No matter where you live in the U.S., there is an easy international getaway you can successfully fit into a long weekend.

Share story

Let’s say you have a long weekend. And, let’s say your regular getaway choice just isn’t cutting it. You’re not inspired. You’re not excited. You’re ready something new.

Dare we suggest something international? Because, despite what the naysayers will say, your passport is absolutely compatible with a long weekend — if you know where to look. No matter where you live in the U.S., there is an easy international getaway you can successfully fit into a long weekend without feeling overwhelmed or spending all your time en route.

IF YOU LIVE ON THE WEST COAST: VANCOUVER

Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver, B.C.

The juxtaposition of mountains and sea, city and nature is on full display in Vancouver, one of the world’s most livable cities. For culture vultures, urbane downtown Vancouver is a weekend Shangri La of museums, theater, shopping and cuisine, while outdoor enthusiasts can spend time in the mountains, beaches, parks and gardens.

Spring and summer are the perfect time of year to enjoy the lush gardens that line the stunning beaches of English Bay, or to dine al fresco on Robson Street. We especially love the fact that, since Vancouver is western Canada’s financial center, the city calms on the weekends; at times, you almost feel like the city is all yours. Almost.

IF YOU LIVE IN THE NORTHEAST: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

If you live in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic or Southeast, the entire Caribbean is at your beck and call. But if we’re talking long weekends, there are few better places than the Dominican Republic, specifically the all-inclusive (don’t-worry-about-a-thing-because-hey-your-time-is-limited) resorts of Punta Cana.

There are 70- to 80-degree, year-round temps, white sands and no buildings taller than a palm tree (seriously — it’s the law). Sweetening the pot, this beachy island locale has its own airport, so as soon as you land, you’re there.

IF YOU LIVE IN THE SOUTH OR SOUTHWEST: COSTA RICA

A view of the volcano from Arenal Springs Hotel in Costa Rica.
A view of the volcano from Arenal Springs Hotel in Costa Rica.

If you’re thinking tropical but don’t want to hit the beach, book a flight to Costa Rica. Pause that double-take for a moment; we did say not the beach. Because, while Costa Rica has beautiful beaches, this eco-paradise has more than its 800 miles of coastline.

Take Arenal/La Fortuna, for example, home to the active Arenal Volcano. The “adventure capitol of Costa Rica” is a gateway to whitewater rafting, zip-lining, waterfall rappelling, nature hikes, horseback riding and so much more. And when you’ve worn yourself out with high-adrenaline fun, be sure to set aside some time to soak in the area’s volcano-fed mineral hot springs.

IF YOU LIVE IN THE MIDWEST: MONTREAL

Patron eat dinner at La Salle a Manger restaurant in Montreal. (New York Times file)
Patron eat dinner at La Salle a Manger restaurant in Montreal. (New York Times file)

Spring and early summer are perfect times to visit this city by the river, which we feel is best toured on foot or by bike (and perhaps the occasional boat). We love that French-speaking Montreal is just a few hours away by plane, but feels foreign enough to make for an exotic vacation.

And it’s not just the language that’ll charm you: Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets, quaint architecture, vintage shops and fancy wine bars offer up more than a few perfect ways to pass the time (and fill up your camera with awesome snaps). Splurge one evening at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants.

IF YOU LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE U.S.: CANCUN

Cancun, Mexico.
Cancun, Mexico.

If just the thought of Cancun makes you think “tourist trap,” you’d be right — but also wrong. In reality, there are two Cancuns: one, a party-hearty, spring-breaker paradise; and the other, a quieter version of the mega-resort, where couples, families and solo travelers escape for quick getaways to Mexico. Whichever style you pick, you’re guaranteed a long weekend of turquoise water, beautiful beaches, top-notch shopping and delicious cuisine.