24 Cheap 3 day weekend getaways

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24 Cheap 3 day weekend getaways

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

Mammoth Plant Sculpture

If you are looking for 3 day weekend destinations in the US, there are many exciting destinations to enjoy. The United States is full of variety, from bustling cities to small towns and everything in between. Here are 20 cheap weekend getaway destinations to add to your bucket list.

Weekend Getaways In the South And Southwest

New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square New Orleans
Jackson Square

New Orleans is more than just a place to eat, drink, and party. For a unique 3-day weekend trip, skip the bars on Bourbon Street and visit a jazz club or watch street performers in the French Quarter. For some history, visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum to learn about the traditions of African Americans in New Orleans. And for a truly unique experience, take a swamp tour to see the gators!

Charleston, South Carolina

Rainbow Row Charleston SC

Charleston is also home to the McLeod Plantation, one of the few plantations that tell the story of slavery through the lens of the enslaved population. One of the city’s main attractions is the City Market, which has been operating since the 17th century. The market features a variety of local vendors selling everything from produce to artisanal goods. The Ibu movement is a cloth and textile business that collaborates with women’s cooperatives all over the world to keep their skills and stories alive in fabric. And of course, no trip to Charleston would be complete without experiencing the city’s vibrant food scene. 

From fresh seafood to traditional southern food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, with its lively nightlife and charming cobblestone streets, Charleston is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Jacksonville, Florida

Wooden stairs leading to the beach on a gloomy day
Jacksonville Beach - Photo by: Michele Orallo on Unsplash

Get the best of art and the outdoors at Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which has European-inspired gardens along the St. Johns River. The MOSH (Museum of Science and History) offers hands-on animal encounters and adventure tours. For beach leavers, endless sandy shores with beautiful views like Amelia Island park just 30 minutes north of the city. If you prefer more hiking, visit one of Jacksonville’s many nature centers such as the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. Americans in New Orleans. And for a truly unique experience, take a swamp tour to see the gators!

Phoenix, Arizona

Brick Path leading to sandstone building and Saguaro Cacti
Desert Botanical Gardens - Photo by Nichole Granja on Unsplash

A weekend trip to Phoenix is a great option for the whole family for a variety of reasons. Visit Taliesin West and marvel at one of the greatest architects of all time (and my personal favorite), Frank Lloyd Wright, or see Wrigley Mansion. For the nature lover, hike Camelback Mountain or visit the Desert Botanical Garden. If you’re looking for some culture, you can visit the Heard Museum to learn about American Indian history and art or see the galleries, live music, and theater in the Roosevelt Art District.

Marfa, Texas

The Prada store replica art installation in Marfa, Texas
Prada Art Installation - Photo by Mizzu Cho from Pexels

Marfa is a small town in Texas with one of the most beautiful landscapes and unique communities. It’s home to many artists, which you can find on any given day selling their wares at their many art galleries. The Chinati Foundation features modern art by some of the world’s most famous painters and sculptors. There are also plenty of outdoor activities available such as kayaking on Lake Amistad or biking along the Trans-Pecos Trail System. Whatever you’re looking for, Marfa offers something for everyone!

Atlanta, Georgia

Mammoth Plant Sculpture
Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Photo by Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

If you’re looking for a place that has history, culture, and plenty of Southern charm. Learn of Civil Rights struggles on the Civil Rights Trail with stops at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument and more.

Atlanta also has a diverse range of culinary options, including everything from Southern classics like fried chicken or BBQ to international cuisines like Korean barbecue or Vietnamese pho soup noodles. One of the cultural and natural highlights in Atlanta is the Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park, which has a wide variety of plants and flowers and offers an impressive display of art meets nature.

 Charlottesville, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park - Photo by Becky Winner on Unsplash

Charlottesville, Virginia is a beautiful city located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. The city is home to a variety of historical attractions, including the Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, Monticello, and the University of Virginia. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, thanks to Shenandoah National Park and the many hiking trails in the area. Charlottesville is also known for its excellent restaurants and wineries, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a 3-day weekend.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is a great place to visit for a 3 day weekend. There are plenty of things to do and see, and the city has a relaxed, laid-back vibe. Bosque del apache is a must-see while you’re in town. The nature reserve is home to a variety of birds and animals, and it’s a great place to go for bird watching, a hike, or a picnic. 

Albuquerque is also just a short drive from Santa Fe, so you can easily include a day trip to the state capital in your itinerary. New Mexico is renowned for its scenic beauty, so you’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable weekend in Albuquerque.

Nashville, Tennessee

Neon Sign at Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, TN
Johnny Cash Museum - Photo by NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash

Nashville, Tennessee is a vibrant city with tons of things to do and see. Explore the Grand Ole Opry in Music Valley or visit one of their many green spaces like Shelby Bottoms or Percy Warner Park. The blues, rockabilly, alternative country, and soul music scene has made Nashville one of the best “music meccas” in the country, so be sure to check out some live bands while you’re here.

Asheville, North Carolina

A large variety of orchids growing in a greenhouse
Biltmore Conservatory

Asheville offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking in Great Smoky National Park, a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or whitewater rafting on the French Broad River. Asheville has been called the “New Food Capital” and is known for its vibrant foodie culture, nightlife, and music scene. The outstanding art galleries, local musicians, and street art in the River Arts District give this city joyful energy that makes spending time here a very special experience.

East Coast Long Weekend Getaways

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Elfreth's Alley In Philadelphia. 18th century architecture from America's oldest residential street
Elfreth's Valley

Philadelphia is perfect for history and outdoor lovers. The American Revolution Trail at Independence National Historic Park has stops at Philadelphia’s most historic landmarks. Sites include:

– Carpenters’ Hall- the site of the First Continental Congress

– The Liberty Bell

– The Declaration House – where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence

You can also visit the famous LOVE statue or take a walk on the famous Rocky Steps. Or get outside and enjoy some scenery at Delaware River or the Schuylkill River, which takes you by historic buildings, the University of Pennsylvania, museums, and Boathouse Row.

New York City, New York

Brooklyn Bridge Walk
Brooklyn Bridge

You’ll have plenty to see in New York City! Start your 3-day getaway at Central Park exploring winding trails, Shakespeare’s Garden, and the Central Park Zoo. Spend a day visiting museums such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Modern Art. Don’t miss out on Grand Central Terminal, which is near the most popular tourist attractions Times Square, Chrysler Building, and Empire State Building.

Boston, Massachusetts

Sunset at Boston Harbor with boats reflecting in the bay
Boston Harbor - Photo by Heliberto Arias on Unsplash

Boston is a city steeped in history and culture, with the oldest university in the country, theater, museums, and world-class restaurants. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in the nation! A stroll through Boston Common or down Newbury Street will bring you past centuries-old homes, gorgeous gardens such as the Arnold Arboretum, historical sites like the USS Constitution Museum, trendy boutiques like Newbury Comics, and historic churches like King’s Chapel. The North Shore offers some of the best beaches in America; downtown Boston has plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife; and the Boston Harbor Islands offer unspoiled natural beauty.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Famous Frank Lloyd Wright home design, Falling water.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater - Photo by Kirk Thornton on Unsplash

Pittsburgh is a city that has it all. From world-class museums to awe-inspiring nature preserves, there’s something for everyone in this Midwestern metropolis! A national aviary that houses many birds and incredible gardens such as Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden are perfect for nature those looking to explore nature. 

There 5 Frank Lloyd Wright homes within an hour’s drive, including his most famous Falling Water, which puts Pittsburgh at the top of my bucket list. If you’re looking for more industrial history or art, go see Rivers O’ Steel: Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark where we can also join a metal casting workshop.

Washington D.C.

Elephant Statue In Washington D.C.'s Natural History Museum Lobby
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Washington D.C is one of those destinations where everyone will find themselves captivated by unique attractions from White House tours to the Smithsonian; this destination offers something for every type of traveler. The 19 Smithsonian Museums have exhibits on history, cultures, and art, including the development of photography as an art form. Washington DC is a city filled with historical landmarks, including some of the most famous in America: they include Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. The nightlife is fantastic whether you’re looking for relaxing cocktails on rooftop bars or live music in the heart of funky neighborhoods.

Weekend Trip To The West Coast and Pacific Northwest

Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Sign through Palm Trees In Los Angeles at sunset
Hollywood Sign - Photo by Ivan Karpov on Unsplash

Los Angeles will charm both entertainment and culture buffs alike. It’s an ethnically diverse city with great art, architecture, and food. LA is also home to Hollywood, the entertainment district of the world, which needs no introduction. Once you’ve gotten your fill of move and TV sightseeing, head over to Chinatown, Koreatown, or Little Tokyo for a little more culture.

San Francisco, California

Muir Woods Walking Path in San Francisco California
Muir Woods National Monument

San Francisco is a great option for those seeking to explore the outdoors or visit famous US landmarks. The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are a must-see for your itinerary. If you’re looking to get outside more, consider hiking through Muir Woods National Monument or visiting scenic wineries in Sonoma.

Denver, Colorado

Colorado Flags Drape Over Larimer Square In Denver
Larimer Square

Denver, Colorado is the perfect destination for a quick 3-day getaway. The Mile High City offers a wide variety of activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained throughout their stay. For those looking to explore the great outdoors, Denver is just a short drive from Rocky Mountain National Park. The park offers stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  

The city itself offers a wealth of attractions, including the museums, thriving entertainment districts, cultural foods, and craft breweries. With so much to see and do, Denver is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Space Needle

From the glass sculptures at Chihuly’s Glass Art Museum to history and art on every corner – Seattle has it all! Visit one of the top-ranked coffee shops, such as The Starbucks Reserve Roastery for a premium coffee experience you won’t want to miss. Spend some time exploring Discovery Park’s lighthouse, or take in beautiful cityscape views at Kerry Park. Explore Pioneer Square and the International District for a unique and surprising history lesson.

Man on white sand dunes overlooking mountains at Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park - Photo by Don B on Unsplash

Las Vegas is more than just gambling and casinos. It’s also home to some out-of-this-world shows like the famous Cirque du Soleil and The Blue Man Group. Head outdoors with hiking trails that lead through gorgeous red rocks where you can spot wildlife at Black Canyon Wildlife Preserve or venture down into Valley of The Fire for incredible views and trails through gorgeous red rocks. If hiking isn’t your thing, then there are ghost towns nearby or one-of-a-kind museums such as the Mob Museum.

Portland, Oregon

Columbia River Gorge - Bridal Veil Falls

Portland’s food truck scene is unrivaled, with food trucks serving up everything from gourmet grilled cheese to Korean fusion tacos. The Columbia River Gorge is a short drive away and is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. And of course, no visit to Portland would be complete without a trip to the Saturday Market, where you can find locally made arts and crafts, food, and more. Whether you’re looking for a foodie adventure or a nature escape, Portland has something for everyone.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Horses line up to walk the trails of Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Can you think of a more perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast than Salt Lake City? In just a three-day weekend, you can explore some of the most stunning and world-renowned national parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, and Bryce Canyon. And that’s not even including all of the other outdoor activities available in and around the city, like hiking, biking, skiing, and kayaking. Not to mention, the city itself is full of historic sites and interesting museums. Whether you’re looking for a weekend of adventure or simply want to enjoy some of the best that Utah has to offer, Salt Lake City is the perfect destination.

3 Day Weekends In The Midwest

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago's Cityscape View by the Bay
View from Milton Lee Olive Park

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is world famous with over 800 species on display including sharks and beluga whales. The Lincoln Park Zoo is an award-winning zoo that is dedicated to the education of visitors on animal biology. Entrance to the zoo is free and features over 1,000 animals. And finally, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House, built in 1911, illustrates the principles that were central to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, open plan interiors, integration with the environment, and his innovative process.

Driveway to the Cincinnati Music Hall at night
Cincinnati Music Hall - Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

This bustling metropolis is a cultural mecca with a world-class symphony and opera house. It also has over 50 art galleries with works from artists around the world. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture dating back to the mid-1800s, giving this city a sense of pride that can’t be found anywhere else.

Other notable attractions in this city include the 150-year-old Fountain Square the Cincinnati Zoo which is one of the best zoos in the world, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the prohibition-era underground tunnels for alcohol production

St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch in St. Louis Reflecting in a pond at sunset
Gateway Arch - Photo by Kirk Thornton on Unsplash

St. Louis, Missouri is a city with many attractions for both locals and visitors. It’s the home of the Gateway Arch, which was built to celebrate the westward expansion. You can also go to the City Museum, which has an eclectic collection of found objects turned into sculptures and other interactive exhibits, which you can crawl through. Union Station served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and has become a hub for various music performances, festivals, and other events.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Green foliage plants towering below the glass dome of a botanical garden.
Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory - Photo by stephan cassara on Unsplash

Milwaukee is a city with many types of attractions. The Milwaukee Art Museum, which features over 30,000 pieces from around the world and across history, is a great place to start. For those who enjoy sports, there are several professional teams in the area, including the Brewers (baseball), Bucks (basketball), and Admirals (hockey). The historic Third Ward is a revitalized neighborhood with shopping and dining opportunities. There are also plenty of outdoor activities available, such as kayaking on Lake Michigan or biking along the Oak Leaf Trail System.

Author Bio

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Delaney is a Business Analyst by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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