Looking for a weekend getaway but with less crowds and a bit of a slower pace than a major city? We’ve got you covered. There’s a whole world out there other than the more major cities like New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles. Whether you prefer quiet sandy beaches, all-you-can-drink wine, or quaint seaside escapes with picturesque cobblestone streets, all you have to do is travel a bit outside the more “popular” places to find the perfect city escape.
Here are six of our favorite destinations outside of major cities that we’re sure you’ll fall in love with. Bon voyage!
Hudson Valley, New York
Stretching from just north of New York City up to the state capital of Albany, the Hudson Valley offers countless destinations on both sides of the river for all types of travelers. We have a few favorite Hudson Valley towns, like Hudson, which has a vast collection of top-notch restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. You can stay at the Rivertown Lodge, a quaint hotel that used to be a movie theater. For history lovers, a visit to Hyde Park is essential, as you can tour President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous home there. The village of Rhinebeck is one of our favorite quaint towns—stay nearby in an Airbnb so you can explore both the surrounding villages and take in some much-needed nature.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California is where mid-century modern meets desert meets vacation. Ripped out of the pages of a 1970s travel magazine, Palm Springs has so many incredible pools to lounge by, spas to indulge at, tours to take, and trails to hike or bike. Trek up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (no sweat required!) for unforgettable views of the Coachella Valley, or book a bike tour where you can cycle your way through downtown, stopping at quintessentially retro bars along the way. While calling Palm Springs your home base, you can still visit other popular areas of California, too, like day trips to Joshua Tree National Park or the famous Route 66.
Asheville, North Carolina
A two-hour drive outside of Charlotte, Asheville, North Carolina is a gorgeous getaway spot nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cue up your favorite playlist as you drive up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway for a stunningly scenic drive, and be sure to visit the Biltmore Estate, built by George Washington Vanderbilt II over 100 years ago! It’s just outside of Asheville proper and covers 11 sprawling square miles! Within the surrounding village, you could spend an entire day shopping, walking, learning, and eating. Asheville is a great, lesser-known city in North Carolina that’s a great alternative to more crowded, touristy cities.
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
Fly into either Savannah, Georgia or Hilton Head, South Carolina and head straight for nearby Daufuskie Island instead. Part of the fun is getting there and getting around—you have to take a ferry to Daufuskie, and once you’re there, the island is completely car-free. Rent a golf cart to get to your rented home (there are ample listings on Airbnb and VRBO), and get ready to relax in your home, at the pool, or on the beach. Daufuskie is a relaxing getaway where you can take the opportunity to live somewhere else for a little in a quiet, pleasant environment.
Newport, Rhode Island
Not too far from Boston (just about one and a half hours) or even New York City if you’re willing to drive a little, Newport, Rhode Island is a quaint and charming escape with lots to do and see. There are plenty of lodging options, whether you want to stay on nearby Goat Island at Gurney’s Resort (which boasts multiple restaurants on property) or within the walkable downtown at more intimate Mill Street Inn. Dine and shop on the cobblestone Thames Street or head up Broadway for more options. Then, to take in some high-class, Gilded-Age experiences, check out the many famous historical Victorian mansions in Newport, like the Breakers and Marble House, which were owned by the Vanderbilts. And you can’t go to Newport without taking a stroll along the Cliff Walk for some amazing views.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Storybook nautical vibes await in the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts, just about 70 miles driving distance from Boston and about 250 from New York City. It’s like a seaside village stuck in time—lighthouses, beaches, and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket await you in one of the most popular travel destinations in the Northeast. In the summer months, relax on the beaches and then hit the seas while sipping a cocktail on a sunset cruise as lighthouses glow. Indulge in the freshest seafood on the coast, have local brews, tour museums and gardens, and visit the Pilgrim monument or Edward Gorey House for a dose of local history.