- West Virginia
- New York
- New Jersey
If you’re visiting a major U.S. city, you might want to think about seeing what’s nearby.
Consider venturing to another destination for a weekend getaway as part of your itinerary. Here are ideas for side trips that are close to nine major cities.
1. Austin, Texas, to Port Aransas, Texas
Drive a few hours south and spend your weekend running around the beach or enjoying a drink in Port Aransas.
Family fun on the beach in Port Aransas
2. San Diego, California, to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
In less than three hours, you can go from San Diego to the Anza-Borrego Desert. Since it’s one of the few places in Southern California that lets you pull off the road and camp from your car pretty much wherever you want, all you’ll really need to bring is a change of clothes and lots and lots of water.
Four-wheeling to Fonts Point in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
3. Honolulu, Hawaii, to Mauna Kea, Big Island
After a 40-minute flight from Oahu, followed by a slightly difficult access-road drive up Mauna Kea, strap into your snowboard for a weekend snow session atop the volcano. There aren’t any chairlifts on Mauna Kea, but as long as you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can take turns driving.
Road trip heading to the top of the Mauna Kea volcano
4. Las Vegas, Nevada, to Jerome, Arizona
At 1,524 meters and guarded by Tonto National Forest and the switchbacks of Highway 89A, Jerome is a long way from the heat and neon of the Las Vegas strip. It’s a five-hour drive by car. Snap photos of historic buildings or admire the red-rock mountains in nearby Sedona.
5. Denver, Colorado, to Walden, Colorado
Never Summer Nordic’s yurt system is an isolated weekend getaway in the Colorado State Forest. If you stay in the Ruby Jewel Yurt, you’ll have relatively easy access to backcountry skiing and snowboarding so good that you probably won’t mind the middle-of-the-night trek from the yurt to the outhouse.
Taking a selfie while surrounded by Colorado mountains
6. Washington, D.C., to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Float down the Shenandoah or Potomac rivers in a huge inner tube within about two hours outside of Washington, D.C. There’s paddling and whitewater rafting on various sections of these rivers as well.
Aerial view of picturesque Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
7. New York, New York, to Spring Lake, New Jersey
For a real break from busy New York City, head down to the Jersey Shore for a weekend on the beach.
Strolling along the beach in Spring Lake, New Jersey
8. Chicago, Illinois, to Madison, Wisconsin
If you love cheese – and who doesn’t? – head to Madison, Wisconsin. At the Dane County Farmers’ Market, you can get tons and tons of it for very reasonable prices. This college town also has plenty of entertainment options.
The Dane County Farmers’ Market, held weekly in downtown Madison's Capitol Square
9. Los Angeles, California, to June Lake, California
In winter, instead of following everyone from Los Angeles as they drive to Mammoth Lakes, try June Mountain instead. You can expect lots of snow without the correspondingly huge lift lines. And while your friends are still trying to get out of the Mammoth Lakes parking lot, you’ll already be shooting pool and having a drink at The Tiger.
Bursts of color in foliage along June Lake in California