Sometimes there just isn’t enough time (or money) to take a lavish vacation around the world. That doesn’t mean you can’t escape for an affordable weekend with friends, a significant other or the whole family.
A little change of scenery might be just what you need to relax, rest and recharge. The days are getting shorter, and the nights longer. What are you waiting for?
Here are some feasible (and affordable) ideas for quick, end-of-summer trips.
Nothing beats a romantic weekend getaway with your significant other. What better place to unwind and indulge in a little ambience than visiting a winery? Many wineries offer day-long itineraries including tours, tastings and even picnic packages where couples/groups can dine under the trees or in picturesque courtyards. Do some research and find a winery within a couple hours drive of you, and make a weekend of it.
Consider staying in a bed and breakfast, or boutique hotel to really make the stay special. Sleep in Sunday morning – wake up and have brunch in bed. Head home in the late afternoon with the sun at your back, and the last traces of summer wind in your hair.
Alternatives: Not a fan of wine? Try a brewery or distillery instead. All the same rules apply. Mix it up, make it your own.
Tried and True: Oliver Winery & Vineyards (Bloomington, IN); Blue Heron Vineyard & Winery (Cannelton, IN); Winzerwald Winery (Bristow, IN); Pabst Brewery or Miller Brewery (Milwaukee, WI); Long Road Distillers (Grand Rapids, MI).
Hiking and camping trips are a classic American staple vacation, and if you’re looking for some exploration, the great outdoors will never disappoint. Many cities and towns have a lake or river nearby where the family can kayak or canoe. Most destinations offer a variety of routes and lengths, as well as additional recreational activities throughout the day.
Park your canoe. Have a picnic or explore look out points and capture those IG-worthy moments. Ask the locals about rock quarries, for wading and sun bathing. Book a nearby lodge, or cabin-style accommodations. Pick up dinner, or have a bar-b-q on the deck. Hot tubs are plus, especially after that kayak workout. Stay a while. Turn off your phones. Disconnect. Enjoy time together as a couple, group of friends or a family.
Tried and True: Eagles Wings Zip Line (Leopold, IN); Blues Canoe Livery (Edinburgh, IN); Turkey Run State Park (Marshall, IN); Warren Dunes State Park (Sawyer, MI)
Two words: theme. park. When the kids are involved, you can never go wrong visiting a theme park. Grab a one or two-day pass, and let the good times roll. Theme parks with adjoining waterparks make for a great all-day vacation, and soaking up that last bit of summer fun. A second day pass lets you venture back to try all the rides you may have missed, and play a little longer.
Try this end-of-summer vacay - with a twist. Instead of staying in a traditional hotel, research nearby “resort” facilities. Many offer amenities like waterparks, kayaking, golf cart rides, playgrounds and more.
Tried and True: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN); Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, KY); Wisconsin Dells Waterpark Capitol of the World (Wisconsin Dells, WI).
If these aren’t up your alley, consider these ideas as well:
- Spa getaway. Check out French Lick Resort (French Lick and West Baden, IN)
- Golfing getaway. Try Wolf Run Golf Club (Zionsville, IN); Brookwood Golf Club (Fort Wayne, IN); Pete Dye Course (French Lick, IN)
- Museums. Spend a day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis or explore the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.
- Festivals and fairs. Float amongst clouds at Balloons Over Vermilion County (Danville, IL), or visit state fair websites for all types of low-cost entertainment.
- Downtown events. Visit your local tourism websites for summer event schedules. Check out Experience Grand Rapids for many free events and the Greenville Tourism Commission (Greenville, KY) for Saturdays on the Square, which includes a free summer concert series. If “downtown” is your destination, add a historic walking tour to your plans.
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