Alabama: Gulf Shores
For a relaxing getaway in Alabama, head south to the white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores, where you'll find more than 30 miles of shoreline. Get on the water for some deep-sea fishing, or take a dolphin or sunset cruise. History lovers can get a lesson in the Civil War along a 90-mile trail with more than a dozen historic sites, including the location of the Battle of Mobile Bay. Check out the best American cities for history buffs.
Courtesy Homer Chamber of Commerce
How does fresh seafood sound? You'll find it in Homer, located in south-central Alaska, which is either a short flight or a marvelous four-hour scenic drive on the Seward Highway from Anchorage. Get your fill of fishing and kayaking in Kachemak Bay, explore local trails, and enjoy exceptional birding in this remote natural setting.
Adventurous types can get their fill in the magical red rocks of Sedona, which is said to be the location of vortexes, or healing centers of energy. People flock to the area for spiritual rejuvenation to meditate, practice yoga, and more. Sedona also offers fantastic hiking, off-roading, biking, and even climbing.
Arkansas: Hot Springs
Relax and renew in Arkansas' thermal waters in Hot Springs, a thriving arts community with Art Deco architecture that is also the home of Hot Springs National Park. Make time for a visit to Bathhouse Row, a National Historic Landmark of eight bathhouses, and Superior Bathhouse Brewery, which brews beer made of the thermal spring water inside the National Park. Don't miss these National Parks that are off the beaten path.
Who doesn't want to relax and unwind with a glass of wine in hand? Napa makes it easy with hundreds of wineries to choose from like the romantic Chateau Montelena. Hop on a winery bike tour with Getaway Adventures, or take a hot air balloon ride of the beautiful countryside with Napa Valley Balloons. Both Andaz Napa in downtown Napa and Auberge du Soleil make lovely places for a home base in the midst of California's wine country.
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The hip mountain town of Aspen makes for a fun weekend getaway to explore its vibrant arts and music scene. Plus, you just might run into a movie star in town, too! For a bucket list adventure, try the one-day hike from Aspen to the charming town of Crested Butte. The Viceroy Snowmass, located just a few minutes from downtown Aspen, offers a package for those looking to do the hike that includes transport to and from the trailheads, accommodations, and a gourmet trail lunch. These small town destinations beat any big city vacation.
Connecticut: New Haven
For a New England getaway, consider New Haven, Connecticut along New Haven Harbor on the Long Island Sound. The home of Yale University and Louis' Lunch, the birthplace of the hamburger, the city melds history with modern restaurants and shopping. Top sites include the Shubert Theater, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the No. 1 college golf course in the U.S., the Course at Yale. Grab a New Haven-style thin crust brick oven pizza at the original Frank Pepe's or a microbrew at Bar.
A trip to historic downtown Wilmington could be just the thing to break you out of your regular routine. Book a stay at the Hotel du Pont, and during the warmer months, plan a garden tour to popular spots including Longwood Gardens, Nemours Estate, and Winterthur. Another fun option is a Wilmington Blue Rocks minor league baseball game when the team is in town.
Florida: Marco Island
This sleepy little island on Florida's gulf coast sits just above the Everglades and is surrounded by plenty of natural beauty. To fully explore it all, hop a Waverunner tour from the JW Marriott Marco Island, which takes you through mangroves and out into the open water where you'll likely spot plenty of dolphins and maybe even a manatee. Back on the island, relax at the beach, which offers plentiful shelling, and enjoy an elegant meal at Ario with ocean views. Find out the best free tourist attractions in every state.
Georgia: Jekyll Island
Located near Brunswick and part of Georgia's Golden Isles, Jekyll Island was once the retreat of wealthy turn-of-the-century families including the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. Many of their cottages still stand and are open for tours, along with Faith Chapel also built during the time period. The stately Jekyll Island Club, once the private club for these families, now stands as an elegant historic hotel, or head to the beach side of the island for a stay at the Holiday Inn Resort.