Where to Go When You Only Have a Weekend

When the average American only receives 10 paid vacation days a year, travel can be tough. Most of one’s time off must be reserved for the holiday season, leaving only a handful of days to get out and explore the world. Too often, we squander our vacation days with disappointing staycations, remaining skeptical that satisfying travel is possible with such a meager time frame.

Yet, the world is a magnificent place, and there are thousands of thrilling and fulfilling destinations that can easily be explored in a weekend or less. Here are some of the best domestic and international getaways for when you don’t have time to spare.

Where to go for the weekend

Sedona, Arizona

Sunny Arizona is a beautiful destination any time of year, and the marvelous red rocks of Sedona make the trip feel magical. Around the city and over the colorful mountains crisscross hundreds of hiking trails, most of which offer unique views of the surrounding desert. You can also explore the boutique art shops, including the world-famous Tlaquepaque village, or you can revitalize your spiritual energy in any of Sedona’s fabled vortexes.

Austin, Texas

Though any Austonian will contest that you won’t appreciate the city’s weirdness unless you live there, a weekend is more than enough to enjoy the idiosyncrasies of Texas’s coolest town. After filling up on some Tex-Mex food and shopping at the revamped Second Street District, you should head to Sixth Street, where Austin earns its honorific “Live Music Capital of the World.” Boasting more venues than anywhere else in the country, Austin always has some outstanding up-and-coming band performing.

Monterey, California

Almost any coastal California town makes for a beautiful and relaxing weekend away, but Monterey is particularly gorgeous ― if a little pricier than other destinations on this list. Wonderfully mild year-round, Monterey is ideal for relaxed outdoor activities. If you are slightly more ambitious, you can hit a few balls at Monterey’s celebrated golf courses at Pebble Beach, but spending your days strolling through Cannery Row and lounging on the bright, warm beach is lovely.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is unequivocally a city ― it has the skyscrapers to prove it ― but the wealth of natural adventures within minutes of the downtown hustle and bustle makes the urban sprawl easy to forget. Indeed, the landscapes around Vancouver are stunning and filled with activities, from hiking and skiing to whitewater rafting and cycling. Additionally, called “Hollywood North,” Vancouver has been the setting for hundreds of silver screen productions, so you’ll likely spot important landmarks from your favorite movies while you stroll the city streets.

Mexico City, Mexico

The most populous city in North America, Mexico City has enough attractions to fill a month-long itinerary ― but each neighborhood provides a distinct cultural feel and enough sights (and tastes) to comfortably fill a weekend trip. For example, Cayoacan in south-central Mexico City, is quietly romantic, with ancient cobbled streets and centuries-old churches and markets. For a more educational vacation, you can schedule stops at the zoo (which boasts famous and rare Russian pandas) and the National Museums of Anthropology, Art, and History.

Paris, France

Believe it or not, the Paris is incredibly easy to explore over a leisurely weekend away ― especially if you plan ahead with the right travel rewards. At least one of your days should be devoted to seeing the iconic sights: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame, etc.; however, the rest of your time should be spent exploring the city in earnest. Paris is much more than its touristy landmarks and strolling along the Seine, sampling French fare at small cafes, and shopping French fashion will give you a real feel for the City of Light.

Paris France

Munich, Germany

Though Munich’s largest tourist attraction is its annual beer festival, Oktoberfest, ales and lagers aren’t the only reason to spend time in Germany’s growing metropolis. During the past couple decades Munich has shed its lederhosen and dirndls in favor of a chic, cosmopolitan, urban feel. Today, aside from the tech businesses that keep the city running, Munich is devoted to high art and aesthetics ― which shows in the grandiose buildings, the carefully curated gardens, and sanctified museums. Still, it isn’t hard to find the old world in Munich, especially in the medieval Marienplatz where knights and minstrels dance to the glockenspiel at midday.




  1. I have lots of ideas too, but the problem is finding a couple of days to do it.

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