7 of the Best Weekend Getaway Spots in North America
You don't have to travel halfway around the world to have the trip of a lifetime. Whether you're strapped for cash or just lack the patience to sit through an airline viewing of Forrest Gump yet again, these seven amazing travel destinations will make you feel like you've hopped your way into a whole new world, all while keeping you within North American borders.
Quebec City, Canada
Don't shell out for a transatlantic flight just to feel like you're in Europe—this charming city's weathered cobblestoned alleys and French architecture will satisfy even the biggest Francophile. Flights from the Northeastern part of the U.S. to Quebec's bistro-lined streets, brimming with historical monuments, fall just under two hours. Grab your passport, brush up on your French (the region's official language) and ready your stomach for plenty of poutine.
This photogenic seaport city lies 100 miles north of Boston and is bustling with craft breweries, museums and, of course, enough lighthouses to keep your Instagram followers satisfied. If you choose to forgo the scenic road trip to get there, Portland International provides service to 12 major airports, making this an ideal weekend getaway spot. Portland is also home to one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in the nation, so it's not difficult to satisfy your appetite after you've roamed the city's 19th-century streets and taken a leisurely cruise along the northeastern shoreline. And you can't say you've officially been to Maine until you've torn apart sweetly succulent lobsters in every form imaginable.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota
A burgeoning culinary scene, countless museums and state-of-the-art performing arts venues will make you wonder why you've been shunning the Twin Cities in favor of predictable—and pricy—choices like Chicago and San Francisco. A brief 20-minute drive separates the two, meaning if you've somehow exhausted Saint Paul's sights and attractions during the day, Minneapolis's music scene and nightlife is right next door.
Santa Catalina Island, California
If you need a break from sitting on gridlocked freeways, this secluded island is a short, one-hour ferry ride from the coast of Southern California. The island's only city, Avalon, is home to just 4,000 golf cart-driving residents (and a limited number of cars), so there won't be traffic to block you from snorkeling Catalina's brilliant, emerald waters or exploring the endless acres of untouched wildlands.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
There's no reason to trek all the way to the Swiss Alps when the Canadian Rockies lie so close to the northern border. Fly into Calgary International before renting a car and driving on the winding roads of Canada's oldest national park. And if you somehow manage to outgrow Banff's stunning glaciers and brilliant alpine lakes, spending a few extra days in historic Calgary is always an option before flying home.
Santa Barbara, California
Elegant Spanish architecture and soaring palm trees line the streets of this laid-back, Central California beach town. A regional airport serves both Los Angeles and San Francisco, but renting a car or taking Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner along the PCH is undoubtedly the best and most scenic way to get to this relaxed coastal community. Surprisingly world-class dining, pristine beaches and wineries that keep up with any Napa Valley vineyard make this West Coast darling the ultimate underrated destination.
Hear us out: Though it's true the ever-popular destination can see plenty of tourists occupying its white sand, short flight times (and cheap ticket prices) to Cancun's international airport make it difficult to come up with an excuse to stay home this summer. Not only that but countless tours are at the ready to lead adventure seekers away from the masses and through the area's abundant caves, jungles and rivers. And if you do end up wanting to join those out-of-towners (we won't tell), a frozen margarita is never too hard to find.
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