colorado national monument

Gather your hiking gear for a Colorado weekend. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Adventure and More Await in the American West’s Best Weekend Getaways

The American West is steeped in sublime landscapes, lore and an independent spirit that have a way of making any travels here feel like you’re setting off on a great adventure. From the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Northwest, follow our lead for some of the best weekend getaways in the West.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

western us weekend getaways
(Illustration: Yeji Kim)

Grand Junction, Colorado

In Colorado’s Western Slope region, not far from the Utah border, Grand Junction is a playground for anyone who loves snow sports, hiking, mountain biking and more — a range of which you can often even manage to do over the course of a single day.

Endless active pursuits aside, GJ, as locals call it, dishes up scenic drives (23-mile Rim Rock is a favorite to see Colorado National Monument, also known as the Little Grand Canyon), dinosaur discoveries and even wine-tasting. Check out Grande River Vineyard & Winery and Maison La Belle Vie Winery, where the winemaker traces his roots to France’s Loire Valley

Lake Chelan, Washington

speed boat on lake chelan
Take a spin around Lake Chelan. (Photo: Getty Images)

Washington State’s most popular tourist destinations may not be widely known for sun-splashed vacationing, but Lake Chelan, about five hours inland from Seattle, is an exception. There’s an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and 50 miles of glacier-fed lakefront to enjoy.

Hikes to Rainbow Falls, boat tours to soak up the lake’s scenery, guided e-bike tours with Chelan Electric Bikes along 18-miles of lakefront, and downward dogs paired with wine tasting with Yoga Uncorked are among the activities you can get up to here.

For a real throwback, plan an evening taking in a first-run or classic film at Ruby Theatre, the oldest continually running cinema in the state.

La Quinta, California

joshua trees and rock formations
Explore the wilds of Joshua Tree. (Photo: Getty Images)

Located about 25 miles east of Palm Springs, the desert resort town of La Quinta is a place for world-class golf and pool-hopping, as well as wilder desert adventures.

On open-air rides with Red Jeep Tours you’ll head to remote areas within the San Andreas Fault Zone to explore slot canyons and a natural palm oasis only accessible by four-wheel drive.

Golf destinations for varying skill sets include PGA West (with nine courses) and Palm Royale, sprouting with gorgeous palms on nearly every hole.

Hike among the cacti-covered landscapes of the Santa Rosa Mountains at the Cove Oasis Trailhead or make the short drive to nearby Coachella for tacos and street art. If it’s fun in the desert sun, you’ll find it here.

Breckenridge, Colorado

skiers on chairlift
Hit the slopes in Breckenridge. (Photo: Getty Images)

Best known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, Breckenridge, Colorado, is a four-season mountain town with tons to do year-round, whether you’re here on a multigenerational trip or a family or couples weekend.

Dive into the region’s gold-mining history at Country Boy Mine, where you’ll don a hard hat to walk 1,000 feet underground into a former working gold rush mine to see its inner workings (and then pan for gold outside in the sun after the tour).

Make time for a romantic dinner on Main Street, Breck’s main pedestrian and retail/restaurant drag, where you can find seasonal menus that pull from the region’s bounty. Aurum is a top table in this foodie town that’s as inviting when you’re with the family as it is on a date.

For a nightcap on Main Street, Après Handcrafted Libations keeps the night going inside an atmospheric building that was once a boarding house.

During the warmer months you can go paddleboarding on Maggie Pond in the high country or hit one of the many hiking trails. The Hoosier Pass Loop is particularly scenic and only moderately challenging, so bring the whole family.

Portland, Oregon

downtown portland oregon skyline
There’s something for every weekender in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Getty Images)

Where to start with all the reasons to love the City of Roses for a weekend getaway? Whether you’re looking to eat insanely well, hop from café to vintage treasure-trove in a cool neighborhood, or take in some quintessential Pacific Northwest nature, Portland, Oregon, is the place.

Bibliophiles beeline it to Burnside Street and Powell’s City of Books, which spreads across an entire city block and is the world’s largest bookstore for both used and new books.

Bask in the scent of blooming roses during a walk through the International Rose Test Garden, where some 600 different varieties bloom in an absolute riot of color from May to October.

And feast your senses, too, on everything from gourmet vegan sandwiches and Egyptian eats (El Masry) to fine French fare and fondue in fashionable Portland neighborhoods like Nob Hill and along Mississippi Avenue.