The Best Things to See and Do in Sedona

Sedona has been called the most beautiful place in the United States. Hard to believe this high-altitude desert was once ocean floor. The unique sandstone emerged only after the Pedregosa Sea receded once and for all 265 million years ago. The setting sun seems to ignite the iron oxide in the rock formations to make fiery red sunsets that burn their way into your memory. It makes the Tuscan twilight seem like a pallid pauper by comparison. It is a place full of masterpieces but none hang in galleries and museums. They are all made by nature of rock carved by time and weather into fantastic shapes, like stone cathedrals, they feel inherently spiritual. It is a magical place of geologic jewels, Native American heritage sites and rock art dating back to the tenth century. Their spirit permeates the land. Sedona has become a kind of spiritual mecca for New Age seekers and UFO enthusiasts. The town of barely 15,000 permanent residents is swamped by three million visitors a year. Whether you seek inner peace, outer space, or icy margaritas to escape the punishing southern Arizona heat, Sedona will speak to you.

10. Sedona Heritage Museum

The charming little Heritage Museum is a good place to get your historical bearings. Of particular interest is the exhibit about the many Hollywood movies shot here dating back to 1923. The big studios and big time directors loved the compelling, quintessential American west backdrop. Many A-list stars worked in the area. Even Elvis shot a film here called Stay Away Joe, in which he played a Native American rodeo rider. Jimmy Stewart’s Broken Arrow, Joan Crawford’s Johnny Guitar and Robert De Niro’s Midnight Run are among the favorites. De Niro must have liked the town because he had a massive, controversial home built in Sedona. The Museum curators have also proudly restored a telegraph. Impress your friends with your ability to identify all the sites when you watch the movies back home.

Photo by: City of Sedona
Photo by: City of Sedona

9. Jeep Tours

There are horseback, helicopter or balloon tours to try, but the easiest and best way to survey the area up closely is on guided jeep tour. There is no shortage of guided tour purveyors with endless themes on and off the back roads and trails. There are Ancient Ruins tours, Vortex Tours and wildlife tours. But Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock are considered 1 and 1A on the breathtaking scale and must be seen firsthand. Their effect can be likened to a combination of the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge. There can be some serious off roading over challenging terrain so be prepared to be bounced around. But the drivers are skilled, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Most get rave reviews on travel sites.

Photo by: mroach via Flickr
Photo by: mroach via Flickr

8. Chapel of the Holy Cross

No man made building could ever compete with the magnificent natural beauty of Sedona. Until the Chapel of the Holy Cross opened in 1957. This award-winning piece of architecture seems not to have been actually constructed by humans but rather to have grown right out of the rock face. It is a stunning homage to the organic architecture of the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright under whom the Chapel’s creator, Marguerite Brunswig Staude once studied. A devout Catholic she searched for, the perfect spot to build the church of her dreams. After almost 25 years, she chose the crimson buttes of south Sedona. There’s nothing much inside except the awe-inspiring view. It has been designated one of Arizona’s man-made wonders. Despite the cross design, it is ecumenical and there are no regular services. A sign greets visitors with “Peace to all who enter here.” And you totally should.

The Chapel of Holy Cross Arizona USA

7. Search the Night Sky

Not counting tourists, Sedona is still a small town renowned for many things, but conventional nightlife is not one of them. However, since seemingly inexplicable things lit up the night sky in the spring of 1997, scanning the desert sky at night has become a popular nighttime activity. Not to mention that a recent National Geographic poll found that 36 percent of Americans believe aliens have landed on earth. So lock away your inner skeptic in the hotel safe and find a UFO guide to the extraterrestrial mysteries of Sedona. Locals who swear to be alien abductees are among some of the guides. Even if you don’t subscribe to the theory, the brilliant starlight in the thin mountain air entrances is justification in itself. Just renting night vision goggles that present the heavens 70,000 times more clear than the naked eye is worth it. On a clear night you can see Andromeda. The chances of seeing something that seems excitingly inexplicable and sends shivers down the spine are guaranteed. Who knows? Maybe even the Mother Ship from whence you came.

Photo by: Kenneth Hagemeyer via Flickr
Photo by: Kenneth Hagemeyer via Flickr

6. Slide Rock State Park

After a day spent trekking the sand and rock of the desert, what could be better than a swimming hole with cool mountain water and an ancient all-natural water slide? Actually it might be good for hangovers too. Oak Creek’s slippery bottom offers a gentle gradient into the red sandstone pool at the bottom. Some prefer jumping directly into it off the small cliffs on shore. The scenery is so spectacular, many movies have been shot there. But at this point until the end of this post, unless specifically stated otherwise, wherever it is in Sedona, it goes without saying the scenery is spectacular. Fodor’s Travel Guide calls Slide Rock a “historical little gem” and the eighth best State Park in the Union out of 8,000. On hot summer days, the lineups can be fearsome so don’t even think about trying the midday rush hour.

Photo by: David via Flickr
Photo by: David via Flickr

5. Verde Valley Wine Trail

Possibly a vacation unto itself. Arizona’s burgeoning wine industry has grown a hundred vineyards and counting, thirty of them along the gorgeous Verde River Valley not far from Sedona. Almost every Old and New World varietal from Albarino to Zinfandel grows there and the awards are piling up. Hilton hotels sources wine from Fire Mountain, a vineyard known for delicious product and for its iconic labels featuring Native art which the majority is owned by Native Americans. Fire Mountain is the traditional native term for the magic hour of evening light that seemingly sets the rocks on fire. There are charming little towns worth visiting like Cottonwood. Alcantara Vineyards has been selected by Martha Stewart Weddings as a romantic place to get hitched. Few things work up a thirst like desert trekking and marriage.

Red Wine Grapes

4. Take a Hike

There is one commodity that might be in short supply in Sedona. Solitude. With its annual influx of three million visitors, some sites at times can be clogged as shopping malls at Christmas. Sedona boasts hundreds of hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty and lengths. To call some of them trails is an overstatement. Seriously is a 0.25 mile trail really a hike? Usain Bolt can run it in 46 seconds. In any case, the less well known, more remote places can be worth their weight in sandstone. Just seventeen miles west of town is Mooney Trail. It doesn’t take you to the Super Sites but it is still ungodly beautiful, descending into Spring Creek Canyon with bald eagles soaring above sheer canyon walls. There is abundant plant and wildlife, and so few people it’s possible to complete the eight mile return trip without seeing another human being. A steep ascent to the ridge of the rim provides exceptional views and a good look at Robber’s Roost which local lore says was once a hideout for bandits and bootleggers. A relaxing, energizing day trip.

Hiking with poles

3. Crescent Moon Picnic Area

The view of Cathedral Rock and its reflection in Oak Creek in the foreground is one of Sedona’s most iconic images and most often splashed on postcards and tourism promotions. And it’s taken from a lovely forested recreation area called Crescent Moon Picnic Area. Aside from the peerless view it has picnic tables, BBQ’s, a short hiking trail up to Cathedral Rock, and another of those rare commodities in Sedona otherwise known as shade. Plus, one of the great selfies the world has to offer. With a bottle of something from your wine tour, one could spend the entire day here sipping, cooking, eating, swimming, and hiking. The late afternoon ‘Fire Mountain’ is unforgettable and makes for the happiest of Happy Hours. A sight to bring a lump to the throat and cause the  soul to soar.

Sedona Arizona

2. The Vortexes

Yes, grammatically it should be ‘vortices’, but Sedona’s locals say otherwise. The town has become a mecca for New Agers of all ages seeking spiritual growth and wellness. It has become a large high-end business with spas offering services like psychic messages that may cleanse your soul and wallet. The more economical holistic way is to hike your way to the Sedona’s four vortexes. Many believe the vortexes are special places that emit subtle forms of positive energy that soothes your Inner Self as an alternative form of healing. There isn’t much scientific proof, but millions absolutely swear by it. If your soul ends up channeling a deep seated need of tacos and prickly pear margaritas, not to worry. You’ve had a healthy hike through breathtaking scenery and trod through what has been called The Spiritual Disneyland.

Sedona, Arizona meditation

1. Montezuma’s Castle and Petroglyphs

This awe-inspiring cliff dwelling is less than an hour south of town. Like an ancient version of the high-rise condo tower, it was built a millennium ago by the Sinagua (without water) people, farmers mostly but also with the engineering expertise to carve a five-story, fifty room pueblo out of a sheer limestone cliff 90 feet above ground. President Teddy Roosevelt designated it a historic site in 1906. It has nothing to do with the Aztec king after whom it was named by European Americans who mistakenly thought he helped build it. The Sinagua have disappeared, but their monument still holds a commanding presence over the valley, proclaiming the legacy and spirit of the people who built it. Rounding out a memorable day the nearby V-Bar-V Heritage site has a huge, miraculously preserved Sinaguan rock art site with over 1300 petroglyphs featuring human, animal and geometric shapes.

Photo by: Greg Clarke via Flickr
Photo by: Greg Clarke via Flickr

10 Unexpected Kid-Friendly Vacation Destinations

Beyond the Disney World’s, the aquariums, the all-inclusive resorts and the cruise ships; there is a whole other world of vacation destinations that are kid-friendly. Although at one time these destinations may have catered to only adults, in recent years they are encouraging families to visit and making it more affordable and easier to do so. From the mountains of Argentina to the coast of Wales to the heart of Brazil; these 10 unexpected kid-friendly destinations will have you booking your flights in no time. But hurry, before everyone else realizes what really awaits families here.

10. Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia has always been known as an incredible adventure destination but in recent years more and more families have taken to traveling here. It could be that the breathtaking landscapes that boast mountains, lakes, fiords and glaciers beckon to both kids and adults alike, or perhaps parents are discovering this destination which encourages kids to switch off their electronics. There is an abundance of guided walks, boat rides and horseback rides that are designed with kids in mind. The landscape here is rich with wildlife including gray foxes, cougars, whales, sea lions and eagles and if you are traveling with older kids mountaineering is a popular option to see some of these.  To get the kids excited about traveling here make sure to let them watch Ice Age before you go, where glaciers and fiords come to life. Plenty of family lodges and restaurants make this destination perfect for your next family vacation.

Penguins Patagonia, Argentina

9. Croatia

One wouldn’t necessarily think of traveling to Croatia for a family vacation, as it is well-known for two things; its line-up of music festivals and a romantic seaside getaway. Families should be happy to know though that this breathtaking landscape is the perfect spot to bring the kids. Croatia boasts many family-friendly hotels that include kids clubs, private pools and planned activities. Even though this country is known for its elegant cuisine, kids here will find plenty of pasta and pizza on the menus, along with ice cream parlors on every corner. The long stretches of beaches are one of the biggest reasons to head here with the kids. Many of them boast facilities such as restrooms, snack bars and even lifeguards. This country loves children and while traveling here with them, you will be welcomed into every restaurant, museum or any other activity you want to explore.

Beach Dubrovnik Croatia

8. South Africa

Whether you are looking for a beach vacation or something more along the lines of a safari; South Africa is the perfect place to do so with the kids in tow. The excellent weather, breathtaking scenery, accommodations that fit your budget and a variety of activities to be had; the long flight is definitely worth it. Hotels that are specially geared towards families are speckled throughout the country and come with amenities such as kids clubs and experienced babysitters. These hotels often offer discounts for kids and many of them even offer ‘kids stay free’ promotions. Wildlife safaris can be planned on malaria-free reserves with all-inclusive lodges and an exciting kid’s program. Some even offer horseback riding and cycling safaris; which prove to be popular with kids. First-world amenities make it easy for the whole family to enjoy this country with kid’s menus in the restaurants and excellent road infrastructure.

Cape Town South Africa

7. Panama

It is one of Central America’s hottest new destinations and the biggest decision that families face when visiting this country is deciding where to go. This country is packed with wildlife, jungles, a remarkable canal system, fascinating islands and impressive history. A good tip in this exotic location is the fact you can drink the tap water safely, a bonus for families with kids who need plenty of hydration! Discover the jungle and wildlife with one of many family friendly guided tours, charter a boat around the islands or play in the surf at one of the many beaches. If you are looking to explore Panama City, it has never been a safer option than now and families will love strolling through the historic neighborhoods, biking along the paths, tasting unique fruits from the markets and enjoying one of the many ice-cream stands that are always nearby.

Panama

6. Sedona, Arizona

This vast natural playground provides the perfect setting for a family destination, whether you want to explore the red rocks and their geology, slide down a waterslide or pick out constellations in the night sky. A jeep tour through Sedona that caters to families is the perfect way to start your vacation as guides will educate you on the land, the rock formations and point out flora and fauna you will see throughout your visit. A visit here must include time spent at Slide Rock State Park where kids and adults will slide down the natural water chute, swim in the pools and enjoy a day of hiking. Camp Verde is also a must do on this family vacation with its zoo, zip lines and a close up look at Montezuma Castle. Plenty of kid-friendly accommodations and restaurants make it easy to plan your next family vacation to Sedona.

Wollertz / Shutterstock.com
Wollertz / Shutterstock.com

5. Hong Kong

If you can overcome the idea of taking your kids on quite a long flight, Hong Kong is perhaps one of the most underrated kid friendly destinations in the world. Underneath the modern skyscrapers that dot the landscape lays an array of kid-friendly activities, hotels and restaurants. The two theme parks here; Ocean Park and Disneyland Hong Kong are a huge hit with families and unlike other monstrous theme parks, these are small enough that kids can walk around and are less crowded than other theme parks. The people of Hong Kong love children and everywhere you go you will find someone willing to lend a hand, give up their seat and make your experience even more memorable. The luxury hotels here cater to families which means you won’t have to give up first-class amenities; some of the features for kids include kiddie pools, playgrounds, babysitters and baby equipment.

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

4. Wales, U.K.

If you are looking for a family vacation in the U.K. but don’t want to pay the high prices and fight the crowds in London, Wales is the absolute perfect solution. Only a two hour drive away from London is a world full of natural wonders, kid-friendly bargain accommodations and enough activities to fill your days for weeks. This destination is for families who love to camp or stay in cottages as there are an abundance of options, from ‘glamping’ in a yurt to staying in a self-catering cottage on the coast. If exploring the outdoors is on your list of things to do, Wales has you covered with its numerous mountain climbs and loads of nature reserves complete with boardwalks that make pushing a stroller a breeze. For the families that are seeking a little more excitement make sure to check out the zip lining adventures, underground trampolines and white water rafting.

Jason Batterham / Shutterstock.com
Jason Batterham / Shutterstock.com

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

It has long been known as the ultimate playground for adults but Las Vegas is surprisingly kid-friendly. This city may just offer more entertainment and activities for children than anywhere else in North America, other than Orlando. Staying here is a breeze as many of the hotels cater specifically for families and if you are looking for something a little quieter, many of them are located just a short shuttle trip away from the strip. Amenities such as kid’s pools, babysitting, playgrounds, camps and organized activities are all found in the hotels. Despite popular belief, a family vacation here can also be quite affordable with the many free attractions including free shows, street performers and admission to certain attractions. The best part of taking the kids to Vegas might just be watching their reaction as they see life-sized replicas of some of the most famous landmarks in the world.

Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey

It may be known for its casinos and entertainment but Atlantic City certainly shouldn’t be thought of as an adults-only destination. This city has in recent years has put a big push on promoting itself as a family-friendly city which means you can score great deals on hotels which are catering to families. Choose a hotel that has a pool, kid’s programs and restaurants within to make your trip even easier. Many families are now choosing a non-gaming hotel when they visit here. Beaches line the Atlantic Ocean complete with surfing and kayaking opportunities. The Steel Pier is located on the boardwalk and features many rides and attractions for families, with even a kiddies-ride area. The Atlantic City Aquarium, the IMAX theater and historic landmarks are all just a short drive away.

Pier Atlantic City, New Jersey

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is often known for its beautiful people and beautiful beaches but underneath all of that is an extremely kid-friendly city that absolutely loves children of all ages. Restaurants that have attached playgrounds are the norm here, as are kid-friendly beaches and an abundance of family activities. Some of the beaches have organized kids activities, along with a slightly calmer feel than many of the popular crowded, beats-pumping ones. A train ride to see the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue, aerial cable car rides, a walk in the rainforest and enough fresh juices, ice cream and pastries to keep the kids happy all day long proves that Rio can be just as fun for kids as it can for adults. Enjoy the hotels where kids stay free, the restaurants where they eat free and the welcoming arms of the people who will gladly juggle your screaming baby when you are trying to enjoy your meal.

Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com
Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com

8 Best Travel Destinations to Improve Your Health

Traveling and vacationing has been taken to a new level with the explosion of focus on health and wellness. People are traveling to destinations specifically to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health. Today’s travelers now want places that offer more than just a white sand beach and endless cocktails; they want experiences that stick with them for life. From the birthplace of yoga to the palm-fringed beaches of St. Lucia to a small town in Egypt known for its therapeutic centers to the state that created the first fitness and spa resort in North America; we have rounded up the best travel destinations to explore to improve your health and wellbeing.

8. Sedona, Arizona

The red rocks of Sedona Arizona are said to be the center of vortexes that radiate earth’s powers and millions of visitors flock here for a spiritual awakening. Thought to be the center of the New Age movement Sedona is the perfect place to visit for those seeking spiritual healing, meditation and self-exploration. Surrounded by psychics, life coaches, Reiki masters, massage therapists and spiritual counselor’s one will feel embraced, inspired and rejuvenated.

Sedona’s year round scenic beauty combined with a town filled with art galleries, gourmet restaurants and spa’s designed to pamper guests is inviting to visitors all over the world. Along with jeep tours throughout the rocks, yoga after a long hike and meditation in rooms where you can burn your worries away; Sedona is full of luxury hotels. This city is truly meant to cleanse your soul and body and is a haven for any visitors looking to improve their spiritual and physical health.

Sedona, Arizona meditation

7. San Benito, Philippines

Our next destination to improve your health takes you to the Philippines; specifically a place called “The Farm” located in San Benito. This internationally acclaimed health resort offers the choice of a wellness holiday, detox cleanses or healing retreat. The focus of The Farm is to create an atmosphere that allows your mind and body to cleanse itself of toxins and worries. The beautiful landscape, the peacocks that roam free, the luxurious villas, the majestic gardens and the exquisite pools make it easy to relax and heal your soul and body.

The Farm focuses on serving delicious natural vegan and raw food that is devoid of any added substances or toxins that may exist in your everyday diets. They advise guests on nutritional therapy and holistic health along with helping visitors to plan out a fitness schedule. Guests to The Farm will participate in yoga, meditation, food preparation, massages, aqua therapy, power walks, body wraps and scrubs and so much more. Meditation lounges, pavilions and pools are available to all guests at all times. The Farm is truly a place for the individual who is looking to improve their health and well being and is the perfect travel destination to do just that.

Photo by: The Farm San Benito
Photo by: The Farm San Benito

6. Thailand

From yoga retreats to sleep wellness programs to holistic therapies to detox treatments, Thailand offers up amazing opportunities to improve your health. Not to mention the culture, history, amazing temples and spectacular beaches that await you here. Friendly and loving, the Thai have a way of welcoming visitors and making their spirits feel uplifted and invigorated once arriving and staying this way long after leaving.

Ancient therapies such as herbal steam caverns, traditional Thai massages and acupuncture await guests to this country. The abundance of fresh fruit and locally grown food makes this the perfect place to rid your body of toxins and fill it with incredible flavors and natural goodness. The stunning beachfront resorts offer rooms dedicated to treatments, meditation, yoga, saunas and every other healing experience you can think of. Thailand is also the perfect destination to work on your physical health with plenty of boot camps and weight training programs. However you seek to improve yourself, Thailand is the perfect spot to do so.

Thailand massage

5. Dahab Egypt

Located directly on the Red Sea in Egypt lies a small friendly hippie-like town called Dahab. The golden sand beaches for which it is named for, the attractive hotels and fascinating diving spots are just a fraction of what makes this town so fabulous. In terms of improving your health this town offers no shortage of opportunities. From sacred meditation camps to its famous therapeutic centers; visitors come from all over the world to be “healed”.

Desert meditation, underwater yoga and traditional Turkish baths can be found here along with a way of life that is smoother and more laid back. Visitors will want to visit the Radiant Rainbow Reiki Room; a meeting place off the beaten path for all who want to look deeper within themselves through Reiki, tarot, meditation, massage and more.  Head up to the summit of Mount Sinai and do yoga or trek into the desert on a full moon yoga retreat; there is certainly no lack of companies and hotels that offer up this ever popular activity. Rejuvenate your mind and body in a town that encourages visitors to take a break and get healthy; all while experiencing amazing diving opportunities, glorious beaches and healing centers.

Dahab Egypt Restaurant

4. California

The playground for all things health and wellness related including physical, mental and spiritual health is how many people view the state of California. We couldn’t leave this state off our list or even begin to narrow down which cities were the best pick because the whole state truly has something to offer in terms of improving ones health. Home to the first fitness and spa resort in North America, California is big on helping visitors achieve a healthier lifestyle. With boot camps, weight-loss programs, cooking classes, personal training sessions and spa treatments; guests can be sure to improve their physical health here.

Physical health is not the only type of health that can be worked on in this state however. Many resorts and retreats are focusing their efforts on working with visitors to improve their spiritual wellbeing as well. From silent retreats where guests are encouraged to remain silent, meditate and become one with nature, to hot springs with natural healing powers, red clay and massages on site; California is the perfect destination to improve your health; both physically, mentally and spiritually.

California hot springs

3. Sri Lanka

Amazing culture, beautiful temples, and the opportunity for meditation, yoga and a spiritual awakening awaits you in the beautiful island country. Experience the true natural Ayurveda; the traditional medicinal treatment that has been practiced for centuries and aims to rejuvenate the body. Sri Lanka also offers visitors the chance to experience the original yoga techniques that have been practiced by the Sri Lanka local people for centuries.

One of the most popular ways to discover oneself in Sri Lanka is to join a meditation, yoga or spiritual tour. Many of these tours involve Buddhist monks introducing you to the power of meditation in the tranquil settings of a monastery. Experienced yoga specialists will guide you through lessons and introduce you to new forms you may have never heard of. Become one with nature as you appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Treatment centers offer massages, facials, steam baths and many more healthy revitalizing treatments. Relaxation, self-improvements and an emphasis on meditation and yoga awaits you in this country island full of surprises.

Sri Lanka Meditation

2. St. Lucia

Palm-fringed beaches, lush tropical rain forests, towering mountains, natural waterfalls and breath-taking views set the stage for an amazing destination to improve your health in St. Lucia. Whether visitors are looking to improve their physical or mental health; this island is the perfect place to drop your bags and stay awhile.

One of the most popular resorts on the island for improving health and fitness is TheBodyHoliday at LeSPORT. This all-inclusive resort strives to provide guests with relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise and good diet. Group exercise classes ranging from Zumba to tai chi to combat fitness take place on a daily basis and miles of hiking and cycling trails run throughout the resort. Daily yoga sessions, aloe vera body wraps and spa treatments round out your days. Dine on authentic local calorie-conscious cuisine at one of four restaurants on site. Other resorts in St. Lucia offer many physical activities to keep you working hard along with meditation and spiritual opportunities and this is one Island that should be on your list to travel to if you are looking to improve your health.

St. Lucia Resort

1. India

We can’t possibly forget about India; the birthplace of yoga over 26,000 years ago during the Golden Age, a time of everlasting peace and abundant blessings filled with seekers of the Eternal Truth. India is the true haven and destination for any traveler that seeks to improve their mental and spiritual health and has welcomed visitors from all over the world for centuries. So much of India is devoted to meditation retreats, spiritual centers, and yoga retreats that it can be difficult to pin down which city to visit. Our best suggestion is to research what type of meditation, yoga or spiritual awakening you are after and let your senses lead you.

You can expect serene yoga pavilions, Zen gardens and hilltop retreats to be waiting for you in India. One on one meditation sessions, communal vegetarian dinners and solitary sunbathing are some of the highlights of many of these places, along with exceptional spa treatments and Buddhist teachings.  From the famous Ananda in the Himalayas; a 100-acre estate in the foothills of the Himalayas to the very remote Blue Mango high up in the Himalayas; you can find the perfect experience to suit your needs. Experience the birthplace of yoga and discover a destination where you will leave feeling refreshed and one with yourself.

Yoga India

The Grestest Quick and Easy US Weekend Escapes

The United States offers weekend adventures that suit any type of temperament. Relaxing after a busy week at work is best handled by a change of scenery and one of the following quick weekend getaways. Many of these weekend vacation spots also offer some adventurous opportunities for active weekend escapes.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas offers a lot more than one-armed bandits and smoky casinos these days, and many weekend visitors just want to experience the amazing buffets (every casino has a legendary buffet) and the headliner shows along the Strip. All the casinos offer terrific hotel packages for a fun weekend stay, and a great way to spend an evening is to catch one of the city’s Broadway-caliber shows.

Las Vegas Nevada
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

 

2. San Antonio, Texas

A lot of people associate Texas with cowboys, horses, and tumbleweeds, but San Antonio doesn’t offer that sort of picture of Texas. Offering a marvelous balance between old fashioned Texas history and entertaining modernity, one of San Antonio’s best features is its famed River Walk for walking and dining relaxation.

San Antonio Texas

3. Nashville, Tennessee

From emerging music stars to down-home honky-tonk bars, Nashville is a friendly and inexpensive way to experience nightlife and harmonious entertainment. The region also has a strong reputation for specialty beers, and a whole culture of microbreweries has sprung up around the town’s live music venues.

Nashville Tennessee 1

4. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona offers visitors views of amazing red rocks and fascinating geologic formations. Spending a weekend hiking around the miles of trails around this desert southwest town offers hours of scenic beauty and photo opportunities. Kitschy stores selling all sorts of Indian jewelry make for some fun shopping excursions, and the hotel prices tend to be affordable for the budget conscious.

Sedona Arizona

5. Catalina Island, California

Just a few hours away by ferry from the Los Angeles coastline, Catalina is an amazing little island that offers a perfect ocean escape for a few hours or a weekend. The locals drive around in golf carts, and there are as many scenic overlooks on the island as there are boats in the harbor. During the ferry ride to Catalina, boaters pass some of the deepest parts of the ocean near the California coastline.

Catalina Island California

6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Long popular with the locals as a weekend destination, Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts is a charming island that will inspire more than one weekend trip. For adventurous travelers, the Aquinnah Cliffs on the far side of the island are stunning and are definitely worth a look. Another spot not to be missed is the Edgartown Lighthouse, the top of which offers a marvelous view of the bay.

Edgartown Lighthouse

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Known for an exceptionally artistic and musical populace, New Orleans has been rebuilt in the wake of a devastating hurricane and has retained much of its long-favored charisma. From classy southern music venues, such as the Davenport Lounge, to the raucousness of the French Quarter, New Orleans offers an experience for travelers of any disposition.

New Orleans Louisiana
pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

8. Savannah, Georgia

The history of the South is alive and well in Savannah, and this beautiful Georgia town is popular for walking tours. A number of centuries-old homes offer tours, such as the Davenport House Museum, where visitors can see the elegance and grace of 19th century southern living.

Savannah Georgia

9. Napa Valley, California

Taking a tour of California’s amazing Napa Valley is a must for anyone who enjoys wine tasting and the amazing Mediterranean-like climate of this picturesque area. There’s no better way to relax than taking a tour of the area’s local wineries. The Napa Valley Wine Train is a tranquil way to take in the sights.

Each of these fantastic locations around the United States offers unique charm and a chance to experience the local history and culture of the region. Whether a relaxing weekend or an adventurous few days are on the menu, these weekend getaways will satisfy any type of traveler.

Napa Valley California