3 Perfect Adventurous Weekend Getaways

Mountain Sunrise Reflected in Alpine Lake

Written by Shannon O’Donnell on

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008 and has lived everywhere from Southeast Asia to Barcelona, where she now calls home. She travels slowly and supports responsible tourism along the way, winning numerous awards for her work advocating for the communities impacted by travel and tourism.

Mountain Sunrise Reflected in Alpine Lake


These three quick weekend getaways are perfect for when you don’t have a long break from work or life—they’re conveniently short trips that are not only to a similar time zone (to avoid jetlag!), but also perfectly designed for weekend adventure travel warriors.


Your love of travel need not be compromised by the fact that you have a job, kids, a home, and a “normal” life. If you’ve been daydreaming about your next travel adventure, let me be the one to tell you… a life of travel benefits everyone

Sure, you may not be able to get away for a yearlong whirlwind round-the-world caper, or even quit your job to become a digital nomad, but everyone has weekends (or equivalent days off during the week). Whether you have two short days or a special three-day weekend due to holidays or your extra vacation days, there are absolutely fun, meaningful, and adventurous getaways that you can use to slake your wanderlust. The following are three great ideas for “weekend warrior” travelers that provide all the newness and thrill of going somewhere you’ve never been, with the convenience of relative nearness, one suitcase portability… and no jet lag! 


Weekend Hiking Trip

Hitting the road for a great hike makes for a memorable and invigorating weekend! It’s a fabulous way to explore your state’s national park(s), or those of neighboring states if you have the time and inclination to drive just a little while. Best of all, if you have kids, hiking is an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family

Best U.S. Hikes: If you’re keen to stay Stateside, you won’t have to travel far. Here are a few of my favorite hikes from coast to coast. No matter which you choose for your weekend adventure getaway, pack a lightweight backpack with the day’s essentials and hit the trail!

●     The “Pemi” trail through the White Mountains of New Hampshire is a loop hike bedecked with a riot of wildflowers, and fresh views around every turn in the trail. 

●     If you live near the center of the U.S., the Paintbrush and Cascade Canyons of Grand Teton, Wyoming are day hikes that reward your exertion with stunning vistas of the Cathedral Group in all their glory. 

●     Get lost in the deep, pine-scented woods of Grand Island Loop in Michigan, which requires a bracing ferry ride to even access.

●     If you live on the West Coast, head to the innumerable gorgeous day hikes located along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Want a Passport Stamp for Your Effort? If you have airline miles to burn, book a flight into Oaxaca, Mexico and get ready for incredible food alongside a whirlwind hike through the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca. With such a short time, book a tour through Expediciones Sierra Norte—it’s a fabulous social enterprise run by local communities—and they’ll sort you out for that short hiking trip!


Adventurous Kayaking Getaway

Whether you are an experienced paddler or a first-timer, kayaking is a vigorous but enjoyable fun, family-oriented activity that offers just enough risk to be thrilling, while still safe enough to bring your mom or kids along for the ride.

Best U.S. Kayaking Adventures: As is the case with hiking, there are tonsof great places for kayaking trips in the U.S. This vacay is best paired with a camping or “glamping” trip, or even a campervan getaway. For this type of trip, you’ll want the right weatherproof gear—pack your water-repellent duffel with a clean/dirty packing cube for any soiled gear.

●     The tree-canopied San Juan Islands in Washington state are a welcoming archipelago that makes for laid-back, highly scenic kayaking that is perfect for beginners. 

●     Alternately, the Youghiogheny River, or “Yough” as the locals call it, is a 134-mile-long tributary that cuts through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. While parts are turbulent and white-knuckle-kinda crazy, the middle section is relatively serene and bordered by gorgeous forests. 

●     If you’re hoping for a taste of summer no matter the time of year, head to Orlando, Florida—my home state—where a number of freshwater rivers and state parks nearby offer a nearly unlimited number of incredible kayaking trips. We’re partial to kayaking on Crystal River, where manatee sightings are nearly guaranteed. 

Want a Passport Stamp for Your Effort?  Pack your  bag and get ready for a dose of incredible kayaking along the second largest barrier reef in the world. Caye Caulker, Belize will not only offer the chance to kayak and snorkel shallow waters alongside nurse sharks and rays, but Caye Caulker is a completely affordable option for adventurous travelers on a budget.


Go for an Adrenaline Rush

Sometimes you want your weekend getaway to give you a lot of bang for your buck—you’ve only got a few short days, so you’d best pack as much adrenaline-inducing fun as possible. Here are a few ideas to get your blood moving before you go back to the weekday grind.


Best U.S. Adrenaline Adventures:

Each of these adventures might entail a bit of the unexpected, so pack your essentials into a waist pack so that you have everything at your fingertips no matter what travel throws your way. 

●     Head to Florida’s Space Coast and get ready for one of the prettiest skydives in the states—you’ll amazing have views of the variegated coastal waters, the Kennedy Space Center, and more.  

●     You’ll need to pack super light for an epic mountain biking trip along the Poison Spider Mesa Trail in Moab, Utah—this 13-mile (21-kilometer) loop requires skills, so it’s for experienced mountain bikers only!

●     The best part about planning a rock climbing trip to Saddle Peak in California is the fact that you can combine it with incredible hiking, too. It’s a region full of outdoor activities, so you can pack your weekend full of adrenaline.

Want a Passport Stamp for Your Effort? You’ll just need a weekend but you’ll spend a lifetime remembering your horseback ride through the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, and time exploring Arenal Volcano. 


Your turn, readers. Where are you planning on spending our next weekend getaway? Sound off on Eagle Creek’s social media, and keep adventuring! 



Related Links (from the Eagle Creek blog):

6 Tips for Hiking With School-Age Kids

Going on a Kayaking Trip? Here’s What To Bring

Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes During Summer Travel