The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays. Between the promise of warm weather, fireworks and that extra day off work, it just seems like a no-brainer to get away. But sometimes life happens, and we forget to plan that vacation (guilty as charged). Or, perhaps, you’re just a leave-it-to-the-last-possible-second type of traveler. That’s OK, too. Because it’s not too late to celebrate Independence Day with a fabulous trip. To help make planning a breeze (time is ticking, after all), we’ve rounded up the best last-minute 4th of July getaways that are easily accessible from major U.S. cities.
16 Last-Minute 4th of July Getaways You Can Still Book Now
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1. From New York City: Greenport, NY
- Getting there: 2 hours 45 minutes from New York City
- Where to stay: The Menhaden (from $428/night), Harborfront Inn at Greenport (from $275/night), 1820s Whaling Captain's Home (from $625/night; sleeps 5)
Everyone knows about the Hamptons—and the prices and availability (or lack thereof) very much reflect that. Equally accessible via LIRR train from Penn Station, the North Fork of Long Island is far more affordable with arguably less attitude and an abundance of pleasurable pursuits. Our go-to town? Greenport. This historic village delights with a blend of quaint inns, farm-to-table restaurants, cute shops and breezy bars with ocean views. Activities range from waterside yoga and wine tasting at family-owned vineyards to fishing and tours of oyster farms. Why not play “Yankee Doodle” and give the whole experience a patriotic soundtrack?
2. From Los Angeles: Malibu, CA
- Getting there: 40 minutes from Los Angeles
- Where to stay: The Surfrider Hotel (from $399/night), Malibu Beach Inn (from $589/night), The Malibu Suites #3 ($313/night, sleeps 4)
Malibu may be 32 miles from DTLA, but it feels like another world. Perched on either side of the Pacific Coast Highway, this laid-back SoCal beach town is everything you dream of for a summer weekend escape. First off, we’ve already made the case that it’s easy to get to (yes, even if you factor in Los Angeles traffic). Malibu also has pristine beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, revamped motels that are Instagram gold and wonderful restaurants. Love a casual spot? Hit up Malibu Farm Pier Cafe.
3. From Chicago: Lake Geneva, WI
- Getting there: 1 hour 25 minutes from Chicago
- Where to stay: The Ridge Hotel, Lost Oak on Center ($171/night, sleeps 6), Beautiful Lakefront Home ($345/night sleeps 8)
Chicago boasts gorgeous weather in summer. But to fully enjoy the sunshine and warmer temps, you’ve got to escape the city and get out on the water. Insert Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. (While folks outside of the Midwest might not associate the Badger State with beaches, locals know the state is filled to the brim with outdoor adventures and lots of waterfronts.) Less than 90 minutes from the Windy City, this beloved summer destination is a magnet for travelers seeking fun in the form of waterfront recreation, marveling at Gilded Age mansions and the Geneva Lake Shore Path. What more could you possibly need for a fantastic 4th of July getaway?
4. From San Diego: Encinitas, CA
- Getting there: 30 minutes from San Diego
- Where to stay: Inn at Moonlight Beach (from $428/night), Beach Cottage ($395/night, sleeps 7), Vintage Bungalow ($365/night, sleeps 6)
San Diego is already a totally vacation-worthy locale in its own right. But we suppose if you’re fortunate enough to call this sun-kissed SoCal metropolis home all the time, you might want to switch it up for the 4th of July. Cruise up the coast on Highway 101 for 25 miles and you’ll hit Encinitas, a laid-back beach town that’s long been known as a surfer's paradise. These days, it attracts an even broader swath of visitors who come to ride the waves, browse the record shops and eat killer burritos.
5. From Houston: Fredericksburg, TX
- Getting there: 3 hours 50 minutes from Houston
- Where to stay: Vineyard Trail Cottages (from $164/night), Lone Star Cabin No. 4 ($242/night, sleeps 4), Quaint Cottage ($235/night, sleeps 5)
What makes Fredericksburg such a great vacation spot for Houstonians over 4th of July and really the entire summer? Well, for starters, its location in the heart of Texas wine country means that beautiful scenery and terroir-driven sips are a given. The thing many people don’t realize about Fredericksburg is its German heritage runs deep. Chowing down on bratwurst and schnitzel and tossing back a frosty stein feels like a fun twist on the usual hot dogs and Bud Light. Round out our Independence Day holiday by hiking Enchanted Rock.
6. From San Francisco: Sonoma Valley, CA
- Getting there: 60 minutes from San Francisco
- Where to stay: The Lodge at Sonoma Resort Autograph Collection (from $489/night), MacArthur Place (from $599/night), Sonoma Berry Blossom Farm ($285/night, sleeps 3)
An hour outside of San Francisco lies the picture-perfect town of Sonoma (aka a less crowded and more wallet-friendly alternative to Napa). It’s not your typical fireworks, parades and hot-dog-eating-contest type of Independence Day trip. Instead of the traditional 4th of July trappings, travelers can expect to sip award-winning vino at gorgeous vineyards, savor delicious food made by world-class chefs that highlights locally grown ingredients, amble around the quaint downtown and soak in the relaxing wine country ambiance. Definitely beats warm beer and burnt burgers, right?
7. From Denver: Steamboat Springs, CO
- Getting there: 3 hours from Denver
- Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Steamboat Springs (from $196/night), Remodeled Condo ($199/night, sleeps 4), Log Cabin ($600/night, sleeps 10)
Denver is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring so many picturesque places in Colorado. For an easy and epic 4th of July getaway from the Mile High City, set your sights on Steamboat Springs. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this off-the-beaten-path yet totally accessible destination has lots to eat, drink and do. There are scenic hiking trails, tons of great restaurants, breweries and, of course, the fabled Steamboat Gondola. It’s typically less crowded in the summer than some of its big-name neighbors—though we can’t make any promises come Independence Day.
8. From Austin: Dripping Springs, TX
- Getting there: 30 minutes from Austin
- Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott Austin Dripping Springs (from $149/night), Restored Historic Home ($247/night, sleeps 6), Hill Country Retreat ($299/night, sleeps 6)
For those that aren’t local, a trip to Austin probably sounds like a pretty awesome way to spend the 4th of July weekend. But we totally get that when you take up residence somewhere, it’s nice to get away every now and again. Just 30 minutes outside of Austin (close enough that you could totally go for the day or even the afternoon) sits Dripping Springs, a Texas Hill Country town that’s packed with natural beauty, lick-your-lips-good BBQ, distilleries, breweries, rodeos and some refreshing swimming holes to help beat the heat.
9. From Phoenix: Flagstaff, AZ
- Getting there: 2 hours 30 minutes from Phoenix
- Where to stay: Little America Flagstaff (from $149/night), Entire Cabin (from $203/night, sleeps 10), Townhouse in Flagstaff (from $145/night, sleeps 4)
Need a break from the Phoenix heat? We don't blame you. Pack a bag, hop in the car (probably a good idea to turn on the AC) and hightail it to Flagstaff. It’s quite literally the coolest place in all of Arizona with summer temperatures averaging in the low 80s. This city in the high country mountains is known as the gateway to Grand Canyon National Park and the San Francisco Peaks. Flagstaff is also home to ponderosa pine forests, an extinct volcano, many breweries and even the world’s largest ice cream cone factory.
10. From Boston: Cape Cod, MA
- Getting there: 1 hour 15 minutes from Boston
- Where to stay: Chatham Bars Inn (from $515/night), Beach Breeze Inn (from $154/night), Lands End Inn (call for rates)
Cape Cod has long been considered the *it* summer destination on the East Coast. The Kennedys famously have a compound in Hyannis Port, which really says it all. If you want a classic New England escape that feels both posh and totally patriotic, Cape Cod is most certainly the move. (Yes, a white swimsuit, blue linen button-down and SPF are required.) Walk along the sandy beaches, admire the coastal cottages and historic, mansion-sized second homes, go gallery hopping in Provincetown and stop by Devil's Purse Brewing Company for a cold Kölsch-style beer.
11. From Seattle: Leavenworth, WA
- Getting there: 2 hours 15 minutes from Seattle
- Where to stay: Bavarian Lodge (from $247/night), Aventyr Hus ($200/night, sleeps 4), River’s Echo Condo ($350/night, sleeps 6)
Convinced a trip to a Bavarian-style village isn’t possible this late in the game? Leavenworth will have you singing a different (maybe not quite star-spangled but still catchy) tune. Situated in the Cascade Mountains, this storybook town transports travelers to Germany with its enchanting architecture, sausages, craft beer and Nutcracker Museum. Is it the most patriotic option for Independence Day? Not by a long shot. But we’re into the idea of an out-of-the-ordinary locale.
12. From Portland: Willamette Valley, OR
- Getting there: 50 minutes from Portland
- Where to stay: Atticus Hotel (inquire for rates), Downtown McMinnville Cottage ($175/night, sleeps 4), Charming Bungalow ($250/night, sleeps 4)
Drive less than an hour from Portland and you’ll arrive at an idyllic destination called Willamette Valley. For those not familiar with Oregon's premier wine region, it rivals Burgundy (yes, Burgundy as in France) for pinot noir production. Besides incredible vino—and the myriad wineries, verdant vineyards and tasting rooms that come with the territory—it’s a heavy hitter in the world of farm-to-fork food with many award-winning eateries that showcase the best seasonal and local bounty from the area. Add to that, independently owned shops, cafes serving fresh-roasted coffee, hiking trails and day spas.
13. From Charlotte: Asheville, NC
- Getting there: 2 hours 15 minutes from Charlotte
- Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Asheville (from $149/night), Creekside Cottage ($217/night, sleeps 4), Luxury Riverfront Cabin ($463/night, sleeps 4)
We love a mountain town—and Asheville definitely fits the bill. (OK, fine it’s a city, but the small-town spirit is strong.) Anyway, this offbeat gem in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains has oodles of quirky charm and more activities than you could possibly pack into a long weekend. Choose between hundreds of hiking and biking trails or catch a concert at one of the live music venues. And don’t forget to hit up the many studios and galleries that breathe new life into the old factory buildings in the Downtown Art District.
14. From Columbus: Hocking Hills, OH
- Getting there: 60 minutes from Columbus
- Where to stay: Hocking Hills Inn (call for rates), Black Bear Retreat ($169/night, sleeps 2), Rockview Cottage ($159/night, sleeps 4)
You’d be hard-pressed to find natural beauty that rivals Hocking Hills just outside a major city (or anywhere for that matter). That’s a huge reason we’re so smitten with this real-life Eden located 57 miles from Columbus. Beloved by outdoorsy travelers, Hocking Hills offers a breathtaking mix of caves, gushing waterfalls, rocky gorges and dense forests. Hiking and biking are popular activities. It’s also a great spot for guided belly-boat fishing treks and more leisurely afternoons of casting a line. Just be sure to leave some space on the grill for the catch of the day.
15. From Philadelphia: Atlantic City, NJ
- Getting there: 60 minutes from Philadelphia
- Where to stay: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (from $109/night), Ocean Casino Resort (from $179/night), Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (from $139/night)
Las Vegas isn’t the only place to roll the dice. The OG gambling and entertainment mecca, Atlantic City brings a little bit of everything to the table. Whether you’re keen on playing blackjack, unwinding with spa treatments, feasting on culinary delights prepared at restaurants helmed by big-name chefs, catching some rays, seeing a concert or watching the fireworks from the boardwalk, this buzzing Jersey Shore destination delivers. And with a slew of casino hotels, staying like a high roller doesn’t mean spending all your winnings on a room.
16. From Atlanta: Augusta, GA
- Getting there: 2 hours 15 minutes from Atlanta
- Where to Stay: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Augusta (from $184/night),Sadie’s House ($99/night, sleeps 6), Cottage in North Augusta ($64/night, sleeps 4)
If you’re looking for an escape from the urban hubbub of Atlanta without leaving behind all the comforts of the city, Augusta has got you covered. This charming and oh-so scenic destination is Georgia’s third largest and second oldest city, and history buffs will delight in the many attractions that speak to Augusta’s storied past—including the boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson, the Augusta Museum of History and the Meadow Garden, a National Historic Landmark where George Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, once lived. Rows of beautifully restored 19th and early 20th century architecture can be found in the Augusta Historic District, and a stroll along the Savannah on the famous Augusta Riverwalk promises instant relaxation in a picturesque setting. Plus, outdoor enthusiasts will be treated to natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities galore at the Augusta Canal, Forks Area Trail System and Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Oh, and Augusta is basically the golf capital of the state, so folks who care for the sport can spend the whole weekend on one of the many putting greens if they so choose.