Let’s face it, the weekends come and go so fast you almost forget you had one. We’ve got some ideas on how to make this summer the summer of unforgettable weekends. Spend the weekends wandering on some of these incredible, but short, road trips. 

CHICAGO TO DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN

Leave the Windy City behind for a few days and wind your way through Wisconsin to the pretty eastern peninsula that is Door County. In just under a four-hour drive, you’ll find a summer adventure waiting. The great thing is that Door County has something for everyone. Being a peninsula, it is obviously surrounded by water so aquatic adventures are on the agenda. Kayak, jet-ski, stand-up paddle board, or just splash around in the cool waters of Lake Michigan. There are also lighthouses to tour (11 in fact); wine to be tasted (consider exploring the Door County Wine Trail); an old-timey drive-in that plays the latest movies; plenty of hiking in the five state parks found there, and charming towns to visit including Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay, and Ephraim. For extra fun, visit during the annual Door County Fair, scheduled for July 28 through August 1, 2021. 

PHILADELPHIA TO GETTYSBURG

Of course, Philadelphia is a great place when it comes to attractions and things to do. There’s the whole history perspective and then there’s the iconic Rocky Steps and the LOVE sculpture, but if you call Philly or the surrounding ‘burbs home, you’ve been there, done that. But just two hours west of the city, you can explore history and enjoy more greenery than the city may have to offer. 

Gettysburg is one of the most historic areas in the country in terms of Civil War history and is home to the Gettysburg National Military Park. Visitors may also find the David Wills House of interest – it’s where President Lincoln prepped and practiced his famous Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg is also charming with an historic downtown full of shops, boutiques, and artisan galleries. Another fun weekend activity: exploring the bounty of farmer’s markets. If you visit Gettysburg, you’ll be smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania’s Fruit Belt and there are plenty of markets to check out. Don’t miss the Adams County Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Gettysburg.

Cave Point Wisconsin Coastline

LOS ANGELES TO SAN DIEGO

While they are both beautiful California locales with the ocean nearby and the marvelous west coast climate,
Los Angeles and San Diego couldn’t be more different. While LA may be a bit more go, go, go, San Diego is a bit more let’s just roll. One of the shorter, more popular California road trips is the 125-mile drive from LA to San Diego. You could opt for a quick freeway drive or take it slow and meander down the Pacific Coast Highway and see the sights along the way. This would have you leaving LA in the morning and bunking down in San Diego when that beautiful California sun sets. 

Stops along the way could include Huntington Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, and Carlsbad. Huntington Beach has a classic pier, which is one of the longest on the West Coast and is worth a look-see for photos ops and ocean views. HB is also home to the International Surfing Museum which is perfectly located in a town whose surfing history dates back to 1914 and hosts the U.S. Open of Surfing every summer. Further down the coast, you’ll find Dana Point – a great Saturday stop thanks to the fabulous farmer’s market with offerings like locally grown produce, avocado oil, raw honey, and artisanal crafts. Stretch your legs and walk the Bluff Top Trail along the Dana Point Bluffs. Carlsbad is home to LEGOLAND and Carlsbad AquaFarm, an historic oyster farm which offers tours while San Juan Capistrano has the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano and plenty more Spanish-style architecture plus shops and eateries in the downtown area. 

AUSTIN TO DALLAS

Texas is one big state but that’s what makes it fun to road trip around. At over 260,000 square miles, there’s gotta be a road you’ll want to travel or plenty of roads you’ll want to travel! Consider a road trip from Austin to Dallas for a long weekend getaway (travel tip: If you live in Dallas, just head south for a similar experience). Overall, the mileage between the two cities is a hair under 200 but you can stretch the ride out and have some fun along the way. How about exploring a 10,000-year-old-plus cavern? Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown offers several different tours of this amazing cave. If you need to fuel up, grab a bite or just be amazed at this larger-than-Texas-sized convenience store/travel center with a pit stop at Buc-ee’s in Temple. Have you always wanted to “be a pepper?” Stop in Waco and tour the Dr. Pepper Museum, learn the history of this much-loved soft drink, and even try your hand at making your own soda pop! Want to see the world’s largest caterpillar? Make a stop in Italy, Texas, to say hello to Bruco, who is made of seven interconnected 60-foot domes. Then on to Dallas and the city’s offerings, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, and the arts and entertainment offerings of the city’s Deep Elum neighborhood.