Woman on vacation taking a photo of the ocean landscape. California.
Woman on vacation taking a photo of the ocean landscape. California.

The Best Mini Vacation Getaway Destinations

Planning Quick Cruise Getaways Dedicated to Delighting

By Taylor Fuller | Published on July 20, 2022

Interested in heading out on a grand adventure, but don't have the time to take a week or two off? You're in luck. You can explore some really cool places and pack a lot into just three, four or five days. And on a cruise, your mini vacation starts as soon as you set sail, so you can optimize your time and come away relaxed and refreshed.

There are so many incredible weekend cruises out of popular cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. Sailing out of one of these exciting cities is a bonus because you can have fun in the departure city before or after your quick trip. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to hop onboard and sail into your weekend getaway cruise.

1. Ensenada, Mexico

Cruise to Mexico in just a few days and enjoy beautiful beaches and swim in the warm sea before heading back to sunny Los Angeles. Taking a vacation in Ensenada is just a short cruise away from LA and offers something for every traveler. Looking to stay active? Hike to the waterfall of El Salto Canyon. Want a more chill day? Sit back and enjoy the sights on a whale watching tour before enjoying a margarita and the freshest fish tacos out in the ocean breeze. And if you're looking to shop, there's a unique area called Avenida Lopez Mateos where you can support local artists and find the perfect souvenir.

2. Catalina Island, California

Catalina is a traveler’s paradise off the coast of California. There's so much to do on this island, and since cars are not allowed for visitors, everything is within walking (or golf carting) distance. This means that with just a short amount of time, you can hit up all of your must-do activities. First, spend the day walking around the cute town of Avalon and grab some souvenirs from the General Store. Afterward, tuck into some delicious food by the harbor. If a day of relaxation is more your style, head to the Descanso Beach Club, the only beach where you can legally drink on the island. A free shuttle can take you there, it runs every half-hour making it easy for you to stay relaxed.

3. CocoCay, Bahamas

Hop on a quick cruise from Florida, and you'll find your way to CocoCay in the Bahamas. This private island destination is the epitome of both relaxing and thrilling vacation vibes — it has everything you need. It's an ideal destination for family getaways, so if you've brought the kids along with you, have a friendly competition weaving through the fun obstacles in the Adventure Pool or get your adrenaline pumping on the tallest waterslide in North America. Or, if you're soaking up a little "me time," enjoy the luxury of a floating cabana under the Caribbean sunshine, with a cocktail in hand.

4. Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, the Bahamian capital, is a popular cruise destination, and with the stunning beaches and colorful, historic streets to explore, it's no secret why. Grab a day pass to the Atlantis Resort where you can plunge down waterslides, swim with dolphins, and more. Then, hop on a jet ski before relaxing with a cold Bahama Mama to quench your thirst. On the last day of your mini vacation, head to Festival Place or Straw Market and shop till you drop, picking up fun, Bahamian-made gifts for everyone back home.

5. Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

Weekend getaways to Grand Bahama Island can be equal parts adventurous and chill. Wander down postcard-worthy white sand beaches, explore the island's vibrant coral reefs on a snorkel tour, or hike Rand Nature Center's trails that'll lead you to glistening waterfalls. Plan to spend a day deep-sea fishing or investigating underwater cave systems at Lucayan National Park. And top the mini vacation off by lazing in the sun by a beach bar, sipping on cocktails and munching on some conch fritters.

6. Astoria, Oregon

Did you know you can cruise to the Pacific Northwest from California? It's an excellent choice for a mini vacation; just five days will take you to some seriously cool locations, like the seaside town of Astoria. Take in panoramic views of the city from the Astoria Column. Astoria may look familiar, as it's where the 1984 movie "The Goonies" was filmed. Then, head to the Columbia River Maritime Museum to learn about the history of the river and the Coast Guard. You can also visit a former floating lighthouse, the Lightship Columbia. And if you'd prefer to take it easy, hop on the Astoria Trolley and enjoy a one-hour tour that will take you on a 3-mile route through downtown and along the river. You won't miss a thing.

7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is one of those places you have to visit to really understand its magic. Known as a playground for celebrities, the turquoise water and white sand beaches that dot the coast explain why. You can't miss El Arco. Snap a pic of this rock formation as you ride through it in a water taxi (or kayak if you're feeling extra adventurous). If you'd prefer to stay on dry land, head to San Jose del Cabo, a really neat area filled with small studios and galleries, where you can browse some locally made wares. And before you go, you need to imbibe on some tacos or comida de pobres, a seafood stew. Wash it all down with a margarita or clamato as you reflect on your rejuvenating trip.

8. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Sail from Miami, and land in another world: Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic. This gorgeous place is the oldest city in the northern part of the country, so it's brimming with history. Don't miss Casa de la Cultura, an intellectual hub housed in a three-story Victorian home, where you can walk through exhibits and attend art and cultural events. Then, hop on a cable car at Monte Isabel de Torres to take in the wonderful views of this port city before diving into the clear waters on a snorkel tour. There's so much to do here, you won't feel like a moment's been wasted.

Make the most of weekend getaways with a quick cruise to any number of extraordinary vacation destinations.


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