shenandoah valley

A road trip through Shenandoah National Park is a bucket-list vacation. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

5 Easy Weekend Escapes — Plus What to Pack When You Go

Looking to get away this summer but running short on vacation days? These quick trips across America are ideal weekend escapes for outdoor adventurers, shopping fans and even barbecue lovers. We’ll show you where to stay and our favorite travel products from The Container Store to make your vacation a success.

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

Road Trip Through Shenandoah National Park

Get out of the hustle and bustle of the city with a scenic road trip on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. This 105-mile national scenic byway features 75 overlooks along the route and a max speed of 35 miles per hour, allowing you to chill and enjoy the drive.

Skyline is the only public road through the park and is the primary access for its 500 miles of hiking trails. Lace up your boots and hike Upper Hawksbill Trail for an impressive overlook at Shenandoah’s highest point, or just drive the three hours through the park and see the scenery from behind the wheel.

Once you’re weary from a day on the road, head to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and stay 30 minutes from the entrance of Shenandoah National Park at TownePlace Suites Winchester. Its suites and complimentary breakfast make it an ideal basecamp for overnight or weekend getaways.

water bottles
Stay hydrated on the road. (Photo: Courtesy of The Container Store)

What to Pack: Ion8 Water Bottle — Stay hydrated with this water bottle designed for one-handed use that flips open with a touch and locks to prevent leaks when you’re on the move. It’s vented so you can sip fast, and the bottle is easy to refill at visitor center water stations in the park.

Taste Some of Texas’ Best BBQ

austin skyline
Dig into barbecue while exploring Austin. (Photo: Getty Images)

Craving some authentic Texas barbecue? Get your ribs and brisket fix in the state capital of Austin. Stop by local institution Franklin Barbecue for tender brisket made by legendary pitmaster Aaron Franklin. Or find a more low-key experience at Brown’s Bar-B-Que. It’s just a simple trailer, a smoker and some picnic tables, but the pitmaster dishes up excellent sausages, brisket and crisped chicken.

Some of the best smoked meat in Texas comes from Black’s Barbecue, and while it’s based in Lockhart, there is an Austin location that meat lovers must visit. The brisket is uniquely smoked by cooking it on a rotisserie with wood, storing it in a cooler for a few days, and then smoking it for four more hours in brick pits.

Sleep in suites with the comforts of home at TownePlace Suites Austin Round Rock, just minutes from downtown Austin and near La Frontera Village and Old Settlers Park. Start the day with a complimentary breakfast and wind down at night sitting with friends around the fire pits. Fire up the hotel’s grills and be the master of your own Texas barbecue (or simply reheat your leftovers).

What to Pack: OXO Good Grips Glass Food Storage Set — Texas barbecue comes in big portions that are sure to fill you up. Instead of taking your leftovers home in a doggie bag or tossing them in the trash, bring them back to your hotel suite’s kitchen in sustainable glass storage containers that keep food fresh and don’t leak.

Try All the Water Sports in the Outer Banks

kayakers on still water
Find solace on the water in the Outer Banks. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you’re looking to escape life in the city, North Carolina’s Outer Banks are the perfect place. These unspoiled barrier islands are 100 miles of sand and surf — with no city lights or towering skyscrapers to block out the starlight. Instead, this chain of islands is a peaceful playground for water sports enthusiasts.

Whether you love to kayak, kiteboard, surf or paddleboard, there’s a place to do it here. Up your adventure ante in Nags Head by renting Jet Skis, going parasailing or taking a Tiki boat out on the water with your crew at Kitty Hawk Watersports.

Make your basecamp TownePlace Suites Outer Banks Kill Devil Hills, situated on the Outer Banks coastline between the beach towns of Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. Popular attractions like the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Cape Hatteras are easily accessible from the hotel’s central location.

What to Pack: Travel Happens Striped Wet Bag Once you’ve wrapped up your water adventures, stash your wet swimsuit in this dedicated bag. It keeps your other items from getting wet and can also be used to stow dirty laundry in your suitcase.

Shop for Western Wear in Nashville

nashville skyline
Get your shopping and sightseeing fix in Nashville. (Photo: Getty Images)

Round up your partners and head to Nashville for a wild Western-inspired weekend spent shopping for stylish duds. Whether you’re seeking vintage jeans, new cowboy boots or classic Stetson cowboy hats, this is the city to find them.

Music City is home to rockin’ Western wear shops like Betty Boots, a destination for Nashville-inspired womenswear, and Boot Country, a cowboy footwear emporium with a massive selection of boots, buckles and hats. Looking for something less Western? Visit Imogene + Willie for hand-sewn selvage denim jeans.

Stay near the tunes at TownePlace Suites Nashville Downtown/Capitol District, an extended-stay hotel in the heart of the Capitol District and Music Row. Walk to celebrated Nashville music clubs and wrap up your night at TownePlace Suites rooftop bar, Zeppelin. Enjoy a nightcap with views of the Tennessee State Capitol before crashing in your suite.

shopping bag
Carry your souvenirs with ease. (Photo: Courtesy of The Container Store)

What to Pack: Unbleached Canvas 6-Compartment Shopping Tote — Do your part to reduce waste, and pack the cowboy boots and chambray shirt you purchased in your own canvas shopping tote. Interior compartments keep items separated so nothing rolls around, and the empty bag packs flat for stashing in your suitcase.

Hike or Bike Salt Lake City’s Top Trails

salt lake city hiking trail
Beautiful scenery await on hikes near Salt Lake City. (Photo: Getty Images)

Salt Lake City is a gateway to mountain and national park recreation, but some of its best hiking and biking trails are right in the city limits. Ensign Peak is a short one-mile trail adjacent to downtown that overlooks Utah’s State Capitol, and summiting it takes less than an hour.

Take in panoramic downtown and valley vistas at the top and learn about pioneer history from a summit monument and plaque. After your hike, explore walkable downtown Salt Lake City, where innovative cocktail bars and international restaurants await.

Prefer pedaling to uphill hikes? Head to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for a ride in the Salt Lake foothills with impressive views of the Salt Lake Valley. The trail follows the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville and stretches over 100 miles.

If you’re an intermediate mountain biker, follow flowing singletrack paths from the Hogle Zoo trailhead to the Utah State Capitol. Find more technical biking trails in Millcreek Canyon, or spend a day in the Cottonwood Canyons for hiking or biking.

Stay central to it all at TownePlace Suites Salt Lake City Murray. This hip basecamp is right off the Interstate 15 freeway and offers easy light rail access to downtown. Take in Wasatch Mountain views from the modern rooms and cool off with a dip in the indoor pool.

phone holder for bike
Keep an easy eye on your phone while biking. (Photo: Courtesy of The Container Store)

What to Pack: X-Mount Smart Phone Holder for bikes — Whether you head for mountain trails or ride on the road, track your mileage and route on unfamiliar trails with this handy-dandy bike mount. It fits most smartphones securely and allows you to change music or see who is calling without looking away from the road.

Or, if you’re planning on a full-day hike, stash snacks and a sandwich in the PackIt Lunch Bag, an eco-gel-lined cooler bag that keeps the contents cool for up to 10 hours. A zippered closure ensures nothing spills.

TownePlace Suites hotels feature The Container Store® elfa® closets across North America to make your next stay more organized.