Weekend Getaways!

Amanda Harper


As temperatures finally cool off, you may feel the pull to head outside. Give in! This time of year is perfect for safely exploring the great outdoors. These quick weekend excursions offer boundless fun in wide-open spaces..

Cades Cove, Tennessee

This wide valley features sweeping views, with stunning fall color everywhere you turn. The 11-mile loop is often very busy on weekends, so take the trip early on a weekday. There are plenty of walking trails to enjoy in the area, and plenty of wildlife to spot. The historic cabins and churches in Cades Cove provide the opportunity to learn a little about the past.

Situated in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove is close to lots of outdoor attractions, from the Gatlinburg Sky Bridge to cave trails.

Clermont, Kentucky

With 16,137 acres of natural splendor, the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest offers stunning views along its many trails. But aside from the fascinating visitor center and canopy tree walk (75’ above the forest floor), Bernheim boasts some seriously cool art. The Forest Giants are a selfie-worthy must-see.

Clermont is also situated along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. Just sayin’.

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

RRG is the perfect weekend getaway for Lexingtonians: close enough to make the trip convenient, far enough away that it feels like a whole ‘nother world. Camping, hiking, climbing, ziplining and so much more awaits. And the sights are just as impressive – the Natural Bridge offers sweeping views of Daniel Boone National Forest. From paddling through The Gorge Underground to staying in a cozy cabin, there’s so much to do in this close by natural area.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Ohio

Boasting the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world (next to Munich, Germany), Cincinnati’s annual festival shines a spotlight on German heritage, beer and food. This year’s plans include four days of fun – September 16th-19th – in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati.

The Catskills, New York

Yes, it’s a top destination for leaf peeping. But there is also a world of fun to be had this month, from fly fishing or biking to off-roading and whitewater rafting. The beautiful covered bridges and scenic drives will take your breath away. And don’t miss the beautiful farms and you-pick orchards!

Asheville, NC

The beauty of North Carolina deserves to be explored, and Asheville offers a lot of great ways to do just that, whether you take a scenic drive, a challenging hike, or a leisurely horseback ride. The area offers golf, fishing, birding, ziplining, and more.

Asheville’s vibrant local culture offers art, theatre, world-class dining, shopping, music, spas, and plenty of other creature comforts, such as resorts and luxury hotels. The Biltmore estate is a local must-see!

Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia/Kentucky

This area offers easy views of the spectacular gorge and surrounding forest that marks the border between our two states. Lakefront cabins offer a wonderful, secluded retreat. Thrilling activities like biking, ziplining, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and hiking are available in the area. Best of all, this is an easy day trip if you’re short on time!

Clayton, Georgia

Just this side of the Georgia border, this quaint town offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains. Camp, kayak, hike, paddleboard, or golf in this beautiful natural area.

Nearby Tallulah Falls is a must-see. Its cascading waterfalls will take your breath away. The suspension bridge spanning it – 80 feet up – offers a little extra thrill!