15 Affordable Weekend Getaways Around the U.S.

Need a vacation, but are short on time and money? One of these affordable weekend getaway ideas might be the solution.

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 15 major cities. No matter which you pick, we're sure you'll return home refreshed and not too much lighter on the wallet.

Los Angeles to Hermosa Beach, California

Hermosa Beach, California coastline with waves and homes in the distance
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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, listen to live music at one of the Pier Avenue clubs.

New York City to Montauk, New York

Coastal scene with Montauk Lighthouse on Atlantic Ocean, Long Island, New York
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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

Harper's Ferry National Historic Park
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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

Boats tied up at dock in Fossil Bay, Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington State
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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 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

Golden hills of Paso Robles, California
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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 at The Piccolo downtown. 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

Vineyards in Willamette Valley, Oregon
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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. Farther 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

Bricktown at night in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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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 the 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

People relaxing in the quaint Old Town section of Fort Collins, Colorado.
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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 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.

Atlanta to Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina
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About 200 miles north of Atlanta is the affordable weekend getaway of Asheville. Indulge in the city's thriving arts scene with a day strolling the River Arts District. From paintings to pottery to ceramics, there are hundreds of works and studios to explore. Refuel along the way at Ultra Coffeebar or Wedge Brewing Company

Dining is taken to a whole new level in Asheville, even for the budget-conscious. Sink your teeth into the pulled pork at 12 Bones Smokehouse, try the biscuits at Tupelo Honey, or satisfy your sweet tooth at Vortex Doughnuts. Walk off your meal by hiking the scenic trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains. And when you're ready to turn in, there's plenty of lodging available, whether you prefer a hotel stay or cozy cabin weekend.

Chicago to Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
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The natural wonder of Indiana Dunes is only a 40-minute drive from Chicago. The 15-mile National Park curves around the southern shore of Lake Michigan and offers a full weekend itinerary of hiking, biking, and horseback riding complete with woodland and beach views.

Hike down to Mount Baldy Beach for an afternoon of sand and sun, or through the area's bird population on The Great Marsh Trail. If you're really feeling adventurous try the Diana of the Dunes Dare challenge. Visitors have the option of vacation homes, hotels, or bed-and-breakfasts around Indian Dunes, but of course, the best way to experience the outdoors is by camping out.

Philadelphia to Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia
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Philadelphians can head a few hours south to the historic southern city of Richmond. If you're looking for a cheap weekend vacation, Richmond offers a variety of attractions that won't cost a dime, including museums, galleries, and outdoor fun. Tour the city's 400 years of history, then sip your way through the local wineries which offer glasses of vino with a view. Weekenders can choose from accommodations in any corner of the city they want, including the boutique Quirk Hotel for an authentic Richmond experience. Don't leave without trying a few of Richmond's 900-plus restaurants, including James Beard Award nominees like Mama J's and Peter Chang.

Nashville to Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge, Georgia
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For a thrifty trip with scores of natural delight, Blue Ridge, about 200 miles south of Nashville, is the perfect scenic sojourn. In warmer months, cool off by whitewater rafting the Ocoee River, tubing down the Toccoa, or head out in a pontoon boat on Lake Blue Ridge. Or, hike to one of the area's 16 waterfalls. If you're headed there in the fall (one of the best times to go for the autumnal scenery), you can't miss a trip to Mercier Orchards where you can apple pick the day away before sipping cider with a side of apple fritters.

Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway along the Toccoa River for some of the best sights in the country. When you're worn out from sightseeing, the mountain towns of McCaysville and Copperhill offer shopping, dining, and historic sightseeing. Naturally, there are plenty of cabins and lakeside lodges in the area. Whether you're getting away for a fishing trip, family fun, or a romantic rendezvous for two, accommodations include picture-perfect vacation rentals, hotels, treehouses, cabin rentals, and bed and breakfasts.

New Orleans to Meadville, Mississippi

Meadville, Mississippi
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Sometimes even New Orleanians need a break from the city. When you're looking for a restful weekend of mountain air and quiet nights, Getaway provides hideouts just a couple of hours up the road from The Big Easy. The NOLA outpost is set back in the Homochitto National Forest near Meadville.

With all of the essentials like cookware, AC/heat, toiletries, and s'mores (plus no WiFi), these cabins are a perfect, cheap way to unplug and refresh on a weekend away. Don't forget to bring your furry friend as the cabins are dog-friendly and provide pup essentials as well. And if you want to venture out from your cozy little cabin, there's plenty to do and see in the area, from hiking to dining to local muscadine wining.

San Diego to Solvang, California

Solvang, California
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The quaint Danish town of Solvang is only a few hours up the coast from San Diego. Step back in time into the old-world European architecture and really get a feel for Little Denmark with a ride on the wooden, horse-drawn Solvang trolley. Located in wine country, Solvang has over 120 vineyards to explore and a distinctive dining scene.

This walkable village has plenty of affordable lodging close by. Enjoy Danish-style inns, quaint vacation cottages, or full-service hotels.

Las Vegas to Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona
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Those looking to escape the City of Sin can head a few desert miles away to Arizona's Valley of the Sun. For a budget-friendly weekend trip, stay in Phoenix, home to can't-miss dining, shopping, culture, and nightlife. Get acquainted with the Sonoran Desert flora at the gorgeous Desert Botanical Garden, or see historic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home Taliesin West in Scottsdale.

Once you've had your fun in the sun, grab a quirky cocktail at Bitter & Twisted before indulging in Phoenix's superb restaurant scene. Dine in the shadow of the Camelback Mountains, at local favorites like Barrio Café and Pizzeria Bianco. In terms of where to stay, Phoenix has an abundance of options, with plenty of pools and desert sky views.

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