10 Inexpensive Weekend Getaways Anyone Can Take
With time away from work at a premium and day-to-day expenses on the rise, many people are turning to weekend getaways to let off steam. What can you accomplish in a two to three day adventure, you ask? Here are 10 weekend getaways that offer something for everyone. (See also: Are Groupon Getaways a Good Idea?)
Whether you’re planning on family camping or taking a romantic tent getaway with your significant other, embracing the great outdoors is an affordable way to get out of town. Check out your nearest national or state park for stellar scenery at a suitable price.
2. Foodie Frenzy
For couples who like to dine out, taking a weekend trip to a nearby foodie destination ensures a manageable financial outlay for your favorite menus — since you won’t be dishing out for an entire week, there’ll be more money to splurge on. Norfolk, Virginia, has a great food scene, as well as a number of free museums and walking tours. Park City, Utah, is another example of a foodie town with affordable activities such as hiking trails and mountain views.
3. A Wander Towards Water
Whether you enjoy weekend beach getaways with white sand or need to stick closer to home with a water park or lake resort, incorporating water into your weekend plans is a huge it with the kids. Sand castles, water slides, and lake kayaking are all fun activities to enjoy, demonstrating that you don’t have to be able to afford the Caribbean to have some fun with the family this summer.
4. Fairs and Festivals
If dining destinations don’t seem doable for your budget, consider checking out area fairs and festivals within driving distance. Entry costs are typically nominal if not free, and the food carts — while priced at a level similar to theme parks — are affordable indulgences compared to swanky restaurants. Besides, there’s no law that says you have to eat all of your meals at the fair. You can go there just to enjoy the live music, cultural demonstrations, and skill competitions. Budget for an indulgence or two and cook healthy food at your vacation rental.
5. Seeing Some Shows
For those who enjoy a bit of culture during their weekend getaways, plan your trip to a place where live performances are prevalent. Indie theater, discount Broadway tickets, and even classical presentations in the park can all be affordable, provided you plan ahead with ticket purchases and are controlling your other vacation line items such as accommodations and souvenir shopping.
6. Sporting Events
For the sports crowd, planning a weekend getaway to enjoy a particular event is the ideal summer experience. Some might choose to visit Boston for a baseball game, while those closer to a car-racing venue might choose something along that line. The point is to take advantage of what’s near you for the greatest savings.
Whether you’ve booked a rustic cabin or will be hauling your own tent on your back, hiking is one of several affordable dates you can incorporate into the weekend getaways you’ll be taking this summer. Scenic vistas, refreshing waterfalls, and babbling brooks abound all across North America, making a hiking vacation doable for nearly everyone.
8. Scenic Drives
Whether you’re exploring California wine country or driving along the Maine coast, scenery is always a draw for family road trips. Which routes near you offer the prettiest auto outing? Pick one with affordable overnight lodging and make a weekend out of it. You can stop to check out attractions like wineries and lakes along the way to break up long stretches of sitting in the car. Don’t forget to pack some healthy road trip snacks.
9. Animal Encounters
Up close and personal wildlife experiences are a hit with any age group. Roughly 45 minutes away from our home, we were able to snorkel with the manatees and stay at a historic plantation near a wildlife sanctuary. Folks in Washington, D.C., can hop over to Shenandoah National Park to spot bears, deer, and more while hiking and enjoying gourmet lodge food as a splurge. The wild mushroom ravioli and blackberry cobbler are faves of mine, but there are other great meal choices as well. Snorkeling to see colorful sea life is a great way to go, as is canoeing in hopes of spotting a moose or two.
10. Wine Touring
Wine tasting is a great way to experience classy dating on a budget and is possible in a variety of locations throughout North America. I’ve sipped ice wine in Nova Scotia and Vermont, but other corners of our continent have lots to offer in terms of wine experiences as well. Virginia has an extensive winery network, as does Northern California. Other scenes of note include southern Arizona and the state of Michigan.
Clearly, there’s more to be done than driving to a hotel and lounging by the pool. These 10 weekend getaways represent a small sampling of the activity roster at your disposal. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy an out-of-town weekend?