You love your kids; you’d go to the ends of the earth for them. You just don’t have to go to the ends of the earth with them every time you get away. Never underestimate the power of a child-free vacation. Not only will it give you an opportunity to reconnect with the things you enjoy (cocktails! sleeping in! quiet spaces!), it’ll also give you a chance to spend some quality time with your partner—it only takes a few sips of wine to forget all about sippy cups.
And so, we’ve partnered with Hilton to highlight our top five trips without your tots in tow. Go ahead, book that babysitter or ship the kiddos off to Grandma. Then, head on one of these awesome escapes.
The All-About-Wine Weekend
Let’s play a little word association game: bottles. If the first things that come to mind are milk and rubber nipples, it’s time for a wine-country getaway. For bottles filled with reds, whites and rosés, you can venture in just about any direction. On the East Coast, the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is known for its Riesling and Chardonnay (they also make a mean grape pie in the town of Naples). But if you’re looking for warmer climes later in the year, Santa Barbara, California—noted for its Pinot Noir, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc—is the place to be. From there, you can take a side trip about 45 minutes north to Solvang, the tiny Danish town made famous by the Oscar-winning movie Sideways. In addition to wine, you’ll find bakeries, windmills and, yes, even shops selling wooden shoes (the hygge here is off the hook). Over in the Lone Star State, which, by the way, is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the U.S., the Texas Hill Country has wine spots that marry saloon with Syrah and cowboy boots with Cabs. Six Shooter Cellars in Fredericksburg, for example, looks like the set of an old Western and even hosts an annual grape stomp.
The Chicken Nugget-Less Night Away
No offense to chicken nuggets, but it’s time you both had a real meal. Or better yet, fill an entire getaway with them. For a food-focused trip, you can’t go wrong with Chicago. But contrary to popular belief, the Windy City isn’t only about deep-dish pizza and hot dogs (dusted with celery salt and without ketchup, like any local will tell you). Ever since the James Beard Foundation Awards moved to Chicago in 2015, the city has earned major street cred among the foodie elite. While you’re there, check out Topolobampo, which serves up fine-dining Mexican and took home the top honor of Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Awards earlier this year. Other most-talked-about eateries in town include Parachute (Korean-American on the North Side), and GT Prime (the not-your-father’s steakhouse in River North).
The Highway Hideaway
Is there any greater symbol of freedom than taking to the open road? Grab your partner, ditch the car seats, and curate the perfect playlist. Then, take a road trip that’s entirely about the two of you, right down to the stops you make along the way (yes, you are pulling over for that antiques shop, and no, browsing for mid-century lighting is not boring). Of course, any stretch of Route 66 is iconic, and Highway 1 in California is hard to beat. But if you only have a weekend, consider a drive that’s short but packs a punch with roadside views. Route 6 in Massachusetts is only 118 miles, but it covers some gorgeous ground along Cape Cod. Once you reach Provincetown, be sure to get your fill of oysters and check out the Pilgrim Monument, which commemorates the Mayflower’s landing in 1620. For some Southwestern scenery, stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and go for a drive along the High Road to Taos. The trip is around 70 miles each way, and you’ll pass desert, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Spanish Colonial architecture and art galleries filled with wood carvings, pottery and rugs.
The City Exploration Escape
It’s hard to reason with an 8-year-old that you’re forgoing Disney World in favor of Pittsburgh. “But the contemporary art scene there is incredible,” you’ll explain to a blank stare dreaming of mouse ears. That’s why certain city trips are better left to the adults, and Pittsburgh is one of them. Free from your brood, you and your partner can check out the Andy Warhol Museum (he was born in the ’Burgh), Mattress Factory (a space founded in 1977 by artists to support fellow artists) and the Carnegie Museum of Art (essentially the first contemporary art museum in the country). Another buzzed-about city is Charleston, South Carolina—it nabbed the title of top U.S. city for the fifth year running in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Cities list. While there, take a self-guided tour of the Shepard Fairey murals that are painted in public spaces around town. Also, feast on chicken biscuits smothered in cheddar and sausage gravy at Hominy Grill, then work it off by bicycling across the Ravenel Bridge.
The We’re-Not-Even-Leaving-the-Hotel-Room Retreat
Ask any parent, especially new moms and dads, what they’re craving, and they’ll likely tell you they just want time to themselves. That’s why this trip is all about finding the right hotel and staying put. Slip into matching robes and slippers and draw a bubble bath à deux. While you’re soaking, be sure to take a moment to listen … nope, there’s nobody banging on the door shouting, “Mom! Dad!” Follow up those bubbles with some of the sparkling-wine variety and order room service … for dinner and breakfast the next morning, too. If you must leave your room, the spa is a pretty good reason to venture out. Bonus: You won’t even have to change out of your robe. If you’ve picked the right place, such as Boulders Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can spend any breaks from your room bouncing between meditation hammocks, steam rooms and a heated swimming pool. At the Boulders spa, which contains 33,000 square feet of relaxation space, there’s even a private suite for couples with a fireplace, indoor and outdoor showers, and a Jacuzzi. Now that’s a room we wouldn’t want to leave.
Ready to plan the ultimate kid-free weekend? Start with a stress-free hotel. Hilton has you covered. Travel easier this weekend with the Hilton Honors app. Check in, choose your room, and unlock your hotel-room door—all in one place. Extend your weekend and take advantage of Hilton’s Long Weekender package, where you’ll save 50 percent on Sunday nights. Hilton makes it easy to turn your weekend into the ultimate vacation.