Sometimes all we need to feel brand new is a good vacation to unwind, relax, and just have fun away from our desks and inboxes.
But most of the time, we don't have the dollars (or vacation days) to spare. Thankfully, the United States has such a diverse variety of landscapes for us to book a quick and easy weekend getaway.
From the antebellum Savannah, Georgia, to the artsy Portland, Maine, here are seven underrated U.S. destinations you can enjoy in just a weekend.
1. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison has both outdoor adventures and a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene, in part because it's a college town. Be sure to visit on a Saturday, when the massive Dane County Farmers' Market is open, even through the winter. (Hint: Stock up on cheese.) Then, lace up your shoes and visit the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, which has over 20 miles of hiking trails. Architecture fanatics can see multiple examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, too.
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque's unique climate has made it a hot air balloon hotspot, which goes down (I mean, up?) year-round. The city is located right next to the beautiful and desert-like 10,600-foot-tall Sandia Mountains. Take a tram to the top for breathtaking views. Albuquerque, which is cheaper to visit than Santa Fe, also has a unique historical presence, being right on Route 66. The Old Town, which was created by Spanish settlers, is a must-visit, too. Don't miss the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which teaches people about the indigenous Pueblo people.
3. Portland, Maine
All you need is a bike to really explore this artsy and lighthouse-filled Northeastern town. Going during the summertime means you can spend time on the beaches, go sailing, or make an afternoon out of kayaking. Alongside great seafood (read: lobster rolls) is a burgeoning craft beer scene. The city boasts over a dozen local breweries, such as Allagash Brewing Co. and Battery Steele. On the first Friday of each month, the city closes down its streets to pedestrians, and local shops, galleries, and vendors set up stands.
4. Savannah, Georgia
This historical southern city, which was founded in 1733, has all the southern charm you could ever want. With its squares surrounded by trees draped in Spanish moss and the mansion-lined Jones Street, it'll be hard not to spam your Instagram followers with beautiful pictures. It also goes without saying that the soul food in Savannah is remarkable, so fill up on grits to power you through a nighttime ghost tour.
5. Alexandria Bay, New York
Looking for somewhere quaint, secluded, and water-adjacent? Look no further than Alexandria Bay, which is located in New York's beautiful Thousand Islands. (Yes, this is where Thousand Island dressing was invented.) Aside from a nicely dressed salad, Alexandria Bay has all the fishing, boating, and even shipwreck diving you could ever want. Did we mention there's also a castle with a tragic backstory? George C. Boldt built a castle for his wife, but before he finished constructing it, his spouse suddenly died.
6. Memphis, Tennessee
Up against Nashville, Tennessee, Memphis is the quirkier home of Elvis. In other words, it's got great music and great barbecue. If you're looking for something else to occupy your time, take a trip to Crystal Shrine Grotto, which is a handmade cave filled with about five tons of crystal. And don't forget to visit the beautiful riverside Beale Street Landing (pictured above).
7. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio has a lot more to offer than just the Alamo. While the delicious Tex-Mex options (we're looking at you, tamales) might draw many, the city also has a beautiful four-mile-long River Walk and a historical market called El Mercado. San Antonio is also home to the oldest unrestored church made of stone, Mission Concepción. It was built in 1716.
Now, let's get booking.
Thumbnail/banner image credit: Flickr user Jeff Gunn