52 Weekend Getaways
Whether you want to hike, snorkel, stargaze, or spend time with the family, here are 52 great (and quick!) escapes—one for every weekend of the year.
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1. Big Sur
Big Sur is an almost otherworldly beautiful nature wonderland. Tucked within a forest of Redwoods, Glen Oaks Big Sur is like a summer camp for adults. The eco-chic cabins feature in-room fireplaces, heated bathroom floors, and sustainably sourced décor.
Distance: 7.5 hours by car, or 1.5 hours by plane + 45 minutes by car
2. Mount Shasta
If you have extra time, Mount Shasta is well worth the distance. Located this side of the California-Oregon border, the dormant volcano peaks at more than 14,000 feet. There’s also mountain biking and rock climbing at Bunny Flat. New Age folks believe the volcano has cosmic powers, so expect yoga, meditation, and other metaphysical pursuits, too.
Distance: 3.5 hours by plane to Redding + 1 hour by car
3. Salt Lake City
SLC is home to a burgeoning foodie community and 150 miles of bike lanes and trails. Check out popular farm-to-table eatery Avenues Proper and imbibe at Bar-X, a New York-style lounge with a long list of Prohibition-era cocktails. If you’re missing beer, try Squatters, a Utah microbrew. Bonus: It’s a quick 35-minute drive up the hill to Park City.
Distance: 2 hours by plane
4. Joshua Tree
No matter the trail, you’re guaranteed an astonishing view, but we’re partial to the rigorous Ryan Mountain summit hike and iconic (but more relaxing) Hidden Valley route, both of which lead to epic panoramic views. And don’t forget your ropes for rock climbing. Beginners can start at Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School.
Distance: 2.5 hours by car
5. Mount Hood
This 11,425-foot-high dormant volcano boasts the only year-round skiing in the Lower 48. An ideal basecamp, Timberline Lodge has fireplaces, fine craftsmanship, and a prime location halfway up Mt. Hood. For non-ski bunnies, there’s hiking, climbing, and remnants of the Oregon Trail.
Distance: 2.5 hours by plane to Portland + 2 hours by car
6. Haleakala National Park
No need for an Instagram filter; the sunrise at this Maui park is a dazzling display of fiery reds, blues, purples, and oranges like you’ve never seen before. Tour groups like Mountain Riders whisk you away in the wee morning hours and drive you up dark mountain roads to the 10,000-foot summit for the money shot. Once you’ve soaked up the kaleidoscope of hues, hop on the tour-provided bikes for a 26-mile ride back down the mountain. Beer and spirits lovers can hit up the Maui Craft Session at Sheraton Maui July 12.
Distance: 5.5 hours by plane to Maui + 1 hour by car
Far, FAR removed from the SoCal glitz, this small town in the San Jacinto Mountains makes unplugging easy. Hikers can choose from more than 50 trails—like the popular Devil’s Slide—in San Jacinto National Park.
Distance: 2 hours by car
8. Zion National Park
The trails at this Utah stunner range from the easier Emerald Pools Trail, dotted with waterfalls and richly colored green pools, to the 1,000-foot-deep canyon known as the Narrows for the more experienced hiker. Here, you’ll walk along the riverbed and wade through the occasional chest-deep natural pool.
Distance: 7.5 hours by car or 3.5 hours by plane + 1 hour by car
9. Jackson Hole
In the winter, Jackson is a downhill skier’s paradise, with notoriously steep runs and deep powder. In the summer, the area is great for all things outdoor, with access to some of the country’s best mountain bike parks and hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Whatever the season, end your day at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and learn why the town is known as “the Last of the Old West.”
Distance: 3.5 hours by plane
Between the Spanish Revival architecture and fruit groves, Ojai is about as iconic Southern Californian as you can get. A stay at the incomparable Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a must, but don’t forget to visit the famous outdoor bookstore, Bart’s Books, and new retro Americana boutique, Summer Camp, stocked with Pendleton flannel and vintage skis.
Distance: 3.5 hours by car
11. Grand Canyon
You don’t have to fight the crowds at this outdoor hot spot. Try the North Rim region, which sees 4 million fewer visitors every year (open May through October).
Distance: 8 hours by car
12. Yosemite National Park
There’s nothing like the view of Half-Dome as you emerge from the tunnel on route 41. Take in the massive waterfalls, granite mountains, and supersized Sequoias as you hike, drive, or shuttle bus through the park. In Yosemite Valley, accommodations run the gamut from camping to the $459-per-night Ahwahnee Hotel. A compromise: Go for lunch and try the Ahwahnee Amber Ale, then stay at the more moderately priced Tenaya Lodge on the southern border of the park.
Distance: 7.5 hours by car