When it comes to long weekend getaways, traveling internationally can seem daunting. Luckily, many major U.S. cities are under a four-hour flight from some great destinations in Mexico. In just three days, you can explore ancient ruins, get scuba certified, hike through a canyon, or relax on the beach. Did we mention there's also tequila, fish tacos, and mole? Here are our top 10 picks for the best places in Mexico to spend a long weekend.
1. Los Cabos, Baja California Sur
Once a favorite destination for the rich and famous, Los Cabos has long been a vacation hot spot. This beachfront getaway is comprised of two cities, giving it a wild (Cabo San Lucas) and mild (San Jose del Cabo) side. Cabo Wabo, the Sammy Hagar-owned restaurant and nightclub, and Rock & Brews, the KISS-owned restaurant and bar, are popular stops for partiers, though you can get a better taste of Cabo by joining a cooking class, dining at one of the many top-notch restaurants, or seeking out a tequila, mezcal, and Mexican wine tasting. Oh, and don't forget those famous Baja fish tacos. Between spa visits and rounds of golf, treat yourself to the truly memorable experience of whale watching (November to March) or volunteering with baby sea turtles (July to November). Other outdoor activities include hanging at the beach, sportfishing, snorkeling, sailing and strolling through the historic, cobblestoned streets of San Jose del Cabo's Gallery District, keeping an eye peeled for unique boutiques and art galleries.
Our pick for a Los Cabos hotel: The Cape, a Thompson Hotel
2. Sayulita, Nayarit
Sayulita is about a one-hour drive from the closest major airport in Puerto Vallarta, but it's worth the extra travel time. The slow pace, beautiful beaches and sleepy beach town vibes are perfect for resetting over a long weekend. It's a great place to spend the day out on a sailboat, relaxing in a hammock, sunbathing on the beach or doing some yoga. Need a little more action? Sayulita is a popular surf spot, making it a great place to learn how to balance on a board. You can also explore trails on ATVs, go for a bike ride through the jungle, horseback ride on the beach or zip through the treetops during a canopy tour. If you're looking to spend some time with the local wildlife, join a whale-watching excursion, strap on a snorkel, or grab your binoculars and see how many colorful birds you can spot on a bird-watching tour. The town is also designated as a Pueblo Magico for its historic significance and preservation of Mexican heritage, and we definitely recommend learning about the indigenous Huichol culture and people, who are still living in town and usually selling handmade crafts.
Our pick for a Sayulita hotel: Haramara Retreat
3. Tequila, Jalisco
Tequila is a small town in Jalisco, just an hour from Guadalajara, and it's the only place in Mexico where you can legally produce tequila. It can be a bit of a tourist trap, but it's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit for any true tequila lover. Before you start boozing, gain some knowledge about this spirit with a trip to the Museo Nacional del Tequila, or head to the beautiful blue agave fields and learn more about the production process. A visit to several of the distilleries is a must, though enthusiasts will want to check out the oldest distillery in Latin America, Fabrica la Rojena (owned by Jose Cuervo, naturally). To help soak up all the booze, Tequila also has a decent amount of historic cantinas and local eateries (don't get caught in the Cholula restaurant tourist trap).
4. Copper Canyon, Chihuahua