Wanderlust drives our generation. We don’t live to work, we work to live. There will never be a better time in our lives to explore this nation; there will never be another time when we’ll have so few things tying us down.
When planning our next journey, our inclination is to go abroad to experience new cultures.
But why spend so much money to go abroad when we can experience a wide expanse of culture in our backyards for a fraction of the price?
Savannah is a mecca for Gothic Southern architecture – a scene from “Gone With The Wind.” It’s become more hip than ever, with liberal open-container laws and breweries popping up everywhere.
Travel Tip: Plan your trip around March 17, as Savannah hosts the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation.
Portland breaks the backwoods Maine stereotype, with cobblestone streets and proximity to the breath-taking, rocky coast and Portland Lighthouse.
Travel Tip: Summer is the optimal travel time for the weather, fresh blueberries and lobster.
Austin is a Texas town unlike any other. Cowboy boots and ten-gallon hats are accompanied by skinny jeans. In addition to a continuously amazing live music scene, there are more bars per person in Downtown Austin than any other US city.
Travel Tip: Stay near South Congress Street for the funky shops and boutiques.
Finger Lakes, New York
Legend has it that once God finished creating the world, he rested on the seventh day and placed his hand on what would become the Finger Lakes – a testament to their natural beauty.
Travel Tip: Seneca and Cayuga Lakes have burgeoning wine and spirits trails to keep your stay boozy.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs offers that Wild West feel in the Old Colorado City region, as well as Colorado’s two most majestic attractions: Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak.
Travel Tip: Try to catch a concert in Red Rock Canyon’s natural amphitheater for a one-of-a-kind show.
The City of Brotherly Love’s South Street holds a cornucopia of adorable coffee shops and funky boutiques when you need a break from all that history.
Travel Tip: In the fall, defunct Philly prison Eastern State Penitentiary transforms into the creepiest haunted attraction in America.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has become a hotspot for bachelorette parties, featuring everything from rooftop bars to farm-to-table restaurants, and beaches to The Antebellum-era Battery.
Travel Tip: Take a carriage ride around the city. Charleston goes to great lengths to take care of its horses, which make for the easiest way to explore the whole city.
Muir Woods, California
The best part of Muir Woods is “Cathedral Grove.” The stretch requires you to be silent, making for the best meditation session you’ve ever experienced.
Travel Tip: Wine tours that take you through Muir Woods, Napa and Sonoma wine country are money well spent.
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May, home of the oldest resort in America, is the classy, 1920s version of an MTV-style Jersey Shore weekend.
Travel Tip: Make sure you have a car so you can also hit up nearby Atlantic City for the campy casinos and outlet shopping.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is the type of Midwest town you dream about, with its classic college bars normally reserved for television.
Travel Tip: Visit in the fall so you can participate in Michigan Maize (aka yellow) and Blue fever for football season.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole takes the ski chalet to the next level. And why wouldn’t it, with the unreal Grand Teton National Park nearby and the country’s best powdery snow?
Travel Tip: While you’re there, expand your taste buds and try local game, like elk and reindeer, at world-renowned restaurants.
Asheville, North Carolina
The people of Asheville are proud of their city. Locals buy from nearby vendors to support the farm-to-table movement. There’s even an entire park where you can go and pick your own apples, chestnuts and more for free.
Travel Tip: Hang out at Pritchard Park on a Friday night for their weekly Drum Circle.
Key West, Florida
You can work on your tan and brush up on your literary history when you’re in Key West, the candy-colored island favorite of geniuses like Ernest Hemmingway and Tennessee Williams.
Travel Tip: Many of the bars downtown are clothing-optional, so you don’t have to feel weird about showing up straight from the beach in your bathing suit.
Three Capes Scenic Loop, Oregon
If you’re looking for a “Goonies”-style adventure, look no further than this 40-mile drive down the Oregonian coast. It’s the perfect mini-road trip.
Travel Tip: Stop in the small beach town of Oceanside to get a view of Three Arch Rocks — aka the site the kids utilized to find One-Eyed-Willie’s treasure in the classic 80s film, “The Goonies.”
Newport, Rhode Island
Vacations are all about feeling like you’re living someone else’s life for a few days, budget be damned. Feel like a New England Blue Blood in Newport, and go shopping at the kitschy local businesses in their adorable town center.
Travel Tip: Check out Newport during its famous Folk Festival in late July while renting a house on the beach. Maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of T. Swift.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe looks like no other town or city on this list, with its stucco and pueblo-style architecture. It’s a perfect break from reality – with green chili cheeseburgers to boot.
Travel Tip: Visit John Cockteau Cinema, an art house theater restored and curated by “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is the birthplace of the cocktail. Mardi Gras or no Mardi Gras, that’s a good enough conduit to an epic long weekend.
Travel Tip: After you’ve experienced a couple hours of insanity on famed Bourbon Street, take a 20-minute walk over to local hangout Frenchmen Street for some REAL jazz.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Minneapolis/St. Paul are two cities for the price of one, offering the cultural revival you want from a small city, while preserving the nice-guy sensibility inherent to the Midwest.
Travel Tip: Walker Art Center is a gem, with fun installations like designer mini golf.