Weekend Getaways - 48 Hours of Fun
It’s Wednesday morning and you’re in your car, stuck in traffic on the way to work, when that annoying song from the 80’s blares, "Everybody’s working for the weekend." You can turn the station if you want, but that lyric will haunt you all day.
It will haunt us because it’s true. Everyone who works all week long yearns for the weekend, when they can relax, play and spend their hard-earned cash. Some even find ways to celebrate the weekend with a mini-vacation, traveling to a favorite B&B or visiting friends in another city.
These weekend getaways are great ways to sample just about anything in America, from rip-roaring adventures to toasting new towns. With great air fares becoming increasingly available, weekend travelers are no longer limited to their own neighborhoods, for every coastal resort and every mountain retreat is just a few hours away.
To get the most out of your weekend getaways, check out these suggestions from ASTA (American Society of Travel agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know a mini-vacation does not have to mean mini-fun; rather, they should create many memories for you to hang onto Monday through Friday. After all, Saturday and Sunday are your 48 hours, so enjoy each and every one.
48 Hours of Action—Try Something New
After being cooped up in an office all week, most people want to find a place to stretch their legs. Once stretched out, legs prefer to do something adventurous, like skiing down the powdery slopes or hiking around rugged trails. Weekends are perfect for playing in the great outdoors, giving you the opportunity to try something new, like fly-fishing.
Fly-fishing is that rare sport that can be a mystical experience or simply good-ole fun for couples, friends and families alike. A quiet sport of stealth and strategy set in some of the most scenic places on earth, fly-fishing pits one rod against one river, two hands deftly tugging the line against a battle-tested armada of trout, tiger muskies and northern pike.
This experience is reeling in people from all corners with fly-fishing tours and packages available for those who have never baited a hook. Packages include lavish nights in picturesque hotels, savory meals, top-notch gear, expert training, and a guide to lead you to the best spots on the river. Sounds like a lot, but you can enjoy it all inside one action-packed weekend.
Fly-fishing’s foremost fame is in the great northwest, where pine trees reach the clouds and the rivers run on clear through eternity. Magnificent stories of the ones that did not get away stream out of Montana, Washington and Oregon. Fishing in Idaho can be a religious experience, where the rivers are so full of trout you just may be able to walk clear from one bank to the other without getting your ankles wet. Wherever you get your feet wet trying this peaceful sport, you’ll get hooked.
Skiing may be a sport you’ve already tried, but until you have skied in Colorado, it doesn’t count. Colorado’s snow adventures are simply the best in North America, perhaps even the world. With 26 resorts, Colorado skiing not only offers the variety and excitement of towering mountains with slopes to suit your ability and ambition, but also the extras that perfect your weekend getaway with the best in dining, lodging and entertainment. It’s no coincidence that seven of the 10 most popular resorts on the continent call Colorado home.
With ski packages including luxurious hotels right on the slopes, discounted lift passes, transportation and more, all for a great price, you’ll begin to daydream of a snowy forecast for your next weekend. No worries there, for snowfall arrives early and stays late in the Colorado high country, resulting in reliable snow conditions from mid-October at Keystone and Loveland to as late as July at Arapahoe Basin, the highest ski area in North America at 13,050 feet.
The highest mountain in Acadia National Park, a gorgeous park near Bar Harbor, Maine, is only 1,530 feet, but still just as much fun to the hikers who flock here every weekend. Once the summer playground for the wealthy, Bar Harbor grew into a quiet resort village set amidst the hauntingly beautiful footprints of glaciers from eons past.
Bar Harbor is the perfect base camp to hike through the wilderness of Acadia ‘til your boots wear out. One of the most popular and beautiful National Parks in the United States, Acadia supplies sure-footed trekkers with more than 120 miles of trails up, down and around 26 granite-domed mountains, deep woods and rugged shoreline. Go from sea level to see-everything in one afternoon, as you conquer Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast, to be rewarded with a spectacular summit view of the ocean and outer islands. Now that’s a weekend to remember.
Saturday Night Romance
There is something intrinsically romantic about weekend escapes. Just you and your partner, miles away from anyone you know, your toes glowing as you relax next to the crackling fire. Romantic cities, inns and B&Bs decorate this nation like chocolates in a heart-shaped box. Escape with your special someone and your weekend will surely be as sweet.
Romantic retreats are just waiting to be discovered in the Adirondacks, where dozens of B&Bs, picture-perfect cottages and cozy cabins speckle the gorgeous mountains. Enjoy a lazy Saturday afternoon hike or idle away the hours holding hands by the lake. Sunday, you can window shop in the small towns and find endearing gifts inside the many boutiques. Simply put, the Adirondacks are breathtaking, both in scenery and in romance.
One of the most romantic cities in the world can be found in Northern California. Nestled among rolling hills with a breathtaking view of the Pacific, San Francisco is a city where ideas become action, culture becomes history, and beauty becomes everyday life. Full of such recognizable icons as cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world," San Fran is more of a collage than city, where your weekend will come alive as you piece together the perfect weekend with your favorite someone.
For the more sophisticated palate, nearby Napa Valley offers the best ingredients for romance—lush, rolling hills, secluded B&Bs, world-class spas, and wineries to tour and toast each other. Known as Wine Country, Napa is the world’s most densely concentrated wine region with 270 wineries along a 28-mile stretch of breathtaking scenery. A weekend here will leave a luxurious taste in your mouth.
Miami is a rare gem of an American city that feels like a different world. Saturday afternoon, you can sit at a sidewalk café and enjoy world-class people watching, and then stroll hand-in-hand along the streets of South Beach's Art Deco District to enjoy the stylish buildings. Later that night, head out on the town, sample the Cuban-inspired cuisine and dance until dawn at a trendy nightclub.
Escape Into the City
Cities should be sampled like cheeses at the supermarket. Tasted slowly over a weekend, a city will show its true colors as you explore as little or as much as you like. Catch the highlights in the afternoons and unwind with divine cuisine at night. Visiting a big city for the first time or the twenty-first time is always a good way to spend a weekend.
Whether you can only escape for a few hours, a few days or a few months, Las Vegas is the place. Enticing over 36 million visitors a year with its million-gigawatt smile and globetrotting attractions, Las Vegas is more than just glitz and gambling. This desert oasis shines with room rates lower than any other major U.S. city, inexpensive restaurants and buffets, high-caliber golf courses and a wide range of shows and entertainment options. And that’s just inside the city limits.
For more culture and less glitz, trek on over to Charleston, South Carolina. There are those who say Charleston is the most picturesque city in America, and anyone who disagrees should get their eyes checked immediately. Surrounded on three sides by water and shaded by palm trees and hanging Spanish moss, Charleston possesses an exotic flavor that sinuously embraces its historical architecture. Add the surrounding areas—filled with world-famous plantations, championship-caliber golf courses and resort-like beaches—and South Carolina’s best-kept secret becomes an ideal spot for a heavenly getaway.
Nobody celebrates the weekend more than the people of New Orleans. Through the streets where the cool night breezes sing backup to the soft jazz drifting from bar windows, around the countless restaurants and outdoor cafes where corks leap out of wine bottles with gusto and the flame of a café brûlot illuminates the night, it’s easy to enjoy the Big Easy, and easier still to, as the locals say, laissez les bons temps rouler—let the good times roll all weekend long!
If the hot N’Aawlins weather is not your thing, then venture to Seattle, the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is wondrous collection of places, ideas and cultures, ideally located with mountains hovering in the distance and various bodies of water, each with a unique personality, waiting at the end of every city street. As soon as you get there on Saturday, visit the Space Needle’s observation deck, 520 feet high—for a fabulous view of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and, of course, the beautiful city.
Oh Canada, Wow Canada!
Our neighbor to the north is too often forgotten when it comes time to consider our weekend dream destinations, but that is changing as more and more Americans are opening their eyes and hearts to our continental brethren. With three prospering, beguiling cities with tremendous international appeal to choose from, you can’t go wrong crossing the border for the weekend.
Montréalis a city ruled by a passion for living, where everything is cause for spontaneous celebration and there’s a festival around every corner, day or night. The collective, overwhelming love of jazz, film, humor, dance, theatre, cycling, food and even winter, turns the entire city into one large realm of revelry and camaraderie. Visit for a weekend, and the odds are in your favor that you’ll bump into a parade. Take pictures and tell everyone back home that it was in your honor.
Vancouver, the Canadian capital of cosmopolitan chic, may be the most eye-pleasing city on the continent. Snuggled between mountains and the sea, the city’s laid back sophistication will be the souvenir you’ll want to take home on Sunday. This is a town built for weekenders, for Vancouverites have all fallen in love with the outdoors, where they enjoy such unique sports as ski-kayaking, mountain bike-snowboarding and snowshoe-paragliding. Come Monday morning, ask your co-workers if they went snowshoe-paragliding over the weekend.
Be careful when you visit Toronto, for you’ll most likely want to stretch your weekend vacation there into a permanent one. This sprawling city, which boasts lush parks, a beach-fringed boardwalk and exciting art galleries, grows on you slowly. Then you begin to relish the city’s colorful ethnic mix, rich history and breathtaking architecture, and the next thing you know you’ll be living there, participating in the annual ice canoe races in January.
Making the Most of Your 48 Hours
Depending on which part of the country you’re from, the suggestions above may seem as close to you, geographically and economically, as a trip to the moon. If you need the stress-relieving powers of a vacation but worry about the details, then spend a happy hour inside your local travel agency.
A good travel agent will make every place you want to go seem nearer and more accessible. They can find you a reasonable airfare to Miami, help you rent the best cabins in Montana or find discounted tickets for a show in Vegas. That’s what they’re here for—to help you travel better.
Contact a trusted travel today and start looking forward to your next weekend with even more gusto.