Spontaneity is something that makes being young so brilliant. With little to no responsibilities, you can load up a car with your closest friends and head out on an adventure away from the worries of school and take a breather. Do just that this weekend and head to the nearest getaway destination, marked by the ten major regions of the U.S. Have fun!
Pacific Northwest - Back to Nature
For a great spontaneous getaway that everyone in your group will enjoy, stick to the outdoors. Pack a backpack and hike your way through the fabulous Olympic National Park where several ecosystems (including one of the last remaining temperate rainforests in the U.S.) converge into one of the most visited, most stunning parks in the country. At Olympic, your group can marvel at the lush forests, make your way to the beaches and explore the tide pools, or rest in the vast valleys and watch for wildlife grazing in the shadow of the Cascade mountains beyond.
West Coast - San Diego
Chances are, if you live in California you've probably been to San Diego - so go again! A fall trip to sunny San Diego is just the thing for a great group trip. Do as much or as little as your group, and your budget, want. The weather is so great year round that you'll be able to spend all your time outside. Hang out at La Jolla Cove and relax on the beach, kayaking to the sea caves, or walk through the historic Old Town San Diego, explore the San Diego Zoo, or hike through the surrounding parks. San Diego is a budget friendly, fairly affordable city that can be managed even on a student's budget.
West - Yellowstone National Park
There are plenty of amazing destinations in the American West but none so dramatic as Yellowstone. Set over the caldera of a giant super volcano (don't worry, it's pretty safe), this park is the most active geothermal wonderland in North America with over 10,000 geothermal features including the famous Old Faithful geyser. You can pretty much do anything your outdoor loving heart desires. Kayak the lake and see grizzly bears roaming the shores, hike to the heights of the park's tallest waterfalls, and discover the life running through the park from the unbounded wildlife to the earth as it bubbles, boils, and explodes its geysers energetically into the air.
Southwest - Wide Open Desert
There are a bunch of places in the American Southwest that deserve attention from the expansive barren desert to the Grand Canyon to Wild West ghost towns and beyond. Experience the thrill of seeing the swirling arms of the Milky Way galaxy with some serious stargazing in Arches National Park or cruise along the historic Route 66 and stop in the small towns along the way. Visit the beautiful and bucket list worthy Grand Canyon, stop by the historic town of Tombstone where the Earps were legendary, or relax in some of the affordable sites in Santa Fe or Albuquerque - the Southwest is less expensive in the late fall and winter!
North - Chicago/Wisconsin Dells
Chicago would be the easy answer for anyone in the North, though it may be considered more Midwest to some. However, how can you pass up the opportunity to visit the Windy City? There are so many things to tour and discover in this giant Illinois city that make it a sublime choice but if you're too far away, try the Wisconsin Dells. A lovely town set around the beautiful Wisconsin River, the Dells were made famous by an enterprising man in the late 19th century, growing its popularity ever since. Hang out and have a good time at the many water parks and theme parks in the area or shop the local businesses, try some famous Wisconsin cheese, or cruise along the river for a relaxing vacation!
Midwest - St. Louis
The Gateway to the West can be the gateway to weekend fun if you pick this beautiful riverside city. Whether you want education, culture, or amusement, St. Louis has you covered. Take a free tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery or go by their Grant's Farm park to see Ulysses S. Grant's old self-built cabins, see the wildlife in the Deer Park, or hang out in the Biergarten with a brat in hand. Six Flags is nearby in Eureka, Missouri, but you also have options for cultural fun at the magnificent Fox Theatre or Muny. Make sure you stop by the amazing, and free, St. Louis Zoo in lovely Forest Park where you'll also find the Art Museum (it's free too).
South - Savannah, GA
She's among the most affordable cities in the U.S. and is certainly one of the most beautiful. Like a lovely southern belle, Savannah has a history but doesn't let it get her down. With upscale shopping districts, a vibrant art scene, and more scenery than you can shake a stick at, Savannah wakes up the senses and enlivens any vacation. Hop by Tybee Island for some beach fun, tour the Civil War forts and battlefields for a bit of education, or relax in Forsyth Park or on the Riverfront for some major retail therapy and charming restaurant action - Savannah has some really great chefs that you should try.
Southeast - Florida Fun
Really anywhere in Florida is a wonderful spontaneous getaway and your destination can depend mostly on where you're starting. Try St. Augustine for a relaxing and luxurious getaway full of history and intrigue, Spanish conquistadors and pirates, or travel to the land of theme parks in Orlando. Sanibel Island is a quaint and remote tropical getaway but if you go further south you'll eventually hit the Florida Keys, as Caribbean as you can get and still be in the United States. Hit up Miami for some vibrant nightlife or Sarasota for a little Ringling Circus fun by the beach!
East Coast - Myrtle Beach
She may be less historic than the presidential towns of Virginia or the nation's capital but Myrtle Beach is fun and affordable, perfect for a student group getaway. Free beaches, a boardwalk, and plenty of amusing attractions, Myrtle Beach is a popular choice for student vacations. If you have a little spare change, hang out at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park located on the boardwalk, hop on board the Skywheel - a giant Ferris Wheel - or if you're a NASCAR fan, check out the Myrtle Beach Speedway. There's also plenty of gorgeous scenery to go around and various beaches ready for your group to relax.
Northeast - Adirondacks, NY
The beautiful blue mountains of upstate New York are the perfect place to get away from the hectic chaos of everyday life. Get out and seclude you and your friends in the mountains, in the small towns and scenic byways of some of the most beautiful land in the country. There's plenty to do here from hiking and exploring the lakes by boat or kayak, touring the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, or the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, and sampling the simplicity and welcome of the smaller towns around the region. It's also a great area for camping.