A few things that come to mind when we think of summer: road tripping with friends, checking out new hotels, and ticking destinations off our bucket lists. But just because summer’s winding down doesn’t mean travel has to be over – there’s still plenty of time to squeeze in one last weekend getaway before the seasons change.
From a Chicago city break to soaking up spirituality in Sedona, each of these five destinations are the perfect way to cap off a summer spent exploring (or just dreaming about it.)
Besides the fact that they’re flat-out beautiful spots, the late summer/early fall season brings out something special in each of them. Expect cooler temps, discounted hotel prices, and plenty of memory making opportunities. Now all you need to do is duck out early on a Friday, pack your bags, and get out there.
Monterey, Carmel & Big Sur
If you spent this summer obsessively watching the second season of Big Little Lies, the Monterey Bay should be high on your list of last-minute weekend getaways. It really is as beautiful as it looks on screen — and though you could go all-out luxury (think a stay at Post Ranch Inn or Ventana), you don’t have to. Monterey and the small town of Carmel are dotted with plenty of sweet B&Bs and areas to camp, all of which will give you easy access to the beauty of Big Sur, the iconic 17-Mile Drive, and more. If you’re heading there with the kids in tow, a stop into the Monterey Bay Aquarium is also a must.
Early September is an ideal time to head down to Savannah, as the sweltering summer temperatures will have started to break and most of the summer tourists will have cleared out. The historic city has seen a flush of new hotels open this year — we’d suggest staying at the stylish Perry Lane Hotel or The Alida Hotel — both of which puts you just blocks away from drool-worthy restaurants like Atlantic and The Grey and some of the city’s most stylish shopping streets. Though you could easily spend an entire weekend wandering around old town, be sure to carve out time to head out of the city for a swamp tour — you may just spot an alligator (or two).
Sedona starts to come alive again in early September, making it an ideal time to head out there should you need a bit of centering and some serious R&R going into fall. Don’t get us wrong, it will still be hot — so schedule your hikes and vortex visits in the mornings — but what’s a better excuse to spend a day lounging by the pool or retreating to the spa? Sky Ranch Lodge and Enchantment Resort will offer plenty of opportunities to do both, and will put you a quick drive away from the artisanal shopping at Tiaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village.
You may not be able to spend all summer hopping between the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard (though if you did — can we get an invite next time around?), but a weekend getaway to Cape Cod at the tail-end of the season is a good consolation prize. Settle into Provincetown as your home base if you’re looking for something a bit more lively — it’s known for its LGBT-friendly nightlife scene and beautiful beaches (we’d recommend staying at the chic Awol Hotel) — or call quieter Chatham your home base (where you can check into the historic Chatham Bars Inn). Either way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chow down on some lobster, sip local wines, and catch some late-summer sun.
If you’re looking for a true city break to round out your summer travel, Chicago should be high on your list. Like with Savannah, the sweltering summer weather will have mellowed out by mid-September — meaning you’ll be able to wander Hyde Park and Logan Square without turning into an absolute puddle of humidity-induced sweat and frizz. Be sure to carve out an evening of wining and dining in West Loop (French Market, Girl & The Goat, and Next) should make your hit list), and check into the trendy Hoxton Hotel for easy access to everything Chi-Town has to offer.