Looking for the best day trips to take in the US? When it comes to a little vacation away from home, you don't always have to travel thousands or even hundreds of miles away to enjoy yourself! There are plenty of day trips that might just be close enough to where you live so that you can enjoy yourself without having to handle the extra expense of longer travel time.
The best day trips in the US are ready for you to take right now, and a few of them may be closer than you think!
Bahia Honda State Park
For nature at its best, Bahia Honda State Park near Miami is the perfect spot for a day trip. There is a park with over 500 acres where you can spot lagoons, sand dunes and mangroves. There are plenty of excursions to see the sting rays up close or even a barracuda. If snorkeling is your thing, then Bahia Honda State Park has some of the world's best. If you just want to hang out and relax, the beaches are pretty and the sun is warm. Don't forget kayaking, paddling, and fishing either—Bahia Honda State Park has it all in this Florida paradise.
If you live near Houston and are looking for one of the best day trips to take in the US, you won't do much better than Galveston. This barrier island has tons to offer the entire family, and you won't find better seafood than the shrimp, crab, and lobster here—caught fresh, of course. The Pleasure Pier offers up carnival rides and games, and there is even a water park for those extra hot days. There are historic homes to explore, beaches, and activities such as bike riding and the Duck Tour.
Who doesn't love New Orleans? While there is plenty to do there, if you're looking for a getaway, then St. Francisville has a more laid back and relaxed atmosphere with fewer crowds but plenty to see. Explore the area and see antebellum homes and plantations. In fact, you can even visit Myrtles Plantation, a rumored haunted spot which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. If you just want to see the more natural side of nature, you can enjoy bird watching, bicycling, hiking and sightseeing. There are also public gardens to visit, and the Angola Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum is just a short drive away. Either way, this locale is one of the best day trips to take in the US.
Live near Phoenix, Arizona? Just a short drive away is Sedona, where you'll be amazed by mesas, red rocks and canyons. In fact, Slide Rock State Park is a sight to behold in itself with hiking, golf, spas, and the natural 50-foot water slide. There is a heavy Native American influence here, which means you will be able to find handmade jewelry and art on your visit, and the nature viewing is not to be missed. The entire area is stunning and easy to get to from Phoenix for the perfect day trip.
Anna Maria Island
Another one of the best day trips to take in the US happens not too far from Tampa. Anna Maria Island is the best getaway for those who want to relax a little instead of dealing with the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds. Pristine beaches, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and sightseeing await you and guess what? There are no chain stores and you won't find a high rise anywhere in sight!
Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow
Just a little ways from New York City lies Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. You might recognize the names like the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane, but there are other things to do at this day trip as well. There is the Rockefeller Mansion, other historic mansions, and even a restaurant on a working farm—you know you'll get the freshest food there.
Starved Rock State Park
Just two hours away from Chicago is Starved Rock State Park, and this Midwest destination is one of the best day trips in the US. This park is a national historic landmark that features plenty to do, such as exploring the waterfalls, canyons and sandstone rocks. There is an amazing 13 miles of hiking trails, and in the winter, you might even spot a bald eagle. Stop for lunch at the Starved Red Rock or just enjoy nature how it is meant to be seen.
Los Angeles is an adventure itself, but one of the best places to take a day trip to is Santa Barbara. First of all, the weather is sublime with a Mediterranean feel, and you will find a lot of culture and things to do, including art galleries, wineries, beaches, parks like the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden. Take a tour of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or check out the Urban Wine Trail if wine tasting is your pleasure. It's no wonder the rich and famous love this area of the country, but you don't have to be wealthy to take advantage of its sights and things to do.
Located near San Diego, Carlsbad has a lot to offer anyone looking to get away for a day. In fact, it's one of the best day trips to take in the US for a number of reasons. First of all, there are completely natural springs to enjoy. If you're a golfer, you won't find anything short of world-class golfing, while hikers will enjoy spotting the adobe buildings that are scattered along the four miles of hiking trails. Don't forget the kids either—there is Leo Carrillo Ranch, the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland, one of the more popular destinations which is centered on the beloved toy fanchise.