Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey

Charleston, South Carolina, is a perfect place to spend a long weekend in the USA. Charleston has a lot of charm, and its architecture and parks will captivate you. There is also a lot of history in the city, and you can learn about it on walking tours and by visiting museums.

One attraction that is not to be missed is Fort Sumter. It is accessible by boat, and the ride takes about 30 minutes. Once you arrive and dock, you’re greeted by a National Park Service Ranger. They can give you a quick rundown of the ruins and the events there.

There are also many fun and unique places to eat in Charleston. A new favorite is Little Palm Bar. It was recently voted one of the best bars in America by Esquire. The bar and seating areas are fun and vibrant, with bright pinks and greens. It also has a great cocktail menu and seasonal, ingredient-driven dishes.

Another great eatery is Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on Upper King. They have the best biscuits in town! They have different sandwiches and biscuits, so you can mix and match them to make yourself the perfect breakfast.

The Andrew Pinckney Inn is excellent for your weekend stay in Charleston. This restored boutique hotel is in the heart of the historic district and offers a complimentary breakfast on the rooftop terrace.

Photo by Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey

11. Washington DC

Victoria from Guide your Travel 

Washington, DC, is the perfect city for a weekend trip in the US, especially for a special occasion or long weekend. No trip to DC is complete without visiting the National Mall.

Visit the Washington Monument, walk along the grassy lawns, and maybe even have a quick picnic if the weather is nice. You’ll also see the Lincoln Memorial, which can get very busy mid-day or on weekends, so make sure to arrive early.

With plenty of other cultural activities to choose from in Washington, DC, your weekend trip will be one to remember. For a change, visit the Eastern Market, where you’ll find fresh produce and delicious snacks and specialties to try.

Don’t miss out on the National Gallery of Art, one of the most renowned museums in the United States and attracts millions of visitors annually.

Stay at Hotel Harrington, which has a central location close to the Capitol and all the best museums.

Finish off your long weekend by seeing the White House, which can only be seen from the outside but is still well worth a visit.

A long weekend in Washington, DC, is a great way to learn about America’s history and see some of the most important monuments in the country.

Photo By Victoria from Guide your Travel 

12. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Amber from Amber Everywhere

Philadelphia is a great and underrated destination for a long weekend. It is just a few hours from New York City and Philadelphia, with a little bit of everything, from history to cultural landmarks to iconic foods.

One weekend, you can easily visit the Liberty Bell and see its trademark crack, then head into Center City and explore the Italian Market.

Stop at K’Far Cafe for some baked treats and incredible coffee before making your way to Love Park and Rittenhouse Square.

Climb the famous steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, then wander inside for a day of culture and exploration. The nearby Barnes Foundation is an excellent stop for even more artwork, with paintings stacked high in each gallery room.

Finish off the day with a delicious cocktail at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, a speakeasy on Latimer Street. 

Try local foods in Philadelphia; it’s one of the best parts of traveling. Philadelphia is known for its Philly pretzels – soft pretzels served with mustard. Similarly, see if you can find some Amish pretzels, which are soft pretzels made with plenty of butter and served with sweet mustard. Another classic Philly dish is a cheesesteak from Pat’s or Geno’s, and finish it with water ice from John’s Water Ice.

Stay at the ROOST Rittenhouse, a lovely spot with modern decor close to City Hall and Rittenhouse Square.

Photo by Amber from Amber Everywhere

13. San Diego, California

Kristin from Global Travel Escapades

One place that is never a wrong choice for a long weekend trip is sunny San Diego. The Southern California beach town experiences enviable weather year-round and presents visitors with sweeping views of California’s famous coastline.

On top of this, San Diego is known for its fantastic surf opportunities that cater to everyone. Everyone can enjoy one of the many beaches, from professionals to complete newbies, and surf some of the city’s perfect waves.

However, if getting your feet sandy doesn’t interest you, consider doing an easy hike at Torrey Pines State Park. Multiple trails wrap around the bluffs of the state park and offer you stunning views. You may even spot a dolphin or two swimming if you keep a close lookout.

When you’re ready to grab a bite to eat, head to downtown San Diego. You’ll find an assortment of eateries, bars, and cozy spots. Some popular neighborhoods include Little Italy, the Gaslamp district, and Pacific beach!

All in all, if you’re ready to plan your trip to San Diego, be sure to check out the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. It’s located right on the harbor and less than a 15-minute drive from the international airport!

Photo by Kristin from Global Travel Escapades

14. Las Vegas, Nevada

Alanna from Periodic Adventures

If you have a long weekend and are looking for a domestic getaway, Las Vegas is one of the most fun destinations!

Located just a 4-5 hour drive from Los Angeles and Phoenix, Las Vegas is an excellent destination whether you like to party or not.

On the way there, stop by Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation in the middle of the Nevada desert that features seven pillars of stacked boulders painted in bright, neon colors.

When you arrive in Vegas, you’ll be overwhelmed with incredible things to do.

Visit one of the well-curated themed museums like the Avengers STATION or the Titanic Exhibition. See one of the fantastic Cirque du Soleil shows, like Ka at MGM Grand or the Beatles LOVE show at the Mirage. Even free activities like the Bellagio fountain show and their indoor botanic garden, the Conservatory, change seasonally.

Don’t just stay on the Strip, though, because Las Vegas has so much more to offer.

Visit Red Rock Canyon for a beautiful scenic drive, the Neon Museum to see a collection of old Vegas signs, and Fremont Street, the original Downtown, for historic casinos and a free light show.

Las Vegas has some of the best food in the US, so you can’t go wrong. Bruxie is a delicious chicken and waffle joint. You can try famous foods around the US, like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Tacos El Gordo.

There are many great hotels in Vegas, but one of the best is Harrah’s Hotel and Casino because of its stellar location, inexpensive rooms, and free parking for hotel guests, unlike MGM properties.

by Alanna from Periodic Adventures

15. Seattle, Washington

Tabitha from Travel Compositions

Seattle is a fantastic city for a long weekend getaway. The weather is temperate all year round, multiple modes of accessible public transportation, and views of Mt Rainier, the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains are unparalleled.

With a long weekend, you can crank out the touristy activities and still have time for hidden gems. First, take a food tour in Pike Place Market, face your fear of heights on the glass bottom floors of the Space Needle, and ride an Argosy Cruise through the Ballard locks.  

Then climb an old water tower in Volunteer Park for a complimentary 360-degree view of Seattle and beyond, find the fluffiest donuts at Despi Delite’s Bakery in Beacon Hill, or rent a paddle board on Green Lake with lunch afterward at Bongos for Cuban sandwiches and sand literally between your toes. 

Nightlife activities could include a pro sports all-game at the stadiums, a catchy musical at 5th Ave or the Paramount theatres, or finding delicious cocktails at a speakeasy-like Bathtub & Gin.

To mix it up, get out of the city for the day by walking onto the 30min ferry and exploring Bainbridge Island, taking the Trailhead Direct bus into the Cascades for summer hiking, or boarding the Clipper for whale watching in the Salish Sea.

Stay in the boutique hotel, Inn at the Market, right in the heart of Pike Place, with a relaxing deluxe water view room.

Photos by Tabitha from Travel Compositions

16. Portland, Oregon

Gabriel from Chef Travel Guide

A trip to Portland offers enough fun and tasty treats to keep you entertained and full for a fun-filled long weekend. 

Portland is one of the best food cities in America, with a vast range of restaurants for every taste.

The best way to experience the heart and soul of the culinary scene is to visit several food cart pods that offer everything from Thai Khao Man Gai to Chinese Jian Bing savory crepes.

Portland was also selected as the best pizza city in America in 2021.

For the bookworms, Powell’s City of books on the edge of the Pearl District is the world’s largest independent bookstore. You can spend hours perusing through the multiple floors that take up an entire city block.

Portland and its surrounding natural areas reward those that like a good walk or a hike.

While in the city, trek across the Willamette River on one of Portland’s iconic bridges, or take a long stroll in Washington Park. 

The perfect place to stay in the city is The Benson, which is in the heart of the town and is within walking distance to Downtown, the Pearl District.

The city of Portland is a perfect escape for a long weekend where you can hike the Columbia River Gorge for a close-up of the Multnomah Falls by day and take in the city’s epic craft beer scene by night.

This destination-worthy city is jam-packed with endless fun, food, and recreation options.

Photo by Gabriel of Chef Travel Guide

17. Phoenix, Arizona

JJ from The Minivan Bucket List  

Phoenix is probably best known for its unbearably hot summers. Still, the temperature drops in the winter to an idyllic 60s and 70s, making it one of the best places to visit in the United States for anyone looking for a long weekend.

There is no shortage of exciting things to do in Phoenix. For sports lovers, not only do you have the red-hot Phoenix Suns (who made it to the 2021 NBA Finals), but you also have spring training tournaments for Major League Baseball, and the Phoenix metro area is home to over 200 golf courses.

No visit to the Phoenix area is complete without seeing the famous symbol of the Arizona desert – the giant saguaro cactus. Hole-in-the-Rock in Tempe and Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa are the best places for desert hikes in the cooler weather to see the saguaro.

All those cacti will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the Old West, so top off your long weekend in Phoenix with a visit to the Goldfield Ghost Town.

In keeping with the theme, check out a stay at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, an artfully-designed hotel with a western desert vibe.  

JJ from The Minivan Bucket List  

18. Los Angeles, California

Karen from Travel Mad Mum

Los Angeles has to be one of the most iconic places in the world regarding the hall of fame and iconic movie scenes. It’s a fantastic place to visit if you want a lively destination with many fun factors. 

No trip to LA is complete without a stroll along the walk of fame. It’s an experience. There is so much going on along the walk. Generally, it’s always busy with crowds, buskers, and chaos is thrown in for good measure! If you are interested in the history of the walk, there are a 2 hours guided tour! 

Head to Venice Beach for a stroll along the palm tree-lined boardwalk. Aside from the opportunity to surf or top up on a tan, there are many fantastic restaurants and cafes to discover in the area. Venice Beach is well known for its Bohemian Vibes, with incredible mosaics to find around town. 

Disneyland or Universal Studios could be an option for a more action-packed day. A day at one of the theme parks requires a little more planning to ensure you get the most out of it in a day. A fast pass is always a great way to get around the park quickly!

The perfect restaurant to escape the chaos of the city is Yamashiro Restaurant. On top of a hill overlooking the city, sunset is an ideal time to book a table. The restaurant is around a pond, serving exquisite Japanese food with the town’s backdrop. It is relaxed and tranquil! They also have great cocktails to round off a long weekend in LA!

Stay at The Hilton Garden Inn, Hollywood. It is ideally located to visit many famous places in LA! Not to mention the hotel offers views of the iconic Hollywood sign. 

Photo by Karen from Travel Mad Mum

19. San Francisco, California

Mallory from Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

Spending a long weekend in San Francisco is a great way to spend a holiday. There are so many things to do in San Francisco that a long weekend might not seem enough, but you can scratch off a few bucket list items in just three short days. 

When Exploring San Francisco, make sure you plan what you want to see – The Golden Gate Bridge, Sea Lions, and cement slides are some of my favorite places to go while visiting San Francisco over a long weekend.

While you are there on a Saturday, make sure you stop by the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market and get a Porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti – you will thank me later.  

Make sure you stay at the Beacon Grand, A Union Square Hotel, to be in walking distance of almost everything.

Porchetta Sandwich from Roli Roti
Mallory from Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

20. Paso Robles, California

Anu of Destination Checkoff

Paso Robles in Central California has all the small-town charm but is big on the list of things to do for a perfect long weekend getaway. Paso Robles is a wine country with more than 200 vineyards and wineries.

Paso Robles enjoys excellent weather year-round, with mild winters. It is around a 2 to 3 hours drive from northern and southern California, making it perfect for visiting during the long weekends.  

A visit to Sensorio Field of Lights must be included in any Paso Robles itinerary. Sensorio is a unique outdoor art and light masterpiece by artist Bruce Munro over the Paso Robles landscape.

Seeing thousands of illuminating colorful light spheres is a feast for the senses! Paso Robles has several vineyards to explore, like Tooth and Nail Winery, Sculpterra Winery, and Sculpture Garden. 

Paso Robles has a very charming downtown area centered around the City park. There are several wine-tasting rooms, art galleries, and olive oil-tasting shops!

Studios in the park is a great art gallery and studio that features works of local artists. The City park has a historic library museum that displays the history of Paso Robles town.

Paso Robles is also known for its rejuvenating mineral hot springs. Morro Beach and Pismo beach are only 45 minute’s drive for a half-day trip to the beach. 

Historic Paso Robles Inn is a great place to stay in downtown Paso Robles as you can walk to several restaurants, wine-tasting rooms, and the City Park. 

Photo by Anu of Destination Checkoff

21. Santa Barbara, California

Jenifer from The Evolista

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city on the California coast with plenty of fun things to do for a long weekend. Start by taking a stroll down State Street for some shopping and lunch.

Explore one of the city’s many museums or stop by the Mission. End your day with a sunset kayak tour and dinner at Stearns Wharf.

For those who love nature, Santa Barbara is home to a zoo, a botanic garden, and many beaches where you can enjoy a little fun in the sun.

Arroyo Burro Beach Park is great for families, Leadbetter Beach is great for activities, and beautiful Butterfly Beach in nearby Montecito is the spot for relaxation.

A long weekend in Santa Barbara will allow you to take advantage of the many possible day trips. Try Ojai, a small town with stunning scenery and great shopping and dining options.

Cachuma Lake, one of the best lakes in Southern California, is ideal for those who want to enjoy some time on the water, with plenty of fishing, hiking, and picnicking options. And Solvang is a charming Danish village perfect for a day of exploring and wine tasting. 

No matter what your interests are, Santa Barbara is sure to have something that will make your long weekend getaway perfect.

Santa Barbara Inn is a beautiful resort property with spacious ocean-view rooms and a pool. The convenient location is a 2-minute walk from the beach.

Photo by Jenifer from The Evolista

22. Salt Lake City, Utah

Candice from CS Ginger 

Salt Lake City may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a long weekend getaway, but this underrated city has plenty to offer. From outdoor adventures in nearby national parks to unique cultural experiences, Salt Lake City offers something for every kind of traveler.

One of the city’s biggest draws is its proximity to stunning national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches. Visitors can easily plan day trips to hike and explore these breathtaking landscapes.

In addition to outdoor activities, Salt Lake City also boasts a thriving arts scene. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts features rotating exhibitions and a notable collection of Native American art.

Another fun thing to do in Salt Lake City is visit the historic Temple Square, home to the world-famous Choir at Temple Square and enjoy local craft beer at any of the city’s many breweries.

There are lots of great places to eat in Salt Lake City. Two of the best places to eat in Salt Lake City are The Red Iguana and The Greek Place.

The Red Iguana is a local favorite for Mexican food, and The Greek Place is an excellent option for Mediterranean cuisine. Both restaurants offer delicious food and excellent service, making them perfect for a long weekend in Salt Lake City.

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City is an excellent option for a hotel in Salt Lake City. This stylish hotel offers comfortable rooms and a prime location in the city’s heart. The hotel also features a great bar, stunning cityscape views, and nearby mountains.

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23. Chicago, Illinois

Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter

Chicago is a great city to visit on a long weekend getaway. Try to spend at least a three-day weekend in Chicago, but there are plenty of things to see and do if you have more time.

Must-do activities in the city include taking an architecture river cruise, trying the deep-dish pizza, and stopping by The Bean in Millennium Park for a quick photo.

Chicago has many incredible indoor attractions that visitors can enjoy year-round. Spend time at one of Chicago’s many excellent museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry. Enjoy panoramic views above at the Skydeck at Willis Tower or 360 Chicago. Other places worth visiting include the Chicago Cultural Center, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Adler Planetarium.

If visiting when the weather is pleasant, you can enjoy the city’s many outdoor attractions and activities, including walking or biking along the lakefront trail, spending time on the beach and the lake, hanging out at the Chicago Riverwalk, visiting Buckingham Fountain, riding the giant Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, outdoor dining on a patio or rooftop and relaxing at the city’s many parks and green spaces.

Stay at LondonHouse Chicago for the fantastic city and river views.

Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter

24. Denver, Colorado

Agnes from The Van Escape

Denver is an excellent place for a long weekend because you can plan different activities depending on your interests. 

First, it is a perfect starting point for a Colorado road trip.

From Denver to Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountains National Park is only 64 miles by car. Depending on your needs, you can spend one or more days in the Rocky Mountains. If you have a day, start your trip early in the morning and drive into the park on Bear Lake Road. This part offers fabulous scenery and easy hikes with breathtaking views. Bear Lake Trail, Sparque Lake Trail, and Bierstadt Lake Trail are best. The area is full of wildlife.

When visiting Denver, do not miss the Colorado State Capitol, topped by a gilded 250-foot dome. You’ll get a fantastic view of the city’s impressive skyline and the Front Range from the observation deck. Be sure to stroll through Larimer Square with its well-restored Civil War-era buildings.

A great pedestrian mall with boutiques and restaurants can be found on the 16th Street Mall. If you like flowers, visit the Denver Botanic Garden, one of the most extensive botanical gardens in the United States. You can admire impressive dinosaur skeletons at the Museum of Nature and Science. If you prefer arts and cultural events, you should include the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Denver Art Museum in your itinerary.

A fabulous attraction near Denver with great hiking trails is Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This is a perfect idea as a day trip from Denver. It is excellent to combine the trip with the Manitou Cliff Dwellings with its fascinating architecture of ancient cliff dwellers.

Denver has a wide choice of accommodations to suit all budgets. Comfort Suites Near Denver Downtown offers the perfect location and comfortable rooms.

Agnes from The Van Escape

25. Glacier National Park, Montana

Jessica of Up Rooted Traveler

If you’re looking for a long weekend getaway filled with outdoor adventures, look no further than Montana’s Glacier National Park, which is the Crown Jewel of the Continent. 

Glacier offers everything from wildlife viewing to world-class hiking and family-friendly adventures, so spending weeks in the park would be easy. You can pack plenty of the highlights in just three days!

Carve out time to explore the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile road that snakes through some of the most dramatic vistas in the Rockies, taking you past ancient glaciers, alpine lakes, and fields of wildflowers. Kick your road trip up a notch by checking out any hiking trails along the route, like the Hidden Lake Overlook (an excellent place to spot some mountain goats) or the iconic Highline Loop, which arguably provides some of the most jaw-dropping vistas in the park.

Suppose you need to give your legs a rest from all that hiking, head to the Polebridge section of the park, where you can pick up some tasty baked goods from Polebridge Mercantile, a rustic general store that’s been in operation since 1914. Grab a beer next door at the quirky Northern Lights Saloon, housed in a log cabin built in 1916 that still does not have electricity.

To make the most of your long weekend in Glacier, visiting the park from July through September is best due to the heavy snowfall the park receives the rest of the year.

Photo by Jessica of Up Rooted Traveler

26. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a great place to enjoy a long weekend in the United States. There are many excellent things to do in Milwaukee to suit any interest.

Enjoy Milwaukee’s Germanic heritage with a visit to Old World 3rd Street for some favorite local dishes like bratwurst, fried cheese curds (and maybe a local beer). Afterward, stroll along the Riverwalk and check out the public artworks such as the ‘Bronz Fonz.’

Feel like visiting a museum? There are many great ones to choose from, including the Milwaukee Art Museum. This fine arts museum is an architectural wonder featuring the Burke Brise Soleil’ wings’ that can open and close. Stop by the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum or the lakefront science museum, Discovery World.

Spend some time enjoying the outdoors by visiting one of Milwaukee’s many parks, or even dip your toes into the surprisingly chilly Lake Michigan at Bradford Beach. Take a trip to the Mitchell Park Domes, a unique botanical garden. The domes contain flora from different climates – one is filled with desert species, and another with rainforest plants. 

There are also plenty of entertainment options in Milwaukee, whether you prefer to catch a show at one of the city’s many theaters or whether attending a major-league ball game is your idea of fun.

You’ll want to stay at the Plaza Hotel, which is centrally located between Lake Michigan and the downtown Riverwalk. The rooms feature kitchenettes for added convenience during your long weekend.

Photo by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

27. Columbus, Ohio

Linda of Midwest Explored

Easily one of the best long weekend getaways in the USA, Columbus, Ohio is an incredibly underrated city known for Scioto Mile. 

It’s an assortment of greenspaces that sit on either side of the Scioto River and feature a wealth of trails and a giant interactive fountain for visitors to enjoy. 

Next, add a visit to the planetarium at the COSI science center to your trip before experiencing European paintings and an incredible sculpture garden at the Columbus Museum of Art. 

You can also stop by The Book Loft, with its charming shelves of books, before grabbing a delicious coffee next door at Stauf’s. 

Feel free to grab your coffee and relax on the patio here so you can take in the ambiance of Columbus’ famous German Village. 

You also cannot leave Columbus without stopping by Buckeye Donuts. It’s a fantastic 24-hour donut/breakfast place known for its Buckeye Donuts or chocolate frosted yeast donuts with peanut butter in the middle!! 

Otherwise, you can always grab some delicious brunch at Hang Over Easy before indulging in an epic craft beer at Knotty Pine Brewery.

And when you’re exhausted after checking out all the best things to do in Columbus, Ohio, book a room at the elegant Hotel LeVeque in the downtown area. It’s a wonderfully refined hotel that expertly combines historic grandeur with modern service.

Photo by Linda of Midwest Explored

28. Cincinnati, Ohio

Sydney from A World in Reach

If you’re planning a getaway and looking for a city with plenty of things to do and a great food scene, consider spending a weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Spend at least one day exploring Cincinnati’s Downtown. The downtown area is compact, making it easy to explore on foot.

One of the top attractions in Downtown Cincinnati is Smale Riverfront Park. The park features walking paths that offer great views of Downtown Cincinnati and the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

Downtown is home to various museums, like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Contemporary Arts Center. Downtown, you’ll also find the homes of the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals, the city’s MLB and NFL teams.

Over-the-Rhine is another excellent area to explore in Cincinnati. This historic neighborhood was once home to many German immigrants who shaped the area into what it is today.

You’ll find beautiful architecture, unique shops, great bars and restaurants, and Findlay Market when exploring the neighborhood. For a great dinner spot in OTR, check out The Eagle before heading to one of the neighborhood’s breweries.

Cincinnati’s most famous attraction is none other than the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo has won many awards and is considered one of the best in the country. Don’t miss seeing Fiona the Hippo, the zoo’s most famous resident.

The 21C Museum + Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Cincinnati. The boutique hotel + art museum combo is located Downtown, within walking distance from many attractions.

Photo by Sydney from A World in Reach

29. Louisville, Kentucky

Sarah from Mukikapup’s Travels

Louisville, Kentucky, is a perfect destination for a long weekend getaway. Not only will you not be able to run out of things to do, but you can also spend the weekend soaking up all the distilleries and breweries, go on the Urban Bourbon Trail, and take amazing photos!

You can drive or fly to the Muhammed Ali Airport (there’s also a museum dedicated to the famous boxer). Other museums include the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, an old Victorian mansion; the Louisville Slugger Museum; Roots 101 African American Museum; the Speed Art Museum; and the Frazier Kentucky History Museum. 

There is also a museum at Churchill Downs about the Kentucky Derby. The Derby takes place annually on the first Sunday in May, and festivities begin two weeks in advance, so you can experience them if you’re visiting during that time. Go to Wagner’s Pharmacy, across the street, for breakfast (during the Derby, many famous people eat there, too)!

Beyond all these things, you can hang out Downtown and see the painted horses, walk along the Ohio River to see the steamboats and take in the fantastic sunset at Waterfront Park, visit Old Louisville with the most Victorian houses in the world, and go to the NuLu neighborhood (“New Louisville”). Make sure to eat the mutton barbecue (it’s just in a higher league than pork).

Stay at the historic Grady Hotel in the Market District if you want to soak up all the Louisville vibes truly.

30. Asheville, North Carolina

Kyleen from The Bonnie Traveler

Asheville is the perfect weekend getaway to relax and inspire you. Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville boasts some of the most spectacular mountain views east of the Mississippi.

Asheville is only an hour’s drive to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern US, along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville also has plenty of beautiful mountain and waterfall hiking trails for you to enjoy the outdoors. When you are in Asheville, take some time to learn about the city’s rich history and culture by strolling along the Urban Trail.

The 1.7-mile walk leads you past 30 statues, markers, or important buildings or sites that give you a glimpse into Asheville’s past and present.

Asheville’s main tourist attraction is the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home, built in the late 1890s in the French Renaissance chateau design. It is not to be missed during a weekend visit.

Tour the historic house and formal gardens, then enjoy the shops and restaurants in Antler Hill, along with a complimentary wine tasting at the winery.

Asheville’s food scene is pretty amazing. There are too many mouthwatering restaurants to count. Still, a few of my favorites are Chai Pani Indian Street food for a spicy takeout lunch, Jettie Rae’s Oyster House for a sumptuous dinner, and to satisfy your sweet tooth, do not miss Vortex Doughnuts and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

For an indulgent experience, book your stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn, where you can enjoy a luxury spa day or world-class golfing.

Kyleen from The Bonnie Traveler

31. Grand Canyon 

James Ian from Parks Collecting 

Grand Canyon National Park is the perfect long weekend getaway. There are several options for getting to the Grand Canyon, including flying, driving, and even taking the train! Most people visit the South Rim because it is the most accessible, and there is so much to see and do in and around Grand Canyon Village.  

Of course, there are dozens of viewpoints where you can spend hours staring at the scenery and admiring the incredible grandeur of one of the Seven Wonders of The Natural World. However, it is worth hiking below the rim to see its enormity from another perspective. Hike down Bright Angel Trail as far as Indian Garden (or turn back sooner if you prefer) or down to the aptly-named Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail. 

For a break from hiking, enjoy other South Rim highlights, including learning about the canyon’s creation at the Yavapai Geological Museum; walking the Trail of Time; cycling along the greenways, or taking a mule ride through a ponderosa pine forest to a canyon overlook. More leisurely activities include driving to Desert View Watchtower; admiring the enormous fireplace at Hermit’s Rest or the Geologic Fireplace at Bright Angel Lodge; enjoying a gourmet dinner in the classic dining room at the El Tovar Hotel; and stocking up on souvenirs at the store in the historic Hopi House. 

If you still have time left over, a scenic flight in a small plane or helicopter over the canyon is hard to beat! 

There are several places to stay in Grand Canyon Village. For a long weekend splurge, I recommend El Tovar. It’s one of the iconic national park lodges and is perched right on the edge of the south rim.  

James Ian from Parks Collecting 

32. Nashville, Tennessee

Tori from Tori Pines Travels

Nashville, Tennessee, is the best city to visit for a long weekend in the USA. It’s centrally located within the country and has an airport servicing 22 airlines and almost 600 flights daily. This means it will be easy to get here practically anywhere in the United States.

Once you arrive, you’ll be overwhelmed with impressive things to do during the weekend. Of course, Nashville is known for being “Music City,” but there’s so much more to it.

If you want to experience the music culture in Nashville, start the weekend by touring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but be sure to add a ticket to Studio B. The museum is large and interactive, but the studio tour is the real gem! So many incredible musicians have recorded here, including Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, and more.

You could spend your evenings at a Honky Tonk on Broadway, but you’ll probably prefer to book a table at the famous Bluebird Cafe instead. Just make sure to buy tickets the minute they go on sale! It’s an intimate place with delicious food and drinks and a fantastic show. The acts are small, up-and-coming artists who may become the next star! Taylor Swift and many others started here at the Bluebird.

For the non-music lovers, fill the weekend by going to a Predators or Titans game. Or, spend the afternoon at Arrington Vineyards, just 30 minutes outside town. It’s one of the best places for wine in Nashville. Then enjoy some of Nashville’s best restaurants like Prince’s Hot Chicken, Acme Feed & Seed, and Moto.

Unwind each evening at the Graduate Nashville, a trendy and eclectic hotel downtown. It’s beautifully decorated, easy to get to, and features a Dolly Parton-themed rooftop bar. It doesn’t get better than that for a long weekend in the USA!

Photo by Tori from Tori Pines Travels

Best Places to take a long weekend in the USA

I hope you enjoyed this series of The Best places to take a long weekend in the United States of America. If you are looking for more road trip ideas, look no further than this blog post about all the beautiful road trips in the USA

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