Weekend Getaway Ideas for Nature Lovers

If you’re looking to unplug from devices and de-stress, there’s no better remedy than immersing yourself in nature for a weekend. Getting away to appreciate forests, mountains, lakes, or other scenic landscapes provides a refreshing restart. Spend your days breathing crisp air, soaking up sunshine, and engaging in invigorating outdoor pursuits. You’ll return feeling recharged and reconnected. To that end, here are a few top weekend getaway ideas for nature enthusiasts.

National Parks

With stunning geography and protected wilderness areas, national parks make fantastic destinations for nature-focused trips. Some classics are the Grand Canyon’s immense vistas, Yellowstone’s geysers and wildlife, rugged trails through Yosemite, and the unique desert landscapes of Joshua Tree. Take advantage of ranger-led tours and educational programs to learn about the incredible natural history. Camp under the stars or stay in park lodges to maximize your outdoor time.

Lake Retreats

Freshwater lakes set the stage for plenty of revitalizing outdoor recreation. Rent a cozy cabin and spend your days swimming, fishing, or hiking lakeshore trails. Alternatively, take advantage of canoe, paddleboard, or kayak rental from a place like Canyon Sports in Salt Lake City or other destinations. Lakes with less development offer especially tranquil waterside retreats. Notable lake destinations include Lake Tahoe, Lake Powell, Finger Lakes, Lake of the Ozarks, and the Lake District in northwest Arkansas.

Mountain Resorts

For hiking enthusiasts and winter sports fans, mountain getaways provide ample terrain to trek or shred. During warm months, set out on invigorating day hikes to waterfalls, panoramic overlooks and alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. Wintertime means downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country trails, snowshoeing and cozy evenings by the fire after adventuring in fresh powder. Top mountain towns include Park City, Lake Placid, Stowe and Steamboat Springs.

Beachside Retreats

Spend a few days savoring gentle ocean breezes, the rhythmic lull of waves and outdoor adventures on golden sands. Beach comb for seashells, go for sunrise strolls, try surfing or boogie boarding, or simply relax on the shore with a good book. Coastal state parks often have reasonable cabin rentals right on the beach or near scenic lighthouses and cliffs. The Outer Banks, Monterey Bay and Florida’s Emerald Coast are great seaside getaway spots.

Remote Islands

For a true escape into unspoiled nature, hop a ferry or small plane to a remote island free of crowds and modern distractions. Go beach combing, birdwatching and wildlife viewing while truly disconnecting. Some islands also offer unique outdoor pursuits like kayak rentals through mangrove forests, snorkeling pristine reefs or hiking volcanic craters. Island hotspots include the San Juan Islands, Florida Keys and Channel Islands off California’s coast.

Camping Weekends

One of the most affordable and immersive nature getaways is classic camping. Nothing beats falling asleep to a symphony of crickets and waking to birdsongs in your tent. Go rustic with backpacking and campfires or choose a cabin or RV campground if you prefer some amenities. Most campgrounds offer access to hiking trails and recreational lakes or rivers for fishing, swimming, paddling and more.

Dude Ranch Stays

For a taste of the Wild West, book a stay at a dude ranch where you can spend days horseback riding through wide-open spaces, rounding up cattle or improving your roping skills. When not on horseback, go hiking, mountain biking, skeet shooting or relax in a hot tub under starry night skies. These all-inclusive working ranch vacations allow you to temporarily unplug from modern life and reconnect with nature.


From mountainsides to lakeshores, remote islands to rustic ranches, refreshing weekend nature escapes await for any interest and budget. Just be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, closed-toed shoes for hiking, binoculars for wildlife viewing, and a deep appreciation for the wonders of the great outdoors.