The Best Staycation in Every State

Illustration of all 50 states with attractions from each one

TripSavvy / Alison Czinkota

We know, we know: you're probably itching to travel. And while holing up in an all-inclusive resort in Mexico may seem tempting, we're strong believers that staying close to home right now is also the best way to stay safe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t venture out into your own backyard. Our beloved small businesses and cultural institutions need our support now more than ever, so we’ve rounded up 50 top staycation ideas—one for each state!—complete with where to stay, what to eat, and what to do, whether that’s getting out on the trails for a socially-distanced hike, diving into American history and culture, or sipping a local brew on a breezy patio.

01 of 50

Montgomery, Alabama

Dexter Avenue leads to the classic statehouse in downtown Montgomery Alabama
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images
Montgomery, AL, USA

Alabama’s capital city has a vital Civil Rights history, delicious food, and a surprising literary past.

Montgomery has worked hard to honor its sometimes upsetting history, and the 2018 opening of the must-visit Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice has helped the city confront its past. Leave yourself ample time for the museum and the moving memorial. Also, visit the Rosa Parks Museum and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the pastor from 1954 to 1960. Stroll through the Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park, which is also home to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

Get your fill of fried chicken, collard greens, fried okra, and banana pudding at Martha’s Place for lunch and splurge on dinner at farm-to-table Vintage Year, which also has a stellar takeout menu. Book lovers will want to sleep at the former home of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, which is an Airbnb and also houses the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, filled with original letters, manuscripts, artwork by Zelda, photographs, and other memorabilia. —Devorah Lev-Tov

02 of 50

Seward, Alaska

One man on stand up paddle board (SUP) paddles past hole melted in iceberg on Bear Lake in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.
James + Courtney Forte / Getty Images
Seward, AK 99664, USA

Two and a half hours south of Anchorage, on the edge of Resurrection Bay, in a fjord cut millennia ago by retreating glaciers, sits Seward, a port city on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

See the Harding Icefield, the predominant feature of Kenai Fjords National Park, as it stretches over 700 square miles. The Kenai Fjords area is home to black and brown bears, mountain goats, bald eagles, tufted and horned puffins, sea lions, harbor seals, orcas, humpback whales, and porpoises. Learn more at Seward’s Alaska SeaLife Center. Visitors will delight in the opportunity to see the area via a fjord cruise, helicopter tour, or on foot—a guided Exit Glacier ranger-led hike is an ideal way to learn about this mobile body left over from the last ice age.

Stay at Harbor 360 Hotel, the only property in town with a swimming pool, located on a boat harbor within walking distance to the Alaska Railroad depot. —Wendy Altschuler

03 of 50

Sedona, Arizona

Rock Formations On Landscape Against Sky
Heather Spencer / EyeEm / Getty Images
Sedona, AZ 86336, USA

Tucked along Oak Creek and surrounded by red rocks, Sedona is one of Arizona’s most popular escapes, especially among nature lovers.

The area has more than 400 miles of trails winding through Red Rock State Park's junipers, the meadows of Slide Rock State Park, and the rock formations encircling the city. After exploring the outdoors, pamper yourself at one of Sedona’s luxury spa resorts—such as Enchantment Resort or the Kimpton Amara Resort—or unwind at Winery 1912, a stop on the Verde Valley Wine Trail.

If you want to explore further Arizona’s northern wine country, head to nearby Cornville’s wineries or sample vintages at tasting rooms in Cottonwood and Jerome. The next day, use Sedona as a base to explore the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Its South Rim is just a two-hour drive north from Sedona. —Teresa Bitler

04 of 50

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas / Getty Images
Eureka Springs, AR, USA

The curious and the afflicted were some of the earliest arrivals in Eureka Springs, drawn by the legends of miraculous healing waters veiled beneath the isolated wilderness of Northwest Arkansas. Today it’s the adventurous and the hungry who come seeking memorable experiences in this quirky Victorian town, where sequestered stairways provide passage to the eccentric eateries and artist-owned shops hidden throughout its steep, winding streets.

Only the bravest of souls stay the night at “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,” the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, while a recently renovated motor lodge, The Wanderoo Lodge, offers the liveliest accommodations with an onsite adventure outfitter. A day hike out to Tea Kettle Falls will help work up an appetite for the mammoth burgers at Sparky’s Roadhouse Café or the sweet treats at MJ’s Macaron’s & More.

For dinner, hit up The Gravel Bar for live music and craft beer, or head underground for a romantic candle-lit experience inside the Grotto Wood-Fired Grill and Wine Cave. Eureka Springs Coffee House serves locally roasted coffee-to-go, perfect for fueling an early morning fishing trip on the White River or a mountain bike adventure through the Trails at the Great Passion Play. —Kristy Alpert

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05 of 50

San Luis Obispo, California

Vineyard near San Luis Obispo
Charles O'Rear / Getty Images
San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

California’s Central Coast boasts some of the most stunning views and famous sights in the Golden State. And, since the city of San Luis Obispo is almost completely equidistant from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, a staycation there almost always includes an epic coastal road trip along beautiful Highway 1.

For a quaint-yet-convenient accommodation option, the Apple Farm Inn is located near downtown with a farm-to-table restaurant attached. Or, experience the world-renowned (and certainly unique) Madonna Inn, with its fairytale-inspired rooms and incredible bakery.

San Luis Obispo has it all, from the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Spanish-style downtown buildings to award-winning wineries like Biddle Ranch Vineyards and Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards. For outdoor lovers, Pismo Beach is just a 15-minute drive away, while nearby Oceano Dunes offers horseback riding, camping, and even driving on the beach. For sweeping views of wildflowers and massive ocean bluffs, spend the day exploring the 8,000-acre Montaña de Oro State Park just west of the city. —Katherine Gallagher

06 of 50

Fort Collins, Colorado

summer morning over Horsetooth Reservoir at foothills of Rocky Mountains
marekuliasz / Getty Images
Fort Collins, CO, USA

Outdoor adventure and craft beer—two things Colorado does best—are two main draws for visitors to Fort Collins. For active folks, biking is one of the best ways to explore; Fort Collins boasts more than 285 miles of bike trails and is one of only five cities in the nation with a platinum-level rating as a bike-friendly city.

For a little more adventure, just west of the city is Horsetooth Reservoir, a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The reservoir sits at the base of Horsetooth Mountain, which offers wildlife spotting and scenic hiking trails that lead to sweeping views of the valley below.

After a day exploring the natural beauty of the area, you can unwind and relax with a cold beer; Fort Collins is home to more than 20 craft breweries, and produces about 70 percent of Colorado’s beer, so you won’t have trouble finding a pint or a flight in town. Lastly, don’t leave without spending time downtown, also known as Old Town, where you can shop, dine at a few of the 80-plus restaurants, and admire the historic buildings in this charming neighborhood. As you walk around, you’ll undoubtedly feel the palpable charm and spirit that led to Fort Collins being the inspiration for the design of Disneyland’s Main Street USA. —Jamie Hergenrader

07 of 50

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, Connecticut harbor at Dawn

R Boed / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Mystic, Stonington, CT, USA

Seaside views, maritime history, and quintessential New England charm are just a few of the things you can find in Mystic, a Northeastern nautical gem. A few hours from both New York City and Boston, this town may be best known for its famed pizzeria, Mystic Pizza, featured in the 1988 film of the same name.

Beyond its slice shop lies a perfect weekend getaway that combines outdoor activity, a world-class museum, and unique dining experiences. Get out on the Mystic River by chartering an old-school sailing ship with Argia Mystic; sip cider at B.F. Clyde’s, a steam-powered cider mill that’s been open since 1881; or explore the Mystic Seaport Museum—one of the most esteemed maritime museums in the United States—to learn about the history of Mystic, a former powerhouse of the shipbuilding industry.

Book a room at The Whaler’s Inn, the town’s chic boutique hotel featuring perfect views of the Mystic River Bascule drawbridge, and make a pit stop at Olde Mistick Village, historically designed to recreate the architecture of the 1720s. Don’t leave town without experiencing a meal at Oyster Club, a culinary jewel featuring outdoor dining in an elevated treehouse. —Astrid Taran

08 of 50

Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington Waterfront
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
Wilmington, DE, USA

With President Joe Biden installed in the White House, now seems like a good time to check out his beloved hometown of Wilmington. It’s easy to follow in his footsteps and visit some of his favorite spots, places where he campaigned from, and iconic buildings named after him.

If you arrive by train on Amtrak, you’ll pull into the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station, named for him in 2011 while he was vice president. Head over to the Wilmington Riverfront, a lively entertainment district that was the site of much of the Democratic National Convention in 2020, plus it hosted Biden’s parking lot victory celebration. Walk along the Christina River or bike part of the 8-mile Jack A. Markell Nature Trail. The Delaware Children’s Museum, OperaDelaware, and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame are all located there.

When hunger strikes, hit up one of the Biden family’s favorite restaurants, like casual Italian spot Café Verdi, adored sandwich joint Capriotti’s, or Bardea Food & Drink, where Joe took Jill for her birthday in 2019. If you’re ready for a drink, swing by Wilmington Brew Works and order a Rail Car One: Wilmington to Washington, in honor of you-know-who.

Sleep at the grand dame Hotel Du Pont, inside a historic building with opulent interiors and five-star amenities, and splurge at the hotel’s restaurant Le Cavalier, with chef Tyler Akin at the helm. For something more casual, next door is the De.Co food hall with eight food stalls, including a pizza place from Bardea and pho and banh mi spot Phubs—all stalls also offer takeout and delivery. —Devorah Lev-Tov

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09 of 50

Destin, Florida

Beach umbrellas on beach, Destin, Florida, USA
Romona Robbins Photography / Getty Images
Destin, FL 32541, USA

With pristine Gulf Coast beaches and world-class fishing, Destin is the classic Florida vacation spot. Throw in some golf—there are eight championship courses—and family-friendly thrills like go-karts and water slides, and you've got enough for a week or more. Start your adventure at HarborWalk Village, featuring dozens of shops, eateries, and attractions. From here, you can launch into almost any water activity: kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, parasailing, even a pirate cruise.

To relax in nature, hit the beaches. There’s snorkeling at Henderson Beach State Park, dolphin sightings at Jetty East Beach, and killer sunsets in Crystal Beach's off-season. Anglers can enjoy deep-sea fishing just a few miles offshore plus the country’s largest charter fishing fleet, two claims to fame, earning Destin the nickname “World's Luckiest Fishing Village." Local chefs are happy to cook your catch. Try Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, which includes a trio of sauces and a side with your fish. —Cheryl Rodewig

10 of 50

Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia, USA City Hall
Sean Pavone / Getty Images
Athens, GA, USA

This laid-back college town—home to the University of Georgia’s flagship campus—is located just 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. Stay at the pet-friendly Graduate Athens, a historic hotel located in a former foundry that created some of the city’s most iconic ironworks, including the UGA arch. Located on the edge of downtown, the hotel has an in-house coffee shop. It offers complimentary bikes for guests to explore the city’s tree-lined streets, craft breweries, lush gardens, notable museums, and acclaimed restaurants.

Start the day by strolling through 5 miles of scenic trails at the 313-acre State Botanical Garden of Georgia, then visit the Georgia Museum of Art, whose collection includes African pottery, Italian Renaissance paintings, and American decorative arts. For lunch, head to Mama’s Boy for Southern staples like biscuits and gravy before sampling local beers at Creature Comforts and Terrapin breweries, both of which offer outdoor seating. Finish your day dining on Southwestern-inspired cuisine in an outdoor greenhouse at Last Resort Grill or Mediterranean small plates at chef Hugh Acheson’s The National. –Laura Scholz

11 of 50

Honolulu, Hawaii

Aerial View of Diamond Head
Blaine Harrington III / Getty Images
Honolulu, HI, USA

Everyone knows that Waikiki is the best place to play tourist. The newly renovated Kaimana Beach Hotel provides the perfect opportunity to escape everyday life while staying on the outskirts of Honolulu’s busiest neighborhood. Even better, the hotel offers 10 percent off its online rates for kama‘aina. Apart from the convenience of not having to fight for parking at Kaimana’s, you’ll be within walking distance from the Waikiki Aquarium and Waikiki Beach, as well as local favorites like Duke’s and Lulu’s. Venture just a bit further east to visit Diamond Head and Kahala, head inland to get lost in the Manoa Valley, or organize a day trip to Pearl Harbor.

Along with enhancements to the hotel, the open-air Hau Tree restaurant and its famed brunch menu have received an upgrade thanks to chef Chris Kajioka, who you may recognize from downtown’s Senia. The new Hau Tree’s oceanside views and beachy vibes are the same, only elevated, while fans of the eggs Benedict will be relieved to find it still on the menu (with a few delicious updates). —Katherine Gallagher

12 of 50

Boise, Idaho

Capitol Blvd, Boise, Idaho
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Boise, ID, USA

Can’t make it to Portland, Denver, or Austin this year? Never fear; you're headed to Boise, one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. This small city has everything you need for the perfect staycation with cool art galleries, a booming coffee scene, breweries galore, and hip bars and restaurants—not to mention the great outdoors right at your fingertips.  

In historic downtown Boise you’ll find local boutiques selling everything from candles to clothes to candy, with plenty of stops in between for sweet treats at Guru Donut or craft cocktails at Water Bear Bar. At dinner time, you can keep it casual at the hip Funky Taco—a cool graffitied restaurant with a garage door that opens to the street—or opt for something a bit more grown-up at The Wylder, a sleek pizza restaurant with inventive cocktails.

Boise is home to the country’s largest concentration of Basque descendants, and you can explore Basque traditions at Boise’s “Basque Block,” a section of downtown where you can find the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and sample Basque cuisine at The Basque Market or Leku Ona.

Nearby, some of Idaho’s most beautiful natural wonders await. Adventure lovers can go whitewater rafting on the Payette River, hiking and camping in the Sawtooth National Forest, skiing at Bogus Basin, biking along the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, or sandboarding at Bruneau Sand Dunes—all within an hour of the city.  

After a day full of adventure, check in to the snazzy Modern Hotel and Bar, a refurbished motel with chic 60s vibes, or the recently renovated Grove Hotel, located in the heart of downtown. —Teddy Minford

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13 of 50

Galena, Illinois

Main street in Galena, Illinois

Julien.scavini, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Galena, IL 61036, USA

Three hours west of Chicago sits the Galena Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Home to 10,000 people circa the mid-1800s (just over 3,000 people live there now), Galena rivaled Chicago as it arose as the first major mineral rush town and the largest steamboat hub on the Mississippi River. Ulysses S. Grant lived here, along with several other Civil War generals.

Today, Galena is a well-liked tourist haven for wine lovers (Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery is popular), antique shoppers, and restaurant-goers. Visit the U.S. Grant State Historic Sites, bike on the Galena River Trail, take a walking tour of Main Street, and experience goat yoga.

As the town is attractively tiered, Galena Trolley Tours is a great way to get around while simultaneously learning about the town’s rich past. In the center of town sits the DeSoto House Hotel, the oldest functioning hotel in the state (1855), with Courtyard Restaurant, Green Street Tavern and Restaurant, and Generals’ Restaurant. —Wendy Altschuler

14 of 50

Indianapolis, Indiana

Elevated view of Indiana State's Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle, Indiana, USA
Sir Francis Canker Photography / Getty Images
Indianapolis, IN, USA

Downtown Indianapolis is seeing a revival, starting with the $300 million renovation of the city’s historic Coca-Cola bottling plant into a 12-acre food and drink, art, and entertainment district.

Drop your bags off at the newly opened Bottleworks Hotel—a 139-room, Art Deco-style boutique housed in the top two floors of the plant’s former administration building—before exploring the best the city has to offer. Indy’s gastronomic scene has garnered national attention in recent years, with Milktooth frequently cited as having one of the best brunches in the U.S., and chef Abbi Merriss (of Bluebird acclaim) and local restaurateur Martha Hoover (with Cafe Patachou kicking off her rise to culinary fame), both six-time semifinalists in the 2020 James Beard Awards.

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library, which first opened its doors in Nov. 2019, is a must-visit for bookworms and features the author’s typewriter, drawings, and first editions of each of his novels. Art lovers should hit up Newfields, a 152-acre campus housing a public art park, gardens, and the Indianapolis Art Museum, the latter set to debut THE LUME—a 30,000-square-foot exhibit that transforms paintings into a 3D, multi-sensory experience—in June 2021.

Meanwhile, the 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail takes cyclists and pedestrians through White River State Park and past the city’s historic buildings, memorials, and public art. If you have kids in tow, be sure to visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest in the world. —Elizabeth Preske

15 of 50

Iowa City, Iowa

Museum in Iowa City

Pixabay / Leonardo Marchini

Iowa City, IA, USA

Bookworms and writerly types gravitate to Iowa City—a UNESCO-designated City of Literature—thanks to its powerhouse reputation as a landmark that attests to the power of the pen. Buzzing with its own distinctive brand of intellectual energy, this college town is home to the prestigious University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, the famous Prairie Lights Bookstore and Café, and a self-guided Literary Walk that directs visitors through a series of open-air bronze book panels honoring writers with local connections.

Conveniently close to Cedar Rapids and within two hours of Des Moines, the “Athens of the Midwest” also maintains intriguing museums, chic shopping boutiques, live music venues, historical sites, miles of bike trails, and gorgeous natural topography like the 375-million-year-old Devonian Fossil Gorge to discover. Get into the college spirit for a UI football game or wrestling match by fueling up on an old-school burger with fries and a milkshake or a crispy pork tenderloin. —Amy Lynch

16 of 50

Manhattan (and Wamego), Kansas

Manhattan, Kansas
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Manhattan, KS, USA

An hour west of Topeka and two hours north of Wichita nestled in the Flint Hills region and tallgrass prairie landscape, there’s no place like Manhattan (aka Kansas’ “Little Apple”). With charming boutiques, an eclectic collection of restaurants to discover, and a popular Saturday morning farmers market, the historic downtown area is a one-stop destination for drinking, dining, and shopping.

If timing cooperates, buy a ticket to cheer on the hometown Kansas State University Wildcats sports teams; the campus-adjacent Aggieville District is a great spot to grab a casual meal or take in some nightlife and entertainment.

And speaking of entertainment, cruise the quick 13 miles east to see the Wizard at the Oz Museum in Wamego, a vast private collection of props and artifacts from the legendary movie and the “Wicked” Broadway musical. While you’re there, snap a selfie in front of the 100-year-old Schonhoff Dutch Mill that anchors the Wamego City Park. —Amy Lynch

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17 of 50

Lexington, Kentucky

People horseback riding at sunset
WHL / Getty Images
Lexington, KY, USA

A staycation in Lexington, Kentucky, is more exciting than the uninitiated would assume. An overnight stay at the “Queen’s Gambit”-inspired suite at the 21c Museum Hotel might be just what the vacation doctor ordered. Take a socially-distant guided tour with Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail or visit one of Lexington’s hundreds of working horse farms.

Family-friendly options include connecting with nature on the Legacy Trail or exploring the gardens at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, home to the outdoor Ginkgo Tree Cafe. You can even download free, printable Kentucky-themed coloring pages for the entire family to keep young ones entertained on the trip. Don’t forget to cozy up with some reading of local Kentucky authors like Gwenda Bond or Crystal Wilkinson in your downtime! —Tonya Abari

18 of 50

Lafeyette, Louisiana

Lake and Adirondack chairs
Jon Lovette / Getty Images
Lafayette, LA, USA

Lafayette is the cultural epicenter of French-speaking Louisiana, and more than anything, this means you’ll find incredible Cajun food. Treat yourself to the duck and andouille gumbo at Charley G’s, or the slightly more refined crawfish beignets at Cafe Vermilionville. Most gas stations sell world-class boudin, but Earl’s Cajun Market is worth tracking down.

Cajuns are outdoor folk, and you can get up close to some of the local wildlife taking swamp tours of nearby Lake Martin in the Cypress Island Reserve. The area boasts more than 200 species of bird and coypu, snakes, and, of course, alligators. The Atchafalaya Basin is also worth exploring and is home to black bears. The Zydeco Music Festival will hopefully return in some form this fall. In the meantime, you can catch live bands in the socially-distanced courtyard at Buck & Johnny’s just outside Lafayette. In season, crawfish boils are everywhere, and you really can’t go wrong when picking a restaurant. —Paul Oswell

19 of 50

Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine

USA, Maine, Exterior
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images
Camden, ME, USA

Together, the neighboring small towns of Camden, Rockport, and Rockland in mid-coast Maine offer up a wealth of nature, art and culture, and food and drink to explore.

If it’s the great outdoors you seek, hike the 1.1-mile out-and-back trail up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park for gorgeous views of Penobscot Bay and the surrounding area; set out from Camden Harbor on a sailing excursion; or spend a day on the slopes at Camden Snow Bowl, the only ski area on the East Coast where you can see the ocean.

In downtown Camden’s historic district, you’ll find a number of boutique and antique shops to browse, seafood-centric restaurants (Waterfront and Peter Ott’s on the Water being two local favorites), cafes where you can get your morning joe (The Owl & Turtle Bookshop Cafe is a must), and cozy pubs and taverns for a local craft brew. For those who prefer wine to beer, venture (slightly) further afield to nearby Lincolnville for a $10 tasting of local vino at Cellardoor Winery. Art lovers will want to pay a visit to Rockland’s Farnsworth Art Museum, which boasts one of the largest collections of American paintings by the Wyeths (N.C., Andrew, and Jamie) in the U.S.

You’ll find plenty of B&Bs and historic inns in the area, though we recommend Glen Cove Inn for its ultra-comfy rooms and friendly staff. Oh, and if you’re searching for the best lobster roll in Maine, look no further than Rockport’s Graffam Bros. Seafood Market.  —Elizabeth Preske

20 of 50

St. Michaels, Maryland

Sunset at Chesapeake Martime Museum in St Michaels Maryland
ymn / Getty Images
St Michaels, MD 21663, USA

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is an underrated treasure with the sparkling Chesapeake Bay as its gem. St. Michaels, where the history can be traced back to the 1600s, has oodles of Colonial charm. Still, there’s also plenty of modern shopping, top-quality dining, and activities like sailing or riding along on a skipjack, an oyster dredging boat specific to the Chesapeake—the H.M. Krentz offers group and private charters.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is worth visiting to see its working shipyard and lighthouse dating back to 1879. Pop into the old sewing factory building to visit St. Michaels Winery’s tasting room, which produces wine from grapes grown in nearby Maryland vineyards. And while many crab restaurants close for the winter season, Chesapeake Landing Restaurant and Seafood Market is open year-round, selling raw seafood to cook at home and a full menu of items like crab cakes, stuffed and steamed shrimp, and fresh-caught rockfish. Or, pick up a pizza from Ava’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar.

Spend the night at the famous Inn at Perry Cabin, a luxurious historic retreat set on 25 waterfront acres with six of its own sailboats and yachts, plus a pool and spa. —Devorah Lev-Tov

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The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Autumn mist in the village of Tyringham in the Berkshires
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
The Berkshires, United States

In western Massachusetts' mountainous Berkshires region, the arts and the outdoors are vibrant no matter what time of year you visit.

Winter adventurers can choose from five ski resorts—including Berkshire East and Ski Butternut, where snow tubing parks supplement downhill slopes—then warm up their bodies and fire up their minds at MASS MoCA, one of the world's largest and most thought-provoking contemporary art museums.

Other seasons offer even more things to do in the Berkshires: gardens bloom to life in the spring; outdoor music, theater, and dance festivals pop up throughout the summer; and the Mohawk Trail's colorful fall foliage is an annual attraction for leaf peepers. Meanwhile, museums like The Clark Art Institute continually compete for visitors with new exhibitions, and Mount Greylock's scenic summit draws both Appalachian Trail hikers and gourmet diners year-round.

The abundance of activities is matched by an array of lodging options for all budgets, from campsites in state forests, to mountain-view cabins at the Wigwam Western Summit, to legendary inns and spas like Blantyre, Canyon Ranch, and Miraval. —Kim Knox Beckius

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Traverse City, Michigan

Lake Michigan surrounded by trees with colorful leaves

Unsplash / Dennis Buchner

Traverse City, MI, USA

Alfresco adventures await throughout the stunning Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas all year long. Sitting pretty on Grand Traverse Bay's shorelines and anchored by the small town of Traverse City, this northern Michigan escape proposes plenty of water recreation, scenic drives through idyllic rolling hills dotted with cherry orchards, and several dozen different local wineries and breweries to discover.

In the summer, venture over to Lake Michigan to explore Leland's quaint fishing village, the magnificent Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the 20-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Snowshoeing, skiing, and fat-tire biking beckon visitors to come out and play even during the coldest winter months.

After spending some time in these great outdoors, shop along Traverse City’s charming Main Street and feast on the vibrant culinary scene, then hole up for the night in a waterfront hotel, a cozy inn, or a bucolic bed-and-breakfast. —Amy Lynch

23 of 50

Minneapolis, Minnesota

minneapolis eye candy
Dan Anderson / Getty Images
Minneapolis, MN, USA

From a range of year-round outdoor activities to takeout from some of the best restaurants in the country, there's no need to hop on a plane when there's this much to explore in your own backyard.

Start your stay at the new Rand Tower Hotel, designed to honor Minnesota aviator Rufus R. Rand, which harkens back to its namesake’s day with Art Deco ambiance. Sip clever cocktails at Whiskey and Soda, named after the lion cubs kept by Rand’s World War I French Air Force unit.

Once you're hungry, chef Ann Kim, of Young Joni pizza fame, just opened Sooki & Mimi, which blends flavors from Mexico, South Korea, and Minnesota with wine and cocktail pairings. Or head across the river to St. Paul’s Union Hmong Kitchen for takeout until chef Yia Vang’s Vinai restaurant opens later this year.

Finally, get outside! Even when frozen, the Twin Cities’ lakes are home to everything from community-made ice carousels to kite skating. The Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden is free and open year-round. The Guthrie Theater’s open-to-the-public Amber Room overlooks the iconic Stone Arch bridge, providing unique views and exceptional photo ops. —Cinnamon Janzer

24 of 50

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Gulfport Mississippi beach, dramtic golden sunrise, pier, shrimp boat, bay
dszc / Getty Images
Ocean Springs, MS 39564, USA

People opting for local travel to Mississippi’s ‘Secret Coast’ can rest assured that the tourism and hospitality sector of that region is committed to safe, responsible experiences for visitors. Under the Coastal Mississippi Destination Promise of Health and Safety, industry leaders ensure that all necessary precautions and best practices continue to be implemented throughout the southern communities.

Ocean Springs is a great place to start for a Gulf Coast staycation. It’s in close proximity to the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, the tantalizing seafood of Biloxi, and the golf courses of Gautier. The Roost boutique hotel, just a short walk from bustling Government Street, offers quiet accommodations with historic charm. The entire town is an art lover's dream but the Twelve Oaks Nature Preserve and Trail is a creative blend of the arts community and the outdoors. With both takeout and outdoor dining available, the quirky, down-home joint The Shed serves up rustic vibes and barbecue with all the fixin's. —Amy Conry Davis

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Hermann, Missouri

Overhead of town buildings, trees and river.
John Elk / Getty Images
Hermann, MO 65041, USA

Just an easy hour-and-a-half drive west of St. Louis and centrally located for the majority of Missourians, Hermann offers an appealing, accessible getaway on the banks of the Missouri River.

Handsome 19th-century brick buildings populate the predominantly German downtown district, setting the stage for leisurely strolls to admire more than 150 National Historic landmarks. With echoes of the Rhine Valley, the hillside vineyards surrounding Hermann feed a thriving wine industry and a Wine Trail that claims six family-owned operations where visitors can sample the wares during tasting sessions.

If your proclivities lean more toward beer or spirits, local distilleries and a couple of craft breweries stand ready to deliver, complementing a dining scene that serves up everything from traditional Gasthaus cuisine to Mexican food, pizza, and familiar American favorites. Work up an appetite first with a bike ride on the scenic Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail project in the United States. —Amy Lynch

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Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky country
L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images
Big Sky, MT, USA

Vacationers will enjoy plenty of land to spread out in while playing at Big Sky, Montana, home to some of the best skiing in the country at Big Sky Resort.

With its commanding Lone Peak, Big Sky is home to year-round adventures—skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides in the winter and golf, Lone Peak tram rides, mountain biking, ziplining, hiking, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and rock climbing in the summer. Big Sky Town Center is where you’ll find plenty of shopping, dining featuring wild game and local brews (Beehive Basin Brewery is a good choice), and entertainment.

No matter when you visit, explore Yellowstone National Park’s thermal basins, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pot, and Mud Volcano. You’ll see plenty of wildlife—bison, black and grizzly bears, coyote, bighorn sheep, elk, moose—at America’s first national park, located one hour south of Big Sky.

Opening this year is Montage Big Sky, which offers guests ski-in and ski-out access to the mountain’s 5,850 skiable acres as well as concierge services. —Wendy Altschuler

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Omaha, Nebraska

Illuminated Buildings In City Against Sky During Sunset
Joe Willman / EyeEm / Getty Images
Omaha, NE, USA

Omaha may not have a red carpet to roll out, but the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri River leading into town from Iowa is the next best thing, extending a warm welcome to visitors with lovely natural scenery, summer concerts, and a seasonal spray-ground.

Another local landmark, the highly regarded Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a must-see with a startling geodesic dome that contains the world’s largest indoor desert habitat.

Forage for lunch or dinner among more than 40 diverse eating and drinking establishments in the historic Old Market district before moving on to explore Omaha’s culture at a world-class collection of museums that showcase fine art, history, transportation, and kids’ stuff. Or take time to stop and smell the flowers at the expansive Lauritzen Gardens or the OPPD Arboretum, then raise a glass and make a toast to this river city at any of the town’s prolific craft breweries. —Amy Lynch

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Las Vegas, Nevada

City skyline at night with Bellagio Hotel water fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, America, USA
RebeccaAng / Getty Images
Las Vegas, NV, USA

Lucky Nevadans. Las Vegas, the world’s playground, is just a hop, skip, and jump away for those who live in the state—and it’s an easy flight for those nearby, thanks to new nonstop flights by Alaska Airlines.

New offerings around the Strip include Downtown’s Circa Resort & Casino, the world’s largest sportsbook and a massive pool complex; Resorts World, set to open this summer; and the new AREA15, a huge, interactive arts and entertainment district located near the Strip. For those now comfy with their WFH routine, you can now take it to the pool with special remote working packages at MGM’s ARIA and Bellagio resorts.

Want to get to it all a bit faster? A citywide Loop system of Tesla autonomous electric cars built around a 10-mile tunnel system from McCarran International Airport to the Fremont Street Experience with stops along major Strip resorts is on the way. Its first phase allows convention attendees to travel at high speeds between the Las Vegas Convention Center and debuts soon. —Andrea Bennett

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White Mountains, New Hampshire

Autumn snowcapped White Mountains in New Hampshire
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
White Mountains, Lincoln, NH 03251, USA

Snow-capped practically year-round, New Hampshire's White Mountains are New England's ultimate outdoor playground.

Winter is the pinnacle time to visit, when a dozen ski resorts are in operation, including New Hampshire's largest, Bretton Woods, and its most challenging, Cannon Mountain, where Olympians have trained. Turn-of-the-20th-century grand hotels like the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods and The Wentworth in romantic Jackson Village sparkle with firelight and are incredible places to snuggle up.

While you’re getting cozy, plot your next snow-season adventure, whether it be dog sledding at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, a beginner-friendly snowmobile tour, a memorable SnowCoach ride up Mount Washington, or a breezy horse-drawn sleigh ride for two at Farm by the River. As you wrap up your trip, dream ahead to a return visit in the spring, summer, or fall, when you can delight in this region's beloved waterfall hikes, high-peak climbs, scenic drives, freshwater swims, and historic train rides. —Kim Knox Beckius

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Spring Lake, New Jersey

Spring Lake Beach
mdgmorris / Getty Images
Spring Lake, NJ 07762, USA

One of the most upscale resort towns on the New Jersey shore, Spring Lake is an ideal destination for beach lovers who enjoy a relaxed ambiance, picturesque ocean views, and noteworthy dining options.

This posh town is mostly residential and ideal for a tranquil getaway, as it’s home to some historic inns and beautiful bed-and-breakfast establishments, such as The Breakers on the Ocean and Spring Lake Inn that attract a well-heeled crowd.

You’ll love strolling around the fairytale-like spring-fed lake in the town’s center, as well as the 2-mile-long boardwalk, considered the state’s longest “non-commercial and uninterrupted” seaside walkway. With more than 60 shops, Spring Lake’s shopping district is an easy walk from the beach and home to various independently-owned stores.

Although nightlife is limited here, food lovers enjoy the mix of elegant and casual restaurants. Many offer outdoor seating during the warmer months, including Bareli’s by the Sea and Marina Grille. (Most restaurants are BYOB, and reservations are recommended in summer.) —Marla Cimini

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White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument,New mexico,USA
Peter Unger / Getty Images
White Sands, NM 88002, USA

Thanks to one of America’s newest national parks, New Mexicans can feel like they’re voyaging to another planet without having to fill up the gas tank more than once.

In southwestern New Mexico, White Sands National Park was upgraded from a national monument to a national park in December 2019 to further highlight and preserve a portion of a 275-square-mile dune field in the vast Tularosa Basin. Just how vast? The snow-white sand is so sprawling that it can be seen from space. The world’s largest gypsum dune field invites a sense of childlike awe with sandy scenic drives, wind-swept hiking trails, and sand sledding.

Though backcountry camping is suspended, nearby lodging, cabins, B&Bs, and RV parks abound in and around the town of Alamogordo. More options can be found in the city of Las Cruces, 50 miles away. Here, the Hotel Encanto is a worthwhile gem; with its ornate Mexican colonial architecture and farm-to-pillow room service from its new Mexican restaurant, Mezcla, it’s the perfect place to staycation in style. —Matt Kirouac

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Ithaca, New York

USA, New York, Exterior
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Ithaca, NY, USA

One of Upstate New York’s favorite college towns, Ithaca is also filled with natural wonders and is one of the state’s best wine regions.

Located in the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca sits at the base of Cayuga Lake. To get a feel for the lake and the surrounding area, book a Cayuga Lake boat ride with Ithaca Boat Tours, or rent kayaks and canoes. Cayuga Lake also has its own wine trail, with 14 beautiful wineries to sample along the lakeshore. Back in town, wander through Ithaca Commons, a pedestrian-only area downtown filled with shops and restaurants.

If you’ve heard the slogan “Ithaca is Gorges,” then you know you need to check out some of the city’s stunning waterfalls and canyons. The Cascadilla Gorge trailhead starts just north of downtown, and the gushing Ithaca Falls is on one side of the Cornell University campus, accessed by a short trail. South of downtown is the larger Buttermilk Falls State Park, where you can easily spend a whole or half day.

Later, have pre-dinner cocktails at Bar Argos and then dine at world-famous Moosewood Restaurant, known for revolutionizing vegetarian food. Or, for something more casual, order the hamburger at Ithaca Ale House. Book a room at the cozy La Tourelle, a countryside manor house amid 70 lush acres. —Devorah Lev-Tov

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Wilmington, North Carolina

Sunset on the Marsh
Darwin Brandis / Getty Images
Wilmington, NC, USA

This picturesque coastal college town has been the backdrop of several popular films and television shows, including “A Walk to Remember,” “Iron Man 3,” and “Dawson’s Creek.” Explore the nearly 2-mile Wilmington Riverwalk—dotted with parks, public art, boutiques, and restaurants—or head to the vintage Carolina Beach boardwalk for amusement park rides, carnival food, shops, bars, and waterfront views.

Book a ride on the Port City Brew Bus to tour and sample beers from local breweries like Wilmington Brewing Company and Waterline Brewery. For a quieter escape, opt for the idyllic 67-acre Airlie Gardens, which features walking trails, more than 200 species of birds, and the state’s largest oak tree. Wind down with waterfront views—and a $5 happy hour—on the outdoor patio at Marina Grill, then spend the night at The Hive, whose modern rooms include full kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, original artwork, and luxurious linens. – Laura Scholz

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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo theatre sign in Downtown Fargo

Courtesy of Visit Fargo

Fargo, ND, USA

With a rich history as a pioneer town, visitors might be surprised that quaint Fargo is loaded with great art and even haute cuisine.

Celebrating the city’s first hotelier, the forthcoming 125-room Jasper Hotel speaks to Fargo's past while also looking forward—the hotel’s restaurant, Rosewild, is a nod to traditional Nordic cooking techniques from foraging to fermentation across its shareable dishes.

Nichole’s Fine Pastry and Café (featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" just last month!) is the place to go for breakfast while the 25th Street Market offers a cluster of shops that feature Pride of Dakota products alongside Thai and Himalayan restaurants. Happy hour is a great time to check out Maxwell’s or Cork N’ Cleaver.

For some culture on the high plains, the art deco Fargo Theatre is a downtown icon that’s currently offering virtual cinema options, while the Plains Art Museum, the largest in the state, is free to visit and celebrates local art, including Native American art. Definitely don’t miss the infamous wood chipper from the "Fargo" movie—signed by the Coen brothers!—at the Visitors Center. —Cinnamon Janzer

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Columbus, Ohio

Downtown Columbus Reflection In The River at the blue hour, Ohio, USA
David Shvartsman / Getty Images
Columbus, OH, USA

In the mood for a trendy city break to dispel the monotony of the pandemic? One of the fastest-growing cities in America, Columbus, Ohio, delivers the metropolitan adventure you’re craving.

To make up for months in quarantine, treat yourself to a luxurious stay at the Hotel Leveque. Splurge on a suite overlooking the picturesque Scioto River Mile and, later, spend a socially-distanced afternoon exploring the riverfront’s parks, trails, and bike paths. Can’t leave Fido at home? Book a canine-friendly room at the DogHouse where, thanks to the on-site brewery, you can snag a Punk IPA or Elvis Juice from the beer fridge in the bathroom to sip while you shower.

At the new tri-level Budd Dairy Food Hall, chow down on tacos, poke bowls, and Filipino street food. For the city's best views, grab a pre-game cocktail at the rooftop bar before catching a match at the new Columbus Crew stadium. Soccer not your style? Burn off those pork belly skewers with a self-led street art tour. For a touch of Paris in the heart of the Midwest, don’t miss the Columbus take on the Mona Lisa that is way bigger (and less crowded) than the original at the Louvre. —Alex Wittman

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Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa skyline, pond, and fountains
Davel5957 / Getty Images
Tulsa, OK, USA

From iconic steakhouses and American history to innovative public spaces and an even-keeled sense of life, Tulsa (once known as the Oil Capital of the World) has evolved into a destination worthy of a visit, no matter your interests.

The downtown Hotel Indigo is our choice for home-base; it’s perfectly situated to explore the city’s environs, plus its rooftop bar (Rooftop Sixty-Six) is the perfect place to unwind over craft cocktails and purple-hued sunsets while warming fireplaces blaze on the balcony. To get around, we recommend leaving your car behind and utilizing the Tulsa Bike Share for transportation—it’s a bit slower but all the better for taking in the essential scenery.

First on the itinerary: A visit to the former site of Black Wall Street, downtown in the Greenwood District, to understand its history and take in the historical markers and Black Lives Matter murals. After, visit the newly-launched, award-winning Gathering Place along the Arkansas River. It's a veritable playground for young and old—you could almost spend your entire visit there!

But if you did that, you miss out on all the attractions that the old Route 66 has to offer. The city has invested in maintaining some of its important sites and neon signs; you should invest time there. Chief among the attractions is Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios, replete with a towering Instagram-worthy statue and all the local souvenirs you’ll need.

For eats, the Lebanese steakhouse Jamil’s, where mezze meets buttery ribeye steaks, is not to be missed. We could say more, but we don’t want to spoil all that you can discover on your own. So, if you need a respite that’s a cross between the American South and the Old West, Tulsa is for you. —Todd Coleman

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Bend, Oregon

Chen Su / Getty Images
Bend, OR, USA

When planning a staycation in and around Bend, Oregon, the question isn’t what are you going to do, but rather what aren’t you going to do? After all, the mountain resort town is home to some of the state’s best outdoor recreation spots with plenty of breweries and restaurants.

Book your home away from home at Wall Street Suites, a dog-friendly hotel located right downtown with cozy suites and an on-site dog park. Other amenities include an outdoor fire pit, beverages, and snacks for purchase, as well as snowshoe rentals. Then take a stroll through Bend’s historic downtown, visit the local shops, or escape into nature at Shevlin Park by hiking the scenic 4.7-mile canyon loop.

Getting hungry? Pay a visit to Bevel Craft Brewing, where you’ll find beer on tap, four different food carts to choose from, and an outdoor patio with a roaring fire pit. —Michelle Harris

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New Hope, Pennsylvania

Aerial overhead of Delaware river landscape, American town of Lambertville New Jersey, view near small town historic New Hope Pennsylvania USA
photovs / Getty Images
New Hope, PA 18938, USA

A popular destination in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the charming town of New Hope offers an array of great activities for all ages. Situated on the Delaware River (close to George Washington’s famous crossing), New Hope is known for its variety of restaurants and numerous eclectic specialty shops, including antique, craft, collectible, and clothing stores.

In addition to the cool shops, lively bars, and great restaurants, this town is home to other cool destinations and activities, such as Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, spooky ghost tours, and the Bucks County Children’s Museum. New Hope is also famous for its historical sites; in fact, the 1870 Wedgewood Inn was one of the last underground railroad stops in the state before freedom-seekers entered New Jersey. You can learn about local history at the Parry Mansion Museum.

New Hope truly offers something for everyone, so when you’re through meandering around town, take a scenic stroll across the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge and explore the quaint town of Lambertville, New Jersey, just on the other side. —Marla Cimini

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Narragansett, Rhode Island

Usa, Rhode Island. Narragansett, Rhode Island
Philippe TURPIN / Getty Images
Narragansett, RI, USA

There's a touch of California in Rhode Island's top surf town. Even if you don't take a surfing lesson, you'll love watching wave riders while you laze on one of Narragansett's premier beaches.

The Break Hotel exudes a West Coast vibe, too, with its citrusy decor, saltwater pool, and rooftop bar. There's escapism on the menu at Crazy Burger, where—despite the name—you'll find plentiful vegan options, Tex-Mex fare, and fresh-squeezed juice blends with optional CBD shots. Don't overlook this historic coastal town's distinctly New England enticements, though.

See Rhode Island Red hens and other farm friends at the South County Museum. Hike the stony coast at Black Point. Head to the fishing village of Galilee for a whale watching voyage or to feast on fresh-caught Atlantic seafood. Make a picnic supper of Aunt Carrie's clam cakes and chowder, then find Camp Cronin—a secret little beach—to spy Point Judith Lighthouse's comforting, protective glow. —Kim Knox Beckius

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Greenville, South Carolina

Downtown Greenville South Carolina
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
Greenville, SC, USA

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is located just 60 miles south of Asheville, North Carolina. Start your trip with a visit to Falls Park on the Reedy in downtown’s historic West End. The 32-acre green space features walking trails, gardens, public art installations, waterfalls, and a 355-foot suspension bridge, the longest single-sided bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Other outdoor attractions include Paris Mountain State Park—which has 15 miles of hiking and cycling trails as well as a lake for swimming, paddling, and fishing—and the 22-mile-long Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail multi-use path.

Head indoors to see the largest public collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors at the renowned Greenville County Museum of Art or 19 exhibit galleries dedicated to the arts and sciences at the interactive Children's Museum of the Upstate. Stay at the luxurious The Westin Poinsett, poised within walking distance of downtown’s many boutiques, restaurants, and attractions. —Laura Scholz

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Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood, South Dakota
peeterv / Getty Images
Deadwood, SD 57732, USA

An enduring symbol of the Wild West, the city of Deadwood was founded in 1876 in the midst of the Black Hills Gold Rush, a chaotic affair that left the city with thousands of settlers and a serious reputation for lawlessness.

Visitors can begin their trip by checking in at the cozy 1899 Inn, followed by a drive up to Mount Moriah, home to the resting places of famed Deadwood inhabitants such as Sheriff Seth Bullock, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickok. After trekking through the cemetery, head back into the heart of Deadwood to dine at Jacobs Brewhouse, a local favorite for craft beer and hearty dishes such as pulled pork and smoked brisket.

For history buffs, the Days of ‘76 Museum offers a fascinating array of 19th-century artifacts ranging from covered wagons to antique handguns, while ambitious travelers may wish to journey 90 minutes southeast to Badlands National Park, home to one of South Dakota’s most staggering natural landscapes. —Jared Ranahan

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

View of the Tennessee Aquarium from on the river

TripSavvy / Ivey Redding

Chattanooga boasts of several unique ways to staycation, and the influx of boutique hotels means you could spend the whole trip happily holed up in your room. Hotel Indigo Chattanooga – Downtown is already open for business, while Kinley Chattanooga Southside and Life House Southside plan to open in spring and winter of 2021.

If outdoor adventure is your idea of R&R, take a peaceful walk through the city along the North/South Chickamauga Creek Greenway or bike through the 92-acre urban wilderness park, Stringer’s Ridge.

Family-friendly ideas include a socially-distanced visit to the world-renowned Tennessee Aquarium or award-winning Creative Discovery Museum. Finally, the following virtual experiences can make you feel like you’re on vacation even when you haven’t stepped foot outside your front door: Association of Visual Arts; Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center; Chattanooga’s Virtual Escape Room; and live streams from the Chattanooga Zoo. —Tonya Abari

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San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos river in San Marcos, Texas

Will-travel / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Flickr

San Marcos, TX, USA

This low-key college town is the perfect place to tuck away for a relaxing long weekend. Situated between Austin and San Antonio (and convenient to both Dallas and Houston), San Marcos is an outdoor lover’s retreat, with thousands of acres of parkland and hiking and biking trails. Tubing, of course, is the most popular activity in the area, but if February temperatures aren’t quite inviting enough, hit the trails at Purgatory Creek Natural Area or Spring Lake Natural Area.

Afterward, grab a brew at AquaBrew, whose beloved ales include the Ape-pricot Wheat and the Swine Dive, a single IPA with a hefty citrus punch, and head to Don Japanese Kitchen for lunch. The San Marcos offshoot of this Austin staple has a menu of classic Japanese rice bowls (donburi) and sides like kara-age (fried chicken) and seaweed salad.

Finally, step into the Calaboose African American Museum for an insightful look into San Marcos’s Black history and the lives of early African-American settlers in Hays County. Originally a jailhouse and later a community center, the museum’s exhibits highlight the proud history of local Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen, but also don’t gloss over the town’s racist past, including artifacts such as slave workday attire and newspaper clippings describing Ku Klux Klan rallies. Calaboose is also home to an extensive collection of memorabilia related to Eddie Durham, a jazz legend and San Marcos native son. While briefly closed due to COVID-19 protocols, the museum is open to the public on Saturdays starting next month. —Laura Ratliff

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St. George, Utah

Scenic View Of Rock Formations
Mario Möller / EyeEm / Getty Images
St. George, UT, USA

Explore Southwestern Utah red rock wonders in St. George, a year-round adventure destination four hours from Salt Lake City. Best known as a Zion National Park gateway, find in-town desert adventures at quiet Snow Canyon State Park. Experience the park’s secluded slot canyons, subterranean lava tubes, or petrified dunes on short, scenic hiking trails. Go mountain biking past endangered flowers on Bearclaw Poppy Trail and paddleboard on tranquil waters amid Navajo sandstone in Gunlock Reservoir State Park

Channel pioneer vibes with a downtown stay at The Advenire, a boutique hotel home to Wood.Ash.Rye—conservative St. George’s only craft cocktail bar. Fill up with takeout (or patio dining) from family-run Angelica’s Mexican Grill, where authentic mulitas, cheese, veggie, and meat-loaded quesadillas, are served to order with housemade salsa. Reserve lauded ledge-side seating with panoramic city vistas at Cliffside Restaurant, a romantic eatery famous for its bold American cuisine. —Jenny Willden

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Montpelier, Vermont

Downtown Montpelier, Vermont Skyline in Autumn
Pgiam / Getty Images
Montpelier, VT 05602, USA

When in Vermont, you're never more than two hours away from Montpelier, but have you ever made America's tiniest capital city your getaway destination?

Base yourself here, and you're 40 minutes from Stowe Mountain Resort and 30 minutes from Bolton Valley, the only resort in Vermont where you can go night skiing and riding. But you don't have to leave city limits to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on miles of free trails—or to work up an appetite for sampling the city's culinary scene, which boasts farm-to-plate restaurants like Kismet and The Hippie Chickpea.

Treat your palate to other famous Vermont food products by visiting the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory and Cold Hollow Cider Mill in nearby Waterbury. While the capital city has mostly chain hotels, you can enjoy a truly singular experience at Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse, just 14 miles from the city but a woodsy world away. —Kim Knox Beckius

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Williamsburg, Virginia

Carriage Ride through Colonial Williamsburg
L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images
Williamsburg, VA, USA

Located in the state's southeastern corner, Williamsburg is a short drive from both Richmond and Washington, D.C. To experience a living time capsule first-hand, head to Colonial Williamsburg, a 300-acre historic site with pristine gardens, acclaimed art museums, taverns, and shops, and regular demonstrations of 18th-century blacksmithing, farming, weaving, and other crafts. Just 7 miles away, the Jamestown Settlement is also worth a visit, particularly for its newly renovated permanent exhibition galleries, which feature artifacts, dioramas, films, and interactive displays that chronicle 17th-century life in the country’s first colony.

For a contemporary excursion, make your way to Williamsburg Winery for a tour, tasting, dinner at one of its two on-site restaurants, or bike the scenic 23-mile Colonial Parkway, which connects the area’s “historic triangle” of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Stay at the Williamsburg Inn, whose onsite spa and three world-class golf courses earned the property AAA’s Five Diamond Rating. —Laura Scholz

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Walla Walla, Washington

Dark skies over a vineyard
Jordan Siemens / Getty Images
Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA

With the state’s highest concentration of wineries, creative Pacific Northwest cuisine, and an inviting vibe, epicureans and outdoorsy types will feel welcome here.

Book a room downtown at The FINCH, Walla Walla’s newest hotel, which has design elements from Northwest artisans, locally-inspired infographic artwork, and pet-friendly rooms. Use the services of Tesla Winery Tours to embark on a tasting excursion at wineries now offering outdoor and “open-air indoors” tasting experiences like Canvasback, Browne Family Vineyards, Spring Valley Vineyard, and Caprio Cellars; or grab a tasting kit to-go from The Walls Vineyards or L’Ecole No. 41 and swirl and sip back at the hotel’s courtyard firepit.

Snag a patio table at Hattaway's on Alder, which fuses Northwest and Southeast cuisine, or tote take-home snacks and meals-to-go from gourmet purveyor TMACS Epicurean Kitchen or the new AK’s Mercado, with fresh tacos, smoked meats, housemade tortillas, and a full market and bar. Fresh air pursuits include a stroll at Pioneer Park, birdwatching at Bennington Lake, snowshoeing in the Blue Mountains, or skiing at Bluewood. —Kelly Magyarics

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New River Gorge, West Virginia

Scenic view of landscape against sky
Zack Frank / 500px / Getty Images
162 Visitor Center Rd, Lansing, WV 25862, USA
Phone +1 304-574-2115

When Morris Harvey bought his first 1,000 acres in 1866, nobody thought the land was worth much. It was steep and rocky, and Harvey got the whole parcel for $20. Today, that land along West Virginia’s New River is priceless, protected forever as part of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, the newest American national park.

Harvey’s circa-1902 mansion in nearby Fayetteville is still there, too, and its homey bed and breakfast rooms are loaded with charm. But don’t plan to spend much time inside. The New and Gauley Rivers have some of the most thrilling whitewater in America, and outfitters like Adventures on the Gorge and ACE Adventure Resort will give you the ride of your life on Mother Nature’s roller coaster.

Post-paddle, pick up slices from Pies & Pints (if heirloom tomato pizza’s in season, don’t miss it), grab a table with a view at the base of the New River Gorge Bridge, then strap on a harness for a sunset stroll on the catwalk. From its center, with your feet swinging 876 feet above the river, you’ll get a perspective few see, and none forget. —Kate Morgan

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Madison, Wisconsin

USA, Wisconsin, Madison, State Capitol Building
Henryk Sadura / Getty Images
Madison, WI, USA

Even when it’s too cold to pop the sails or hop onto a stand-up paddleboard (this college town is home to five lakes covering 15,000 acres), winter in Madison is packed to the gills with outdoor fun.

Explore Madison’s 200 miles of trails, including its park system (you can explore on snowshoes rented at Vilas Park) and learn the joys of cross-country skiing when you glide along groomed trails at Yahara Hills or Odana Hills.

Order lattes from intimate, artsy cafe institutions (such as Mother Fool’s on the East Side or Michelangelo’s near the Capitol Building on State Street). The Edgewater’s ice-skating rink mimics a Norman Rockwell print with rentals available on-site. This modern revamp of an Art Deco jewel hugging Lake Mendota even offers contactless pickup for comfort foods like deep-fried cheese curds, a local-cheese plate, or a fish fry. —Kristine Hansen

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Sheridan, Wyoming

Shell Falls Bighorn National Forest Wyoming
ferrantraite / Getty Images
Sheridan, WY 82801, USA

The best staycation in America’s least-populated state is the scenic Old West town of Sheridan, located halfway between Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore in the Bighorn Mountains of north-central Wyoming. Sheridan boasts an unspoiled beauty, with wildflowers dotting the alpine meadows and glacially-carved valleys of Bighorn National Forest and the snow-capped Black Tooth Mountain looming on the horizon.

But there’s more to Sheridan than just wide open spaces and wilderness: Explore artifacts of the American Plains at the Don King Museum (and purchase Western memorabilia at King’s Saddlery) before visiting the American Indian Art & Culture exhibit at The Brinton Museum, located on a historic 620-acre ranch.

Check-in at the Sheridan Inn, a local landmark established in 1893 and the former home of Buffalo Bill. Head to Market Hall to check out Sheridan’s answer to Eataly—the culinary space opened in May 2020 and is a perfect take-out venue. —Katherine Parker-Magyar

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The Best Staycation in Every State