5 US Destinations for a Quick Weekend GetawayAugust 3, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
These past few months have been a trying time for everyone. If you love to travel, you may find yourself feeling especially antsy and restless, with ongoing bans and travel restrictions into the foreseeable future. Sometimes a quick weekend getaway is all you need to fulfill that nagging wanderlust. Here are a few US destinations that promise outdoor fun, historic sights, and dining options without the large crowds.
A historic fishing port, Provincetown is located on Cape Cod in an area of spectacular natural beauty, surrounded by miles of dunes and beaches. Tourists are drawn to this historic New England town year-round for its retail shops, museums, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, and unique community character. But if COVID-19 has forced these attractions to close, you can spend the afternoon exploring MacMillan Pier, taking in the sunshine on a beach, or visiting one of the many historic landmarks. Embark on a 45-minute walk over white sand beaches to reach the Race Point Lighthouse, the historic property dating back to 1876, and enjoy spectacular views from the top.
Once a shipbuilding seaport village and a safe harbor for tall ships to weather a storm, today, Mystic is a destination with quintessential New England charm. Enjoy quaint and colorful mom and pop shops and restaurants along the town’s Main Street or head downtown the most popular tourist attractions: Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, Denison Homestead, Mystic Museum of Art, and Olde Mistick Village. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may also encounter one of the many outdoor festivals and parades including Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Mystic Eats Riverside Food Festival, Pirate Invasion, and the spectacular Lighted Boat Parade during the holidays.
Boulder is tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, offering views of dramatic sandstone slabs of the Flatirons and snow-capped peaks. An oasis for outdoor enthusiasts, this mountain town boasts 155 miles of trails and more than 60 parks for hiking, walking, biking, and exploring. Chautauqua Trailhead offers over seven trials, ranging from .3 to almost 7 miles of woods and mountain to explore. The vibrant downtown area is also known for its dining scene and breweries, providing ideal options for indulgence following a day of outdoor adventures.
West Yellowstone, MT
Fishing, hiking, biking, and zip-lining are just a few of the activities that draw tourists from around the world to West Yellowstone. Visitors can also explore the mountains, forests, lakes, and waterfalls and watch wildlife along the rivers or in the open grassy meadows. Some of the most popular attractions include Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pot’s boardwalk area which contains a short walk through spurting geysers, mudpots, & beautiful hot pools, and Lamar Valley, known as America’s Serengeti for its abundance of fascinating wildlife. Yellowstone Lake is located in the heart of the park and is the largest lake at high elevation (more than 7,000 ft.) in North America. Its spectacular beauty is emphasized by the snow-peaked mountains in the background and the lake’s clear, blue water. You can enjoy fly fishing or boating on the lake or simply take in the scene.
“Asheville is that type of unique, special place that lingers sweetly in your mind and memories for years to come,” says the exploreasheville.com website. The thriving city nestled in the Appalachian Mountains is home to a funky and eclectic downtown, 30-plus art galleries, and a burgeoning culinary scene. If current COVID-19 restrictions are limiting your indoor options, Asheville has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. With more than a million acres of protected wilderness, there are plenty of places to hike, bike, fish, and paddle. Just outside of Asheville you can take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see native wildflowers or visit Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Asheville is a family destination with year-round options. The River Arts District was formerly comprised of vacant industrial buildings, and today, artists have moved in to produce and display their work. You can enjoy artwork from the streets or visit the numerous galleries and artist studios that line this vibrant neighborhood.
Depending on current COVID-19 restrictions, you may not be able to enjoy all the attractions in each of these destinations. However, each location offers ample outdoor adventures to provide a fulfilling and exciting weekend getaway.