8 Affordable Weekend Getaways Around the U.S.
Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.
Right about now, you might feel the urge to get out of town for a couple of days, even if your budget is a bit tight. With some planning, you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy a much-needed change of scenery. Not that we really needed proof, but studies have shown that even a short vacation and time outdoors can be beneficial to our health. The good news is you don’t have to venture too far to experience the benefits of a change in your environment.
If you’re seeking an affordable weekend getaway near you, take a look at our suggestions for trips from these eight major cities. No matter which you pick, we’re sure you’ll return home refreshed and not too might lighter on the wallet.
Los Angeles to Hermosa Beach, California
Just a few miles away on the coast, the town of Hermosa Beach is ideal for a budget-conscious getaway. There are plenty of places to stay and even more dining options to choose from. Grab coffee and a bagel or pastry to go for a picnic breakfast on the beach, and do the same for lunch, if you like. Pizza, burgers, tacos, and more are available just steps from the pier.
Pass a lazy day relaxing on the sandy beach or splashing in the waves. Rent a bike to cruise the Strand or stroll along and check out the homes bordering the path. Visitors can also enjoy Hermosa’s murals, painted on various walls and buildings to commemorate the city’s history and culture. If your budget allows, take in a show at the Comedy & Magic Club or listen to live music at one of the Pier Avenue clubs.
New York City to Montauk, New York
The towns on Long Island make for great getaways from New York City, and a wallet-friendly weekend is possible when you pass by the tony Hamptons spots and continue east on Montauk Highway. Head to the South Fork town of Montauk, the easternmost point on Long Island and New York state. There’s an array of lodging and restaurants here, as well as beaches, wineries, and historic sites.
Hither Hills State Park, one of several parks in the area, offers an ocean beach, picnic areas, fireplaces, fishing, a playground, and campsites, in addition to hiking and biking paths. Walk along the rocky shoreline at Montauk Point State Park and enjoy the ocean view or hike one of the nature trails. Nearby, the historic 1796 Montauk Lighthouse and museum are reminders of the area’s role in U.S. history.
Washington, D.C. to West Virginia
West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle is about a scenic two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., but it feels worlds away from the city. Spend your thrifty weekend enjoying nature, a small-town atmosphere, history, and shopping in places like Shepherdstown, a picturesque college community. In Harpers Ferry, where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, visit the National Historical Park for hiking, rock climbing, zip lining, and a dose of history.
Relax and rejuvenate with a dip in Berkeley Springs, natural hot springs that have attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Browse the walkable downtown antique shops and dining spots. Or, visit a distillery in Martinsburg or Charles Town and take home a souvenir to enjoy back in D.C.
Seattle to San Juan Island, Washington
For an island getaway, head to San Juan Island, a few hours away by car plus a ferry ride from Anacortes. Upon arriving, reconnect with nature with a hike, bike ride, or a beachfront walk. Fishing, boating, and kayaking are also available options. For some liquid fuel, visit a winery, brewery, or cidery and enjoy a refreshing tasting.
There’s also a variety of accommodations on the island that suit all budgets. At Lakedale Resort, for example, visitors can choose a log cabin, lakehouse, yurt, Airstream, campsite, RV spot, or glamping retreat in a luxury canvas cottage.
San Francisco to Paso Robles, California
For a welcome change of scenery, a road trip from San Francisco to Paso Robles, about 200 miles south, provides an enjoyable drive. Commune with nature and enjoy the outdoor activities and relaxed surroundings of Lake Nacimiento, which offers miles of beautiful shoreline, mountains, forests, and waterfalls — an ideal spot for fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
As for accommodations, visitors can stay in a bed-and-breakfast, vacation rental, or The Piccolo, downtown’s newest hotel. The walkable town is home to coffee shops, restaurants, antique shops, and boutiques. An alfresco picnic lunch at a local winery also makes for a fun experience. Visit Denner Vineyards’ stunning tasting room (by appointment) or taste the outstanding wines at Alta Colina, where you can even spend a night in a vintage trailer alongside their pond. Stop by Thacher Winery, another family-owned vineyard in a lovely setting.
Portland to Sherwood, Oregon
You don’t have to go far from Portland to get out of the city. Less than 20 miles south in Sherwood, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is home to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants — a perfect place to unwind while exploring the habitats on the trail or from the Wetland Observation Deck. Enjoy the drive through the area’s rolling hills and stop at a local winery for a tasting or to pick up a bottle for later.
For a fun and budget-friendly experience, stay at My Tiny House Village, a micro-resort set on an old Christmas tree farm. The collection of tiny homes, each one unique and creatively decorated, is conveniently located to wineries and the quaint town. Further into Willamette Valley wine country, The Vintages Trailer Resort offers refurbished and beautifully styled retro trailers with amenities like luxurious robes, a pool, and lawn games.
Dallas, Texas to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Just about 200 miles north of Dallas on I-35, Oklahoma City is an easy weekend getaway and a great place to enjoy the outdoors. In the city’s Boathouse District, along the Oklahoma River, you can choose canoeing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. When day is done, head for nearby Bricktown, formerly a warehouse district and now home to restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment.
If your furry friend will be joining you, you’ll find dog-friendly parks, including one at Myriad Botanical Gardens, with 750 plant varieties, a waterfall, and a sky bridge with views into a tropical forest. Visit Frontier City for thrilling rides or check the schedule and catch one of Oklahoma City’s horse shows. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is another great stop if you can fit a visit into your weekend itinerary.
Denver to Fort Collins, Colorado
A one-hour drive north from Denver, your weekend getaway in Fort Collins might begin with a stop at one of the many breweries, or if you prefer, there are several local distilleries waiting for you to sample their spirits. Spend a day outdoors hiking, biking, bird-watching, or horseback riding. Nearby rivers, lakes, and reservoirs offer lots of water activities, from whitewater rafting to paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming.
Spend at least a day in downtown Fort Collins, exploring the shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants. The picturesque streets, alleys, and restored historical buildings inspired Main Street Disney. For an authentic, comfortable, and convenient stay that will fit your budget, stay at the recently renovated Armstrong Hotel set in Old Town Fort Collins. They’ll pamper your dog, too, with a Pendleton dog bed and New Belgium Brewing Company dog bowl to use during your visit.