Honestly, you can get what you want out of most places in the United States. But here’s a guide to some great spots for relaxation vacations vs some great spots to say… jump out of a helicopter, or something.
And yes, we know you have heard of NYC and Los Angeles, so let’s get at least slightly further out there.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Martha’s Vineyard is an island off of Massachusetts, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is the ideal spot for a summer vacation (especially if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious). With quiet, quaint energy and architecture, you’ll never feel in a rush here. The “gingerbread houses,” built in the 1800s, are a great reflection of the beach-town vibe here. Do a quick search for a picture of them and you’ll understand just what we mean.
As you end the days, watch the sun go down from Menemsha Beach — and prepare for the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever laid your eyes on. You can even head out on a boat tour and enjoy the sounds of the ocean. This place is truly the stuff of dreams.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
A little more affordable with all the relaxation you could ask for, Fort Lauderdale is home to palm trees and sandy beaches alike. Unlike Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale truly is a spot to take a load off and enjoy the warmth of the sun and the ocean breeze. It’s nicknamed the Venice of America for its 165+ miles of waterways and considering it borders the Atlantic, you can expect fresh seafood at noteworthy restaurants all over the city.
If you’re looking to explore away from the beach, head over to the Everglades Holiday Park and go birdwatching or fishing, or stop by a local brewery for some of the best craft beers around. Fort Lauderdale is the ultimate relaxation hub.
Over on the West Coast, Sunriver, Oregon is a little lesser known spot to head for a relaxing trip. With tons of waterways to float, biking paths to ride, and acres upon acres of golf courses, there is no way to not relax here. The city basically demands it of you. And when you inevitably see a sweet family of deer wandering around your lodge, you won’t want it any other way.
Bring a book, sunscreen, and your best Birkenstocks — Sunriver won’t ask much more of you.
Most people don’t truly think about it, but Seattle’s just as much a beach town as it is a popular tech metropolis — head about 20 minutes south of downtown to Alki Beach and you just might think you’re on a California shore.
From Pike Place Market to Starbucks HQ in SODO, Seattle has just about everything. For the outdoors-people, Mt. Rainier is just a short drive away (Rainier beer is a Seattle staple as well) and the many nearby forests are packed with hiking trails and camping spots. Or, you could take a boat out on what locals refer to as “The Lake” (Lake Washington) and get a glimpse of the Bill Gates estate.
With delicious seafood (did we mention Seattle’s on the Pacific Ocean?) and incredible IPAs, Seattle’s the ideal place to visit for almost any kind of adventure.
Catch a movie at Seattle’s Cinerama. You won’t be disappointed.
Las Vegas, NV
If you’ve heard of Vegas, you know that what happens there, stays there. And probably for good reason. The city of gambling, nightlife and incredible shows, all you have to do is walk the strip for a moment to find something cool to do — and street performers will keep you entertained as you make your way to the next casino or bar.
Make sure to catch one of the many shows Las Vegas has to offer. It might be one of the best you’ve ever seen. From magic shows to eclectic art shows, to the infamous Britney Spears show, your eyes will never be hungry for something more. Las Vegas has a lot to take in — so make sure you watch your alcohol intake.
Also the capital of Texas, Austin has just about everything. It’s a great spot for music lovers, as it’s known as the Live Music Capital of the U.S. and you can catch a live show on any given night. Not to mention, the two-week-long SXSW festival in March features everything from interactive shows to underground parties thrown by some of the biggest companies in the world.
The population of Austin has been exploding, especially in recent years, which means there are more and more things to do — and those events won’t break the bank like Los Angeles or New York might. Take a stroll along the Colorado River and grab some vegan grub or, quite opposingly, some meaty Texas BBQ.
Check out Rainy Street and South Congress for some great bites and shops, all within walkable distance.