15 Unique Weekend Getaways Within 3 Hours of Cincinnati

You won’t have to travel far in order to find some unique weekend getaways near Cincinnati!

After writing about the new Cannaley Treehouse Village in Toledo and the Covered Wagon rentals in Kentucky, I started to wonder if there were more “unique” spots within driving distance of Cincinnati.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

And, WOW, did I uncover some great places for weekend getaways near Cincinnati! From staying the night in a shipping container to vintage RV’s to tiny cabins on the river…. I looked through the options at Airbnb (and a few other lodging spots) and found some really fun places to try.

Weekend Getaways Near Cincinnati:

Buffalo springs distilling company.

front view of the home of Buffalo Springs Distilling Co. as part of our Weekend Getaways series

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Stamping Ground, KY; 100 miles away

Highlights from the Owners* : On the Bourbon Trail. The Buffalo Springs Distilling Company got it’s start in 1868. It closed and it’s warehouses were emptied out by the 1970’s. This building is one of the last structures left on the site. This historic building was the main office and gatehouse for visitors to the distillery, so we can offer one bedroom due to the size of the structure. Bourbon History buffs will love the opportunity to stay overnight in an old distillery building. This lodging has a large main room, fully equipped kitchen, a bedroom with a Queen bed, bathroom, and laundry area. There’s a City Park almost adjacent to the rear of the property and a family restaurant, stores, bank, post office, gasoline, and Police Station within walking distance.

Details : Sleeps 2 guests; 1 bedroom; 1bed; 1 bath

You might also like: 10 Relaxing and Romantic Getaways in Ohio

Gladiola, A Tiny House on Wheels

Tiny House rentals in Logan, Ohio from Airbnb

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Logan, Ohio; 150 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Our Tiny Houses have that fun feeling, kinda like a tree house or cabin in a setting that allows you to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the Hocking Hills. Inside the air-conditioned/heated tiny house, you can climb a ladder up to a loft bed for a different view, convert the sectional seating into a king sized sleeping area, make and eat dinner in the kitchen and dining area, and freshen up in the bathroom with walk-in shower, Separett composting toilet, and hot running water. So if you enjoy such adventurous and playful settings with close access to zip-lining, hiking, caving, canoeing/kayaking, or a number of other Hocking Hills attractions, our tiny house stays are a perfect fit for you!

Details: Sleeps 2 guests; open floor plan; 1 king (sectional converts into a bed) and 1 double bed (in the loft); 1 bath

Log Cabin with a Guest House

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Terre Haute, IN; 185 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Comfort and relaxation are the cornerstone of Peaceful Pines, an eight acre landscape with a traditional log cabin and quaint guest cabin located on a pond. The log cabin has an open concept, a loft and updated amenities including a wraparound deck, screened-in porch, round hot tub and more. A one-of-a-kind guest house compliments the traditional log cabin for your crew or additional guests.

Details: Sleeps 6 guests; 3 bedrooms, 3 beds, 2 baths

The Artist’s A-Frame

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Madison, Indiana; 90 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Getaway and enjoy the comfort and convenience of this unique, newly remodeled A-Frame home nestled in a quiet, upscale neighborhood. minutes away from Clifty Falls State Park (10 min.) and Historic Downtown Madison (5 min.): recognized as “The prettiest small town in the Midwest” by Ladies Home Journal and “Best Preserved Town in the Midwest” by the Chicago Tribune.

Check out the reviews – at the time of this posting they have 55 “5 star” reviews (the highest you can get)!

Details: Sleeps 4 guests; 2 bedrooms; 2 beds; 1 bath

Shipping Container Chic – a truly unique weekend getaway!

side view of a shipping container rental from Airbnb

Highlights from the Owners* : We are nestled on 13 acres of woods just 2 miles from the entrance of Old Man’s Cave right on 664 S in Logan Ohio. Inside we have a cozy bedroom with full view window, private bathroom /shower, full kitchen with cooktop, living room area with small dining table for 2, gas fireplace, YouTube TV, and WiFi. One of the coolest additions is our motorized glass garage door. Outside under a covered porch is a comfy outdoor swing bed, outdoor lights, a hot tub for two and a glass grill.

Details: Sleeps 2 guests; 1 bedroom; 1 double bed; 1 bath

Caboose with a View

A train car that you can rent for an overnight stay in Marietta Ohio

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Marietta, Ohio; 220 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Enjoy your stay in a completely remodeled train caboose with a large deck and an amazing view looking over the Ohio river and West Virginia. A full size Murphy bed, original writing desk, the dining table is an old sleeper bed turned upside down and all the lights are original out of Pullman train cars. One of the coolest additions is our motorized glass garage door. Outside under a covered porch is a comfy outdoor swing bed, outdoor lights, a hot tub for two and a glass grill.

Details: Sleeps 2 guests; 1 bedroom; 1 full sized Murphy bed; 1 bath

Paws and Unwind: Pet Friendly with a Fenced Dog Area

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Highlights from the Owners* : Paws & Unwind is dog and kid friendly. We are located just 1.7 miles from Old Man’s Cave… Paws & Unwind offers a furnished kitchen, towels, linens, propane grill, a Keurig and K-Cups, a drip coffee maker and filters, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap and basic paper goods. We have a cooler, backpack, 4 sets of trekking poles, and 4 pair of ice grippers for your shoes for use during your stay. For your dogs, we have a 12 ft x 20 ft fenced in area right off of the deck. We also have indoor and outdoor dog beds, and food and water bowls. There is a 4 ft x 2.5 ft dog crate. There is no size or breed restriction for your dogs. We just ask that they are well behaved and pick up after themselves! We are an unplugged destination. There is no Wi-Fi.

Details: Sleeps 4 guests; 2 bedrooms; 3 beds; 1 bath

Ultimate Couples Getaway in a Barn

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Peebles, Ohio; 80 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Trade in the city for millions of stars in the night sky! Located on dead end road in the midst of scenic Brush Creek Forest! Front porch overlooks stocked spring-fed pond.

Details: Sleeps 5 guests; 2 bedrooms; 1 king bed and 3 singles plus an air mattress; 1 bath

Milk House Cottage

lots of green plants and shrubs at the Milk House Cottage in Chesterhill, Ohio

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Chesterhill, Ohio; 192 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Our Milk House Cottage and Gardens is nested in the historic village of Chesterhill, Ohio on 12 beautiful hilly scenic acres (in the heart of an “old world” Amish community). The Milk House Cottage has been totally redesigned into a beautifully modern space equipped with mini-split heating & AC, village water, a non-cooking kitchenette area in the interior porch sitting area.

Details: Sleeps 2 guests; 1 bedroom; 2 single beds; 1 bath

Carriage House in Downtown Indy

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati: Indianapolis, IN; 120 miles

Highlights from the Owners* : Fully modern and brand new private space in our charming carriage house. It has all the amenities you would need to enjoy and explore the beautiful city of Indianapolis. If you are here for work or pleasure, it is perfectly located and easy access to all Indy has to offer so come and explore our great city.

Details: Sleeps 2 guests; 1 bedroom; 1 queen bed; 1 bath (compost toilet)

A Tiny House Escape on 86 Acres in KY

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Augusta, Kentucky; 45 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Our backyard is 86 acres, and we are saving two of them just for you! Our Tiny House escape offers everything to set the tone for your “tiny get-a-way”, “big take-a-way”: Hidden along the creek, restored Kentucky farm venue, shared time in restored barn, social distancing, fire pit, stars. . OR. . . three miles to the sweet town of Augusta, right on the Ohio River– just a jaunt down the road for winery, shops, restaurants! Select “all” for the perfect vibe—make it you!

Details: Sleeps 3 guests; 1 bedroom; 1 queen,1 single; 1 bath

Alpine Chalet – Hocking Hills

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Logan, Ohio; 150 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Alpine – Hocking Hills is tucked into the woods near three other Chalets, on Blosser Road, convenient to Route 33 and the city of Logan. The closest state park is Lake Logan, 1.5 miles, a 5-minute drive. Old Man’s Cave is, 10 miles, a 15-minute drive… Connect with your friends or family, gathered around the beautiful slab-wood table in the spacious eat-in kitchen, on the hearth of wood-burning fireplace, out at the fire pit or in the hot tub on the porch. Beautiful log and slab hard-wood furniture, throughout, with exposed-beam walls and ceiling; hardwood floors; stone hearth. Two queen beds and two full baths, plus washer and dryer, upstairs – in rooms with charming dormer windows and cheery skylights.

Details: Sleeps 4 guests; 2 bedrooms; 2 beds; 2 baths

Creekside Cabin on a Horse Farm – Lexington, Ky

sunset over a horse farm in Lexington, Ky

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Lexington, Ky; 85 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Gorgeous N. Elkhorn Creek views from every room in this 1200 ft cabin on a private, gated horse farm. Your only neighbors are friendly horses! Wi/fi, SatTV/Netflix or enjoy wildlife viewing on the screened porch. Big Green Egg for grilling on the spacious deck. Fire pit and zipline. Living room/bedroom dual wood burning fireplace for chilly nights. Fully stocked granite kitchen. Kayaks available.

Details: Sleeps 4 guests; 2 bedrooms; 3 beds; 2 baths

Lots of Room at the Jackie O’s Barrel Ridge Farm in Athens, Ohio

the backyard of a large airbnb rental located in Athens, Ohio

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Athens, Ohio; 175 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life on the Jackie O’s Barrel Ridge Farm! The perfect getaway for families with children and/or friends who want to reunite near Athens. With lots of natural light, this new 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath space sleeps 12 and has plenty of room for your group, including a chef’s kitchen with large dining table, 2nd floor living room, and tons of outdoor space with a hot tub, gas grill, fire pit, 2 ponds, several greenhouses and plenty of space to explore! … Take a peaceful stroll around the 20+ acre property and check out what’s growing. The greenhouses are home to vegetables and herbs served at the Jackie O’s Public House Restaurant, located in Uptown Athens. Surrounding the farm are fruit and nut trees, which are used in many of our small batch Brewpub beers.

Details: Sleeps 12 guests; 3 bedrooms; 7 beds; 2.5 baths

A Remote Cabin Getaway in Rising Sun, IN

overhead view of the wooded area surrounding a cabin in Indiana

Location and Approx. Distance from Cincinnati : Rising Sun, IN; 40 miles

Highlights from the Owners*: Welcome to our family’s 40-acre wooded property, Grace Woods. This historic cabin was built in 1806 with ties to the American frontiersman, Buffalo Bill – the perfect balance of rustic & modern. Updated amenities provide comfortable accommodations and allow you to relax in the outdoors. Access to pond, hiking trails, campfire, tree swings and zip line, plus more. Many guests visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Check our Guidebook for other local recommendations.

Details: Sleeps 6 guests; 2 bedrooms; 3 beds; 1 bath

* Please be sure to read the property’s complete details on the rental listing. We have not supplied the full list of details / descriptions here.

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3 thoughts on “15 Unique Weekend Getaways Within 3 Hours of Cincinnati”

Brigitte, This is a great article. I am always looking for interesting places to get away to from Cincinnati. We have lived in Alberta, Minnesota, Connected and North Carolina and explored all of those regions, but have lived in Cincinnati now for 14 years and every one of the places on this list could be a new adventure. Thank you very much! Mike Crossen

You should check out the Murphin Ridge Inn in West Union, OH. It is a hidden treasure! It is one of our favorite getaway spots within an hour of Cincinnati. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks for this great list of ideas!

Comments are closed.

PA on Pause

33 Driveable Weekend Getaways from Pittsburgh to Get Out of the City (+ A Map!)

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Pittsburgh is a great city with so many things to do all year. But, sometimes, you want to get out and explore some other places. It’s okay. We understand!

Where should you venture when you want a getaway from Pittsburgh?

There are SO MANY options, all within just a few hours’ drive from the city.

What makes us experts? Well, we both grew up in western Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. We’ve explored most of these locations more times than we can count over the years, so we feel great about sharing each of these recommendations with you.

What type of destination or weekend trip are you looking for? There is something in this list that could be tailored to just about any desire. Here are some great ideas for weekend getaways from Pittsburgh .

➡️Just Want The Highlights? Our Top Recommendations:

  • Best for Exploring the Outdoors: Pine Creek Gorge ; Cuyahoga Valley National Park ; Dolly Sods ; Hocking Hills
  • Small Town Getaways: Lancaster, PA ; Jamestown, NY
  • Explore Another City: Buffalo, NY ; Baltimore, MD
  • A Girls’ Weekend in Wine Country: Geneva, OH ; Finger Lakes, NY
  • History Buff’s Getaway: Gettysburg ; Washington DC
  • Best Relaxing Weekend Getaway: Bedford Springs

What Makes a Good Weekend Trip from Pittsburgh?

We think that a good weekend trip requires no more than 4-5 hours of driving . Typically, with those on the longer end of this range, we’d even recommend a long weekend of at least 3 days.

Anything shorter than 1.5 hours could be explored in a day trip , but this list includes a wide variety of locations and distances. Hopefully, it will at least inspire a starting point for your next weekend getaway.

One thing we really like about many of these places to visit near Pittsburgh is that they can be enjoyed any time of the year.

These destinations are all driveable, and for most of them, having a car to get around once you’re there is a good idea.

Compiling this list was seriously tough! It became overwhelming when we sat down to think of all the great places within only a few hours’ drive from the city. Basically, we could have had 50+ spots here with great reasons to visit each one.

Best Weekend Trips from Pittsburgh

Stay in the State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is full of places to see and things to do. Check out some of these spots, some very well-known and some more off the beaten path.

1. The Laurel Highlands

Drive Time: 1 hour 20 minutes Distance: 70 miles

Ohiopyle Falls is located right in town.

The Laurel Highlands is a scenic, mountainous region in Western Pennsylvania that’s perfect for a weekend getaway from Pittsburgh.  The drive time is only about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and the area offers plenty of things to do.

The star of the show in the Laurel Highlands is definitely Ohiopyle State Park . Discover beautiful waterfalls , and hike great trails like Jonathan Run and the Ferncliff Loop.

In addition to Ohiopyle, other great state parks nearby include Laurel Hill and Laurel Ridge.

Ohiopyle is also a popular whitewater rafting destination close to Pittsburgh.

Book an adventurous Whitewater Rafting Trip in Ohiopyle!

The tallest point in the state of Pennsylvania is located nearby in the Laurel Highlands: Mount Davis. If you’re trying to visit the tallest point in this or every state, this is a must-visit.

During the winter months, we think Seven Springs is a great place to satisfy your winter sports adventures on the mountain. You can ski, snowboard, or tube your way down the mountain.

Drive Time: 2 hours Distance: 128 miles

The sunsets on the Presque Isle State Park beaches are stunning, and here is a peak at one through the trees.

Erie is a great place to visit for a getaway weekend.  It’s located in the very northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, and it’s only about 2 hours from Pittsburgh! Erie has plenty of things to do and see during every season.

The city has a rich history with ties to Lake Erie that dates back centuries. Enjoy the historic tall ships or millionaires’ row of mansions right downtown.

Outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, and boating are great ways to enjoy Presque Isle State Park and nearby Erie Bluffs State Park .

Stay for the sunset at Presque Isle and watch from one of the park’s beaches. We think it’s easily one of the best places to watch a sunset in the Great Lakes region .

If you’re looking for some indoor fun, enjoy the Erie Art Museum, shop at the Millcreek Mall, or catch a show at Kellar’s comedy club and magic bar. Some pretty big names have performed on the small stage at Kellar’s.

Have you Pittsburghers heard of Billy Gardell? We’ve seen him at Kellar’s.

After spending the day exploring, visit one of the many great local restaurants. There are so many options that it’s hard to go wrong. Some of our favorite spots include The Cork, BrewErie, and Pineapple Eddie’s, among others. These are just a few!

3. Pine Creek Gorge

Drive Time: 4 hours Distance: 228 miles

The Barbour Rock Overlook provides a stunning view of the green valley of the PA Grand Canyon.

The Pine Creek Gorge is the jewel of the northern part of the state. It’s an amazingly scenic and diverse destination. It’s an under-the-radar weekend trip from Pittsburgh!

The star attraction in this region is sandwiched between Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks. It’s the gorge with the river below, known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon .

Hiking, biking, boating, and backpacking are all popular things to do in the area. You’ll want to spend all day exploring and enjoying the many trails and views. The West Rim Trail in the PA Grand Canyon is one of our favorite weekend backpacking trails in Pennsylvania at about 30 miles long.

The area is also filled with small towns, great places to eat, spots for shopping, and outdoor activities like kayaking.

Visit nearby Hills Creek State Park for more hiking and water adventures in the park’s lake. In the winter, you’ll see plenty of ice fishing happening out on the lake.

4. Gettysburg

Drive Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Distance: 185 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Located only about 3 hours and 30 minutes away from Pittsburgh, Gettysburg has a lot to offer, and it’s worth the drive. You’ll find all sorts of things to do in Gettysburg, and it’s a perfect destination for history buffs.

Check out sites like the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and the History Center. Then go out and explore the battlefields for a window into the events that occurred during the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War.

We learned so much by playing the virtual tour videos from the NPS at each stop through the battlefields drive.

There are also plenty of places to go hiking nearby, including Pine Grove Furnace and Caledonia State Parks. Take a nighttime ghost tour if you’re into the paranormal.

Other things to do in Gettysburg include shopping and visiting wineries! So many quaint little shops with unique items are scattered throughout the streets of the town.

Gettysburg is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a weekend getaway, although you can certainly spend more than just a weekend exploring!

5. State College

Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Distance: 136 miles

Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount Nittany

State College is a great driveable spot near Pittsburgh with a more small-town feel. This university town still offers all sorts of fun for both visitors and locals.

Whether it’s exploring the historic sites or grabbing some grub at one of the many restaurants, there is something to do in State College every day of the week. We always make sure to stop at the Berkey Creamery for some delicious ice cream when we’re in town.

Outdoor activities are popular, too. Wander through the arboretum at Penn State or hike up Mount Nittany . Play a round of golf at one of the beautiful courses. Take a tour through Penn’s Cave . There are even a few spots nearby for afternoon wine tasting.

Visit during particular fall weekends, and you’ll see the town transform. Football games are a big deal in these parts, and people come from far and wide to cheer on their Nittany Lions. So much so, that on these weekends, State College turns into one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania. It’s definitely a sports experience you should have at some point in your life.

On top of that, this small town has a lot to offer when it comes to shopping and entertainment. For those who love culture and art, don’t miss out on visiting any museums or galleries.

6. Benezette & Elk County

Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Distance: 129 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Benezette is a small town about 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh, and there are plenty of things to do for visitors. This is certainly a more laid-back escape than some of the others on this list.

One of the best attractions in Benezette is seeing elk! Elk roam free on the hillsides surrounding the town, and it’s a great opportunity to see these large animals in a natural setting on the east coast.

Plan this as a fall getaway when the leaves are changing and the elk are in the rut. You’ll be in for a real treat.

Hike the nearby state forest trails, and you might get even closer to them, but not too close! Always maintain 100 yards between you and the elk for yours and the animals’ safety.

You can also enjoy some fishing or take a scenic drive through the area if that’s what you prefer!

7. Lancaster

Drive Time: 3 hours 50 minutes Distance: 238 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Lancaster, PA is a historic and charming area located about three hours and fifty minutes from Pittsburgh. Lancaster offers plenty of things to do for visitors and locals alike, but life’s pace is much slower than that in the city.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities like hiking or fishing, or indoor fun at the museums, there is something for everyone in Lancaster!

In addition to all these wonderful attractions, the area also has a lot of restaurants where you can taste the local flavors of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. You’ll never go hungry here with this delicious home cooking.

Take an Amish Immersion Tour to Learn More About the Pennsylvania Dutch Culture in Lancaster!

Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is a mixture of German and Dutch elements. These foods emphasize meat, potatoes, cornbreads/biscuits, cabbage dishes with pork or beef sausages; fresh loaves of bread; apple pies; pretzels; and scrapple.

8. The Poconos

Drive Time: 4 hours 30 minutes Distance: 279 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

If you’re looking for a more adventurous weekend getaway, the Poconos are a great option! This area is located about four hours and thirty minutes from Pittsburgh.

It’s quite a large area, so you could easily spend a long weekend exploring the Poconos and still not do everything you want.

Outdoor activities include hiking, biking, watersports, and golfing during the summer. Check out the nearby Ricketts Glen State Park Waterfall Trail for a real treat! There are over 20 waterfalls along the trail.

You can also enjoy some time at the casino or take a trip to one of the area’s many water parks. Indoor fun includes visiting the various museums and theaters or simply relaxing at the spa. In the winter, it is a ski and snowboard destination.

A trip to the Poconos is truly an adventure, whether you prefer relaxing or being active. While it is a little further drive, it is well worth the time and effort.

Drive Time: 50 minutes Distance: 33 miles

McConnells Mill and Covered Bridge is one of the best places to visit and one of the most photographed locations in the park.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, Butler County may be just what you need to explore. Although it’s one of the closest destinations on this list, and you might be wondering why it made the cut, there are plenty of hidden gems here.

About fifty minutes or so from Pittsburgh to the north, there are plenty of outdoor activities as well as indoor fun. Hiking is plentiful in nearby McConnells Mill and Moraine State Parks . Sections of the North Country Trail travel right through both parks.

Shopping and dining options give you some variety that is different from the city. A few craft breweries, wineries, and local restaurants serve up delicious treats.

Numerous festivals are held in Butler every year, too. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival attracts Jeep enthusiasts from all over the country to the area for a weekend of on and off-road fun. I love my ’97 TJ and make it a point to attend every year.

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that doesn’t require a lot of time, driving, or effort to reach, heading just north to Butler County is an easy trip.

10. Philadelphia

Drive Time: 4 hours 50 minutes Distance: 304 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Philadelphia is such a historic city with plenty to do, whether you plan to spend a week or one day in Philadelphia . It’s also the place where American independence was first declared, so history has a big influence on the city’s culture.

Museums, dedicated to different varieties of art, history, or oddities are scattered throughout the city! The Mütter Museum is one of the strangest museums we’ve ever been to, but those fascinated by the human body may also find it interesting.

Stop by Independence Hall where the founding fathers debated and signed some of the most important documents in US history, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. After, take a short walk to the famous Liberty Bell.

Take a Walking Tour of the historic Old City with a guide to be sure that you don’t miss any of the most notable sites during your visit!

Those interested in crime will enjoy a visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary. Wander the eerie passageways on a self-guided tour where notorious criminals like Al Capone were once locked away. We found the audio tour that comes with your entrance ticket really interesting!

In addition to all these wonderful attractions, the area also has a lot of restaurants where you can taste local flavors. The Philly Cheesesteak war is alive and well. While Geno’s and Pat’s are the most famous, they’re not the only places to grab these sandwich staples.

Before leaving the City of Brotherly Love, visit the Museum of Art and run up the stairs made famous in “Rocky.”

➡️ Pro Tip: If you’re able to plan a visit on Independence Day weekend like we have, you may be lucky enough to sit on the museum stairs and catch the movie being played under the stars.

11. Delaware Water Gap

Drive Time: 4 hours 50 minutes Distance: 299 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

The Delaware Water Gap is an ideal destination if you are looking to explore the outdoors. The area features caves, waterfalls, hiking trails, wildlife viewing areas, and many other outdoor attractions.

The Delaware River forms a natural border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey at this location, which also makes it a great spot for fishing or canoeing on the river.

The area is so beautiful that many are hoping that the national recreation area will soon be upgraded to national park status, becoming Pennsylvania’s first.

We had a fantastic time sipping on a drink at the Glass Wine Bar in the Ledges Hotel. Make sure you request a table with a view of the waterfall!

We had an early reservation for a drink and appetizers and then drove the 30 minutes back to Raymondskill Falls. The restaurant wasn’t as busy, and we had Raymondskill to ourselves.

12. Cherry Spring State Park

Drive Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Distance: 182 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Cherry Spring State Park is a perfect destination for visitors who want to enjoy some relaxing time outdoors. It’s a great space to get “off the grid.”

This park is a true destination for stargazers. It’s known as the darkest spot on the eastern seaboard. The park is situated far away from any big cities, light pollution, and traffic; all of which make it the perfect place for seeing the Milky Way, among other things.

Cherry Springs also offers educational programs throughout the summer to help visitors learn more about astronomy and the night sky.

You’ll need to book a campsite far in advance for any big events such as eclipses or meteor showers. There aren’t a ton of campsites, and they can book up quickly, and they’re definitely rustic.

Trails in the surrounding state forest are great for mountain biking and hiking. Although the only overnight options within the park are rustic tenting options, check out Airbnb or VRBO for private cabin and home rentals near the park.

13. Hershey

Drive Time: 3 hours 50 minutes Distance: 215 miles

Hershey, Pennsylvania is a small town near the heart of Amish country. For those who are thrill-seekers, there is plenty to do. The amusement park is a main attraction for tourists.

Next door, the Hershey Story Museum & Chocolate World offers visitors a glimpse into the history of Milton S. Hershey’s chocolate empire and how it has grown to include popular brands like Reese’s, Twizzlers, Almond Joy, Mr. Goodbar, and many more.

Five-pound Hershey chocolate bars exist and are sold here. I know. I got one!

You can also take a guided tour, which is more of an experience through the Chocolate World with animations and songs.

Enjoy some shopping or play a round of golf if the weather permits. There are several hotels and motels close to the Hershey area, including one right next to Hersheypark.

14. Bedford Springs

Drive Time: 1 hour 45 minutes Distance: 108 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

The Bedford Springs Resort is a historic property that was established in 1806. The resort is centered around healing mineral springs that were discovered in 1796. In those times, it was a destination for city dwellers who would vacation to get away from the pollution and hustle and bustle of city life.

It was completely renovated and restored, then opened back to the public in 2007. Let me tell you, this property is a hidden gem in south-central Pennsylvania. We were pleasantly surprised with what we discovered staying at the resort.

The 300-acre property features a spa, fed by a mineral spring, which pays homage to the original purpose of the property. Indulge in a “Bedford Bath” which is the signature treatment here, alternating hot and cold baths with steam from the springs, too.

This is a great weekend getaway where you can indulge in relaxation, but there are also onsite hiking trails, bike rentals, and golf. An outfitter on site can help book fishing trips in the area.

Getaways from Pittsburgh in the Neighboring States

Pittsburgh is within just a couple hours’ drive to multiple other states. There are plenty of options when considering weekend getaways from Pittsburgh, so don’t be afraid to get outside the city and the state.

Access to many spots in Ohio is just a short drive away. Although some rivalry exists between residents of the two states, that shouldn’t deter you from considering a visit!

15. Cleveland

Drive Time: 2 hours 15 minutes Distance: 133 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

While some Pittsburghers may roll their eyes or shake their head any time Cleveland is mentioned, it’s an enjoyable spot to visit for a weekend. At just over 2 hours from Pittsburgh, it’s an easily accessible drive for just a short visit.

Cleveland’s downtown features an impressive skyline of high-rises, fun restaurants, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. For music lovers, this place is a must-visit!

Cleveland also has the closest NBA professional basketball team in the Cavaliers, if you’re looking for a different sport to watch that isn’t offered in Pittsburgh.

There are so many great restaurants, bars, and breweries to visit, too, scattered all over town. Don’t just head down East 4th Street. Check out Tremont or Ohio City, The Flats, and other hotspots around town.

And, if you’re a beer lover, Cleveland has an impressive list of breweries to visit, many of which offer samples or tours. We love Noble Beast, Masthead, Terrestrial… We could go on!

16. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Drive Time: 1 hour 50 minutes Distance: 112 miles

Brandywine Falls is the largest and most popular Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfall

Who knew a national park was so close and accessible? Even if the Delaware Water Gap becomes a national park, this one is closer! Cuyahoga Valley is a newer and lesser-known national park, but there are some beautiful spots to check out.

Brandywine Falls should be one of your first stops, and then hike along some of the fantastic trails, including a section of the Buckeye Trail. Take a ride on the train, especially if you’re visiting during the fall when the leaves are at their peak.

The Towpath Trail is a popular spot for bicyclists. The trail, which follows the Ohio & Erie Canal currently for 87 miles, is mostly flat and makes for an easy ride. It will be 101 miles long when it’s all finished!

The trail offers great views of the Cuyahoga River and the surrounding landscape, as well as some information about the historical significance of the canal way.

All of these sites certainly make Cuyahoga Valley National Park worth visiting on a weekend from Pittsburgh.

17. Nelson Ledges

Drive Time: 1 hour 35 minutes Distance: 92 miles

Nelson Ledges is a great place to explore the natural rock formations that make up the park. Hike, swim, bike, snorkel, camp, or find another activity that gets you excited to be outdoors. The possibilities here are nearly endless!

Check event schedules. The park is sometimes home to arts festivals and musical events on its 250 acres of land.

If you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, take a walk along one of the nature trails or enjoy a picnic lunch.

There are also two fishing lakes in the park if you’d like to relax by the water. Just be sure to check with the park staff about fishing regulations before you start casting your line.

18. Put-in-Bay

Drive Time: 3 hours 50 minutes Distance: 202 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway with both a party atmosphere and spots to find some solitude, Put-in-Bay is the perfect spot. Just a few hours from Pittsburgh, this island offers plenty to do and see.

The town is situated on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. You’ll have to take a ferry to get to the island.

There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore in town. Rent a golf cart for a fun way to get around town. You can also visit some of the historical sites or take a boat tour of the area.

If you’re looking for something more active, there are plenty of bike trails or golf courses to check out. And don’t forget about the beaches! Put-in-Bay has some of the best beaches around for swimming and enjoying Lake Erie.

19. Hocking Hills

Drive Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Distance: 193 miles

Ash Cave with a trickling, freezing waterfall

Hocking Hills is a favorite destination in the region for a number of reasons. It’s one of the most popular state parks in Ohio. Things to do in Hocking Hills include canyoneering, rafting, and hiking through the scenic landscape of rock formations, cliffs, and waterfalls.

The area can get quite busy during the summer, so consider visiting the Hocking Hills hiking trails during the winter for a different experience. Just make sure that you have the appropriate gear.

The trails can get really icy and dangerous! We definitely needed our Kahtoola microspikes , especially on the Old Man’s Cave and Rock House trails.

In addition to the great outdoors, the town has a number of places worth checking out. Take a ride around the area, visit some of the antique stores, or stop at the winery for an afternoon of tasting.

For overnight stays, there are soooo many cabins throughout the area with great amenities like game rooms, hot tubs, and beautiful fireplaces. Many pet-friendly cabins and hiking trails allow dogs in Hocking Hills , making this a great place to get away with your pups.

Pro Tip: Cell phone service can be extremely limited in many spots, even at some of the cabins that we’ve stayed at. Make sure you have paper maps and plan your trip ahead of time. You don’t want to risk missing things you’d like to do because you don’t have wifi or cell service.

Drive Time: 2 hours 20 minutes Distance: 138 miles

Geneva, Ohio is a small town with a big heart. The wine country of northeast Ohio has been growing and thriving. It’s home to beautiful scenery, delicious food & drink, outdoor adventure opportunities…the list goes on!

Geneva is home to more than just vineyards. It’s also the perfect place to visit if you want the best of both worlds: a weekend spent exploring or relaxing- all without having to travel too far from Pittsburgh.

Check out some of the beautiful covered bridges of Ashtabula County. There are 19 of them around the county.

Spend your time wandering “the Strip” for a carnival-like atmosphere during the summer months or get out and get active at the state park. Then, enjoy the wine! One of my personal favorites is Laurello’s.

Stay at the Lakehouse Inn in Geneva-on-the-Lake to be within walking distance of the Strip and enjoy epic lakefront views.

21. Sandusky

Drive Time: 3 hours Distance: 182 miles

Cedar Point Amusement Park is a world-famous amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio. It’s home to some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world, as well as a variety of other rides and attractions.

You could absolutely spend an entire weekend in Sandusky visiting the beach on Lake Erie, checking out Cedar Point, and exploring the shopping and restaurants in town. There’s so much to see and do in the region.

This would be a great weekend getaway for families, especially with older children. Park entrance fees can be on the pricey side, but buying multi-day passes does give some discount.

Sharing a lot of the southern border of Pennsylvania, Maryland is home to a couple of weekend getaway destinations from Pittsburgh.

22. Deep Creek Lake

Drive Time: 2 hours 10 minutes Distance: 103 miles

Just over two hours away, this lake offers plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. You can go fishing, boating, swimming, or hiking on the trails around the lake during the summer.

Wisp Resort in the area is a great winter destination for skiers and snowboarders. The resort is on the smaller side but offers slopes for all levels of skiers and a terrain park for the more adventurous.

There are also restaurants and shops in and around the town of McHenry if you need to take a break from all the outdoor activities, or stay in and just spend a weekend relaxing in one of the lakeside cottages.

23. Baltimore

Drive Time: 4 hours 5 minutes Distance: 248 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Baltimore is a city with a rich history, both as an industrial port and as the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner. But today, Baltimore’s many charms extend to its diverse restaurants and neighborhoods, world-class museums and art galleries, beautiful parks, and waterfront promenade. It’s also home to world-class universities like Johns Hopkins.

Some must-sees include The National Aquarium, which showcases millions of gallons of water-filled tanks with thousands of different species of aquatic life from around the world. You can explore the Atlantic coral reef or get up close with sharks in Shark Alley.

Baltimore is also home to the famous Inner Harbor, with its beautiful skyline views.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, stop by the Johns Hopkins University campus or check out the museums and art galleries around town. Stop by the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where you can see Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite.

New York is such a large state that much of it is not accessible within a reasonable amount of time to be considered a weekend trip, even a long weekend trip from Pittsburgh. There are a few options, though, all of which have something fun to offer.

24. The Finger Lakes

Drive Time: 5 hours Distance: 284 miles

Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park framed by the railroad bridge passing overhead

The Finger Lakes wine country in upstate New York is a beautiful destination for a weekend getaway. The region is home to stunning landscapes, delicious food and drink, and plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities.

The Finger Lakes region is one of the furthest destinations included in this list, and you’ll want to take a long weekend vacation (or maybe more) to explore everything the region has to offer.

Spend the mornings exploring the many waterfalls scattered throughout the area or one of the stunning state parks near the lakes. The afternoons can be saved for wine tasting. Relax by one of the beautiful lakes in the evenings. What could make a better weekend getaway?

Make sure you check out Watkins Glen , Taughannock Falls , and Letchworth State Parks. These are just a few hiking options that have beautiful things to see around the Finger Lakes, but each one has great waterfalls and hiking trails.

25. Jamestown

Drive Time: 2 hours 40 minutes Distance: 171 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Did you know that Jamestown, NY is the birthplace of Lucille Ball? She was born there in 1911 and spent her childhood there. It is also her final resting place, along with some members of her other family members.

After a successful career in Hollywood, she retired to her hometown and opened the Lucy-Desi Museum. The museum celebrates her life and career and is home to many artifacts from her time on I Love Lucy.

Jamestown is also home to the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival each year. The festival features stand-up comedians, sketch comedy groups, and performances from both up-and-comers and well-known comedians.

For outdoor lovers, nearby Chautauqua Lake has plenty to do from boating and watersports to hiking trails and parks. Visit Southern Tier Brewing’s original location, and during the summer, you might be able to catch a musical act on the small outdoor stage while you grab a drink and bite to eat.

26. Niagara Falls

Drive Time: 3 hours 40 minutes Distance: 238 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Niagara Falls is quite a famous destination, being one of the most visited tourist attractions in North America. It’s no wonder why; Niagara Falls is truly spectacular. It’s the largest waterfall in North America by volume.

There are so many things to do at Niagara Falls, including taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat tour , visiting the Cave of the Winds, and even hiking along the Gorge Trail.

You can take out the planning and book a day-long tour of the highlights of Niagara Falls .

Discover Niagara Falls through a Guided Tour, Including Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds.

There are also many hotels located near the falls, making it easy to stay overnight while enjoying the beauty of the falls. Some even overlook the falls, but you’ll have to head over to the Canadian side for most of them.

While the area is very built-up and touristy, the magnitude of these falls should not be missed. In our experience, visits during the colder months were less crowded.

27. Ellicottville

Drive Time: 3 hours 15 minutes Distance: 203 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Ellicottville is a small town in Western New York, south of Buffalo. This quaint little town provides a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities.

The town is home to 2 ski slopes, which offer even more than just winter fun.  During the summer, trails are open for exploration and mountain biking at Holiday Valley. Just south of town, there are more trails and outdoor areas to visit in the state forests.

After a day of exploring, you can spend the evening wandering through the shops in town or grab dinner and a drink at Ellicottville Brewing.

If you’re looking for a quiet weekend escape in a small town, this is the perfect spot.

28. Buffalo

Drive Time: 3 hours 20 minutes Distance: 219 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

The city of Buffalo gives off very similar vibes to that of Pittsburgh with the locals and things to do.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, as well as museums and art galleries, and a waterfront with activities in all seasons. 

Ever wanted to try your luck at curling after watching it on TV during the Olympics? There are lanes at the waterfront area, known as Canalside, where you can try it out and learn the sport. There are also skating rinks and plenty of winter fun. 

During the summer, the waterfront becomes a popular location for concerts and festivals, such as the annual Taste of Buffalo food festival. You could also combine a trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, as they’re only about 20 miles apart.

West Virginia

Wild and wonderful, West Virginia has plenty of outdoor adventure waiting in its mountains.

29. New River Gorge

Drive Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Distance: 217 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Just over 200 miles to the south, you can visit the US’s newest national park the New River Gorge .

The area in and around the gorge is popular with thrill-seekers, as there is fantastic whitewater rafting in both the New and Gauley Rivers. While we haven’t tackled the Gauley, the New River trip is fun in the spring.

Rock climbing and hiking are also other popular activities in the park, and you’ll find lots of camping options to stay the night in the area. Whether you’d like to spend the night in a primitive cabin or one with lots of amenities, there is a suitable choice. Plenty of tent camping sites are available, too.

Cell phone reception can be a problem in parts of the park, so plan ahead by downloading maps, just in case you find yourself off the grid. It is one of many great areas in West Virginia to get off the grid.

30. Charleston

Drive Time: 3 hours 35 minutes Distance: 228 miles

This historic city is the capital of West Virginia. With its beautiful architecture and charming downtown, Charleston is an absolute must-see when visiting West Virginia.

Although it is the capital of the state, Charleston has kept much of its small-town charm throughout, making this a relaxing weekend getaway from Pittsburgh.

Shop in the Capitol Market or attend an event at the Haddad Riverfront Park amphitheater. Grab a bite at one of the many downtown restaurants serving dishes like Italian or Mexican favorites. 

For a long weekend option, combine a visit to Charleston and the New River Gorge. The one-hour drive between the two destinations on Route 60 is scenic and beautiful. It’ll give you a good taste of those West Virginia country roads.

31. Dolly Sods Wilderness

Drive Time: 3 hours 25 minutes Distance: 152 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Another beautiful off-the-grid destination in West Virginia, Dolly Sods is a hiking paradise. As part of the larger Monongahela National Forest, there are over 17,000 acres of outdoor areas to explore.

This is a destination for those who are more adventurous outdoor lovers. 

There are trails for hikers of all levels, and if you want to see some wildlife, keep your eyes peeled for deer, foxes, and even black bears.

The best way to enjoy the outdoors is to camp out here. There are several campsites that offer electricity and water hookups, but no showers.

To really get to some of the best seclusion, plan to head to the backcountry, but only if you come prepared.

Much of Virginia requires more of a drive, so not all of the state is accessible for weekend getaways from Pittsburgh. A few spots could be great, though, especially for long weekend options.

32. Shenandoah

Drive Time: 3 hours 45 minutes Distance: 193 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway from Pittsburgh, Shenandoah is a perfect place to go south.

One of the East Coast’s beautiful national parks, there are miles of hiking trails, biking, and scenic roadways through this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You can also take advantage of the natural beauty of the area by fishing and camping.

Shenandoah is definitely a four-season destination. Depending on the time of year, you will be treated to rushing waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, bright fall foliage, or snow-covered mountains.

All are beautiful in their own way, so plan your visit according to the type of scenery that you’d like to visit.

33. Washington D.C.

Drive Time: 4 hours 5 minutes Distance: 242 miles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Because it’s within a 5-hour drive of Pittsburgh, we can’t leave the nation’s capital off of our list of best weekend destinations from Pittsburgh.

You’ll certainly need more than a weekend to see everything that the capital city has to offer, though!

From the monuments and the National Mall to the shopping in Georgetown, there are endless things to do and places to explore. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly experience, check out the Smithsonian Museums or the National Zoo.

They’re all free to visit!

If you’d like someone else to do the route planning, check out these ELECTRIC CART GUIDED TOURS . You’ll be able to see more in less time in this small-group experience.

Plenty of sports teams call D.C. home, too, so there is a great chance that you could catch a game of some kind during your visit.

If you’ve never been to Washington D.C., you won’t know what you’re missing.

While there are so many options for weekend getaways from Pittsburgh, hopefully, this list gives you some great ideas to start with. Better yet, take a spur-of-the-moment trip to one of the closer destinations we suggested. Sometimes those kinds of trips lead to some of the best memories!

Which one of these weekend getaways from Pittsburgh are you most excited about planning?

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Samantha is the owner and author of PAonPause, a blog that helps travelers find the best outdoor travel experiences and highlights unique locations around the Great Lakes. When she isn't writing and creating content for the website, she's hiking and exploring with her husband and 2 rescue pups. She also enjoys a good craft beer, a summer ride in her Jeep with the top down, and discovering a new waterfall.

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Easy Getaways from NYC: 10 Trips Within 3 Hours of Manhattan

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See recent posts by Katherine Alex Beaven

Who says you gotta stay in NYC to have all the fun? Not us! Especially during the warm months of the summer, diehard Manhattanites actually choose to leave the metropolis behind for sandy beaches and greener pastures. And fortunately, whether it's via plane, train, automobile, or even boat, they don't have to venture far to truly escape. You can be hitting the trails, sipping your way through wine country, soaking up some contemporary culture, browsing through history, or lying on the shore within just a few hours of leaving the city. All reachable from NYC within three hours max, these 10 jaunts are perfect for day trips or even guiltless and easy overnight affairs. So bring the kids (or don't!) and find your perfect getaway hiding just beyond the city -- it's closer than you may think.

1. The Catskills: Two to Three Hours by Car

Catskill Falls; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/chethanjs

An antithesis to the bright lights and constant cacophony of the city, the scenic wilderness and fresh air of the Catskills can be found within a two- to three-hour drive from New York City . In the warmer months, the area is ideal for hiking in forests yielding stunning views, dipping in the area’s natural swimming holes, or zip-lining among the treetops. If you can’t make it out there this summer, winter months make for great skiing and snowshoeing. For a relaxing, simple getaway where you can really unplug, check-in to the  The Graham & Co.  in Phoenicia where you’ll find mountain views, fresh air, free beer upon check-in, free breakfast, loaner bikes, and a small pool — but no TVs, and kinda spotty cell service. You don’t even need to rent a car to get there because this mid-range boutique is just off a bus line straight from NYC.

Pricing for The Graham & Co.

2. Finger Lakes: One Hour by Direct Flight

Waterpark at Hope Lake Lodge

Just over an hour non-stop flight from New York City, a plethora of year-round, family-friendly activities await in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes . A collection of thin, finger-like shaped bodies of water, the Finger Lakes provide an ideal overnight getaway for families of all ages — with summertime being particularly perfect for water-based activities like fishing, sailing, sunbathing, and water sports, and winter giving way to fantastic snow-blanketed scenery, primed for downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. An easy and affordable overnight option for those who fly into Ithaca is the  Hope Lake Lodge . This village-like property has a water park and activities for kids, while parents can enjoy the year-round ski resort’s spa, pool, and whirlpool.

Pricing for Hope Lake Lodge & Conference Center

3. Fire Island: 90 Minutes by Train and Ferry

Sunset along the Fire Island National Seashore; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/acmace

Technically a national park, Fire Island not only has a romantic and sultry name, but it’s often thought of as the more low-key, laid-back (and therefore, to many, more appealing) summer getaway alternative to the Hamptons . Located off the coast of Long Island , Fire Island can be reached from the city in about an hour-and-a-half — assuming you line up your transportation schedule just so. Only 32 miles long, this beach destination is home to a sunken forest, historic lighthouse built in 1826, upscale boutiques and markets, sun-drenched coastline (with clothing-optional areas), and a nice selection of restaurants and bars. We recommend staying at  The Palms Hotel  since it’s beachside location is also within walking distance of numerous attractions. Plus, this little mid-range boutique has free bikes, kayak rentals, and private beach space for guests!

Pricing for The Palms Hotel Fire Island

4. Philadelphia: 90 Minutes by Train or Two Hours by Bus

Original Philly Cheesesteak from Pat's King of Steak; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/wallyg

Just want to get out of New York in general? Thanks to the Amtrak Acela Express, you can be out of the Big Apple and face-deep in a traditional Philly cheesesteak in just around an hour-and-a-half. But  Philadelphia is more than just cream cheese and steak sandwiches, so spend a night or two in the City of Brotherly Love so you can check out the city’s major historical landmarks like the Liberty Bell, experience Amish country, or check out medical oddities at the strange, but fascinating, Mütter Museum. Heck, if you eat too many gooey, cheesy, eponymous cheesesteaks, you can always sprint some “stadiums” up and down the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s entrance. To be smack in the center of the action, stay at Le Meridien Philadelphia . With a striking combination of historical and modern design, this luxurious boutique reflects the true vibe of the city.

Pricing for Le Meridien Philadelphia

5. Cape May, NJ: Two and a Half Hours by Bus

Dolphin swimming off the coast of Cape May; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/mbtrama

A day or two in the wholesome and historic clutches of New Jersey’s (yes, New Jersey) Cape May is enough to make anyone feel a bit nostalgic for simpler times. Offering an antithesis to  Atlantic City ‘s bright flashing lights and Vegas-like vices appeal, Cape May is a Victorian seaside town full of old-school, virtuous activities like ice cream cone-accompanied historic walks, picturesque lighthouse visits, mini-golf, and simple (and delicious) seaside eats. If you are looking for a bit more adventure, head out to sea between spring and fall where you can try to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine animals in their natural habitat. To fully immerse yourself in the town’s history, stay at The Queen Victoria , a family-owned B&B. This mid-range, 30-room boutique not only has Victorian home credibility, but it also serves up tasty breakfasts and afternoon tea, and offers guests bike rentals.

Pricing for The Queen Victoria

6. Atlantic City: Two Hours by Car

Atlantic City Boardwalk at night; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/9044421@N02

For some, though, the spectacle of Atlantic City is just what they’re looking for. Originally created as a resort town in the mid-1800s, Atlantic City was once a glitzy and glamorous destination for high rollers, vacationing families, and sneaky bootleggers during prohibition. In fact, the seaside resort town — home to the world’s first boardwalk — was so popular it was dubbed “The World’s Playground,” and was the inspiration behind  Monopoly. Un fortunately, this didn’t last long and after World War II, it became a seedy, crumbling icon. But over the last few decades, it’s cleaned up its act and, thanks to the Atlantic City Expressway and the opening of the luxe  Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa , the city’s most extravagant hotel, it has started regaining popularity. It’s fallen on some hard times again, but overall there are numerous delicious restaurants, decadent spas, and busy casinos — at very affordable prices.

Pricing for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

7. Bear Mountain: One Hour by Car or 45 Minutes by Train

View of Bear Mountain State Park; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/pabo76

Just 45 minutes north of the city, Bear Mountain Park is an ideal — and idyllic — spot to get you hike-n-picnic on. Besides offering sweeping view of upstate New York, the area also has a zoo, carousel, and pools. Hiking trails range from easy loops to more advanced and calve-aching bits of the Appalachian Trail.

8. City Island – 45 minutes by Subway or Bus

Bait shop on City Island; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/susieblackmon

City Island is such a quiet, cute, and quaint spot, it’s hard to believe that it’s just across a bridge from the big city. Perfect for a last-minute day trip or add-on adventure from the Bronx, this little island has nautical-themed Americana oozing from its shuttered homes and wooden marina. The main road is cluttered with cozy restaurants (mostly serving seafood), dusty antique stores, and water activities like kayaking and fishing. Walk to the island’s end and you’ll find seafront fish spot Johnny’s Reef Restaurant, where you can get boiled or fried fish, oysters, clams, hush puppies, and more — all with a view.

9. Beacon, NY: Just Over an Hour by Train

Ruins of the wheelhouse from the old funicular on Mt. Beacon; Photo Credit: Flickr.com/vynsane

For a day of fresh air, culture, and a change of scenery, hop on the Metro-North’s Hudson to Beacon, home of the celebrated contemporary art museum Dia: Beacon, cute antique shops, and hiking. You can even buy a special train ticket that includes round-trip fare plus admission to the Dia — which is just a short, five-minute walk from the station. Hikes up Mt. Beacon also start at the station and those who can stick out the uphill battle will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the Hudson River Valley.

10. Higher Hudson Valley Wineries: 90 Minutes by Car or Bus

Benmari Winery (Photo credit: Flickr.com/jena76)

Think you have to fly to the West Coast just to get a good tasting American vino? Think again. Although not as well known or popular as vineyards on the left coast, Hudson Valley offers wines that are nothing to scoff at — and the region’s close proximity to NYC makes for a perfectly paired day trip from the big city. While you could drive through any of the different wine trails, like the Dutchess or Shawangunk, we suggest finding a tour company so you can sip responsibly. With over 20 wineries throughout the region, there’s no shortage of stops to choose from.

What to Bring on Your Excursion from NYC: S’well Water Bottle

Multicolor S'well Bottle

Traveler Aurora Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by S’well

Whether you’re leaving for a day or a week, this stainless steel bottle is a great, eco-friendly option for when you’re parched on the go.

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Best Weekend Getaways Within 3 Hours Near You

  • November 29, 2023

Discovering the Perfect Weekend Getaways Within 3 Hours of Me

A breather from the daily grind is absolutely essential, especially for the go-getters who are always on the move. We’re talking about those weekend getaways within 3 hours of me that serve up a refreshing change without the dread of long-haul travel. The closer, the better, I always say—proximity slices down travel stress big time, allowing you more R&R time.

But hey, how exactly does one sniff out the ideal weekend spot? It’s a mix of keen research and a touch of serendipity. And let’s face it, short-distance travel has become all the rage—you don’t need to fly halfway across the world to feel like you’re on vacation.

Unveiling Hidden Gems: Weekend Retreats a Short Drive Away

When hunting down premium getaways, you gotta be choosy. Quality spots typically offer up a killer trio: eye-catching scenery, engaging activities, and cozy places to crash. I’ve chatted with folks who’ve hit jackpots on these little-known retreats, and man, the stories they tell!

Absolutely, you can stumble upon a hidden gem too. Just remember to tick off those criteria, and you’re golden.

Abu Dhabi The Charm of Tradition

Abu Dhabi The Charm of Tradition

Abu Dhabi, The Charm of Tradition, is a captivating coffee table book that takes readers on a visual journey through the rich cultural heritage and enduring customs of the Emirati capital. Stunningly bound, the book boasts a collection of high-quality photographs that vividly showcase the traditional architecture, clothing, and craftwork that have been the bedrock of the region’s identity for centuries. Each image is accompanied by insightful text that delves into the historical significance of the traditions, providing context and giving readers a deep appreciation for Abu Dhabi’s commitment to preserving its roots amidst modernization.

Beyond its visual allure, the book provides an engaging narrative of Abu Dhabi’s transformation from a humble pearling village to a beacon of luxury and innovation, without losing sight of its ancestral values. The narrative highlights the emirate’s festivals, folklore, and the hospitality that are emblematic of its traditional charm. The inclusion of personal anecdotes from local citizens adds a heartfelt dimension, offering intimate glimpses into the daily practices that continue to shape Emirati culture.

“Abu Dhabi, The Charm of Tradition” serves as both an educational tool and a piece of art, making it an ideal acquisition for those fascinated by the intersection of past and present, as well as for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the genuine spirit of this dynamic region. It is also a testament to the preservation efforts undertaken by the Abu Dhabi community, ensuring that the emirate’s unique traditions continue to thrive alongside its cosmopolitan evolution. This book is not just a read; it’s an experience that celebrates and honors the timeless allure of Abu Dhabi’s cultural legacy.

Escaping the City: Rustic Charm Within Reach

Say you’re a city dweller thirsting for a rustic escape—think no further than the countryside sprinkled within your three-hour radius. The mental health perks of recharging in nature are huge—just ask any urbanite who’s spent a weekend at a countryside lodge, a farm stay, or a nature resort. These places are brimming with down-to-earth charm, and they’re closer than you’d think.

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Adventure Awaits: Weekend Thrills for the Active Soul

For the active souls itching for a dose of adrenaline, there’s no shortage of destinations with hiking trails, rock faces begging to be climbed, or lakes that are perfect for watersports—all within a three-hour orbit. Science backs the wellness benefits of getting outdoors, but honestly, the real proof’s in the pudding—the experiences.

Coastal Havens: Beachfront Bliss Just a Stone’s Throw Away

A quick jaunt to the coast can offer seaside serenity that’s just what the doctor ordered. You might consider timing your jaunt for the off-season—because, let’s face it, secluded beach charm with fewer folks around? That’s the sweet spot. And let’s not forget about sustainable digs—supporting eco-friendly seaside spots is a goal we should all surf towards.

Lilly Pulitzer Insulted Backpack Cooler Large Capacity, PinkBlue Portable Soft Cooler Bag for Picnics, Beach, Pool, Hiking, Best Fishes

Lilly Pulitzer Insulted Backpack Cooler Large Capacity, PinkBlue Portable Soft Cooler Bag for Picnics, Beach, Pool, Hiking, Best Fishes

Discover the perfect blend of style and practicality with the Lilly Pulitzer Insulated Backpack Cooler. Boasting a spacious interior, this large-capacity cooler bag can hold all your snacks and beverages, keeping them chilled for hours. Its eye-catching PinkBlue design and vibrant ‘Best Fishes’ pattern exude a playful charm that’s quintessentially Lilly Pulitzer, transforming an ordinary utility item into a chic accessory. Ergonomically designed with padded straps, this backpack ensures comfort even when fully loaded, making it ideal for picnics, beach outings, pool parties, or adventurous hikes.

This portable soft cooler bag is designed with durability in mind, featuring high-quality insulation and robust materials to withstand the elements and frequent use. The insulation technology ensures that your food and drinks maintain their temperature, while the water-resistant exterior keeps moisture at bay. Multiple pockets provide ample storage for essentials, including a front zipper pocket for utensils and small items, and side pockets for easy access to water bottles or additional storage.

The Lilly Pulitzer Insulated Backpack Cooler simplifies transportation of your refreshments, liberating your hands for other gear or activities. Its lightweight construction means you won’t feel weighed down as you trek to your outdoor destination. Effortlessly keep your perishables cool and secure, all while making a statement with the cooler’s unique blend of functionality and Lilly Pulitzer’s signature flair. Whether you’re planning a day out with friends or a solo adventure, this backpack cooler is sure to become an indispensable part of your outdoor essentials.

Cultural Escapes: Enriching Weekend Getaways Within 3 Hours

Within a few hours’ drive, cultural buffs can find plenty of towns oozing with authentic vibes, from art galleries to live music joints. Visitors agree: The local culture can make or break your trip. It’s all about soaking up fresh experiences that enrich the soul.

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Rejuvenate and Relax: Spa Destinations for a Restful Weekend

Imagine unwinding at a health spa or a resort dedicated to your relaxation. That’s right, my friends, this is the kind of getaway where you can truly step away from the grind and pamper yourself. Wellness tourism is shaping up, with trends swaying travelers towards tranquility, and some visitors swear it’s the ticket to rejuvenation.

Culinary Journeys: Weekend Getaways with a Taste of Local Flavors

Weekend trips revolving around culinary delights are simply a recipe for success—you get to dive into the local palate, and sometimes it’s worth traveling just for a unique dining experience. Think about those eateries that bring farm-to-table or host their shindigs in the most whimsical of settings. Now that’s something I’d drive three hours for!

Kenneth Cole REACTION Out of Bounds Lightweight Hardshell heel Spinner Luggage, Magenta, Inch Carry On

Kenneth Cole REACTION Out of Bounds Lightweight Hardshell heel Spinner Luggage, Magenta, Inch Carry On

Travel in style with the Kenneth Cole REACTION “Out of Bounds” carry-on luggage in a stunning magenta shade. This lightweight, hardshell suitcase is designed for the modern traveler, featuring a durable ABS construction that provides a balance between protection and lightness. The dimensions are suitable for most airline overhead compartments, making it the perfect companion for both international and domestic flights. Its vibrant color ensures visibility on the luggage carousel while also adding a pop of personality to your travel ensemble.

This piece of luggage offers a user-friendly experience with its multi-directional 4-wheel spinners, allowing for smooth 360-degree movement over any terrain. The retractable telescoping handle locks into place, providing comfort and reliability when rolling your case through busy terminals. The interior boasts multiple compartments and straps to keep your belongings organized and in place during transit. The exterior features a well-engineered layout including a convenient and flexible top and side handle for easy maneuvering.

Kenneth Cole ensures your belongings stay secure with the Out of Bounds luggage’s thoughtful design. A sturdy zipper closure alongside the hardshell exterior helps safeguard your possessions against the rigors of travel. Additionally, it includes side bezels that allow the suitcase to stand upright on its side, reducing the need for additional support. Whether it’s for a short business trip or a getaway weekend, this chic, reliable, and functional carry-on luggage will be your go-to travel essential.

Staycations Redefined: Exploring Your City’s Outskirts

The concept of staycations has evolved. It’s not just lounging at home—it’s about digging into your city’s outskirts to find locales that grant the vibe of a bonafide getaway. Sometimes the most splendid spots are just around the corner, often ignored by those too familiar with their own stomping grounds.

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Leveraging Tech to Unlock Nearby Escapes

Tech’s your ally in tracking down the best weekend trips. With apps and digital tools galore, planning a short trip can be as easy as pie. Real user reviews? Oh, they’re invaluable, steering us towards decision-making that leads to exceptional experiences.

In Harmony with the Environment: Eco-Friendly Weekend Escapes

Green travel’s not just a catchphrase: it’s a call to action. Selecting an eco-retreat throws support behind sustainable travel, and thankfully, there are nearby options that walk the talk on environmental stewardship. Your getaway can play a part in the bigger picture of conservation.

Planning Essentials: Tips for Maximizing Your Weekend Adventure

Now, maximizing your weekend excursion means smart packing and a game plan to sidestep those common travel goofs. Take a leaf out of the experts’ books—they’ve got the travel hacks that ensure you squeeze all the joy out of those precious days away from the hustle.

Final Thoughts: Breathe New Life Into Your Weekends

The juice of life comes from new experiences, and there’s nothing like uncovering places a hop, skip, and a jump from your doorstep that infuse your weekends with zest. It’s about crafting memories that stick and shaking off the repetition. So, go forth, my fellow wanderlusters—recharge, rejuvenate, and regale with your tales of weekend adventures.

Wanderlust on a Whim: Quick Trips that Pack a Punch

Alright, folks! Feeling that itch to escape the everyday grind without venturing too far? Say no more! We’ve got the lowdown on some fabulous weekend getaways that are just three hours (or hey, even less) from your doorstep. Let’s dive into the quirky, the charming, and the outright unforgettable spots you can zip off to on a whim—each with a delightful twist to keep things spicy!

The Artsy Escape: Where Creativity Meets Leisure

Hey, do you know about the quaint little town with streets lined with art galleries and a vibe so chill, it’d make an ice cube jealous? Just a hop, skip, and a jump away, it’s the perfect place for those who appreciate a stroke of genius and a breath of fresh air. Imagine wandering down the cobblestones, all the while channeling your inner “ Frida Gustavsson ,” art-enthusiast extraordinaire. Don’t know her? She’s as stunning as a moonlit sculpture garden, so check out what makes her an icon in creativity.

Retro Retreat: Vintage Vibes and Vinyl Nights

Who’s up for a blast from the past? Picture this: a cozy town known for its retro diners, classic car shows, and record stores that make you wanna twist and shout. This spot is a time capsule where every “ Gina Gershon “-like glamorous maven from the silver screen would feel right at home sashaying down Main Street. Throw on those wayfarers and get ready to be a cool cat in this time-traveler’s dream—just make sure you’ve got the scoop on the legendary Gina before you strike a pose at the photo booth.

The Musical Getaway: Beats Beyond Borders

Okay, you music lovers and concert-goers, we’ve stumbled upon a gem where the “ Rbd tour ” vibe thrives all year round. Imagine a town bursting with live music, from street performers to intimate venues, where the beats keep on thumpin’ long after the sun’s taken a dive. Ready to boogie? Learn more about how the RBD tour is taking center stage and might just inspire your next musical road trip!

The Historical Hideaway: Time-Travel Town

Now, let’s talk about a spot where history buffs can roam where “ Joanne Whalley ” would dominate on the silver screen in a period drama. We’re talking cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and taverns that have seen more plots than a novelist’s notebook. A place steeped in stories, where you can tip your hat to the legends and lore that paved the way. Intrigued by such historical haunts? Delve into the life of Joanne Whalley and her timeless roles that echo through the halls of these vintage venues.

The Nature Nook: Spectacular Views and Fresh Perspectives

And, for the love of all things green and serene, there’s a nature nook close by that’s the equivalent of slipping on a pair of “ hubble Contacts ” and seeing the world in HD—lush landscapes, babbling brooks, and trails that beckon with every twist and turn. Whether you’re itching for a hike, longing for a lazy river float, or fancy pitching a tent under the stars, getting clear on your nature goals is like discovering the great outdoors for the first time . Take a peek through Hubble contacts’ lens on how to make your great escape even greater.

There you have it, intrepid explorers! No need to trek to the ends of the earth—or even the other side of the country—when adventure is just a stone’s throw away. Lace-up those sneakers, gas up the car, or heck, just go old-school and catch a train to somewhere new and nifty. Have a blast, make some memories, and remember, the best stories are usually found just three hours from “Hey, let’s go there!”

Melanin is… hour Intense Hydration + Replenishing Lotion Full Body Moisturizer, Hydrating Sea Moss, Natural Skincare Moisturizing for Melanin Skin oz

Melanin is... hour Intense Hydration + Replenishing Lotion  Full Body Moisturizer, Hydrating Sea Moss, Natural Skincare  Moisturizing for Melanin Skin  oz

Melanin is… Intense Hydration + Replenishing Lotion is a luxuriously crafted full-body moisturizer designed specifically for the unique needs of melanin-rich skin. Infused with the potent natural benefits of hydrating sea moss, this lotion delivers an unparalleled moisture experience that nourishes deeply and replenishes the skin’s essential hydration levels. Each application of the creamy, rich formula is a treat, caressing the skin with a non-greasy finish that leaves your body feeling soft, supple, and revitalized. Perfect for those seeking a natural skincare solution, this moisturizer celebrates the strength and beauty of melanin skin, offering 24-hour intense hydration that rejuvenates from head to toe.

With every ounce of Melanin is… Intense Hydration + Replenishing Lotion, your skin is enveloped in a hydration haven, quenching dryness and fortifying the skin barrier against environmental stressors. The product features ingredients of the highest caliber, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work synergistically to promote a healthy, glowing complexion. Not only does it cater to the daily needs of melanin-rich skin, but it also helps to even skin tone and improve texture over time. The lotion’s carefully balanced formula is free from harsh chemicals, ensuring it’s safe for all skin types, even the most sensitive.

Experience the harmonious blend of tradition and innovation with every application of Melanin is… Intense Hydration + Replenishing Lotion. The inclusion of sea moss, renowned for its hydrating properties, provides an abundance of natural minerals that support the skin’s own hydration processes. Ideal for daily use, this moisturizing formula absorbs quickly, leaving behind a delicate scent that is as refreshing as it is soothing. This lotion is not just a product, it’s a commitment to the health and vibrancy of melanin-enriched skin, packed in a generous, convenient size that ensures your skin remains deeply moisturized day after day.

Which country is close to Houston Texas?

Well, if you’re looking for an international flavor within a stone’s throw of Houston, Texas, Mexico is your go-to. It’s right next door—literally. Just scoot south and before you know it, you’ll hit the border and voila, international vibes!

How do I plan a weekend trip on a budget?

Planning a weekend trip on a budget? Easy peasy. First off, start by scouring the web for deals—you’ll find heaps! Then, pick a spot you can drive to, to save some moolah on flights. Rough it up with camping or find a cozy, budget-friendly Airbnb. And hey, potluck picnics beat fancy restaurants any day!

How do I plan a weekend getaway alone?

Ah, a solo weekend adventure? You’ve got this! First up, think about what floats your boat—nature, cities, or a quaint town perhaps? Once you decide that, finding a spot’s a breeze. Book yourself a nice little nook to stay, pack your favorite book or camera, and bam! You’re all set for some ‘me time’.

How do I make a weekend getaway?

Revving up for a weekend getaway? Start by choosing a place that’s just a few hours away by car or a short flight. Book yourself a little escape pad—think Airbnb, boutique hotel, or why not a B&B? Then, just pick a couple of must-see or must-do things, pack your bags, and don’t forget your toothbrush—you’re about to make some memories!

What is the closest border town to Houston?

The closest border town to Houston is gonna be Brownsville, Texas. Just hit the road and drive due south for about six hours, and you’ll find yourself right up against the Mexican border, buddy! You can’t miss it.

What 5 states are close to Texas?

Texas is like a big comfy couch—it’s surrounded by pals. You’ve got New Mexico chillin’ to the west, Oklahoma perched up north, Arkansas hanging northeast, Louisiana lying east, and don’t forget Mexico down south!

Is $500 enough for a weekend trip?

$500 for a weekend trip? That’s definitely doable. Just keep your eye out for deals and keep it simple. Think road trip, Airbnb, and free activities. Pack your own snacks, buddy, and you’re golden!

How much should a 3 day vacation cost?

Three days of vacay bliss should cost? Eh, it’s a mixed bag, really. But plan on spending a few hundred bucks—think $300-700. The trick is to suss out the deals and manage your splurges. And remember, experiences over things…that’s the golden ticket!

What is a mini vacation?

A mini vacation is just like a short and sweet escape from the daily grind. Think of it as a weekend jaunt or even a day trip. Just a little something to recharge those batteries without breaking the bank or using up those precious vacation days.

What should I do on vacation alone?

When you’re vacationing alone, hit up activities that tickle your fancy. Museums, hikes, beach bumming, or bookshops—whatever floats your boat. And don’t be shy to dine solo or catch a movie. It’s your party, after all!

How do I vacation alone on a budget?

Vacationing alone on a budget means being a savvy solo traveler. Look for hostels or budget accommodations, love the local street food, and go where the wind takes you. Walk or use public transport, and you’ll save a bundle while you explore!

How do I make friends alone on vacation?

Making friends on vacation solo? Piece of cake! Just say ‘hello’ at hostels, join a tour, pop into a local class—yoga, cooking, whatever! Before you know it, you’ll be swapping stories with fellow wanderers and locals alike.

How do I plan a short trip?

To plan a short trip, just take a quick peek at the map and pinpoint a place a couple of hours away. Snag a booking, pick a few must-dos, pack light, and off you go—short, sweet, and super easy!

How do you enjoy a short trip?

Enjoying a short trip all about savoring the little things. Indulge in local eats, take a leisurely stroll, snap some pics, and let the day unfold. The beauty is in the breather from your usual hustles and bustles.

What is an unplanned getaway?

An unplanned getaway? That’s just a spontaneous jaunt where you toss caution to the wind, pack a bag, and head out with no set plans. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks—thrilling and utterly freeing!

Which country is closest to Texas?

The country smooching up to Texas? That’d be Mexico, partner. Just mosey on over the Rio Grande, and you’re there!

Which country is close to Texas USA?

Close to Texas USA, Mexico is knocking right at the door. Just a hop, skip, and a jump over the border, and you’re there for tacos and tequila!

What country is right next to Texas?

The country playing neighbor to Texas? That’s our amigo, Mexico, sitting pretty right next to us. You can’t miss it; just head south, and you’re set for a ‘hola’!

How far is Hong Kong from Houston?

Houston, Texas, to Hong Kong is quite the trek—about 8,000 miles as the crow flies. So grab a plane, and you’re in for a long-haul flight spanning roughly 16-18 hours. Time to rack up those frequent flyer miles!

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15 Easy Weekend Getaways From NYC

By Alex Erdekian

The boardwalk in Asbury Park with morning sun and shadows

Weekend getaways from NYC can do wonders for the mind and soul. When in the city, most people can’t help but hustle—but a break from subway rides and cramped apartments is something we all need once in a while. (As for visitors, there's no doubt appeal in doing as New Yorkers do and pairing your city break with a local-loved side trip.) 

Disappearing into the woods, soaking up salty sea air, or getting lost in wine country all have their charms.—and thankfully, all of the above is on offer within a few hours of Manhattan. From the Hamptons to the Adirondacks—and even a quick two-hour hop over to Bermuda—beaches, islands, and mountains are all easily accessible. Some of them may leave you wondering why New York's supporting destinations don't get more buzz in the first place. 

Below, the 15 best weekend getaways from NYC. Here's to checking them all of your bucket list. (For the best restaurants, hotels, and more in the city itself, check out our New York City travel guide .)

All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

About a twoandahalf hour drive plus a 30minute ferry ride  An alltime favorite summer escape and one that is especially...

The good-time island: Fire Island, New York

About a two-and-a-half hour drive, plus a 30-minute ferry ride

An all-time favorite summer escape, and one that is especially important to NYC’s queer community, is Fire Island. With its many towns and beaches, each boasting their own local flavor, the Long Island barrier island makes it easy to choose the spot to match your vibe. A few popular spots: Cherry Grove is a fun-loving party destination, Kismet is known for its nightlife, and Fire Island Pines is an affluent community with a dining and shopping scene and some of the island’s most expensive addresses. A worthwhile hotel option is the Madison , the boutique bed and breakfast where the cast of Fire Island stayed while shooting the recent film. (A few other spots it featured? The bar Cherry’s which offers harborside drag shows, vintage shop DENIZEN , and the Belvedere Fire Island , a palatial resort for gay men.

About a twohour drive about an hour and fifteen minutes via Amtrak  It may be obvious but its too easily forgotten by...

The city break: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

About a two-hour drive; about an hour and fifteen minutes via Amtrak

It may be obvious, but it’s too easily forgotten by New Yorkers: the easy urban getaway to nearby Philadelphia. The city is budding with things to do, whether you’re in search of great new restaurants, fantastic art exhibits, or just a change of pace. A few of our favorite to-dos in Philly include visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, followed by the perfect cheesesteak at John’s Roast Pork . Betsy Blumenthal, Features and Franchises Editor at Traveler —and resident Philly expert—recommends the city’s Four Seasons for its spectacular aerial views of landmarks like Independence Hall. (For even more destination tips, check out our comprehensive Philadelphia city guide. )

Best NYC Weekend Getaways The Hamptons

The posh beach hang: The Hamptons

About a two-hour drive

For many, the Hamptons conjure visions of Upper East Siders summering in their mansions, and flitting between high society parties. A weekend is the perfect stretch of time to slip into that whirlwind before letting the city ground you once again. Classic to-dos like visiting the Pollock-Krasner house in East Hampton (open May to October), designer shopping in the villages, and waterfront dining are always a good idea, as are summery outdoor activities. Pedal around the Atlantic Avenue Beach area with a bike rental from Amagansett Beach & Bicycle Company , savor a hefty lobster roll at the Dock House in Sag Harbor, or find inner peace in bird-filled Hither Hills State Park . A classic East Hampton stay, the Maidstone Hotel is the perfect place to post up (if you don't have an invite to one of the aforementioned mansions, that is).

The boardwalk in Asbury Park with morning sun and shadows

The quintessential beach town: Asbury Park, New Jersey

Just over an hour’s drive

We’ve long held the opinion that the classic Jersey Shore town, Asbury Park, doesn’t get enough attention . Super accessible from the city, it’s just an hour and fifteen minutes by car on the Garden State Parkway, and only thirty minutes longer if you're traveler from Penn Station on a Bay Head-bound North Jersey Coast Line train. From Asbury Park’s bustling boardwalk to its famous mile-long beach, this town offers the perfect blend of relaxation and action. Experience the exciting local food scene by making stops at Reyla (for Mediterranean small plates) or beachside coffee shop Asbury Park Roastery. Consider staying at the Asbury Ocean Club, Surfside Resort and Residences for an elevated beachside experience or the eclectic ​​Asbury Hotel , which has the perfect rooftop.

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Best NYC Weekend Getaways Marthas Vineyard

The eclectic island: Martha’s Vineyard

A five-hour ferry ride

Sometimes an island is the best escape. Martha’s Vineyard, with its lighthouses , arcades and carousels, sandy shores, and vast landscapes fits the bill. To get there, take a five-hour Seastreak Ferry from Midtown Manhattan, fly from JFK airport, or drive to Falmouth, Massachusetts (about 4.5 hours), and pay for overnight parking before grabbing the 30-minute ferry from there. The colorful, fairytale-ish town of Oak Bluffs is one of our favorite East Coast beach towns ; there, an ideal spot to post up is Summercamp Hotel (rooms from $235 per night). Deeper into the island, stop at Aquinnah, which feels martian-like with its clay-red lighthouse and cliffs.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways The Finger Lakes

The wine tour: The Finger Lakes

About a four-and-a-half-hour drive

New York’s biggest wine region offers plenty of options for sampling its famous riesling—but wine tasting is hardly all the area has to offer. The adventurous can pencil dive into a gorge or wade under a waterfall. Or stay above water: Canandaigua Sailboard offers paddleboard yoga , kayaking, and windsurfing. Between four and five hours from New York City , the Finger Lakes are just far enough to be a true escape. From Ithaca to quaint Skaneateles, there are a number of places that make for an ideal home base. Boutique hotel Argos Inn in Ithaca (rooms from $180 per night) is one of them. We love the romantic renovated mansion for the original art prints in each room, some by Salvador Dalí. 

Bermuda. Woman and children  on jetty elevated view. Water Human Person Outdoors Nature Ocean Sea Shoreline Promontory...

The island escape: Bermuda

About a two-hour flight

Out of all of the destinations on this list, Bermuda offers the most drastic change in scenery. It’s pretty unbelievable that this Atlantic island—with its powdery, pale pink beaches, drifting mangroves, and gleaming white churches—is a quick getaway from NYC; the flight from JFK takes just two hours. Jet over and consider sunning on the iconic Horseshoe Bay Beach, snorkeling around a shipwreck, or sipping a rum swizzle with fellow travelers. We have ideas about where to stay, too. You have options: a cheerful yellow one-bedroom bungalow with a rooftop patio in Southampton, as well as a mini villa with waterfront views in Pembroke. Alternatively, surround yourself in high style at the Rosewood Bermuda , the premiere luxury stay on the island. (Need more Bermuda travel inspiration? Explore our destination guide .)

Historic Mystic Seaport in Connecticut just seconds after sunset

The nautical overnight: Mystic, Connecticut

About a two-and-a-half hour drive, three hours by train via Amtrak

Mystic’s maritime history gives this town a classic New England feel. Even today, it remains recognizable by the boats that sail the Mystic River and Long Island Sound. History buffs can immerse themselves in the lore with a visit to the Mystic Seaport Museum , where there are reproductions of the Mayflower II. For another take on all things aquatic, visit the Mystic Aquarium , where African penguins waddle and Beluga whales swim. Enjoy the charm of eateries like Nana’s Bakery and Pizza , which mills its own flour, as well as the Oyster Club for fresh and locally-caught fish. Stay a night or two at the Whaler’s Inn , which has historical pull (it’s been around since 1818), yet was renovated in 2021. Its modern comforts include four-poster beds, gas fireplaces, water views, and an excellent farm-to-table restaurant, the Shipwright’s Daughter .

Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport Rhode Island

The classic coastal destination: Newport, Rhode Island

About a three-hour drive

There’s so much to see in Newport , one of New England’s most storied summer towns. Do up your weekend T-Swift-style with winding coastline drives, half-pound lobster rolls, and wanderings through Gilded Age summer “cottages” as they were called in the 1920s. During the day, take in sweeping Atlantic Ocean and mansion views on the famed Cliff Walk or boogie board at First Beach. Then, when it starts to get dark, visit the Roof Deck at the Vanderbilt hotel for a sunset drink. For a luxury stay, consider spending a couple nights at the aforementioned Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection . If you’re looking for a homey group spot, check out this two-bedroom cottage a few steps from the beach. However you do it, it'll be easy to see why Newport is one of the best weekend getaways from NYC. 

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Cold Spring NY

The quick camping trip: Cold Spring

About an hour-and-a-half train ride or drive

For an easy camping trip that doesn’t require a car, your spot is Fahnestock State Park . The campsite is near the Cold Spring stop on the Metro-North’s Hudson line—a short Uber ride covers the gap from the train station to the park itself. Squeeze everything you need for a night or two into a backpack , and relish in the empowerment and self-sufficiency of being 100 percent mobile. The hiking trails that run through the park connect to the vast Appalachian Trail, which touches 14 eastern seaboard states from Georgia to Maine . Besides hiking, the park has a beach on Canopus Lake, and fishing on four ponds and two additional lakes. On your way home, stop at Hudson Hil’s for a decadent brunch in the town of Cold Spring (we’re eyeing the Creole omelette) then walk to the train. If you’re looking to expand your journey throughout the region, there are many towns to love and explore in the Hudson River Valley area, including Beacon , Hudson , Kingston, and Rhinebeck.

Beautiful Lake Placid in Autumn

The off-season gem: Lake Placid

About a five-hour drive

Better known as a winter destination , Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, has a wealth of outdoor recreation in the summer months, too. At glassy, serene Mirror Lake, visitors can paddle out on canoes and kayaks . On the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers will pass the shimmering lake, cedar trees, and a population of otters. The Olympic sites include the magical Cloudsplitter Gondola ride, a rifle range, a glass elevator, a speed skating oval, a zip line park, the Herb Brooks Arena, and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. If you're craving some time indoors, don't fret: The area’s old-fashioned movie theater at Tupper Lake Municipal Park, Adirondack State Theater, is currently screening Nope . Bed down at Lake Placid Lodge (rooms from $499 per night), a former summer camp .

Sunset at a view looking out

The mountain escape: The Berkshires

About a three-and-a-half hour drive

The Berkshires , in western Massachusetts and northwest Connecticut, is one of those places that offers entirely different types of trips with every passing season. In the summer, the region is known for the anticipated Tanglewood season, in which the Boston Symphonic Orchestra and Boston Pops take residence and perform. In the fall, visitors can drive through some of the world’s most vibrant foliage along Route 2 and 7. Come winter, cold-weather sports are on offer—whether you’re looking to downhill ski or snowshoe. With the thaw of spring, hikes with waterfall views are easy to find at Bash Bish Falls State Park. Year-round, the food and drink scene won’t disappoint either: For an artisan cocktail after the sun goes down, visit Berkshire Mountain Distillers ; to enjoy a plate of shrimp gumbo, visit Nudel ; and to savor the notorious local cheeses, visit the North Adams’ Farmers Market. As far as hotels go, we have a few ideas. Restorative Canyon Ranch, Lenox is a four-time Readers’ Choice Awards winner, while Miraval Berkshires is one of New England’s largest and most renowned spas.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Lake George New York

The great outdoors: Lake George

About a three-and-a-half-hour drive

Set in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Lake George offers lots of open space and a slower pace of life. Take in the natural beauty with a scenic drive on NY-9 or NY-418, admire falcons at Bolton Landing, or shack up in a tent at the Lake George Island campsite . Other summer outdoor activities include fishing, cycling down the Warren County Bikeway, and golfing at the breathtaking Top of the World course. Boathouse Bed and Breakfast is the only B&B located directly on the lake , and has the most serene water views.

Best NYC Weekend Getaways North Fork NY

The peaceful spot: North Fork, Long Island

For a low key Long Island alternative to the Hamptons, the bucolic North Fork and adjacent Shelter Island are what you're after. Head first to Greenport, North Fork’s largest town which is known for its marinas, fishing boats, neighboring vineyards, and blooming fields of lavender in July. Sound View Greenport is our pick for where to stay in town. Their fisherman-and-farmer-forward restaurant the Halyard is open, too—don't sleep on the summer truffle and fresh cavatelli. Then, take the ferry from nearby North Haven to Shelter Island, where you'll find hiking trails, osprey, and salt marshes at the Mashomack Nature Preserve, and even more land to explore on the protected beaches or in the acres of forest. If you are strategic about avoid common travel times (Friday evening out of the city, Sunday evening to return), you can be in North Fork in just two hours, making it a surprisingly quick weekend getaway from NYC. 

Best NYC Weekend Getaways Woodstock NY

The artist’s haven: Woodstock

The best place to start in Woodstock may be the slopes of Overlook Mountain. The limestone peak, full of red oaks, firs, and (keep your eyes peeled) timber rattlesnakes, features some interesting ruins, like the eerie remains of Overlook Mountain House, which brought tourists to the Catskills in the 19th century and sits just south of the Overlook fire tower. If privacy is what you’re looking for, you might consider this bright and airy studio loft decorated in a farmhouse style. While you’re there, scoop up quality produce at Sunflower Market , or if you don’t want to turn on an oven in the summer heat, snag a table outdoors at Phoenicia Diner . The cult favorite is a treat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Highly recommended: the Phoenicia Smash sandwich (beef griddled into caramelized onion, mustard, mayo, New York cheddar, and pickles on a Brioche bun).

Aman New York

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Home » Local » 15 Spectacular weekend getaways within 3 hours of Charlotte, North Carolina

15 Spectacular weekend getaways within 3 hours of Charlotte, North Carolina

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Last Updated on December 22, 2023

Even though we love living in Charlotte, a charming town between the coast and the mountains, it’s nice to get out of town and explore every now and then.

Fortunately, we have access to so many incredible destinations within a three hour drive. From bustling cities to natural hot springs and picturesque small towns to national parks, there are plenty of opportunities for travel.

Make it your goal to visit one or two of these spectacular road trip destinations close to Charlotte and experience our area’s natural beauty, historic architecture and cultural attractions. Adventure awaits!

15 weekend getaways within 3 hours of Charlotte, North Carolina 

Lake lure, north carolina.

Photo courtesy of Liza Goodlett via  The Lodge on Lake Lure

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours

Why we love it: This famous Lake was the setting for the classic film Dirty Dancing, but is even more gorgeous in person. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the quiet getaway features lush greenery, a flowering bridge , a beach and nearby attractions, including Asheville and Chimney Rock. We’re sure you’ll have the time of your life!

Where to stay: The Lodge on Lake Lure makes it easy to experience life on the lake with complimentary paddle boards, canoes and kayaks. Plus, you can enjoy luxurious features like an on-site restaurant with locally sourced fare, plush bathrobes, and a wine and cheese hour.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 3.5 hours  

Why we love it: With an abundance of seafood, historic sights and landmarks, mini golf, and outdoor activities there is something for everyone to enjoy in this coastal city in south eastern North Carolina. Take in the sunshine and relax on the white sandy beaches, or put your adventure cap on and go kayaking, fishing in local inlets or check out some of the best restaurants in Wilmington . No matter your preference, you are guaranteed a great time!

Where to stay: Book a stay at the Hotel Ballast to perfectly compliment your trip to Wilmington, NC. Boasting beautiful historic and river views, on site dining, and a close proximity to downtown, this hotel has it all. 

Related reading:

Boone, North Carolina 

north carolina weekend trips

Photo courtesy of Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Why we love it: Outdoor adventurers, take note. Boone is a lesser-known outdoor haven in the Blue Mountains!

Here, you’ll find bouldering, zip lines, tubing opportunities, hiking, kayaking, mountain bike trails and so much more. Skiing in Boone is a thrill and ski enthusiasts look forward to the season year after year.

Once you’re done tackling your adventure of choice, there are plenty of opportunities for top-notch relaxation as well. Pamper yourself at a world-class spa, go wine tasting at the local vineyards and shop along King Street. It’s an incredible place to visit at any time of year!

Where to stay: Set in a Greek Revival-style mansion, the Westglow Resort & Spa is a romantic getaway with impeccable service, delicious food and a full-service spa. It sits on a secluded 42-acre estate in one of the state’s most beautiful locations!

And we’re not the only ones who have recognized it as one of the bests — it has earned accolades from Condé Nast Traveler , Travel & Leisure Magazine , Open Table and more.

Ready to make one of these beautiful places home? Let us help!

Greenville, South Carolina

weekend getaways from charlotte

Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Thomas via  VisitGreenvilleSC

Why we love it: There is so much to love about Greenville, South Carolina. The town is famous for the park in the town’s center, Falls Park on the Reedy, which features spectacular riverfront gardens and waterfall views.

But it’s also famous for the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors each day to traverse the 22 miles to nearby Travelers Rest by bike. While you’re in the area, make sure to check out some of Greenville’s best restaurants (The Lazy Goat features top-notch Mediterranean dishes and views of the river), or get some ideas from our list of fun things to do in Greenville .

Where to stay: There are several awesome Bed and Breakfast options in Greenville, but we recommend the Swamp Rabbit Inn . This charming and quirky hotel is a haven for families, cyclists and couples alike — offering private cottages, an on-site bike shed and super friendly staff to help provide local recommendations.

Davidson, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 30 minutes

Why we love it: If you love small towns, this city is calling your name for a weekend getaway. Just a short drive from Lake Norman and downtown Charlotte, experience it all in this picturesque small town.

From the Main Street Bookstore to the well manicured grounds of Davidson College to boating out on the Lake, this trip will make for a relaxing and fun getaway 365 days of the year.

Where to stay: The Davidson Village Inn is in the heart of Davidson. The central location of the Bed and Breakfast allows visitors to be within walking distance of the local shops and restaurants. Plus, enjoy local delicacies for breakfast each morning.

Asheville, North Carolina

best nc weekend getaways

Photo courtesy of Explore Asheville

Driving time from Charlotte:  2 hours, 15 minutes

Why we love it: Asheville is a little slice of paradise tucked into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as Beer City, USA, Asheville features the most breweries per capita in the country, but is also famous for its vibrant art scene, incredible restaurants and historic architecture.

You could spend the entire weekend hopping from restaurant to restaurant (think: tapas at Curate or tacos at the White Duck Taco Shop ), and if you’re a foodie, you’ve got to check out our list of the best restaurants in Asheville , but make sure to stop into some of the shops and museums along the way. Or, step outside of town for a wildflower-rich hike at Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail!

Where to stay: The Omni Grove Park Inn features a $50 million spa underground that has been ranked as one of the top 20 in the country by Condé Nast Traveler. That’s reason enough to visit, but the inn also offers easy access to nearby breweries, gorgeous scenery and an on-site piano bar.

Related reading: 15 things to do in Asheville this fall

Brevard, North Carolina

romantic weekend getaways in nc

Photo courtesy of BrevardNC.com

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Why we love it: Situated 130 miles west of Charlotte, Brevard, North Carolina is known as the land of the waterfalls. And trust us, it’s just as picturesque as it sounds. Visit during the summer for the ultimate waterfall experience — hiking and swimming opportunities abound!

After exploring the outdoors, you’ll be able to enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the charming small town, which features delicious restaurants, shops, and festivals or concerts almost every weekend.

Bonus: While you’re here, make sure to check out Sliding Rock , a popular swimming hole with a natural rock waterslide. It is sure to be a hit for adventurers of all ages!

Where to stay: Book a cabin through Deer Ridge ! These charming cottages feature mountain views, fireplaces and other upscale amenities, and most of them are dog-friendly!

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte:  2 hours

Why we love it: Nestled near Boone, NC, Blowing Rock has scenic mountain views around every corner and a breath of fresh air that can sometimes be hard to find in the city.

Take it easy in this small town on your weekend getaway. Go hiking at The Blowing Rock–it’s dog friendly!–or walk around Main Street and grab a bite to eat at Storie Street Grill. Overall, this trip will be perfect for hanging out with your honey or exploring with your family.

Where to stay: Coined as “one of the best stays in the Blue Ridge” by Southern Living, Chetola Resort , this place offers everything from afternoon tea, a full service spa for everything hair, nail, and face care related, fly fishing, archery and much, much more. The Chetola Resorts is the perfect place to stay to take in all Blowing Rock has to offer.

Related reading: 20 fun things to do in Blowing Rock and Boone this summer

The Research Triangle, North Carolina

weekend getaways from charlotte nc

Photo courtesy of the Washington Duke Inn

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 30 minutes (to Durham)

Why we love it: A large chunk of Charlotte’s population is made up of graduates of UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University, so if you’re a Tar Heel or Blue Devil reading this, you already know the lowdown on the Research Triangle. This area, linked by Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, is ripe with opportunities for exploring — including top-notch nightlife and culinary scenes.

There are also plenty of cultural experiences, art and history museums, and historic architecture! While you’re here, taste moonshine at Topo Distillery , experience the exclusive atmosphere at the Crunkleton ($5 buys a membership), enjoy farm-to-table fare at the area’s restaurants, explore Durham’s American Tobacco Campus , and visit the Peanut Roaster in Henderson. There is also easy access the outdoors at the nearby Eno River State Park !

Where to stay: The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club allows for an exclusive, resort feel without the astronomical price tag. Golf enthusiasts will love the proximity to the on-site course, but everyone will enjoy exploring the 300 acres of tall pines and hardwoods in Duke Forest! The Inn is conveniently located on the Campus of Duke University, and offers easy access to everything the Research Triangle has to offer.

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 1 hour, 19 minutes

Why we love it: You name it, Winston Salem has it. Good eats, outdoor excursions, art, and history, this city has it all. Check out Old Salem and learn about the history of the village. Or, explore the arts district downtown where you can windowshop and dine at the local restaurants.

Where to stay: Close to dining, history, entertainment, and more, Hotel Indigo is our top choice for a place to stay in Winston Salem. This modern hotel offers both one and two bed rooms great for both couples and families. Check out the specially crafted drink menu at the on site restaurant to compliment your stay.

Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Why we love it: Welcome to one of the most picturesque places in the country. Grayson Highlands State Park is located within Jefferson National Forest near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, and is a haven for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Hiking trails lead to waterfalls and spectacular overlooks, and the camping throughout the area is top notch.

Where to stay: Pitch a tent or stay at one of the local cabins! You can find all of the information you need for that on the park’s website .

Thinking about buying a home soon? Click here to receive your free copy of our first-time home buyer ebook!

Hot Springs, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 3 hours

Why we love it: Imagine soaking in an all-natural pool of hot, crystal clear mineral waters with healing properties. Now, imagine doing that with incredible views of the mountains!

Hot Springs, North Carolina is a small town that surrounds a 100-acre resort and spa with modern jacuzzi-style hot tubs positioned along the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River. The tubs are supplied with the world famous hot mineral water that put this little town on the map, and there are also massage therapists on site to complete the spa-like experience.

Where to stay:  The Hot Springs Resort & Spa offers several different lodging options for your relaxing getaway, including luxury suites, a deluxe cabin with a private outdoor tub, primitive camping sports and more.

Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

Why we love it: Lake Jocassee is a magnificent, 9,000-acre, spring-fed lake located in northwest South Carolina. In the morning, the glassy surface of the water reflects the pristine shoreline and the surrounding rock formations, and at any point on the lake, you can enjoy staggering mountain vistas.

It’s certainly one of the area’s most gorgeous natural attractions! There are three boat ramps offering public access to the lake, 20 lakeside villas, an abundance of campsites, several hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities — all you need for a memorable weekend adventure.

Where to stay: Either pitch a tent at one of the campgrounds or book one of the spectacular lakeside villas for a more luxurious experience. Either way, you will be graced with excellent views and easy access to the lake!

Charleston, South Carolina


Why we love it: Charleston’s historic district is second to none. Showcasing colorful historic homes, ornate balconies, charming churches and horse-drawn carriages to take in the views, it feels like you’ve stepped into the past! Of course, that’s not all that Charleston has to offer.

Perched on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, the city offers an abundance of fresh seafood and stunning beaches for soaking in the sunshine. In fact, the city was voted the #1 city in the US and Canada by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017! You might need more than a weekend to see everything.

Where to stay: If you’re going to Charleston, you might as well go all out! The Wentworth Mansion is one of the city’s most historic, unique and luxurious hotels — and the only one in town with a five-star rating. The Wentworth offers a true dose of Southern hospitality and easy access to the area’s best attractions.

Related reading: Amusement parks within four hours of Charlotte

The Highlands, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 3.5 hours

Why we love it: Atop high peaks in the Nantahala National Forest is a quiet mountain town with impeccable dining, gorgeous scenery and no shortage of places to relax and unwind.

From golf, to arts and culture, five star dining and a bustling downtown and fall foliage to die for, this getaway is highly sought after in the autumn months.

Where to stay: Without a doubt, the most popular place to stay is Old Edwards inn and Spa. Modeled after a European Chateau, the inn is located right in the heart of downtown Highlands.

For a little bit of a different experience, you can stay at Half Mile Farm, which is described as more of a Napa-style setting.

Related reading: The best restaurants in Highlands, NC

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Visit Highlands NC (@visithighlandsnc)

Durham, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Why we love it: As one of the cities that make up the Research Triangle, this city will not disappoint. Snap some photos on Duke’s scenic campus and take a look inside the Duke University Chapel.

Watch a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or explore the hidden historic and artsy Tobacco District. No matter what you choose to do, this city has something new to explore around every corner.

Where to stay: The Durham Hotel is a stunning mid century modern hotel with a vast offering of rooms and suites. Take in the views of Durham from their rooftop: enjoy small plates and drinks at the bar or participate in one of their rooftop yoga classes.

Ready to find a great home near these destinations? Search now for homes for sale in Charlotte, NC !

Enjoy your weekend getaway!

About allen tate realtors.

Allen Tate  Realtors has been helping our clients achieve their real estate goals since 1957 and is the #1 real estate company in the Carolinas. With local roots and global connections, thanks to our partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, our real estate agents can provide their customers with superior service, unparalleled connections, and vast market knowledge. Allen Tate provides real estate, mortgage, insurance, and relocation services throughout the entire homeownership lifecycle.

 Allen Tate Companies is a proud partner of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the largest independent, family-owned real estate company in the country. With more than 13,000 sales associates and staff members across the combined companies, our agents are the best of the best. 

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Lone Star Travel Guide

19 Best Weekend Getaways from Dallas (Fun Road Trip Ideas!)

Planning a quick escape from the city and looking for the best weekend getaways from Dallas?

From small towns to state parks to funky cities, we’ve rounded up the best road trips from Dallas (or Fort Worth) here!

With one exception, each of these Dallas weekend getaway ideas is located between 3 and 8 hours from Dallas, making these destinations ideal for trips that last 1-3 nights away (if you’re looking for destinations a bit closer to Dallas, check out our guide to the best day trips from Dallas here ).

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a weekend full of family memories, an adventure with friends, or even a solo escape, one of these weekend getaways from Dallas is no doubt right for you.

View of Lake Austin From Mount Bonnell, one of the most popular things to do in Austin TX

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

Best Cities for Weekend Getaways from Dallas

The capital of Texas and self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World is the perfect weekend trip from Dallas for those looking to keep things just a little weird.

Take a dip in one of Austin’s many nearby natural swimming holes , go hunting for street art on South Congress, tour the Texas State Capitol Building, watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell, escape to the Texas Hill Country for the day, and of course enjoy plenty of nightlife!

With a huge variety of fun things to do, Austin is perfect for travelers looking for a great mix of city fun and outdoor adventure.

Driving Distance from Dallas

Skyline of Austin Texas as seen over Lady Bird Lake. Austin is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas tx

New Orleans, LA

Featuring some of the best food, music, and culture in all of the country, having a city as incredible as NOLA reachable as a road trip from Dallas is definitely something to take advantage of!

While you’re there, be sure to enjoy Bourbon Street, but get off of it, as well: NOLA is more than just its incredible partying (though the partying does indeed live up to the legends).

Consider visiting the Garden District, taking a ghost tour, visiting the nearby bayou, taking a steamboat cruise, and of course, eating plenty of excellent food, from po’boys to beignets, during the course of your weekend getaway in New Orleans .

7 hours, 45 minutes.

Bourbon Street in NOLA as seen from above at night. New Orleans is one of the best road trips from Dallas!

San Antonio, TX

As the most-visited city in all of Texas, San Antonio knows how to show visitors a good time, and it is absolutely one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas!

Be sure to visit the famous Alamo, as well as the rest of the San Antonio Missions.

All five missions, including the Alamo, are recognized together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site–the only UNESCO site that exists in Texas!

You’ll also want to sample the Riverwalk, of course, as well as visit the San Fernando Cathedral, go shopping at the Historic Market Square and in La Villita, and visit one of San Antonio’s incredible museums.

When driving from Dallas to San Antonio , you’ll also find plenty to do along the way–if you have time, consider adding a pitstop in Waco or Austin to your trip!

Exterior of Mission Concepion, one of the best photography locations in San Antonio TX

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City may not be what you immediately think of when considering getting away from Dallas for a weekend, but this smaller city to the north offers a surprising number of things to see and do!

Consider visiting the Bricktown entertainment district, checking out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, strolling through the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens, and paying your respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Head a bit north of the city, and you’ll quickly find yourself on Route 66, with quirky roadside attractions like the Arcadia Round Barn within easy reach.

3 hours, 15 minutes.

White lettering spelling out OKC in the foreground with a Ferris wheel in the background in OKC

Houston, TX

As the 4th-largest city in the USA, Houston is positively packed with interesting things to do, starting with its most famous attraction of all: the incredible Johnson Space Center!

Once you finish up at the Space Center, though, there’s still plenty to see in Houston, including several parks to visit, an enormous number of museums and art galleries, and plenty of delicious food to eat–Houston is home to one of the best (and most diverse) food scenes in Texas!

Want to squeeze in a quick trip to the beach?

With some careful planning, you can enjoy some time on the sand in Galveston into your weekend in Houston!

3 hours, 30 minutes.

Houston Texas skyline on a sunny day. One of the most interesting facts about Texas is that Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the USA

Located on the Arkansas River–and more importantly, along Route 66–Tulsa is an unexpectedly fun place to spend a weekend!

This unexpectedly charming city is complete with Art Deco architecture, plenty of interesting museums (don’t miss the stunningly beautiful Philbrook Museum of Art), and the fun Blue Dome District.

Want to see some classic Route 66 quirkiness while you’re there?

The famous Blue Whale of Catoosa is just outside the city!

4 hours, 30 minutes.

Tulsa Oklahoma skyline on a sunny day, one of the best dallas road trip ideas

Nature-Focused Road Trips from Dallas

Palo duro canyon state park, tx.

The second-largest canyon in the USA is reachable as a weekend trip from Dallas–and it’s one of the coolest places in all of Texas!

While you’re there, be sure to soak in the excellent views from the top of the canyon, drive the park loop road, and hike a couple of trails. Most importantly, be sure to hike to the Lighthouse formation!

It’s the most famous formation in the park for good reason.

Kate Storm standing in front of the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon TX

Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Want to feel like you’ve left Texas behind… without actually leaving Texas?

Staring up at 70-foot Gorman Falls can definitely have that effect: this stunning living waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas, and looks more like it belongs in Hawaii than in the Lone Star State!

Come to Colorado Bend State Park for hiking, swimming, and beautiful views in the heart of Texas.

Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park, one of the best waterfalls in Texas

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

Located in southeastern New Mexico, Carlsbad Cavern is one of the most impressive caves in the USA.

It’s one of the most unique weekend getaways from Dallas!

While you can tour the main cavern, including the aptly-named Big Room, in a single day, with some extra time you can also add some more hiking in the Chihuahuan Desert to your trip… or you can combine your Dallas road trip to New Mexico with our next destination in this guide.

7 hours, 15 minutes.

Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, a fantastic Dallas road trip idea

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX

Set just south of the New Mexico border in west Texas–only half an hour from Carlsbad Caverns National Park–sits the beautiful Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Here, you can find the four highest peaks in Texas and some excellent hiking , making it another fantastic option for weekend getaways from Dallas.

If you happen to be planning your road trip in the fall, Guadalupe Mountains National Park also happens to be home to some of the prettiest fall foliage in Texas !

Rocky peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, one of the best couples trips in Texas

Lake Texoma, TX/OK

Located right on the Oklahoma/Texas border, Lake Texoma is a doable day trip from Dallas but definitely deserves to be called out in any guide cataloging road trips from Dallas, as it’s absolutely one of the most popular weekend getaways for locals.

Popular for fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking, Lake Texoma is a fun outdoor getaway for the whole family!

1 hour, 40 minutes.

Sunset over Lake Texoma, one of the best dallas weekend getaway ideas

Hot Springs National Park, AR

Aptly named Hot Springs National Park is the perfect Dallas getaway destination for those looking for a relaxing weekend away, complete with a soak in a thermal spa!

Located in an urban setting surrounded by shops, restaurants, and more, Hot Springs offers a fantastic mix of natural highlights and small-town charm.

Nine historic bathhouses line Bathhouse Row, where visitors flocked to enjoy the local hot springs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, two of which you can still take a soak in today!

Small waterfall in Hot Springs National Park AR, one of the best road trips from Dallas Texas

Broken Bow, OK

As the gateway to beautiful Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas for those looking for a quiet retreat into nature near a small town.

While in Broken Bow, you can go canoeing on the lake, take a hike, stay in a cozy cabin, and enjoy a relaxing trip that feels worlds away from the city.

flowing river in Beaver Bend State Park near Broken Bow Oklahoma surrounded by fall foliage

Best Small-Town Weekend Trips from Dallas

Fredericksburg, tx.

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is definitely one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas!

Featuring plenty of nods to its German heritage, a beautiful downtown packed with shops and restaurants, great antiquing, and–most famously of all– plenty of easily accessible wineries to choose from, Fredericksburg is a fantastic change of pace from Dallas.

The town is also easily accessible to plenty of hiking (including Enchanted Rock ) and other beautiful small Texas towns (like Luckenbach , Johnson City , and Wimberley ).

4 hours, 15 minutes.

Wooden door opening to an antique store in Fredericksburg Texas. Antiques are some of the best souvenirs from Texas

Round Top, TX

The tiny town of Round Top, Texas, is best known for its antique shows … but you can shop thousands of antiques, meander through a small town, and enjoy the famous (and delicious) pies at Royers Pie Haven year-round on a Dallas weekend getaway to Round Top!

Don’t miss Henkel Square Market or Rummel Square while you’re there!

And, if you’re into unique roadside stops on your road trips from Dallas, don’t miss the charming nearby St. Martin Catholic Church, which is considered the smallest Catholic church on Earth!

3 hours, 45 minutes.

henkel square market in round top texas, one of the cute towns in texas

Long known as the home of Baylor University, Waco has become one of the most popular road trips from Dallas in recent years for a very different reason: the opening of Magnolia Market, owned by Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame.

Even beyond the immensely popular Silos, though, Waco has plenty to see!

Consider also stopping by the Dr. Pepper Museum, enjoying Baylor’s beautiful campus, and checking out the Wooly Mammoth National Monument during your visit.

1 hour, 30 minutes.

Jacob's Well in Waco TX with a wooden path leading into a wooded area.

Jefferson, TX

The small town of Jefferson, Texas, combined with nearby Caddo Lake State Park, makes one of the best and most diverse Dallas getaway ideas (for the lovebirds out there, it’s arguably one of the most romantic getaways from Dallas, too).

The best things to do in Jefferson itself include antiquing in the historic downtown center, shopping at the famous Jefferson General Store, staying in one of  the many bed and breakfasts  that the town is famous for, and learning about Jefferson’s railroad history–touring Jay Gould’s opulent private rail car is a great place to start.

From there, head to Caddo Lake, where you’ll find a very different side of the Lone Star State–one dotted with giant cypress trees that drip Spanish moss and leisurely canoe rides.

This isn’t a lake for swimming–the alligators who live in the lake are best avoided–but it is utterly beautiful, and a fantastic road trip from Dallas for those looking to leave city vibes behind entirely.

sign advertising pralines sodas ice cream coffee in front of the jefferson general store, one of the best jefferson attractions

Branson, MO

Tucked into the Ozarks, Branson is a (polarizing) regional favorite, with a distinct flair that draws in visitors from surrounding states–including people looking for fun road trips from Dallas!

Branson is known for its live entertainment and shows (typically with a country music twist), its easy access to Table Rock Lake, and for being the home of Silver Dollar City, an amusement park that’s a favorite of families visiting the area.

Chapel of the Ozarks in Branson Missouri as seen from above with lake visible in the background

New Braunfels, TX

For a fairly small town, New Braunfels is positively packed with things to do, from the beautiful Gruene Historic District (home to the iconic Gruene Hall), to floating the river, to visiting Schlitterbahn, to touring the incredible Natural Bridge Caverns.

Whether your ideal weekend getaway from Dallas includes natural beauty, dancing the night away, or one of the best theme parks in Texas, you’ll find it in New Braunfels!

3 hours, 40 minutes.

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Knoxville Backyard & Beyond

6 Weekend Getaways Within 3 hours of Knoxville, TN

Our favorite family weekend getaways near knoxville, tn.

We’ve chosen 6 of our favorite destinations, all within a 3 hour drive from Knoxville, where you can experience a fantastic weekend getaway, whatever the season, whatever the reason. These towns are particularly wonderful to visit in the fall with plenty of autumn color and outdoor adventures.

Each of these destinations highlights a nearby mountain town that offers great local food and shops along with terrific indoor and outdoor activities. Something for everyone. No lodging research needed or activities to plan out — it’s all covered in detail in our itineraries, saving you time and effort that you would rather spend on your weekend getaway, not planning it.

Enjoy an easy scenic hike, go apple picking or antiquing, pitch a tent, or explore the local shops along a charming Main Street.

We’ve returned several times to each of the towns listed below and provide everything you need to know: where to stay, eat, and what to see and do! All organized into detailed day-by-day plans .

Fall foliage in the foreground of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC

1. A Weekend In Johnson City, TN

Distance from Knoxville to Johnson City, TN- 1 hour 38 min.

Two figures on top of Round Bald on AT near Carver's Gap on a weekend getaway to Johnson City, TN

Johnson City , TN is a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and their logo aptly states “start your adventure here.” It’s a great hub for biking, hiking, and even exploring a fossil site. A revitalized downtown offers terrific restaurants and breweries in a quaint setting.

It’s a place where you can spend a day hiking the Appalachian Trail over numerous mountain balds with amazing 360 degree views, bike a family-friendly bike path, or tour a fossil dig site. And from all of these activities, you can easily return to town for lodging, a local craft beer, and a great meal.

Our favorite trip highlights in Johnson City include the Gray Fossil Site and Museum and the adjoining Hands On! Discovery Center , eating at White Duck Taco , and hiking one of the most beautiful sections of the AT to Round Bald and Grassy Ridge.

2. A Weekend In Chattanooga, TN

Distance from Knoxville to Chattanooga, TN- 1 hour and 42 min.

The Incline Railway climbing Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga has no shortage of things to do for kids AND adults. This is one of the few cities you can visit where you can climb in one of the largest climbing gyms in the country, walk across one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, visit Civil War battlefields, admire a jellyfish exhibition, and squeeze through rock boulders alongside tiny gnomes statues–all in one weekend!

In addition to a fun downtown filled with a variety of good local restaurants and breweries, Chattanooga’s outdoor opportunities earned it Outside Magazine’ s “Best Town” twice.

Our favorite trip highlights in Chattanooga included the Kid Zone at High Point Climbing , the magnificent Tennessee Aquarium , and the Incline Railway to Lookout Mountain.

3. A Weekend In Abingdon, VA

Distance from Knoxville to Abingdon, VA- 1 hour 54 min. from Knoxville

Boy standing atop rocky ridge in Grayson Highlands State Park near Abingdon, VA

Abingdon, Va is a beautiful, quaint town in southwest Virginia. It has terrific restaurants, walkable streets, a craft brewery, and the famous Barter Theater. Catch a show at the Barter and stroll around Abingdon’s historic downtown.

Seek more adventure with a bike ride along the Virginia Creeper Trail (a 34 mile rails- to- trails pathway) or with a hike along the trails at Grayson Highlands State Park, famous for its soaring views and wild ponies. You’ll find plenty to do!

Our favorite things to do when we are visiting Abingdon, VA is to bike the Virginia Creeper Trail and visit Grayson Highlands State Park to see the wild ponies that graze there.

4. A Weekend In Brevard, NC

Distance from Knoxville to Brevard, NC- 2 hours and 20 min.

Girls sitting on porch of a cabin near Brevard, NC

Brevard, NC is a charming mountain town filled with shops (including a great toy store), restaurants, antiques, and art galleries. It’s located just 33 miles from Asheville. It’s also home to Dupont State Forest, which offers plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails to explore.

The Hunger Games movie was filmed at Dupont where you can visit Triple Falls, the most recognizable mountain scenery in the movie.

Our girls loved the easy hiking trails to the waterfalls in Dupont State Forest , O.P. Taylors Toys downtown, breakfast at Cedar Mountain Cafe , and our cozy VRBO cabin, Summer Haven in Cedar Mountain.

5. A Weekend In Bryson City, NC

Distance from Knoxville to Bryson City, NC- 2 hours and 10 min.

View of Fontana Lake from above

Bryson City is a such a fun outdoor town and possibly the most underrated. Within a 20 minute driving radius of downtown, you have lakes to canoe, rivers to raft, and hikes to waterfalls. Plus, a brewery, a fantastic pizza place and other good restaurants, a bookstore, and an excellent outdoors store- all downtown. You just can’t beat it.

Bryson City is one of our favorite mountain towns for outdoor adventure. Our girls loved taking the train through the mountains at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad , and my husband and I couldn’t get over how clear the water is at Fontana Lake when spending the day kayaking. And rafting down the Nantahala is right up there with rollercoasters in terms of excitement for the kids.

Anthony’s Restaurant is the perfect place to end your day of adventure with delicious pizza and a cold beer!

6. A Weekend In Greenville, SC

Distance from Knoxville to Greenville, SC- 2 hours and 50 min.

Pedestrian path going through downtown Greenville, SC

Calling all foodies and outdoor lovers! Greenville, SC has been on the trendy radar for some time, appearing in multiple travel magazines and blogs for its vibrant food scene and beautiful use of the riverfront downtown. Take a hike or bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail , a 20 mile paved bike trail running through downtown and leading to fun food stops along the way.

Bonus Destination – A Knoxville Staycation!

Sometimes a “staycation” is the right way to go. The nice thing about Knoxville is that you don ‘t even need to leave town to have a fantastic family outing. Take advantage of downtown activities, spend a day at Ijams Nature Center, bike the greenways, tour the downtown food scene, or go to the top of Knoxville’s infamous local landmark, the Sunsphere.

You’ll find plenty to do in this fun town and there is always something new to discover. Let Knoxville Backyard & Beyond provide inspiration!

Check Out Our North Carolina Mountains Book On Amazon!

North Carolina Mountain Towns–Family Weekend Adventures: Asheville, Brevard, and Bryson City

The North Carolina mountain towns of Asheville, Brevard, and Bryson City provide the perfect combination of outdoor fun, terrific local restaurants and craft breweries, and charming downtowns.

They offer a fantastic family getaway in any season. Enjoy easy scenic hikes, float a river, go mountain biking, try apple picking, pitch a tent, take a train ride, or explore the local shops along Main Street. These North Carolina mountain towns have it all!

These 6 weekend destinations within 3 hours of Knoxville, TN will make everyone happy with fun adventures, good food, and beautiful memories. Get out of the everyday and into something different for a change of pace and scenery even if it is just for a weekend! Happy Trails – Amy

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12 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways from Portland

Written by Brad Lane Updated Sep 26, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

A major appeal of Portland is its proximity to other iconic Pacific Northwest places to visit. Popular destinations within easy driving distance include the rugged coastline, world-renowned national parks , and other inviting Oregon cities with their own unique blend of fun things to do. These destinations circle the city, ranging from day trips to weekend getaways.

Panoramic view of Mount St. Helens

Memorable weekend trips to areas like Mount Hood or Cannon Beach offer new landscapes to explore each season. Other areas like the Columbia River Gorge also offer easy day trips throughout the year, but are even more enjoyable as a weekend getaway. For longer weekends with more time to explore, farther-flung destinations like Smith Rock and Mount Rainier are less than three hours away.

If planning or looking for something new to do this upcoming weekend, find the best places to visit with our list of the top day trips and weekend getaways from Portland.

1. Columbia River Gorge

2. mount hood, 3. cannon beach, 4. smith rock state park, 5. sauvie island, 7. mount st. helens national volcanic monument, 8. lincoln city, 10. mount rainier national park, 12. crater lake national park, map of weekend getaways from portland.

Lancaster Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is the sea-level dividing line between Oregon and Washington, located directly north of Portland and accessible via car, bicycle, and public transportation. The cities and scenery of the Gorge attract visitors from all over the world.

The gorge is also home to many of the best waterfalls in Oregon among many scenic landscapes, including the iconic 620-foot Multnomah Falls.

Interstate 84 and the adjacent Historic Columbia River Highway are the main arteries through the Oregon side of the gorge. These roadways connect trailheads, cities, and roadside stopping points like the Vista House . One not-too-miss area of the Gorge is the ethereal Eagle Creek Trail, off exit #41. Several other elevated hiking routes in the area offer expansive views of the river corridor.

Personal vehicles, public transportation, and bicycle are some of the ways to get from Portland to Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge . Upon arrival, the area's inviting towns entice visitors to stay the weekend. Cities to visit within the gorge include The Dalles , Hood River , and Cascade Locks – where visitors can drive into Washington via the Bridge of the Gods.

Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

If looking for a place to stay, the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River offers an award-winning restaurant and a taste of the scenery. The property is surrounded by lush gardens, ponds, and walking trails. For a weekend camping adventure, consider looking into one of the many campgrounds around Hood River .

Mount Hood

Mount Hood is Oregon's tallest peak and provides arguably some of the state's best alpine environments. The mountain is a dominating presence often seen from high vantage points in Portland. Not surprisingly, the majestic mountain terrain offers some of the best weekend getaways from the city.

Wildflower meadows, cascading waterfalls, and some of the best hiking trails in Oregon surround Mount Hood and its encompassing national forest of the same name. Popular destinations within Mount Hood National Forest include Trillium Lake , Ramona Falls , and the historic Timberline Lodge near the community of Government Camp.

The Timberline Trail circumnavigates the entire mountain, presenting challenging river crossings along the way. The cross-country Pacific Crest Trail also winds its way through the area before hitting the Columbia River Gorge.

A Mount Hood Day Trip from Portland offers an excellent option to experience the grandeur of Mount Hood and the surrounding environment. Departing from downtown Portland, the tour first stops at the iconic Multnomah Falls within the Columbia River Gorge, followed by a quick lunch in the city of Hood River. After refueling in Hood River, head straight for the Timberline Lodge, where the rest of the afternoon is devoted to exploring the rich surrounding scenery.

If you want to spend a night or two, you can explore the area at a slower pace.

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Mt. Hood National Forest

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach during low tide

The rugged Oregon coast is on full display in Cannon Beach, less than two hours northwest of Portland. Wide sandy beaches, forested headlands, and an easy view of an impressive sea stack are front-row center at Cannon Beach. Also at the ready is an artistic community, family-friendly eateries, and first-class places to stay the night.

The defining geological feature of any visit to Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock , a 235-foot sea stack that stands tall in the surf. This monolithic ocean rock offers a postcard backdrop to the wide and sprawling beach. Vast tide pools surround the rock when the tide is extremely low.

Another natural attraction that makes Cannon Beach enchanting is the looming Tillamook Head to the north, complete with coastal forest hiking trails and a free backpackers camp. Ecola State Park encompasses this massive headland, with several other hiking trails around. A few routes, like the Clatsop Loop Trail , share a legacy with Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

Cannon Beach at sunset

If you don't have time for a weekend getaway, a great way to see the coast from a passenger's seat is on the nine-hour Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock Oregon Coast Day Trip . This round-trip sightseeing tour picks passengers up from downtown Portland and drops them off by the waves of Cannon Beach.

The day trip starts with a two-hour drive to Neahkahnie Point , where a long-distance view of the coastline awaits. From Neahkahnie Point, the tour disembarks in Manzanita to spend time exploring the small coastal town and shops before heading to Cannon Beach. Plenty of time is allotted to explore Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock upon arrival, including opportunities to comb the beach , shop for antiques, and taste some local fare.

Climber at Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock is a recreation mecca of central Oregon, and arguably one of the best sport climbing destinations in America . Rock climbers in Portland often flock to this outdoor destination throughout the year, though summer temperatures are a bit stifling in the high-dessert terrain.

Over 1,000 bolted and named routes dot the impressive tuff monoliths and basalt columns that define Smith Rock. Routes range from finger-crimping technical climbs to easier ascents for beginners. Proper experience and technical ability are required for any vertical endeavors. Several guides in the region are happy to show first-time climbers the way.

Hikers also find much to explore at Smith Rock. The River Trail that follows the twists and turns of the Crooked River is a popular, accessible path. However, the Misery Ridge Trail is perhaps the most iconic, offering breathtaking elevation gains and panoramic views of the entire valley – and easily earning its spot as one of the top hikes around Bend .

Just under three hours from Portland, Smith Rock is best suited for a weekend trip. These outings can occur much earlier and later in the year thanks to the high-desert environment. A popular walk-in bivouac camping area at Smith Rock is a fun and potentially crowded place to spend the night.

The nearby city of Bend is also an excellent home base for a Smith Rock weekend adventure.

  • Read More: Top Things to Do in Bend

Sauvie Island Bridge

Sauvie is the largest island on the Columbia River and one of the country's largest river islands. It's inhabited by a predominantly agricultural community and is less than a 20-mile drive from Portland. Common recreational outlets on Sauvie Island include hiking trails, beach access, and berry picking.

Bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts enjoy exploring the 11,500-acre Sauvie Island Wildlife Area , where hundreds of bird species call home. History buffs find interest at sites like the Warrior Rock Lighthouse. Other popular attractions include U-Pick berry farms, fishing at Sturgeon Lake, and the many beaches in the island's northeast region.


The enchanting seaside city of Astoria is one of the best small towns on the Oregon coast and for good reason. The city is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River in northwest Oregon. And perhaps inspired by the iconic 80s movie, The Goonies , which took place in this storybook city, Astoria embodies an adventurous spirit and treasure-filled community.

Some of the things to do in Astoria include maritime museums, a scenic Riverwalk , and a bustling downtown district filled with shops and restaurants. History is also alive in Astoria via historic mansions and film museums, many of which relate to the storied history of this logging, fishing, and now tourism-driven city.

On the other side of Young's Bay from Astoria, accessible through the charming town of Warrenton, Fort Stevens is a retired military installation, now a sprawling state park with shipwrecks, military history, and a massive campground. Fort Stevens is an excellent place to spend the entire weekend at the beach.

Astoria is a nearly two-hour drive from Portland.

Mount St. Helens

Best defined in landscape and history by its dramatic 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens makes for an excellent weekend trip. Many of Mount St. Helen's explorable areas are accessible from Portland with less than a 90-mile drive, including iconic spots like the Johnston Ridge Observatory and Ape Caves .

Every accessible area of Mount St. Helens, including the best hiking trails in the park , provides interpretive and visual information of the 1980 blast that rocked the region. This includes the impressive views of the horseshoe crater atop the mountain.

Summit of Mount St. Helens

Hiking to the top of Mount St. Helens is also a bucket-list weekend adventure for mountain athletes in Portland. No technical climbing experience is needed (i.e. no ropes or harnesses), but it is an incredibly steep hike to the top. Most summer visitors begin this journey at the Climber's Bivouac Trailhead on the mountain's southern flank. Permits are required.

Road's End State Recreation Site, Lincoln City

Lincoln City offers a fantastic beach vacation approximately two hours from Portland. Lincoln City has a bit of everything, including over seven miles of beach. And thanks to the city's unique Finders Keepers program, anyone who visits has the chance to stumble upon (and take home) hidden treasure in the shape of beautiful glass orbs.

Outside of the sprawling and abundant beach, Lincoln City also has several in-town attractions , including local shops and restaurants. Lincoln City itself comprises several different districts, all once their own municipalities, so the town has several storefront flavors. A few visitor favorites include Prehistoric Fossils, My Petite Sweet Bakery, and the Harry Potter-inspired Cheeky Cauldron magic café.

For the best beach indulgence in Lincoln City, head to Roads End State Recreation Site . This coastal getaway is on the north end of the city limits and offers a deep immersion into the coastal atmosphere.

Seaside Promenade and Seaside Aquarium

The city of Seaside has a long history of attracting visitors. The century-old and iconic Promenade that separates the city from the sand is a testament to the long-standing tourist industry, and the Lewis and Clark Salt Works speaks to an even more rugged past.

All the top attractions in Seaside are accessible from Portland with less than a 90-minute drive. These attractions include the Seaside Aquarium and historic Seaside Turnaround . But the biggest reason to make the drive is often the sprawling beach.

As one of the best beaches along the Oregon Coast , the beach at Seaside is wide, welcoming, and can simultaneously accommodate solo kite-flyers and huge sand volleyball tournaments. And the sunsets at Seaside are some of the best on the coast.

Tillamook Head backdrops the Seaside Beach to the south, and the Seaside Streetcar offers free shuttles to the corresponding trailhead.

The Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is one of the most impressive peaks of the Pacific Northwest. It stands proudly as the tallest peak in Washington and is within a 2.5-hour-drive from Portland. It's best for a weekend trip, or much longer if possible, with over 260 miles of inclined hiking trails to explore. The park also has a variety of campgrounds spread throughout its alpine and old-growth surroundings.

Four designated areas define the park, including the Sunrise region, at an elevation of 6,400 feet. From this elevated position, Sunrise offers up-close perspectives of Rainier's northeast glaciers. Popular hiking trails from this area of the park include the easy Tipsoo Lake Trail and the more challenging Burrough Mountain Trail .

The Paradise area of Mount Rainier is also aptly named, and this stunning area contains mountain meadows, streaming waterfalls, and increasingly dramatic views of the mountain. The Skyline Trail, which traverses the Paradise area of the park, is an absolute must-do as one of Washington's best hiking trails .

Longmire , on the southwest side of the park, offers historical information and hiking trails. This area of the park also lends proximity to neighboring towns that cater to weekend visits. In nearby Ashford, the Nisqually Lodge provides a rustic appeal in modern accommodations and easy access to the park's Nisqually Entrance.

Eunice Lake, in the Mowich Lake region of the park

The "quiet corner of the park," Mowich Lake , is accessible via a dirt road on the park's west side. The lake lends access to stunning areas like Spray Park and Tolmie Peak. Wherever you visit in the national park, one of the most defining aspects of any visit is the awe invoked every time Mountain Rainier comes into view.

Official site: https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm

Riverfront Park, Salem

The state capital of Oregon, Salem, is less than an hour's drive south of Portland. This proximity enables easy day trips to visit Salem's top attractions , like the Oregon State Capitol or Enchanted Forest. But with additional adventures nearby, including the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park, Salem also makes a great extended weekend getaway.

Riverfront Park is an excellent spot to explore the community and nature of Salem. Sculptures, sitting space, and wonderful views of the Willamette River dot this 26-acre signature space near downtown. The park is also home to Salem's Riverfront Carousel , offering $2 rides since the year 2000.

Salem has several other in-town attractions to round out a day visit, and other nearby adventures to fill a full weekend. Less than 30 minutes east is Silver Falls State Park , one of Oregon's best state parks , and home to the Trail of Ten Falls. This neck-craning National Recreation Trail attracts visitors from across the world.

Crater Lake

When a complex volcano in Southern Oregon erupted over 7,000 years ago, it left behind a massive caldera and one of North America's most unique natural attractions. Today, Crater Lake is in the footprint of what used to be Mount Mazama and is the only national park in Oregon.

As the deepest lake in the country, fed only by rainfall and snowmelt, the water of Crater Lake is an incredible blue. Contained within the crater, the sparkling water changes color as it catches the sun throughout the day. Stunning viewpoints are afforded at the rim from two different entrances of the park.

Getting from Portland to Crater Lake takes about four hours by car, making it a great weekend escape, particularly in summer. The Mazama Campground within the national park is one of the best campgrounds in Oregon and is open seasonally throughout the summer.

Crater Lake's appeal goes well beyond the summer season, though, and the winter is a particularly scenic time to visit. The Rim Drive is left unplowed and opened for cross-country and snowshoe traverses.

Official site: https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com


More to Explore in Portland: Our Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Portland article outlines some of the best cultural and natural attractions of Portland, and our Best Hiking Trails near Portland article illustrates other ways to explore the natural areas around the city.

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More on Oregon

Oregon Travel Guide: Plan Your Perfect Trip


  • Things To Do / Fall Festivals & Activities / Guides for Kansas City / Spring Break Activities & Things to do / Travel & Family Vacations

24 Weekend Getaways, Road Trips & Day Trips from Kansas City

Sharing is caring!

If you’re looking for short road trips or fun day trips from Kansas City, there are great spots all over. We know you don’t want to drive too far…

But, there are easy weekend getaways nearby! Just a quick 3 (ish) hour road trip with the family. 

Whether you want to explore the outdoors, find mini vacation spots, or just find things to do in new cities, there are places for everyone to go. We hope your family enjoys these fun day trip ideas for kids! If you’re looking to stay closer to home, check out our Staycation Guide too!

Disclaimer : iFamilyKC is supported by its readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. THANK YOU!

places to visit 3 hrs from me

We’re big fans of getting out of town for a few days…but where to go? How far can kids realistically ride in a car?  Kids can make it 3 or 4 hours, and then the questions begin and the movies get old. So we gathered the below list of destination ideas and resources for you!

Pro tips: keep the kids happy with their own travel snack boxes for the road. Grab some travel wipes to keep the messes at bay. Plus, any time you’re on a road trip, a dashcam is a great insurance policy.

Best Road Trips from Kansas City!

There are 24 fun road trips from Kansas City, all about a 3-hour drive. These vacation ideas are perfect for a weekend getaway near Kansas City:  

As you head out of town, you might consider having even a small simple security camera to keep an eye on things while you’re gone. Peace of mind, while you’re on your trip, is invaluable!

Day Trips from Kansas City

 If you’re looking for fun day trips from KC, or better yet a weekend adventure, this is for you! Get your family out of town… even if it’s just for a weekend trip! 

> Cave Springs

If you’re looking for a super close trip, Cave Springs is worth considering. Because it is located in Raytown, you can make it there in less than 30 minutes!

There is a small waterfall, hiking trails, and other fun things to explore – learn more now.

Cave Springs Park in Raytown MO

> Visit the Sunflowers

There are 14+ sunflower fields near KC that you can visit with your family. This is a short day trip from the metro, which is perfect if you have small children…

Grinter Farms Sunflowers in Kansas City

> Ha Ha Tonka State Park Day Trip

1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO 65020

(2 hours, 41 minutes)

Weekend roadtrip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park from Kansas CIty

You can make this its own weekend getaway or stop by while you are in the Lake of the Ozarks area. Plus, the drive on the day trip from Kansas City is beautiful!

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is located in the Lake of the Ozarks area. You can definitely make it one of the best weekend trips from Kansas City to the Ozarks.

Things to do at Haha Tonka:

There are lakes and trails, and you can head over to Branson for fun too! You can rent boats & jet skis at local marinas and swim till your hands turn pruney! If you like hiking or the outdoors in general, this state park is the place for you…  

One of the highlights is a turn-of-the-century castle built high on a bluff and more than 15 miles of walking trails. These trails lead to sinkholes, natural bridges, caves, and of course the lake itself!

Just head down for the day and pack a lunch for a picnic or decide to make a camping trip out of it!

Where to Stay:

If you’re wanting to stay for the night, there are many choices that make a great overnight trip for families:

> Canoe, Float, or Paddle the Niangua River

Lebanon, MO & surrounding areas (many campsites & rentals)


Things to Do on the Niangua River:

Your family can canoe, kayak, float in inner tubes, or raft down the Niangua River! This fun road trip near Lake of the Ozarks is great if your family loves the outdoors or is looking for an adventure. 

There are many fun campgrounds, cabins, & hotels in the area, so it will definitely make a fun weekend trip. Explore the many campsites & rentals available like the Floating R or NRO , which has free camping options available. Big Bear River Resort offers adorable cabins, canoes, camping & great fishing spots too!

Food on the Niangua River:

Depending on where you start your float trip, you can stop at The Gravel Bar & Grill at the Sand Springs Resort .

This restaurant is right off the river, so you can walk from your canoe. It has basic American food, offering something for everyone in your family. They also offer lodging at the resort, so if you are looking for a place to stay and rent your canoes, this might be the spot!

This day trip location is a little further away, so you may want to stay overnight – especially if you spend all day paddling on the river! These are just one of many great options:

> Tanganyika Wildlife Park

1000 S. Hawkins Lane, Goddard, KS 67052

(3 hours, 8 minutes)

Weekend Getaways near Kansas City

Tanganyika Wildlife Park is one of the most unique day trips from Kansas City. Not sure if it would be a day trip, since it is 3 hours, but could be a great weekend getaway in Kansas!  

It is a family-owned zoo with one of the largest animal collections in the state. There are over 40 exhibits, including several interactive stations for your kids to learn.

This is definitely a trip stop to add to your list.  

Tanganyika is the only place in the US where you can interact with ring-tail lemurs in their island habitat and feed Indian rhinos and pygmy hippos.

From most of the reviews that I read, it is a great place for younger kids —more animals in a smaller area to save their little legs (and grandparents too!)

There and back will be about 6 hours in total, so consider finding a place to stay for the night:

> Northwest Arkansas

Rogers, Fayetteville, Springdale

(3 hours, 15 minutes) If your family loves the outdoors, this is a great weekend getaway with your kids! 

Things to Do in NW Arkansas:

There are tons of great family things to do in Northwest Arkansas…not to mention the scenery! You can camp along the river, swim in the clear water, & have quality family time on your family’s vacation. Don’t forget to try canoeing while you are on the river!

There is the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks , Charlie & Willie George Park which features a fun spray park for the kids to cool off & TONS of great hiking. There are also unique things to do in NW Arkansas like, exploring the Dickson Street Bookshop or taking in a local museum.

You can visit the Museum of Native American History , Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art , or the Museum of Discovery – a fantastic kids’ activity! Last but certainly not least, you have to check out the Walmart Museum.

There’s so much to see and do in Northwest AR. Visit:

Fayetteville, AR

Springdale, AR

Bentonville, AR

Best Food in NW Arkansas:

You also need to eat. So, be sure to check out Crepes Paulette – where you can watch your food be cooked – or The Farmer’s Table Cafe to try food created all by local Arkansas farmers. You can also take a little drive to try  Kyya Chocolate – unique chocolate that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

In Bentonville, AR try:

Ron’s Hamburgers & Chili :

1702 South Walton Blvd. Bentonville, AR 72712

The Buttered Biscuit



Smokin Joe’s Ribhouse

2504 E Central Ave

Bentonville, 72712

In Springdale, AR try:

Wagon Wheel Country Cafe

4080 N Thompson St.

In Rogers, AR try:

Monte Ne Chicken Inn

13843 E. Highway 94

Rogers, AR 72758

Big Orange Burgers, Salad, Shakes

2203 S Promenade Blvd Ste. 3100

In Fayetteville try:


25 1/2 N Block Ave

Fayetteville, AR 72701

Penguin Ed’s

2 locations in Fayetteville!

Hammontree Grilled Cheese

326 N West Ave #8

Pro tip: passengers taking a break might enjoy a little travel pillow to snag a quick nap before their turn to drive again!

> Roaring River State Park

12716 Farm Road 2239, Cassville, MO 65625

(3 hours, 17 minutes)

The Roaring River State Park is a great day trip from Kansas City when the weather is warm. You can also make it an overnight trip with camping if it’s a little further for you (Depending on what part of town you’re in) .

Things to Do in Roaring River:

There is so much nature to explore – it could fill your entire weekend! Trout fishing is obviously its biggest draw but there are great things to do and see for the whole family.  

The park is one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation and is stocked each night. There are also 7 trails that lead through the hills, including the Deer Leap trail that overlooks the fish hatchery. There are options to camp as well, including renting a cabin for the weekend.

Roaring Rivers State Park in Missouri Day Trip

> Eureka Springs, AR

(3 hours and 50 minutes)

Eureka Springs prides itself on its fabulous festivals. 

I personally love the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and have participated many times, but there are several more throughout the summer—just check to make sure they would be fun for the kids! It is the perfect place for a day or weekend trip from Kansas City!

Things to Do in Eureka Springs, AR:

The city itself is nestled in the Arkansas hills and has great hiking & outdoor adventures.

Check out Lake Leatherwood for hiking, fishing, canoeing & more outdoor activities.

Downtown Eureka Springs is also a great stop; filled with shopping, restaurants & historic character. There are tons of eccentric shops and art galleries to explore too. You can always find good music in many areas of the city, especially during Blues Weekend.

Best Food in Eureka Springs:

Parkside Pretzel & Snack Bar has everything pretzel – pretzel dogs, pretzel churros…use your imagination! Their reviews are stellar & also feature some healthy options. Eureka Springs Funnel Cake Factory also needs to be on your list. If you’re looking for more dinner food, check out the Rockin’ Pig Saloon for yummy ribs & burgers, or Emilio’s Italian Home Cooking . This delicious Italian spot is located inside an old house, with a more upscale feel.   

Plan on staying the night in either The Crescent or The Basin Park Hotel . Both have their share of ghost stories, but their true draw is how they pull you into the vintage feel of the city. I have stayed at both but I don’t think got an ounce of sleep because the lights were always on and I was constantly checking under the bed!

At nearly 4 hours away from the city, you’ll want to stop for a good night’s rest before you head back to KC. Here are some of the closest options:

> Rent a Cabin Near Kansas City

(1-3 hours depending on the cabin)

There are many nice cabins near Kansas City, as well as in the city limits. Whether you’re looking for a staycation or a weekend getaway in the woods, these cabins are always a great idea!

Find large cabins for multiple families, or small cabin sites perfect for a small family trip.

> Branson

(3 hours or less)

Branson is one of the best road trips from Kansas City, because of the windy roads and beautiful scenery. So, start planning a fun weekend getaway.

Things to do in Branson, MO:

There are so many things to do in and around Branson it is mind-blowing; shopping at outlets , dining, amusement parks, go-karts, bumper cars & boats, duck rides, museums, Table Rock State Park has ALL the fun a lake can provide & everything in between!

You could spend a day or two at Silver Dollar City alone. You can grab a coupon book for the outlets too!

Be sure to check out shows like The SIX , Silver Dollar City , and the MASSIVE go-kart tracks! Your family is sure to find kids activities everyone will love.

With Table Rock Lake nearby so you can cool off too. Visit  Table Rock State Park , which has fantastic camping, fishing, boating & great swimming areas! The park is situated on one of the largest lakes in the country, so you are sure to get a beautiful view.  Find more things to do in Branson now!

Best Food in Branson, MO:

On your drive down, stop at Lambert’s , “home of the throwed rolls” in Ozark, MO. It is home cooking at its finest…while they throw rolls at you to eat! Cakes & Cream is one of our family’s favorites. It is a 50’s diner with more desserts than you could imagine. You can get many old classics there.

For the best shakes & homemade pies in town, stop at Billy Bob’s Dairyland . They feature tasty treats as well as yummy burgers & other diner food. (They also have amazing service…)

Branson offers tons of hotels and resorts , but there are also some gems through Airbnb that offer more privacy for families. There are beautifully redone farmhouses , modern cabins and log cabins available too!

> Amana Colonies Weekend Trip

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622 46th Avenue Amana, IA 52203

(4 hours, 29 minutes) While this is longer than the 3-hour trips from Kansas City, the Amana Colonies have something for everyone. Plus, if you are looking for a weekend trip, going further away from home may be fun!

Things to Do at Amana Colonies:

The colonies host events each weekend, from a dog speed racers competition to woodworking festivals, so there is always something to do.

They celebrate a rich heritage in arts and crafts and take visitors away from the hustle and bustle of busy life…check it out for your next weekend trip out of KC.

In fact, The Wurst Festival , a celebration of all things sausage , was named the Best New Event of 2015 by the Iowa Tourism Commission.

There are many places to stay camping, bed, and breakfasts, and hotels nearby.

Best Food in Amana Colonies:

If you like German-American food, try the Ox Yoke Inn for fresh, handmade food. The restaurant dates back to the 1940s, so there are definitely delicious reasons it is still in business. Or, head to the Ronneburg Restaurant for another take on German cooking. Both restaurants are highly rated.   

There are surprisingly quite a few places to stay in and around the colonies. Check them out below:

> Topeka Day Trip

(45 minutes to an hour)

Even though Topeka is our state capital, most people haven’t explored it even though it is one of the best day trips from Kansas City! With Topeka less than an hour from most places in KC, it is a cheap getaway from Kansas City.

Things to do in Topeka, KS:

There are tons of fun things to do like the Topeka Zoo & Shawnee Lake . Check out our top 6 things to do with kids in Topeka . 

You can even climb to the TOP of the state capitol building , which we definitely recommend during your day trip. Tour reservations are not needed for groups of 10 or smaller. The spiral staircase winds right up the middle of the capitol dome, so don’t look down!

Best Food in Topeka, KS :

Bobo’s Diner is a Topeka classic – handmade onion rings, fries & burgers! They were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, so you know it’s delicious.

If Mexican is your fam’s jam, El Centenario makes homemade dishes every day. If the kiddos are all in on awesome grilled cheese sandwiches. and mom & dad like craft beer, The Wheel Barrel is a must. They’re located in the NOTO Arts District and are famous for their gourmet grilled cheese & selection of craft beers. You can’t go wrong with anything on your list. 

If you decide to make a weekend of it, there are some family-friendly spots to stay:

> Roadtrip to Des Moines, IA

(2.5 hours – 3 hours)

While Des Moines isn’t the most attractive city to visit, there are tons of things to do with kids in Des Moines. Plus, the drive is manageable for a weekend trip or getaway. 

Things to Do in Des Moines, IA :

Explore Adventureland Themepark , which includes an outdoor waterpark, a theme park, and indoor pools. Or, your family can check out the Science Center of Iowa , where learning is brought to life.

Don’t miss Iowa’s wildest adventure at  Blank Park Zoo  or find fun things to do outside like Gray’s Lake Park, the Living History Farms , or the Iowa State Fairgrounds (if you can make the trip during the Iowa State Fair ).

There’s also the State Capitol Building you can tour and the downtown Des Moines farmer’s market – rated the 2nd best farmer’s market in America

There are fun kids’ activities here that make learning fun! There are also areas with tons of room to play, like Pappajohn Sculpture Park or the Des Moines Botanical Gardens . The sculpture park is a great place for kids to play while enjoying the artwork…plus it’s free!

You can also enjoy some yummy ice cream at Black Cat Ice Cream , just across the street from the sculpture park.

> Wichita, Kansas Day Trip

(3 hours, 20 minutes)

Things to do in Wichita, KS:

Wichita is home to the Museum of World Treasures , which has an extensive World War II collection as well as shrunken heads, dinosaurs, ancient Egyptians, and everything in between.

The Exploration Place , a science education center, is also filled with fun kids’ activities and things to do. Your kids will explore a variety of hands-on activities & exhibits…think of it as the Science City of Wichita. Check out the Exploration Place calendar of events to see what’s happening while you are there.  

There is also the Sedgwick County Zoo , the Botanical Gardens of Wichita , and the Cowtown Museum , which has FREE admission on Sundays from noon to 5 pm. Also, be sure to visit the Keeper of the Plains statue !

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Wichita also has its’ own amusement park, All-Star Adventures ! There are go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, slides, kiddie copters, a driving range, and other fun family activities. You can find other fun things to do with kids in Wichita easily too!

If you are looking for other fun things to do near Wichita, KS check out the Wildlife Park below!

Best Food in Wichita, KS:

If you’re looking for yummy places to eat be sure to check out Dempsey’s Biscuit Co or Piatto for delicious pizzas. Also, be sure to check out the world’s largest mural painted by a single artist – Horizontes.   For an old-fashioned loose-meat burger and house-made root beer stop into Nuway ! The kids will love it.

Depending on where you’re planning on exploring, there are great options all over the city:

> Meade, KS

(camping, dalton gang hideout & state park).

502 S Pearlette Street, Meade, Kansas

If you’re into history, this is a small town worth visiting. The Dalton Gang Hideout was the home of Eva Whipple, the sister of the Dalton Gang outlaw group. A hidden tunnel was discovered to hide the gang members.

It’s now considered a Kansas tourist attraction, where you can tour the home and the tunnel (reconstructed version). There is also a historical museum!

In addition to the history, there is a beautiful state park – Meade State Park . There is a 360-acre area filled with wildlife, as well as campsites and a lake.

You can camp or fish at the lake with your family to enjoy the great outdoors!

If you don’t want to tent camp, there are other places in the area to stay overnight:

> Omaha Road Trip

(2 hours, 40 minutes)

Omaha, Nebraska is even shorter than a 3-hour trip from Kansas City. Close enough that you can handle the drive but far enough away that it feels like a getaway…

Things to Do in Omaha, NE:

Take advantage of this fun & inexpensive city with these things to do with kids. There is the famous Henry Doorly Zoo , the Wildlife Safari Park , the Aerospace Museum, The Omaha Children’s Museum, the Rose Theater , & tons of free things to do throughout the year. Admission to the Joslyn Art Museum is always free!

There are also beautiful state parks like The Eugene T. Mahoney State Park , which features a suspended ropes course in the trees. There is also a pool, wave pool, splash park, horse riding, mini golf & disc golf, Venture Climb rock climbing & other unique activities. This park has more to do than almost any we have seen…

Best Food in Omaha:

You can also find tons of great restaurants like Mayne Street Market , Yoshitomo (if your fam likes sushi), Hurry Bird (for some creative, delicious breakfast and lunch burritos), or Johnny’s Cafe for delicious food near the old stockyards!

> St. Louis Road Trip

(3 to 3 and a half hours)

Depending on where you are road-tripping from in Kansas City, St. Louis isn’t that far. There are too many things to do with kids in St. Louis for just one day, so make a weekend road trip out of the day trip!

Things to Do in St. Louis:

You can explore the St. Louis Gateway Arch , World Bird Sanctuary , St. Louis Aquarium (the perfect place for kids), Magic House Children’s Museum , and many other kids’ activities. Take a stroll through the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which features a beautiful Japanese garden.

Or, check out Forest Park , which is larger than New York’s Central Park!

Check out our St. Louis Road Trip guide for more ideas of things to do in St. Louis. You could fill an entire weekend trip with these ideas!

Best Food in St. Louis:

If you check out the arch in the morning, be sure to try Chili Mac’s Diner !

Crown Candy is definitely worth a visit. This is a century-old Soda Fountain restaurant that is a St. Louis classic. You will feel like you stepped back in time to 1913 as soon as you step in their doors.

After you try their candy, ice cream & delicious food…it’s game over. Their hearty BLT is stacked to the brim (overflowing really…) with yummy bacon! There are also some delicious donuts at O’Fashion Donuts . Head to The Hill and enjoy some great Italian food at the many restaurants located there.

> Roadtrip to Joplin

(2 hours, 30 minutes)

Things to Do in Joplin, MO:

There are tons of fun things to do in Joplin during your day trip from KC! You can visit a giant waterfall – Grand Falls , George Washington Carver National Monumen t , or walk around downtown Joplin . The Sunshine Lamp District is even named after Joplin’s booming mining days, so you’ll be trendy while walking through history!

There are cute stores to shop, yummy restaurants to try, & even an indoor adventure playground for the kiddos. You can also visit the winery if it’s more of an adult-only road trip! 

Best Food in Joplin:

If BBQ is your thing, you can’t miss Big R’s BBQ & Pies . The locals love this spot for its great BBQ and you can finish off with one of their great pies, so you don’t want to skip this spot!

The Red Onion Cafe is located in a 100-year-old building & highly rated across the board. They serve American food in a relaxed setting – be sure to try the Smoked Chicken Dip! 

> Columbia, MO

(2 hours, 10 minutes)  

Things to Do in Columbia, MO:  

At MU, you can visit the Museum of Art & Archaeology or the Francis Quadrangle , with giant pillars towering overhead. Or, check out the Columbia Art League in downtown Columbia.  Besides visiting The University of Missouri, there are other fun things to do with kids like nature parks.

If your family likes the outdoors, there are many great parks & hiking trails like Rock Bridge Memorial State Park , Finger Lakes State Park , Stephens Lake Beach & Park , or Capen Park .

Finger Lakes State Park is probably the most unique thing you can do, with trails for ATVs, motorbiking, & four-wheelers. There is also a lake where you can go scuba diving, swimming, fishing & non-motorized boating. You can rent kayaks & canoes at the park, so all you have to bring is your family!  

Also visit the Shelter Gardens , a 5-acre botanical garden that is perfect to take a stroll…  

Best Food in Columbia, MO:  

If you’re looking for healthy options, try the Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe , which is rated very highly.  If you’re in the mood for good-old deliciousness, try Just Jeff’s Street Food , they have two locations.

They supposedly have the best chili dogs in all of Columbia. Addison’s is also a yummy place to try. Their nachos are our favorite!  You can’t go wrong by stopping for a pizza at Shakespeare’s Pizza, a Columbia tradition since 1973 with 3 locations.

> Eagles Bluff Conservation Area

Columbia, MO 65203

(2 hours, 6 minutes)

If you’re looking to get away from the city…this is the place for you. There are miles and miles of nature to be explored – the perfect place for a nature weekend getaway. Plus, the shorter drives make this one of our favorite day trips from Kansas City…  

There is the Katy Trail State Park , which provides trails to bike, hike, or even ride horses! You can also explore other regions of the conservation area with fishing, hiking trails, camping, bird watching & other fun outdoor activities. 

> Rock City

1051 Ivy Road Minneapolis, KS 67467

(2 hours, 49 minutes)

About 20 miles away from Salina, there are giant spherical rocks, formed when Kansas was under an ocean. There are over 200 rocks you can explore!   You have a couple of options.

1. Rock City is the larger of the 2 attractions, with close to 200 rock formations, but costs $3.

2. Mushroom Rock State Park , which is smaller, is free to the public. If your children love to run around or climb on things, this is a fun place to explore. Check out the website to see cool pictures of mushroom rocks !     

> Go on a Safari

124 Jungle Drive, Strafford, MO 65757

Looking for more unique day trips from Kansas City? This safari is just minutes away from Springfield, MO. (See our Springfield Guide below). How about a wildlife excursion…it’s a drive-thru animal safari in the middle of Missouri! There are over 450 animals for your family to come to visit. 

While there is not a ton to do, the Safari is definitely a unique experience that makes it worth the day trip drive from Kansas City. Make it a short getaway with an overnight stay for the family all together!

> Atchison, KS

Because Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, you can learn about her at the Amelia Earhart Museum , at her birthplace. Also, visit the Atchison County Historical Society Museum located in the historic 1880 Santa Fe Depot. Check out the Atchison Rail Museum .

If you want to enjoy the outdoors, hang out at Jackson Park or cross the Missouri River and visit the Lewis & Clark State Park . 

Where to eat:

Grab a sandwich at one of these yummy stops: Mr. G’s , JW Boy’s BBQ , or Willie’s Sports Pub . You can’t go wrong.

> Springfield, MO

(2 hours 40 minutes)

Things to Do:

Shop the original, and one of the largest, Bass Pro Shops ! Explore the incredible caves of the Ozarks or go on a safari at The Wild Animal Safari in nearby Stafford, MO.

Find your favorite style of cashew chicken at one of these places on the official Cashew Chicken Trail.

Step back in time on Route 66 and grab a burger at Red’s Giant Hamburg or eat at a classic diner like Casper’s .

Use these Tips for Traveling with Kids to pass the time faster and make your road trip more enjoyable. There are fun car games & tips to keep your family safe. 

Looking for other fun places to stay near Kansas City?

  • Lake Cabins Near KC
  • Tent Glamping
  • Treehouse Cabin Near Leavenworth
  • Large Rentals for Multi-Families or Groups

If you can’t get out of KC, check out:

  • Cave Springs in Raytown
  • Our favorite playgrounds ( & have a picnic )
  • Have a  Downtown KC Staycation Guide
  • Explore the Best Things to Do in Kansas City with kids .

Pro tip: make your driver comfy for these family road trips. We love these beaded seat covers to keep you cool and comfortable.

What are some of your favorite places to visit near the metro? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to stay up to date, click below to join THE SCOOP! Get it delivered right to your inbox!

From our family to yours, iFamilyKC

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Tags: Branson Gladstone Joplin Liberty Omaha Raytown Springdale Springfield

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The 16 best weekend getaways from atlanta.

Atlantans have an array of options for quick trips, from alpine adventures to serene seaside escapes.

Top Weekend Getaways From Atlanta

Georgia's Driftwood Beach has a plethora of driftwood, and offers many beautiful compositions like this.

Getty Images

Walk along beaches of the southeast coast, hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and explore cities like Chattanooga and Asheville on your next trip out of Atlanta.

Atlanta is a thriving Southern metropolis with world-class cultural attractions, sporting events and historic landmarks – an amazing standalone destination in its own right. The state's capital also makes a great home base, in part because of its prime location in north-central Georgia. City dwellers have access to major freeways and airports that make it a breeze to hop on the road and explore the surrounding Appalachian and Southern regions just a few hours away.

From charming coastal enclaves to sprawling golf resorts to rustic rural hideaways, Atlanta is perfectly positioned for access to a plethora of fun family trips and romantic getaways . Make your great escape from the city to one the top weekend getaways from Atlanta.

The Best Weekend Getaways From Atlanta

About two hours or less:, lake oconee, georgia, amicalola falls state park, georgia.

  • Barnsley Resort, Georgia
  • Callaway Resort & Gardens, Georgia

About three hours or less:

Brasstown valley resort & spa, georgia, chattanooga, tennessee, great smoky mountains national park, about four hours or less:, asheville, north carolina, columbia, south carolina, about five hours or less:, tybee island, georgia, hilton head island, south carolina, golden isles, georgia, jekyll island, georgia, about six hours or less:, myrtle beach, south carolina, a quick flight:, nashville, tennessee, key west, florida.

Spending 15 days camping on the shore of Lake Oconee.  The sunsets were always wonderful to see.

Located about 85 miles east of Atlanta, this recreational haven is perfect for those seeking a weekend trip with plenty of outdoor activities. While in Lake Oconee, enjoy fishing, camping, golf, hiking and water sports. Visitors admire the scenic beauty and serene atmosphere of this rural gem, which provides year-round family fun. The reservoir itself boasts nearly 375 miles of lush shoreline, lined with lakefront homes, marinas, restaurants and geologic features – like the popular Jumping Rock, accessible only by boat. Landlubbers can hit the trails at the Rock Hawk Effigy & Trails center to hike, mountain bike and watch wildlife.

The nearby town of Greensboro beckons visitors with art galleries, restaurants and boutiques to browse. You can download a free historic walking tour brochure to study while you stroll so you don't miss any notable landmarks, including several Revolutionary War- and Civil War-era structures. Balance the rustic and the regal with a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee , boasting five golf courses and a unique lakefront swimming pool – perfect for a romantic getaway in Georgia .

Amicalola Falls, Georgia, USA

Conveniently located 70 miles north of the city, this expansive recreation area in Georgia makes for an easy weekend getaway in the great outdoors. The park's 800-plus acres harbor the tallest waterfall in the region and a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels, including a connector to the official Southern starting point for the renowned Appalachian Trail. The approach to the falls is challenging but worthwhile, according to visitors who appreciate the trek for its stunning scenery. Supervised activities like a zip line, archery sessions and live wildlife presentations offer additional family-friendly entertainment and adventure.

Refuel at the park's mountaintop restaurant, popular for its Sunday brunch and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the forest. On-site accommodations range from glamping and camping sites in the forest to resort-style lodge rooms and cabins – which feature beautiful views in every direction, according to travelers. The park is accessible year-round, and past visitors mention that they enjoyed the experience with fewer crowds during the winter months.

Barnsley Resort: Adairsville, Georgia

A couple riding horses at Barnsley Resort.

Courtesy of Barnsley Resort

This sprawling 3,000-acre property nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was once the countryside estate of one of the South's first cotton barons, complete with elegant architecture and pristine landscaping. Visitors say the natural beauty and regal ambiance of Barnsley Resort create a quiet serenity that quickly erases any tension built up from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located about 65 miles from Atlanta, the grounds feature riding stables, a golf course, a 10-acre lake for recreation and a sport shooting facility. Other amenities – ranging from an on-site spa and seasonal outdoor pool to curated experiences like bourbon tastings and fireside s'mores – provide everything you need for a well-rounded romantic respite or girls getaway .

Despite the array of adventurous activities, a leisurely stroll through the resort's 10 acres of heirloom gardens is a must. The estate gardens, designed in the 1840s, are featured on the Georgia Garden Trail, a collection of 26 public landscapes with native blooms and historic significance. The nearby town of Adairsville is on the National Register of Historic Places, providing a charming spot to spend an afternoon of antiquing. It also offers additional dining options, which some guests felt were lacking on-site.

Address: 597 Barnsley Gardens Road NW, Adairsville, GA 30103

Callaway Resort & Gardens: Pine Mountain, Georgia

Pretty purple Azalea flower blooming in the Callaway Gardens in Springtime, GA USA.

With its two golf courses, a full-service spa, expansive botanical gardens, mini-golf and private lakes featuring a 1-mile white sand beach , a weekend getaway to this 2,500-acre resort is a one-stop shop for fun and relaxation. Located about an 80-mile drive from Atlanta, Callaway Resort & Gardens boasts many activities and amenities that are accessible to non-lodging guests for a daily admission fee, providing entertainment for visitors to the nearby town of Pine Mountain, too.

Seasonal surprises and special events – including vibrant azalea blooms in the spring, foliage in the fall , beach access in the summer and an award-winning holiday light display in the winter – keep travelers returning time and time again. Nature lovers will find delight in a network of trails; the Discovery Center, with wildlife exhibits and live shows; and a conservatory with some 1,000 free-flying butterflies, which many visitors claim as their favorite feature. In addition to Aqua Island, the resort's floating water park, kids of all ages love the challenge of conquering three aerial adventure courses made from a collection of zip lines, ladders, bridges and other fun obstacles (additional fees apply).

Address: 17617 U.S. Route 27, Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Just over 100 miles from Atlanta, this secluded, family-friendly mountain lodge sits in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, spotted with the manicured greens of an on-site golf course. Travelers are enchanted with the beautiful scenery, complete with hardwood forests and flowing streams, which can be explored on a hike or horseback trail ride around the 503-acre property. Equestrian enthusiasts will feel right at home at this full-service north Georgia resort, with its stables, guided trail rides, riding lessons, and customized experiences like catered picnic outings and hayrides. Afterward, soak away any soreness with a refreshing dip in the indoor-outdoor swimming pool or a visit to the spa before heading to dinner at one of the two on-site restaurants. Located on sacred Cherokee ground, Brasstown Valley Resort offers spa services that incorporate ancient Indigenous healing practices.

The surrounding area boasts additional restaurants and attractions such as Crane Creek Vineyards for wine tasting or Lake Chatuge for fishing and boating, which the resort concierge can assist in making arrangements to visit. While people adore the rustic fireplaces throughout the lodge for setting a nice scene to relax with a book or glass of wine, some travelers say the guest rooms feel outdated.

Address: 6321 U.S. Route 76, Young Harris, GA 30582

Aerial of Chattanooga Tennessee TN Skyline

This midsize mountain town about 120 miles from Atlanta is known as the "Scenic City" for its location on the banks of the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain – a beautiful natural area that can be explored with a thrilling ride on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway , a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. Then, plunge underneath the peak to discover Ruby Falls, the country's tallest and deepest underground waterfall. Visitors advise that although tickets and reservations are required for each of these top-rated activities, both experiences are worth the cost of admission. For a more laid-back trek, you can take a stroll across the Walnut Street Bridge – one of the longest footbridges in the world – at sunset.

Chattanooga is a great place for multigenerational families to vacation together thanks to an array of historic and cultural attractions that pique the interest of all ages. Stop by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and Tennessee Aquarium , which residents and tourists alike admire for its impressive collection of more than 9,000 living creatures arranged in thoughtful displays. All of these attractions are easily accessible from The Westin Chattanooga , an upscale hotel located downtown whose rooftop restaurant serves up an impressive view.

[See more of Chattanooga:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Oconaluftee overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fall 2014

Visitors gush about the scenic trails, waterfalls and wildlife that abound in this natural treasure, and Atlanta residents can experience it all for themselves during a long weekend. The entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park located in Cherokee, North Carolina, is about 165 miles from Atlanta. The more than 522,000-acre park straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and hosts more than 11 million visitors each year – the most of any U.S. national park. A drive north along Newfound Gap Road, the park's main thoroughfare, covers about 30 miles, but you'll want to allow at least two hours to stop at the numerous scenic overlooks and landmarks, such as Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park, and Mingus Mill, a historic gristmill that gives live demonstrations.

If time allows, hit the trails for a more in-depth view of the park, including its many notable waterfalls. Located near Sugarlands Visitor Center, the popular Laurel Falls Trail is about 2.5 miles round trip with a moderate incline, leading to a picturesque 80-foot cascade. There aren't any hotels or restaurants located within the park (save for a few snack items found at the visitor centers), but a plethora of shops, dining and accommodations options can be found in the resort town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee , located near the northern park entrance. The Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is top-rated by travelers for its good value, ambiance and amenities.

[See more of Great Smoky Mountains National Park:  Things to Do  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Asheville city downtown during sunset North Carolina Aerial view

Hop in the car and cruise north about 200 miles to this vibrant town in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a romantic North Carolina getaway or family trip. You'll enjoy access to outdoor recreation, farm-to-table cuisine and the iconic Biltmore Estate : an 8,000-acre property with a chateau museum, restaurant and winery. The historic landmark is top-rated by travelers for its architecture and gardens, especially during the holidays, but some guests warn that admission is a pricey affair. Immerse yourself with an overnight stay at one of the on-site hotels , where you can get the royal treatment with special activities like wine tastings and a falconry experience.

In downtown Asheville , follow the Asheville Urban Trail to work your way through some of the city's other notable spots, from public artwork and indie bookstores to historic buildings and markers, with a plethora of restaurants, shops and parks to explore along the nearly 2-mile route. Travelers can also get out into nature on one of the area's top hikes . Make sure to stop at a brewery to sample the local suds, too, as the city is known as the beer capital of the Southeast and has more than 100 craft beers to offer.

[See more of Asheville:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

The framing of this shot was really fun - the bridge disappears across the river and into downtown Columbia SC and is seen from a boardwalk along the bank of the Congaree River.

This midsize college town is chock-full of trails, events, attractions, restaurants and history to discover – including plenty of free things to do – for a fun weekend trip in South Carolina's state capital. You'll find this city a 215-mile drive from Atlanta. Start with a stroll around the recently revitalized downtown district: Attractions range from the Columbia Museum of Art, known for its thematically organized galleries, to the Soda City Market, a weekly roundup of regional eateries and artisans adored by both travelers and residents alike for its charming atmosphere and variety of vendors. Keep your eyes peeled for public artwork tucked into otherwise nondescript nooks and crannies, including the zany "Tunnelvision" mural by Columbia-born artist Blue Sky.

Next, head to the Congaree riverfront; you can float or paddle the muddy waters, or simply watch for birds and enjoy the lush scenery from the shore. Along the Saluda River sits the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, which houses a nature trail lined with Civil War-era landmarks in addition to more than 2,000 animals. End your day at Terra restaurant, a farm-to-table eatery where diners can enjoy modern dishes and traditional Southern flavors crafted by a James Beard Award-winning chef – such as a pimento cheeseburger pizza.

[Read: The Top Things to Do in Columbia, South Carolina .]

Tybee Island Lighthouse on the Atlantic Ocean in Georgia at sunset - horizontal

Located just off the coast of Savannah, Georgia , near the South Carolina state border, Tybee Island is heralded for its beautiful beaches and water sports like kayaking and fishing. It sits about 265 miles from Atlanta. The laid-back island is also known for its collection of seaside eateries: Stop by the North Beach Bar & Grill at the base of the Tybee Island Lighthouse or feast at the Crab Shack. You can refuel at the latter with the Snow Country Boil platter, the outpost's unique twist on the traditional Southern seafood dish piled high with shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob and snow crab legs. Although this popular dining spot and former fishing camp overlooking Chimney Creek can feel a bit touristy, travelers say it's at least worth a stop to check out the on-site alligator lagoon.

The top-rated Tybee Island Inn is described as charming and serene by guests who come back again and again for the bed-and-breakfast 's convenient location near the beach.

Sunrise- Hilton Head Island-South Carolina

Located around 280 miles from Atlanta, this world-class coastal destination is worth the drive for its golf courses , pristine beaches and waterfront dining , most of which can be enjoyed year-round thanks to its warm climate. While on Hilton Head , indulging in Lowcountry cuisine is a must; enjoy seafood boils, fried okra and grits with views over the water at restaurants like the Skull Creek Boathouse. To learn even more about the Lowcountry region's heritage, head to the Coastal Discovery Museum , which is free to enter and lauded by patrons as a hidden gem.

The island is home to two dozen gorgeous championship golf courses and regularly hosts PGA tour events that attract spectators from around the world. The swanky Sea Pines Resort showcases Southern hospitality at its finest, and its Harbour Town location provides plenty of entertainment of its own.

[See more of Hilton Head:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

St. Simons Island, GA Gould's Inlet ocean waves

This cluster of barrier islands on Georgia's Atlantic coast – known as the Golden Isles for its cream-colored sand – provides paradise for those seeking to escape the heat and hustle of the city for a few days. The area is popular for its iconic marshland scenery, laid-back lifestyle and acclaimed golf courses, but each of the islands has distinct offerings. Start with a stop by the historic mainland city of Brunswick – about 305 miles from Atlanta – to poke around its Colonial squares and landmarks before heading to the coast.

The largest of the Golden Isles, St. Simons Island, is home to Pier Village, a quaint district with shops, restaurants and an iconic lighthouse, where visitors say the panoramic views from the top are well worth the climb. Heading north, the exclusive resort community of Sea Island boasts a private beach club, championship golf courses, horseback riding, and a variety of dining and lodging options, including the internationally acclaimed Cloister at Sea Island hotel.

For ultimate privacy and serenity, hop on a ferry at the Hampton River Marina on St. Simons Island for access to the northernmost outpost: Little St. Simons Island. Here you can partake in a naturalist-guided tour of its 11,000 acres of undeveloped beaches, maritime forests and wetlands teeming with wildlife, including 300-plus species of birds. Or, book a cottage at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island. This all-inclusive resort full of Southern charm accommodates just 32 people per night – ideal for a romantic weekend getaway or a small family reunion.

Tree and waves in the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise at Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Guests must pay a parking fee to gain access to Jekyll Island, the southernmost island of the Golden Isle chain. Once covered with sprawling Civil War-era plantations, the island is now a haven for nature lovers with trails for hiking, biking and bird-watching. Its pristine beaches are known for their extraordinary shelling. Travelers say the remote Driftwood Beach, located on the north end of the island, is a must-visit attraction for iconic photos of the sandy strip's twisted log formations and stunning sunsets.

Jekyll Island is also home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation and research facility. Sea turtles are the unofficial mascot of the area, and visitors will find turtle-themed events and activities planned throughout the year, including the Turtle Crawl races and Turtleween festivities. Half a mile from the turtle center sits the Jekyll Island Club Resort , a historic enclave on the banks of the East River with a variety of lodging options, applauded by guests for its beautiful grounds and Southern charm.

Summer scene in Myrtle Beach SC USA

Drive directly east of Atlanta and you'll reach Myrtle Beach in about 360 miles. This beach resort is great for families with kids, as an array of entertaining attractions will keep them busy. Check out the oceanfront Family Kingdom Amusement Park , Myrtle Waves Water Park, mini-golf courses and Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach , where visitors of all ages find delight in unique exhibits like a shark tunnel, penguin pool and stingray touch tank.

The beach itself is 60 miles long and lined with hotels and high-rise apartment buildings for easy access to sand and surf for sunbathing, water sports and sunrise (or sunset) strolls. Its crown jewel is the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, a scenic promenade complete with a 200-foot Ferris wheel: The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, featuring a cutting-edge design and enclosed gondolas for up to six people, was the first of its kind in the country. If sand traps rather than sandcastles are more your style, Myrtle Beach also boasts more than 80 golf courses , many of which are PGA-rated and celebrity-designed.

[See more of Myrtle Beach:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

A short flight:

Nashville, Tennessee downtown skyline at twilight

Nashville is conveniently only about an hourlong flight away. Traditionally known as the "Country Music Capital of the World," this glitzy Southern city has become a popular destination. There's so much more to see than the Grand Ole Opry (although this renowned landmark is still not to be missed). Guests of the Fairlane Hotel enjoy a central location from which to explore the expansive city.

The best way to see as much as possible during a quick weekend trip to Nashville is to purchase tickets for the Old Town Trolley: a hop-on, hop-off tour that shuttles travelers to more than a dozen popular attractions around the city. Stops include the Ryman Auditorium , a famous concert venue and original home of the Opry, and the Parthenon in Centennial Park, a full-size replica of the Greek original that houses a collection of artwork. After the trolley tour, you can quench your thirst at Nelson's Green Brier Distillery , a historic watering hole whose interesting tour and tasty whisky samples visitors rave about.

[See more of Nashville:  Things to Do  | Tours |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Cruise ship view of the Mallery Square pier at Key West, Florida

Atlantans can board a less than two-hour flight for a tropical weekend getaway to Key West , known as the southernmost city in the continental U.S. for its location about 90 miles north of Cuba. The town boasts crystal-clear sea and picturesque beaches as well as various annual festivals and events. The wild Fantasy Fest around Halloween is one draw to Key West; there's also the Hemingway Days Festival, a celebration of the famous author whose historic home is now a local museum. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is one of the city's top attractions for its witty and informative tour guides.

Watching the sunset is another popular pastime in Key West: The city's Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park , a former Civil War fortress, is one of the best viewing spots around. Travelers also recommend heading to Mallory Square for its nightly sunset celebration featuring street performers, food trucks and ocean views. Once the sun goes down, Duval Street comes alive with a mile of lively open-air bars and restaurants where visitors can sip rum cocktails and dance until the sun comes up again. Recover in the shade of a palm tree on Smathers Beach , a serene swath of sand just steps away from the hip Margaritaville Beach House Key West.

[See more of Key West:  Things to Do  |  Tours  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

You might also be interested in:

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Tags: Travel , Vacation Ideas , Georgia Vacations , Southeast Vacations

World's Best Places To Visit

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  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Planner at Heart

18 Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in The US Within 12 Hours For Most Americans

lehigh valley

In the past two years, the American Road Trip came roaring back. If you’ve caught the road trip bug and can stay places longer and work remotely, there are a lot of fantastic vacation spots across America to explore.

We’ve gathered places to visit in the U.S. within one day’s drive for more than a majority of people. I’ve confirmed through correspondence with these cities that 50% or more of the U.S. population can drive to these destinations in 12 hours or less.

Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in the US

West Coasters may be a little bummed to read this list. Still, as most of the American population is gathered on the East Coast and Midwestern cities, destinations in those regions dominate this list of vacation spots and places to visit in the US.

So whether you’re looking for new vacation spots in your area or to go on a longer road trip, I hope this list of places to visit in the U.S. gives you a new idea!

1. Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Set in the Pennsylvania countryside, Lehigh Valley , is an affordable and family-friendly destination is within a day’s drive of 73% of the US population.

Only 90-minutes away from the nation’s largest city, New York City, 80 miles north of Philadelphia, and less than a 6-hour drive from most of the Northeast, Indianapolis, and Charlotte, it’s worth taking a look at for your next vacation.

The Lehigh Valley area consists of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and other charming small towns with tons to see and explore.

Opening in mid-May, Dorney Park and its waterpark and Planet Snoopy offer over 100 rides for young ones. In addition, the Crayola Experience in Easton has dozens of hands-on, creative activities, including making and naming your own Crayola crayon to take home.

You can hike, bike, or run on their extensive trail network, including the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the bucket-list Appalachian Trail.

Or enjoy mother nature’s gifts at one of their 30 wineries. Lehigh Valley is considered an American Viticultural Area, a federally designated wine-grape-growing region like Napa Valley, just a lot closer to home.

If you love Williamsburg’s historical experience and centuries-old buildings, this region even more!  These landmarks are original 18th-century buildings from Moravian settlers who moved to Pennsylvania from the Eastern Czech Republic. Book lovers will want to step foot into the Moravian Book shop, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world, dating back to 1745.

“The Steelstacks, located in Bethlehem, is one of the best places to spend an evening in the Lehigh Valley and one of the best  things to do in Pennsylvania “, said Melanie from Partners in Fire.

“An old steel mill turned events center, the facility hosts festivals, concerts, outdoor movies, and more all summer. The Steelstacks complex also includes the Artquest Performing Arts Center, food vendors, and a full bar, making it an ideal place to eat, drink, and be merry on those long summer nights.”

With sticker shock gas prices, it’s a bonus that Lehigh Valley is a one-tank trip for those in the Northeast. Further cementing itself as a budget-friendly option, the average daily accommodations rate is $104 a night, which is highly affordable compared to other Northeastern cities.

2. Richmond, Virginia

18 Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in The US Within 12 Hours For Most Americans

While you might have thought about ( or already visited Washington, DC,) have you considered going to Richmond, Virginia? RVA, as locals call it, is Virginia’s State Capitol, 100 miles south of Washington DC and filled with just as much historical significance as one of America’s oldest cities. Within a 500-mile radius from half of the U.S. population, there’s a little bit of everything in this centrally located destination.

Adventures might be interested in the Class II and IV rapids in Richmond, one of the only cities to have rapids of this size in an urban setting.  Or for thrills on land, Kings Dominion amusement park has over 60 rides and a brand new roller coaster, Tumbili, debuting in 2022.

Museum-lovers have a lot to choose from in RVA! The free Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has 50,000 works from 6,000 years, is open every day of the year, and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture is reopening on May 14, 2022, after completing a $30 million renovation.

In addition, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia tells the stories of African American history in Virginia. The Poe Museum, with the most extensive collection of Poe artifacts, is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2022 with a year-long schedule of special events.

If you are in town for a short time and want to combine many experiences into one, you can travel around town to see the Mending Walls public mural art project on a self-guided journey or bicycle tour. Or explore the city via The Richmond Beer Trail, sampling ciders, wines, and meaderies from almost 40 local breweries.

3. Fayetteville, West Virginia

Fayetteville has been named “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America” by Budget Travel Magazine and “Best River Town” and is now a neighbor to the country’s newest national park – the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

Despite being an 8-hour drive from 60% of the U.S. population, the West Virginia way of life is crowd-free. No town, not even Fayetteville, has more than 50,000 people. So if you’re looking to scratch that National Park itch but have no interest in exploring nature along with record-level park crowds, consider all that The Mountain State offers up to vacationers.

New River Gorge National Park & Preserve is 70,000 acres of public land full of rich history and prime for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. The park also encompasses the New River, one of the oldest rivers on the continent, and the world’s third-longest single-span arch bridge spanning 3,030 feet above the Gorge.

If you prefer the all-inclusive type of resort, one of the top six adventure resorts in the country, Adventures on the Gorge, is also found here.  It offers 60 different activities across its 250 acres, a variety of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and amenities like its swimming pool with a stunning overlook of the New River Gorge.

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

While you might only know Pittsburgh for one of its sports teams or Three Rivers Stadium, ‘The Purg’ is one of those under-the-radar vacation spots despite being a driveable destination for 57% of Americans.

Its Cultural District, located in the heart of Downtown, is home to nine theatres that showcase a world-renowned symphony orchestra, opera, dance, and award-winning plays. Or explore the Andy Warhol Museum, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, or The Clemente Museum.

This Fall, the Moonshot Museum opens at the headquarters of space robotics company Astrobotic Technology providing visitors with an up-close look at real lunar landers and rovers being built and readied to fly to the Moon.

Despite being a medium-sized city, there’s a lot of nature to take in.  Pittsburgh is home to 165 parks and places to hike, bike, or walk along the city’s trails. Or roll out a blanket and enjoy a leisurely meal at Three Rivers Parks, where the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers meet.

 5. Columbus, Ohio

If you’re looking for an urban destination,  Columbus, Ohio, is now America’s 14th largest city, with more residents than San Francisco, and offers months’ worth of activities. 65% of the U.S. Population ( plus Toronto, Quebec, and Montreal residents) can road trip to Ohio’s largest city in less than 12 hours.

Family-friendly attractions include one of the nation’s best zoos , fun-filled children’s museums, and Franklin Park Conservatory, home to the nation’s top children’s garden. In addition, Columbus has an incredible park system with outstanding hiking and green spaces, including 175 acres of green space in the heart of the city, hundreds of miles of bike/hike and running trails, and one of the world’s only Audubon Centers in the middle of downtown.

Do you have a fashionista in your life but can’t make it to New York City? Due to significant fashion brands headquartered in town, Columbus is a surprising fashion mecca. It’s the third-largest employer of fashion designers, fueling incredible shopping with lower price tags than in expensive cities.

The city’s art scene is unparalleled for a city its size. You’ll find dozens of galleries, major art museums, several massive live performance venues,  groundbreaking offerings such as Shadowbox Live and the Wexner Center for Contemporary Art, and an exciting poetry scene.

As a city where diversity is celebrated and new Americans are warmly welcomed, foodies will love the city’s culinary offerings. Columbus is home to multiple James Beard Award nominees, a recent Top Chef Contender, and the owner of what the New York Times called the best new restaurant in America.

With the second-largest Somali population in the U.S. and one of the country’s most diverse populations overall, in Columbus, visitors can enjoy Tibetan momos, Bangladeshi cuisine, a Pakistani bakery, and one of the best banh mi sandwiches in North America. In addition, dozens of authentic food trucks serve cuisines from Mexico, Central, and South America, and draw long lines.

6. Cincinnati, Ohio

One hundred miles southwest of Columbus is another one of Ohio’s fantastic vacation spots. Cincinnati is called the Gateway to the Midwest due to its central location,  an 11-hour drive for half of all Americans. One of the country’s most affordable places to live, people can have a great vacation in Cincinnati with top attractions and fantastic dining without New York City or San Francisco prices.

The town has a vibrant arts and culture scene as one of only 13 cities in the country with its own ballet, opera, fine art, symphony, theater companies, and museums. In addition, families will love the new Art Climb at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the award-winning Cincinnati Zoo, and the walkable downtown area that’s easy to explore.

Are you looking for the best places to visit for foodies? Well, Cincinnati is another one of the great culinary vacation sports. With James Beard-nominated chefs, the Findlay Market chock full of international cuisine, Oakely Food Hall, and Edward Lee’s new restaurant, you’ll eat amazingly well during your trip to Cincinnati.

Sarah Jessica Parker got her start in The Arts in the city and continues to praise it. The Sex and the City star once said that “Cincinnati, and I really mean this, is a great city.”

7. Butler County, Ohio

If you’re looking for an Ohio destination outside of a city, take a look at Butler County between Cincinnati and Dayton, within one day’s drive for 60% of the U.S. population. Foodies will enjoy the Donut Trail of 13 mom & pop donut shops or Jungle Jim’s International Market, with over 180,000 global items in a 6.5-acre space.

Spend your days exploring Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum with 80 modern sculptures across 300 acres, EnterTrainment Junction, the world’s largest indoor train display, or The Salty Dog Museum’s classic cars and vintage firetrucks.

8. Branson, Missouri

18 Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in The US Within 12 Hours For Most Americans

This destination welcomes approximately 9 million visitors annually, partly due to its plethora of attractions and activities and its location in middle America. Known as ‘The Orlando of the Midwest,’ you’ll see it regularly featured on best places to visit in the US lists.

Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains and within a 12-hour drive for about 50% of the U.S. population.

With dozens of live performances, Silver Dollar City, one of the best theme parks globally, and a historic downtown district, Branson’s sheer number of family-fun activities in Branson draws people year after year. Their long list of live entertainment includes rock, country, tribute bands to magicians, illusionists, variety, and comedy shows.

Fishing enthusiasts know that Bass Pro Shops was founded in the region and built Branson’s Big Cedar Resort, a beloved and iconic outdoor upscale resort that is a destination in itself. Table Rock Lake, which draws visitors from near and far, thanks to its world-class fishing and water and boating family fun options like canoeing, kayaking, and water skiing.

Branson also has ten golf courses, including five of Missouri’s top 10  and some rated among the best in the United States. Additionally, five golf courses were built in the past several years, catapulting it to the top echelon of vacation spots for golfers in America. Top of The Rock, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is a unique course that’s a must-do for players.

9. St. Louis, Missouri

Equally located from Dallas, Denver, and Washington DC, St. Louis is within 12 hours of over half the US population. St. Louis seemingly has it all and is one of the best places in the U.S. to experience Midwest Americana, a vibrant downtown, award-winning new restaurants, microbreweries, and a rich array of cultural venues all in one destination.

Cross another national park off your list in St. Louis. Home to the iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis boasts an abundance of free, fun, and family-friendly opportunities to get to know the history of this part of the country. Explore the Gateway Arch National Park and its surrounding grounds, and visit the recently renovated Museum at the Gateway Arch, a free hands-on experience.

Reserve a day in your itinerary for Forest Park, home to many free attractions.  Stop by the St. Louis Zoo, Laumeier Sculpture Park, one of the first and largest sculpture parks, or escape the summer heat in the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, or the Saint Louis Science Center.

Foodies will enjoy City Foundry, an iconic and historically significant foundry building transformed into St. Louis’ first authentic food hall. Or explore Delmar Loop, a buzzing entertainment and dining hub with an eclectic mix of noodle bars, BBQ restaurants, Korean and Mexican eateries, cocktail lounges, and pubs.

10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

18 Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in The US Within 12 Hours For Most Americans

No wonder Myrtle Beach has long been a go-to destination for generations of Americans. More than half of the country can drive to its 60 miles of beaches and other world-renowned attractions.

Another one of those family vacation spots that is also a golfing mecca, Myrtle Beach , has more than 90 golf courses and 50 mini-golf courses so that you can play a round no matter your age and skill level.

“One of my favorite family golf vacations was a road trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with my dad. We played some unique courses, and the weather in Myrtle Beach was incredible,” said Jeff Fang, a top player and Founder of  Financial Pupil .

Broadway At the Beach is South Carolina’s most visited attraction, packed with entertainment, shopping, restaurants, and attractions. Don’t pass up its oversized gondola Ferris wheel 200 feet tall and WonderWorks filled with 100 hands-on exhibits perfect for those beach-break days.

Surfside Beach, located on the southern end of the Myrtle Beach area, was named the first “Autism-friendly travel destination” in 2016. By teaming up with locally-based Champion Autism Network (CAN) and dozens of community partners, it’s also a welcoming, inclusive, and sensory-friendly beach experience for all families.

There are also some unexpected things to do, like visiting Brookgreen Gardens. Founded in 1931, it’s a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places featuring an American sculpture collection and a Lowcountry Zoo.

11. The Carolina Core, North Carolina

This region, consisting of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, & High Point, is at the center of 4 state highways. Explore each city’s distinct personalities and a long list of outdoor activities. Families can enjoy Wet-n-Wild Water Park , obstacle course & ziplining at Safari Nation, The North Carolina Zoo, All a Flutter Butterfly Farm, and Piedmont Environmental Center.

It’s not hard to see why it’s ranked one of the best places in the state for outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and horseback riding options in the region’s expansive state parks, local public parks, and outdoor recreation facilities.

12. Fayetteville, North Carolina

Located halfway between New York City and Miami, Florida, on Interstate 95, Fayetteville, North Carolina, is within one day’s drive for 75%  of the United States population. Sports fans flock to the area for annual Spartan races and to enjoy the trails, lakes, tennis, and golf courses.

In addition, you can sample the world’s food without a passport on their International Cuisine Trail, with Hungarian, West African, Turkish, Greek, and Italian Cuisine all within just a few blocks downtown.

13. Hendersonville, North Carolina

About half an hour from Asheville, the second-largest city in the North Carolina mountains has a lot to offer with a lower price tag. Brewery lovers will want to make the trip to visit ‘the Taj Mahal of craft breweries,’ Sierra Nevada Brewery, the largest craft cidery in the U.S., Bold Rock Hard Cider, and other tasting rooms on The Cheers Trail.

Explore the mountains and waterfalls in DuPont State Forest, view four states from Jump Off Rock, and end your day on their award-winning Main Street with extra-wide sidewalks, brick planters, park benches, public art, alfresco dining, galleries, shops, boutiques, and the Appalachian Pinball Museum

14. The Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee

18 Driveable Vacation Spots and Places To Visit in The US Within 12 Hours For Most Americans

The Smoky Mountains National Park and its gateway cities are vacation spots so beloved that most visitors return three times a year! Many believe it’s one of the best places to visit in the US. Its central location draws road-trippers; more than 92% of people travel to this destination by driving, foregoing expensive plane tickets.

Home to the most visited National Park in America, The Great Smoky Mountains, these vacation spots welcome 15 million guests a year to their natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and an almost endless list of fun, family-friendly attractions.

There’s also a wide range of accommodations that average $150 a night in peak season. Depending on your budget, you can book one of 14,500 overnight accommodations from rental homes, hotels, timeshare condos , and even RV campgrounds like the brand-new Margaritaville RV Resort and Lodge.

Pigeon Forge is home to the award-winning Dollywood Amusement park, which is visited more than Disneyland, not to mention a lot more affordable.  Kids and adults of all ages will love to splash year-round at Wilderness at the Smokies indoor/outdoor waterpark resort and the new 50-acre Soaky Mountain Waterpark.

15. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is not called the Scenic City for nothing. It is home to breathtaking nature with endless outdoor recreation options. From adventurous climbs at Sunset Park to horseback riding at Enterprise South Nature Park or exploring the city on a bicycle, views of the Southeast Tennessee mountains and the Tennessee river are everywhere.

Chattanooga is also the only American city with 1 gigabyte per second of Wi-Fi available to every address, so extending your vacation into a workcation is a breeze.

16. Johnson City, Tennessee

History buffs will enjoy a family-friendly and budget-friendly road trip to Johnson City. Tour significant American Revolutionary War, Civil War, and music history sites. Kids will love exploring the Gray Fossil Site, dating back 5 million years.

Visitors can hike to panoramic mountain views from Buffalo Mountain Park, walk the historic Tweetsie Trail, rent a bike, and head to Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park. Additionally, Johnson City’s historic downtown district includes local restaurants, breweries, retail shops, parks, and public art and, in the summer, features live music and large-scale festivals.

17. Indianapolis, Indiana

Another one of America’s central vacation spots, Indianapolis is a regular on ‘the most affordable U.S. destination lists. All of the town’s monuments and memorials are free, and so is its long list of parks, such as 100 Acres: Art and Nature Park at Newfields or the downtown canal walk within White River State Park. Illustrating its historical significance as the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis is second only to Washington D.C. for a total number of monuments and memorials.

While you may know this destination as the home of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indy 500, it’s also home to the world’s largest children’s museum and its new oversized Dino Exhibit.

Visitors can choose from a wide range of accommodations, including unique stays at Bottleworks Hotel, located inside the world’s former largest Coca-Cola Bottling Factory.  Tiny Urban Escapes, luxury hotel suites made out of shipping containers, is another fun option for those looking to try something besides hotels.

18. Louisville, Kentucky

You might only know this destination as the home of the iconic Kentucky Derby or the birthplace of Bourbon, but it has so much more for vacationers. For example,  it’s also one of the best vacation spots in the U.S. for budget travelers.

Home to a diverse array of museums, restaurants, and experiences, Louisville offers bucket-list-worthy experiences like the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville’s urban Bourbon Trail, and the Mega Cavern, the world’s only fully underground zip line tour.

Spend a day exploring the largest municipal urban forest in the country, Jefferson Memorial Forest. This 6,500-acre serene park features 35 miles of hiking trails, nature education programs, horse trails, fishing, and outdoor recreation activities such as camping, canoeing, orienteering, and climbing a 52-foot Alpine Tower.

Leave room in your itinerary to explore and learn about the Ohio River, including the National Landmark Falls of The Ohio.  Located on the Indiana state line, you can see an entire fossil bed on the bluff overlooking the Ohio River.

Or, take a ride on the oldest operating Mississippi-style steamboat, the 100-year-old, The Belle of Louisville. Before dinner, take your chance to walk across the Ohio River via a converted railroad pedestrian bridge.

End your day by enjoying Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich in the Brown Hotel restaurant , where it was first invented in the 1920s. Wash it down with an Old Fashioned or Mint Julep, too!

More Articles From Planner at Heart

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Monica Fish helps her fellow adventurers live a financially savvy life so they can travel and explore our beautiful world no matter their budget. She writes about smart timeshare ownership, vacation tips and tricks, NYC Metro Area trips and activities, and frugal, yet rich, living at PlannerAtHeart.com.

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Watch CBS News

U.S. issues travel warning for Israel with Iran attack believed to be imminent and fear Gaza war could spread

By Debora Patta , Tucker Reals

Updated on: April 13, 2024 / 5:25 PM EDT / CBS News

Update: Iran launched drone attacks against Israel on Saturday. Read CBS News'  latest coverage here .

Tel Aviv  — Israel is bracing for a worst-case scenario that U.S. officials believe could materialize within just hours — the possibility of a direct attack on Israeli soil by Iran in retaliation for a strike almost two weeks ago that killed seven Iranian military officers. Iran has vowed to take revenge for Israel killing its commanders, who were hit by an April 1 strike on the Iranian embassy in Syria's capital.

Two U.S. officials told CBS News that a major Iranian attack against Israel was expected as soon as Friday, possibly to include more than 100 drones and dozens of missiles aimed at military targets inside the country. Sources have told CBS News the retaliation could include attacks carried out both by Iranian forces, and proxy groups around the region that it has been funneling additional arms to for weeks.  

The officials said it would be challenging for the Israelis to defend against an attack of that magnitude, and while they held out the possibility that the Iranians could opt for a smaller-scale attack to avoid a dramatic escalation, their retaliation was believed to be imminent. 

Asked Friday how imminent he believes an attack is, President Biden responded, "I don't want to get into secure information, but my expectation is sooner than later." The president urged Iran not to move forward, saying his message to Tehran was: "Don't."

Tehran has not indicated publicly how or when it will return fire, so it's unclear how far Iran's leaders will go. If they decide to carry out a direct attack on Israel, there's fear it could blow Israel's ongoing war against Iranian ally Hamas up into a much wider regional conflict.

With the Iranian retaliation expected at any time, the U.S. State Department on Thursday warned Americans in Israel not to travel outside major cities, which are better protected from incoming rocket fire by the country's Iron Dome missile defense system. The latest guidance noted that travel by U.S. government employees in Israel could be further restricted with little notice as things develop in the tinderbox region.

"Whoever harms us, we will harm them," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday as he visited troops at an Israel Defense Forces airbase. "We are prepared … both defensively and offensively."

Iran-Burning Flags Of The U.S. And Israel

On Saturday, all U.S. embassies in the Middle East were put on high alert and required to hold emergency action committee meetings. Diplomats in Lebanon and Israel were specifically told not to travel to certain areas within those countries.

Sima Shine, a security expert and former official with Israel's national intelligence agency Mossad, told CBS News it was a dangerous moment for the region, and the "most worried" she has been. She said anxiety over an all-out war was likely just as high "on both sides, in Israel and in Iran."

If Iran does choose to strike Israel directly, it could involve a complex missile and drone attack similar to the one Iranian forces launched against a Saudi oil facility in 2019 .

"They will try to do it on the military or some military asset," Shine predicted. "But the question will be the damage. If there would be many injured people, killed or injured … I think it has the potential for a huge escalation."

Iran- International Jerusalem Day Rally In Tehran

Shine stressed, however, that she still believes neither side actually wants a regional conflict.

U.S. "really trying to avoid war"

The U.S. sent a senior general to Israel this week to coordinate with the close American ally on any response it might make to an Iranian attack. Speaking Friday on "CBS Mornings," America's top military officer said, "we're really trying to avoid war."

"This is part of the dialogue that I have with my counterparts within the region, to include the Israeli chief of defense, who I talked to yesterday," said Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., adding that the U.S. military was "doing things not only to prevent a war, but at the same time, one of my primary things is to make sure all the forces in the region are protected."

"My role, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is to plan and prepare," Brown said. "That's one thing we do very well."

Brown's Israeli counterpart, Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, "completed a comprehensive situational assessment on the readiness of the IDF for all scenarios," Israel's military said Friday. 

"The IDF is very strongly prepared, both offensively and defensively, against any threat," Halevi was quoted as saying in the statement. "The IDF continues to monitor closely what is happening in Iran and different arenas, constantly preparing to deal with existing and potential threats in coordination with the United States Armed Forces." 

The IDF said the visiting U.S. general, Central Command chief Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, was taking part in the IDF's situational assessment.

The dilemma for Iran, said Israeli expert Shine, is to figure out how to deliver its promised response to Israel's attack in Syria, but in a way that does not lead to further escalation. Likewise, Shine said Israel could choose to show restraint when it responds to whatever Iran eventually does.

If either side gets the balance wrong, the consequences for the region, and even the world, could be dire.

Weijia Jiang, David Martin, Margaret Brennan and Olivia Gazis contributed reporting.

  • Middle East
  • Benjamin Neta​nyahu

Debora Patta is a CBS News foreign correspondent based in Johannesburg. Since joining CBS News in 2013, she has reported on major stories across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Edward R. Murrow and Scripps Howard awards are among the many accolades Patta has received for her work.

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The 13 summer trips Americans are searching for the most, according to Google Flights

  • Google Flights revealed the top searched destinations on its platform for summer 2024.
  • The data is based on the most searched travel destinations from US users between June and August.
  • Neither New York nor Paris took the top spot.

Insider Today

If you're looking to get away this summer, you may find inspiration from Google Flights' list of the top searched destinations for the summer of 2024.

The list is based on US users' most searched destinations on Google Flights for travel between June 1 and August 31.

The list remained largely consistent from 2023, but Chicago and San Francisco didn't make the top 20 this year. The insights also revealed that searches about travel itineraries and "solo travel" reached an all-time high in January 2024.

Here are the top 13 destinations.

13. Barcelona

places to visit 3 hrs from me

There's a long list of tourist attractions in Barcelona including renowned museums featuring Picasso and Joan Miró, exploring the Gothic Quarter's architecture. Barcelona is also well known for its iconic nightlife.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Miami is known for its clear beaches and vibrant culture. It's also rated second in US News and World Report's "10 Best Party Cities " in the US.

The travel destination is also a popular site for families, and made the third spot in Google searches for top places to do things with kids, according to Google trend insights from for January 14 to March 14.

11. Los Angeles

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Located in Southern California, LA is known for its beaches, Hollywood glamour, Mediterranean climate, and wellness culture. The city has a number of tourist sites, including the iconic Hollywood sign, Universal Studios, and the Getty Center.

If you plan to visit LA, make sure you factor in the cost of transportation — and the time you may spend in traffic .

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Athens is rich in history and has a number of tourist attractions. BI has previously suggested visiting the Athens National Garden National Garden, the Acropolis, Panathenaic Stadium, Areopagus Hill, and Mount Lycabettus.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Seattle , often referred to as the Emerald City, is home to major companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Tableau. Surrounded by water, mountains, and forest, it's also known for classic attractions like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and its grunge music scene.

8. Las Vegas

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Las Vegas is known for its extravagant gambling scene and luxurious hotels . It was also ranked the number one city to party as of August 2023, according to US News and World Report.

It's not just a hot spot for bachelor parties though — according to Google travel insights from January 14 to March 14, it was the number one location people searched in the US for places to go as a couple.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Orlando was the first ranked location for searches that led with the prompt "things to do" with kids, according to Google travel insights from January 14 to March 14. The Florida destination is filled with family-friendly tourist attractions , like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Cancún is a popular vacation destination known for its Caribbean waters, luxurious all-inclusive resorts , and vibrant nightlife. That, and it's often budget-friendly for the experience you're getting.

Cancún moved down from second to sixth place in Google Flights' 2024 destination list. The popular vacation spot was also listed in the top five locations for couples and families searching to get away, according to Google search insights from January 14 to March 14.

5. New York

places to visit 3 hrs from me

New York City, also known as the Big Apple or the city that never sleeps, has a seemingly endless list of tourist attractions. It has iconic landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty; world-renowned museums; a vibrant theatre scene; eclectic nightlife; and some of the world's best restaurants.

New York has something for everyone — but it's expensive. Prepare to spend more on everyday items if you visit New York City.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Rome is filled with rich history and architecture that makes it an easy site for tourists to occupy themselves. Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Colosseum are a few of the most popular spots.

If you do visit Rome, make sure you avoid common tourist mistakes and tip the servers.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Tokyo rose from eighth place to third in the last year, according to Google Flights.

The city in Japan has a convenient public transportation system and is relatively affordable. It also includes culturally rich sites like Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Tower, and Sensō-ji Temple .

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Paris is known for its authentic culture, charming architecture, and buttery croissants.

If you visit Paris, you'll want to visit some of the famous tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles. That, and you may want to brush up on your French too.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

London maintained its spot as the number one searched tourist destination for summer travel. While living in London can be expensive and cloudy, the city is lively and vibrant during the summer.

Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the thriving theatre scene are just a few of the activities this city has to offer.

places to visit 3 hrs from me

  • Main content

Cafe Daisy Aloha Tower

Photo of Cafe Daisy Aloha Tower - Honolulu, HI, US. bread and pastries

Location & Hours

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3 Aloha Tower Dr

Honolulu, HI 96813

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Photo of Nadine C.

Snacks at Aloha Tower Marketplace in Honolulu, Hawaii... Using my Yelp app, I searched "Cute Food Places"... and Cafe Daisy popped up! I had been to their first location in Downtown Honolulu (at the Residences at Bishop Place), so I knew that they have quality products! For this third location, I had to figure out where to park. If you decide to park at the Aloha Tower parking lot, they will validate. I got a Matcha Cookie (thick with a satisfying chew) and a matching Sakura Matcha drink - because it's a seasonal flavor and limited in quantity. Get your Sakura Matcha drink now before it's gone! I liked it because the cherry blossom essence balanced out the slight bitterness of the matcha! Service is friendly and efficient! Cony and Brown enjoyed the Instagram opportunities, and were happy that they were recognized from visiting the first location of Cafe Daisy!

places to visit 3 hrs from me

See all photos from Nadine C. for Cafe Daisy Aloha Tower

Photo of japi b.

I think this would be my fave daisy location. The feeling of this shop is just happy. From the location to the staff and their drinks and food, just awesome. The first time i was here i tried their matcha and espresso. Im no matcha expert but i find it very balance and perfect for my palette. It has that creamy grassy yet really tasty matcha flavor. The espresso has a strong and sharp finish, body was not too heavy, ashy (not in a bad way, i guess its the degree of their coffee roast) dark chocolate with hints of fruityness. I always come back here and i also had a croissant with avo and bacon with the house sauce. Sooo good! I suggest ask for recomendations when coming here since they have a lots of beverages on the menu board. They have a stamp card that works on specific group of drinks too. One of my fave shops in downtown!

places to visit 3 hrs from me

Always super friendly service and a highly professional ambiance with outstandingly delicious and high-quality foods and drinks.

Iced matcha cream mocha

Iced matcha cream mocha

PB and J smoothie

PB and J smoothie

The iced matchas are all so tasty, high quality, clean, and a delight to enjoy!! The staff are all very welcoming and friendly as well. A great place to visit during my lunch breaks at work nearby. ;)) I plan to come here every day now!!

Photo of Irene M.

Third time is the charm... Congratulations on your third location right here in Aloha Tower Marketplace!! With Hawaii Pacific University in the midst of it all this location is slowly filling up in many lovely ways. Cafe Daisy is place that's much needed as they offer more than that cup for your morning routine. Including fresh baked goods (cinnamon rolls, loaves and cookies) light bites like grilled cheese, wraps and bagels and croissants to either add just some spread or some bacon and eggs. The service here is very delightful and friendly in fact I saw on the counter some crochet coasters that one of the staff had made...super cute and creative and yes picked up a few as the vibe here is a delight no there isn't any seating inside but many provide outside by the marketplace and yes they do validate parking as the first hour is free. Come give them a visit as it's a wonderful way to start your day fresh as a daisy. Thank you!!

places to visit 3 hrs from me

See all photos from Irene M. for Cafe Daisy Aloha Tower

Photo of Brenden H.

So this was my first time trying this place, and I have only tried one item so this review is pretty limited, but I had to Yelp it because it was just such a pleasant experience, and the quality, value and flavor was fantastic. I had the turkey avo wrap, price was reasonable at 7 bucks, it had fresh spinach, seasoned scrambled egg and I think a small amount of grilled veggies like sweet peppers, some guacamole and turkey wrapped in a really good quality fresh spinach tortilla. Just nothing bad to say about it, service was fast and very friendly, store is clean and bright. I am at ATM twice per week early in the morning and am destined to become a regular, the coffee smelled great and there are lots of appealing items on the breakfast menu. This is clearly a very well run business, the attention to detail in the layout and training of the staff was evident. Wow I was really impressed!

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Places to visit about 3 hours from Knoxville

Stone Mountain

Little Five Points

Piedmont Park

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Midtown Atlanta

The Varsity

World of Coca-Cola

Georgia Aquarium

Buckhead (Atlanta)

Grand Ole Opry

Mammoth Cave National Park

Cities 3 hours from Knoxville

3 hours :   Virgie, KY

3 hours :   Hiram, GA

3 hours :   Pauline, SC

2 hr 59 min :   Sweetwater, NC

2 hr 59 min :   Fairfield, TN

2 hr 59 min :   Granite Falls, NC

2 hr 59 min :   Thompsons Station, TN

2 hr 59 min :   Ivanhoe, VA

2 hr 59 min :   Lansing, NC

2 hr 59 min :   Tallulah Falls, GA

2 hr 59 min :   Five Forks, SC

2 hr 59 min :   Pleasant Grove, TN

2 hr 59 min :   Pegram, TN

2 hr 58 min :   Franklin, TN

2 hr 58 min :   Enoree, SC

These are approximate driving times in a radius from Knoxville, Tennessee. Search for vacation spots within driving distance for a day trip or weekend getaway. There are many towns within the total area, so if you're looking for closer places, try a smaller radius like 2½ hours . If you're willing to drive farther, try 3½ hours .

Not sure where to go? Take a day trip from Knoxville , or if you have more time you can explore weekend trips from Knoxville , but make sure you also check road conditions around Knoxville . Looking for small towns or communities around Knoxville, Tennessee? Get a full list of up to 500 cities nearby Knoxville .

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RV campgrounds 3 hours from Knoxville

Clear Creek Campground

Hurricane Campground

Fox Creek Horse Campground

Main - Grayson Highlands State Park

Raccoon Holler Campground

Iron City Campground

Sunset Ridge Campground

Atlanta-Marietta RV Resort

Dobbins Lakeside Campground

Coosa River Campground Rome-Floyd County Park and Nature Center

Lock and Dam Park

Little River RV Park Campground

Dekalb County Public Lake

Poole Knobs

Diamond Caverns Resort and Golf Club

State parks 3 hours from Knoxville

Waveland State Historic Site

Boone Station State Historic Site

Paintsville Lake State Park

Hungry Mother State Park

Marion Fish Hatchery

Grayson Highlands State Park

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

Rendezvous State Forest

Croft State Park

Richard B Russell State Park Campground

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Pickett's Mill Battlefield State Historic Site

Long Hunter State Park

Bledsoe Creek State Park

Lincoln Homestead State Park

More cities around 3 hours away by plane

Here are more cities based on a flight circle radius of 3 hours. These cities are much further than the ones above since now we're looking at a 3 hour flight.

3 hr 4 min :   Panuco, Mexico

3 hr 4 min :   Ebano, Mexico

3 hr 4 min :   El Mante, Mexico

2 hr 58 min :   Santa Fe, NM

2 hr 58 min :   Chetumal, Mexico

3 hr 2 min :   Gonzalez, Mexico

3 hr 2 min :   Ojinaga, Mexico

3 hr 2 min :   Tampico, Mexico

2 hr 53 min :   Boulder, CO

2 hr 53 min :   Fort Collins, CO

3 hr 1 min :   Miramar, Mexico

2 hr 52 min :   Cheyenne, WY

2 hr 53 min :   Loveland, CO

Cities at a radius of

Travel time from Knoxville, TN

cities within 1 hour of Knoxville 1½ hours from Knoxville places within 2 hours of me in Knoxville explore 2½ hours from Knoxville 3 hr radius map from Knoxville 3½ hr drive from Knoxville places within 4 hours of me in Knoxville within 4½ hours of me in Knoxville 5 hour drive from me in Knoxville 5½ hour drive from Knoxville within 6 hours of Knoxville 7 hour drive from Knoxville driving 8 hours from Knoxville 9 hours from Knoxville

Distance from Knoxville, TN

cities within 10 miles of me in Knoxville within 20 miles of me in Knoxville 30 mile radius of Knoxville 40 mile drive from Knoxville located 50 miles from Knoxville 100 mile radius from Knoxville within 150 miles of Knoxville 200 mile road trip from Knoxville distance of 250 miles from Knoxville driving 300 miles from Knoxville 350 mile trip starting from Knoxville 400 mile drive from Knoxville drive for 450 miles from Knoxville 500 miles from Knoxville day trips from Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee is located at latitude/longitude coordinates 35° 57' 36" N  /  83° 55' 14" W


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    4 reviews and 28 photos of Cafe Daisy Aloha Tower "Third time is the charm... Congratulations on your third location right here in Aloha Tower Marketplace!! With Hawaii Pacific University in the midst of it all this location is slowly filling up in many lovely ways. Cafe Daisy is place that's much needed as they offer more than that cup for your morning routine.

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