Summary

  • Experience the natural wonders of Iceland on a three-day trip or discover the stunning Pitons of Saint Lucia over one long weekend.
  • Consider less-popular European countries like Belgium or smaller Caribbean islands like Grenada for a 3-day getaway from the US.
  • Visit diverse destinations like Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Costa Rica for sandy beaches, unique attractions, and delicious food.

For those who reside in the United States of America and have a long three-day weekend ahead of them, traveling is likely on the radar. While three days might seem too short, there are some nations that are ideal for a weekend with an extra-day getaway. For example, it’s possible to see the essentials of Mykonos in a few days or enjoy a glimpse of the natural wonders in Iceland on a three-day itinerary.

With the world feeling more accessible each day, who else needs 3-day vacation ideas? Obvious choices like the Caribbean come to mind, but less obvious choices like smaller European nations shouldn’t be overlooked. Sometimes, staying domestic even does the trick. Here are some top picks for a 3-day weekend getaway for those who live in the USA.

UPDATE: 2024/01/25 09:59 EST BY LAURALYN BROWN

Discover Even More Incredible Destinations For a 3-Day Weekend Vacation From America

An entire country in only 3 days? Challenge accepted! This list has been expanded with 2 more stunning places to vacation for a 3-day weekend. This list is also complete with the best cities to visit, hotels to stay in, and activities to enjoy.

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14
Ireland

See the majority of the hot spots in Ireland over one weekend!


The ruins of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary County, Ireland
Shutterstock

The ruins of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary County, Ireland

3 days of castles, pints of Guinness, and the most stunning seaside cliffs in the world? Yes, please! 3 days in Ireland is plenty of time to wander around this beautiful island and experience the friendly culture, rich food, and breathtaking scenery.

It’s best to start an Irish adventure in Dublin, the capital city, and hit major stops like Dublin Castle, the Temple Bar District, and the Guinness Storehouse. From there, visitors can easily make day trips out to the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Cork, or Dingle. First-time visitors should be sure to grab one of the many unique souvenirs in Dublin before leaving!

13
Belgium

Thanks to its small size, travelers can easily visit major Belgian cities in three days


Bruges, Belgium
Photo by Despina Galani on Unsplash

Bruges, Belgium

Anyone looking for 3-day vacation ideas from the USA will definitely find fun in Belgium. A weekend spent in Belgium is filled with plenty of chocolate, beer, and the most incredible feats of architecture in the world!

Like Ireland, travelers should start their whirlwind weekend in the capital city of Brussels. The city can easily be experienced in one day as most of the major attractions are close to each other. From there, visitors can make a quick drive to Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, or Waterloo, which is only 30 minutes away.

Luckily, Belgium is a small country which makes it easier to travel to major cities and hidden gem towns in only 3 days.

12
Mexico

Visitors will have the best 3-day vacation surrounded by sandy beaches, unique attractions, and street tacos


Overhead Shot of the PLaya del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

An overhead shot of the Playa del Carmen in Cancun, Mexico

Spending three days in Mexico is absolutely worth it, offering a taste of the country’s diverse attractions. Begin with the beautiful beaches of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, or Puerto Vallarta, where travelers can soak up the sun, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, or simply relax.

For culture and history, explore the charming towns of Tulum or Mérida, known for their ancient ruins and vibrant markets. Savor authentic Mexican cuisine, from street tacos to fine dining. While three days won’t cover all of Mexico’s wonders, it’s enough to experience its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.

11
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is the perfect place for beaches, historic sites, and mouthwatering food


Guajataca tunnel, Isabela, Puerto Rico
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Guajataca tunnel, Isabela, Puerto Rico

Looking for 3-day weekend trips from the US without actually leaving the US (technically)? Puerto Rico is an ideal destination for travelers who are American citizens, as it’s still part of the United States as an unincorporated territory, making it very convenient to visit for those seeking weekend vacation ideas from America.

Indeed, there are many things to do in the oldest European settlement in America, but three days offer this Caribbean gem’s compact yet enriching taste. Visitors can start in San Juan, where historic Old San Juan’s colorful streets and historic forts will transport tourists back in time.

Then, visitors can venture to the lush El Yunque National Forest, a tropical paradise for hiking and waterfall exploration. Tourists can take advantage of stunning beaches like Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island. On top of that, three days is enough to sample Puerto Rico’s delectable cuisine, including mofongo and fresh seafood.

10
Costa Rica

Spend a weekend vacation in Costa Rica surrounded by wildlife and nature


Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
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Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is another one of the easy countries to visit in three days from the US, as it offers a whirlwind adventure through its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. While three days won’t allow tourists to see it all, they’ll experience Costa Rica’s natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and a taste of Pura Vida, the country’s laid-back way of life. An excellent way to be immersed in the country’s nature is by staying in one of Costa Rica’s rainforest resorts.

Travelers can start in San José, exploring local markets and visiting the impressive National Theater. Then, head to Arenal to witness the active volcano, soak in hot springs, and hike amidst lush rainforests. Wrap up the trip with a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, home to white-faced capuchin monkeys and pristine beaches.

9
Canada

It may be impossible to see all of Canada in three days, but a city or two is easily doable


Downtown Toronto skyline at night, Toronto, Canada
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Downtown Toronto skyline at night, Toronto, Canada

Spending three days in Canada offers a glimpse into its diverse culture and natural beauty, and it is easy to plan due to its proximity to the United States. Travelers can consider Toronto, where they can explore the iconic CN Tower, visit vibrant neighborhoods like Kensington Market, and savor international cuisine.

Montreal is another city with much to offer, known for its European charm, historic Old Montreal, and dynamic arts scene. Quebec City also offers memorable days, with its charming cobblestone streets and French-inspired culture.

8
Grenada

Skip the touristy, crowded Caribbean islands and visit this underrated island instead


Woman relaxing on a tropical beach in Grenada
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Woman relaxing on a tropical beach in Grenada

For those wanting to get away to a less-visited Caribbean tropical island, Grenada is a prime option for a quick 3-day weekend. Grenada is underrated, but with direct flights from New York, Miami, and Charlotte, it’s an easy jaunt down to paradise. For a true cultural celebration, head down anytime between the 17th and 19th of May, 2024, for the annual Chocolate Festival, where the island showcases the chocolates grown locally.

Grenada is more than a Caribbean spicy island, offering a rich cultural connection to its cuisine, from chocolate to spices. With only three days, make sure to include enough time to snorkel or dive near the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, as well as explore some of the island’s many famous waterfalls.

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7
Iceland

The Land of Ice and Fire’s natural wonders and Northern Lights are perfect for a 3-day weekend


Kirkjufellsfoss, waterfall, in Snaefellsnes
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Kirkjufellsfoss, waterfall, in Snaefellsnes

While this might be tough for a three-day weekend from the West Coast, getting to Iceland from the USA’s East Coast is an easy feat. With only a four-hour flight from New York and several airlines offering direct flights to Reykjavík from major US cities, a three-day venture to Iceland is not as unimaginable to pull off as one might think.

Iceland is fairly small, but three days still won’t be enough to see all that this stunning island has to offer, like all the natural wonders in Iceland, but it’s enough time to get a taste. Those who travel from October to March might even see the northern lights in Iceland.

6
Panama

Panama is easy to get to from the US and offers delicious food, historic sites, beaches, and the Panama Canal


The skyline of Panama City, Panama
Shutterstock

The skyline of Panama City, Panama

With Copa Airlines having connections in several US cities, a quick 3-day escape down to Panama is hardly a hurdle. Panama has a lot to offer, but for the best trip possible, situate a stay in Panama City and book day trips from there.

Panama City, particularly the neighborhood of Casco Viejo, is full of history, colorful buildings, delicious food, and, of course, the notorious Panama Canal.

5
The Netherlands

The Netherlands is only a 7-hour flight from New York!


Sunset over Muntplein in Amsterdam Netherlands
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Sunset over Muntplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Does it seem borderline insane to head all the way to Europe for a three-day getaway from the USA? Perhaps so, but if there is one place to explore in just 72 hours, it’s got to be The Netherlands. Fly direct to Amsterdam with KLM Airlines, and explore the flowers and canals of this European favorite.

Luckily, The Netherlands is one of the smallest countries in Europe, so though three days can be a little hectic, primarily due to air travel, it is ample time to explore this eclectic European nation.

4
Antigua & Barbuda

Leave reality for a weekend and enjoy the energetic atmosphere of Antigua and Barbuda


Panoramic view of Valley Church beach in Antigua and Barbuda
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Panoramic view of Valley Church beach in Antigua and Barbuda

For travelers where heading down to the Caribbean is the only admirable option, Antigua and Barbuda is one of the best nations to head to. Why? Well, they are notorious for having 365 beaches, meaning one beach a day per year!

Antigua and Barbuda is increasing in popularity but is still nowhere near the ranks of popular Caribbean destinations for Americans, such as the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, or Jamaica. With so many unique things to do in Antigua and Barbuda, travelers can head down for a peaceful, pristine, and paradisiacal getaway, leaving all of their worries back in the USA while sipping rum, the national drink of the country.

  • Suggested Locations: English Harbour, Jolly Harbour, Liberta
  • Where To Stay: COCOS Hotel
  • Things To Do: Shirley Heights Lookout, Dickenson Bay Beach, Stingray City Antigua

3
Guatemala

3 days is more than enough time to experience the beauty of Lake Atitlán


The beautiful bay of Lake Atitlan with a view of volcano San Pedro in the highlands of Guatemala, Central America
Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

The beautiful bay of Lake Atitlan with a view of volcano San Pedro in the highlands of Guatemala, Central America

Guatemala was one of the destinations that went viral in 2022 after visitor numbers jumped tenfold. So, for those who haven’t caught onto this popular destination yet, what’s the hold-up? Guatemala is a tiny nation in Latin America, and though it can easily be explored in two weeks or more, three days to the magical Lake Atitlán is the epitome of utopia.

Stay at the heavenly Casa Palopó, situated right on Lake Atitlán, and kick it back for a few days in this popular Central American nation.

  • Suggested Locations: Guatemala City, Livingston, Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango
  • Where To Stay: Casa Palopó
  • Things To Do: Tikal National Park, Santa Catalina Arch, Hill of the Cross, Lake Atitlan

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2
Saint Lucia

Discover The Pitons, Soufriere’s drive-in volcano, and serene spas in just three days


Santa Lucia beach with palm trees
Omar Eagle-Clarke on Unsplash

Santa Lucia photographed from above

Fewer places in the Caribbean are as aspirational as Saint Lucia, which is home to many stunning destinations. Notoriously, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia is known for The Pitons or volcanic plugs. The Pitons of Saint Lucia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and anyone who travels here will quickly understand why they have such notoriety (they’re the standout feature of the country, as are its breathtaking beaches).

Moreover, Saint Lucia makes for an easy three-day getaway from the USA. Enjoy snorkeling, spa treatments at the many resorts on the island, paddleboarding, and exploring Soufriere’s drive-in volcano in just three short days. Three days might be enough to explore Saint Lucia, but don’t be surprised when it still somehow feels impossible to leave due to how relaxing and divine this island nation is.

1
Trinidad & Tobago

Only a 3-hour flight from Miami, these islands offer laid-back charm and bustling cities combined


Beach during the day in Trinidad & Tobago
Photo by Thruston Benny on Unsplash

Beach during the day in Trinidad & Tobago

Finally, one of the most overlooked Caribbean islands is a land of delicious food, a vibrant culture, one of the best carnivals in the entire region, and two islands waiting to be explored. Trinidad and Tobago is easy to jaunt to from mainland USA thanks to Caribbean Airlines and is a perfect destination to explore in just three short days.

Tobago is where folks should head for a laid-back, typical “island” vibe, and Trinidad deserves to be explored by those who want the hustle and bustle of a busy city. Why not make time for both Trinidad and Tobago Islands, as there is a lot to discover? Just make sure to eat as much as possible when visiting since this fun nation is known to have some of the best cuisines in the Caribbean.

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