Long weekends were made for short trips. But rather than visit a major city like New York or San Francisco, opt for a smaller locale—and you’ll be rewarded with smaller crowds and smaller expenses. These three destinations are perfect for a summer excursion with your family, spouse, or group of pals.
Why you’re going: Kid-friendly shenanigans
What you’ll do: Don’t tell the kids, but you’ll actually get a solid history lesson in this island town. The condensed version: Galveston was settled in the early 1800s by a French pirate in order to help the Republic of Mexico fight for its independence from Spain; its port has played an important role in the Texas Revolution and, despite a devastating hurricane in 1900, continues to be a major player in the commercial and cruise ship industries. What that means for your family? A ton of historic districts with museums, art galleries, and shopping centers.
Where to find out more: In this detailed Texas Monthly itinerary; on Southern Living’s list of top things to do in Galveston, TX
Asheville, North Carolina
Why you’re going: A quiet romantic escape
What you’ll do: If you’re kid-free, consider soaking in all the activities-for-two this charming Southern city has to offer. In addition to quaint bed-and-breakfasts, the majestic Biltmore Estate, and natural beauty ranging from hot springs to waterfalls, you’ll also avoid the crowds at North Carolina’s mega-popular Outer Banks. Win-win!
Napa Valley, California
Why you’re going: GIRLS’ TRIP!
What you’ll do: If you like wine as much as you like your girlfriends, you’ll want to spend a whole week playing in Napa. But the best bits of this famous wine country can certainly be streamlined into two or three days—if you have a game plan. Must-dos: tastings at some of Food & Wine’s best wineries; shopping at the Napa Premium Outlets; nibbling at these Zagat-approved restaurants.