Weekend Vacation Ideas for Every Type of TravelerBy Terry Ward
We know life gets busy. Think it’s hard to pull off a last-minute weekend vacation? Not when you know where to go.
There’s a quick weekend vacation escape valve for every type of travel. Read on for suggestions for where to run off to (and soon!) for a last-minute weekend getaway.
And as always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.
What’s your vacation love language? Figure that out and you’ll know where to go. To keep things casual on a last-minute trip (after all, stress is a romance killer), opt for destinations that make it easy to come as you are, too, if you prefer that to getting fancied up.
If you want glamorous hotels, top-notch spas and ocean views all around, however, it’s hard to top a last-minute weekend couples trip to Cabo San Lucas. At the tip of Mexico’s Baja California Sur peninsula surrounded by the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean, it’s also a hot spot for migrating whales during the winter months. You’ll be surprised by the adventures you can get up to on the water in such a posh resort town.
But there are plenty of low-key hangouts in this part of Baja, too (road trip an hour north to nearby Todos Santos and its surrounding surf beaches, for a start), making it easy to jet off to for a quick weekend away.
For an easy, breezy couples escape to the Caribbean, set your sights on the sultry sands of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, where you can do beach days and bachata on repeat — and again, make romance as done-up or low-key as you like.
Like people, mountains come in all sizes. And remember — they hardly need to be the biggest of the bunch to make for a fun weekend away.
When booking a last-minute trip to the mountains, consider if you require bluebird skies for hiking or prefer moodier weather for cozying up and playing boardgames around a fireplace (then check online for conditions and book accordingly).
Give equal consideration to mighty peaks and foothills, too, to give yourself ample options for where to go.
The mountain towns of Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge in Tennessee give you easy access to hiking and leaf peeping in the Great Smoky Mountains.
And in Canada, Vancouverites get their mountain fix on weekend escapes to Whistler, less than two hours north, where guests can even arrive via scenic seasonal floatplane trips with Harbour Air Seaplanes. The planes leave right from the city and cross the Coast Mountain peaks to land on a lake in Whistler town.
Pebbly ones, sandy ones, city ones — we love them all. And you should, too, when a beach getaway is all you need to be happy.
A last-minute beach trip can actually work to your advantage, too, as you can check the weather for the upcoming days and plan to travel where it’s most pleasant.
For travelers based in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, the Balearic island of Mallorca beckons with reliable sunshine most of the year, making for a quick, beachy break to strands considered among the prettiest in Europe.
There are more than 30 miles of beaches to explore here — from the Instagram darling Cala Deià, reached via a short hike, to the unspoiled stretch of sand at Cala Mondragó along Mallorca’s southeast shoreline.
Australia is an entire continent brimming with amazing beaches. And the pretty white sand stretches around Perth in Western Australia offer consistent waves for the surf set alongside vibrant city culture — all the makings of a beach weekend getaway designed to please everyone, in other words.
The best family weekend destinations offer easy, walkable attractions for all ages — and from wherever you’re sleeping.
Look for nonstop hops from your home hub when you’re traveling last-minute with your entourage to keep logistics as streamlined as possible. You’ll find big cities and popular resort destinations often fit the bill — and have plenty of inventory and entertainment to accommodate your procrastinated plans.
For families in Asia looking for a last-minute getaway, Singapore always appeals with its safe environment and overload of family fun. You can try new foods together at the city’s many hawker centers, visit a theme park like Universal Studios Singapore and even frolic among the falling indoor flurries at Snow City.
In North Africa, introduce kids to the souks in Marrakech, where just a walk around town is full of wonder. You can even plan a desert camel trek when you visit Morocco’s most vibrant southern city, just a quick flight from many European and African hubs.
The best weekend escapes for art have a mix of world-class museums and a youthful creative vibe at play. Be sure to target destinations with great local gallery-hopping since tickets to big exhibitions may be sold out if you’ve waited until the last minute to firm up your plans.
Istanbul has earned much acclaim of late for its contemporary art scene and is just a three-hour flight from Frankfurt, Germany. Stylish city neighborhoods like Karakoy and Taksim feel like open-air galleries in parts, so plastered are their walls and facades with gorgeous murals. Add in all the city’s great restaurants, and it’s a recipe to satisfy an art-lover’s heart.
In Latin America, no place can match Mexico City for a big city weekend escape when art’s your passion. From browsing 15th-century to mid-20th-century works at the Soumaya Museum to hunting down cult-favorite contemporary art galleries like Proyectos Monclova in Polanco, this city thrills art-lovers at every turn.
Food and Drink Lovers
You can eat well in so many spots in the world that it can be hard to narrow it down to one place for a last-minute weekend getaway. If you’ve got your heart set on a celebrated restaurant that people come from all over to visit, scoring a last-second table is likely a long shot.
That’s no reason to bail on the trip, though. Great foodie cities are great, indeed, because they inspire greatness at tables all around town.
So dig deeper (past the obvious restaurant choices) on a last-minute trip when it comes to where to eat and set off on a dining voyage of discovery. Of course, it never hurts to try your luck the day you want to to dine, either, by calling to see if there’s a last-minute cancellation at the hottest table in town (it happens).
When deciding where to go, consider big cities known for their deep foodie souls, as well as smaller outposts where good food has long been part of the local fabric.
Consistently named among the world’s best cities for eating, the Peruvian capital of Lima has a high-end culinary scene that’s constantly pushing the envelope. Whether you’re feasting on streetside ceviche fragrant with leche de tigre (the spicy, citrus marinade) or you’ve nabbed one of South America’s most coveted tables at Central in the Barranco neighborhood, you’re eating well all over Lima.
And for a surprising U.S. city that’s small in stature but huge on flavor? Oxford, Mississippi. The small college town is the base of operations for James Beard–winning chef John Currence, whose five restaurants — including City Grocery, Bouré and Snackbar — take Southern and Creole fare like shrimp and grits and jambalaya to next-level deliciousness.