Best 3 Days Vacation Ideas For Your Weekend Getaway

By Lily Evans | Tips & Trick

Jul 18
Best 3 Days Vacation Ideas

Long weekends are the best time to relax and unwind. While long weekends might be too short for a full-on vacation, it is enough time to leave your city and get some much-needed change of scenery. I rounded up three days vacation ideas for your next long weekend getaway.

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Reasons To Go On Vacation On A Long Weekend

For a lot of us, it might be tempting to just stay at home or dine with friends on a long weekend – and it’s easy to understand why. Staying at home on a long weekend is fuss-free and would not require you to spend much. Some people, meanwhile, find three days to be too short for a trip abroad.

What you may not realize, however, is that short vacations are often just what you need to break the monotony of daily life. As we tend to get caught up in our busy schedules, it is necessary to take a break sometimes. A three-day vacation can do just that.

Whether you are a student or a working professional, you can benefit from a long weekend getaway. A short trip can renew your creative energy and give you a whole new perspective. It can also help you de-stress, find your center and re-focus.

What Makes An Ideal 3 days Vacation Destination ?

Of course, the most important consideration when choosing a long weekend destination is your interests. If you like the urban landscape, then you would probably enjoy going to a buzzing city to visit its most famous attractions.

On the other hand, if you enjoy quiet places where you can just sit back and read a good book or if you enjoy being one with nature, then you would probably enjoy the countryside, as well as less populated beaches and seaside areas.

What Should You Look For In A Long-Weekend Destination ?

The “ideal vacation spot” would vary widely from one person to another, depending on a person’s hobbies, interests, and even budget. To make the most out of your vacation and make it as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible, choose a destination with the following factors in mind:

1. Proximity

To make the most out of your three-day break, choose a destination near you, preferably one that will not require you to spend more than half of the day traveling. This way, you will have ample time to rest upon arrival and more time for activities and exploration.

2. Budget

Budget

Setting a budget will allow you to narrow down your choices to destinations which fall within your budget. Splurging on a luxury hotel accommodation might sound like a great way to spend the weekend, but who wants to break the bank on a three-day vacation?

When planning your three-day getaway, it is advisable to have a fixed budget in mind and choose your destination in accordance to that. Remember that some cities are more expensive to stay in than others, but not necessarily better or drastically different.

If you don’t want to spend much on your short vacation, choose places where accommodation and attractions are relatively cheaper. And if you have to book a flight or rent a vehicle to get to your destination, make sure to search for and compare travel packages and discount deals first.

3. Attractions

When planning for a long weekend getaway, it is good to have an idea of how you want to spend your vacation so you could start researching which particular spots to visit. Ideally, plan only one or two main activities per day so you could visit them at a leisurely pace.

Knowing which specific places you want to visit can also help you plan your route accordingly, as well as help you scout for dining spots.

4. Accommodations

Since you would be spending one or two nights in your travel destination, then accommodation is also an important factor to consider. In choosing where you would be staying, you would have to consider both your budget and your itinerary.

Usual vacation spots would usually have a wide variety of accommodations ranging from expensive hotels to cheaper apartments. High-end hotels can make your vacation grander, but if you have budget constraints, you might want to look for more affordable options.

Meanwhile, if you are going on vacation with friends or your family, then you might want to rent a house or cabin where you can cook and settle in comfortably.

To help you get around easier, choose an accommodation near the specific spots you want to visit. This way, you don’t have to spend too much time driving or commuting to those locations.

If you want more tips on planning a long weekend getaway for your family or your group of friends, then you ought to check out these handy tips compiled by Real Simple.

Top 5 List Of 3 Days Vacation Ideas

Now that I've given you some advice on choosing a long weekend destination, here is my personal top 5 list of three-day vacation ideas:

SEDONA, ARIZONA

Sedona is a vacationer’s haven in the middle of the Arizona desert with a scenic landscape, a very vibrant art scene, and a seemingly magical charm. This desert town has no shortage of outdoor locations to explore and artsy spots to visit, catering to both avid hikers and artistically-inclined travelers.

Sedona

Pros

  • Its mild climate is perfect for outdoor activities and some leisure strolling in the streets of Uptown Sedona.
  • The scenery is breathtaking, especially with its surrounding red rock formations, canyon walls, and pine forests.
  • For the outdoorsy type, Sedona has over 100 hiking trails with spectacular views, most of which are ideal for various activities like bird-watching and picnicking.
  • Uptown Sedona is a New Age wonder with its numerous spas, New Age shops, and art galleries.
  • Sedona has a very relaxed and laid-back vibe.

Cons

  • Traffic in Uptown Sedona can be pretty heavy during the peak seasons of spring and fall.
  • While the temperature in Sedona is lower than Phoenix, Sedona can be quite in the summer for people from cooler regions, with temperatures reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Restaurants tend to be hit-and-miss and the better dining spots tend to be crowded most of the time.
  • Restaurants and groceries tend to be a bit more expensive.
  • It’s a small town so you wouldn't find big shopping malls, a bustling nightlife, and similar other amenities you would usually find in major cities.

NEW YORK

New York

New York City is a buzzing, fast-paced cosmopolitan, home to world-famous iconic sites including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square. The city is bubbling with infectious energy and provides visitors with a peek of different cultures.


Pros

  • Whether you are into history, culture, or the arts, New York City has something to offer with its numerous theaters, architectural marvels, shopping districts, museums, and activity centers.
  • New York City offers authentic cuisine from different places all over the world and has some of the finest restaurants, food trucks, and street stalls.
  • The city has a very racially and ethnically-diverse population, contributing to its cosmopolitan charm.
  • Despite being highly-urbanized, New York has a lot of green spaces where you can jog, skate, bike, and even enjoy festivals.

Cons

  • New York City is the most populous city in the United States so expect hour-long traffic jams, especially during rush hour.
  • Waste disposal is a problem in the city, and it is not uncommon to see garbage strewn on sidewalks.
  • New York tends to have rather extreme temperatures, with the city being sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

San Antonio is a vibrant city with a rich colonial history and great scenery. Hailed as the friendliest city in the United States, San Antonio locals are indeed very accommodating to tourists. The city is a beautiful combination of big city charm and cultural festivities.

Antonio

Pros

  • San Antonio is a big city with a rather laid-back but festive vibe and picturesque scenery. The San Antonio Botanical Garden, the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the Brackenridge Park are must-sees.
  • There is a wide selection of affordable but comfortable rentals in the city.
  • It’s one of the best places to sample authentic Tex-Mex cuisine at a reasonable price, in addition to top-rated chef-driven restaurants.
  • The city has a rich colonial history and deeply-rooted Hispanic influences which you can easily see not only in the language and cuisine but also in their well-preserved museums and historical spots.
  • The city has a buzzing nightlife and relatively safe streets.

Cons

  • San Antonio is uncomfortably humid in the summer, with humidity averaging at 74%.
  • The traffic situation can be pretty bad, and it's not easy to go around on bikes or mass transit.
  • San Antonio locals love festivities so some places can be very crowded especially if you visit during peak season or local celebrations.

COLORADO SPRINGS

Colorado Springs is an idyllic location with lovely weather and an iconic countryside feel. Elevated at over 6,000 feet at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the city boasts a breathtaking view and well-preserved natural parks and landscapes.

Colorado

Pros

  • Colorado Springs has a lot of great parks, including the Memorial Park, which offers a variety of outdoor activities, Bear Creek Park, which is mostly undisturbed woodland, and the Garden of the Gods where you can marvel at the red rock formations.
  • There’s a large German community in Colorado Springs, making it one of the best places in the US to sample authentic German cuisine and to experience the Oktoberfest.
  • The climate in Colorado Springs is lovely. Given its elevation, the temperature remains comfortable in the summer but not too cold during the winter.

Cons

  • The weather can be unpredictable at times, so it's extremely necessary to have a backup plan for your outdoor activities.
  • Colorado Springs is a very laid back place so don't expect much in terms of shopping and entertainment.
  • It is located at the foot of famous mountain trails, so streets tend to be overcrowded during peak season.

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA

Santa Barbara is located on the Central California coast with views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Downtown Santa Barbara is reflective of the city's Spanish colonial heritage while the Uptown is an upscale wonder lined with boutiques and restaurants.

Santa Barbara

Pros

  • The City strikes the perfect balance between a well-developed urban center and well-maintained nature spot, with its nature parks and pristine beaches.
  • Santa Barbara has a very excellent parking system and well-managed traffic, making it incredibly easy to go around in your car.
  • You can easily get the freshest and most delicious organic fruits and vegetables from its iconic farmer’s market.
  • Downtown Santa Barbara is a fantastic display of well-preserved Spanish architecture. The rest of the city, meanwhile, is a marvel of good long-term urban planning.

Cons

  • While everything in Santa Barbara is pristine, in order, and top-grade, it is, unfortunately, a rather expensive city. Restaurants, accommodations, and even some activities can be quite pricey.


My Recommendation

Personally, my winner in this round-up is San Antonio, seeing as it has the comfort of a big city and a vibrant history and cultural heritage. The town has a lot of attractions which cater to different interests, picturesque scenery, and year-round activities and festivities.

While the city is often buzzing with life and activity, there are some tourist spots where one can wind down and retreat after a day of exploring and activities. Despite being a big, populated city, it remains a place where one can enjoy nature​.

San Antonio

​Very much like New York in terms of energy and diversity, San Antonio is not nearly as fast-paced. While streets are crowded with people during festivities and peak seasons, San Antonio still embodies a homey, country charm.

​The best part about San Antonio? It is the cheapest place to stay in, and it's very easy to find comfortable rentals while visiting. It’s the best long weekend destination if you are working within a budget but would like to enjoy great food, great activities, and great accommodations.

About the Author

I'm Lily Evans and I’m here to share with you pieces of travel advice, as well as handy tips and tricks, which I have accumulated over years of travelling and exploring the globe.