5 Creative Weekend Getaway Ideas

By Maggie Shi, Real Simple

When you finally get to take off time from work for a long-overdue weekend getaway, you’ll want to savor every last minute of it. But there are so many factors to consider, mainly destination and affordability. Sure, you can opt for the tried-and-true like a beach resort or ski trip in the mountains—but why book a flight to a touristy hotspot when you can try one of these off-the-beaten path weekend getaways? It’s a great opportunity to try something new for next weekend escape—plus, your friends and family might be impressed with your creativity. We’ve rounded up plenty of ideas whether you’re traveling with your significant other, the whole family (plus the kids), or a group of friends. Plus, there's diversity in the price ranges, from the cheapest vacation ideas to more luxe options. If you’re getting a big group together, rent a house for the weekend and make yourselves at home. Or, if it’s just you and your significant other, venture on a cruise to nowhere—those are short one- or two-night stays with no ports of call so you can explore and enjoy all the amenities on the ship. Another idea for just the adults is heading to a casino resort near you, and don’t worry, it’s not just about gambling, you and your friends can enjoy restaurants and spa treatments. And if you're looking for a cheap vacation idea, you can always enjoy a staycation and be a tourist in your own town—you can use the money you saved on flights and book a hotel room at the nicest hotel nearby. Whatever you choose, these getaway ideas will make for a memorable weekend.


Rent a House

It has all the comforts of home but provides the excitement of something new. Plus, if you're looking for some of the cheapest vacation ideas, this one is for you. Renting a house for a weekend getaway gives you plenty of freedom—cook, watch movies, take naps on the couch, play board games…the possibilities are endless. Most rentals are available on a nightly basis and come fully stocked with kitchen equipment, bedding, towels, and more—it’s all up to the individual owners, so make sure you check what’s included before booking. House rentals are also a great option if you’re planning on getting away with a group; you’ll have plenty of time and space to bond, and it's a cheap vacation idea since many larger rentals are cheaper than booking several individual hotel rooms for weekend getaways.

Search for available properties and refine by date, size, and amenities. That three-bedroom lake house with a Jacuzzi and an outdoor deck you’ve been dreaming of? It can be yours—at least for a weekend.


Cruise to Nowhere

A cruise is always a great vacation option, but a weeklong affair is a big commitment. Try a cruise to nowhere—a quick one- or two-night weekend getaway on a cruise ship that goes, literally, nowhere. Just a warning that this isn’t a cheap vacation idea if you’re looking for one. There are no ports of call, so you can focus strictly on relaxation and enjoy the ship’s amenities, including restaurants, spas, entertainment, shopping, swimming pools, and more. Sign up for a yoga class, watch a movie, hit the midnight buffet, and take in a comedy show—it’s all right there under one roof. If you decide you love the cruise line, you can always book a longer vacation to the Bahamas or Alaska. Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and many other major cruise lines all offers cruises to nowhere from various cities. It might not be one of the cheapest vacation ideas, but it’s sure to be one of the best weekend getaways for indulgence.


Camp Out

A weekend in the woods communing with nature is the perfect antidote for your hectic daily life. First, decide how much you want to rough it: You can stay in a rustic cabin, book a site with room for your car or RV (which means you get the perks of outdoor camping without lugging all your equipment on your back), or just sling on a backpack, go for a hike, and pitch a tent. Some campgrounds offer bathrooms with running water and hot showers, while a more bare-bones option, such as a boat access-only island, may only have pit toilets and lack drinking water (bring your own). Whatever your style, once you’re ensconced in nature, there’s usually plenty to do—hiking, swimming, fishing, and the all-important s’more-making around the campfire. Check out to find campsites and make reservations.


Casino Night

Feeling lucky? Make like a high roller and head to a casino resort near you—they’re located in most states in the country. While amenities and types of games vary widely, you’ll hit the jackpot if you seek out one that tries to replicate the Vegas experience—fancy restaurants, an all-you-can-eat buffet, upscale shops, and live entertainment. For example, The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, boasts restaurants by Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck, marbled bathrooms, and a high-end spa offering a range of beauty and body treatments. The Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, has nine restaurants, a 42-inch plasma TV in every room, and a movie theater, and has hosted live performances by Melissa Etheridge, LL Cool J, and more.


Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Want an easy escape without going too far? Check into that quaint bed-and-breakfast or fancy hotel that you’ve always been curious about in your very own (or a neighboring) town. Let someone else cook breakfast, then explore the quirky sights and stores that you’ve passed by millions of times without stopping for a second look. Feed the ducks at the pond, drive around unfamiliar neighborhoods to admire the architecture, or poke into dusty antique stores that have been around for as long as you can remember. Ignore your usual haunts and reminders of the daily grind—no stopping into the grocery store or picking up a coffee at your neighborhood Starbucks. Instead, linger over a cappuccino at the brand-new cafĂ©, read the paper in the local park, and check out that little Thai place down the street—and fall in love with your hometown all over again.

See more at: Real Simple

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Travel Magazine: 5 Creative Weekend Getaway Ideas
5 Creative Weekend Getaway Ideas
Why book a flight to a touristy beach resort when you can try one of these off-the-beaten-path escapes?
Travel Magazine
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