StudentUniverseThe best weekend getaway destinations for students in the US

The best weekend getaway destinations for students in the US

International students in the US will find plenty of destinations that are ideal for a weekend break – both domestic and international

The US can seem overwhelmingly large at times; many states would dwarf entire countries if they were overlaid on a map. For students with a tight budget who haven’t had time to explore their campus, let alone their adopted city, the idea of a weekend getaway can seem fanciful. 

However, international students studying in the US should make time to explore their new surrounds even if they can only spare a couple of days away from their studies. The US is a diverse country, with many foods, cultures and landscapes that are well worth seeking out. We’ve listed eight places – popular US destinations and others further afield – that are perfect for a weekend trip when studying in the US. 

San Diego, California

For students based on or near the US west coast, a visit to San Diego is a must. Situated two hours by car from Los Angeles, San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches that the US has to offer. California’s second-largest city has perfect weather all year round with plenty of top-class restaurants and laid-back bars to help you unwind. The city also has a rich history – the earliest recorded Spanish settlement was established in 1769 – while more modern cultural attractions include the San Diego Museum of Art.

Asheville, North Carolina

With a backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and its trendy, urban vibe, Asheville has something for everyone. Its bohemian ethos is on show through the street art that can be found all over the city, while craft beer fans will rejoice, with around 100 local brews to enjoy. Nature lovers can spend time on the French Broad River, take part in a wild-foraging tour or drive along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.

Key West, Florida

Just 170 kilometres north of Havana, Cuba, Florida’s Key West represents the southernmost point of the US. A visit is recommended just for the journey – even if you’re only planning a weekend getaway. Yes, there is an airport, but Key West is usually reached via an iconic road trip that includes the Seven Mile Bridge over open water. Once you’ve arrived on the island, literature students won’t want to miss Ernest Hemingway’s former home, which has been transformed into a museum.

New Orleans, Louisiana

There is nowhere else in the US like New Orleans. Whether you’re into jazz, history or unique cultural experiences, New Orleans is the ideal spot for a weekend getaway. The city’s French Quarter boasts eye-catching European-style architecture and Bourbon Street is rightly famous for its non-stop parties. Discover delicious Cajun food and, if you arrive at the right time, enjoy the annual Mardi Gras. The festival will turn a weekend into a getaway you won’t forget in a hurry.

Alexandria, Virginia

The city of Alexandria, Virginia, is just a short metro ride from Washington, DC, and it offers a fantastic break from the US capital. It proves that even if you don’t have access to a car, there are still some weekend getaways that students in the US can enjoy. Alexandria’s historic old town boasts independent shops and excellent restaurants. The city’s claims to fame include Gadsby’s Tavern (now a museum), which was frequented by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few of its celebrated patrons.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

If you can’t get to the coast, don’t despair. You can still enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway that feels as if you’re by the sea. Lake Geneva, in Wisconsin, is less than two hours from Chicago and has four beaches and plenty of pristine water for visitors to enjoy. Explore the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy or visit during the colder months for the Winterfest.

Toronto, Canada

International getaways may be slightly more complicated for international students – always check the terms of your student visa before travelling – but they are certainly possible. Across the Canadian border, students will find the city of Toronto. Capital of the province of Ontario, Toronto offers fantastic food in its Chinatown and history aplenty in the Distillery District; Niagara Falls is just a short trip away.

Reykjavik, Iceland

While it may not seem the most obvious destination for students based in the US, Reykjavik is just a five-hour flight from the east coast (about the same time it takes to fly to California). If you’re looking for a getaway that offers something truly different, Iceland’s otherworldly, volcanic landscape is just the ticket. You can drive around its entire perimeter in about 13 hours, meaning it’s possible to rush around the country even if you’ve only there for a weekend. You can enjoy a memorable vacation and be back in the US to continue your studies on Monday morning.

Ready to plan your trip? Find out more about StudentUniverse, a travel agency for students, offering exclusive discounts on flights to the US that you won’t find anywhere else.­

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