6 Weekend Escapes That Require Zero Annual Leave

As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, it can be hard to think of meaningful last-minute ways to spend time with your S.O. that don't involve the usual combination of a restaurant and roses. If you're searching for a non-cheesy alternative sans swelling crowds and queues, consider a mini road trip. Picture it: miles of open road, your favorite tunes, and no one else but you and your S.O. chatting en route to the destination. 

If you're concerned about finding accommodation, don't worry. We turned to the team of U.S. destination editors at Lonely Planet to discover the best escapes that are within a three-hour drive from major cities. Jump in the car for a last-minute day trip, or extend your vacation for an unforgettable weekend getaway. 

Choose your city of origin and start the engine. Let's hit the road. 


On the road: 2.5 hours

Michigan's Gold Coast is the perfect mini escape from Chicago, says Eastern U.S. Destination Editor Trisha Ping. "Round the tip of Lake Michigan for a weekend of relaxation on the sandy beaches of Saugatuck and Douglas, twin cities that form one of the region's most popular resort areas," she tells MyDomaine.

There's more to this picturesque coastal area than beaches, though. "Beyond the sand dunes, you'll find charming B&Bs and plenty of shops, restaurants, and galleries," she says. "For a dose of kitsch, don't miss Holland, a small town founded by Dutch immigrants that features a 100-year-old windmill and is known for its annual tulip festival."

What's your favorite road trip destination? Share your insider tips with us in the comments.