5 Santa Barbara, California
No matter where you go in California, whether it be San Francisco, Los Angeles or all the way down to San Diego, you’ll surely have the time of your life. But those primo locales are typically crowded—not ideal if you only have a couple days. Head on out to Santa Barbara instead; it’s just about an hour and a half north of L.A. Spend your days snoozing in the sun on East Beach. Rent a surfboard and take a surfing lesson, or get a bicycle to cruise up and down the beach path. Santa Barbara is loaded with local boutiques, eateries and world-class resorts, giving you plenty to do without having to venture far from your hotel room.
4 Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, is the place to visit if you want a charming romantic spot to go with your sweetie. Between the cobblestone walkways in the historic district, horse-drawn carriages and centuries-old multimillion-dollar mansions all draped with enormous green oak trees, you’ll find a reason to fall in love all over again. Go shopping along King Street, buy handmade knickknacks from street vendors with carts, visit the Civil War landmarks and take a tour on the Schooner Pride, a tall three-mast ship. You’ll surely work up an appetite, too. Fortunately, Charleston is well-known for its highly affordable fine-dining hot spots.
3 New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy offers plenty to do for a short summer weekend trip. Visit the state-of-the-art Audubon Aquarium and the National World War II Museum during the day, and then head over to the French Quarter at night. You’ll be able to walk up and down historic Bourbon Street and sample some mouth-watering Creole-style cooking at the endless line of restaurants. Llive bands are an almost every night occurrence, giving you a chance to enjoy local jazz or blues while you dine. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous after dinner, take a tour of the great Mississippi on the river boat. You’ll be able to watch the sunset over this truly historic town.
2 Las Vegas, Nevada
While you might not fantasize about going to the desert during summer, it’s actually one of the best times to head over. During the summer months in Vegas, most of the tourists are gone, making Sin City seem eerily peaceful. Don’t fret about the heat. Resorts along the strip have pristine pools, waterfalls and beaches to help you cool off. Even if your hotel doesn’t have a pool or if you get sick of it, for a small fee, you can resort-hop and use the pools at other properties. Once that blistering sun goes down, you’ll be able to walk around and hit all the clubs, restaurants and shopping venues, without having to battle horrendous crowds.
1 Portland, Maine
Fighting your way through New England crowds to get to scenic Cape Cod isn’t an ideal way to spend a quick weekend getaway. Head a little farther north instead. The scenic oceanfront city of Portland, Maine, lies just two hours north of Boston. Spend your days relaxing on the miles of sandy beaches, riding a mountain bike through heavily wooded trails or out on a boat catching fish. After burning off all your energy, you’ll be able to enjoy a steamed Maine lobster—with a side of melted butter, of course. Since it’s caught right there in the backyard, the lobster is incredibly fresh and affordable.