Whether you love or hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions and the whole “New Year/New You” angle of motivation, there is definitely something super satisfying about cracking open a fresh planner, with month after month of blank page possibilities.
Like Jamie, I tend to shy away from the pressure of “resolutions,” and gravitate more in the direction of setting goals and making plans. And when it comes to planning, there’s nothing more fun than dreaming up travel plans for the year!
Of course, many of us may already have some big trips booked that just need to be filled in on our calendars, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t relish a fabulous weekend getaway a few times a year. Finding a way to fit in a few weekend escapes throughout the year is a fantastic way to honor that Wanderlust Spirit we travelers tend to have.
Wherever you live and whatever your budget, the following list is a great place to start as you map out your 2024 travel. With a Weekend Getaway Idea for every month of the year, those blank calendar pages will soon be filled with Magical Adventures and Fairytale Journeys waiting to be taken! And as always, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor is ready and waiting to help you plan your year of Weekend Getaways!
Table of Contents
January – A City Escapade
Cities are a fantastic Winter Weekend Getaway option for a number of reasons. First, no matter where you live, almost everyone has a decent sized city at least somewhat within driving distance, and often multiple. If you’re in the Southeast, you have options from Miami and Tampa, to Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, among others; in the Northeast, there’s D.C., New York, Boston, and tons in between; in the middle of the country, you may be closest to Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis or Denver, or dozens of others; in the Southwest, there’s Albuquerque, Phoenix and Vegas just to name a few; and finally on the West Coast, of course, there are options from LA and San Francisco up through Portland and Seattle.
Typically, January is considered an Off Season month, when the number of people traveling is at one of the lowest points of the year; kids are back to school and many families are recuperating from the Holiday Season, whether they traveled or not. Traveling in the Off Season offers smaller crowds at places like museums and other tourist attractions, and more access to reservations at hard-to-get-into restaurants, and also more ticket availability for live performances.
And if that’s not enough, Off Season prices are generally more favorable, too, so if there’s a luxury hotel in your nearby city that you’ve always wanted to stay at, January may be a month when prices make it more possible than in High Season. While some cities will require you to bundle up as you walk around, warming up in that Michelin-Starred Restaurant, or in front row seats to your favorite show, or in your high-rise room with a view, or all of the above, will make braving the chill totally worth it!
February – The Classic Ski Weekend
Depending where you live, you may have to hop on a plane to get to a location with snow, but the travel time will be worth it when you get to those slopes covered in fresh powder! If you’re a seasoned skier, you know there’s nothing like the crisp air on your face as you glide down the mountain by day, and cozy up in the lodge by night, sitting near a crackling fire with a hearty dinner and drinks to warm you up. And if you’ve never been skiing, don’t worry, every mountain has a beginner hill, and available instructors to help you quickly learn the basics.
Plus, Ski Weekends are hardly just about the skiing. Of course, there are definitely avid skiers who spend as much time as possible on the slopes, but there are also lots of people who go for the mountain atmosphere. This is one of the reasons Ski Weekends are a great option for groups of friends, and families who like to travel together. With the variety of people a group provides, everyone can get as much (or as little) skiing time as they like, or as much lodge time as they like, or as much relaxation time as they like, too. Most of the popular ski resorts and mountain towns have something for everyone, even those who prefer not to ski at all, and the bigger mountain towns (like Aspen) often offer fantastic shopping opportunities, too. And, lots of ski resorts even have themed weekends throughout the ski season, as well.
Some of the most popular ski areas are in places like Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, California, and Vermont, but there are tons of smaller ski resorts across the country that may be closer to wherever you are, and that also may have more availability than the most popular ski sites. Whatever kind of Ski Weekend you have in mind, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help you make it happen!
March – A Theme Park Romp
Most of March is still considered Off Season in the Theme Parks we all know and love so much. Depending on when certain holidays and school vacations fall each year, crowds can be on the lower side for the majority of the month, if not all of March, making it the perfect time for a quick weekend visit to the Happiest and Most Magical Places on Earth!
While, most of the time, visits to Disney and Universal are action-packed week-long adventures, if you’ve been to your favorite Theme Parks often over the years, sometimes a long weekend is the perfect way to relax and experience the Parks with a different mindset. On a long weekend, you know you’re not likely to get to every single attraction you love, and maybe not even to every Park, so why not consciously choose to prioritize your favorites instead of covering as much ground as possible, and relax into a more laid back Theme Park experience for a few days?
A Theme Park Weekend is also a great opportunity for a Girls’ Weekend, or a Couples’ Escape, or even some one-on-one time with your kids, like a Mommy/Daughter or Daddy/Son (or visa versa, or whatever works with your family) Bonding Weekend. When you eliminate the pressure of making it to every attraction (which, on a shorter trip is impossible anyway), you open up the opportunity to make your Theme Park Getaway a totally unique experience of the Parks!
April – The Beach Getaway
In my opinion, April is the best month for a Beach Getaway. Not January or February when it’s cold, not July or August when you have your choice of beaches; the perfect month for the beach is April. Hear me out:
If you’re from a colder climate, such as New England or the Midwest, April is basically an extra month of Winter; it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable, and everyone is DONE with the cold, even if the cold is not done with them, since there’s often snow at some point in April in those Northern regions. April is supposed to be the start of Spring, but really it’s just the last slog through the cold weather that no one can stand anymore. There’s nothing worse than hoping for, and even foolishly expecting, warm weather to arrive, but facing flurries and cold, grey skies instead. BUT, this is exactly what makes April perfect for a Beach Getaway, because there’s no other time of year when you will appreciate the warm sun and golden sand beaches as much as you will in April, when it feels like Winter will never end.
And if you’re from a warmer climate, such as Florida or Arizona, April is when the Spring Breakers begin to descend on you, causing more traffic and crowds that won’t subside for months. And it’s not just the touristy areas that draw large crowds, it’s your local grocery stores where tourists stock up on vacation essentials, and your favorite restaurants where you suddenly can’t get a table without a reservation. Spring Break makes April one of the busiest travel months of the year, along with the Summer and Holiday Travel Seasons. And this is what makes April the perfect time for anyone in a popular Spring Break destination to escape on your own Spring Break, too!
Some of the best Beach Destinations for your April Weekend Getaway are any of the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, or even some of the hidden gems along the Gulf Coast, depending how far you want to travel.
May – A National Park Adventure
For many National Parks across the country, May is still considered part of the “Shoulder Season,” meaning it’s not Off Season, when parts of some Parks may be inaccessible due to weather, but it’s also not High Season yet either, when visiting the Parks is the most popular. Actually, because of the Off Season restriction possibilities, and the crowds of the High Season, Shoulder Season months are definitely the best times of year to visit National Parks.
A quick weekend Adventure in a National Park is possible from anywhere in the country because there are National Parks in all corners of the United States! Along the East Coast, there’s Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, and Everglades, just to name a few of the most popular ones, while the Midwest is chock full of the big name Parks, such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Arches, Zion and Glacier, among many, many others, and on the West Coast you have Redwood, Olympic, and Yosemite along with dozens more, and of course we can’t forget about the National Parks in Alaska and Hawaii, too, though for many of us, those need more than a long weekend, unless you’re local to that area.
Many of the National Parks are gloriously huge in size, and you may not be able to get to everything any given Park has to offer, but if you narrow your lens in terms of what you want to accomplish and what you want your experience to be, you might even have a more meaningful visit with a deeper connection to nature and the beauty of our country than if you spent a week trying to cover the most ground (similar to narrowing your Theme Park experience, as described above).
June – The Wine Country Tour
Even though we all know how incredible the wines from California are, if you think that Napa and Sonoma are the only places in the US to take a Wine Tour, you’re missing out on SO many fantastic wine tasting experiences all over the country. Of course, if you CAN make it to Napa and/or Sonoma for a weekend, it’s a thousand percent worth it, but if getting to California requires a cross-country flight that makes it too far to travel to in just a weekend, don’t worry, there are plenty of wine-centered destinations all across America.
Even on the West Coast, California is not the only Wine Country to visit; Oregon has a wonderful wine scene in the Willamette Valley, as does Washington in the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla Valley. In the middle of the country, you have wines on the Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan to the North, and to the South, you have Texas Hill Country. And on the East Coast, New York has the Finger Lakes Region as well as the North Fork of Long Island, and Virginia boasts wine regions in the Northern and Central regions of the state. Plus, there are other smaller wine regions, too, including the Snake River Valley in Idaho and Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania, just to name a couple.
No matter where you live, you can find a wine region that’s a quick drive or flight away, and celebrate the start of summer by spending a weekend wine tasting and honing your oenophile skills. Just be sure to arrange transportation to make your trip safe and smooth, which of course your favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor can help with!
July – A Spa Retreat
Temperatures in most parts of the country really start to sizzle as summer gets into full swing, offering plenty of time for fun in the sun, especially by beaches and pools. But we all know that the UV Rays, salt water, and chlorine can wreak havoc on our bodies. And the perfect antidote to the scorching temperatures and sun damage is a weekend at the Spa. Whether you go with friends, your spouse, make it a mother/daughter weekend (depending how old your kids are), or even take a solo escape for the added bonus of some alone time, a Spa Retreat is the ideal midsummer reset.
Besides the relaxation, pampering and self-care that Spas provide, one of the best parts of going to a Spa is that you can find them everywhere and at every price point, too. Some of the most luxurious Spas can be found in cities and in high end Beach Resorts, so your Spa Retreat can double as a City Escapade or Beach Getaway, too! Or you can pick a local hotel that offers Spa services for more of a Staycation option, as well.
The possibilities for a Spa Retreat are nearly endless, and making time for this kind of weekend in the month of July will leave you relaxed and refreshed for the second half of summer!
August – A Mini-Cruise
Long Weekend and Mini-Cruises are becoming more and more popular as people seek getaways that are quick and easy, just as much as epic week-long adventures. And just like regular cruises, Mini-Cruises are offered from a variety of ports, from Florida to New York to California, so you can easily get to your nearest port for a long weekend cruise; Mini-Cruises are also available from ports in Europe and Australia, too, if you’re considering adding an extra weekend-on-the-water to your global vacation. But wait, there’s more! Even River Cruises have started offering quick escape options from cities such as Paris and Amsterdam, among many others!
One thing some people don’t realize about cruises is that they’re basically an All-Inclusive option, just on water instead of on land. And while many All-Inclusives can be both far and expensive for a long weekend, a Mini-Cruise offers a more accessible option for the All-Inclusive vacation so many people crave. Plus, if you’re not an avid cruiser, and even if you’ve never taken a cruise before, taking a Mini-Cruise is the perfect way to “test the waters” of cruising, either on an ocean liner, or on a River Cruise!
Cruise lines such as Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Virgin Voyages, and so many more have been offering 3-4 night cruises for a while, but many have expanded their Mini-Cruises to timeframes as quick as 2 nights or as long as 5. Royal even has a new ship coming out this year designed specifically for taking shorter cruises out of Port Canaveral, and it looks absolutely incredible! You’re definitely going to want to get on the Mini-Cruise bandwagon!
September – The Game-Day Weekend
September is Tailgating Season, friends! And there’s no better time to go away for a Game-Day Weekend! Two of America’s most popular sports, football and baseball, and even Europe’s most popular sport, Soccer, are all in prime game watching time, especially since September gifts pretty perfect weather to be outside! And, wherever you live, you’ll have your choice of attending a home game, or an away game, featuring your favorite team.
The start of the football season, whether you prefer professional or college football, makes September an exciting month to attend a game, since all teams have the possibility of having a banner year, and September is also a thrilling month to attend a baseball game, or even a full series, since the baseball season is winding down and every game could mean the difference between making the playoffs or not.
While not every single sport is in season in September (hockey and basketball would need a Game-Day Weekend in another month during their seasons), the options for professional football, college football, baseball, and soccer are all perfect for building a weekend around. Plus, college football Tailgating is serious business, and something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!
Bonus: For a completely different kind of “Game Day,” September is also a great month for a Golf Weekend! Courses in warmer climates are finally starting to cool off, and courses in colder climates are still open and warm enough to play on. Though, if you’re an avid golfer, you know that any month is great for a Golf Weekend, as long as you choose your courses wisely according to the weather!
October – A Leaf Peeping Journey
While certain parts of the country, such as the North and South East, are renowned for their legendary Fall Foliage, there are pockets of brilliant colors that pop up all over the United States and beyond. (Are you starting to notice that the Weekend Away idea for each month works for almost anywhere, no matter where you live? Of course you’ve noticed! This list was designed to work for everyone!)
Honestly, I can’t imagine the month of October without a drive to see the gorgeous landscapes of reds, oranges and yellows, and a full weekend to explore nature’s most beautiful season would be an absolute dream. I’m always a fan of the Road Trip, especially when the scenery is the star of the show, and a Leaf Peeping Journey through a location such as Vermont, Virginia, or Oregon would be the perfect Autumn getaway. Just imagine waking up to a view of sprawling hills dotted with the bright warm colors of the season out of your hotel window, or cresting the top of a mountain on your drive and gazing out over a landscape blanketed in reds that seem too fluorescent to be real.
Of course, getting out to appreciate the beauty of nature can be done at any time of year, especially with a visit to a National Park, as mentioned for the month of May (though just like May, October is shoulder season in many National Parks as well, and Parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia are EXTRA special in the Fall with their Foliage), but there is just something about being outside in October, and witnessing the changing colors of the leaves, that reminds you just how lucky we are to live in a world that is so beautiful to experience.
November – A Craft Beer Tour
As Cozy Season starts to get underway all across the country, there’s not much that pairs better with comfort food and football than great beer! And, luckily, with the Craft Beer Movement really taking off in the United States, especially in the last decade or so, there’s no shortage of delicious and innovative beer to try, wherever you are! In fact, a destination for a Craft Beer Tour is even easier to find than a Wine Tour Destination, since beer-making doesn’t rely on climate and weather conditions, the way grapes do.
Craft Beer Breweries are so trendy these days that you have your choice of locations, whether you want to travel far, or stay within road-trip distance for the weekend. And many Craft Breweries either have their own on-site food options, or bring in local food trucks to offer great food to pair with their great beer, too! A few top choice destinations that have become almost synonymous with “Craft Beer” are Asheville, North Carolina, Portland, Maine, and also Portland, Oregon (which as an added bonus has an incredible Wine scene just outside the city in the Willamette Valley, as well, so if you choose Oregon, you can go Wine Tasting one day, and Beer Tasting the next to get the best of both worlds!).
In addition, one of the great things about many craft breweries these days is that many are beginning to offer either an alcohol-free beer option, or at least some kind of mocktail option, so that everyone in your group has something to enjoy! And just like with the Wine Tour option, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor will certainly help you set up safe transportation for your tour.
December – The Holiday Celebration
“Past the place where you come from, far beyond what you see, is a town like your town, if your town was a dream. Only it’s not a dream, or a hoax, or a ruse, it’s Christmas in Who-ville, the home of the Whos…Yes, Who-ville is great, that is known far and wide, and for three weeks in December, this place hits its stride…”
Yes, this is the opening quote from The Grinch movie (the 2018 version), and although it’s referring to fictional Who-ville, there are a myriad of Magical towns across the country that hit their own strides for the month of December, when they turn into snow-covered, storybook villages, seemingly straight out of a Dickens’ novel. From wandering carolers and drummers, to cookie crawls and hot chocolate stands, to ice sculpture contests and even nightlife with bars made of ice, towns that go all out for Christmas have something to make anyone and everyone (even the Grinch himself) feel the joyous Spirit of the Season.
And just like every other month’s weekend getaway on this list, there are cities and towns all over the United States, and even up into Canada with Holiday Festivities that bring all the Christmas Magic you could ever imagine to life right before your eyes! From the quaint Canadian cities of Montreal and Quebec City, to the big US cities of New York and even Orlando (if you’re here, you KNOW that Disney knows how to do Christmas, for sure), to the European-Inspired towns throughout America, like Frankenmuth, Michigan, and Solvang, California that model their Christmas celebrations after the famous Christmas Markets of Europe, to small-town hidden gems like Woodstock, Vermont, and Durango, Colorado, you can find a town as near or far as you prefer to escape for the ultimate Storybook Christmas Weekend
Ready to Plan?
Now that you have a Month-by-Month List of Getaways to get you excited about the travel possibilities that lay before you in 2024, let’s get started planning! Whether you want to journey near or far, for a weekend, or a two week adventure, wherever you would like to travel this year, I would love to help make 2024 your best Travel Year yet! Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started planning, or click here for a free quote from me or your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor!