Somewhere between the staycation and the all-out vacation is the often overlooked (and highly underrated) not-too-far-away-cation.
Need some ideas for that category? We found four fab destinations just far enough away to feel like an escape, but won’t take you too far from the home front. All offer different experiences, each takes you in a different direction, and you can drive there in 4 hours or less.
Maybe your getaway goals include decadent dining and spa treatments. Are you the chill-in-the-room-with-a-book-and-your-dog type or do you like to see-and-do-everything-with-the-kids? From resort life to connecting with nature, we’ve got you covered! Pick a direction, choose your own adventure. You don’t have to go miles and miles to make memories with the fam or soak up some solitude—there are interesting experiences to be discovered closer to home.
NORTH: Stone Chalet Bed & Breakfast Inn | Ann Arbor, MI | 3 hrs, 40 min
Keep an open mind, Buckeye fans (this inn is in close proximity to that rival college football team up north). Tucked into a residential neighborhood, the 1917 Swiss-style chalet is part of a surprisingly spacious complex. The 10 charmingly beautiful rooms all come with private bathrooms and a peaceful vibe. You won’t find a TV in any of them, but the Wi-Fi is fast, so you can still stream on your devices. Curl up with a book or go out—fun and food options are plentiful in this college town.
SOUTH: The 21c Museum Hotel | Louisville, KY | 2 hours
No cookie-cutter surroundings here. Top-rated by Conde Nast Traveler in 2021, this Louisville luxury doubles as a contemporary art museum, much like its Cincy sister. Enjoy spacious rooms (dog-friendly on request), colorful art installations, in-house spa, and everything the city has to offer, which is why it’s worth the trip—from Mega Caverns to the Bourbon Trail to the Louisville Slugger Museum, there’s an endless list of things to do just outside. Pro tip: For a truly memorable and immersive experience, check out the Asleep in the Cyclone room.
EAST: The Wilds | Cumberland, OH | 2 hrs 40 min
Maybe you’ve heard about this magical place but haven’t tried it yet. Home to cheetahs, camels, ostriches and more, it’s an unforgettably wild experience with truly breathtaking views. Need water? They’ve got you covered with a fishing safari. In fact, numerous group programs are available, along with specialty tours and zipline fun. Want to stay the night? Luxurious adult-only yurts are available, along with a lodge and cabins. There’s even a WildNights Outpost experience where you can camp with giraffes, rhinos and other rare species nearby.
WEST: French Lick Resort | French Lick, IN | 3 hours
There’s a whole vacation happening here without leaving the grounds. Voted best hotel in Indiana by Travel + Leisure magazine, this southern Indiana resort includes three (count’ em, three!) hotels (two on the national historic register), all with pet-friendly accommodations available. Prepare to be impressed—one of the hotels has been referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. Top-rated golf courses, luxurious spas, stunning surroundings, 24-hour casino, seemingly endless family-friendly activities, horse stables, shopping, numerous dining options—have you booked your getaway yet?