One thing I’ve always excelled at is packing light.
I’ve been to the Arctic twice in the winter — using just a carry-on. A six-week trip spanning Moldova, Ukraine, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Portugal — also in a carry-on.
I even went on a five-month backpacking trip through Europe and Morocco, with temperatures spanning from 115° F to 40° F — yup, all in a single carry-on bag (and personal item).
But for some reason, when I would go on a weekend trip, I would always overpack. I would find my biggest reasonable-sized bag and then fill it up to the brim, and then I’d lament how heavy my bag was… as if I didn’t pack it myself.
I decided to create a weekend trip packing list for myself so that I would stop overburdening my weak-a** shoulders with far more weight than necessary, especially when I pack at the last minute
I decided I should share it with my readers, since I know a lot of people struggle with figuring out exactly what to pack for a weekend getaway.
Best Carry-on Bag for a Weekend Away
There are all sorts of carry-on bags you could bring for a weekend trip… but not all travel bags are created equal.
A duffel bag is the classic weekender bag, but the fact that it distributes weight unevenly on one shoulder is a no-go for me, personally.
Instead, I opt for a comfortable travel backpack most of the time when I am planning a weekend trip, especially if I am driving to my destination.
That way I can use it as a travel daypack as well when I am at my destination for a day trip, hike, etc.
If I am flying, I often opt for a small roller suitcase like this underseat roller bag — that way, I don’t have to worry about finding overhead space on a packed plane, and possibly having to deal with a gate-checked bag at baggage claim!
The great thing about both of these types of bags if you are flying is that they count as a ‘personal item’ as opposed to a carry-on bag.
Weekend Packing List: Clothes (Women)
Packing cubes | I like to bring packing cubes on every trip, even when I’m just packing for a weekend away or a short trip. They keep my clothing items folded while I am rifling through my bag trying to find something that, inevitably, has made its way to the very bottom. I use these Eagle Creek packing cubes.
T-Shirts | I would bring 1-2 T-shirts for a weekend trip, short or long-sleeve depending on the weather. I like to bring black and white and liven them up with a pretty printed skirt. If it’s really hot, swap out T-shirts for tank tops.
Cardigan | A cardigan is a great layer for breezy evenings or spring or fall days. I prefer long, loose ones — preferably with pockets, like this one! It’s great for layering.
Leggings | I love leggings for underneath dresses or for sleeping in. I typically bring 1-2 pairs for a weekend away. I have these ones and love the high waist and stretch!
Printed skirt | I love a pretty printed skirt to go with a T-shirt — it’s the easiest outfit to throw together and feel put together!
Printed dress | I always like a beautiful printed dress which will pair nicely with a cardigan and leggings if it gets cold. It’s versatile but comfortable and fun!
Jeans or pants | A pair of pants or a pair of jeans — either black or blue — will serve you well on virtually any kind of weekend trip. Black is dressier, blue is more casual.
Warm jacket or rain jacket, if needed | Depending on the weather at your destination, you might want to bring a warm jacket like a parka or a waterproof rain jacket if you are going on a winter vacation.
Beach bag, if needed | If you’re going on a beach vacation, you’ll want a separate beach bag or tote that you don’t mind getting sandy. This striped, nautical-themed beach bag is super cute!
Undergarments | I’d bring two bras and three pairs of underwear for a weekend trip.
Socks | Two to three pairs of socks is good for a weekend trip, less if you are doing a beach trip where you’ll be primarily in sandals.
Weekend Packing List: Hygiene & Toiletries
Hand sanitizer | It may be 2021, but there’s still a pandemic going on! I bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse (this orange-scented one from Whole Foods is less toxic-smelling than others)
Mask | I always wear a KN94 mask — they’re less often counterfeited than N95s and Korea, where the masks come from, have a less tolerant attitude towards fakes. Unfortunately with the Delta wave, the virus is more transmissible than ever before, so I have stopped wearing cloth masks.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, and case | Of course, you’ll need a toothbrush for a weekend away, but I also suggest an easy carrying case for your toothbrush. I’m trying to reduce my plastic footprint, so I love this set of 4 bamboo toothbrushes, which also comes with a bamboo carrying case + even charcoal dental floss. It’s all zero-waste and eco-friendly!
Deodorant | I was *finally* able to make the switch off of aluminum deodorants with this wonderful activated charcoal natural deodorant (which is also baking soda free!). I find I have to re-apply once a day, but I’m naturally a very sweaty and smelly individual, and I bet most normal people would be fine to go a whole day with it!
Make-up | Bring whatever make-up you normally wear day-to-day! I always pack a red lipstick (I’m obsessed with Glossier’s buildable red lipstick), mascara, a bit of concealer, and some lightweight tinted moisturizer.
Shampoo and conditioner | I hate using whatever toiletries are given to me by the hotel, plus it wastes plastic packaging to use those little bottles. I always bring my toiletries from home, but I put them into small silicone GoToobs which squeeze out whatever is inside easily and without drama (much better than those plastic ones that you have to bang like a drum to get even a drop of your shampoo out!)
Body wash | Bring some body wash and put it in one of your GoToobs
Sunscreen | Absolutely essential for a trip of any length! After getting some faint sun spots at age 30, I’m now fastidious about everyday SPF on my face. I use this bougie Supergoop! face sunscreen because it has all sorts of great natural ingredients, like red algae which protects against blue light emitted from phones and meadowfoam seed for hydration.
Contacts and contact solution, if needed | If you need it, you know.
Weekend Packing List: Electronics
Cell phone and phone charger | You’ll definitely need your phone and charger for a weekend away! I also suggest bringing a car charger if you are doing a road trip or driving to your destination
Portable battery | I always bring a portable battery with me to keep all my electronics juiced up. I use a portable battery (I have this one from Anker) — it’s especially essential you are doing a city trip with lots of walking and photo-taking. It’s also great if you are flying to your destination and need to charge on the plane as not all planes have accessible charging outlets.
Kindle | If you’ll be on a plane or have time to sit down with a book on your trip, a Kindle Paperwhite loaded up with a great book or two is a must-have! The new ones are waterproof, too, which is great if you’re lounging beachside or poolside on your trip.
iPad | An iPad also works, if you prefer, and it’s great for distracting kids who need some screen time on longer trips to save your sanity. It’s also great so you can leave your laptop behind, but still be connected if you need it.
Haircare tools | I don’t personally bring any haircare tools on my trips for the weekend. I have stick-straight hair that I rarely ever blow dry unless the weather is freezing cold out and I need to dry my hair so I don’t get sick. However I know other people don’t have that luxury, so bring whatever haircare tools you use at home if that’s essential for you.
Adapters, if overseas | If you’re doing a domestic weekend trip, you won’t need a travel adapter, but if you are doing international travel, pack a universal adapter.
Weekend Packing List: Random Travel Gear
Eye mask | I hate not being able to sleep when I travel — you never know if your hotel room has good enough curtains, or if you want to sleep on the plane. I like these contoured sleep masks that don’t press down on your eyelids. I have this one, and it’s also great for headaches!
Medicine and mini first aid kit | You’ll want to bring a small medicine kit – painkillers, stomach medicine, etc. – and some first aid items such as Bandaids and hydrocolloid blister bandages if hiking or walking a lot.
Reusable water bottle | An insulated water bottle that keeps your drinking water cool is great to have while traveling. I use this one by Klean Kanteen.
Guidebooks, if using | If you are traveling somewhere that you’ve never been before, a paperback guidebook can be a great resource to throw in your day bag.
Minimalist Packing Tips
As someone who lived out of a backpack for three years and still travels lightly, here are my best travel tips for how to pack light on your next trip.
Choose a color palette.
Pick one or two neutral colors (navy, black, brown, tan) to make up the bulk of your clothing and then add a few colors that you know look good with those.
For example, I’d bring a pair of black jeans, a tan skirt, and then I’d pick a red blouse since I know that color would pair nicely with my neutrals.
Always opt for comfortable shoes.
Unless you have a specific reason to bring a pair of heels, such as you’re attending a wedding or know you’re going out clubbing, just don’t.
I’ll admit my minimalism often doesn’t extend to my shoes — I would bring as many as five pairs of shoes on my backpacking trips — but for a weekend away, packing two or a maximum of three pairs will work just fine.
I would suggest a comfortable pair of sneakers that work just as well on the city streets as on a hike AND a pair of either ankle boots or sandals (flip flops for a beach trip) that work well as walking shoes depending on the season.
Add an optional pair of dressy shoes (stylish flats or heels) if you are doing anything that needs to be fancier and a little bit elevated.
Use packing cubes.
Packing cubes serve the function of keeping everything organized, of course.
But it also helps you visualize all your clothes together and make sure the colors go well together, and it helps you not overpack as you can take clothing in and out of the cubes, rather than throwing all the clothes into the bag until you can barely close it (guilty as charged).
Quick Weekend Packing Checklist
Above is the list of items in bullet point form, so as to be an easy packing checklist for a weekend trip:
Wallet, drivers license/ID, and credit cards
Car and house keys
Boarding pass and other travel documents
Travel bag (backpack, weekender bag, duffel bag, or roller suitcase)
1-2 pairs leggings
1 printed skirt
1 printed dress
1-2 pairs jeans or pants
2-3 pairs shoes
Warm jacket or rain jacket (optional)
Bathing suit and cover-up (optional)
Beach bag or tote (optional)
2-3 pairs underwear
2-3 pairs socks
Hygiene & Toiletries
Toothbrush and carrying case
Lip balm with SPF
Contacts and contact solution
Electronics & Etc.
Kindle and/or iPad
Mini first-aid kit
Reusable water bottle
Weekend Travel Checklist
This is a bit different in that this is a quick checklist of things to do before you leave for a weekend away!
– Organize a pet-sitter or house-sitter, if necessary
– Take out the trash
– Water any plants that need it
– Clear out the fridge of anything that needs to go
If you love adventure and the great outdoors, then you’re going to love Colorado!
Located in the southwestern part of the United States, Colorado is an adventure lover’s dream, filled with beautiful hikes, epic mountain drives, and breathtaking viewpoints throughout.
One of the best ways to explore the beauty of Colorado is to go on an epic Colorado road trip, taking in the scenery and culture at your own pace.
These road trips in Colorado are truly unlike those anywhere else in the United States because of the amazing naturalness of the state.
Throughout this post, you’ll learn all about the very best Colorado road trips. By the end, you’ll want to chase your wanderlust all the way to Colorado!
The Best Colorado Road Trips
Below are all of the must-do Colorado road trips! They vary in length, but some of them are near each other.
You could easily do multiple road trips around the state in the same week if you plan wisely!
Trail Ridge Road
One of the best wonders of Colorado is Rocky Mountain National Park, and the easiest way to explore it is to road trip through it on Trail Ridge Road. This road has been a favorite among nature lovers since it was completed in the 1930s.
While on the road, you’ll be brought through beautiful cliffsides and epic views. It’s most commonly called the Highway to the Sky because it’s the highest continuous paved road in the United States and goes pretty high into the mountains.
Because it’s so high, it’s pretty common to get altitude sickness while doing this drive. Be sure to stay hydrated and pay attention to how you’re feeling along the drive just in case anything takes a turn for the worse.
The halfway point of the drive is also a great stop to relax along the trip. A great mid-way point is the Alpine Visitor Center, so be sure to keep an eye out for it along the way.
For an epic view that you won’t want to miss, be sure to climb to the top of the trail right near the visitor center.
To do this drive, start in Estes Park and follow the road until the end. Along the way, be sure to stop at both Medicine Bow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook if you have the time.
If you want to get the most out of this drive, be sure to start earlier in the day because then you can also spot some local Colorado wildlife that often hide away as the day goes on.
You’ll also want to make sure to pay attention to the speed limits, especially because the road is cliffside for some of it.
Driving Distance: 48 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 to 4 hours
Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Highway is Colorado’s most popular and well-known road trip because of its incredible viewpoints. It’s one of the most scenic drives in Colorado!
Located right outside of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is a must-visit 14er in the state!
While many people with experience will opt to hike Pikes Peak to get all the fantastic viewpoints, it’s become more accessible to get similar views by road tripping the Pikes Peak Highway.
Because this highway can be pretty dangerous in the dark to it being cliffside, it’s only open to the public between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., with the last ticketed entry at 6:00 p.m. The highway is also occasionally closed in the winter if there’s too much snow.
To do this drive, it’s pretty simple. After you pay for your entrance onto the highway, you just follow it. Be sure to stop at all of the scenic lookout points because each one is different than the other, and you won’t want to miss them.
In June 2021, the Summit View House is also going to open, which will be an excellent place for you to grab souvenirs or even a coffee on your drive.
Driving Distance: 19 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 to 5 hours
Another epic road trip in Colorado is driving the Independence Pass. The road is incredibly narrow, but the views are amazing and are a part of Colorado State Highway 82.
It’s the perfect road trip to do if you want to visit Aspen or Leadville, as it goes right between the two. Instead of just driving the pass, you could make it more of a loop and also visit Aspen and Leadville on your road trip.
Independence Pass is the highest road in Colorado that’s paved because the summit is just over 12,000 feet. As you might imagine, this pass is often closed in the winter due to snow and ice. Be sure to plan your trip wisely if you wish to do this road trip.
Similar to Pikes Peak Highway, this is a pretty simple drive as far as directions go. Just follow the road! However, this is a popular road trip to do, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the other cars, especially when the road gets narrower.
Along the drive, you’ll find a few pull-over spots where you can take in the stunning view. Don’t pass these spots by, or you’ll regret it.
A great nearby attraction that you won’t want to miss is the Independence Ghost Town that once served as a mining town back in the 1800s.
The Grottos Ice Caves are also nearby and worth stopping at if you have the time.
Driving Distance: 32 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 hours
Million Dollar Highway
The Million Dollar Highway is a stretch of U.S. Route 550 that goes through Colorado State. It got its name because it was not cheap at all to build, but it truly offers million-dollar views along the way.
Start the drive in Ouray and end it in Silverton to stay within the state of Colorado. If you’d like to explore a surrounding state, you can also follow it into New Mexico if you have the time.
A decent portion of the drive is up in the mountains, and it’s even more incredible if you can do the drive in the autumn because all of the trees change color.
The best part of the Million Dollar Highway is Uncompahgre Gorge, which puts the highway right against huge jutting rocks and a cliff face with no guard rails along the majority of it, so you’ll want to be careful while driving.
Along the way, be sure to use all the viewpoints to your advantage. One of the best spots to stop along the drive is on Red Mountain Pass. Make sure you don’t miss it!
Also, instead of just driving the road, be sure to take the time to explore Ouray and Silverton. There’s a fantastic train ride in Silverton that’s incredibly scenic, but this could add another day or two to your road trip.
Driving Distance: 25 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 1 day
Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway
One of the longer road trips in Colorado is the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. It covers a good chunk of northwestern Colorado and was named because dinosaurs were rather prominent in the area during prehistoric times.
This road trip technically also dips into Utah, but it’s still considered a Colorado road trip because half of it is in Colorado, too.
The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway is a great road trip for families in particular, especially families with children who love dinosaurs.
Start the drive by heading to Grand Junction, one of Colorado’s most scenic areas. This is where most people start the drive. Then, go to Fruita and Dinosaur, and then go over to Utah and complete the loop.
Along the drive, you’ll want to stop at some different places and landmarks that you won’t want to miss. Some great spots include the Colorado National Monument, Canyon Pintado National Historic District, and the Dinosaur Journey Museum.
On average, this trip takes about two to three days but can take longer or shorter depending on how often you stop along the way. For instance, this drive could easily be stretched out to even a bit longer if you wanted to spend more time exploring.
Driving Distance: 512 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 days
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Next up is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which is a popular road trip from Denver, Colorado. It’s about 60 miles from downtown Denver.
Similar to Pikes Peak, Mount Evans is another popular drive to take that will bring you up one of Colorado’s 14ers.
Many people opt to hike Mount Evans, but it can be dangerous without experience. So, go to the top of a 14er by driving instead!
The easiest place to start this is from Idaho Springs, a mountain town west of Denver. From there, get to the top of Mount Evans by taking Highway 5. Driving to the top of Mount Evans is consistently ranked as one of the best things to do in Colorado.
Along the drive, you’ll be brought by beautiful lookouts as you go through the mountain. No matter what time of year you visit and do this drive, you’ll have genuinely excellent vantage points that you would not get elsewhere, so take advantage of them.
You do have to pay a fee of $15 per car in order to go on the byway, but it’s entirely worth it. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is open 24/7, but it’s best to do the drive during the day because it can be a safety hazard if you go in the evening.
Driving Distance: 28 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 5 to 8 hours, or one day
National Parks Loop
For a longer road trip in Colorado, look no further than the National Parks Loop. Colorado is home to quite a few national parks, so take the time to road trip and visit all of them!
Start the loop in western Colorado in Grand Junction. From there, drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and then to Mesa Verde National Park.
Continue onto Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and try your hand at boarding down the sand dunes! Then, head to Rocky Mountain National Park, the last stop on the loop, and make your way back to Grand Junction.
This could be done in as many days as you want and could definitely become a longer road trip depending on how many stops you’d like to make along the way. I suggest spending at least a day or two at each of the parks, so anywhere between 7 to 10 days is perfect.
Be sure also to purchase a National Parks Pass to save yourself money when entering each of the parks!
Along the National Parks Loop, you’ll also go through some other small towns worth exploring like Telluride, Durango, and Buena Vista.
Be sure to enjoy the small towns along the way and explore the rural side of Colorado too!
Driving Distance: 941 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 7 days
Denver Area Road Trip
Just because you’re visiting Denver doesn’t mean you can’t take a road trip to explore more of the area.
On this quick road trip from Denver, you’ll be brought through all of the best small towns and cities surrounding Denver.
Because they’re so close together, you could easily visit two a day to complete the road trip in as little as three days or spend one day in each place on the itinerary.
Start the road trip in Denver; from there, head north to Fort Collins and then make your way to Boulder.
Next, head south to Golden (stop and check out some of the beautiful hikes!) and also Idaho Springs. End the road trip by visiting Colorado Springs.
So many great places are waiting to be explored by you in these towns. Here are some must-visit spots in each town.
Denver: 16th Street Mall, Dairy Block, Confluence Park, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Fort Collins: Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park
Boulder: Flatirons hike, Pearl Street
Golden: Downtown Golden, Coors Brewery
Idaho Springs: Echo Mountain (in winter), Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel
Colorado Springs: Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor
If you’d rather not do all of these places as a road trip, they also make excellent day trips from downtown Denver.
Each place is within an hour from Denver, so you could easily use Denver as a home base and do a whole bunch of mini road trips for nearby sightseeing if you wish.
Driving Distance: 262 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 to 6 days
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
One of the most beautiful road trips in Colorado is the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway! To do this road trip, start in Estes Park to I-70.
If you love history, then you’re going to love this drive. It’s the oldest scenic byway in the entire state because it was built in 1918. It’s been a favorite among locals and tourists ever since.
The drive will bring you throughout the natural part of the state and will even bring you through some ghost towns. Plus, there will be some epic lakes along the way, so you’ll have plenty of viewpoints to look out and take a jaw-dropping picture.
Another thing to keep an eye out for along the way are the gold mine remnants. Tons of gold mines in Colorado used to be in this area of the state, and sometimes you’ll even find people panning for gold in the water.
Arguably one of the must-sees along the way are the aspen trees; however, they are only stunning in the fall when they’re yellow. So, try to do this drive in the fall to really get the most out of it.
Driving Distance: 59 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 to 5 hours
San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway is another beautiful road trip, and it’s even been mentioned in popular news outlets like Travel + Leisure for being one of the best spring drives in the United States — though fall with its golden aspens isn’t bad, either!
Most people will start this drive in Durango. From there, head to Mancos, Dolores, Stoner, Rico, Telluride, Ridgeway, Ouray, Silverton, and then finish by heading back to Durango.
There are tons of great places to visit along the drive, including Mesa Verde National Park, San Juan National Forest, and Bridal Veil Falls.
If you love skiing, you’ll want to check out Durango Mountain, and if you love hiking, visit one of the 14ers, El Diente Peak or Mount Wilson.
If you love scenic train rides, you can even finish out the loop by riding the train from Silverton to Durango. This is one of the most popular train rides in the state.
While you could technically do this entire drive in just 7 hours, I don’t suggest that you fly through it. There are so many epic places to visit and beautiful small towns that you should truly take the time to explore.
Too often, small towns filled with history are skipped for big cities. Don’t let that happen when driving the Suan Juan Skyway!
Driving Distance: 236 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 1 to 3 days
Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway
Another of Colorado’s state scenic byways that makes a great road trip is the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway. This road trip, like you may have guessed from the name, brings you through some of Colorado’s gold rush sites.
The best place to start the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway is in Cañon City, and then check out the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.
Be sure also to visit Phantom Canyon Road and Victor. Head back and check out Florence, and finish by looping back to Cañon City.
Similar to every other road trip, there are some great places that you won’t want to miss, like the Lowell Thomas Museum, the Ag and Mining History Museum, the Outlaw & Lawmen Jail Museum, and the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.
An absolute must-do is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It’s a highly scenic drive, and you’ll learn a lot about the area along the way while witnessing it for yourself.
Please note that there are also quite a few ways to do this road trip. It’s best to do it in about two days so that you can fully explore the area, but there are different ways to take in the views.
In fact, some people even opt to take a helicopter tour over the byway to get unparalleled views!
Driving Distance: 131 miles
Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 days
Highway of Legends
The Highway of Legends is a southern Colorado scenic drive that begins in Walsenburg.
From there, get on the highway and go to Trinidad, Weston, Stonewall, Cuchara, La Veta, and back to Walsenburg to complete the loop.
This road trip can easily be done in just a few short hours, but take at least a full day or two to explore it and see all that it truly offers fully.
For example, you won’t want to drive quickly through the Spanish Peaks, Cuchara Pass, Cuchara Valley, or the beauty in Cokedale or Trinidad.
Trinidad, in particular, is known for its interesting Victorian architecture that will make you step back in time!
If you want to lengthen your trip, then you can easily do so. There are tons of beautiful places to explore here, including San Isabel National Forest, La Veta Pass, and the Spanish Peaks State Wildlife Area.
There’s even a 14er that you can do if you feel up to it: Culebra Peak!
For a great train ride, be sure to check out the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad, which brings visitors right through the San Luis Valley and La Veta Pass.
The views are absolutely incredible, and you can ride inside a vintage train, making the experience even more memorable.
The Highway of Legends is one of the best ways to explore some small towns in southern Colorado, so don’t pass up this road trip.
If you live on the East Coast, you’re spoiled for choice!
There’s no shortage of beautiful spots when it comes to great vacation destinations on the East Coast.
When you have only a weekend for a getaway, you have to think strategically and locally, so that you don’t waste more time in transit than on vacation!
The East Coast is a huge area, so we’ve broken this guide to East Coast weekend getaways into three sections: the Northeast (New York & New England), the Mid-Atlantic, and the Southeast.
So hop in your car or book your flights, because these weekend getaways on the East Coast are calling your name!
East Coast Weekend Getaways: The Northeast & New England
Contributed by Megan of Bobo & Chichi
One of the best East Coast getaways just outside of New York City on the tip of Long Island is Montauk, also known as the End of the World.
This Hamptons retreat is especially popular among the summer visitors coming from the city looking for a nice beach getaway, but Montauk really is a great escape any season and really quiet and beautiful during the off season.
There are plenty of things to do in Montauk that are worth exploring, one unmissable attraction is Montauk Point Lighthouse located on a cliff at the very tip of the island overlooking the dramatic coastline from the bluffs.
You can tour the lighthouse and the property, spend a little extra time walking around the beach and the Camp Hero State Park bluffs for more vantage points of this beautiful lighthouse.
If you’re looking for something to eat, don’t miss Harvest on Fort Pond if you’re wanting to feast family-style or if you’re visiting in the summer, grab a lobster roll from the roadside seafood stands at Lunch aka Lobster Roll or the Clam Bar.
Stay at the Surf Lodge if you’re hoping to catch a star-studded live music performance on the weekends or if you’re looking for a complete weekend getaway full of relaxation head to Gurney’s Resort and enjoy their renowned day spa and facilities overlooking the ocean.
Getting to Montauk couldn’t be easier, if you are coming from NYC you have the option to take the Hampton Jitney, a luxe bus that services Long Island and NYC, the train, or for complete freedom you can drive your own car.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Contributed by Vicky of Buddy The Traveling Monkey
A great place to spend a weekend getaway on the East Coast is Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.
The island isn’t huge, but there are a few towns that offer unique attractions and restaurants. The most popular towns are Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Aquinnah.
Vineyard Haven has a cute Main Street with many shops, cafes, and restaurants. We recommend getting breakfast at the Waterside Market. They offer fresh and organic ingredients and were even featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
After breakfast, walk over to the MV Museum. This museum has exhibits, photos, manuscripts, and rare books that tell the history of the island.
Oak Bluffs has the oldest operating platform carousel in the country, the Flying Horses Carousel. Oak Bluffs’ most popular attraction, however, is their Gingerbread Cottages.
There are over 300 cottages with about 30 of them being lived in year-round; the rest are seasonal. Each cottage is unique with different colors and themes.
Aquinnah is on the other side of the island is home to the Gay Head Lighthouse. It was the first lighthouse constructed on Martha’s Vineyard, built in 1799. It’s also the best place to watch the sunset.
The best way to get to Martha’s Vineyard is by ferry from the town of Woods Hole on Cape Cod. Once you’re on the island, it is easy to get around because Martha’s Vineyard has a great public transportation system.
To stay, we recommend Isabelle’s Beach House in Oak Bluffs. It’s an oceanfront bed and breakfast that offers free Wi-Fi and full daily breakfast.
Contributed by Shannon of Traveling Teacher Girl
The Catskills is a great place to visit for a weekend getaway on the East Coast!
There are a variety of activities to choose from in the Catskills, depending on the season.
In the winter, it is a great destination for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice skating, snow tubing, and cross country skiing.
In the summer you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and ziplining.
In the fall you can go apple picking, pumpkin picking, and attend fall festivals.
There are also plenty of year-round activities such as hiking, wine tasting, and brewery hopping.
One of the most popular towns to visit in The Catskills is the town of New Paltz.
Mohonk Mountain House is a popular accommodation option in New Paltz with 85 miles of hiking trails on-site as well as horseback riding, kayaking, paddle boarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing.
New Paltz is located at the northern end of the Shawangunk Wine Trail which has 13 wineries, including Robibero Vineyards and Benmarl Wineries.
Some highly-rated restaurants in the town of New Paltz are Main Street Bistro, Bacchus Restaurants, and Pho Tibet.
Also be sure to check out Water Street Market which is a European-style shopping village with cute shops, restaurants, free loaner bikes, chess sets, live music and movie nights.
New Paltz is located 1.5-3 hours from NYC and is accessible by car, train, or bus.
Other Catskills towns such as Hunter and Windham are located an additional 45-60 minutes north of New Paltz and are not easily accessible via public transit, so a car is recommended for a weekend getaway in those destinations.
Bar Harbor, ME
Contributed by Melissa of Navigation Junkie
Bar Harbor is a small coastal town on Maine’s Mount Desert Island that holds the perfect combination for a weekend getaway involving delicious eats, small town charm, and natural beauty.
It stands as the gateway to Acadia National Park, but the town itself has so much to offer and should not be skipped!
A culinary walking tour is a must when spending the weekend in Bar Harbor. The tour, lasting about 3 hours, will take you through some of Bar Harbor’s best and most historic restaurants, giving you some tastes of local Maine dishes. For some wine tasting and delicious, locally made chocolates stop at Bar Harbor Cellars.
After the culinary walking tour, be sure to spend some time strolling Main Street exploring the local shops where you can find unique souvenirs and hand-crafted goods.
For some relaxation, spend an afternoon at Agamont Park overlooking the harbor. To get even closer to the water, take a walk along Shore Path, a one-and-a-half-mile walk along the coast, found near Bar Harbor’s Main St.
Get out on the waters of Bar Harbor with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. You can choose from several tours, but regardless of your choice you will be treated to scenic views of Maine’s coast and wildlife viewings.
If viewing lighthouses is your thing, you will find plenty scattered along the Gulf of Maine on a cruise.
For overnight accommodations in Bar Harbor, Balance Rock Inn is one of the best options. Balance Rock Inn is a waterfront boutique hotel that features an outdoor pool, onsite restaurant, and is just steps away from downtown Bar Harbor.
To reach Bar Harbor, you will need to drive from a nearby airport. The closest airport is located in Bangor, about 50 miles away. From there you will drive US-1A almost directly to Bar Harbor.
Contributed by Jade of The Migrant Yogi
Providence, Rhode Island is the perfect East Coast weekend getaway. Providence is small enough to explore in just a few days, yet large enough to pack a punch and leave an impression.
There are plenty of things to do in Rhode Island’s capital city to fill up a weekend getaway. You can explore its charming neighborhoods, becoming acquainted with each unique personality.
Check out local museums, Thayer Street, Prospect Park, or even head down to South County for a trip to Rhode Island’s incredible beaches.
Waterfire is an absolute must if you are visiting Providence during the summer. This is a quintessential Providence event that usually takes place on Saturday nights in the summer months where small fires are lit down the center of the river and vendors line the riverwalk with food and performances.
If your weekend getaway is during the colder months or it’s raining, there are plenty of indoor activities as well. Book lovers can peruse the special collections and hidden treasures of Brown University’s John Hay Library.
If fine art is more up your alley, the RISD Museum has work from renowned artists alongside work from the students of Rhode Island School of Design.
Theatre is also a celebrated pastime in Providence – Trinity Rep and PPAC are both top choices to catch a local performance.
Although it’s the capital of the smallest state, Providence makes up for its small size with exciting nightlife and a thriving culinary scene. Exploring the best restaurants in Providence is undoubtedly one of the best ways to spend time in the city.
For a chic and central hotel, the Dean Hotel Providence has an optimal downtown location and a superb on-site restaurant.
Lake Placid, NY
Contributed by Mark of Where Are Those Morgans?
Charming, quaint and picturesque mountain resort town Lake Placid is the perfect Northeastern US weekend getaway for hikers, skiers and lovers of nature alike.
Lake Placid is famous for hosting the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ Winter Olympics and it remains a hub for Winter sports today. The original Olympic Village and enormous ski jump complex are both easy to visit from town.
However, Lake Placid at the heart of New York’s spectacular Adirondack Mountain region is a 4 season resort.
Hiking to the summit of Mount Marcy is among the very best things to do in Lake Placid. It is the highest of the High Peaks and tallest point in New York State. Mt Marcy’s trail is long and slow, expect it to take anywhere between 7-11 hours. Hope for good weather but plan for bad weather!
Nearby Whiteface Mountain can also be hiked but with just a weekend, a much quicker drive to its 360 degree panoramic view summit is recommended.
Views from both peaks stretch as far as the Montreal skyline in Canada and the Green Mountains in Vermont on a clear day, particularly beautiful in peak Fall season.
Don’t miss a short but striking detour through High Falls Gorge near Whiteface Mountain. Four waterfalls funnel through a very narrow gorge, creating a beautiful scene.
With so much going on around Lake Placid, it’s easy to forget about the town itself. Take a relaxing walk around Mirror Lake and shop in alpine style chocolate stores, before eating a fantastic barbecue dinner on the lakefront patio at Smoke Signals.
Stay at luxurious Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort right on Mirror Lake for the ultimate Lake Placid experience.
Lake Placid looks a little isolated out in northern New York but it is only 2 hours drive from Montreal, under 5 hours from Boston and just under 5 hours from New York City via I-87.
Contributed by Kat of World Wide Honeymoon
One of the best east coast USA weekend getaways has to be Stowe, Vermont, especially in the fall and winter!
Vermont in the fall is an absolute dream, and the town is small enough to fully enjoy it in just on a weekend trip.
One of the best things to do in Stowe has to be hiking. With so many stunning mountains, the views are insanely gorgeous.
The hike to Sterling Pond, Vermont’s highest elevation stocked pond, is truly lovely, and you can even continue on the Long Trail around the pond for more scenic views and to escape the crowds.
Mt. Mansfield is nearby as well with many hiking routes to get to the top. However, the best hike has to be Stowe Pinnacle.
If you’re lucky and go early in the morning on a nice day, you may just catch the fog clearing from the valley below and see some amazing views!
Of course, if you’re here to ski in the winter, Stowe is an idyllic place! There are ski resorts everywhere like the ski-in/ski-out Lodge at Spruce Peak.
Aside from hiking and skiing, a visit to the Trapp Family Lodge is a must. If you’re a fan of the Sound of Music, then the Trapp family may sound familiar! Did you know they settled in Stowe and then opened their lodge? Now you can visit or stay at this Austrian-chalet-inspired lodge and partake in many activities like snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and more! Plus, they have a lovely restaurant and patio that is perfect for watching an incredible sunset over the mountains.
Other incredible things to do in Stowe include finding some romantic covered bridges, exploring the charming city itself, driving through the enchanting Smugglers Notch, and drinking some of the world’s best beer at The Alchemist.
For some great food, definitely try the pizza at Piecasso, the poutine at Idletyme Brewing Company, and the halibut at Cork.
The best way to get to Stowe is by driving. However, if you live further away, you can fly into Burlington and drive 45 minutes to Stowe. And, those who live in big cities on the east coast like DC or New York can even take the Amtrak to Waterbury and a quick taxi ride or drive up to Stowe.
Stowe, Vermont is a charming place to visit, and no matter the time of year, you’ll fall in love with the incredible mountain scenery, the most adorable town, and so many cool outdoorsy things to do here!
Contributed by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler
Burlington, Vermont has plenty to do for an awesome weekend getaway on the East Coast!
This vibrant small city is tucked along the coast of Lake Champlain with views across to the Adirondack Mountains.
Waterfront Park is a great place to catch a panorama of the lake and the best sunsets in the Northeast.
Rent a bike on the Burlington Bike Path and pedal along the lake to one of several sand beaches for swimming and sunning. There are also many hikes within the city limits including climbing the tower at Ethan Allen Park for city and lake views.
Families will enjoy the Echo Center, the premier science and nature center on Lake Champlain. Enjoy hours of scientific discovery in the exhibits of the Echo Center.
Take a cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen to learn about the region’s rich history. A lunch or dinner cruise is a popular way to get out on the water.
Foodies will enjoy the many restaurants using locally sourced ingredients.
And with more breweries per capita than any other state, sampling craft beer in Burlington is a must! Foam Brewery on the waterfront is a local favorite.
Don’t miss the pedestrian mall of Church Street with its one-of-a-kind shops, fabulous restaurants, and street performers. Grab a table at Honey Road for delicious Mediterranean-inspired small plates.
Accommodations near the waterfront let you see the sunset from your room. Check out the Hilton Garden Inn for your weekend stay.
Burlington is off US 89 and is 5.5 hours from New York, 3 hours from Boston, and 2 hours from Montreal.
Exploring the living history Seaport Museum can take the better part of a day to explore. It recreates a 19th-century fishing village with ships, houses, shops, demonstrations and hands-on activities.
The mostly-outside Mystic Aquarium has several kinds of sharks, some species of seals and sea lions you don’t often see in aquariums, beluga whales, and African Penguins. It’s one of the best aquariums in the region.
Outdoorsy weekenders will find outfitters for SUPing or kayaking on the Mystic River. Within an hour’s drive, there are a handful of state parks with hiking trails that lead to waterfalls and nice vistas.
Gillette State Park is also home to the offbeat medieval castle that Shakespearean actor William Gillette built here around 1919.
Within a half hour’s drive you’ll hit Misquamicut State Beach and East Beach, two nice long stretches of sand just over the Rhode Island border.
For lunch, you can’t go wrong with any of the clam shacks in the area (I’ve tried them all). Abbotts in Noank is the most popular and right on the water.
For dinner, try the Water Street Café in nearby Stonington. Clams, oysters and steamers are local and the preparations are fresh and inventive.
I recommend staying at the Inn at Mystic. The rooms are nicely decorated and comfortable. Some have fireplaces, patios or jacuzzi tubs. The onsite restaurant has Sunday brunch and the outdoor pool is less likely to be overrun with kids than at the many chain hotels nearby.
In addition to driving, you can get to Mystic by MetroNorth railroad from New York, and by Amtrak from New York, Providences and Boston.
Contributed by Tegan and Alex of Why Not Walk Travel Guides
Boston is one of the country’s most historic cities and a beautiful place to spend a weekend year-round!
Be sure to allocate at least a half-day to walk the Freedom Trail, a 16-stop outdoor walking path dedicated to Boston’s role in the American Revolution.
Some highlights include the Boston Common, the country’s oldest park; Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church, where the infamous bells that heralded the arrival of the British were hung; and the site of the Boston Massacre.
Other must-sees in Boston include sightseeing in Copley Square and the Boston Public Library; shopping on glitzy Newbury Street; and admiring the architecture in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill.
Sports enthusiasts can see the Red Sox at iconic Fenway Stadium or the Celtics and Bruins at TD Garden.
A great place to stay is the Godfrey Hotel, a cute boutique hotel located right downtown.
While you’re here, don’t miss grabbing a bite to eat in the North End, Boston’s oldest neighborhood and historic home of a thriving Italian population.
Mouthwatering homemade pasta, cannoli, and pizza can be enjoyed at its many establishments.
Some particular favorites are Regina’s for pizza (be sure to try the “Original North End”); Bova’s for cannoli; and Monica’s or Giacomo’s for pasta.
Boston is accessible by train, bus, car, and airplane.
You can take the Amtrak, regional trains, or buses like MegaBus or Peter Pan to Boston’s two regional train stations, North and South Station, and the New England region’s largest airport, Logan International, is located in Boston.
It’s easy to get from the airport to the city center via the MBTA transit system. If you drive, beware that parking in the city is very challenging, and Boston has some of the worst traffic in the country– it’s best to stick to the MBTA while you’re here on an East Coast weekend getaway!
East Coast Weekend Getaways: The Mid-Atlantic
Contributed by Neha from Travelmelodies
Philadelphia, one of the older U.S. cities rich in history and culture, makes for a perfect weekend destination on the East Coast.
The proximity of the city to major cities like New York, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh makes it a popular destination among tourists.
Philly is known as the birthplace of America. This is the place where the Constitution was written.
Visiting the iconic Liberty Bell and National Constitution Center lets you know more about the events that lead up to American Independence.
Besides history, it is a perfect city for museum lovers. For art lovers, there is the Philadelphia Museum of Art that also has beautiful architecture. Get an Instagrammable pic on the steps leading to the museum!
Located close to the Museum of Art is The Franklin Institute, a celebrated museum on Science & Technology, another great place to visit for museum lovers.
The US Mint is a unique museum to visit, to get insight into the process of making coins! The National Constitution Center and National Liberty Museum are some other museums to visit.
Not into museums? Stroll by the museum along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway through Logan Square to the Love Park where the iconic red LOVE sculpture stands.
But of course, coming to Philly would be incomplete without indulging in the food. Reading Terminal Market, the oldest public market has many local choices!
Philly is famous for its cheesesteak, hoagies, and soft pretzels. Philly Pretzel Factory is a great place to try the pretzels. Pat’s has great cheesesteaks!
Philadelphia can be easily reached by air, road, and train. The Amtrak train connects to Philly by many major stations. Philadelphia International Airport has flights from all the major cities of US.
Once in Philly, there’s no need for a car, as the city can be easily explored on foot.
Never in a million years would you think that an island right outside the United States capital of Washington, DC would be… isolated!
I mean, the DC metro traffic was ranked as the worst in the country prior to the pandemic. Even beating out Los Angeles’ long-held title.
But it’s true. It’s right there. And it’s got less than 200 residents.
It’s Smith Island, Maryland, nestled in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s oft-overlooked in favor of the more-bustling Tangier Island of Virginia right next door.
It’s not just that this island is small, either. It’s particularly unique, too. In a region where world leaders converge to change the world on a daily basis, Smith Island, Maryland retains an Elizabethan relic accent dating back to the 1600s.
That’s right — Smith Island was settled in the 17th century, more than a half-century prior to the United States’ declaration of independence.
And that’s not all! There’s no driving to Smith Island. There’s a “ferry,” which is really a small mail boat, that travels to and from the island from mainland Maryland twice a day.
Once you get there, you make your way around by golf carts, bikes, or boats. There are no ATMs, there’s barely a cell signal, and the highly religious island is actually a “dry island.”
So, what is it that makes this island worth visiting then?
For one, there’s the all-original Smith Island Cake, the official dessert of the state of Maryland—8–15 layers of fudge goodness in a multitude of delicious flavors.
There are extraordinary marshlands to kayak and diverse birdlife to photograph. Go crabbing or oystering with the locals and have a traditional Maryland crab boil as you watch the sunset over the water.
Relax on a private beach, bike to Rhodes Point, or take a boat to Tylerton and tour their super interesting architecture.
If there was ever a place to socially distance, Smith Island, Maryland is where it’s at. Opt for something a little different for a change, and be whisked away to olden times for a few days.
Atlantic City, NJ
Contributed by Susan of GenXTraveler
Atlantic City may be known as the “Las Vegas of the East Coast,” but there is more to do in this coastal town than just gamble!
Whether you gamble or not this town is worthy of a weekend getaway on the East Coast.
Atlantic City features the world’s longest and the US’s oldest boardwalk. Rent bikes and pedal from end to end.
When you’ve finished you will have 10-miles in and you will be ready for a fantastic breakfast at the Gilchrist in historic Gardner’s Basin. This breakfast joint is known for its thin, airy pancakes!
In the afternoon, climb to the top of Absecon Lighthouse, NJ’s tallest lighthouse and the third tallest in the United States. From the top, take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic City skyline and beyond.
Atlantic City offers an awesome thriving food scene. Throughout the city and beyond you can find a number of restaurants featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-ins and Dives.
If you are looking for a more intimate experience, try Setaara. This French and Afghan restaurant offers dining spaces and food that will transport you.
In the evening, head to the Orange Loop located around Tennessee Avenue. This up-and-coming section of town offers bars with outdoor spaces, live entertainment, and more.
And with Atlantic City’s new open container law you can take your drink with you as stroll the boardwalk!
Spend some time checking out the colorful and thought-provoking murals that have been going up around the city over the past five years.
Last year, these imaginative works began to leap from building to Adirondack chairs throughout the city.
And by the way, Atlantic City is home to nine casinos. No trip to this city is really complete without at least a brief visit to one of the casinos.
A casino stay makes a great base even if you don’t gamble. You will surely feel like you’ve hit the jackpot at Ocean Casino Hotel Resort or Borgata.
East Coast Weekend Getaways: The South & Southeast
Cocoa Beach is located along the east coast of Florida and is only about an hour’s drive from Orlando.
This makes it an easy weekend getaway for those driving from the city or flying in to spend a little time on the beach. The beautiful sunrises, wide-open beaches, and the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean make it a popular vacation spot along the coast.
Cocoa Beach is a great getaway destination for those wanting to spend a few days laying on the beach, swimming, and surfing.
It’s also only six miles south of Cape Canaveral which makes it a great place to watch a launch or spend a few days on the beach before getting on a cruise at Port Canaveral.
Main Street Festival happens in Downtown Cocoa Beach one Friday a month and has plenty of great food, vendors and live music for families to enjoy.
Visitors may also want to spend a weekend at the Thunder on Cocoa Beach Superboat races that happen each summer.
Cocoa Beach is famous for its iconic Pier, an 800-foot long boardwalk that has plenty to do to entertain visitors. You’ll also find several popular restaurants like Sea Dogs and Keith’s Oyster Bar on the Pier.
If you packed light, the Pier is where you’ll also find beach rentals available for things like umbrellas, boogie boards, and beach chairs for your weekend stay.
If you’re flying into Orlando and don’t want to rent a car, there are shuttle services that can take you directly to Cocoa Beach.
Contributed by Dymphe of Dymabroad
One of the best East Coast USA weekend getaways is one to the city of Tampa in Florida!
Staying a weekend in Tampa is a very fun experience because there are many things to do and see.
When you are only spending a weekend in Tampa, you can see all the highlights.
One of the best things to do in the city is visiting Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This is a theme park where you can find many roller coasters and thrill rides.
Another great thing to do in the city is taking photos at the most Instagrammable places in Tampa! There are many lovely spots that are very photogenic in the city!
Besides that, the Tampa Museum of Art is very interesting to visit. You can find here both contemporary and classical art, which is great if you want to see a varied collection.
Also, the Tampa Riverwalk is a great place to go during your trip to Tampa. This is a walkway next to the river with beautiful views.
One of the best places to stay in Tampa is The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Furthermore, for delicious food for dinner go to On Swann.
Getting to Tampa is very easy as there are various ways to get there. You can get there by car, train, or bus from several cities in Florida. Also, there is an international airport.
Contributed by Kate of Our Escape Clause
Beautiful, walkable, and packed with excellent food around every corner, Savannah, Georgia is widely considered one of the best East Coast weekend getaways in the USA for very good reason.
A weekend getaway in Savannah is long enough to explore many of its top attractions, sample a wide variety of food, and walk at least half of the town’s 22 historic squares (more, if you put your mind to it!).
While you’re there, be sure to take at least one house tour.
The Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters is a great starting point for history buffs, and the Sorrel-Weed House a fun stop for those with an inclination toward ghost stories.
Be sure to also pay a visit to Forsyth Park, browse the boutiques along Broughton Street, and sample plenty of pralines.
For a gut-busting lunch that you won’t forget anytime soon, head to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room on Jones Street.
As Jones Street is often considered (especially by locals) to be one of the most beautiful streets in America, it’s the perfect place to go for a post-lunch stroll!
Staying in a historic bed and breakfast is also a highlight of spending your East Coast getaway in Savannah: we can recommend the Foley House Inn for its beauty, charm, perfect location on Chippewa Square, and its ghost stories.
Savannah shares a small regional airport with Hilton Head, so it is possible to fly in for the weekend if you don’t live within driving distance.
A tradition of southern hospitality has inspired a new crop of chefs making Raleigh one of the most exciting culinary cities in the country, and with multiple James Beard nominations people are taking notice. That same creative spirit has also influenced artists re-imagining Raleigh!
Check out Raleigh’s art scene with a visit to the North Carolina Art Museum. With the largest collection of Rodin in the south and over a dozen galleries the North Carolina Museum of Art has something to suite any artistic taste.
You can also head outside to the Anne and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, which has 164 acres of walking trails, sculptures and an outdoor amphitheater. Modern Art more your style? Head to CAM Raliegh wants to show you a look into art’s untraditional side.
Nothing says Southern food quite like a good fried chicken but Beasley’s Chicken and Honey takes comfort food to the next level.
Take a fluffy biscuit, top it with crispy fried chicken a pickled green tomato and a spicy-sweet hot honey dijon and you’ve got just one reason chef Ashley Christensen won a James Beard award!
Raleigh is a great beer town and some of the best can be found at Brewery Bhavana. Named as one of the prettiest breweries in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler, the taps at Brewery Bhavana serve up Belgian-inspired brews that pair perfectly with Bhavana’s Laotian cuisine.
Chocolate lovers will want to live out their Willy Wonka fantasies at Videri Chocolate Factory. Sourcing from small sustainable cacao farms, you can take a self-guided tour of the chocolate-making process at Videri before treating yourself to a frozen hot chocolate or one of their decadent truffles.
Raleigh is easy to reach with a well-connected airport (RDU) and is within driving distance of major cities like Charlotte, Washington DC and Atlanta.
When in Raleigh stay at either the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown or the boutique Guest House Raleigh.
Contributed by Anna of Stuck On The Go
Asheville is one of the top East Coast weekend getaways in the US, especially for outdoor adventure lovers!
There are plenty of great hikes nearby as it’s right in the middle of Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway passes right by it.
Some of the best hikes in the area are Crabtree Falls, Craggy Gardens, Graveyard Fields, and Catawba Falls.
You can also visit DuPont State Forest where you’ll see three waterfalls on one loop trail and another trail takes you to a fourth.
Spend one day hiking and then one day exploring downtown, especially the breweries! You’ll find many art galleries, museums, and a great foodie scene here.
Spend the morning browsing local shops like Malaprop’s Bookstore, and then hit the breweries in the afternoon.
Hi-Wire, Wicked Weed, and Asheville Brewing are all popular options downtown. If you want to take an Uber then you can also hit New Belgium Brewing (well worth the short drive).
Early Girl Eatery and Sunny Point Cafe are popular breakfast spots and Blackbird Restaurant and Chestnut are good dinner options that won’t break the bank.
It’s an up-and-coming city in the Southeast that is known for its beautiful downtown, restaurant scene, and proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
To begin your weekend getaway in Greenville, check into the Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel that George Clooney stayed at while filming the movie Leatherheads.
Once you are properly situated, join in on Greenville’s Saturday Market fun! Enjoy the liveliness in the streets, listen to the bands playing, and buy some local goodies at the stands.
Of course, after all that walking, it’s time for lunch! Go to the Lazy Goat for an authentic Mediterranean menu and ask to sit outside for a nice view of the Reedy River and downtown Greenville.
Afterwards, it’s time for dessert and a little more exploration. Head to Spill the Beans, a local favorite, to customize your perfect ice cream, and take it with you as you stroll through Greenville’s lovely Falls Park.
While there, you can walk across Greenville’s iconic Liberty Bridge and take some beautiful pictures.
Then, hop in the car for a short trip to the brewery Birds Fly South where you’ll be able to sample some local craft beer, chill outside, and even practice your axe throwing skills.
Once you arrive back to Greenville for the evening, head over to Soby’s, a southern style restaurant that is a favorite with the locals. Chow down on some shrimp and grits, and then get prepared for a night on the town.
For the party-goers, bar hopping is the way to go. Locals love places like Reys, Carolina Ale House, and the Blu Martini. However, If you are not big on nightlife, then catch a show at the Peace Center or relax at one of Greenville’s rooftop bars.
Wake up bright and early on Sunday to bike Greenville’s most popular trail, The Swamp Rabbit.
Start your journey at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, and bike to the quaint town of Travelers Rest, where you can refuel with a delicious crepe at Tandem Creperie.
After that, it’s time to head back to Greenville and wrap up your amazing weekend in this beautiful city.
You can either get to Greenville by car or by flying into the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport.
Emerald Isle, NC
Contributed by Ashton of It’s AAAll Good
Emerald Isle, NC is a coastal town situated on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and a great spot to truly escape.
When you visit you’ll find over 12 miles of beautiful beaches and gorgeous coastline. The beach is perfect for long walks, shelling, or hanging out with family and friends.
The region also has access to the intercoastal waterway and barrier islands, many of which include national parks and seashores, meaning they are perfectly untouched.
You can spend an afternoon catching the ferry to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse or walking along Shackleford Banks for a view of the wild horses. The beaches in this area are truly incredible!
Thanks to the proximity to the gulf stream, the fishing in the area is amazing, and the water is far warmer than in the Northern outer banks. If catching your own dinner sounds fun, you can fish surf fish, fish the Emerald Isle Pier, or charter a local fisherman to take you out.
Thanks to all of the incredible seafood, there are lots of delicious restaurants in the area. End your day overlooking an astonishing sunset, before enjoying a delicious dinner at Floyd’s 1921, a favorite for southern seafood cuisine, or Fish Hut, a delicious low-key island grill.
While the island is beautiful year-round, peak season is memorial through labor day. There are plenty of rental homes, as well as hotels, like the Islander, which is right on the beach.
The town is located about a three-hour drive from Raleigh, NC, or fly to one of the regional airports that are less than an hour away. Emerald Isle, NC is truly a family-friendly vacation you’ll be wanting to come back to visit year after year.
St. Augustine, FL
Contributed by Candice of CS Ginger
St Augustine is a beautiful historic town that is full of Spanish charm!
Cobblestone streets, Spanish architecture, and historical buildings along with the beach are what make St. Augustine such a charming city to visit.
Finding accommodations in the heart of historic St Augustine will give you quick access to the best part of town.
The historic district is home to St George Street, an iconic street in the downtown, as well as Castillo De San Marcos National Monument.
The Colonial Quarters is another fun historical stop. Your first day in St Augustine should be dedicated to these sites in the historic district of St Augustine!
On your second day, head out to St Augustine Beach!
In the morning, you can either head to the Alligator Farm Zoological Park to see over a hundred different types of alligators and crocodiles or you can visit the St Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.
You can climb the 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse and visit the different exhibits at the museum.
In the afternoon it is time to head to the beach. The St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier is a good place to find parking. It is a beautiful area of the beach with lots of nice restaurants nearby.
After you are done at the beach, stop in at Salt Life Food Shack for a yummy dinner!
Contributed by Julie from More than Main Street
Wilmington, North Carolina is the perfect East Coast weekend getaway!
Start your weekend off with a day at one of the three area beaches playing in the surf, soaking in the sun, or collecting seashells. Plan to spend your evening eating and exploring the downtown Riverwalk.
An emerging foodie NC destination, there are a ton of great places to eat in Wilmington. We highly recommend trying Savorez, Fork N Cork, or Manna while you are downtown.
There are a ton of fun options on how to spend your second day in Wilmington. If you haven’t gotten your fill of outdoor activities, then try a kayaking or paddle boarding tour, trip to Masonboro Island, or fishing excursion.
If you want to stay on land, explore the gorgeous Airlie Gardens, the Battleship North Carolina, or NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. While Wilmington is most popular during the summer months, it is actually a great year-round vacation.
When deciding where to stay in Wilmington, you’ll have to choose if you prefer to be at the beach or downtown. Downtown hosts many cute boutique hotels and Airbnbs, while we recommend the Blockade Runner or Courtyard Carolina Beach if you’re looking to stay oceanfront.
Wilmington is an easy two-hour drive from Raleigh or you can fly into Wilmington International Airport (ILM). Uber and Lyft are readily available, however, you will most likely want a car to get around.
Contributed by Stéphanie of Bey Of Travel
Miami is the perfect weekend getaway, whether you need a relaxing weekend at the beach or looking for something more adventurous. The city has it all.
Miami is connected to the rest of the world by Miami International Airport (MIA). The most convenient way to discover the city is by foot, although you will need a car (or Uber) to get to the top things to do in the city listed below.
Wynwood art district is without a doubt the coolest neighborhood in the city, walls are covered with the most beautiful graffiti, you will find art shops on every corner of the street, and you can enjoy some vibrant nightlife in one of the many bars.
Make sure to take a walk on Ocean Drive to admire the many art deco buildings and immerse yourself in countless movie scenes.
Visit Miami Beach, although it is way too crowded, you simply need to spend some time and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean, the colorfully decorated lifeguards’ cabins, and beach boys/girls in tiny bikinis.
Head to Crandon Beach to enjoy a quieter day at the beach!
Those who are tired of all the people on the crowdy famous beaches can discover beautiful walks in Miami or the natural beauty of the Everglades.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach is a beautiful hotel located close to the beach and perfect for your USA East Coast weekend getaway.
Do you have something to celebrate? Make sure to book a reservation at Alter Miami for a delicious dinner.
Contributed by Theresa of Fueled By Wanderlust
Charleston, South Carolina, or “The Holy City” is the perfect choice for a weekend getaway. This city is full of tall church spires, colorful old houses, and hidden alleyways.
There is plenty to do during a short time in Charleston, whether it’s exploring historical sites or diving into the excellent food scene.
Charleston offers some jaw-dropping scenery!
Simply taking a sightseeing walk past places like the Pineapple Fountain at Ravenel Waterfront Park, the Rainbow Row, or The Battery will leave a lasting impression.
Explore every hidden alleyway you pass, like the romantic Philadelphia Alley between Queen and Cumberland Streets.
History lovers should join a Charleston walking tour to learn the stories behind otherwise unassuming streets and buildings.
It’s also worthwhile to join the two-hour and fifteen-minute tour out to Fort Sumter, which is where the Civil War began.
In addition, there are a number of house museums and plantations within and around the city.
The Aiken-Rhett House in downtown Charleston and the Middleton Place Plantation down the Ashley River both give insightful tours that help you form a deeper understanding of Charleston’s dark past and the horrors of slavery.
When you are not exploring or learning more about Charleston, you should definitely check out the mouthwatering Southern fare served at Charleston’s restaurants.
FIG and Husk both have a sophisticated ambiance for memorable evenings and special occasions.
Fleet Landing, in its former U.S. Naval building, offers tasty seafood dishes right on the Cooper River.
For something quick and inexpensive, pop into Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for a biscuit sandwich with pimento cheese.
If traveling by plane, fly into Charleston International Airport, and grab a twenty-minute Uber to downtown.
A car is not required to enjoy Charleston, but if you do drive, be aware that most downtown hotels charge a nightly parking fee.
A great hotel option is the Indigo Inn, which has an adjacent paved parking lot, nightly free wine, and a beautiful courtyard.
Myrtle Beach is a beautiful little beach town located in South Carolina!
It’s a popular summer getaway and perfect for all sorts of travelers including families or couples — Myrtle Beach has something for everyone!
There are great opportunities for nightlife, lots of shops and of course great restaurants to choose from. With a gorgeous beach, this is a great spot to come for swimming, relaxing or water sports.
Staying at a beachfront location is an absolute must in Myrtle Beach. Rent a room or a suite at the Bar Harbor hotel for beautiful views of the water and a great location close to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.
This is a great area for restaurants and eating out as well as activities such as the nearby amusement park.
Wicked Tuna and Gigi’s Bar and Grill are both great choices for a lunch by the water or dinner with views of the beach.
Of course, going out for cocktails in the evening is also highly recommended and Myrtle Beach is known for its live entertainment, theatre performances, and comedy shows.
Not sure where you want to travel in the USA in spring?
Here are 22 incredible spring break destinations in the US, from coast to coast, and Alaska and Hawaii too!
Spring Destinations in the USA
Contributed by Megan Starr of Virginia Travel Tips
Washington DC is one of the most famous places to visit in the US during spring. It offers an array of different things to do and one of the most famous flower festivals in the world.
The main reason travelers jaunt off to Washington DC for spring is the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival which is celebrated during spring in honor of the Japanese sakuras that were gifted to the United States by Japan in 1912.
The blossoms appear on different days annually, but the festival takes place from around March 20 until April 10, so you can be almost guaranteed that they will blossom some time during those dates.
Throughout the festival, many smaller events will take place in Washington DC to cater to the guests coming in from all over the world.
Hotels from the entire region from Arlington, Virginia to Bethesda, Maryland will offer shuttle services, Cherry Blossom tours, and even blossom-inspired cocktails to guests to celebrate the event.
Another reason to visit Washington DC during spring is that it is the perfect time to take advantage of the incredible museums the city has to offer before summer holidays take place and the museums are crowded with families.
The Smithsonian Institute’s museums in Washington DC are free and renowned as some of the best museums in the world. Visiting DC’s museums is an excellent thing to do during the unpredictable spring weather.
Springtime in Washington DC is a fantastic time to visit the US capital city.
Contributed by Paroma Chakravarty of Yr of the Monkey
The city of Ojai in Ventura County is a mere 1.5 hours drive from Los Angeles and makes for a fabulous day trip from LA.
Located in the valley of the Topatopa Mountains, Ojai is well known for its quirky local stores and a strong art scene, with the Ojai Art Center being the oldest non-profit art center in the state.
If you’re ever in Ojai, I highly recommend a walk through Libby Park (Ojai’s patch of green in downtown), checking out the many arcade stores, kombucha tasting at the local Revel Kombucha Bar, hanging out at Bart’s Books and enjoying some delicious food at The Nest, The Farmer and the Cook and Lebanese Ojai Rotie.
Summer can be oppressively hot in this landlocked California city, but spring is the perfect time to visit with not one, but two local festivals to enjoy.
The first is the famous pixie tangerine festival in April when the Ojai tourism board plans several events around the harvesting and sales of these locally grown, highly sweet tangerines favored by Ojai’s unique microclimate.
The second Ojai spring festival to watch out for happens in late May with the Ojai Art center organizing the very popular Annual Art in the Park festival in Libby Park. This festival is attended by artists from all over the world. The Art in the Park event boasts of live music and food along with an art exhibition by students.
North Texas, TX
Contributed by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
North Texas not only has an incredible climate in spring, with warm temperatures that are perfect for sightseeing and outdoor dining, but this region of Texas also becomes a canvas of color as wildflowers spring up along the sides of the highways and blanket fields and pastures as far as the eye can see.
The region, which is home to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is also home to the official Bluebonnet City of Texas.
From early-March to early-May, just 30 minutes outside of Dallas, the small town of Ennis draws thousands of people all seeking beautiful fields of vibrant blue flowers known as Texas Bluebonnets.
The town hosts a fun Bluebonnet Festival each spring with live music, food booths, and local vendors selling crafts, but the real draw to the town is the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails.
The 40-miles of trails take you through rural, country roads where fields of bluebonnets span the horizon. Driving along the scenic route, you’ll pass longhorns, picturesque barns, wineries, antique shops, and plenty of idealistic photo opportunities.
Aside from Ennis, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in North Texas, including the Dallas Arboretum, where half a million tulips bloom each spring.
There is also the town of Grapevine, where you have indoor water parks, and amusement parks that are great if visiting North Texas with kids, even on a rainy day in spring.
With so much to do in North Texas, you could easily spend a full week exploring North Texas and its many towns and cities.
Contributed by Gemma Armit of Two Scots Abroad
Are you a music, movie, and tech fan? Or do you own a business and are ready to mingle with industry giants? Add South By Southwest to your bucket list for spring.
In March, key players, thinkers and those who want to be signed attend the 10-day festival in Austin, Texas to learn, swap business cards and have fun.
Since the event is sponsored by huge commercial businesses, many events are catered for which means lots of free drink and music gigs.
Stages, bars, cafes and theatres are packed with some shows being headlined by huge names. However, one of the best things about attending is discovering the ‘next big thing.
Hollywood celebrities attend too. In 2019, David Tennant and John Hamm were part of a panel discussing their new Amazon Original show, Good Omens. For badge holders, there was a massive party with free drink and food.
If you don’t like crowds, then SXSW isn’t for you. This is one of Austin’s busiest times and SXSW hotel prices hit three times the price of an ordinary trip so take that into consideration when budgeting.
However, the amount of free activities can offset hotel and Airbnb prices.
To top off such a fun festival, the skies are blue and it is warm enough for just t-shirts during the day. Bliss.
Outdoor life is celebrated in the springtime. Locals and tourists alike flock to the many restaurants in Phoenix as most have outdoor patios or large glass windows that open to enjoy this glorious time of year. It’s a foodie’s paradise with lots of amazing restaurants.
Hiking is a popular thing to do in and around the city. There are large desert parks in all parts of the city. Take a day trip to the beautiful red rock buttes of Sedona or visit the 14k-foot Humphreys Peak in Flagstaff if you’re up for a real challenge.
If you’re a baseball fan, spring training is a big hit in Phoenix, and 15 teams come to practice here. If golf is more your sport of choice, there are over 200 beautiful courses to choose from, most of which are public.
The spring is festival time and the Phoenix calendar is filled with cultural and heritage festivals, food and beer, western, and more. Though the fall and winter are also great times to visit Phoenix, the springtime is when this city really comes alive.
South Beach Miami, FL
Contributed by Talek Nantes of Travels with Talek
South Beach is an area on the southeastern tip of Miami Beach in Southern Florida. The best time of the year in SOBE is springtime when the weather ranges from a high of 70 degrees F to the low 80s. Ahhh…that’s beautiful weather! Springtime avoids the sweltering summer heat when the temperature can hit the 100s.
One other advantage of visiting South Beach in the spring time is that the hotel prices are lower than the winter rates because the snowbirds have largely left town.
This applies to the higher end hotels that can easily go for upwards of $300 as well as the hostels that sell for about $40 per night. It is easier to get into clubs as they are less crowded and restaurant reservations are also more available for the same reason.
Springtime is also when the city puts on many of its top fairs, festivals, and activities. The Miami Film Festival in March has been gaining popularity and Miami Music Week also continues to grow.
There is so much to do in SOBE. The restaurants range from high end like the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab to yummy street food.
The nightlife is legendary, there are cute little museums to visit and interesting streets to explore. Finally, the beach is one of the best in the United States.
South Beach is a great option for a springtime break.
Contributed by Stephanie Woodson from Explore More, Clean Less
Asheville is a bustling mountain town in western North Carolina that is a popular vacation destination year round, but spring is one of the most exciting seasons to visit for hiking!
Temperatures are mild and the foliage is lush; spring wildflowers and mushrooms are exciting to spot while exploring on the trail or driving along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway’s scenic curves.
Tourists will enjoy mountain views at relatively low altitudes so there’s no fear of altitude sickness and special gear isn’t usually necessary to hit the trails.
Spring rain also translates into full, rushing waterfalls; there are hundreds in the area both along hiking trails and roadside so there’s something for everyone.
Folks who prefer to enjoy nature from paved paths and manicured gardens will enjoy the bright tulip blooms at the Biltmore Estate, a grand estate with cares of green space.
Asheville also has an energetic local art district and downtown, and visiting during spring lends itself to walking around exploring artist studios or listening to live music.
Many breweries and restaurants have outdoor seating so you can practically spend your entire visit soaking up the mountain air and sun.
Most of the smaller cities surrounding Asheville have their own spring festivals so it’s simple to pick a hike and evening entertainment in any direction. Check out this top list of most popular, easy trails in Asheville before you go!
Contributed by Lance and Laura Longwell of Guide to Philly.
Philadelphia is a magical springtime travel destination. The city’s Fairmount Park is consistently voted the best urban park in America. With miles of trails and rivers to explore, the park comes alive as soon as the weather turns nice.
Inside Fairmount Park, the Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens is a popular spot for locals and visitors. Ensconced among the cherry blossoms, the house is a peaceful space in the midst of one of America’s busiest cities.
Constructed in 1953 in Japan using a style common to the 17th century, the house and gardens are a living museum for Japanese culture.
Every spring, tens of thousands of college and university students descend on Philadelphia for athletic competitions.
The Dad Vail regatta is the most important collegiate rowing event in the U.S. and brings thousands of athletes from over 100 universities to compete. Fans line the river drives on each side of the Schuylkill River banks to watch the races and partake in the festivities.
On land, the Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States with more than 15,000 competitors and is considered a key preview of the Olympics and World Championships. Both events draw locals and visitors alike.
Contributed by Erin Clarkson of Savannah First Timer’s Guide
Spring is easily the most popular time of year to plan a trip to Savannah, and for good reason; the city is blanketed by beautiful pink and white azalea blossoms from late February to early April!
The weather is also fairly mild, with highs in the mid-70s to low-80s and a good number of sunny days.
Spring is also when Savannah hosts some of its largest events of the year. The famous St. Patrick’s Day festival includes activities such as the “greening of the fountain” and a large parade that winds through the beautiful Historic District.
The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is also typically held during the spring season.
Since flowers are the main draw, it only makes sense that the best places to visit during the season are outdoor attractions. Bonaventure Cemetery looks stunning during the month of March.
Thousands of hot pink azalea blossoms cover what is considered by many to be Savannah’s most beautiful cemetery.
Forsyth Park also looks stunning in March, when the outer edges of the park and the area lining the famous fountain are covered in azalea blooms.
A stroll through the Historic District is a great way to enjoy the weather while admiring Savannah’s beautiful architecture, squares, and secret gardens.
A few must-see landmarks include The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Congregation Mickve Israel, Colonial Park Cemetery, and River Street.
The Collins Quarter and Little Duck Diner are two delicious restaurants with outdoor dining.
North Georgia Mountains, GA
Contributed by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide
Whether it’s the lush greens (and relatively cool temperatures) of summer, the vivid colors of fall, or the snow-flecked wonder of winter, the North Georgia mountains are truly beautiful at pretty much any time of year.
But spring is truly a special time here at the southern tip of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain ranges.
Surrounded by the Chatthoochee and Oconee National Forests, North Georgia is a haven for nature lovers.
Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail (which starts on Springer Mountain in Blairsville), exploring one of the dozen or so state parks in the area, or making your way to some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, spring is when the mountains shrug off the ice and snow in favor of wildflowers and azalea bushes.
By May and early June, North Georgia lakes such as Allatoona, Blue Ridge, Nottley, Burton, Rabun, and Chatuge become warm enough to swim and water ski in.
Whitewater rafting the Chattooga and Ocoee Rivers becomes infinitely more pleasant as temperatures rise, while fishing and tubing down the Chattahoochee and Toccoa Rivers are also popular pastimes.
Dogwood and magnolia trees begin to unveil their beautiful blossoms, and the sweet scent of honeysuckle starts to waft on the warming breeze. Spotting baby Deer or Black Bears is not uncommon, and seasonal birds (include Ruby-throated hummingbirds) start making their way back north.
These are just a few of the reasons spring is a great time to visit the mountains of North Georgia, and also why so many people who visit the region seem to be deciding to call it their permanent home.
Broken Bow, OK
Contributed by Derek and Mike of Robetrotting
America is a vast country with countless hidden gems as far as travel destinations are concerned. One of them is a perfect place for a spring visit, and it’s located in southeast Oklahoma, about three hours from Dallas and Tulsa.
Broken Bow, OK is nestled in the rolling hills at the convergence of Mountain Fork River and Broken Bow Lake. It’s the gateway to Beaver Bend State Park and the outdoor activities and wilderness living of Broken Bow are fantastic for a spring getaway.
In the spring, conditions are perfect to be on the lakes with boating, fishing, and swimming popular all season. It’s also a great time to visit the local wineries like Girls Gone Wine on Route 259.
The area is also home to breweries like Beavers Bend Brewery, named for the surrounding state park.
A perfect rainy day activity is visiting the Gardner Mansion, a two-story farmhouse built in 1884 for the chief of the Choctaw tribe. Today it’s a museum housing Pioneer and Native American artifacts.
Most visitors enjoy the chance to live in the wilderness with camping and RV parks dotting the area. For those who prefer glamping or a lodge, there are Broken Bow Airbnb cabin rentals that rival five-star resorts but still give you that wilderness weekend feeling.
Wherever you stay, there’s a lot to do in Broken Bow during the spring!
Outer Banks, NC
Hope you are doing well.
Thanks for letting us be a part of this collab. I am sending the writeup for Outer Banks, one of our favorite spring destinations. I have included the link to the post within the text.
Outer Banks, NC
Recommended by Neha from Travelmelodies
One of our favorite Spring break destinations in the US is the Outer Banks on the East Coast. OBX (as called in short) are barrier islands spread over 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
Spring is the best time to travel to the islands as temperatures are starting to get warm while hotels are affordable. So you can enjoy the beaches sans the crowd.
There are many things to do in the Outer Bank, NC. The must-visit is the Wright Brothers Memorial where the brothers created history by taking their first flight that opened the doors to aviation industry. It is inspirational to see and believe that dreams do come true with perseverance.
There are many beautiful lighthouses: Currituck beach lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and the iconic Cape Hatteras lighthouse are some standing by the beach. Visiting during Spring lets you climb the spiral staircases to the top of these lighthouses for beautiful views of the ocean and around.
For adventure lovers, there are many opportunities for water sports and driving on the sandy beaches. But it is advisable to drive an AWD on the Corolla and Cape Hatteras beach.
Besides driving on Corolla beach, there are wild horses around that region that are chased. There are many wild horse tours also operating who take around the beach area in their jeeps.
It is best to stay at the beach to enjoy the mesmerizing sunrise and build castles on the beach. Some of the best Outer Banks hotels are on the beach and are great to stay with families.
Bald Head Island, NC
Contributed by Maria from Maptrekking
Located along the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head Island is a beautiful barrier island that is perfect for slow traveling to relax and unwind. Escape day to day life on the mainland to experience springtime on a tiny but environmentally diverse island
What makes this island so unique is the four different ecological habitats: beach and dunes, a maritime forest, freshwater lagoons, and salt marsh/estuary.
It is a bird watchers haven since there have been over 260 species of birds found on the island. When visiting in the springtime, you will be able to observe certain species that only come to the island for a few spring months.
One of the biggest perks of visiting during the spring is that you will see a whole different side to the island since summer is the high season.
You can still get some warm days during Spring and you will be only sharing the island with the locals, so it will be less crowded and more peaceful.
Bald Head Island is home to ‘Old Baldy’, the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. Without the crowds on the island, climbing up will be a breeze and you will get a great view of the whole island.
Make sure to take advantage of having the salt marsh to yourself and try kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. You might even find some rare shells while beachcombing on the empty beaches at low tide.
Marco Island, FL
Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Naples Florida Travel Guide
As the winter chill in the northern US begins to thaw and the summer heat hasn’t yet reached the southern tip of Florida, there are plenty of things to do in Marco Island to satisfy any traveler.
The largest island in the regions’ Ten Thousand Islands, Marco lies south of Naples at the gateway to the Everglades, and spring is an especially good time to visit the Everglades and surrounding landscape.
The cooler winter chill is past and nature lovers will appreciate the lack of rain. Because water in the Glades is low this time of year, hiking is easier and trails more accessible.
Plus, wildlife viewing is much better and Rookery Bay sees a return of migratory wading birds and an abundance of Bald Eagles.
Southwest Florida is known for its beaches, and there are several good ones on Marco Island. Looking for seashells during this time is good and the water temperatures are refreshing in the warm sun (in the low 80s F).
Beach-combers would book a shelling cruise to Keewaydin Island, a nearby island only accessible by boat.
From sunning on the beach to exploring the pristine nature, Marco Island is ideal for nature and outdoor lovers, not to mention the amazing beaches that everyone will love.
One of the island’s biggest events of the year, the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, is held at the end of March — another reason spring is the perfect time of year to visit Marco Island.
La Conner, WA
Contributed by Nicole of Go Far, Grow Close
La Conner, Washington is a small fishing town on the Skagit River. It is 67 miles north of Seattle or 88 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia.
La Conner is a lovely town filled with beautiful and inviting small hotels, Bed & Breakfast Inns, and arts and crafts stores. In fact, one of the best things to do is visit the dozens of antique shops in town and the surrounding area where you can uncover classic antiques, or funky pieces of old time furniture or memorabilia.
Every year, Skagit Valley hosts the annual tulip festival in March or April. It is an absolutely breathtaking event to see. The farmer’s fields surrounding La Conner and beyond are filled with thousands and thousands of tulips.
For a small entrance fee, you can walk the fields and purchase very inexpensive and colorful tulips or bulbs.
Beyond that, one of the most special things that you can do around La Conner is leave the main road and take the Chaukanut Drive.
This drive is approximately 21 miles on the original roadway, and for most of it, you are driving next to the Pacific Ocean with awe-inspiring views of mountains, trees and the water.
There are a few excellent seafood restaurants along the way, so make sure you schedule your drive close to lunch or dinner.
Big Island, HI
Contributed by Marcie Cheung of Hawaii Travel with Kids
One of the most interesting Hawaiian islands to visit in the Spring is the Big Island of Hawaii. The weather is much milder than summer and it’s usually not as rainy as during the winter. Plus, it’s before Hawaii’s hurricane season, which runs June-November.
One of the most popular things to do on the Big Island is visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the best opportunity to see lava in Hawaii, as long as the volcano is actively erupting.
There’s plenty of other outdoor activities on the Big Island, like hiking, snorkeling, checking out waterfalls, diving, swimming with Manta Rays, fishing, exploring Hawaiian historical sites, kayaking, and more.
You can also visit a coffee plantation where you can taste authentic Kona coffee. The Big Island is also known for its black sand beaches, which are definitely worth a stop. If you travel to Hawaii in April, the Big Island hosts the Merrie Monarch Festival, the largest hula competition in the world.
This is the ultimate time to see authentic hula, hear from cultural experts, and find some incredibly unique and handmade Hawaiian souvenirs.
And if you head to the Big Island in May, you can experience Lei Day (May 1) where you can see a royal pageant, learn how to make a lei, watch hula, and more.
Contributed by Wendy of AdventurousRetirement.com
Spring is the best time to visit Tucson. Cool mornings and evenings, and midday can be from the 70s-90F. Spring offers picture-perfect weather for hiking, swimming, biking, and sightseeing.
When it comes to outdoor experiences, there’s so much to choose from! Look for flowering cactus, meadows of poppies, lizards and tortoises of the desert while on scenic drives, hikes, mountain biking, visiting wildlife preserves, river walks, botanical gardens, and more.
Spring is a great time to visit the Tucson Botanical Garden, the Japanese Gardens, or hike in a National or State Park, like Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe National Monument, or Coronado National Forest. We loved the citrus in the air from the lemon and orange trees.
Enjoy hikes in Picacho Peak, Oracle, and Catalina State Parks or Saguaro National Park where you can see yellow poppies, purple lupine, and giant white cactus blooms in springtime.
There are waterfalls and at least 10 natural pools near Tucson. A few in Coronado National Forest include Seven Falls, Sabino Canyon Pools, and Tanque Verde Falls.
There are various mineral hot springs in the Safford area, near Tucson.
Don’t miss spectacular hikes just outside of Tucson, such as Chiricahua National Monument for seeing balancing rocks and mother nature’s sculptures, Agua Caliente Hill South Trail for desert tortoises, Sentinel Peak for an easy hike overlooking the city, Saguaro National Park to see the iconic giant cacti, and Tucson Mountain District (west) to view the petroglyphs of the Ancient Hohokam people.
There’s so much more in the Tucson area, like museums, additional mountain areas, Native American lands, lakes, and historic towns like Tombstone, Bisbee, and Tubac.
Top off your Tucson spring trip with an Arizona sunset, an evening campfire, and a meal outdoors. Happy travels!
Florida Keys, FL
Contributed by Bryanna Royal of Crazy Family Adventure
Spring is a great time for a Florida Keys road trip! The weather will be warmer than it is in winter but not blazing hot like it can get in the summer.
This means you can comfortably do activities out of the water like visiting Aquarium Encounters where you can feed sharks and pet the stingrays. You can also get into the water for some jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and more.
We highly recommend checking out the Sebago All Day Adventures. They take you out on a catamaran for a day full of water activities and fun.
The Florida Keys spread out over 100 miles, so you can also spend a day checking out the National Parks found up and down the Florida Keys, drive over the 7-mile bridge and have some Key Lime Pie! If you are up for a real adventure, book a day to visit Dry Tortugas National Park.
It is a national park located 90 miles off of Key West and is a tiny island with Fort Jefferson on it. It is unbelievably beautiful and a unique place to visit. Key West is known for being a spring break destination.
If you are up for that, be sure to head down to Key West for some unforgettable partying. If you would rather avoid the spring breakers, stay north in the Keys somewhere like Hawk’s Cay or in the Marathon area.
The Keys’ beauty is unbeatable, and we love all the gorgeous blue/green water you see as you cross the bridges going from one key to the next!
Death Valley National Park, CA/NV
Contributed by Christine of Live Love Run Travel
Death Valley in the spring is amazing. In the summer, temperatures can soar to over 120 degrees.
In the winter, the desert gets very cold at night. Spring brings in the perfect weather with evenings and mornings cool enough to enjoy camping and just right in the daytime for hiking and exploring the park.
My first visit to Death Valley was in the middle of July when the sand was burning and it was too hot to do much of anything, but visiting again in March was so much better for enjoying all the park has to offer.
If you’re going to do a Spring Break California road trip, spend at least one day in Death Valley. There is plenty to see and do if you want to stay for a few days, but you can also fit the main highlights into one day.
Make sure to hike out on the Mesquite Sand Dunes when the sun is low in the sky to see the shadows play on the dunes.
Next visit the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin. Here the salt flats run for miles, but make sure to walk out to the clean salt. The area right near the parking lot can get quite dirty.
Finally, make sure to drive Artist’s Drive to see the different colors of sand and rock in the mountains thanks to natural minerals.
If you see nothing else in Death Valley, make sure not to miss those three things, but know there is plenty more to see if you have the time.
The main draw of Yosemite is its unique granite formations and many stunning waterfalls that flow into the valley. If you want to see the waterfalls in full force, spring is the best season to visit.
The spring snowmelt causes the waterfalls to be stunning, peaking in May and June, but by late summer or fall they can be only a trickle.
More experienced hikers can even hike to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls, taking in the panoramic views of the valley. If you plan on hiking in spring, make sure to check if the higher elevation trails are still snow-covered and plan accordingly.
Spring is also a great time to see the amazing wildflowers in Yosemite, and it is the only time the dogwood trees bloom. Dogwood trees can be found with their signature large white flowers throughout spring from April-June and are truly a sight to behold!
With its many flowers and showstopping waterfalls, its easy to see why Yosemite is one of America’s most popular National Parks, but another perk to a spring visit is that you won’t be at peak times.
Coming before Memorial Day will almost guarantee you fewer crowds than during the summer, and you’ll be enjoying arguably a more beautiful time of year!
Kenai Fjords National Park, AK
Contributed by Megan Starr of Megan & Aram
A fantastic option of a place to visit in the United States during spring is Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska.
This national park flies under the radar when put up against many of the parks in the lower-48, but it definitely has a lot to offer and spring might just be the most underrated time of the year to visit it.
Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the few national parks in the United States that is mostly water. As a result, a lot of the park remains inaccessible during the winter months due to temperatures, snowfall, and rough seas.
While getting to Seward is typically not a problem, visiting the park can pose problems for many tourists.
However, Kenai Fjords National Park start to come back to life in spring. The park is free to visit and travelers start to flock to it for the famous gray whale migrations that take place through Resurrection Bay during the spring months.
While you can witness humpback and orcas at other times of the year, spring is undoubtedly the best season to see the gray whales migrate through. The oceans come alive and the boat cruises open back up for passengers to witness the phenomenon themselves.
Another perk of visiting Kenai Fjords National Park in spring is that it is not yet high-season and you will have the opportunity to score waterfront accommodation at the fraction of the price that you would if you were to visit during the summer months.
Flights to Anchorage and are also significantly cheaper and you will still have a chance to see the Northern Lights if they are powerful enough and the skies are clear. Summer months offer far too much daylight to see the aurora.
Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most underrated US national parks to visit in spring.
Zion National Park
Contributed by Jessica of Unearth the Voyage
Zion National Park is one of the best places to visit in the USA in the springtime. Spring is such a wonderful season for this park for many different reasons.
The first reason is the weather is absolutely perfect in the spring. It’s not too hot which means it’s an ideal time for hiking.
During the spring is when all the wildflowers start to bloom in this area as well, so on your hikes, you will be able to view some gorgeous scenery with beautiful spring flowers blooming everywhere.
Some of the famous hikes in Zion National Park feature beautiful waterfalls, and spring is the optimal time to see the waterfalls in full action. Spring is also a great time to view wildlife and possibly even see newborn babies!
During springtime, it might even be a bit chilly at night, so it’s a perfect time to cuddle up by a fire at an amazing Zion National Park Airbnb that’s only minutes from the park and has incredible views.
Overall, spring is the perfect season for visiting Zion National Park, and it definitely won’t disappoint!
Nothing beats having your own set of wheels beneath you and everything you need in your car!
When planning a road trip, it’s crucial to consider not only what you want to wear and bring to your final destination, but all the little things that will make your road trip more comfortable along the way. That includes necessities, like an annual travel insurance policy and safety gear for hitting the road, as well as frivolities like road trip games and a killer Spotify road trip playlist
After all — on a road trip, the destination is the journey!
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Here are the things that I think are absolute road trip necessities, to help you plan and pack for hitting the open road.
Below is your ultimate road trip packing list for all occasions!
Note that this is a road trip packing list that assumes you’ll be staying in hotels along the way. If you’re also camping, you’ll need to add other items like a tent, sleeping bag, etc. — check out my car camping packing list which will tell you all the things you need to bring!
These are the absolutely mission-critical items to have in terms of safety and physically being able to go on your road trip, and making sure you have the items on this list is one of my top travel tips for planning a long road trip.
They’re not that interesting, sure, but they are all the road trip essentials you need to remember, so be sure to scan this part of the road trip packing list carefully to make sure you haven’t omitted anything vitally important!
Car documents & driver’s license
This should be rather obvious, but you’ll need your driver’s license, car documentation, AAA card if you have a membership (or other similar roadside assistance program), and insurance papers ready for any road trip you take.
If you have an America the Beautiful National Parks pass, don’t forget that at home. If you don’t have one and you plan to visit 2 or more national parks during a USA road trip, I strongly suggest buying one. At just $79.99 for the year, it typically pays for itself after the third use and it covers 2,000 parklands in the U.S. National Parks system.
Make sure you double-check that you have all this information easily handy in case you need it on your trip.
If you are renting a car at your destination, make sure you get all the paperwork from the car rental office and ensure you’re sufficiently insured for the trip.
If your road trip includes going to another state or country where you are not insured locally, you may need travel insurance in order to cover you in case of incident.
Double check with your health insurance plan and car insurance plan to ensure you’re within their coverage; if not, travel insurance will fill in the gaps.
Roadside emergency kit
You should already have an emergency kit in your car with things like a reflective triangle, rain poncho, emergency blanket, safety vest, safety whistle, etc. in case of an emergency.
But if you don’t, know is a good time to invest in a roadside emergency kit that also includes a first aid kit.
If you’re bringing your own car from home, you’ll want to make sure you have things like jumper cables, etc. in case you have a battery die on you on the road.
Have your physical car manual handy or download an electronic version of it before you set out on your road trip — it’s essential in case any funky lights turn on and you’re not sure what they mean, or if you have trouble with some function.
Once on a road trip in Utah, I managed to lock the steering wheel of a rental car, and it was really counterintuitive to understanding how to unlock it. I almost got stuck out there for hours! Be sure to have access to a car manual, whether physical or electronic, before setting out on your road trip.
Spare tire & tire changing kit
Having a spare tire isn’t much good if you don’t have a jack or kit to change out the tire. Make sure your tire changing kit is complete (or buy your tire changing kit before you head out), and make sure you know how to use it!
Flashlight or headlamp
In case you get somewhere poorly lit after dark, have an emergency in the night, or just go on a sunset hike and need to light your way back, a flashlight or headlamp is key (and make sure to bring some extra batteries, too!)
For the most part, this packing list is geared towards summer road trips, but if you happen to be planning a winter road trip, don’t neglect seasonal car necessities like an ice scraper, tire chains, etc.
Basic Road Trip Necessities
These are the little things that are easy to accidentally skim over and forget.
They aren’t as vitally important as the above, because they’re easy to replace on the road, but save time by packing these road trip necessities before you go!
Car cell phone charger
You will zap your cell phone battery FAST while on a road trip, so it’s essential to have a car charger.
There are places in the world that still use only cash… shocking, I know.
When you are ready to hit the road, don’t get caught off guard without any cash for a park entrance fee, bathroom fee, road tolls, or little odds and ends along the way like buying tasty produce from a local roadside farm stand!
Paper map or offline map
Yes, paper maps still exist and not just as an Instagram prop… although they do make awesome Instagram props, too.
Or if you just want to use your phone, that’s OK too, but be sure to download all the offline maps using Google Maps or Maps.me
A killer road trip playlist!
OK, what good is a road trip without some awesome music? Be sure to have an epic playlist ready to go.
My friend Stephanie gathered all the best road trip songs — download some before you go in case you need some tunes when you don’t have any data or WiFi.
If you prefer podcasts, have your favorite shows downloaded and ready to go.
Road Trip Items for Hygiene & Travel Safety
In the current public health crisis, it’s important to bring plenty of sanitizing gear with you when you’re on a road trip. There are lots of high touch-point surfaces you may not think of immediately, like a gas station nozzle, which can be high-risk on a road trip.
Here’s what I recommend you pack for a road trip in 2021 in the current hygiene context.
While there was a huge run on sanitizing wipes in the US, shortages are on the decline, but it’s still just as important to bring wipes with you on a trip, vaccinated or not!
It’s best to try to source alcohol wipes in a store from a brand you trust or from a verified brand seller on Amazon, such as from the Clorox store.
Use alcohol wipes on high-touch surfaces as needed and not excessively — soap and water should be your primary line of cleaning and defense.
I suggest you use these when not otherwise possible, such as when at a gas station or using a touchpad at an ATM or grocery store.
Hand sanitizer as well is another great thing to have on hand when on the road, as sources of hand sanitizer cannot always be guaranteed and there may be times where it is difficult or less safe to go to a public restroom.
Again, it’s better to try to source hand sanitizer in a store from a trusted brand, but in the absence of that being possible, this brand available online looks to be safe, FDA-approved, and with a high-enough level of ethyl alcohol to be safe.
Spare liquid soap
Liquid or bar soap is still the gold standard for washing your hands and should be chosen over hand sanitizer whenever you have access to water.
Some gas stations, park bathrooms, etc. may not be well-attended, so bring some spare liquid soap with a locking top or a bar of soap in a Ziploc baggie just in case.
Be sure to wash your hands for 30-40 seconds, every part, in order to get the full sanitation benefits.
When in places where distancing is not possible, you will need to wear a face mask to keep yourself and fellow humans safe.
Bring multiple cloth face masks and circulate them, allowing face masks ample time in the sun when possible (such as leaving them on your dashboard) or washing them in between uses in order to sanitize the masks.
Not specifically hygiene-related, but worth putting in this section nonetheless.
Be sure to have a few gallons of extra water in your car for emergencies. Whether it’s replacing the water to cool down your engine or emergency drinking water if you’re stranded, it’s a cheap and simple thing to add to your road trip packing list with no downside.
Personal Comfort Road Trip Items
These are the little things when packing for a road trip that make your time much more comfortable on the road.
From snacks to sunscreen, travel towels to travel pillows, these are the little things that you probably already have at home that you should make sure not to forget on your long road trip.
Road trip snacks
There’s a funny quote about snacks for road trips… it goes like this: “It doesn’t matter how old you get, buying snacks for a road trip should always look like an unsupervised 9-year-old was given $100.”
I’m not sure who originally said it, but it’s true. Nothing ruins a road trip faster like hanger… so be sure to avoid it!
Have a good mix of snacks and not just sweet ones. I find that too many sweets on an empty stomach is a recipe for major headaches. Likewise, too many salty snacks and not enough water will also do you in!
Don’t be caught off guard by a poorly stocked restroom! Bring your own toilet paper from home, or have a resealable pack of Kleenex with you.
At a minimum, you should have motion sickness tablets, painkillers like ibuprofen/paracetamol, and something like Pepto-Bismol tablets for upset stomachs while you’re on the road.
Impromptu hikes, lack of schedule, random meal times, salty snacks, sunny days, hangovers from wine nights after driving duty is done: there are many reasons it’s easy to get dehydrated while road tripping.
I always pack some rehydration packets with me on my travels as I’m prone to getting dehydrated and getting headaches, and they’re a lifesaver. I recommend these ones.
I can’t express to you how much I love microfiber travel towels!
They pack up to nearly nothing and they’re super effective at soaking up moisture… plus they quick-dry so fast compared to standard home towels!
Whether you take a dip in a lake or river, are staying in a hotel or Airbnb that doesn’t provide enough towels, or need an impromptu picnic blanket or beach touch, a microfiber travel towel is a road trip must pack.
Some bites are inevitable no matter how diligent you are with bug spray. Keep itchiness at bay with an After Bite itch eraser, which instantly soothes any bug bites.
Did you know you should always wear sunscreen while driving? The windshield doesn’t protect you against all UV rays — while they protect against UVB rays (which cause sunburn), most do not block UVA rays, which cause aging and skin cancer.
No matter what your skin tone or race, Black, white, or Asian, you need to wear sunscreen daily — and on a road trip it’s no different!
If you’re hiking, don’t forget about your scalp either — I often end up with a burned scalp and it’s no fun, often leading to headaches. Buy a special sunscreen for hair and scalp to avoid this!
Lip balm with SPF
Be sure to bring a hydrating lip balm that also has SPF on your road trip! Poor hydration and lots of sun can both cause dry, chapped lips which are no fun when traveling. I like the key lime Sun Bum chapstick best.
There’s nothing worse than squinting through the windshield as the sun nearly blinds you while you drive! Seasoned roadtrippers know to bring your favorite sunglasses, plus a cheap spare pair as backup.
You hopefully have someone to divide the driving duties with, so while you’re on a break from manning the road, you’ll want to have a comfortable way to kick back and enjoy your time off of driving duty.
This cozy memory-foam travel pillow also comes with an eye mask if you need to catch some Zs while another driver takes over!
A cozy-soft travel blanket, whether it’s just a blanket you love from home that you don’t mind taking on the road or a specialty travel blanket, will make your time on the road that much more comfortable.
Also great for impromptu picnics, sunset hikes that get surprisingly chilly, and taking a nap while you’re off duty.
Insulated travel mug
I use and swear by Contigo travel mugs — they’re leakproof and pretty much indestructible and they’re inexpensive to boot. This one is vacuum-insulated and fits standard cupholders easily.
Reusable water bottle
Don’t waste plastic or money constantly buying new water bottles at obscene prices!
Get a reusable water bottle and either refill it from your extra-large water containers mentioned above (safer given the current situation) or fill up in sinks and fountains along the way.
This one is insulated, stainless steel, and convenient to drink from. Another good choice would be a collapsible water bottle like this one which you can take with you when hiking.
Vaseline is a traveler’s miracle, perfect for everything from fixing flyaways to helping super-chapped lips or hands (common when hyper-sanitizing!) to preventing chub rub, a summer affliction for the thicker-thighed ladies out there like me.
I always make sure I travel with Vaseline and while you don’t walk as much on road trips as on other forms of travel, it’s still such an easy addition to your bag that I say bring it!
For ladies with long hair, a brush and hair ties are a must, especially on hot days. I also tend to take advantage of the fact that I’m not flying and thus don’t have to adhere to liquid restrictions when I’m road tripping by bringing my favorite shampoos from home.
Your hair care needs will vary depending on your hair length and hair texture, so bring whatever you know you need for your personal hair care, including any heat styling tools you want, because space isn’t an issue when road tripping!
Whatever toiletries you need from home, bring it on the road with you because the great thing about a road trip is no checking luggage! Here’s a quick list of toiletries you likely want with you.
Shampoo & conditioner
Razor & shaving cream
Toothpaste & toothbrush
Any acne or anti-aging skin treatments
When road tripping, think loose, comfy clothing that’s easily breathable which transition from car to outside easily.
For women, I suggest the following at a minimum for car/outdoor comfort. Yoga pants or leggings with a comfortable waistband, tee shirts with a sports bra, hiking boots or sneakers depending on activity, some sandals or flipflops for quicker rest stops: these are some road trip clothing essentials.
You’ll also want to bring layers like a jacket for any needed warmth, depending on the temperatures of your destination.
You may want to also bring some packing cubes (I like these from Eagle Creek) for your clothes and a laundry bag for dirty clothing to add a little organization to your trip, especially if you’re stopping in different destinations each night.
I included this separately from the comfortable clothes section because I wanted to highlight and underline how important a good rain jacket is. Rain is inevitable at times, so might as well dress for it!
I love the Marmot PreCip rain jacket (there’s a women’s version and a men’s version). I used mine for years biking in all sorts of rainy NYC weather and it always kept me dry without making me too hot and uncomfortable like some other rain jackets can, due to the zippered arm-pits which provide ventilation.
This is key if you plan to do anything outdoors like hiking or other active day trips while it’s raining.
In addition to a rain jacket, grab an umbrella from home and toss it in the car in case of rain!
If you’re hitting the road with kids in tow, you’ll want to be prepared for the inevitable “are we there yet?” with plenty of road trip games and entertainment for your little ones.
These are the electrics odds and ends that you’ll most likely want with you on your road trip!
The Anker external battery pack is a travel must. While you can charge your phone while driving, you may want to charge other devices — a camera, a drone, portable speakers, an e-reader — as well.
Or if you notice your battery is running low while you’re out hiking or sightseeing, you can just start charging right away without having to return to your car. It holds several charges on a single battery pack and will last days at a time.
Camera & extra batteries
For all my years of running this travel blog, I’ve relied on my Sony A6000 to take nearly-professional quality images. I don’t sell my photography, but I do love having wonderfully preserved memories, and this camera is the perfect middle-ground above a smartphone yet below the 5-figure kits that most photographers give.
Whatever camera you choose, be sure to have plenty of extra batteries and the battery charger as well — plus extra memory cards! I rely exclusively on 64GB Sandisk memory cards.
Laptop & charger
I bring my Macbook air and charger with me everywhere, but you may not need this set up if you don’t need to do any work while you travel.
I love having a Bluetooth speaker with me on road trips. They’re great for when you find an isolated spot you want to chill with friends at (though of course, make sure to be a decent citizen and don’t blast your music when other people are around enjoying nature).
Kindle or inspiring audiobooks
I bring my waterproof Kindle e-reader with me everywhere, but I can’t read while people are driving or I get motion sickness badly! So I love listening to inspiring adventure books on Audible while I travel.
Portable WiFi device
If you need to work while on your road trip or want to have a WiFi device handy so kids can connect to their devices (and you can stay sane), a portable WiFi hotspot is a road trip essential.
I like this GlocalMe WiFi device which is compact and easy to set up. Note that it won’t work all the time, as there need to be cell towers around, but on the plus side, it doesn’t need to access a specific network so even if your phone does not have signal, it might!
Fun Road Trip Accessories
These aren’t strictly necessary, but these little items will make your road trip much more memorable and a whole lot more fun!
I love this Instax mini instant camera for printable memories on demand! It’s the modern version of a Polaroid and it’s a great way to preserve memories of your trip.
Because face it, how often do you develop digital photos?
If you’re road tripping with a loved one and want to have romantic picnics, with the family and want to make special memories, or you just want some darn cute pictures of you and your friends enoying a road trip picnic, a picnic basket is an excellent choice.
Want something equally enjoyable but far more practical if you’re hiking? This picnic backpack is an excellent alternative.
Is it cute? No. But neither is being hunched over for days because you didn’t take care of your back, either.
Travel notebook & pen
This page-a-day travel journal is the perfect sidekick for remembering your travels and jotting down notes from the open road.
Tasty instant coffee
If you’re a coffee geek reading this, you probably want to throw something at me for the contradiction in terms that is “tasty instant coffee.”
But don’t stop reading! Joe Coffee, a NYC-based coffee shop, has delicious instant coffees which they dehydrate in small batches so that your cup tastes like a freshly-brewed one. Buy it online on Amazon here.
Better yet, they work in either cold or hot water so you can have an iced coffee or hot coffee fuss-free (most hotels you stay at should have an electric tea kettle).
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that figures highly on nearly everyone’s U.S. bucket lists.
This stunning natural wonder was one of the first national parks in the United States, the result of erosion from the Colorado River over 6 million years.
At a whopping 277 miles long and a maximum depth over a mile (6,000 feet) at its deepest points, the Grand Canyon defies explanation. It’s a place that must be seen, not merely described.
One way to get an idea of the scale of the Grand Canyon is this: archaeologically speaking, looking at the Grand Canyon is looking at the past, the past 2 billion years of Earth’s geological history through all the different layers of rock and earth.
The Grand Canyon is part of the National Park Service, which means that accommodation options are strictly controlled and limited within the park. There are some campsites and some official lodging within the park, but they are expensive and tend to sell out months upon months in advance/
As a result, many people stay in Airbnbs near the Grand Canyon, or other similar vacation rentals which offer the best combination of price point, ease of access, and amenities!
Note: All these Grand Canyon options are located by the South Rim, not the North Rim, because there are far more accommodation options down south!
Here are my top choices for the best rentals near the Grand Canyon!
Best Grand Canyon Rental for Budget Glamping: Nomad’s Pad
Price: From $130/night and up Guests: 3 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Book via Instagram or find this property on Hipcamp. First time booking with Hipcamp? I have a bonus for you! Get $10 off your first stay using my code: ALLISONG61751E or booking through my link.
Located a mere 30 minutes (by car) from the Grand Canyon South Rim, Nomad’s Pad Glamping Tent offers the unique experience of turning an open Arizona landscape into your own personal kitchen and living room, as long as you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
The nomadic-style tents has the only ‘indoor’ amenities you really need – a bed and a heater. With that said, the tent is quite resistant to the elements and there are insect screens to protect you from unwanted guests, so you can truly immerse yourself in nature and not worry about pests or unforeseen weather changes ruining your outdoor vacation.
The tent is about as environmentally friendly as it could be, as everything on the property is powered by solar energy, propane, and batteries.
The property has multiple tents which are well spaced-out, so you can expect absolute privacy without feeling completely alone in the wilderness.
The only things that are shared among the tents are the toilet and shower (which has an unending supply of hot water).
Each tent area has its own seating, fire pit, stove, and hammocks. This location is ideal for people who want to forget that their phones exist for a few days and just want to experience the great outdoors with family or friends, distanced from others.
If you’re looking for a vacation house near the Grand Canyon and you’d like to go there with your family or friends, Under Canvas Grand Canyon is just the place for you.
There are different tents for you to choose from. And when you compare the Stargaze tent, the Safari tent, and the Deluxe tent with a Kids tent, it’s not easy to make up your mind! They’re all gorgeous.
This is the perfect Arizona getaway spot for up to four people, with spacious interiors enough for everyone to be able to sit and get around.
Located in the wilderness, the property offers plenty of interesting sightseeing options. The suites are super comfortable and it’s even possible to use the barbecue facilities. Vegetarian or American breakfasts are also served to guests.
Most importantly, the house is a 45-minute drive from Flagstaff, yet because it’s quite isolated, you’ll be able to get to one of America’s greatest natural landmarks without worrying about crowds and tourists along the way.
Best Grand Canyon Rental Close to the Park: Grand Canyon Bungalow
Price: From $250/night and up Guests: 6 Bedrooms: 3 Nearest City: Grand Canyon Village Book it on VRBO
Grand Canyon Bungalow 3 is conveniently located 1 mile from the Grand Canyon National Park — meaning you don’t need to sweat parking at the often crowded South Rim parking lot!
This simple yet cozy house can accommodate up to 6 guests, and its minimalistic design and tastefully chosen furniture make it feel like a genuine home. The large amount of indoor space and the relative seclusion of the location make the house great for unwinding and enjoying the peaceful environment.
There’s plenty to be done outdoors, too – the perimeter of the house is covered in trees, so exploring the forest may lead to some interesting discoveries, and visitors can expect a beautiful morning view from the windows.
Additionally, the Arizona trailhead is nearby, adding to the already long list of locations of interest in Grand Canyon NP, and the front porch makes for a beautiful place to look at the sunset and the night sky if you just want to sit back and relax after a long day of hiking.
There are plenty of beautiful things to be seen in these parts of Arizona besides just the Grand Canyon main viewing area, and those who choose to stay at Grand Canyon Bungalow will really be able to make the most of their trip.
Best Grand Canyon Rental for the Nostalgic: Sheep Wagon
Price: From $203/night and up Guests: 2 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Page Find it on Hipcamp:Sheep Wagon. First time booking with Hipcamp? I have a bonus for you! Get $10 off your first stay using my code: ALLISONG61751E or booking through my link.
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a covered wagon in the middle of nowhere under a brilliant starry sky? This unique and beautifully restored sheepherder’s wagon from the early 1900s will make your dream come true!
Remember that water is a precious commodity in the desert, so for your comfort, bathing water is provided in a container heated by the sun. Note that there is no running water on the Navajo nation.
This stay is very minimalist, but it will definitely help you relax and connect with nature, surrounded by outstanding natural beauty.
The property provides a breakfast of fresh fruit, breakfast bars, and your choice of coffee or Navajo Tea. Cooking of other meals can be done over open fire at the outdoor fire pit. Small wood bundles of firewood or charcoal to cook can be purchased at any outlet in the town of Page.
If what you’re looking to get out of your trip is an unforgettable stay in a dreamy lodging, then this beautiful wagon is for you.
Best Rental for Hipsters on a Budget: Rustic Airstream
Price: From $45/night and up Guests: 4 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Book it on VRBO
Those in the market for an off-the-grid experience near the Grand Canyon will appreciate what the Rustic Airstream has to offer – conveniently located around 35 minutes from the GC National Park (by car), this camper makes for a great hub for resting in between hikes and trips.
A heater is provided for winter visits, and you’ll have access to a fire pit for evening relaxation.
Up to 3 people can sleep inside the camper, but the hosts can provide you with tents in case you want to come with a larger group, making this place a great pick for a family of seasoned outdoorsmen
As is typical for open-field camping, you can expect all kinds of beautiful sights and an amazing view of the night sky. The outside property is communal, as other travelers and campers frequent locations near the Grand Canyon, but you can expect absolute peace, quiet, and privacy inside this cozy domicile.
The Rustic Airstream is best suited for those who are looking for basic protection over luxury, and who just want to ensure that their camping trip won’t be ruined by unforeseen forces of nature.
Best Grand Canyon VRBO for Nostalgia & Western Lovers: The Old West
Price: From $142/night and up Guests: 4 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Book it on VRBO
Want to feel like you’re staying on the set of a Clint Eastwood movie?
Aficionados of the Wild West period and aesthetic will certainly enjoy staying at The Old West Loft – with a style reminiscent of the kinds of lofts you’ve seen in cowboy movies, this property is certainly one-of-a-kind!
The interior combines modern furniture and retro decorative elements, all while retaining the old-school flooring – this gives the place a lot of character and a rustic ambient without detracting from its coziness. It’s also very spacious, so it makes for a great spot to gather a group of people and relax.
Another draw of The Old West Loft is its relative isolation, as it’s about 30 minutes from Williams with practically no one else in the vicinity, making it the perfect spot for an isolated vacation.
Also, it’s only about a 20-minute drive to the from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, so you get to relish in the peace and quiet of the location while still being relatively close to the region’s trademark tourist attraction.
As far as the simpler pleasures go, if you’ve ever wanted to see a Western-style sunset looming over the Arizona cliffs, the porch of the property offers an amazing view.
Best Grand Canyon Airbnb for Camper Comfort: Grand Canyon RV Glamping
Price: From $298/night and up Guests: 4 Bedrooms: 2 Nearest City: Williams Find it on Booking.com:Grand Canyon RV Glamping
Grand Canyon RV Glamping goes above and beyond what the average camper experience can offer.
The camper is about one hour from the Grand Canyon National Park and only 20 minutes from the center of William. This is a perfect choice for tourists and sightseers in groups of up to 4 people.
The interior has everything you would expect a full-fledged house to have, including a fully furnished kitchen and dining area, air conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, and a private bathroom with free toiletries.
The interior is stylish but minimalistic – the sleek combination of black furniture and silver kitchenware give the camper a very luxurious feel,
That said, if you’re traveling to this part of America, you aren’t likely to be spending a lot of time inside the RV anyway, so whenever you’re not out and about exploring the Grand Canyon NP, you can spend the day off on the lawn chairs by the picnic table outside or by having a relaxing barbecue with family and friends.
People looking to isolate themselves for a vacation of peace and quiet will really appreciate the location.
The Legends RV truly lives up to its name – the layout of the interior puts a lot of large houses and apartments to shame.
Recreational vehicles can often be an eyesore inside and out, but this particular camper doesn’t have that problem, as its eye-catching interior is colored in every shade of brown under the sun, and the reflective wooden surfaces are beautifully accentuated in the Arizona sunshine.
It can fit up to four guests, and on top of being cozy, it has its own water and power supplies, high-speed WiFi, as well as a modern kitchen.
Aside from being a top-of-the-line camper, another feature of note is that Legends RV is only a 20-mile drive from the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Once you make your way back, you can relax on the outdoor seating and fire up the barbecue grill for a tasty dinner and a night of stargazing – needless to say, the vast expanse of land makes for a beautiful nighttime view.
Alternatively, if you’ve had enough of the outdoors for one day, you can relax inside by watching a Netflix show on the smart TV and relaxing on one of the futons. Now that’s a camper with comfort!
Best Grand Canyon Rental for Experiencing Indigenous Culture: Navajo Hogan Earth House
Price: From $124/night and up Guests: 4 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Cameron Find it on VRBO
The Navajo Hogan Earth House is unlike any rental you’ve probably ever seen – it’s a one-room hut made of earth, built in the style of Navajo Indian dwellings.
Positioned by the Little Colorado River, around 30 miles from the Grand Canyon, this little Native-owned haven is ideal for a couple looking to explore the National Park and to truly become one with nature.
The complete lack of electricity and running water, in conjunction with the minimalistic design of the interior, are in fact the selling points of this particular property, as going all-natural lets visitors truly soak in the beauty of their surroundings.
You can even bring your pet along if you suspect you might get lonely, as long as you keep it off the bedding.
This is not to say, however, that the hogan is insufficiently furnished – the beds are comfortable, and a stove is provided for outdoor cooking and to keep warm if you’re visiting when it’s colder.
You can use the outside stove and firewood for cooking, and you will be provided with a supply of water to use at your discretion. This house is ideal for people who want to immerse themselves in the Navajo culture or are just looking for something completely different.
IMPORTANT: Note that this property is located in Navajo Nation. Please follow all local laws and respect tribal sovereignty, and check current restrictions here before planning a trip, as at the time of writing, Navajo Nation is closed for tourism (as per Executive Order 2020-021).
Please also familiarize yourself with the protocols of staying on Navajo land so you can treat your Indigenous hosts with respect for their culture, religion, and customs.
Price: From $190/night and up Guests: 4 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Cameron Book it with VRBO.
Located on Navajo Nation land, this beautiful homestead hosts hogans (Navajo one-room dwellings — learn more about them here) for all kinds of travelers.
The Hogan is an eight sided traditional Navajo dwelling that can host up to 4 people. It is owned by Native American family and it is located in a large acreage working sheep ranch and off grid glamping hotel. for your comfort, a traditional breakfast is included in the price.
The places offers guests a unique stay on the Navajo Nation. Immersion in nature, near zero light pollution and unparalleled views.
IMPORTANT: Note that this property is located in Navajo Nation. Please follow all local laws and respect tribal sovereignty, and check current restrictions here before planning a trip, as at the time of writing, Navajo Nation is closed for tourism (as per Executive Order 2020-021).
Please also familiarize yourself with the protocols of staying on Navajo land so you can treat your Indigenous hosts with respect for their culture, religion, and customs.
Best Airbnb for Couples on a Budget: The Majestic – Historic Mini Motel
Price: From $69/night and up Guests: 2 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Meadview Book it with VRBO or Hipcamp. First time booking with Hipcamp? I have a bonus for you! Get $10 off your first stay using my code: ALLISONG61751E or booking through my link.
If you’re looking to explore the Grand Canyon with your significant other and on a budget, then this historic mini motel is the place for you.
This room is The Majestic, a historic motel room that used to be used to house the workers of Route 66. The place has been completely restored but still maintains a unique vintage charm.
You will be able to rest in a full-sized bed with a gel memory foam mattress topper. The room also features a desk space, a dresser, and a full bathroom with a vanity area and closet space.
The campground just 10 miles from Lake Mead and 17 Miles from the Colorado River. Here you can enjoy top-notch stargazing, bird watching, fishing, off-roading, and more. There are also kayaks available to rent.
Price: From $235/night and up Guests: 2 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Book with VRBO or Hipcamp. First time booking with Hipcamp? I have a bonus for you! Get $10 off your first stay using my code: ALLISONG61751E or booking through my link.
Nothing complements a nature trip quite like a tent in the desert, and the Bell Tent Suite is no exception.
The tent is very well appointed and fully furnished. Outfitted with all the amenities for a pleasant stay, including bedding, linens, and wool blankets.
You will also find candles, candle lanterns, a flashlight, and a solar light. Books, games, snacks, juice, and water. This tent is equipped with just about everything you could reasonably expect, and more.
It can comfortably fit two guests, and a small child as well. The stay is very minimalist, to be immersed in outstanding natural beauty. Cooking can be done over an open fire at the outdoor fire pit. There is also a grill for the open fire.
As is the case with any other tent, you are highly incentivized to spend as much time outside as possible, and The Bell Tent Suite location really allows for that. Furthermore, the view of the night sky is simply beautiful.
The tent is an ideal basecamp for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon!
Best Grand Canyon Rental for Animal Lovers: Nest in a Retro Wagon
Price: From $82/night and up Guests: 3 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Book with Hipcamp. First time booking with Hipcamp? I have a bonus for you! Get $10 off your first stay using my code: ALLISONG61751E or booking through my link.
The retro wagon is a great off-grid recreational vehicle for a pair of travelers passing through northern Arizona and looking to visit the Grand Canyon.
The inside is incredibly cozy thanks to the futon mattress, and you’ll have access to a nearby community bathroom, shower (where, thanks to the water heater, you have a guaranteed supply of hot water in the summer), and kitchenette (equipped with supplies for a healthy organic breakfast).
The Retro Wagon is about a 30-minute drive from the Grand Canyon. Having worked in the GC National Park, the hosts would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the park.
You’ll see a wide assortment of animals on the property, including cats, a donkey, chickens, an alpaca, and a dog, and you’re encouraged to interact with and feed them (except for the dog who is on a special diet).
Best Grand Canyon Airbnb for Minimalists: The Kyoob
Price: From $310/night and up Guests: 3 Bedrooms: 1 Nearest City: Williams Find it on VRBO:The Kyoob
Only 5 minutes to Horseshoe Bend, the Kyoob is a modern architectural cabin at Shash Dine.
The idea of the house is to provide you with a basic level of comfort and to let you immerse yourself in nature by getting out and exploring the beautiful terrain. However, the cabin was designed for light, openness, and immersion in nature through the fantastic windows.
The view from the outside is beautiful, and you can expect to catch some unforgettable sunrises, sunsets, and constellations. Also, the house is only eleven miles from Antelope Canyon.
If you’re wondering what to get someone who loves National Parks, this is the perfect gift guide for you!
Here are all the best national park gifts, from Acadia to Zion!
How Do I Gift a National Parks Pass?
Easy! REI sells the America the Beautiful Annual Pass online.
If you want to get a great gift for someone whose park pass is expiring soon, or who doesn’t have one yet, this is a great and thoughtful gift!
For just $79.99 for the year, your giftee will get access to all of the National Parks and over 2,000 unique NPS-managed sites!
Best of all? They donate 10% of proceeds from sales to the National Parks Foundation!
US National Park Board Games
There are a number of board games dedicated to national parks!
If you’re looking for a gift for a kid who loves national parks — or a family — this is a great NPS gift!
PARKS Board Game
This strategy game is a great choice for families.
The game works a little similar to Settlers of Catan in that you collect resources, but the gameplay is a lot more simplified. Players traverse different “trails” and collect resources in order to exchange their resource tokens for different national parks!
The resource tokens are made of wood, representing the unique flora and fauna of the parks, and the cards feature unique illustrations from dozens of artists.
The game can be played solo or with a group of up to 4 people, and it’s perfect for families with kids over the age of 10.
This is a trivia game that is the most educational of the bunch, but it’s also a lot of fun even if you have very little national park knowledge.
The cool thing about the game is that the answer to every question is a number, and you don’t have to be exactly right to win! You just have to be the closest to the correct number without going over (Price is Right rules, anyone?) to win the round.
The focus on “guesstimation” makes the game a little more inclusive for families with young kids and gives them a shot at taking on family members who may have a little more knowledge than they do.
If you are getting a gift for someone who loves national parks and board games, the classic park-themed Monopoly game is a great gift idea!
This doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, but does it need to? Monopoly is tried and true and classic for a reason.
The gameplay is the same, so no need to learn a whole bunch of new rules, but there are updates like park-themed tokens, battlefield parks and historic sites cards instead of the ‘community chest’ and ‘chance’ cards, and NPS sites instead of streets. And instead of houses and hotels, you can build campsites!
You can never have enough playing cards, and I’m a sucker for a beautifully illustrated deck designed around a theme.
This set of national park playing cards is just that, with each card dedicated to a retro ‘poster’ like quality image, with the traditional suits and cards marked in the corners.
They have a high-quality heavy weight and look stunning. They come in a sturdy box and are the perfect gift for minimalists because they’re super useful and don’t weigh a lot — easy to throw in your bag for any parks trip or an RV vacation!
There’s no brand more trusted when it comes to wildlife and nature photography — and so is it any surprise that National Geographic hit it out of the park (pardon the pun) when they created this guide?
This is the 2021 edition so it’s the most up-to-date, with 62 national parks covered within its 500+ pages.
This book is a behemoth resource your favorite parks enthusiast will love for years to come!
Did you visit a specific park together and you want to give a gift that commemorates that particular national park adventure?
A park-specific gift is a great idea, as it feels a lot more personal. Add a little note to it for an extra perfect national park gift!
Read through this carefully because if you have a specific park in mind, it might be available even if it’s not listed. For example, there are candles for many different national parks, and the Pendleton boots come in several park themes.
Yosemite National Park
This beautiful candle is dedicated to Yosemite National Park. It’s a thoughtful, potentially romantic gift option for people who have left their heart in Yosemite!
It’s part of the Elsewhere Candle Company’s National Parks collection. Each candle is handmade in Boulder, Colorado and is dedicated to a specific place.
For the Yosemite candle, it’s an earthy blend of cedar, oak moss, sandalwood, and juniper berries.
They also have several other national park-themed candles: Olympic National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Acadia National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and more!
Wyoming is a state known for its intense natural beauty, home to two of the most renowned national parks in the United States: Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
The entire Wyoming area is rich is beauty, though, beyond the area around Jackson Hole which is the center of much of the tourism in the state.
This guide to where to stay in Wyoming includes quirky and beautiful Wyoming Airbnbs all over the state for all budgets.
These Airbnbs in Wyoming range from log cabins made from reclaimed wood to renovated sheepwagons to baller penthouse suites in Jackson Hole. Truly, there is something for every one and every budget in the Cowboy State.
A rustic retreat nestled in the heart of Cody that’s an easy walking distance to downtown yet tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, while the Shoshone River and Paul Stock nature trails are just blocks away,
This home is tastefully decorated to convey an authentic western experience. It features a spacious open living room, leather furniture, and a wood stove for cool evenings. The kitchen is open and fully stocked with all the necessary utensils.
Here, you’ll be able to enjoy your morning coffee in the cheery four seasons sunroom before heading out to explore Cody and Yellowstone.
The home also features two bedrooms and a roomy bathroom with a full-size washe
There is a private, fenced backyard with fire pit, grill, and outdoor furniture that allows you to enjoy the evenings outside
This rustic log cabin lodge is the perfect Wyoming Airbnb for those who want a touch of the rustic Old West.
Spacious enough to comfortably house seven, this 3-bedroom cabin has a good-sized modern kitchen, a separate dining area, and an enormous living area complete with taxidermy, leather couches, antlers, and just an overall Western vibe!
Besides the spacious 2,000+-square-foot lodge with 3 bedrooms, plenty of room for a large family or group of friends, there is a large amount of ranch area to enjoy.
There’s a large pond and a small island with bridge access, as well ranch animals such as Highland cows (the fuzziest and cutest cows in existence) and Hereford cows, as well as chickens and dogs.
There’s also a vintage railcar bridge on the property and a privately-owned covered bridge. While the house itself is beautiful, the impressive grounds of this ranch are the true selling point!
This beautifully designed cabin in Powell, just outside of Cody, combines a classic Western location with Eastern-inspired architecture, particularly Japanese elements.
The door to the bedroom is classically Japanese, recalling a tea house with a red-gridded sliding screen door, whereas the bed is a simple, comfortable bed a step above a tatami mat but still reminiscent of the same simplicity of a traditional Japanese ryokan (rural Japanese guesthouse).
The Japanese also love their ritual bath (onsen) so you will find a full bath with an elliptical bathtub as well as a two-person shower inside the cabin, as well as a cedar-lined dry sauna room.
The Japanese cabin is located on the Big Quiet Farm Stays property, a 400-acre organic farm with plenty of space for hiking and taking in the views of the Big Horn Basin. While you could easily enjoy the solitude of the Japanese cabin as much as you like, there is also a communal firepit where you can meet others staying on the farm property.
There’s also a horseshoe pit, plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the ability to tour the farm — one of Wyoming’s only organic farms!
This charming vintage-decorated house dates back to 1937. It’s kept its retro charms inspired by cowboy, Native American, and Western design elements, all while remaining modern and up-to-date.
The wooden walls make everything feel warm, cabin-y, and oh-so-cozy. There’s a great living room area to enjoy a fire around while sitting in on a cozy leather sofa or a rocking chair, as well as a full kitchen and spacious dining area.
Despite the vintage style, expect modern amenities like WiFi, A/C, and televisions in the main bedrooms.
With five bedrooms, this is a great place to stay with a group of friends, or perhaps multiple families traveling together, as everyone gets their own space.
The outdoor area is quite spacious and encompasses a covered outdoor kitchen, a farmhouse dining table that seats ten, 2 BBQ grills, a fire pit, a covered porch with patio seating, and a private yard.
Have you ever wanted to stay in a yurt? It’s one of my favorite types of unique accommodation!
There’s something about the round environment that makes it far more spacious-feeling than it is in terms of square footage, and this yurt in Cody is extremely charming and well-designed for the perfect Wyoming glamping experience.
Because of the yurt’s construction and lack of heating, it’s not available in the winter months, so look for this Airbnb from May through August.
The interior is really charming, with exposed cross-hatching showing the yurt’s construction, and furniture and rugs that complement the colors of the yurt.
The kitchen is small but well-appointed, perfect for making some meals which the group can enjoy together around the five-person dining table.
There are 3 beds sleeping a total of five people, so it’s great for a family of 5 or a group of five friends that don’t mind bunking up in a few of the beds.
However, do note that because it’s a yurt, there’s no bathroom inside the yurt itself, but rather an outhouse extremely close by. It’s fit with an Incinolet toilet and an outdoor shower (which is private and closed off).
If an outhouse icks you out, this isn’t the Airbnb for you! But if it sounds like the beginning of a fun adventure, you won’t regret staying in this charming Cody Airbnb.
“We loved our stay here! What a fun adventure in a very cool and unique property! JK was wonderful about meeting us, an arrival tour, answering questions… and the breakfast, YUM! We really enjoyed everything about the Yurt… including the tree climbing, fire pit, shower, and the toilet/incinolet, ha! They were crowd favorites for my crew! Plenty of room inside to sleep 5 comfortably. It was a little further from Yellowstone than we would have liked, but the local hikes and waterfalls made up for it. Plus on our way out we took the scenic Beartooth Highway, a must! The drive included rise to nearly 11,000 ft elevation – beautiful!”
The Baitshop Cabin is the perfect Airbnb in Jackson: not too basic, not too luxe. The house strikes the perfect balance between rustic and modern with its vintage-feeling furniture and coordinated color palette.
On top of being spacious, the living room area features a fireplace, and the extra bathrooms are a much-needed bonus considering the house’s six-guest capacity. The price is a bit high, but split between a large party, it can be more than reasonable.
Boasting large windows and sliding doors that connect to the deck, the Baitshop Cabin is sure to be bright and lively throughout the day. Speaking of the deck, this is a great place to sit back and enjoy the view of Snow King and the surrounding neighborhood.
Skiers will especially appreciate this resort, thanks to how close it is to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort.
If that’s not your scene, worry not – you’ll be within walking distance of Jackson’s Town Square, giving you plenty of places to shop, dine, and wine, as well as an easy drive from Grand Teton National Park or even Yellowstone National Park just a bit further away.
This incredible house puts the extra in extravagant with its stunning design that’ll keep you coming back to this Airbnb in Jackson year after year!
The main living area features stylish furniture with just a hint of vintage – it comes equipped with a fireplace, designer chairs, a guitar, and plenty of windows that keep the place bright and add to the amazing atmosphere.
While some Airbnbs in Jackson may boast two bathrooms, The Pearl has two full-blown baths, and you can see Jackson and the surrounding mountains in the best light from the third-floor deck.
What’s more, you’ll have access to a fitness area, spa, and an on-site restaurant. Then there’s the outdoor hot tub – completely private and with stunning views of Snow King Ski Resort.
Check the listing on Booking as well as on VRBO for details
This beautiful log cabin with Western inspiration located in Jackson Hole is the perfect escape, winter or summer.
The crown jewel of this beautiful luxury cabin is its great room: combining the living room, dining area, and kitchen into one open-flow room that’s insanely spacious and inviting, centered around a grand fireplace.
The windows are huge, streaming in natural light into the main level of the house. The lower level contains the home’s two bedrooms, with gorgeous mountain views. The master room includes an en-suite bath with a deep soaking tub with separate shower. The second room contains either two twin beds or it can be converted into a king bed upon request of the property. This room also has a private bathroom, with his-and-hers sinks and a shower and a tub.
The outdoor spots are plentiful as well. There’s a stone terrace on the lower level for enjoying a cup of coffee with a mountain view, whereas the upper wooden deck has a gas grill, hot tub, and picnic table.
“My wife and I rented moose head lodge for our 10th anniversary. We loved the cabin and the decor. A perfect Wyoming getaway. The cabin and mountain view was surpassed only by the moose we saw just outside the cabin window. one morning! Awesome stay.”
Wyoming Airbnbs in Buffalo
U2 Horse Glamping
4 guests (2 adults, 2 kids)
1 room (1 bed, with small teepee only suitable for children in front of the glamping tent)
This lovely 20-are property is located on Rock Creek, where they run a fishing camp in the summer months. The property is home to one yurt, built on a platform right in front of the pasture where horses graze.
So if you want to wake up to views of horses grazing right outside your glamping tent windows, this is exactly the place!
This glamping tent is 14 by 16 and fits a large queen bed with a memory foam mattress, as well as two side tables, interior lights, and a patio space.
Note that the glamping tent does not have a private toilet, but there is a camp toilet as well as a sun shower (outdoors but private) available.
Families will love the smaller tipi-style tent space with cots and pads, where up to 3 kids can play, relax, and even sleep away from their parents if the parents want the glamping tent to themselves.
There’s also a charcoal grill on-site for grilling and plenty of space to enjoy an outdoor meal in the summer.
Have you ever wanted to stay in a geodesic dome house? Well, in this gorgeous mountainside Wyoming Airbnb, you can do just that!
This geodesic dome house is the perfect winter escape, located right on groomed snowmobile trails which you can access by snowmobile, snowshoe, or cross-country skis.
In the winter, you’ll need to trek in the 1.6 miles on a snowmobile (or skis or snowshoes!). In summer, though, it’s an easy road to drive in as long as your car has decent clearance.
This beautiful dome cabin is located on 2 acres of mountainous land, and the Airbnb includes a main floor, a lofted room, and a deck. There’s a full kitchen, cplete with oven, stove, microwave, and coffee pot, as well as a dining area for enjoying meals as a group.
The loft can hold up to two air mattresses (sleeping 4 people), whereas the main floor has a queen sleeper sofa. Use your discretion as to whether a loft is suitable for children.
While there is electricity and running water, due to the remoteness of the location, the water isn’t potable, so be sure to bring your own water for drinking and cooking.
“A great place set in a very primitive setting. The Dome comes with some nice amenities making for a perfect place to relax or explore.”
“We wanted to immerse ourselves in the mountains and the dome exceeded our expectations. If you are traveling in winter, it is worth every penny to rent the ATV. Expect to have a beautiful sunrise in a cozy dome when you stay here. Hosts are very helpful!”
If you can forgive the awful pun, I’ll show you why this is one of the most unique homes in Wyoming worth staying in!
Yes, it’s rustic, and yes, that’s kind of the point! The key of staying in a property like this it to get away from it all and reconnect with nature.
Just under 11 miles from the quaint town of Encampment. This warm and welcoming 1-bed, 1-bath log cabin boasts a rustic interior with a kitchenette, vaulted ceilings, natural sunlight, and plenty of charm.
You’ll be able to relax on the deck, and fire up the grill for a sunset dinner while enjoying the peaceful, natural open space all around you.
Designed with fly fishers in mind, this single-story cabin offers all the mountain essentials, plenty of jaw-dropping views to immerse yourself in Wyoming!
There’s also a well-equipped kitchen featuring cookware, cooking basics, knife set, drip coffee maker, mini-fridge. For your winter comfort, there’s also central heating available
If you’re a fishing enthusiast, remember that Encampment River is 10 miles away, North Platte River, 11 and Water Valley Fish and Recreation Pond, 19.9 miles. In Encampment you can visit Grand Encampment Museum, Saratoga (28.2 miles), and Saratoga Hobo Hot Springs.
“The cabin was just what I had hoped it would be. I loved the fact it was very isolated and rustic. The conveniences in the cabin were fine and appropriate for the setting. Would not hesitate to recommend for a tranquil stay.”
If you’re looking for some places to stay in Idaho while you’re traveling around the state on a road trip, we’ve got you covered with this post!
There are some really great Airbnb options in Idaho all over the state, and we’ve tried to spread our picks for where to stay in Idaho in Airbnbs all around the state.
From Teton County at Grand Teton’s backdoor to quirky picks in the capital city of Boise to houseboats on Lake Coeur d’Alene and luxe cabins in McCall, and oh yeah — a giant potato — here are the most lovely and unique Airbnbs in Idaho!
This gorgeous mountain cabin is the perfect tiny house Idaho escape. It’s definitely a comfortable and up-to-date place to stay in the mountain surrounded by national forest, 3/4 of a mile on up the mountain!
This cabin is outfitted for people looking to escape to the mountains and relax, and still located only 15 minutes from Bonners Ferry and 30 minutes from Sandpoint.
This cute cabin features a bedroom with a comfy queen bed and a living room with a sofa bed. There is also a wonderful deck with a grill and the most amazing views around.
In the area, you can choose different hiking trails and snowshoe trails right outside your door or watch eagles right from your deck. Schweitzer Mountain is a mere 30 minutes away and Cross Country Skiing is only 10 minutes away!
This is a great getaway for couples looking to get away from it all, as it’s far from virtually all civilization.
The place also offers a fire pit, gas BBQ grill, a hot tub, a large yard with plenty of seating, an outdoor movie theater seasonal (shared), a private gym, kayaks, bikes, golf clubs, fishing equipment, snowshoes, and a bunny farm! Kayaks, bikes, and golf clubs have a rental fee.
In the winter months, 4WD or AWD is necessary to access the cabin. Should guests not feel comfortable driving up the mountain, the hosts will be happy to shuttle guests up and down. There is private parking at the top and the bottom of the mountain.
That said, couples or friends (or hell, even indulgent solo travelers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life!), though, this place is a paradise where you can cook elaborate meals, wake up to views of the beautiful forest, and sit in a secluded hot tub watching forest wildlife go about their business.
The property allows pets between May and October only and in the dog kennel which offers 2 dog houses $25 per pet per night.
This lovely houseboat on Lake Couer d’Alene is the perfect Idaho Airbnb for people who not only want to be one with nature, but literally in nature!
This houseboat is great for groups of families as it is able to sleep six. There’s a bathroom on the boat that’s fully connected, including a shower, and there is a full kitchen so you can have a delicious cookout on the lake – preferably with fresh-caught fish from the lake!
There’s also a spacious outdoor area as part of the houseboat that’s a private deck for you to enjoy, a great place for a meal on a warm summer evening.
There is a comfortable master bedroom, a smaller lofted room with two twin beds (perfect for kids), and the dining/living area converts to fourth bed if needed to sleep six.
Just be aware that this is a houseboat on a lake, and as a result, there may be some movement — so if you have severe motion sickness, this is not the best Idaho Airbnb to choose! Do note, though, that the boat is moored and you’re unfortunately not allowed to take it for a spin.
The area is absolutely fantastic for outdoor activities! You can birdwatch and keep an eye out for bald eagles — CDA has one of the largest populations of bald eagles in the United States!
There are also water toys available for use, such as a water trampoline, launch pads, standup paddleboards, inflatable rafts, kayaks, and canoes. Just note that these are shared with cabin guests so you may not get. your pick of exactly what you want, but they are available.
There’s also a picnic table, BBQ area, and firepit available to use on the beach of the lake. This is the perfect Idaho Airbnb if you want your home to be the ultimate getaway and not need to travel far for anything once you arrive!
This ultra-cozy vintage cabin offers the ultimate experience in the woods for those eager to remain in close contact with nature during the whole length of their stay!
If you’re looking for an Idaho cabin where you can indulge in sweet solitude here you will certainly be sharing the land only with starry skies, owls, bluebirds, and the occasional moose — plus whoever you bring, of course.
This small but outfitted cabin in its own bit of paradise. The place is only 3 miles away from town but still maintains an authentic rural atmosphere.
Deer, pheasants, turkey’s, walk through the yard often. fishing and hunting easily accessed. Rivers and lakes are in all directions for spring rafting and summer fun! Mountains surround area [three mountain ranges, Selkirk, Percell and the Monarchs] The hiking is endless.
Deer, pheasants, turkeys walk through the yard often, besides, fishing can be easily accessed. Rivers and lakes are in all directions for spring rafting and summer fun! Three mountain ranges surround the whole area, Selkirk, Percell, and the Monarchs, so hiking possibilities are virtually endless.
The cabin has a cozy covered porch, a separate bedroom, and a twin bed in the main room. The kitchen is small but well-equipped with a NuWave stovetop with pans, electric stainless skillet, microwave, electric kettle, and crockpot. Heating can be with is wood or infrared electric heat.
Starting around late October, snow can make the roads impassable. You’ll need to go by snowmobile or you can hire the property vintage 1960s Snowcat with a driver for $100 for the day, who will take you all over the snow-covered forest and take care of transporting luggage and food.
It’s also possible to have a free sled and snowshoes to enjoy exploring the area! For top comfort and homely feeling, the hosts will bring some gourmet hot cocoa (with or without Baileys!) and you can enjoy the wood-fired stove and a wood sauna to warm up in — before jumping on the snow to cool off!
One thing to note is that the lookout doesn’t have a bathroom in the lookout itself but rather an outhouse nearby, so if you’re unable to handle lots of stairs (or don’t want to handle navigating stairs at night for a middle-of-the-night pee), this may not be the Idaho Airbnb for you!
This is the absolute ultimate Airbnb in Idaho for large groups: this monstrous cabin near McCall, Idaho can fit a whopping 16 people and sleep them well, spread across 14 beds to choose from!
This is great for groups of friends as well as several families traveling together, and when you have a nearly full group, the price tag can be quite reasonable for the property.
There are so many rooms of the cabin that it’s almost overwhelming! There is a large living room with a gorgeous fireplace surrounded by plush leather couches, the perfect place for watching movies on the flatscreen TV over the crackling fire or having drinks around the fireplace at night.
There’s a gourmet kitchen and a large dining area perfect for group dinners, and my favorite feature, a large game room with all sorts of activities available for the group to avail themselves of, including pool, ping-pong, foosball, and shuffleboard!
There’s also an entire theater room for watching movies with your group, cinema-style, with a 75″ TV!
Of course, there’s also the gorgeous outdoor Idaho surroundings to enjoy no matter the time of year. There are several porch areas with chairs to enjoy watching the snowfall or the stars above.
There is also not one, but two, hot tubs to make use of — one for 8 people as well as a private 2 person tub off the master bedroom — as well as fire pit for gathering around and toasting s’mores and enjoying drinks no matter the time of year.
For the ultimate group getaway in Idaho, this delightful Idaho cabin in McCall ticks all the boxes.
It’s incredibly spacious and its setting right off of Payette Lake in McCall means that while you could certainly enjoy your Idaho Airbnb for your entire stay, there’s a whole host of natural activities just beyond your fingertips.
The interior of the cabin is delightfully rustic in a way that just screams “cabin vibes only”. It’s done in a log-cabin style, yet a lot of the fixtures are extremely modern, so nothing feels dated and you won’t lack for any creature comforts.
There are two bedrooms but also an additional lofted area with plenty of extra beds so every member of the family or group can have their little corned carved away to enjoy.
The property also has plenty of amenities to enjoy on the property itself, including a heated hot tub perfect for enjoying in any season and a BBQ grill perfect for summer cookouts (or winter grill sessions, if you’re brave!).
There’s also WiFi and a home office to use in case any member of the group needs to catch up on some work while enjoying some time out in the country, so you’re not off-grid!
For a cozy to stay in McCall, this great place is conveniently located two blocks from downtown McCall but with private seclusion.
The McCall Escape offers access to all that embodies McCall, whether walking to Payette Lake or heading across the street for the Harshman Skate Park & McCall Skills Pump Park or the 6 mile North Valley Rail Trail that connect to them. And, with ample parking, there is plenty of room for a big family.
The property features an enclosed yard, a nicely-stocked kitchen that includes basic cooking essentials and appliances such as toaster, blender, mixer, mixing bowls, baking pans/sheets, griddle, crockpot, waffle maker, and coffee maker. The washer and dryer are available for longer stays.
The master room has a smart television that allows for access to movie streaming via Prime Video or Hulu.
And, for those who can’t leave work at home, the office area has a desk with a 27″ monitor and HDMI chord for hookup to your laptop. Bedroom spaces are cozy. The low-sloped ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms make a fun place for kids (but maybe a little tight for taller adults).
This unique 1940’s property is the perfect offbeat place to stay in Boise, Idaho for a group of up to four people looking for a unique place to stay.
The home is cozy and traditional with lots of fun colorful elements and a beautiful yard with barbecue facilities.
This single-level home comes equipped with WiFi, so you don’t have to fully disconnect to enjoy a slice of the nomad life!
This home features 2 comfy bedrooms and a beautiful kitchen with a granite kitchen with hardwoods throughout. The kitchen is fully equipped to accommodate any meal with a microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, and many other items that you may need during your stay.
The living room is furnished with a comfy sofa and armchair & desk to enjoy the smart TV enabled with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.
There’s also a private backyard with a flagstone patio, chiminea fireplace & BBQ. Pets are allowed with an additional charge ($25/per pet/per stay).
For long-term stays, guests can enjoy the comfort of having a washer/dryer.
The place is in the heart of South East Boise. Minutes from Boise State, Boise River, Greenbelt & Downtown Boise. It’s close to restaurants, shopping places, and a gym.
Two bicycle cruisers are provided for you to explore the local area or enjoy the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt that runs through the entire city.
There is plenty of parking with an off-street driveway, and street parking out front.
Have you ever found yourself wishing, gee, I wish I could spend the night in a potato? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
It may not be something that was on your Idaho bucket list beforehand, but come on, there’s something delightful about getting to say yes, I spent the night in a giant 6-ton Idaho potato on an actual farm, and it was surprisingly stylish and dare I say, even hip?
The outside may be delightfully kitschy and rural, but the interior is utterly modern, with an almost Scandinavian sensibility in its color palette and pared-down design elements, enlivened by a bit of mid-century modern touches.
Really, who knew potatoes could be straight up elegant?
If you’re wondering where that Idaho potato Airbnb fits a bathroom… well, it doesn’t, but there’s an outhouse in a converted grain silo just a few feet away. And trust me, it’s a lot more luxurious than it sounds (though I guess that wouldn’t be hard).
The bathroom is just as chic and design-focused as the interior of the potato, with a soaking tub, sculptural chandelier elements, and lots of greenery to make the bathroom feel like a little spa on your Idaho farm.
Plus, the benefits of being on a farm is that you can say hello to all the cute animals on the farm, including the pet cow Dolly: her kisses come included!
Forget everything about hotel rooms, this is one of the prettiest places to stay in Boise, Idaho!
This is simply the most perfect little Boise getaway! Located only minutes from downtown Boise and conveniently near the Boise Depot, this completely renovated space offers a private yard, outdoor spaces, a fire pit, plenty of parking, and more.
And the most unique feature? The super edgy Espresso bar…
The property features also bikes, spa-like bathrobes, and more!…check! With an emphasis on style and comfort, this place is a must-stay for your Boise trip.
The kitchen is delightfully large for such a small space, and the colorful cabinets bring a spark of joy to the otherwise rather neutral color palette of white and wood details.
A small dining nook makes enjoying a romantic meal for two a breeze in this charming Boise Airbnb.
Meanwhile, the bedroom space is lush and inviting, with tons of soft blankets and pillows that practically beg you to curl up for an afternoon nap.
If you have someone in your life who loves life at a ranch (or you’re that someone and you’re looking to treat yourself) — this is the perfect Idaho home overlooking lake Lowell!
It’s also a great choice for a group of friends or two or more families, as well as for those who are a little old-fashioned or into history.
This beautiful Country Home is located in the heart of Wine Country and close to Town and it’s just a perfect option for family & friends gatherings.
The Ranch House grants an unparalleled Southwestern Idaho experience. It’s just 10 minutes from Caldwell, on the edge of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge, which overlooks the beautiful Lake Lowell and Treasure Valley. The place is framed by acres of picturesque farmland and surrounded by the nearby scenic Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway.
The beautiful country setting is in the heart of the Snake River Valley AVA, and Sunnyslope Wine Trial which features 15 wineries and vineyards, award-winning wines, and unique dining experiences and tasting rooms.
Almost 6,000 square feet of living space, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, two family rooms, a large dining room, pool room, and a heated outdoor pool with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and play games, watch movies or just relax inside or outside.
Guests can also sample and enjoy local, ranch-raised Black Angus beef and lamb meat. Historic downtown Caldwell and Indian Creek Plaza are minutes away.