With everything going on in the world today, planning a vacation is harder than ever. For those trying to avoid the tightly packed crowds and endless queues of airports, what better way to plan a cheap and easy getaway than a local road trip?
All you need is a good podcast, some snackable munchies, and a decent set of wheels to get out of the house and on the open road. To get you inspired, we’ve picked some of the U.S.’s quickest road trips and where to stay once you get there — from New York City to The Hamptons and Nashville to Memphis, there are so many opportunities for an easy, weekend vacay.
(Image of cabin provided by Big Cedar Lodge)
While Missouri is known for having some amazing cities, you really need to take the roads less traveled to see the very best of the state. A quick road trip is the best way to truly enjoy the mountains, falls, National Parks and ample wildlife. Take in the scenery while you stay at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson and cruise through the state for 15-50 miles while visiting Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and Wonders of Wildlife Museum.
Big Cedar Lodge | Ridgedale, MO
Deep in the Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge is known as America’s premier wilderness resort. Founded by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, the 4,600-acre lakeside retreat will connect your family with a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, boating, hiking, spa and wellness offerings, serving over 2.4 million guests every year. Named “Number One Resort in the Midwest” by the readers of Travel + Leisure, the staff offers genuine Ozarks hospitality and a perfect location just south of Branson.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park | Lampe, MO
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a 10,000-acre slice of natural beauty and rugged scenery offering hiking, biking, wildlife tram tours, horseback riding, and trout fishing. Also founded by Johnny Morris, the property serves as a link to the natural world that inspires visitors to get involved in wildlife conservation. The epic beauty of the park includes towering bluffs, waterfalls, creek beds, handcrafted bridges and wildlife such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk and white-tailed deer. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is home to a fully restored working gristmill, restaurant, conservation center, and stables facility with a rider’s lounge.
Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium | Springfield, MO
Wonders never cease at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. It consists of an all-new 1.5- million-gallon Aquarium Adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, and immersive Wildlife Galleries that bring visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record-setting game animals ever assembled. The 350,000-square-foot experience is a place for those who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water. Sat next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri the campus is at the heart of America’s Conservation Capital in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.
(Image of hotel terrace provided by Thompson San Antonio)
Easily the best way to explore the Lone Star State is on a quick San Antonio road trip. From Texas’ bustling metropolis to its cattle ranches and vast fields, from its cozy beach towns to its luxurious wine country, there is endless variety when it comes to what you can enjoy in the two and a half hour drive from Thompson San Antonio in San Antonio to JL Bar Ranch, Resort and Spa in Sonora.
Thompson San Antonio - Riverwalk | San Antonio, Texas
Opened earlier this year, Thompson San Antonio – Riverwalk is a modern resort towering 20 stories above San Antonio’s celebrated River Walk– encapsulating the contemporary spirit of this historic Texas city. Unmatched skyline vistas, exquisite guest rooms, and renowned cuisine are the staples of Thompson San Antonio – Riverwalk. Located in the trendy North River Walk neighborhood, guests can see the city on foot and engage fully in this charming cultural hub, minutes away from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the historic Alamo, and top-tier dining and shopping. The luxury hotel is also a destination in and of itself featuring landmark restaurant Landrace, from James Beard Award finalist Steve McHugh, that opened under the radar during the height of the pandemic. An idea several years in the making, Landrace is Steve’s tribute to Texas products, farmers and producers. Inspiring Steve’s new concept is his fascination with ingredients, his deep love for Texas’ heritage farmers and growers, and his adherence to the idea that something tastes better when it’s prepared and served near where it was grown. In addition, you can lounge on the amazing pool deck, or grab food and drinks at the hotel’s sheik rooftop restaurant & bar, The Moon’s Daughters.
JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa | Sonora, TX
Located deep in the heart of the majestic Texas Hill Country, JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa is an ideal retreat for families, honeymooners, and solo travelers looking for a private, outdoor getaway this summer. Set amidst 13,000 breathtaking acres, the 32-room retreat is the Lone Star State’s only luxury ranch resort, providing an intimate, customizable Texas experience. JL Bar has a multitude of memorable experiences for guests to partake in as well, including thrilling ATV adventures, horseback riding and a one-of-a-kind horse psychology class, wine tasting sessions with the resort’s two sommeliers, spa treatments that incorporate ancient healing traditions, and cowboy cookouts beneath the twinkling Texas stars.
(Image of vacation cottage provided by EHP Resort & Marina)
Experience the juxtaposition of urban metropolis and the peace of a coastal vacation when you travel from New York City to The Hamptons. A mere 3 hours on the road and 106 miles, the trip from Peninsula New York to EHP Resort & Marina is a quick retreat you don’t want to miss!
The Peninsula New York | New York, NY
Parked at one of the most prestigious addresses in Manhattan and right by Central Park along Fifth Avenue, The Peninsula New York is an ultra-luxe hotel within the city that never sleeps. A stone's throw from Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue shopping, excellent restaurants, historic museums and exciting Broadway theaters, Peninsula New York will sate the appetite of anyone who wishes to get a comprehensive NY experience. From rooftop cocktails at Salon de Ning to world-class meals at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Clement, the hotel’s dining outlets are unmatched. Staying at he Peninsula Spa is an excellent opportunity for guests to unwind and the indoor pool gives a perfect excuse to take a refreshing dip no matter the season.
EHP Resort & Marina | East Hampton, New York
Located only 3 hours from the city, the Hamptons is a an essential beach escape away from the bustle of New York City. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the scenic five-acre waterfront EHP Resort & Marina is breathing fresh life into a historic Hamptons location that is renowned for its immaculate sunset views. Set on the serene Three Mile Harbor, EHP offers modern accommodations ranging from one to three-bedroom suites, and one- to two-bedroom standalone cottages. Guests at EHP enjoy a tennis court, resort pool, two full-service marinas with “dock to dine” options and yacht rentals, and three F&B venues, including Mediterranean-inspired signature restaurant Sí Sí, an Italian bakery and espresso bar Buongiorno with locations in East Hampton and Montauk, and new culinary outlets opening in May and June.
(Image of Memphis provided by Big Cypress Lodge)
For Tennesseans, you will definitely want to check out two major cities on your next road trip, Nashville and Memphis. Experience the country music scene, taste your way through the state, and take in the views on the 213-mile and 4-hour drive from The Hermitage Hotel to Big Cypress Lodge.
The Hermitage Hotel | Nashville, TN
The Hermitage Hotel is Nashville’s original million-dollar property, home to a rich history deeply rooted in the culture of the region. The resort is set to be an even more desirable destination in 2022, with it’s exciting openings and updates, including The Pink Hermit, a chic café conceived by world-renowned chef, Jean Georges, and The Hermitage team. In addition, Drusie & Darr by Jean Georges has officially opened, which is the Michelin-starred Chef's first location in the South. The restaurant’s Modern American menu evolves with the seasons, focusing on artisanal and sustainable produce at its peak, much of it grown at The Hermitage Hotel’s Garden at Glen Leven. The Hermitage Hotel has recently unveiled a top-to-bottom design refresh of the lobby, guest rooms, signature spaces, and suites.
Big Cypress Lodge | Memphis, TN
Then in downtown Memphis, Big Cypress Lodge offers a unique way for families to embrace the great outdoors and enjoy a “city glamping” experience with 103 rustic-elegant guest rooms and suites designed to look like vintage cabins – all from inside the soaring 32-story Memphis Pyramid along the Mississippi River. From a fantastical Cypress Swamp on the ground floor of the Pyramid to open-air dining with sky-high views at The Lookout restaurant and the hotel’s Mississippi Terrace, there are so many reasons not to wait to book Big Cypress this season!