Luxury getaways are all about relaxation, beautiful scenery and getting away from the daily routine. Check into one of these stylish inns, hotels and resorts where you can relax with massages, lounge in the sun next to the pool and play a few rounds of golf. The properties that made our list are famous for their five star service and fabulous accommodations. All have excellent restaurants where you can celebrate a special occasion, plan a romantic proposal and sample new flavors.
1. Chateau Du Sureau, Oakhurst
2. InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf
3. Historic Hotel Bethlehem
4. The Betsy in South Beach
5. The Jacquard, a Luxury Hotel in Denver
6. Harvest Inn in Napa
7. Westglow Resort and Spa in North Carolina
8. L’Auberge Carmel in California
9. La Posada de Santa Fe
10. Delamar Greenwich Harbor in Connecticut
11. The Inn & Spa at Motchanin Village in Delaware
12. Hotel Adagio in San Francisco
13. Rancho Valencia Resort in California
14. The Allison Inn & Spa in Oregon
15. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina
16. The French Quarter Inn in Charleston
17. The Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa in Arizona
18. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
19. The Essex Resort & Spa in Vermont
20. The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in North Carolina
21. The Blackstone Hotel, Chicago
22. Castle Hotel & Spa
23. Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
24. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa
25. Orchards Inn Sedona
What are the 25 Best Luxury Weekend Getaways in the U.S.?
The 25 Best Luxury Weekend Getaways in the U.S. according to local experts are:
- Chateau Du Sureau, Oakhurst
- InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf
- Historic Hotel Bethlehem
- The Betsy in South Beach
- The Jacquard, a Luxury Hotel in Denver
- Harvest Inn in Napa
- Westglow Resort and Spa in North Carolina
- L’Auberge Carmel in California
- La Posada de Santa Fe
- Delamar Greenwich Harbor in Connecticut
- The Inn & Spa at Motchanin Village in Delaware
- Hotel Adagio in San Francisco
- Rancho Valencia Resort in California
- The Allison Inn & Spa in Oregon
- The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina
- The French Quarter Inn in Charleston
- The Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa in Arizona
- The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
- The Essex Resort & Spa in Vermont
- The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in North Carolina
- The Blackstone Hotel, Chicago
- Castle Hotel & Spa
- Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
- The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa
- Orchards Inn Sedona
Estes Park, CO
Situated on the banks of the Big Thompson River, Estes Park, Colorado is a small town with an almost endless list of outdoor activities for young and old. The greatest area attraction is the 415m2 Rocky Mountain National Park where you can hike over 300 miles of trails or simply drive through the majestic scenery which comprises over 150 lakes and nearly 100 mountain peaks. You can get a wonderful aerial view by travelling to the top of Prospect Mountain on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway (May to September).
With such a large area to explore you may like a guide - Yellow Wood Guiding specialize in nature and wildlife tours, Rocky Mountain Rush and Backbone Adventures do off-road tours and Colorado Plateau Photo Tours take avid photographers to the best spots. You can go white-water rafting with Rapid Transit Rafting, choose a scenic cycling tour led by New Venture Cycling Day Tours or visit the Lake Estes Marina to enjoy all kinds of aquatic fun including paddling, fishing, canoes and kayaking - rental equipment is available on site. Equestrians can go horseback riding at Sombrero Ranch, Estes Park Outfitters or Jackson Stables.
If you prefer a more relaxing visit you can play a round of golf, pamper yourself at one of several spas or learn some local history at the Estes Park Museum, the Enos Mills Cabin and the MacGregor Ranch Museum.
From humble beginnings as a lead mining town situated along the banks of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Dubuque has blossomed into an interesting and vibrant getaway destination. You can start by visiting the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium which guarantees hours of educational fun for all ages.
History buffs can visit the Mathias Ham House, the Shot Tower and the Julien Dubuque Monument, and for art enthusiasts there is the Dubuque Museum of Art which has an extensive permanent collection and hosts regular visiting exhibitions and Art on the River, an annual sculpture competition displayed along the Mississippi Riverwalk.
You can embrace the great outdoors at the Mines of Spain Recreational Area or Eagle Point Park, both of which have miles of hiking and biking trails, or stroll through the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens where acres of themed gardens are waiting to delight you. Other attractions include Crystal Lake Cave, where children can try panning for gemstones, or zip-lining at Sky Tours at YMCA Union Park Camp. Children will enjoy Storybook Hill Children's Zoo and the indoor waterpark at Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. You can round off your busy day by listening to the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra or catch a live show at the Bell Tower Theater or Diamond Jo Casino.
Cedar Rapids, IA
Pleasantly combining small-town charm with history and a vibrant arts scene, Cedar Rapids is a great weekend getaway destination in eastern Iowa. You can explore the town's interesting ethnic origins by visiting the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library and the African American Museum of Iowa. You can find out what small-town life was like at the turn of the 20th century at the Ushers Ferry Historic Village and on a tour of Brucemore, a historic grand residence dating back to 1884.
Further evidence of the influence of the Czech and Slovak immigrants can be seen at the Czech Village - New Bohemia Main Street District which has been faithfully restored to its original style and is now a trendy home to the New Bo City Market as well as diverse boutiques, ethnic restaurants and nightclubs. Art lovers should not miss seeing the important collection of 20th century American Art at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and everyone should see a show at the opulent Paramount Theatre, one of America's last remaining movie palaces.
Outdoor activities include hiking or cycling along 50 miles of trails along the banks of the Cedar River or in the Indian Creek Nature Center, motor-cross, go-kart and bicycle racing at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway or watching the Cedar River Kernels in action at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.
You can expect a weekend of non-stop fun and entertainment in Norman, Oklahoma, home to the University of Oklahoma and a long list of cultural and outdoor activities for all ages. There is a distinct emphasis on the arts in Norman; if you love the visual arts you can start by visiting the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art which showcases several Impressionist artists and an extensive collection of East Asian Art. Next, make your way to the MAINSITE Contemporary Art Gallery, the Jacobson House Native Art Center on the university campus, and the hands-on Firehouse Art Center.
The performing arts are also well represented and you can visit the Cimaron Circuit Opera Company, the Norman Ballet Company, the Norman Philharmonic Orchestra or listen to a variety of musical productions at The Depot. Both the Riverwind Casino and the Thunderbird Casino offer a wide choice of concerts, shows and dining options.
Other interesting and educational attractions are the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the National Weather Center, which welcomes visitors. You can take some time to sample local wines at the Native Spirits Winery.
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls in South Dakota is a great weekend getaway destination offering a good blend of historic and cultural activities combined with excellent year-round outdoor recreation. You can visit Falls Park, a great urban oasis centered about the spectacular water falls from which the city derives its name, to see the remains of the historic Queen Bee Mill and the 1908 Sioux Falls Light and Power Company, then move on to enjoy the beautiful scenery along 19 miles of walking, hiking or cycling trails. Other historic attractions you can visit are the Old Courthouse Museum (built of native quartzite rock), the Pettigrew House and Museum (dating back to 1889), the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial and the Veterans Memorial Park.
Art lovers will enjoy the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk where you can see a great collection of open-air sculpture installations, and everyone should make time to visit the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, which features an art gallery, a science museum and a concert hall which is home to the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society.
Everyone can enjoy summer outdoor activities at Terrace Park (canoes, kayaks, sports fields and formal gardens) or head to Great Bear Recreation Park for winter sports.
Families can spend hours enjoying educational fun at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History and at the Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove.
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Almost completely surrounded by the warm emerald waters of the Gulf Coast, Destin is the ideal place for a beach vacation. Besides soaking up the sun and enjoying miles and miles of sandy beaches there is also a wide variety of activities for active vacationers. You can get your bearings by taking a stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, which hosts the Destin Seafood Festival and the Destin Fishing Rodeo in October each year. Discover some of the best local beaches in the Henderson Beach State Park (which also has hiking trails and camping facilities), James Lee Park Public Beach and Crystal Beach.
Destin offers some of the best fishing to be had along the Florida coastline - if you would like to try your luck SWOOP Charters, based at the HarborWalk Marina can tailor an excursion to suit you. There are several outfitters who offer snorkeling, dolphin watching and scenic sailing excursions - choose from Destin Snorkel, Destin Florida Sailing, AJ's Water Adventures or Flipper's Adventures. Other activities include hiring a kayak, wave-runner or pontoon from Luther's Watersports or having a go at parasailing with Just Chute Me Parasail. If you prefer to keep your feet dry you can try a Segway Tour, play golf at Golf Sandestin (4 courses) or take sand-castle building lessons at Beach Sand Sculptures.
Destin Commons and SilverSands Premium Outlets provide retail therapy, restaurants and entertainment.
Wilmington is an ideal weekend getaway destination in the heart of the Brandywine Valley in Delaware. The city is built on the site of the first Swedish settlement in America, but modern-day Wilmington owes much of its success to the DuPont family who came to the USA from France. You can find out all about their noteworthy legacy by visiting the opulent Nemours Mansion, the Hagley Museum and Library and Bellevue Hall in the Bellevue State Park, all of which are set in beautiful gardens. History buffs can also visit Rockwood Museum, an historic banker's mansion now operated as a museum (which you can view on a regular or ghoulish ghost tour).
You can embrace the great outdoors at Brandywine Creek State Park which has several hiking trails, or visit the Russell W. Petersen Wildlife Refuge for some tranquil wildlife viewing. Art lovers can see an excellent collection of American art at the Delaware Art Museum, before strolling through the 10 acre sculpture garden. If you are into the performing arts you should check to see what's on at the Grand Opera House (dating back to 1871) or the Delaware Children's Theatre.
Families can keep the children happily entertained at the Brandywine Zoo, the Delaware Children's Museum, the Delaware Museum of Natural History (which has a great dinosaur exhibit) and the DuPont Environmental Educational Center.
If you are looking for the ideal beachfront resort for your next coastal holiday Camden, nestled between Mount Battie and Penobscot Bay, is an ideal destination. One of the most popular ways to explore the rich maritime history of the area is to go on a scenic cruise. You have a choice of setting off on the vintage Schooner Surprise (a fully-operational racing ship built back in 1918) or selecting the romantic Schooner Olad, a historic sailing ship built in 1927.
Water sport enthusiasts have a host of exciting options including guided canoe, kayak or fishing excursions led by Mike Kinney, a local expert. If you have a good head for heights and would like an aerial perspective you can try an exhilarating glider excursion with Spirit Soaring Glider Rides. For those who prefer to keep their feet dry the Mount Battie and Camden Hills State Park has a variety of scenic trails or you could simply stroll through the lovely gardens of the Merryspring Nature Center and explore the quaint village streets lined with Greek Revival, Federal and Victorian homes. The Farnsworth Art Museum and the Penobscot Marine Museum are well worth a visit. In winter you can go skiing, snow-boarding, tobogganing and snow-shoeing on five miles of trails and 20 ski runs in the Camden Snow Bowl.
West Palm Beach, FL
West Palm Beach as everything you need for a wonderful weekend getaway, including great museums, gardens, a vibrant arts scene and great beaches for soaking up the Florida sun. You can simply relax on a deckchair or enjoy swimming, surfing, paddling or snorkeling. If you would like to learn how to scuba-dive Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures can lead the way. For a change from the sun and sea you can admire magnificent tropical plants and theme gardens in the Mounts Botanical Gardens, go hiking in the Grassy Waters Nature Preserve or enjoy a unique airboat ride through the Everglades with W.P.B. Airboat Rides.
Art enthusiasts can make their way to the Norton Art Museum to see their European, Asian and American collection of fine art. The Antique Row Art & Design District is packed with over 50 shops and galleries you can explore, while Downtown West Palm Beach is the place to go for shopping, dining and entertainment. Foodies can try the Taste History Culinary Tour to combine interesting history with great southern food.
Families can keep the children endlessly entertained at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and at Rapids Water Park.
First-time visitors to Leavenworth are in for a real surprise; who would imagine that you can find an authentic slice of Bavaria hidden away in the heart of Washington State's Cascade Mountains? Surrounded by forests, snow-capped mountains and distinctive German food and festivals, this little town will surprise you around every corner. To find out how a failing timber industry caused Leavenworth to re-invent itself in the 1960's you just need to visit Der Markt Platz (aka Market Square) to see a 30min video that describes Project Bavaria.
The town provides a year-round getaway destination with particular emphasis on outdoor recreational activities. During the summer months Osprey Rafting Company or Orion Expeditions can take you white-water rafting or you can spend many happy hours hiking the lovely Icicle Gorge Trail or walking, bird-watching or fishing in Waterfront Park. Equestrians can enjoy horseback riding at Eagle Creek Ranch or Mountain Springs Lodge, and adventure seekers can try a canopy ride at Leavenworth Ziplines. The Leavenworth Summer Theater is a highlight, and you can watch world-class performers in action at open-air venues such as Ski Hill Amphitheater and Hatchery Park Stage.
In winter the Leavenworth Ski Hill is the hub of the action for skiing, snow-boarding, snow-shoeing and tubing. Round off your active day with great German beer and authentic Bavarian cuisine.
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Mackinac Island, MI
Step out of the fast lane and into the calming atmosphere of Mackinac Island, a scenic jewel surrounded by the placid waters of Lake Huron in Michigan. On this charming island motorized vehicles are banned and horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are a normal form of transport. Almost 80% of the island forms part of the Mackinac Island State Park where you can explore over 70 miles of walking, hiking or cycling trails along the shore or through the fragrant evergreen forests. Equestrians will also feel right at home on the island - there are 40 miles of marked bridle paths and you can hire your mount from Jack's Livery Stables or the Grand Hotel Stable. If you enjoy water sports you can admire the beautiful shoreline and historic lighthouses on a guided Great Turtle Kayak Tour, or go fishing with EUP Fishing and Charters.
There are several historic places you can visit including Fort Mackinac, which was build in 1870 and is now operated as a museum protecting 14 historic buildings, one of which is the oldest surviving structure in Michigan. In historic Downtown Mackinac you can tour the McGulpin House, the Dr. Beaumont Museum, the Biddle House and the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop. Nobody should leave the island without enjoying a tour of the island highlights on a Mackinac Island Carriage Tour or tasting the island's most popular treat at Murdick's Fudge.
Plan your next weekend getaway to Galena, to take a step back in time and see how everyday people lived at the turn of the 20th century. A whopping 581 acres of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and there are several interesting house museums you can visit. Get all the maps and information you need at the Galena Welcome Center which was once the Old Market House, before making your way to see the Ulysses S. Grant Home, the Elihu B. Washburne House, Dowling House (which was once an overnight stop for visiting fur traders), the Galena History Museum and the (still operational) Old Blacksmith Shop.
Nature enthusiasts can go hiking or cycling in the Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, which offers wonderful views of the Mississippi River bluffs or take a tranquil walk through the West Street Sculpture Park or the privately-owned Linmar Gardens which boast themed gardens, waterfalls, fountains and sculptures. The Galena Center for the Arts is a magnet for art lovers, while wine connoisseurs will not want to miss a tour of Galena Cellars Winery and Vineyard where they can experience a variety of wine and food tastings and pairings.
In winter everyone heads to the Chestnut Mountain Resort, a popular skiing destination which offers particularly challenging snow-boarding trails at The Farside all-terrain park.
Bloomington is a picturesque city just 50 miles south of Indianapolis which has a reputation for charming visitors with its unique limestone architecture, parks and museums. You can take a campus tour of the Indiana University to see the historic buildings and find out all about the academic programs. While you are there you can visit the iconic triangular building which houses the Indiana University Museum of Art, widely acknowledged to be one of the best in the country. Also on campus is the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where you can attend a music recital or watch a popular ballet. Other interesting city attractions include the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Wylie House Museum and the fascinating WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology which provides hours of immersive fun for all ages.
Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do in Bloomington, starting with water-related activities on Monroe Lake (boating, fishing, kayaking and water-skiing) or walking, hiking or cycling through the surrounding wilderness areas. If you prefer a guide, IndiGo Birding Nature Tours will arrange a photographic, nature or bird watching tour to suit your interests.
After you have worked up a thirst you can make your way to Oliver Winery or Butler Winery to taste some unusual local cultivars or tour the cellars. (Beer drinkers may prefer to visit Uplands Brewpub to see how their favorite brew is produced).
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City is an amazing getaway destination offering a diversity of cultural, educational and just plain fun attractions that will suit all tastes and ages. The city has a proud jazz heritage which is showcased at the American Jazz Museum in the vibrant 18th and Vine Jazz District. Right next door you will find the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum where you can learn all you ever need to know about the origins of African-American Baseball.
Kansas City is also home to some of the country's most unusual museums - start your tour by visiting the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, then move on to see the Money Museum (situated at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City), the Kansas City rail experience at Union Station and the Arabia Steamboat Museum. Arts enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in Kansas City and can enjoy the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the award-winning Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the lovely Kansas City Fountains which are dotted all over the city. To taste local foods you can try a Taste of Kansas City Food Tour and visit the bustling daily City Market.
There are some brilliant attractions suited to children including the Hallmark Kaleidoscope Center (which has several hands-on creative rooms for children to enjoy), the SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium and Kansas City Zoo.
Nicknamed “Rocket City” for its close relationship to the US space mission, Huntsville is a high-tech city with a host of interesting activities to keep visitors engaged and entertained. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is a must-see attraction that has one of the world's largest collections of space-related items including missiles and rockets; you can also watch space-themed movies at the IMAX Space Dome Theater. To further pursue the theme you can visit the Von Braun Astronomical Society's planetarium and two observatories in the Monte Sano State Park.
History buffs can step back to the 19th century at Burritt on the Mountain, where you can tour the Burritt Mansion and visit Historic Park (which features a replica 19th century farm) and then visit the historic Weedon House Museum and Garden. For art lovers there is the Huntsville Museum of Art which specializes in American art from the south-east, and also houses a good international collection, and Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment where dozens of local artists showcase their work. Outdoor enthusiasts can go walking along the Madison County Nature Trail or go hiking, biking, star gazing and camping in the Monte Sano State Park.