10 Best Weekend Getaways for Empty Nesters in the United States

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Take advantage of your empty nest by adding more weekend getaways to your life! These ideas for weekend trips are perfect for a romantic trip for couples or a girls weekend and just right for a three-day long weekend.

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You’re not spending the weekends at the soccer field or the ballpark any longer, so why not celebrate your empty nest by taking a little me time and heading out for a weekend getaway? No matter where you live in the United States, there’s sure to be a great location within driving distance that’s the perfect destination for a relaxing (or exciting! it’s up to you!) weekend mini-vacation. Here are ten of my favorites.

1. St. Augustine, Florida

Sure, it’s a beach town, but you can easily spend a weekend in St. Augustine without ever going in the water. The city is particularly fun to visit in early fall when the summer heat has cooled off a bit and the crowds have gone back home. Stroll through Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (particularly beautiful at sunset), enjoy the wildlife on a Dolphin cruise, and visit the St. Augustine Distillery to see how the artisanal spirits are made in this renovated ice house.

Pro Tip: Before you dismiss the St. Augustine Aligator Farm as just another old-school tacky, kitschy Florida tourist attraction, you should know that while it has some kitschy elements, it also has many natural attractions of all kinds and is heavily focused on the comfort and enjoyment of the animals it houses. Also, guys, sloths. There’s a sloth exhibit.

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Bridge of Lions St. Augustine, Florida

Find Out More: 25 Things to Do and See in St. Augustine, Florida

2. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is one of my favorite cities to visit for a weekend. You can easily spend the day walking the streets and admiring the architecture but don’t forget to carve out time to sample some of the city’s amazing restaurants. 

Pro Tip: Book a tour with Architectural Tours of Savannah for early in your trip. This isn’t an affiliate link, but just a genuine recommendation for this tour that provides an amazing overview of the history and majesty of this very special city which is at once very Southern and yet not at all. You’ll be so glad you did. We’ve started trying to find architectural tours in all the cities we visit and they are always interesting, but this was still the best one we’ve done so far.

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Don’t forget to stroll through Forsyth Park where Spanish Moss laden trees hang over people doing whatever it is that they’re doing here. They were having lots of fun though!

Find Out More: 10 THINGS TO DO ON A LONG WEEKEND IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA from The Hungry Traveller.

3. Nashville, Tennessee

Like Savannah, Nashville is filled with cute shops and great food, but it also has something you can’t find anywhere else: amazing live music day or night. You can hear great bands in Nashville on Fridays at midnight or Sundays at noon. And you really should just plan on eating at least 4 times a day: you’ll just be sorry if you don’t!

Pro Tip: I’ve never been there (yet), but United Apparel Liquidators comes highly recommended by one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett (who also has a cool bookstore in Nashville, check it out) as the place to score designer goods for cheap. Find out more here: Is This Store the Best-Kept Secret in Fashion?

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Ernest Tubb’s Famous Record Shop


4. Beacon, New York

Just an hour and a half away from New York City by train, Beacon is filled with small-town charm and big-city sophistication thanks to the many escapees from NYC who’ve moved up to Beacon for a simpler life. The Dia Art Foundation converted a former Nabisco Box Factory into Dia: Beason, a contemporary art museum in 20023 and it’s a don’t miss if you visit.

Pro Tip: In a delightful coincidence, I just happened to have read the book, The Arrangement, the week before our trip. The Arrangement is about a pair of Brooklyn hipsters who relocated to a fictional small town in New York just outside of New York City and then grew so bored they decided to have an open marriage. Complications ensue. If you want the pleasure of thinking, “Heh, heh, I know what your life is really like,” any time you encounter a sweet shopkeeper or pleasant waitress, I highly recommend it as a pre-visit reading.

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Inside DIA: Beacon

Find Out More: A local’s guide to Beacon, NY

5. Hot Springs, Arkansas

This town was on my bucket list for years! I finally got to visit in 2018 and it did not disappoint. Hot Springs has been the town where America bathes since the 1920s when Al Capone visited to “take the waters.” You can tour the National Park and touch the water from the 140-degree thermal spring or take in the bathhouse experience on Bathhouse Row.

Pro Tip: Stay in the Arlington Resort and Spa for a taste of the old school elegance visitors to Hot Springs used to experience back in the day. It’s no longer at the height of its glory, (but who among us is) and dining in the ballroom turned dining room is a throwback to a more elegant age.

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The Arlington Resort and Spa in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Find Out More: These are the BEST things to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas

6. San Antonio, Texas

I love San Antonio. The Riverwalk is beautiful and has a great party vibe. The missions and cathedral there are also beautiful (but maybe with just a little more subdued vibe). And who can forget the Alamo? San Antonio is the perfect mix of beauty, history, and cocktails and a wonderful place to spend a long weekend.

Pro Tip: Visit the Alamo after dark for some unforgettable views.

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Photo Credit: Mike Boening Photography

Find Out More: Girls Getaway to San Antonio, Texas from Skimbaco Lifestyle

7. Roanoke, Virginia

If you’re touring the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke is a great place to stop for a bit when you need a break from the road. The lively downtown offers a variety of places to grab a locally-brewed craft beer and some good farm-to-table cooking. Plus, the city offers a variety of unique museums such as the Virginia Museum of Transportation and Roanoke Pinball Museum you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

Pro Tip: Enjoy the beautiful view at the Roanoke Star Overlook. The Roanoke Star is the largest man-made illuminated star in the world and glows alluringly each night atop Mill Mountain.

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The view atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia

Find Out More: 20 Best Things to Do in Roanoke, VA

8. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland does not get the love it deserves. This beautiful city on Lake Erie offers visitors the chance to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, which is a full day’s activity all by itself (ask me how I know 😉), as well as a historic market in a beautiful building, a world-class art museum, and best of all, a chance to visit the house that Ralphie made famous in the Christmas Story.

Pro Tip: If you like pierogis (and you do, of course, right?) you have to eat at Sokolowski’s University Inn where they make comfort food the way your mama wishes she could make comfort food. I realized once I served my plate at this cafeteria-style eatery that I had chosen only beige foods for my meal and I knew I had done good work. Leave time to check out the celebrity photos on the wall.

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Fun Fact! I got engaged at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Find Out More: Best Things To Do in Cleveland

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

Home to amazing natural beauty and some pretty fine architecture, Salt Lake City offers something to please everyone no matter what time of year. You’ll definitely want to check out Temple Square in downtown and the Salt Lake Temple, the largest temple in the Morman faith, but don’t forget to head to Bonneville Salt Flats where so many famous movies have been filmed.

Pro Tip: If you visit during the Spring or Summer, be sure to catch a movie at the Redwood Drive-In Theatre, one of the few operating drive-ins left in the United States. If you miss movie season, the drive-in hosts a swap meet year-round.

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Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, UT in the evening

Find Out More: Digging Salt Lake City for 48 Hours

10. Atlanta, GA

It’s no secret that I think my hometown is a pretty great place to live, but it’s also a great place to visit, especially for a quick weekend getaway. You can see where some of your favorite movies and TV shows are filmed, have a cocktail in a blue dome overlooking the city, and go on a hunt for tiny doors all over the city.

I love the city so much I wrote a complete guide to visiting it.

Pro Tip: Since I wrote the guide, the Atlanta History Center has unveiled a restored version of the Cyclorama, a 132-year old giant cylindrical oil painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War. Visitors stand in the middle while the painting rotates around them – an early attempt at virtual reality. The Cyclorama itself is an impressive display and depicts the battle objectively as a Northern victory without trying to whitewash history. The rest of the Atlanta History Center is a fun overview of Atlanta’s past and if you’re a fan of the Hunger Game movies, check out the Swan House on the property which served as President Snow’s mansion.

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Photo Credit: The Atlanta History Center

Find Out More: The Empty Nester’s Guide to a Long Weekend in Atlanta

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