Long weekend ideas for a quick summer adventure
Mastering the art of the long weekend works best when you know what you’d like to get out of your vacation. With a week-long getaway, you can leave the daily schedule open and flexible to explore, but with only 72 hours of leeway, it’s wise to go with an intention (and probably a rough itinerary too). This can range from wanting to visit a historic region with guided tours and museum visits to needing a destination where you can fully disconnect from your devices. Creating these types of travel themes based on what you like the most will make choosing a location exploratory and personalized – kind of like being your own travel agent.
Since you’ll only be working a few days, you can cross off any remote destinations that would take too long to travel. Instead, keep it simple and straightforward by focusing on the United States, where even a short flight can transport you somewhere new and immersive. From the restaurant-studded streets of New Orleans to the peaceful forests of Colorado, you’re spoiled for choice right here in the United States. Ahead, nine long weekend ideas to kick-start your planning.
For an off-grid wilderness cabin: Crested Butte, Colorado
If the M/O of your long weekend is to unplug and relax, a cabin tucked away in the woods and off the grid should make your ears prick up. Colorado, with its fragrant trees and towering granite cliffs, is top-notch country and thanks to the central location of Denver International Airport, getting to the many scenic areas of the state is as easy as to rent a car and go out into nature. Taylor River Lodge is located on the outskirts of Crested Butte and was once a general store for fishing and tackle, but now houses an eight cabin private retreat. There, try your hand at fishing in the stocked trout pond or stay at the lodge with a steamer and soak in the bathhouse and s’mores around the fire pit. A few hours north in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, you can book a rustic log cabin at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa and enjoy an authentic ranch experience with activities like horseback riding, fly fishing, zip line and mountain biking. But if it’s a cottage rental you’re after, opt for this architecturally stunning home set on 160 acres. Majestic mountain views can be enjoyed on the cabin’s screened porch and there’s even a large soaking tub for two. Bonus: The property is fully solar powered.
For sunny afternoons by the sea: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Summer days spent by the sea are good for the soul. Bright sunshine, salty skin, the smell of sunscreen and crashing waves nearby – an unbeatable sensory combination. Rather than heading to the beach for an afternoon, make it a multi-day excursion to slowly soak up the beauty. Nantucket is a small island located about 30 miles off Cape Cod in Massachusetts and is a must-visit destination for several reasons, the pristine beaches being one of them. Greydon House is a design lover’s dream; the boutique hotel was outfitted by Roman and Williams and elegantly captures the aesthetic of the well-traveled sea captain. There’s also Jared Coffin House, a 19th-century mansion-turned-guesthouse that harkens back to the island’s historic origins with its wooden floors and historic paintings. And if you’re looking for something waterfront, check out White Elephant, a Nantucket institution right by the harbor. The island is best explored by bike, and after a few hours relaxing on the beach, explore sites like the shipwreck museum, aquarium, an 18th-century mill, and the Loines Observatory. To end the day, head to Cisco Brewers for a lobster roll and a pint of beer.
For a trip steeped in history with museum visits and walking tours: Washington, DC
If you’re the kind of traveler who’d rather visit a museum than a pub crawl, why not plan an entire weekend around the best sights and landmarks in a historic city? If you’ve never been to the nation’s capital, start there. Check into Riggs Washington DC, a Penn Quarter hotel in a 19th-century building that was once a national bank. Each room is decorated to feel like a vault and serves as an atmospheric base for your getaway. While you’re in town, book a trolley tour to visit multiple sites at once, like the Lincoln Memorial, Octagon House, World War II Memorial, National Archives, Oak Hill Cemetery, and Ford’s Theater (where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated). It’s a city full of stories and perfect for history buffs who need a quick getaway.
For a meditative desert getaway: the Sonoran Desert
Even a short time spent in the desert is a reminder that this landscape is unlike any other terrain on earth. If you’re feeling exhausted from work or just need a place to sit with your thoughts, going to a place like Arizona will leave your mind centered and calm. There are three main deserts in Arizona: Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran. The Sonoran is home to several breathtaking resorts stretching from the red rocks of Sedona to succulent-strewn Scottsdale. Those seeking a Zen blend of outdoor adventure and wellness rituals should book a stay at CIVANA and choose from free daily movement classes, rejuvenating spa treatments, and nourishing seasonal cuisine. A few hours north, L’Auberge de Sedona is another desert region highlight where guests can take metaphysics lessons with local experts or take a road trip through the Grand Canyon to experience this natural wonder of the world. .
For outdoor enthusiasts who want an accessible adventure: Mount Rainier
Metropolitan cities offer hospitality and entertainment, but sometimes the best kind of weekend is one that leaves it all behind. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for your next big adventure, consider a trip to a national park. Mount Rainier National Park is a wonderland during the summer months, full of wildflower meadows, scenic waterfalls, and ancient forests. Join one of REI Co-op’s group trips to experience this majestic part of the States or book a centrally located campground and choose day hikes near this area to explore each day ( Paradise is a breathtaking trail to add to your list).
For a Relaxing Wine Tasting Weekend: Napa Valley
Sipping a glass of wine in a picturesque setting is a guaranteed mood lifter, which is why a relaxing tasting weekend is a universally loved travel idea. If you have a few days available, plan around two wine tours per day, plus meals (and maybe a spa treatment or two). California is an obvious destination for this kind of getaway, and a great place to start is – drum roll – Napa Valley.
Begin your tour by checking in to the Poetry Inn, a luxury boutique hotel with just five suites; each named after a famous poet and offering stunning views of the valley, best enjoyed during an outdoor shower (all suites have one). A few tasting rooms to add to your itinerary include: Cliff Lede (each block of vineyard is named after a rock n’ roll song), Sullivan (ask for the Merlot), Somerston Estate (do the ATV tour), Gamble Family Vineyards (try to meet Tom), Ram’s Gate Winery (don’t skip the charcuterie platter), Bouchaine (do a falconry experience), and Frank Family Vineyards (pet the Magnum dog).
Another popular hotel to check out when you’re in the valley is Meadowood, a tranquil 250-acre estate immersed in nature. If you want to brush up on some wine terms before heading out for a day of tasting, book a wine tasting class or sommelier consultation with the property’s Wine Center (class topics include wine tasting essentials). wine, understanding Napa Valley, the mountains of Napa Valley, and even one that focuses on volcanic wines).
For foodies who want to try new bites and sips: New Orleans
If your idea of the perfect weekend is a weekend spent at a restaurant, then why not double down and plan a trip entirely focused on one very important task: eating. New Orleans is a predictable choice for a foodie getaway, but it’s for good reason. It’s a city that prides itself on indulging, and the cuisine in this special corner of Louisiana is unlike anywhere else in the world. When it comes to your home base, there are almost too many perfect properties to choose from (Hotel Peter & Paul, Hotel Saint Vincent and The Chloe are good places to start). As for the culinary diary, where to start? Cane & Table for beef empanadas and a Caribbean cocktail, to start. You’ll also want to visit Commander’s Palace for 25-cent martinis, Bywater American Bistro for Gulf fish, Cochon for premium meats, Sylvain for champagne and fries, N7 for canned seafood, and Bacchanal Wine for backyard bites with live food. music and bottles of wine.
For a Road Trip Full of Scenic Stops: Coastal Maine
One of the best ways to see as much of a destination as possible in a short time is to use a set of wheels. If you’re a fan of the road trip and need a little summer getaway, consider the coast of Maine. Your trip will be along the coast on Route 1, also known as the “Lobster Trail” thanks to the plethora of stops you can take to sample this delicious seafood dish. You can begin your journey by the sea in Kennebunkport at Hidden Pond, a charming resort surrounded by 60 acres of birch and balsam fir groves that features a treetop spa. From there, stop along the way at cities like Portland, Georgetown and Rockland and lobster favorites like Five Islands, Waterman’s Beach Lobster, Eventide and Shaw’s. While there, don’t miss Acadia National Park for a breathtaking hike with stunning views.
For good antique shopping in a small town: Hudson, New York
If your home is filled with artful finds and your idea of an exciting weekend is one you spend getting great deals on antiques, now you know the drill – take a trip. Hudson, New York is a quintessentially Northeastern small town that offers well-designed accommodations, quaint cafes, and top-notch antique shopping. Reserve one of eight rooms at the Amelia, a former Queen Anne-style private residence located on a quiet street in town. From there, head to The Antique Warehouse, a 300,000 square foot warehouse filled to the brim with individual antique and vintage dealers, followed by stops at Furlong, Hallam and The Gilded Owl.