20 Unexpected Weekend Getaways to Plan This Summer

You're going to want to plan a trip ASAP to one of these under-the-radar locales that offer outdoor fun, unique attractions, and delicious eats.

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Summertime, and the trip plannin' ain't easy. There's no shortage of tantalizing getaways and epic road trips to explore in America, but to make it a little easier to whittle down your list, we scoured the 50 states to find the best undiscovered gems, perfect for a warm weather getaway. Laconia, New Hampshire or Cape Charles, Virginia may not be on your travel bucket list yet, but you'll soon see why these under-the-radar jewels are ideal for a long weekend filled with outdoor adventures, antique galleries, picturesque beaches, and more.

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1 Cape Charles, Virginia
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Getty Images

It's pretty hard to stress when you're steps away from the ocean. It's even harder to stress when you're in the laid-back community of Cape Charles, Virginia. Friendly locals, enticing eats ( is known for its seafood baskets and popping live music scene), and quirky shops (if you're an olive oil enthusiast, load up at ) all set the scene for endless beach days. Or, at least, they feel that way thanks to a sprawling pier and boardwalk where you can take in orange-pink sunsets. If you're not renting a beach house with a big group, try the funky where the beds are so comfy, you'll want to know how to replicate them at home (fear not: a binder inside the room reveals the secret).

For more information, visit .

2 Branford and Guilford, Connecticut
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Courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

You're probably wondering what magical cruise is pictured above, so we'll get that out of the way first. Launching out of Branford's idyllic Stony Creek neighborhood, board the for the happiest of hours on a public tour or private charter. Now, back to these two scene-stealing Long Island Sound shoreline communities. Make your sleeping quarters , a 19th century residence with a wraparound porch you'll want to sit on forever. How about those bayside views overlooking a craggy bluff? When you're ready to peel yourself away, check out the , one of the country's most pristine town greens, and home of a free walking or self-guided tour. In the summer, enjoy plenty of live theater and music or wander along the green's many boutiques and restaurants.

For more information, visit .

3 Grand Forks, North Dakota
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NDTourism.com

Summer really brings the quaint town of Grand Forks to life. First meander through (the famed wild chokecherry mini pies are a must). Then, check out in Sertoma Park, a picturesque and historic area that kids will love, too. If you're craving a shopping break, check out for wardrobe swag and accessories you won't be able to resist picking up for your friends as gifts (the owners actually met at the farmer's market!). Meanwhile, you'll probably want to refuel, so check out , a romantic second-story epicurean haven where the pan-seared scallops melt in your mouth. Come time for slumber, check out the charming , a Victorian-style bed and breakfast dating back to 1901.

For more information, visit .

4 Tallahassee, Florida
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Courtesy of Visit Tallahassee

Perhaps best known for being Florida's capital, this oft-overlooked city is brimming with outdoor adventure. Beeline to Tallahassee Museum's unique zipline and obstacle course. Or, soak up the scenery on a boat cruise along , one of the world's deepest freshwater springs, where you'll see plenty of unique wildlife and bird species. Feeling sporty? Test your archery skills at . After, you'll have a hard time choosing between two equally delectable activities: 1) Old-school ice cream parlor ("Banana Creations" live up to their hype) and 2) Strolling along a row of tiki torches to , a celebrated stop on the National Blues trail. Why not squeeze in both and make a quick pitstop at the to change clothes (and perhaps wipe any lingering chocolate sauce smudges off your face)?

For more information, visit .

5 The Crystal Coast, North Carolina
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Crystal Coast

There's nothing quite as charming as biking through Beaufort on vintage bikes (pedaling or walking with , anyone?). There's also the marvelous which stands out against the purple-streaked sky at sunset. But, perhaps our favorite way to spend a long weekend on the Crystal Coast is sitting in a kayak, watching a group of wild mustang horses gallop dramatically across the pristine landscape. Wander along the dock until you settle on a spot to dig into the catch of the day. Lovingly dubbed "sand castles," check into one of the region's many rentals that overlook the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound, like the gorgeous , with an ocean-facing patio that's giving us some serious wanderlust.

For more information, visit .

6 The Dalles, Oregon
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Courtesy of Visit Oregon

The highway beckons: Road trip! And talk about . But as you head east on I-84, perhaps the most magnificent scene-stealer is the 611-foot cascading , that you can view from the parking lot or hike to the top of (seriously, get out of your car!). On-the-move types will also enjoy hiking to —at this slot canyon, the water is the trail! Check in for the night at  and enjoy the many jewels of this historic Native American trading spot, like perusing , the oldest bookstore in Oregon, or  indulging in a libation an 1883 courthouse, . Rodeo fan? (September 13-16,2017) is one of the ten largest in the world.

For more information, visit .

7 Laconia, New Hampshire
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Courtesy of Lake Opechee Inn and Spa

It's impossible not to be happy with a waffle in hand from the industrial-chic , a bustling community hub. This welcoming area is also home to the world-famous utopia of , a sprawling old-timey chocolate shop that's been family-owned since 1906. With these indoor attractions wrapped up, enjoy a day kayaking on the crystal Lake Opechee at or checking out the (okay, that's technically inside). Tack on an extra night to journey an hour north to the , a one-of-a-kind 1800s railroad station that's been refurbished into a White Mountains lodging and noshing favorite—don't miss the craft beers and the much-loved "Loon Dip."

For more information, visit .

8 Branson, Missouri
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Courtesy of Branson Tourism Center

Summer is the perfect time to set sail on  where memories of your own childhood lake vacations will start flooding back (especially aboard the  dinner cruise). And while  may be known for its theme park, it's also worth checking out , to soak up all its limestone glory. In 2017, Silver Dollar City is celebrating "The Year of Food and Crafts," fitting for the only American theme park to have a cooking school on its grounds (trust, you'll want to order a BBQ sundae). The park also has a unique program for local Ozark artisans to work and sell their wares. Forgo hotel bookings for log cabin life at  B&B where the sunrise views of Table Rock Lake are enough to sway even the most adamant of city inhabitants to consider living life in the MO lane.

For more information, visit .

9 Healdsburg, California
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Healdsburg CVB

Picnics? Wine tasting? Winery tours? Yes to all of the above at , where redwood trees warmly welcome you to the sprawling property that dates back to 1876 and now has only female winemakers at the helm. When you're done wine trail-ing it, check into the  (the garden pool offers drinks and food in the summer) or the (a Victorian residence where staff ought to place signs on your door that read "Don't skip breakfast!"). Spend your days exploring the quaint downtown or take a cooking class with . To spike your adrenaline, try an outing with touring company or boating outfitter . To spike your BAC levels, check out where there's an entire half acre of underground caves (!) or , which offers both wine and olive oil tastings. Want the best views in town? Go up, up, and away with .

For more information, visit .

10 Washington, Connecticut
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The Mayflower Grace

If you're visiting this northwestern Connecticut town, hole up at the for your very own slice of Constitution State Shangri-La. While there, enjoy dazzling cuisine, enchanted landscaped gardens and woodlands, or a dip in the pool. Dying to learn a new skill? Get off-property with the hotel's "" program at the nearby Housatonic River or head out sans guides to for beaching, hiking to the summit's lookout tower, or both. And unless you want to miss an insanely tasty meal, don't skip town without visiting G.W. Tavern, where the hand-painted murals alone make the detour worth it (though the aptly-named "Obsession Cake" isn't to be missed, either).

For more information, visit .

11 Alpharetta, Georgia
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Alpharetta CVB

With on-point service and insane eats, hungry travelers to Alpharetta ought to make their first destination to welcome themselves to a peachier state of mind (the peach and gorgonzola pizza certainly helps with that). Gather up the crew (don't forget helmets and snacks for hungry kids!) and check out for a day spent biking, blading, or bird watching. Freshen up at the —it's pet friendly if you want to bring Rover along—before venturing out to for live music. In the summer, they offer "Matilda's Under the Pines," where regional acts will serenade you underneath a starry night sky and those gorgeous Peach State pines. Pets are allowed here too, so if you brought along your furry friend, be sure to include him on the fun!

For more information, visit .

12 Brewster, Massachusetts
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Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

Here's a small Cape Cod town well worth adding to your vacation radar. Perched on nearly 430 acres, will make it exceedingly hard to leave thanks to its great dining, biking, and indoor and outdoor pools. Catch the sunset at the beach bar with your better half while plotting your next day in this New England gem. Brought the kids? Drop them off at the beach for some s'mores-making fun. Come daylight, spend the remaining time on your getaway enjoying that salty sea breeze with leisurely trips to the Stony Brook Grist Mill (open only in the summer), antiquing, and setting up shop at the area's many beaches.

For more information, visit .

13 Fort Worth, Texas
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Fort Worth CVB

Lasso up! They don't dub Fort Worth a "City of Cowboys and Culture" for nothing. First, those cowboys: Head to the Stockyard National Historic District to whet your appetite for an authentic, old American West experience. There, enjoy the twice-daily cattle drive and weekly rodeos at . Behind every good cowboy, is a winning (National) (Museum), should time allow for you to explore. Then, make like Bonnie and Clyde (really, it was one of the duo's hideouts) at which muddles the best of game hunting lodges with a serene boutique hotel stay. Now, for that dose of culture, venture to , , and . Or, if you prefer your dose of culture in audible form, slink into the welcoming embrace of , a Texan staple and world's largest Honky Tonk—it's hosted musical greats from Ray Charles to Blake Shelton.

For more information, visit .

14 Ocean Springs, Mississippi
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Fred Salinas

Start your day right with other-worldly biscuits and pour-over coffee at and end it with live music at . Everything else, we leave up to you. Though, if you're looking for some inspiration in this storybook town located next to the Mississippi Sound and dotted with live oak, here goes. First, book your time to count sheep at . Then, earn your supper by hitting the water for a stand-up paddleboarding session with before treating yourself to , where you can pack up a delectable spread for a waterfront picnic (okay, you earned a handmade fruity, herb-infused popsicle at , too). That charming coastal picnic we speak of? Try the . 

For more information, visit .

15 New Paltz, New York
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Jim Smith Photography

An unexpected gem—well, castle may be closer to it—outside of New York City,  glimmers in all its lakeside beauty. All-inclusive pricing makes dining and activity-planning (and believe us, there's something for everyone) a cinch, but whatever you do, don't skip a leisurely stroll with loved ones through the beautifully kept gardens.  Every day presents a giant schedule of events, classes, and activities, but if you can, sneak off for a spa treatment (preferably after conquering a majestic or a restorative dip in the lake). When you're ready to get off campus, be sure to see , where time seems to stand still in a Hudson Valley community first settled in 1678. There, you can enjoy grounds tours, historic reenactments, and even tea time.

For more information, visit .

16 Black Hills, South Dakota
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Courtesy of Travel South Dakota

In July 2017, the will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Why does that make it an ideal time for visitors? Well, you'll be able to witness the oldest powwow in South Dakota and learn more about Native American Culture. Events will include a Moccasin Tournament, grass dancing, and more in the spiritually revered Black Hills. While in town, an excursion to , a grand mountain carving, should earn a spot on your agenda, as should a trip to , where not only are the hikes breathtaking, but the colorful prayer cloths hanging throughout also make for a special experience. For lodging, in downtown Deadwood has an outdoor deck and firepit, guaranteed to help you make summer memories late into the evening.

For more information, visit .

17 Medora, North Dakota
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Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

Start your summer getaway on an upbeat note at , a playful, western-style musical show dedicated to the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt where patrons also get to enjoy the fresh, country air and gorgeous views from the  2,900-seat Burning Hills Amphitheater. You can also get into cowboy mode by  or checking out the North Dakota . When you're ready to ditch your saddle, cozy up at the or enjoy camping under the wide open sky  in the majestic . Hungry? It's hard to beat , an outdoor eatery perched on a bluff with crazy views of the Badlands.

For more information, visit .

18 River Ranch, Florida
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Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

This is Florida like you've never seen it before. Located about an hour south of Orlando, you'll love the family-friendly , which manages to catapult you far away from conventional Sunshine State vacations. Explore your natural talent at new activities like trap and skeet shooting or archery before enjoying a swamp buggy ride and the property's classic Saturday night rodeo. You can stay in traditional camping sites or well-groomed cabins, but we suggest the recently established teepees, where a designated concierge can deliver breakfast right to your digs. You'll hardly need to leave this dude ranch for vacation fun, but driving to  nearby  makes for a worthwhile day trip.

For more information, .

19 Uvalde County, Texas
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Visit Uvalde County

Snag that inner tube: You'll want to float down the secluded (nature lovers will also love canoeing, and kayaking) as enchanted Cypress trees guide the way. Continue the tree-themed fun by heading over to , which offers upscale French food with a bit of Hill Country flavor...in a treehouse! And sure, you could book a hotel, but why not make your getaway truly memorable by holing up at luxurious antique log cabins. Or, if a vacation rental is more your thing, consider booking the new , called "320-acre wonderland" by Uvalde-ians, which boasts a private saltwater pool, as well as a private spring-fed creek.

For more information, visit .

20 Heber Valley, Utah
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Getty Images

This off-the-beaten-path gem really comes to life in the summer, with cool and pleasant temperatures to accompany your getaway (not to mention, less crowds than towns like Park City get). Called Utah's "Little Switzerland," spend your days fly fishing or hiking on and around the . Or, take an adventurous trip river rafting or backpacking in the . As the sun sets, slink into a state of happy relaxation at the (the Midway Creamery crispy cheese curds and sprawling, verdant panoramas from  are pure vacation bliss). For a truly how-is-this-happening experience venture to The Homestead Crater to bathe in the natural hot springs, snorkel or even scuba dive.

For more information, visit .

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