10 Quick Breaks From Major US Cities

by Lauren Dana

10 Quick Breaks From Major US Cities

by Lauren Dana

When you want to ditch the city, escape to one of these 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations.

When you want to ditch the city, escape to one of these 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations.

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Cannon Beach, OR / AndrewSoundarajan/iStock
Asbury Park, NJ
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Asbury Park, NJ

This quintessential seaside town is about a 90-minute drive from New York City and has miles of unspoiled coastlines — so no need for beachgoers to plop their chairs and umbrellas right on top of each other. If you’re staying overnight, consider the trendy Asbury Hotel or the luxe, beachfront Asbury Ocean Club

Read More: 5 Affordable Beach Towns in America

This quintessential seaside town is about a 90-minute drive from New York City and has miles of unspoiled coastlines — so no need for beachgoers to plop their chairs and umbrellas right on top of each other. If you’re staying overnight, consider the trendy Asbury Hotel or the luxe, beachfront Asbury Ocean Club. 

Read More: 5 Affordable Beach Towns in America

Lexington, MA
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Lexington, MA

This small town is about a half-hour drive from Boston. (Fun fact: It’s where the first shot of the American Revolutionary War was fired). Visit The Battle Green (also known as Lexington Common) to learn more about the town’s fascinating history. Another must-do is The Battle Road Trail, a five-mile walking trail that connects nearby historic sites so you can learn more about the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which helped launch the American Revolution. 

This small town is about a half-hour drive from Boston. (Fun fact: It’s where the first shot of the American Revolutionary War was fired). Visit The Battle Green (also known as Lexington Common) to learn more about the town’s fascinating history. Another must-do is The Battle Road Trail, a five-mile walking trail that connects nearby historic sites so you can learn more about the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which helped launch the American Revolution. 

Huntington Beach, CA
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Huntington Beach, CA

While Huntington Beach is actually less than one hour from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, it seems like a world away. From the beautiful beaches to the scenic hiking trails and eco reserves, to the incredible culinary and shopping scene (we love 5th and PCH, where you can find dozens of boutiques and restaurants), it’s almost impossible to be bored here. Consider a stay at the beachy-chic Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel, which is within walking distance to several nearby attractions. 

While Huntington Beach is actually less than one hour from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, it seems like a world away. From the beautiful beaches to the scenic hiking trails and eco reserves, to the incredible culinary and shopping scene (we love 5th and PCH, where you can find dozens of boutiques and restaurants), it’s almost impossible to be bored here. Consider a stay at the beachy-chic Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel, which is within walking distance to several nearby attractions. 

Bannerman Island, NY
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Beacon, NY

Beacon is one of New York State’s best hidden gems (and, it’s an easy, 90-minute train ride from Manhattan). Be sure to stop at Dia: Beacon, an art museum spanning 26 acres and is complete with a beautiful garden. Alternatively, consider a tour of Bannerman Island (also known as Pollepel Island). The isle is located on the Hudson River and is where you'll find castle ruins seemingly straight out of a fairytale.  

Beacon is one of New York State’s best hidden gems (and, it’s an easy, 90-minute train ride from Manhattan). Be sure to stop at Dia: Beacon, an art museum spanning 26 acres and is complete with a beautiful garden. Alternatively, consider a tour of Bannerman Island (also known as Pollepel Island). The isle is located on the Hudson River and is where you'll find castle ruins seemingly straight out of a fairytale.  

Baton Rouge, LA
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Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana’s capital city — just a 90-minute drive from New Orleans — offers plenty to see and do. Floral enthusiasts will appreciate a leisurely stroll through The Botanical Gardens at Independence Community Park, which covers 15 acres. Alternatively, Louisiana State University has the incredible 14-acre Hilltop Arboretum, which features an extensive collection of magnificent trees and shrubs. Book a stay at the Art Deco-inspired Watermark Baton Rouge (housed in the former Louisiana National Bank building).  

Read More: What to See, Do, and Eat in Baton Rouge

Louisiana’s capital city — just a 90-minute drive from New Orleans — offers plenty to see and do. Floral enthusiasts will appreciate a leisurely stroll through The Botanical Gardens at Independence Community Park, which covers 15 acres. Alternatively, Louisiana State University has the incredible 14-acre Hilltop Arboretum, which features an extensive collection of magnificent trees and shrubs. Book a stay at the Art Deco-inspired Watermark Baton Rouge (housed in the former Louisiana National Bank building).  

Read More: What to See, Do, and Eat in Baton Rouge

Lake Mead
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Boulder City, NV

Just 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas, Boulder City is chock-full of activities and attractions. Highlights include the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden (boasting the largest cactus collection in the entire state), Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the historic Hoover Dam. Outdoor enthusiasts can mountain bike, hike, or kayak, as well. Also nearby is Black Canyon (a 30,000-acre deep gorge), which is part of Gunnison National Park. 

Just 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas, Boulder City is chock-full of activities and attractions. Highlights include the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden (boasting the largest cactus collection in the entire state), Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the historic Hoover Dam. Outdoor enthusiasts can mountain bike, hike, or kayak, as well. Also nearby is Black Canyon (a 30,000-acre deep gorge), which is part of Gunnison National Park. 

Winery in VA
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Loudoun County, VA

Loudoun County is just one hour outside of Washington, D.C. and has several quaint, historic towns full of charm and character. Surprisingly enough, Loudoun County touts nearly 50 wineries and tasting rooms, where you can enjoy a romantic picnic lunch, sip on wines, and enjoy vineyard views. (There are cideries here, too). If you’re willing to splurge, stay at the nearby Salamander Resort and Spa; the sprawling property makes a great home base for exploring all that the region has to offer.

Loudoun County is just one hour outside of Washington, D.C. and has several quaint, historic towns full of charm and character. Surprisingly enough, Loudoun County touts nearly 50 wineries and tasting rooms, where you can enjoy a romantic picnic lunch, sip on wines, and enjoy vineyard views. (There are cideries here, too). If you’re willing to splurge, stay at the nearby Salamander Resort and Spa; the sprawling property makes a great home base for exploring all that the region has to offer.

Cannon Beach, OR
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Cannon Beach, OR

There’s a lot to love about Cannon Beach — from the magnificent, almost-otherworldly Haystack Rock (where, depending on the time of year, you can even spot puffins) to the tide pools of Acadia Beach, to the scenic trails at Ecola State Park. The coastal town is just 90 minutes from Portland. 

There’s a lot to love about Cannon Beach — from the magnificent, almost-otherworldly Haystack Rock (where, depending on the time of year, you can even spot puffins) to the tide pools of Acadia Beach, to the scenic trails at Ecola State Park. The coastal town is just 90 minutes from Portland. 

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
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Delray Beach, FL

This up-and-coming neighborhood — only an hour from Miami — has incredible galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is dotted with dozens of sculptures and murals. Meanwhile, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will magically transport you to Japan. The outdoor gardens and 200-acre wildlife park feature lush greenery, beautiful flora, walking paths, an incredible bonsai collection, picnic areas, and koi-filled lakes. 

This up-and-coming neighborhood — only an hour from Miami — has incredible galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is dotted with dozens of sculptures and murals. Meanwhile, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will magically transport you to Japan. The outdoor gardens and 200-acre wildlife park feature lush greenery, beautiful flora, walking paths, an incredible bonsai collection, picnic areas, and koi-filled lakes. 

Garner State Park
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Texas Hill Country, TX

While the Texas Hill Country River Region is best known for the Frio River, the surrounding towns offer so much more, from scenic state parks, to stunning hiking trails, to rolling hills and vineyards, to the Frio Bat Flight (when 12 million bats fly out of their caves — right in front of you — and into the sky). The region is about 90 minutes west of San Antonio and is also home to the 1,774-acre Garner State Park, which is set along three miles of the Frio River; the park has 11 miles of scenic hiking trails.

Read More: Exploring The Texas Hill Country River Region 

While the Texas Hill Country River Region is best known for the Frio River, the surrounding towns offer so much more, from scenic state parks, to stunning hiking trails, to rolling hills and vineyards, to the Frio Bat Flight (when 12 million bats fly out of their caves — right in front of you — and into the sky). The region is about 90 minutes west of San Antonio and is also home to the 1,774-acre Garner State Park, which is set along three miles of the Frio River; the park has 11 miles of scenic hiking trails.

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