Best of America

The Best Weekend Getaways in Every State

Got 48 hours to enjoy a relaxing retreat? You'll maximize your time and the fun at these amazing resorts and destinations in every state.

Alabama: Gulf Shores

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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.

 

Alaska: Homer

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.

 

Arizona: Sedona

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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.

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Arkansas: Hot Springs

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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.

California: Napa

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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.

Colorado: Aspen

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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.

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Connecticut: New Haven

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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.

 

Delaware: Wilmington

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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

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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.

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Georgia: Jekyll Island

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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.

Hawaii: Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, Waikiki, Oahu

Mariko Reed

Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in Hawaii? At the Surfjack Hawaii in Waikiki, visitors can enjoy a hip and modern getaway that at the same time takes them back to 1960s beach culture within its midcentury modern design. Rent bikes to explore Waikiki, take Pilates on the penthouse lanai, or learn how to make a lei at one of the resort’s Aloha Friday workshops.  Here’s what you need to know before booking a Hawaii vacation.

 

Idaho: Sun Valley

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For a mountain escape in Idaho, look no further than Sun Valley where you’ll not only find plenty of outdoor activities from skiing in winter to hiking and biking in summer, but also diverse arts and culture offerings. The area is also a haven for shopaholics, and don’t miss the Wood River Farmers’ Market for some authentic local fare. What’s more, the area bills itself as dog-friendly, so feel to bring Fido along for the fun.

 

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Illinois: Chicago

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Get away to the big city and Chi-town for a weekend full of food, fun, and seemingly unlimited things to do. Fill up on Chicago deep dish at Gino’s East and then burn it off shopping along Michigan Avenue, aka the Magnificent Mile. Take in a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field and then get some culture at the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum. Fun places to stay the night are the funky ACME Hotel Company or the Kimpton Hotel Monaco with in-room window seats overlooking the Chicago River. These are the 30 must-see places in the U.S. to take your kids before they grow up.

 

Indiana: West Baden Springs

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Located in southern Indiana’s rolling hills, West Baden Springs once attracted visitors looking to soak in its healing hot springs. The West Baden Springs Resort was built in the mid-1800s to accommodate these visitors and remains today as an elegant gem and National Historic Landmark. Its incredible atrium, which spans 200 feet and was constructed in the early 1900s, was once the largest free-spanning dome in the world. Today, you can enjoy the resort’s luxurious spa, nightly atrium light show, fine dining, and several golf courses.

Iowa: Davenport

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Explore world-class museums, historic sites, breweries, and shopping in quaint villages in the riverfront community of Davenport. Set along the Mississippi River, visitors can take a riverfront cruise or cheer on the minor league Quad City Bandits at the historic Modern Woodman Park, which was once named the best U.S. minor league park. Pampering hotels include Hotel Blackhawk or the Current Hotel, and for a treat, grab a famous hot fudge sundae at Lagomarcino‘s.

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Kansas: Kansas City

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Got a hankering for some barbecue? Get to Kansas City, because you’ll find their brand of BBQ in abundance. Come with an empty stomach for stops at Slap’s, Gates, and Rosedale restaurants, serving saucy selections. Located on the western side of the Missouri River from Kansas City, Missouri, the city offers shopping, outdoor activities, and historic sites like a park that marks Lewis and Clark’s passage. The Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown, housed in a 1930s-era building, makes a convenient home base to see attractions like Union Station, the Arvest Bank Theater, and legendary jazz clubs.

Kentucky: Lexington

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Picture miles of rolling green horse farms with white picket fences and prized thoroughbreds grazing, and you’ve got a vision of Lexington, Kentucky. This southern town in central Kentucky, known as the Horse Capital of the World, offers organized tours of its more than 400 horse farms. Its charming downtown has plentiful shopping, trendy restaurants, and many hotels like the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, which has a free art gallery open 24 hours a day, and the classic Hilton Downtown Lexington with easy access to the home basketball court of the University of Kentucky Wildcats’ famous Rupp Arena.

Louisiana: New Orleans

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Let loose in New Orleans for a weekend getaway as crazy as you want. Go bar hopping down Bourbon Street sipping a hurricane and get your fill of jazz music, or opt for a more tame streetcar ride to see the city sites. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t down a beignet in the French Quarter or try one of the city’s many up-and-coming restaurants. You can’t go wrong staying at The Old No. 77, built in a refurbished coffee warehouse; the mid-century industrial design is super-convenient to the French Quarter, and houses one of the best restaurants in town, Compère Lapin.

 

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Maine: Acadia National Park

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Escape to the beauty of Mother Nature in Maine at the popular Acadia National Park along the state’s coastline. The 47,000-acre National Park offers both coastal and forest trails for hiking, as well as horseback riding, and boating and fishing in its lakes and ponds. Stay in Bar Harbor, which has plenty of accommodations and restaurants along with Cadillac Mountain for even more hiking or rock climbing. Don’t miss these stunning photos of National Parks in full bloom.

 

Maryland: Talbot County

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Sitting along Maryland’s famed Eastern Shore is charming Talbot County comprised of various towns along the Chesapeake Bay, including Easton, St. Michaels, Oxford, and Tilghman Island. Be sure to get on the water with one of the many tour and cruise companies, and eat plenty of crab especially soft shells in season, at establishments like St. Michael’s Crab House and Michael Rork’s Town Dock. Oh, and try to find a piece of Smith Island cake, Maryland’s official state dessert, before your weekend is over.

 

Massachusetts: Martha’s Vineyard

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Get off the coast of Massachusetts in pretty Martha’s Vineyard, the vacation choice of many of the rich and famous. Hop on the ferry to get there, then kick back on one its many beaches, and enjoy all of the landmark attractions like lighthouses, gingerbread cottages, the cliffs of Aquinnah, and the Black Dog Tavern. Pick from many quaint bed and breakfasts for your weekend stay.

 

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Michigan: Mackinac Island

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Way up in the tip-top of Michigan in the Great Lakes, Mackinac Island beckons to a time gone by with horse-drawn carriages (no cars allowed!), Victorian architecture, and abundant shopping. Make yourself at home in the Grand Hotel, because you’ll find no chain hotels on the island. Oh, and don’t forget to leave with some of the island’s famous fudge! Here are more great island vacations to take in the U.S.

Minnesota: Minneapolis

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See the city of Minneapolis like one of its famous sons, Prince. The Hotel Ivy, one of the city’s few luxury hotels, offers a private tour of Prince’s Minneapolis and use of a Tesla for the weekend. Other not-to-miss sites in this city along the Mississippi River include the Mall of America, Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, U.S. Bank Stadium (home of the Vikings), and some of the 22 lakes within the city limits.

 

Mississippi: Dunleith Historic Inn

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For a taste of true southern charm set in a historic stately mansion (complete with white pillars) and surrounded by large oak trees, look no further than the Dunleith Historic Inn in Natchez, Mississippi. A National Historic Landmark built in 1856, the property sits on 40 acres and has many of the original buildings, including the carriage house and greenhouse. Rooms feature gas fireplaces and include a southern buffet breakfast for two each morning.

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Missouri: Ozark MountainsTeo Dominguez/Shutterstock

Just south of Branson sits a wilderness paradise in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Big Cedar Lodge caters to those looking for a natural escape and features grand lodges along with rustic log cabins with views of Table Rock Lake. It’s ideal for those who love the outdoors with an on-site marina, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, kayaking in Devils Pool, paddleboats, and golf courses.

 

Montana: Bozeman

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Get away to this adventurous city to explore Montana’s “big sky” and great outdoors. Lakes, mountains, streams, canyons, hot springs… take your pick! Plus, Yellowstone National Park is just an hour and a half away. To put a western spin on your experience, make your home a ranch for the weekend. Check out these 30 photos that will make you fall in love with country life.

 

Nebraska: Lied Lodge & Conference Center

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Imagine a grand European chateau in the heart of Nebraska, and you’ve got Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City. On 260 wooded acres, the lodge has two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows, detailed stonework, a spa, and an Olympic-sized indoor pool. Make your way to the adjacent Arbor Day Farm with greenhouse, apple orchard, and 50-foot-tall tree house for even more fun.

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Nevada: Lake Tahoe

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Head to one of America’s most famous lakes, half in Nevada and half in California, for gorgeous scenery and an outdoorsy getaway. Enjoy kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boating on the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe, hike local trails, or ski to your heart’s content during the winter months. You can even make the 72-mile drive around the lake named the Most Beautiful Drive in America. Don’t miss these vacations everyone should take before they’re 50, including Lake Tahoe.

New Hampshire: Portsmouth

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A quaint riverside town, Portsmouth makes a great retreat for those who like to eat! Book a spot on the Portsmouth Eats tour, which includes stops at top dining establishments, as well as popular sites like Prescott Park and Market Square. Wander through the 10-acre outdoor Strawbery Banke Museum, a collection of 17th and 18th-century houses, taverns, shops, and period gardens, and make time to unwind along New Hampshire’s 13-mile coastline. Love small towns? Here are the best ones to visit on vacation.

New Jersey: Cape May

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For a delightful escape along the Jersey Shore, book a weekend in Cape May, where the entire city is named a National Historic Landmark. Bring your bikes to see the small island, located on the southernmost point of New Jersey, on two wheels. Check out its pastel-colored cottages, beautiful beaches, and nearly 2-mile oceanfront promenade. Find out more New Jersey beaches that are fun for the whole family.

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New Mexico: Santa Fe

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For an artistic escape, plan a trip to Santa Fe, which is known for its many art galleries, many along Canyon Road, and artistic inspiration. Of course, there’s much more to the city, including its 320 average days of sunshine, bright blue skies, mountain views, and national forests. Not-to-miss attractions include the historic Santa Fe Plaza, Palace of the Governors, and San Miguel Mission. For luxurious accommodations, check out Four Seasons Rancho Encantado or the Inn of the Five Graces.

 

New York: New York City

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If you want some nonstop action, make your weekend getaway in the city that never sleeps. EVEN Hotels Times Square South is a unique hotel that is wellness-themed from top to bottom with in-room stability balls and workout zones, as well as stand-up desks. When you’re ready to get out and about, take your pick of museums, Big Bus tours, a stroll through Central Park and along the bustling High Line in Chelsea, and award-winning Broadway Shows.

 

North Carolina: Asheville

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Escape to the mountains in the fun and funky town of Asheville, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. An artsy community also known for its many craft breweries, Asheville is home to George Vanderbilt’s grand estate, Biltmore, which visitors can tour and stay overnight at the Inn on Biltmore or the Village Hotel on Biltmore. Another grand hotel in the area is the Omni Grove Park Inn with a subterranean spa, golf course, and more than 500 rooms. Check out the 50 best craft beers from every state.

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North Dakota: Coteau des Prairies Lodge

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Where to escape for a weekend in North Dakota? Why, the prairie, of course! The Coteau des Prairies Lodge near Havana is a rustic lodge with log and steel architecture. Look out on the vast prairies from the grand great room, enjoy home-cooked meals, and spend time horse-back riding, hunting, fishing, or exploring the nearby Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Ohio: Cincinnati

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A visit to this city along the Ohio River, which encompasses parts of both Ohio and Kentucky as suburbs, offers everything from Reds baseball and the Cincinnati Museum Center to the Cincinnati Zoo to the Newport Aquarium to keep both kids and adults busy. The 21c Museum Hotel offers a free public art museum along with art in every room or the AC Hotel Cincinnati close to the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, experiencing a Renaissance, make for unique hotel stays.

 

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City

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The biggest city in the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is known as the Horse Show Capital of the World and is made up of 12 districts, including Bricktown, once a warehouse district that is now a hip dining and entertainment area. Stay in Bricktown at the modern AC Hotel Oklahoma City Bricktown, and enjoy a cruise down the mile-long Bricktown Canal, an Oklahoma City Dodgers game, and dueling pianos at Michael Murphy’s.

 

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Oregon: Eugene

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Eugene, Oregon, offers a quiet respite from the busyness of daily life with the scenic backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and abundant natural beauty from waterfalls and petrified forests to 1,500-year-old lava flows and coastal sand dunes. Be sure to grab an authentic Oregon brew from one of the many craft breweries in town, and consider a stay at the EVEN Hotel Eugene, which lets travelers maintain wellness on the go with healthy food options and in-room fitness.

 

Pennsylvania: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

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Just 70 miles south of Pittsburgh sits this 2,000-acre gem in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort offers everything you would need for a weekend getaway with five places to stay ranging from a chateau to Falling Rock, a hotel whose design is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Choose from 36 holes of golf, the Woodlands Spa, tennis, zip lines, a shooting academy, and kids club to stay busy.

Rhode Island: Providence

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A weekend in Providence is a fun escape for the kids, as the city offers many kid-friendly activities like the Providence Children’s Museum, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and WaterFire Providence. WaterFire is a series of bonfires on the city’s three rivers, which happens several times monthly from May to November. For a taste of history, walk down Benefit Street, which has one of the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings in the United States.

 

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South Carolina: Charleston

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Take a step back in time to the days of our country’s founding and America’s Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina, whose historic downtown features many preserved homes from these periods. Wander the cobblestone streets, take a stroll along the historic Battery wall, and cruise Charleston Harbor to see Ft. Sumter, where the Civil War began. The historic Wentworth Mansion, built in 1886 as a wealthy resident’s home, makes a charming and elegant spot to stay in the heart of downtown.

 

South Dakota: Black Hills

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Why not check Mount Rushmore off your bucket list one weekend? You can do it in South Dakota’s Black Hills region, which is also home to Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. A popular way to see the area is by bike on your own or with a family-friendly outfitter like Austin Adventures. Choose from a range of lodges, inns, and resorts in the area for your overnight accommodations. Check out this story about American landmarks that almost weren’t.

 

Tennessee: Nashville

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Music City USA is fast becoming known as much more than the home of country music. While there’s plenty to see on that front from the Grand Ole Opry to the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville is a hotbed of hip hotels like Hotel Indigo Nashville in the Printer’s Alley district, the SoBro Guesthouse, and the AC Hotel Nashville Downtown.

 

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Texas: Hill Country

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Yes, Texas has rolling hills, and you’ll find them in the state’s centrally-located Hill Country! With more than 30 wineries, you can sip and swirl all day, take the kids for a thrilling ride at Schlitterbahn Water Park, step inside a cave at Cascade Caverns, and enjoy a beautiful display of bluebonnets each spring. Find a quaint inn for your stay in towns like Dripping Springs and Wimberley.

 

Utah: Ogden

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Ogden, Utah, is booming with shopping, dining, art galleries, and a brewery along the town’s historic 25th Street, which has buildings dating to the late 1800s. You’re also within a five-minute drive to hiking trails along the foothills of the Wasatch. The town has several charming inns, but you may want to opt for a HomeAway vacation rental to stay the weekend in a cozy cabin, cottage, or historic home. Check out America’s most stunning hiking trails.

Vermont: Smugglers’ Notch

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Just 30 miles east of Burlington and only 90 miles from Montreal, Smugglers’ Notch is a charming mountain resort with just about everything you could imagine you need to stay entertained. There are four water playgrounds, an indoor FunZone, disc golf, and a treetop obstacle course. Of course, you can also hike in the Green Mountains. All accommodations at the resort are condominiums to host from two guests to a large extended family or groups traveling together. Looking for a summer weekend getaways? Here’s are ideas for all 15 of your summer weekends.

 

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Virginia: Virginia Beach

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The coast of Virginia offers plenty to do and beautiful beaches, to boot, in Virginia Beach. Climb to the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse, the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country, explore False Cape State Park, stroll the boardwalk, and get a history lesson at the Virginia Military Aviation Museum. Virginia Beach offers a choice of places to stay, including by the bustling oceanfront, along the quieter Chesapeake Bay, or in the Town Center downtown district.

 

Washington: San Juan Islands

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Imagine deep green forests, whales surfacing along the calm waters, iconic lighthouses, and absolutely no traffic lights. Located between Seattle and Vancouver, the San Juan Islands are a Pacific Northwest paradise with four main islands to explore. While there are tons of water activities like kayaking and boating, a drive along the San Juan Island Scenic Byway is a must, along with whale watching.

 

West Virginia: The Greenbrier

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There are few hotels grander than The Greenbrier set in the mountains of West Virginia. A National Historic Landmark built in 1778, the resort first drew guests to the area for its natural mineral springs and has since welcomed 27 U.S. presidents and many famous and important people. Across its 11,000 acres, you’ll find golf courses, fine dining, a mineral spa, and even gaming.

 

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Wisconsin: Wisconsin Dells

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The Wisconsin Dells are a great getaway for families with young kids as it’s known as the Waterpark Capital of the World with plentiful indoor water parks perfect for splashing a weekend away. Parents will appreciate its wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and there are many activities for all ages, including zip lining, golf, state parks and more. Read on for tips on taking your kids to the water park.

Wyoming: Jackson Hole

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Gorgeous scenery is the prize of your Jackson Hole getaway, an area also known for its skiing. With the Grand Tetons as a background, Jackson Hole is set in a more than 40-mile long valley. The town is also close to two National Parks: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Visit during the warmer months and enjoy lots of outdoor adventure like horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking and more. Read on for the best state fair in every state.

Alabama: Gulf Shores

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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.

 

Alaska: Homer

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.

 

Arizona: Sedona

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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.

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Arkansas: Hot Springs

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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.

California: Napa

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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.

Colorado: Aspen

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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.

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Connecticut: New Haven

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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.

 

Delaware: Wilmington

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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

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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.

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Georgia: Jekyll Island

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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.

Hawaii: Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, Waikiki, Oahu

Mariko Reed

Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in Hawaii? At the Surfjack Hawaii in Waikiki, visitors can enjoy a hip and modern getaway that at the same time takes them back to 1960s beach culture within its midcentury modern design. Rent bikes to explore Waikiki, take Pilates on the penthouse lanai, or learn how to make a lei at one of the resort’s Aloha Friday workshops.  Here’s what you need to know before booking a Hawaii vacation.

 

Idaho: Sun Valley

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For a mountain escape in Idaho, look no further than Sun Valley where you’ll not only find plenty of outdoor activities from skiing in winter to hiking and biking in summer, but also diverse arts and culture offerings. The area is also a haven for shopaholics, and don’t miss the Wood River Farmers’ Market for some authentic local fare. What’s more, the area bills itself as dog-friendly, so feel to bring Fido along for the fun.

 

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Illinois: Chicago

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Get away to the big city and Chi-town for a weekend full of food, fun, and seemingly unlimited things to do. Fill up on Chicago deep dish at Gino’s East and then burn it off shopping along Michigan Avenue, aka the Magnificent Mile. Take in a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field and then get some culture at the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum. Fun places to stay the night are the funky ACME Hotel Company or the Kimpton Hotel Monaco with in-room window seats overlooking the Chicago River. These are the 30 must-see places in the U.S. to take your kids before they grow up.

 

Indiana: West Baden Springs

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Located in southern Indiana’s rolling hills, West Baden Springs once attracted visitors looking to soak in its healing hot springs. The West Baden Springs Resort was built in the mid-1800s to accommodate these visitors and remains today as an elegant gem and National Historic Landmark. Its incredible atrium, which spans 200 feet and was constructed in the early 1900s, was once the largest free-spanning dome in the world. Today, you can enjoy the resort’s luxurious spa, nightly atrium light show, fine dining, and several golf courses.

Iowa: Davenport

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Explore world-class museums, historic sites, breweries, and shopping in quaint villages in the riverfront community of Davenport. Set along the Mississippi River, visitors can take a riverfront cruise or cheer on the minor league Quad City Bandits at the historic Modern Woodman Park, which was once named the best U.S. minor league park. Pampering hotels include Hotel Blackhawk or the Current Hotel, and for a treat, grab a famous hot fudge sundae at Lagomarcino‘s.

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Kansas: Kansas City

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Got a hankering for some barbecue? Get to Kansas City, because you’ll find their brand of BBQ in abundance. Come with an empty stomach for stops at Slap’s, Gates, and Rosedale restaurants, serving saucy selections. Located on the western side of the Missouri River from Kansas City, Missouri, the city offers shopping, outdoor activities, and historic sites like a park that marks Lewis and Clark’s passage. The Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown, housed in a 1930s-era building, makes a convenient home base to see attractions like Union Station, the Arvest Bank Theater, and legendary jazz clubs.

Kentucky: Lexington

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Picture miles of rolling green horse farms with white picket fences and prized thoroughbreds grazing, and you’ve got a vision of Lexington, Kentucky. This southern town in central Kentucky, known as the Horse Capital of the World, offers organized tours of its more than 400 horse farms. Its charming downtown has plentiful shopping, trendy restaurants, and many hotels like the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, which has a free art gallery open 24 hours a day, and the classic Hilton Downtown Lexington with easy access to the home basketball court of the University of Kentucky Wildcats’ famous Rupp Arena.

Louisiana: New Orleans

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Let loose in New Orleans for a weekend getaway as crazy as you want. Go bar hopping down Bourbon Street sipping a hurricane and get your fill of jazz music, or opt for a more tame streetcar ride to see the city sites. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t down a beignet in the French Quarter or try one of the city’s many up-and-coming restaurants. You can’t go wrong staying at The Old No. 77, built in a refurbished coffee warehouse; the mid-century industrial design is super-convenient to the French Quarter, and houses one of the best restaurants in town, Compère Lapin.

 

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Maine: Acadia National Park

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Escape to the beauty of Mother Nature in Maine at the popular Acadia National Park along the state’s coastline. The 47,000-acre National Park offers both coastal and forest trails for hiking, as well as horseback riding, and boating and fishing in its lakes and ponds. Stay in Bar Harbor, which has plenty of accommodations and restaurants along with Cadillac Mountain for even more hiking or rock climbing. Don’t miss these stunning photos of National Parks in full bloom.

 

Maryland: Talbot County

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Sitting along Maryland’s famed Eastern Shore is charming Talbot County comprised of various towns along the Chesapeake Bay, including Easton, St. Michaels, Oxford, and Tilghman Island. Be sure to get on the water with one of the many tour and cruise companies, and eat plenty of crab especially soft shells in season, at establishments like St. Michael’s Crab House and Michael Rork’s Town Dock. Oh, and try to find a piece of Smith Island cake, Maryland’s official state dessert, before your weekend is over.

 

Massachusetts: Martha’s Vineyard

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Get off the coast of Massachusetts in pretty Martha’s Vineyard, the vacation choice of many of the rich and famous. Hop on the ferry to get there, then kick back on one its many beaches, and enjoy all of the landmark attractions like lighthouses, gingerbread cottages, the cliffs of Aquinnah, and the Black Dog Tavern. Pick from many quaint bed and breakfasts for your weekend stay.

 

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Michigan: Mackinac Island

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Way up in the tip-top of Michigan in the Great Lakes, Mackinac Island beckons to a time gone by with horse-drawn carriages (no cars allowed!), Victorian architecture, and abundant shopping. Make yourself at home in the Grand Hotel, because you’ll find no chain hotels on the island. Oh, and don’t forget to leave with some of the island’s famous fudge! Here are more great island vacations to take in the U.S.

Minnesota: Minneapolis

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See the city of Minneapolis like one of its famous sons, Prince. The Hotel Ivy, one of the city’s few luxury hotels, offers a private tour of Prince’s Minneapolis and use of a Tesla for the weekend. Other not-to-miss sites in this city along the Mississippi River include the Mall of America, Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, U.S. Bank Stadium (home of the Vikings), and some of the 22 lakes within the city limits.

 

Mississippi: Dunleith Historic Inn

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For a taste of true southern charm set in a historic stately mansion (complete with white pillars) and surrounded by large oak trees, look no further than the Dunleith Historic Inn in Natchez, Mississippi. A National Historic Landmark built in 1856, the property sits on 40 acres and has many of the original buildings, including the carriage house and greenhouse. Rooms feature gas fireplaces and include a southern buffet breakfast for two each morning.

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Missouri: Ozark MountainsTeo Dominguez/Shutterstock

Just south of Branson sits a wilderness paradise in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Big Cedar Lodge caters to those looking for a natural escape and features grand lodges along with rustic log cabins with views of Table Rock Lake. It’s ideal for those who love the outdoors with an on-site marina, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, kayaking in Devils Pool, paddleboats, and golf courses.

 

Montana: Bozeman

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Get away to this adventurous city to explore Montana’s “big sky” and great outdoors. Lakes, mountains, streams, canyons, hot springs… take your pick! Plus, Yellowstone National Park is just an hour and a half away. To put a western spin on your experience, make your home a ranch for the weekend. Check out these 30 photos that will make you fall in love with country life.

 

Nebraska: Lied Lodge & Conference Center

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Imagine a grand European chateau in the heart of Nebraska, and you’ve got Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City. On 260 wooded acres, the lodge has two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows, detailed stonework, a spa, and an Olympic-sized indoor pool. Make your way to the adjacent Arbor Day Farm with greenhouse, apple orchard, and 50-foot-tall tree house for even more fun.

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Nevada: Lake Tahoe

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Head to one of America’s most famous lakes, half in Nevada and half in California, for gorgeous scenery and an outdoorsy getaway. Enjoy kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boating on the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe, hike local trails, or ski to your heart’s content during the winter months. You can even make the 72-mile drive around the lake named the Most Beautiful Drive in America. Don’t miss these vacations everyone should take before they’re 50, including Lake Tahoe.

New Hampshire: Portsmouth

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A quaint riverside town, Portsmouth makes a great retreat for those who like to eat! Book a spot on the Portsmouth Eats tour, which includes stops at top dining establishments, as well as popular sites like Prescott Park and Market Square. Wander through the 10-acre outdoor Strawbery Banke Museum, a collection of 17th and 18th-century houses, taverns, shops, and period gardens, and make time to unwind along New Hampshire’s 13-mile coastline. Love small towns? Here are the best ones to visit on vacation.

New Jersey: Cape May

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For a delightful escape along the Jersey Shore, book a weekend in Cape May, where the entire city is named a National Historic Landmark. Bring your bikes to see the small island, located on the southernmost point of New Jersey, on two wheels. Check out its pastel-colored cottages, beautiful beaches, and nearly 2-mile oceanfront promenade. Find out more New Jersey beaches that are fun for the whole family.

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New Mexico: Santa Fe

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For an artistic escape, plan a trip to Santa Fe, which is known for its many art galleries, many along Canyon Road, and artistic inspiration. Of course, there’s much more to the city, including its 320 average days of sunshine, bright blue skies, mountain views, and national forests. Not-to-miss attractions include the historic Santa Fe Plaza, Palace of the Governors, and San Miguel Mission. For luxurious accommodations, check out Four Seasons Rancho Encantado or the Inn of the Five Graces.

 

New York: New York City

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If you want some nonstop action, make your weekend getaway in the city that never sleeps. EVEN Hotels Times Square South is a unique hotel that is wellness-themed from top to bottom with in-room stability balls and workout zones, as well as stand-up desks. When you’re ready to get out and about, take your pick of museums, Big Bus tours, a stroll through Central Park and along the bustling High Line in Chelsea, and award-winning Broadway Shows.

 

North Carolina: Asheville

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Escape to the mountains in the fun and funky town of Asheville, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. An artsy community also known for its many craft breweries, Asheville is home to George Vanderbilt’s grand estate, Biltmore, which visitors can tour and stay overnight at the Inn on Biltmore or the Village Hotel on Biltmore. Another grand hotel in the area is the Omni Grove Park Inn with a subterranean spa, golf course, and more than 500 rooms. Check out the 50 best craft beers from every state.

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North Dakota: Coteau des Prairies Lodge

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Where to escape for a weekend in North Dakota? Why, the prairie, of course! The Coteau des Prairies Lodge near Havana is a rustic lodge with log and steel architecture. Look out on the vast prairies from the grand great room, enjoy home-cooked meals, and spend time horse-back riding, hunting, fishing, or exploring the nearby Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Ohio: Cincinnati

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A visit to this city along the Ohio River, which encompasses parts of both Ohio and Kentucky as suburbs, offers everything from Reds baseball and the Cincinnati Museum Center to the Cincinnati Zoo to the Newport Aquarium to keep both kids and adults busy. The 21c Museum Hotel offers a free public art museum along with art in every room or the AC Hotel Cincinnati close to the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, experiencing a Renaissance, make for unique hotel stays.

 

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City

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The biggest city in the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is known as the Horse Show Capital of the World and is made up of 12 districts, including Bricktown, once a warehouse district that is now a hip dining and entertainment area. Stay in Bricktown at the modern AC Hotel Oklahoma City Bricktown, and enjoy a cruise down the mile-long Bricktown Canal, an Oklahoma City Dodgers game, and dueling pianos at Michael Murphy’s.

 

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Oregon: Eugene

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Eugene, Oregon, offers a quiet respite from the busyness of daily life with the scenic backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and abundant natural beauty from waterfalls and petrified forests to 1,500-year-old lava flows and coastal sand dunes. Be sure to grab an authentic Oregon brew from one of the many craft breweries in town, and consider a stay at the EVEN Hotel Eugene, which lets travelers maintain wellness on the go with healthy food options and in-room fitness.

 

Pennsylvania: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

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Just 70 miles south of Pittsburgh sits this 2,000-acre gem in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort offers everything you would need for a weekend getaway with five places to stay ranging from a chateau to Falling Rock, a hotel whose design is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Choose from 36 holes of golf, the Woodlands Spa, tennis, zip lines, a shooting academy, and kids club to stay busy.

Rhode Island: Providence

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A weekend in Providence is a fun escape for the kids, as the city offers many kid-friendly activities like the Providence Children’s Museum, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and WaterFire Providence. WaterFire is a series of bonfires on the city’s three rivers, which happens several times monthly from May to November. For a taste of history, walk down Benefit Street, which has one of the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings in the United States.

 

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South Carolina: Charleston

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Take a step back in time to the days of our country’s founding and America’s Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina, whose historic downtown features many preserved homes from these periods. Wander the cobblestone streets, take a stroll along the historic Battery wall, and cruise Charleston Harbor to see Ft. Sumter, where the Civil War began. The historic Wentworth Mansion, built in 1886 as a wealthy resident’s home, makes a charming and elegant spot to stay in the heart of downtown.

 

South Dakota: Black Hills

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Why not check Mount Rushmore off your bucket list one weekend? You can do it in South Dakota’s Black Hills region, which is also home to Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. A popular way to see the area is by bike on your own or with a family-friendly outfitter like Austin Adventures. Choose from a range of lodges, inns, and resorts in the area for your overnight accommodations. Check out this story about American landmarks that almost weren’t.

 

Tennessee: Nashville

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Music City USA is fast becoming known as much more than the home of country music. While there’s plenty to see on that front from the Grand Ole Opry to the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville is a hotbed of hip hotels like Hotel Indigo Nashville in the Printer’s Alley district, the SoBro Guesthouse, and the AC Hotel Nashville Downtown.

 

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Texas: Hill Country

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Yes, Texas has rolling hills, and you’ll find them in the state’s centrally-located Hill Country! With more than 30 wineries, you can sip and swirl all day, take the kids for a thrilling ride at Schlitterbahn Water Park, step inside a cave at Cascade Caverns, and enjoy a beautiful display of bluebonnets each spring. Find a quaint inn for your stay in towns like Dripping Springs and Wimberley.

 

Utah: Ogden

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Ogden, Utah, is booming with shopping, dining, art galleries, and a brewery along the town’s historic 25th Street, which has buildings dating to the late 1800s. You’re also within a five-minute drive to hiking trails along the foothills of the Wasatch. The town has several charming inns, but you may want to opt for a HomeAway vacation rental to stay the weekend in a cozy cabin, cottage, or historic home. Check out America’s most stunning hiking trails.

Vermont: Smugglers’ Notch

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Just 30 miles east of Burlington and only 90 miles from Montreal, Smugglers’ Notch is a charming mountain resort with just about everything you could imagine you need to stay entertained. There are four water playgrounds, an indoor FunZone, disc golf, and a treetop obstacle course. Of course, you can also hike in the Green Mountains. All accommodations at the resort are condominiums to host from two guests to a large extended family or groups traveling together. Looking for a summer weekend getaways? Here’s are ideas for all 15 of your summer weekends.

 

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Virginia: Virginia Beach

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The coast of Virginia offers plenty to do and beautiful beaches, to boot, in Virginia Beach. Climb to the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse, the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country, explore False Cape State Park, stroll the boardwalk, and get a history lesson at the Virginia Military Aviation Museum. Virginia Beach offers a choice of places to stay, including by the bustling oceanfront, along the quieter Chesapeake Bay, or in the Town Center downtown district.

 

Washington: San Juan Islands

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Imagine deep green forests, whales surfacing along the calm waters, iconic lighthouses, and absolutely no traffic lights. Located between Seattle and Vancouver, the San Juan Islands are a Pacific Northwest paradise with four main islands to explore. While there are tons of water activities like kayaking and boating, a drive along the San Juan Island Scenic Byway is a must, along with whale watching.

 

West Virginia: The Greenbrier

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There are few hotels grander than The Greenbrier set in the mountains of West Virginia. A National Historic Landmark built in 1778, the resort first drew guests to the area for its natural mineral springs and has since welcomed 27 U.S. presidents and many famous and important people. Across its 11,000 acres, you’ll find golf courses, fine dining, a mineral spa, and even gaming.

 

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Wisconsin: Wisconsin Dells

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The Wisconsin Dells are a great getaway for families with young kids as it’s known as the Waterpark Capital of the World with plentiful indoor water parks perfect for splashing a weekend away. Parents will appreciate its wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and there are many activities for all ages, including zip lining, golf, state parks and more. Read on for tips on taking your kids to the water park.

Wyoming: Jackson Hole

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Gorgeous scenery is the prize of your Jackson Hole getaway, an area also known for its skiing. With the Grand Tetons as a background, Jackson Hole is set in a more than 40-mile long valley. The town is also close to two National Parks: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Visit during the warmer months and enjoy lots of outdoor adventure like horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking and more. Read on for the best state fair in every state.

Originally Published on Readers Digest