If you need to get out of town for a short weekend getaway and need to plan your trip last minute, you might be wondering what to do and where to go. Here we have collected the top eight last-minute vacation destinations in the U.S. to make planning your trip a little easier.
Napa Valley, California
If you love wine, Napa Valley is a great destination. You can enjoy the beauty of wine country in Northern California, and there are a ton of things to do in the area beyond just wine tastings. There are many delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Napa Valley; just make sure you call in advance to get a reservation; many of these restaurants fill up fast. There are hot air balloon rides that take you over the vineyards, and it can truly feel like magic gently floating above everything. Napa Valley also has many shops that can be fun to walk through, and some areas hold art walks when the weather is nicer. If you want to escape to a spa, there are plenty of those too!
Boulder, Colorado, is nestled in the Rocky Mountains, giving you breathtaking views of the mountain range. You can visit the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History or the Fiske Planetarium for something educational and fun to do. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, there are parks where you can hike and sit at observational outlooks to take in the mountains. The Flagstaff House is one of the legendary local restaurants in the area. You can also visit the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping district for some retail therapy. Boulder is great for families, couples, or solo vacations, with a little something for everybody.
Jacksonville, Florida, is a beautiful city that is great for a romantic getaway or a last-minute trip with the kids. You can enjoy some romantic views of the river, enjoy the biking and hiking trails, and even take a tour of the Budweiser Brewery. Jacksonville features 22 miles of white sandy beaches, so you can take a romantic stroll or spend the day playing on the beach with the kids. There are art galleries in Historic San Marco Square as well as the oldest community theatre in the U.S. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a great attraction to visit, and it has a walking safari, where you can view the 2,000 animals and 1,000 species of exotic plants.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana, offers the magic of Christmas year-round. One of the main attractions is the Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin' Safari Water Park, which is great for the entire family. You can take a half-day trip on the Blue River from the Cave Country Canoes. History buffs will enjoy visiting the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, which is a small museum dedicated to President Lincoln. Kids will love the Santa Claus Museum, Frosty's Fun Center, and Santa's Candy Castle. You can camp at the Lake Rudolph Campground and R.V. Resort, and they offer R.V. rentals and cabins for the trip. It also has a shuttle to Holiday World.
Boonsboro, Maryland, is only an hour outside of Washington, D.C., and it offers both natural wonders and American history. You can tour the Crystal Grottoes, which are beautiful caves of stalactites. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go whitewater rafting. You can visit Antietam, which is the site of the bloodiest battle to take place in the U.S.; in 1862, 23,000 soldiers in the Civil War were wounded or killed in only 12 hours! If you want a romantic getaway, the Inn Boonsboro is owned by the romance novelist Nora Roberts, and each room is named after a fictional couple.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
If you want to visit some beautiful beaches with white sand, Gulf Shores, Alabama, is the place for you. It has beautiful weather for most of the year, so you can sunbathe and spend the day on the beach without being too cold. There are boating, diving, jet skiing, snorkeling, and even dolphin cruises in the area. There are also many biking and hiking trails, as well as some beautiful natural parks. You can also visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, which has many unique animals and attractions. If the weather is not agreeable, you can visit one of the museums in the area, like the Conde Charlotte Museum or the Fairhope Museum of History. There are also escape rooms you can go to if you love puzzles.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, has been a family0friendly destination in the Midwest since the 1950s, and not much of it has changed since then. There are waterparks and amusement parks, horse riding stables, wildlife parks, and from March to September, you can visit Circus World, which has live performances in the big top, as well as other unique activities to give you a fun day. The Dells also has breweries, wineries, and distilleries for adults, as well as a casino and spas. If you are feeling adventurous, you can visit the Aerial Adventure Park, which has a large rope obstacle course, zipline tours, and more.