Long weekend breaks around public holidays offer travelers an amazing opportunity to escape and explore new places — even if it’s only for a few days. But since these extended holidays are hard to come by, it’s always a good idea to plan your trip ahead, as you never know when the next one might happen again.
If taking advantage of public holidays and going on a much-needed vacation sounds appealing to you, great news: 2021 will grant travelers 5 long weekends throughout the year — Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
Whether you’re dreaming of a serene city break to go with your family, a romantic getaway with your significant other, or a bustling city for some 24/7 fun, we’ve got you covered.
Read on the post for some travel inspiration on the best weekend trips in the US, and start getting ready for your next travel adventure.
Best Weekend Getaways For Memorial Day | May/June
Myrtle Beach, SC: Most Affordable Weekend Getaway
Famous for its alabaster white-sand beaches, Myrtle Beach is one of the long weekend breaks in 2021. Thanks to its handful of fun things to do, including surfing lessons, kayak trips, boat rides, and dolphin cruises, the city has become one of the favorite spots in the US for families.
Aside from indulging in plenty of water activities, visitors can enjoy Myrtle Beach’s world-class golf courses like the stellar Greg Norman Golf Course, which features seven holes along the Intracoastal Waterway. Most
Families will also enjoy visiting the Myrtle Beach State Park, a scenic area dotted with several trails, and picnic shelters. Thanks to its bountiful wildlife, the park is a great place for birdwatching, and a prime spot for fishing, and swimming.
Travelers who are in search of the best views of Myrtle Beach shouldn’t pass up the chance to ride the famous Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, a mighty Ferris wheel that grants visitors the most spectacular panorama of the city!
Another great reason to go to Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day weekend it’s that the weather is always warm and pleasant, peaking at around 26ºC.
To fully enjoy a 4-day weekend trip to this seaside destination, make sure to visit some of the local restaurants, including the famous Captain George’s Seafood Buffet, for some jet-fresh seafood dishes.
Charleston, SC: Culture And Tradition In The South
A great idea for travelers who are spending the weekend in the Myrtle Beach area is to go on a day trip to Charleston. Located within a two hours drive from Myrtle Beach, this irresistible Southern city charms travelers with its delicious and soulful cuisine, a lovely old town charm, and some of the most beautiful beaches found along the coast.
Charleston is a coastal gem with plenty of fabulous amenities including downtown restaurants that are known across the nation for their fantastic seafood dishes! Some of the must-visits are the beachfront Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar, and Charleston Crab House.
Picture-perfect historic houses, leafy streets, and gorgeous promenades make Charleston one of the most romantic getaways in the US. For a lovely trip with your significant other, spend the entire weekend idly wandering around the historic downtown, sailing aboard the Schooner Pride, and relaxing in The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place.
During your romantic trip to Charleston, also include visits to the local idyllic gardens, like the Middleton Place Plantation, Waterfront Park, and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens to your bucket list.
Las Vegas, NV: Ultimate Fun With Friends
Sizzling with tantalizing options for shopping, entertainment, and nightlife, Las Vegas is everything you could want from a cosmopolitan destination. Thanks to its varied range of exciting attractions, Sin City is one of the top 4 day weekend getaways in the US.
Even more irresistible during the warmer months of the year, Vegas pulsates with a profusion of neon lights, colors, and sounds. In there, be sure to walk through the iconic The Strip, a four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard lined with fine dining restaurants, casinos, and lavishing rooftops. Another must-do in the city is visiting the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, from where you’ll be able to spot the Bellagio Casino & Resort, The Big Apple Coaster at the New York Hotel & Casino from up high.
After taking in Las Vega’s frenetic energy, the most adventurous travelers can head over to the stunning Fire State Park. Located within a short drive from Sin City (less than an hour), this amazing nature preserve features 2000-year-old petroglyphs carved into massive red sandstone formations in the heart of the Mohave Desert. Unarguably one of the best weekend getaways for outdoor lovers!
Best Weekend Getaways For Independence Day | July
Washington, D.C.: The Perfect Fit For History Buffs
Washington, D.C. is a spellbinding destination that rewards urban explorers with a fascinating range of things to see and do. The perfect pick for a weekend trip, the city is home to big-name landmarks like Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in addition to its wide variety of museums that will satisfy any interest from history buffs to sports fans.
For your dose of history, visit Capitol Hill, the seat of the U.S. government, and the Library of Congress, with its sumptuously decorated Great Hall. Don’t pass up the chance to also explore the mighty White House where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the public rooms in the East Wing. Pro tip: make sure to plan ahead and schedule a tour in advance.
On the 4th of July, Washington, D.C, is taken by American flags and bustling celebrations. Best spot in the city to watch the fabulous firework spectacle? The National Mall, a tree-lined park that is home to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the internationally recognized Washington Monument.
To make your trip even more memorable consider taking an evening boat tour around Washington D.C’s monuments which are fully illuminated at night!
New Orleans, LA: An Atmospheric Town In Louisiana
With plenty to see and do New Orleans is a bustling town fueled by ever-endearing music venues, lively annual festivals, sparkling lakes, and gorgeous townhouses with intricate iron balconies.
Just like any other festival in this lively city, Independence Day is celebrated in New Orleans with loud parades, exciting music performances, and several parallel events. The best way to experience the city’s festivities is by walking down Canal Street among street performers and vendors, as well as watching fireworks from Jackson Square.
While spending your weekend in New Orleans, make sure to visit the famous New Orleans French Quarter, walk along the Mississippi River to see its beautiful landscape, and take in some of Louisiana’s most iconic landmarks.
Other must-see attractions in the city include Audubon Park, the World War II Museum, and New Orleans Botanical Garden.
Delicious food is one of the top reasons to visit New Orleans and the Big Easy is also home to many great restaurants. So make sure you go on a culinary adventure while visiting the city, and don’t leave without trying delicious Southern food specialties, including the beignets from Cafe du Monde or oysters from Acme Oyster House.
A trip to New Orleans isn’t complete without exploring some other parts of Louisiana as well!
Best Weekend Getaways For Labor Day | September
San Francisco, CA: A Haven For Foodies
One of the best ways of enjoying the Labor Day holiday in 2021 is by going on a trip to San Francisco. Often considered one of the most irresistible cities in California, this destination has a lot to offer — from world-class museums to tantalizing shopping spots, and leafy state parks to lip-smacking global eateries. Not by chance, it’s regarded as one of the best long weekend trips for this year.
First-timers shouldn’t pass up the chance to spending time in Fisherman’s Wharf, an iconic neighborhood that is home to Ghirardelli Square, and Pier 39, aside from offering stunning views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
After you shop until you drop, enjoy one of the best things that the city has to offer: an amazing food scene that includes everything from cheap eats to fine dining. The must-eats? The dutch crunch bread sandwich from Little Lucca and creamy clam chowder at Gigi’s Sotto Mare Oysteria & Seafood.
Some of the best things to do in September include the annual International Film Festival, the Bay to Breakers race, and the North Beach Jazz Festival.
Napa Valley, CA: Best Getaway For Couples And Wine Lovers
After having a great time in the Golden Gate City drive up to Napa Valley for a tranquil weekend in California’s wine country. Located around two hours north of SF, Napa Valley is one of the best romantic getaways in California thanks to its golden-hued premium wineries, boutique hotels, and stellar restaurants.
After a state-of-the-art wine tasting experience in Quintessa, a scenic 280-acre estate where five varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carménère) are grown, pamper yourself with some relaxing time at the award-winning Spa Solage.
To fully enjoy this romantic getaway, be sure to also go on a hot air balloon ride at sunset time, and then go on a memorable diner at La Toque, a Michelin-starred restaurant where you can feast on superb dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients.
Kansas City, MO: For The Offbeat Travelers
Well-off most travelers map, Kansas City happens to be one of the best weekend trips in the US. Located on Missouri’s western edge, this soulful destination is praised for its exciting line-up of events during the Memorial Day Weekend. During this holiday in 2021, the city will host for the first time Kansas City’s Great Balloon Glow, a collection of illuminated hot air balloons on the grounds of the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
During the weekend, which falls during the sport’s season, the city will also host several must-watch games, including the Kansas City NWSL against the Chicago Red Stars soccer match.
Aside from enjoying the city’s seasonal activities, travelers can also visit the finest local attractions, from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to the famous City Market, which is a favorite spot for some delicious food.
Have some spare time in the city? Then head over to the lovely city of Hermann, a German town located two hours from KC. Filled with plenty of bed & breakfast and cozy cafes, this lovely destination is a great getaway for couples!
Best Weekend Getaways For Thanksgiving | November
New York City, NY: A Wonderland For The Urbanites
New York needs no introduction. One of the world’s most visited destinations, NYC can be a great place for a long weekend getaway, especially for the urbanites who want to experience the city’s incomparable skyline, museums, Broadway shows, live music venues, shopping districts, and more.
For a perfect Thanksgiving holiday in the city, make sure to watch the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which features bustling bands, scenic floats, clowns, and more.
If you’re traveling to New York with kids, take them to see the city’s top seasonal attractions, including the Holiday Train Show, which happens in the NY Botanical Garden, and the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, a winter wonderland that features an outdoor ice-skating rink and a European inspired open-air market.
Now, in case you’re looking for a romantic spot to visit with your significant other, head to the Top Of The Rock Observatory, at Rockefeller Center. From up high, you’ll be able to marvel at New York’s superb skyline, bustling with city lights, and towering skyscrapers. The observation deck also offers views It offers views up and down Central Park and across all five boroughs. A true hit!
One of the best weekend getaway ideas for those who are visiting Manhattan is to rent a car and go explore the best weekend destinations in New York. From hiking in the Catskills to visiting breweries in Long Island – there is something for everyone!
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: For A Family Vacation Around Nature
If you’re seeking a Thanksgiving holiday in the great outdoors, don’t think twice and chose Gatlinburg as your travel destination.
Placed along the northern border of the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the most-visited national parks in the US, Gatlinburg is a great affordable weekend getaway for the Thanksgiving holiday, especially if you want to be around nature. This destination offers many opportunities for hiking, exploring beautiful waterfalls, and scenic picnic spots, making this one of the best city breaks in the US.
In case you’re going on a family vacation in Gatlinburg, be sure to visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, which is home to over 12,000 one-of-a-kind marine species.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, Gatlinburg hosts a robust lineup of special events. One of the best-most famous ones is The Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show, where Tennessee artists and craftspeople sell handcraft gifs, such as quilts, woven baskets, scented candles, paintings, and more.
For an authentic Thanksgiving feast, book a table at local restaurants like Calhoun’s, The Seasons of Ober Loft & Lounge, Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, and the Smoky Mountain Brewery.
Best Weekend Getaways For Christmas and New Year | December/January
Palm Springs, CA: For A Restoring Christmas In The Desert
A veritable desert oasis in Southern California, Palm Springs is the ultimate winter destination for those looking to escape the cold weather. With its low average temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and an annual rainfall of about six inches, the city boasts year-round sunshine which has drawn celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope in decades past as well as more recent travelers including John Travolta and Barbra Streisand.
If soaking up some rays is what you’re looking for then head over to Tahquitz Canyon which offers incredible rock climbing and bouldering opportunities as well as a good chance of spotting bighorn sheep among its towering rocks. For those interested in stunning views, ride the Aerial Tramway for a scenic birdseye view of the desert dotted with mighty mountains and palm trees.
The city is well-known for its golf courses like Tahquitz Creek Golf Club which has been ranked the No. 18 courses in America! Make sure to also visit the Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens to experience the beauty of the desert’s wildlife.
Art lovers can visit the Sunnylands Center & Gardens, a historic 200-acre estate featuring rotating art exhibitions, while foodies can embark on a mouthwatering culinary experience by trying the city’s fantastic restaurants.
San Diego, CA: A Snowbirds’ Paradise
While spending the holidays in the desert, a great idea is to explore the surrounding area and visiting nearby cities. You can take the kids to the Joshua Tree National Park, or drive south until you reach San Diego. This sunny and breezy Southern California city is graced with several miles of coastline, amazing museums, and kid-friendly attractions.
Aside from beaches, gardens, and parks, San Diego also displays a showcase of bustling events during Christmas. Just don’t go expecting your average sleigh ride and cross country skiing! Rather, visitors can wander through 37 acres of illuminated plants and garden areas in the San Diego Botanical Garden. The event also hosts a display of lighted animals, laser lighting, and fire pits for the whole family.
Be sure to also visit the local natural wonders, including the La Jolla Cove, the Torrey Pines State Reserve, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
There’s always something fun going on in this amazing city – from concerts under the stars (or sea!) to festivals that celebrate the local culture. So you’re not likely to run out of things to do during your long weekend getaway in San Diego.
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