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    Easy Weekend Getaways From Major U.S. Cities

    By By Diana Gerstacker
    July 31, 2014, 10:18:38 AM EDT

    In a perfect world we would all have stress-free jobs, as many vacation days as we wanted and access to private jets to take us wherever we might want to go on a whim. This world, however, is imperfect and for those of us with full-time jobs and no private jet, getting away from day-to-day stresses can seem impossible.

    We’ve written before about the long work days and limited vacation time that many people face and we’ve given tips on the best ways to deal with a full-time job and a serious case of wanderlust. One of the suggestions for satiating your appetite for travel is taking weekend trips (or long weekend trips) to nearby places. These little escapes allow you to enjoy time away without being all that far from home, maximizing relaxation while minimizing travel time.

    We’ve assembled our own list of relaxing destinations that are only a few short hours from nine major cities. These cities with massive populations are destinations themselves, but for those who live and work there, an occasional weekend getaway is certainly necessary.

    Nearly all of our picks can be reached in less than three hours and can be enjoyed over the course of a single weekend. The one exception is a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, which was included for the people of Phoenix.

    Over on the West Coast, people leaving Seattle can find some of the best sea kayaking in the U.S. off the shores of the San Juan Islands and those fleeing Los Angeles can find adventure zip lining on Santa Catalina Island. Across the country in the East, Bostonians have easy access to a fantastic golf course and New Yorkers are centrally located amongst some picturesque wineries.

    Some of our picks can even be reached by public transit or, if you’re truly ambitious, by bicycle, and all of these spots are well worth the short trip.

    RELATED LINKS:
    Adventure Travel 2014: The Year’s Top Trips
    How to Balance Your Passion for Travel with a Full-Time Job
    How Americans Travel to Cuba
    10 Easy Ways to Save for Your Next Trip

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    #4 Houston, Tex.Ditch the city lights of Houston for lights on the pier and sand beneath your toes—head to Galveston. 32 miles of beaches, a pier full of attractions and plenty of festivals and concerts make this a great summer destination that’s only an hour away from Houston.


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    #5 Philadelphia, Pa.

    If you’re looking for the ultimate contrast, leave the bustling city of Philly for the down home charm of Bucks County. Wander through antique shops, take a ride on a hot air balloon or travel by horse through Nockamixon State Park—and don’t forget to take a few photos of the covered bridges. An hour-long drive will get you there, or you could tackle the 45-mile trip by bike.


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    #6 Phoenix, Ariz.

    If you live in Arizona, hopefully you’ve seen the Grand Canyon—but have you seen it from a raft? Rafting the Grand Canyon is an incredible experience, well worth the three or four hour drive from Phoenix. You can either take the trip with a guide or you can get a permit directly from the National Park Service. We suggest taking a long weekend for this trip so you can enjoy a longer stretch of the river.

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