Best Northern Cities for Luxury Staycation Road Trip in the U.S.

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You may not have the cash on hand to take an impromptu trip to the Eiffel Tower, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the vacation you deserve. Not everyone has piles of money for travel expenses stashed up. For those people, staycations are the perfect way to stretch your vacation dollars without sacrificing fun. By setting your sights a little closer to home, you can go all-out for your vacation without abandoning your budget.

Whether you're looking for something for the whole family, a romantic night out for you and that special someone, or a solo adventure, your dream staycation is just a short drive or train ride away.

At first thought, planning a staycation without a big city nearby seems difficult. There will be fewer activities in small towns, right? Well, that's not exactly true.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

When planning your staycation, you want to think like a tourist. Tourists often use their limited time in a city to have experiences that they can't get at home. Seek out unique attractions around your city that you've never bothered to enjoy before.

There are only a few WhirlyBall courts in the country, and the Twin Cities are home to one of them. The basketball/hockey/lacrosse/bumper car mash up is fun in groups, so gather a bunch of friends or family and try it out. The Mall of America is also full of one-of-a-kind attractions, including the largest indoor zip line in North America and a 56-foot tall ropes course.

You may not know it if you're not much of a drinker, but Minnesota is one of the best craft beer states in the country. There's no shortage of breweries in the Twin Cities area, so you can fill your day with a wide array of brews without going out of Lyft's range. But delicious beer pours all around the state. Plan a road trip based around stops in Grand Rapids (Brewery Vivant) and Duluth (Bent Paddle Brewing). Try something new, and become so knowledgeable about beer tourists will start asking you where they can get their IBU fix.

Seattle, Washington

If you live in a city with a thriving arts community, you probably enjoy the fruits of that community in your day-to-day life. Murals fill the sides of buildings, and the streets sing with the music of street performers. For your staycation, plan activities around supporting local artists as a relaxing way of plugging into your community.

Seattle's music scene didn't die off in the ‘90s. The scene is still going strong, but any local support is a crucial boost for hometown artists and the venues that host them. The legendary Showbox theater in Pike's Place Market was recently saved from demolition, so see a concert there during your staycation to show how much Seattle's artistic legacy means to you.

If you yearn for the headbanging days of Seattle's past (or want to go back even further to the city's jazz and psych-rock roots), there's no better place to do so than the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP. Once known as the Experience Music Project, the museum fused with the Science Fiction Museum, giving you twice the experience with the same ticket. The halls are filled with interactive exhibits that help you learn about the music, instruments, and people that shaped Seattle's music scene and American music as a whole. No matter your preferred genre, this museum is a must-visit for music lovers.

For the ultimate luxury experience, book a night at the Moore Hotel when there's a show you want to see at the Moore Theater (which is near MoPOP). You can enjoy the show, and instead of battling traffic to get home afterwards, just take the elevator up to your lavish hotel room to enjoy the view of downtown.

Portland, Maine

Since a staycation will help you save at the pump, you can instead put those vacation savings toward luxurious outings you might not have otherwise been able to afford. Book a night in a classy hotel where you never pictured yourself staying. Treat yourself to an extravagant meal at the restaurant you saw featured in a TV show. Take your budget outside your comfort zone, at least for a night, as a way of breaking up your daily life and embracing the staycation attitude.

Portland, Maine is well known for its seafood, but the quality food doesn't stop once you reach shore. Eve's at the Garden Restaurant serves up the best and freshest local ingredients, usually straight from the farmers market. The Corner Room will take you to Italy with an authentic dining experience. Hugo's pairs an inventive menu with a wide range of beer, wine, and spirits to choose from. Just outside Portland you'll find the Inn by the Sea, where you can enjoy a AAA Four Diamond hotel experience on a mile of private beach. Aside from stunning beachside views, the hotel also boasts a LEED Silver-certified spa, where you can get pampered in an environmentally sustainable way.

Keystone, South Dakota

At first thought, planning a staycation without a big city nearby seems difficult. There will be fewer activities in small towns, right? Well, that's not exactly true. For the best staycation in a less-populated region, turn to nature.

Keystone, South Dakota is the perfect example of a natural staycation paradise. Of course, there's Mount Rushmore. The iconic monument to some of America's greatest presidents was completed in the mid-20th century, and it remains a major tourist destination to this day. The region is also famous for Black Hills gold. You can learn more about the history of gold mining in the region with a factory tour. The Black Hills also offer unique hiking opportunities. While most regions are restricted to one type of terrain, the Black Hills are unusually diverse in their landscapes. There are more than 400 trails to choose from, some winding through tree-lined paths and others crossing expansive grasslands. Pick a trail and take a hike to start off your staycation right.