#9 Boston, Mass. from Easy Weekend Getaways

Easy Weekend Getaways

#9 Boston, Mass.


If golf is your game, you need to get to the 146-acre course at Shining Rock Golf Club. Voted the best public course in New England by New England Golf Monthly readers, this course features stunning views, challenging holes and was carved out of a granite canyon. Located in Northbridge, It’s less than an hour from Boston by car. There are hotels and B&BS in the area, or you could make it a day trip.

#8 Seattle, Wash.

Flickr/Brian Aydemir

Escape to the San Juan Islands this summer and explore the local villages, cycle the rural roads or kayak some of the most amazing shoreline in the country. The four different islands each have their own benefits and are home to amazing wildlife. If whale watching is on your summer bucket list, catch a ferry to the islands or fly there and sign up for a tour.

#7 Detroit, Mich.


A main complaint of all city life is a lack of natural beauty among all the concrete and pavement. Head from Detroit to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for some of the most exotic flowers and a dose of art you won’t find in any local museum. Wander the grounds and take advantage of the special exhibits and live music that takes place in the summer. A two hour drive will get you to the gardens and there are plenty of places to stay in the area.

Related: 30 Must-See U.S. Public Gardens

#6 Phoenix, Ariz.


If you live in Arizona, hopefully you’ve seen the Grand Canyon—but have you seen it from a raft? Rafting the Grand Canyon is an incredible experience, well worth the three or four hour drive from Phoenix. You can either take the trip with a guide or you can get a permit directly from the National Park Service. We suggest taking a long weekend for this trip so you can enjoy a longer stretch of the river.

#5 Philadelphia, Pa.


If you’re looking for the ultimate contrast, leave the bustling city of Philly for the down home charm of Bucks County. Wander through antique shops, take a ride on a hot air balloon or travel by horse through Nockamixon State Park—and don’t forget to take a few photos of the covered bridges. An hour-long drive will get you there, or you could tackle the 45-mile trip by bike.

#4 Houston, Tex.

Flickr/Alex Briseno

Ditch the city lights of Houston for lights on the pier and sand beneath your toes—head to Galveston. 32 miles of beaches, a pier full of attractions and plenty of festivals and concerts make this a great summer destination that’s only an hour away from Houston. 

#3 Chicago, Ill.

Flickr/Tom Gill

If your ideal summer getaway is a peaceful retreat into nature, look no further than Starved Rock State Park. Scenic hiking trails lead you to waterfalls, sandstone canyons and overlooks of the Illinois River. If hiking isn’t for you, there is plenty to do on the river, at local museums and in the picturesque lodge. The park is a quick 90 minute drive out of Chicago, or if you’re an avid cyclist, the ride is worth the challenge.

#2 Los Angeles, Calif.

Flickr/J R

Santa Catalina Island is a summer hotspot for LA locals on the weekends when the city just isn’t so appealing. Check out the zip line tour, set sail on a glass bottom boat or hit the beach and rent equipment for water activities like diving, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. At only an hour away by ferry (or 15 minutes via helicopter), you’ll be enjoying this Pacific paradise in no time.

#1 New York, N.Y.

Flickr/Visit Finger Lakes

There’s no need to fly across the country to enjoy great wine and picturesque vineyards, New Yorkers have plenty of options in their very own state. The Finger Lakes area is a well-known spot brimming with delicious wine and there are also several wineries located along the Hudson that are less than a two-hour drive from the city. No car? No problem, take advantage of one of the cheap getaways offered by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). This particular wine tour costs only $56, includes tastings at two fantastic vineyards, all transportation and conveniently leaves from Penn Station. Approximate travel time to the North Fork Long Island vineyards is two hours—you’ll be sipping wine and wandering the vineyards in no time.
Click here for the full list of LIRR getaways.