At Knack, we love a good weekend getaway. And during Covid - when we didn’t get around to any long-distance travel - we discovered a bunch of awesome vacation-worthy trips just down the road from our homes.
The Knack team is scattered all across the country, so we’re excited to share our favorite weekend trips in our respective parts of the country. Although our favorite weekend getaways look pretty different, they’re always assisted by our Knack Packs (our favorite weekend travel bag).
Enjoy these insider tips on some of the best weekend trips in the US.
The Best Weekend Getaways in the Northeast
Chad - Franconia, New Hampshire
Franconia, New Hampshire has become a favorite weekend getaway regardless of the season. In the winter, there is great skiing at Cannon Mountain (a bit cold but never crowded) with Loon, Waterville Valley, and Bretton Woods ski resorts just a short drive away.
In the summer, the hiking is fantastic due to Franconia’s location in the White Mountain National Forest. Mt. Lafayette, a 5,000+ foot peak with fantastic views, is right in Franconia, and within a 25 minute drive you can get to:
- The famed Mt. Washington: The tallest peak east of the Mississippi - complete with a road, a cog railway, and numerous hiking trails to the summit.
- The Flume Gorge: A two mile hike leading to a 100 foot waterfall carved out of solid granite.
- Franconia Notch State Park - Used to contain the iconic “Old Man in the Mountain” rock formation until its collapse, but still has great trails, and fishing and swimming in Echo Lake.
After a day spent outdoors, we like the Hungry Bear Café for a quick breakfast or lunch, the Horse and Hound Inn for a drink or dinner (they’re also a B&B) or the Cold Mountain Café. If we have enough energy, a quick drive to Littleton takes us to our favorite brew pub: the taproom at Schilling Beer Company.
If hiking and eating aren’t your thing, you can visit Robert Frost’s home, take a tram to the top of Cannon Mountain (don’t forget to visit the New England Ski Museum while you’re there), or shop for great bargains at the Garnet Hill outlet store.
Close to Boston, Rhode Island, Connecticut and the NYC area, Franconia is a fun and easy place for a weekend jaunt with your Knack Pack.
Rachel - Portland, Maine
One of my favorite weekend getaways in the northeast is a couple day jaunt to Portland, ME. It’s an easy car ride for us which wins points immediately. And it’s a casual town, so packing is super easy (just remember a fleece for chilly nights or mornings).
The food scene in Portland is amazing. In regards to Portland’s highlights, as always I have to start with food and drink - my favorite topic.
- Allagash Brewery - Portland has so many great breweries to try, but I’m a big fan of the Allagash White here.
- Hot Suppa - My daughter still talks about the best breakfast she ever had here, called The Mother Clucker (I kid you not, that is the name)
- Two Fat Cats - Best bakery in Portland, Maine. I highly recommend the S’mores pie, but you really can’t go wrong.
There are too many best options for the best lobster roll to cover here, but finding “the one” is a wonderful weekend endeavor.
For entertainment, Casco Bay will never disappoint. Whether you bike, jog, rollerblade or walk the Eastern Promenade and Back Cove trail you will enjoy the views, the breeze and parks along the way. Or take a ferry to one of the islands, or stay on board and tour the bay.
We know that summer means baseball, and I love a good double or triple A ballpark. Portland’s Hadlock field, home to Boston’s AA team The Seadogs, is a great park to see a game. Cheap seats, great beer selection (there I go again) and some center field excitement when a player hits a homerun makes this park a really fun night for everyone.
For the shopper, the outlets at Freeport are a great way to spend a rainy or sunny day. With Ben and Jerry’s available outside LL Bean, even the non-shopper (read: kids) can be pacified.
Now you know what I know. It’s time to grab your Knack; pack in your walking/running shoes, (our compressible shoe bag will leave space for packing up your Freeport finds), add some shorts and shirts, get yourself to Portland and let the good times roll. Happy Summer 2021!
Favorite Weekend Getaway in the Northwest US
Keith - Oregon & Washington
In the Pacific Northwest, there are so many opportunities for weekend getaways. Today, I’ll focus on Oregon and Washington. Let’s start with Oregon.
The Oregon Coast
The Oregon coast has so much to offer, but our favorite location is Cannon Beach. It’s close to Portland and has a good mix of outdoor activities, as well a quaint resort town vibe with cool shops and great places to eat.
We don’t like to plan our weekend trips too much, so we spend most of our time on the beach walking the dog, beachcombing, crabbing, riding bikes, or exploring the sea creatures at Haystack Rock when there’s a low tide.
Oregon coast sunsets are the best! It’s hard to beat watching the sky turn yellow and orange as the sun sets, with a glass of local Oregon wine in hand. At dusk, we’ll start a bonfire on the beach and let the kids fill up on s’mores (#parentfail).
Here in the PNW, we love our coffee, and one of my favorite spots is Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters. The line forms way before the doors open, so get there early and prepare to wait.
We used to live in Colorado, and we miss the mountains - that’s probably why we like Central Oregon so much. We like outdoor activities, but also enjoy small towns for nightlife and restaurants. Bend, Oregon checks all of those boxes.
In the Summer, the Deschutes river offers great SUP’ing, amazing hikes, fly fishing, swimming, bike paths, and great restaurants all around. Oh, did I mention breweries? There are so many killer breweries in Bend, but right now, Crux Brewery is my favorite.
In the winter, Mt. Bachelor offers skiing, cross country skiing, board, tubing, or snowshoeing.
Heading North, we love weekend getaways to Seattle. This city has so much to offer. There are the obvious tourist attractions, and the one we enjoy the most is Pike Place Market. It’s even got an alley wall filled with gum.
One of the coolest “touristy” things we’ve done in Seattle is the Underground tour. I recommend this to everyone, and it’s always a favorite. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.
When it comes to weekend getaways, we always use our Knack Packs, and in so many different ways. Knack Packs are like a chameleon, but instead of changing colors, it changes its form with each situation you’re in. I usually have to fit work in, so it’s important to me to be able to pack my work and travel things in the same bag. But my family uses the Knack Pack as well:
- My 13 year old carries a Series 1 Medium
- My 11 year old carries a Series 1 Small
- My wife uses a Series 1 Medium
- I typically carry a Series 1 or 2 Medium
In warmer weather, we each pack our Knack Packs with 2-3 outfits and head out the door. It’s comforting to know that we have everything we need in just one bag. Heck, sometimes I use my Knack Pack to pack family games if we’re headed to a remote cabin in the woods.
Knack Packs come in handy when returning from trips, since we always come back with more than we brought. When flying, we don’t have to check a bag. I’ve probably paid for our Knack Packs 10 times over with all the money we’ve saved by not checking bags.
Want to hear some more useful packing tips? Check out this post.
Best Weekend Getaway in the Southwest
Elisa - Joshua Tree, California
Living in the chaos of Los Angeles means that on my weekend trips, I want to go somewhere quiet. And Joshua Tree is just that. This desert town sits at the foot of the 1200 square mile Joshua Tree National Park - an expanse of hot, dry land full of bizarre landscapes and the funky looking trees that the area is named after.
There are lots of AirBnbs in the town of Joshua Tree, but I always prefer to stay in the park. I’ll pull into the Jumbo Rocks campsite (arguably the best campsite) in the evening when the temperature has cooled down, watch the sunset, and then the stars.
Mornings are spent hiking or scrambling around on the rocks. When the midday heat strikes, it’s time to go into town. From Jumbo Rocks and most other campsites in the park, the town is only about a 30 minute drive.
Joshua Tree doesn’t offer much in the way of food, but I do love to get an iced latte at Frontier Cafe and enjoy their air conditioning and strong wifi (this is also a great place to work remotely). Once I’m all cooled off, I browse the many eccentric consignment shops.
Just outside of Joshua Tree - in Pioneertown - is a legendary bar called Pappy and Harriets. Lots of famous musicians - including Paul McCartney and Lizzo - have performed here. It’s the best place to go for a drink, dinner, and live music.
I always bring my Knack Pack to Joshua Tree, since it has space for my laptop and camera, plus all of my clothes. But I can still use it as a lightweight day backpack, which is awesome for short hikes and walking around the town.
Now that we've shared our favorite weekend getaway, what are yours? And do you have a favorite weekend travel bag? Let us know in the comments.
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