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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
At least eight people are dead after a Cuban military plane crashed in western Cuba on Saturday.
Dangerous thunderstorms and flash flooding will continue to threaten lives and property across the central United States through Saturday night.
While a storm will douse outdoor plans and lead to flooding on some of the Hawaiian Islands, enough rain may fall to ease drought conditions into the start of May.
Milder air will erase the recent chill and snow across Germany by May Day, though rain threatens to spoil the holiday for western and southern areas.
Temperatures will be put on a roller coaster ride in the northeastern United States through the start of May, delivering bouts of summerlike warmth.
While the recent cold snap will be over, bouts of rain will persist and threaten to disrupt outdoor plans across the United Kingdom during the Bank Holiday weekend.
It will feel like the calendar has been turned back to winter instead of moving ahead to May as snow sweeps across the central United States into Monday.
A powerful earthquake shook the Philippines, bringing the threat for a tsunami near the epicenter of the quake.