When it comes to long weekend getaways in the northwestern United States, options abound. Whether you’re looking to ski snow-capped peaks, hike stunning, forested trails, sample upscale cuisine or take in unique aspects of local culture, destinations like Sun Valley, Seattle, Big Sky, Bend and Vancouver beckon. Just make sure to choose the best luggage and backpack for exploring this unforgettable part of the world.
Venture to Vancouver
Perched between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is widely regarded as the cultural and culinary capital of Canada. From its densely packed, highly walkable core to its gorgeous beaches and seemingly endless trails, you’ll spend every minute of your long weekend there on the go. The SwissGear 2610 Mono Sling Bag will serve you well as you meander thanks to its durable polyester construction. Thoughtful touches, including an adjustable shoulder strap, a water bottle pocket and a back slot for storing laptops and tablets, make this sling bag the best backpack for traveling everywhere from Westside to Eastside and through City Center.
Enjoy the best weather that Vancouver has to offer by visiting between June and August, when rainfall is rare and highs average between 75 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Run, bike or walk the city’s sprawling Seawall, check out the steam clock at Stanley Park or catch some rays at Kitsilano Beach – better known as Kits Beach by locals. If winter fun is what draws you to the city, February is prime time for hitting the slopes. Get a feel for local culture while there by checking out a Vancouver Canucks hockey game at Rogers Arena followed by dinner at one of the city’s many renowned restaurants. You’ll quickly see why people have been drawn to this corner of Canada for so long.
Set Your Sights on Seattle
The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is famed for its eccentricity and innovation. Home to the headquarters of brands like Starbucks, Microsoft and Costco, the Emerald City is sandwiched between the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. Studded by towering evergreens, Seattle is a great place to explore by foot or by bike.
Between November and March, the city experiences the perennially gloomy, rainy weather that it’s known for. Whether you visit then or during the sunnier time of year from April to October, you should be prepared for any weather eventuality.
With its built-in USB cables that let you charge your camera and other devices, the SwissGear 7272 19-inch USB Energie Expandable Hardside Carry On Spinner Luggage is among the best luggage for on-the-go weekend travelers. It maneuvers with ease thanks to its eight multidirectional wheels, and it can stand up to tons of abuse due to its German-engineered Makrolon polycarbonate hardshell design.
You can easily fill a long weekend in Seattle without having to venture beyond its central core. Hit up Pike Place Market, where you can watch fishmongers ply their trade and grab a cup of joe from the original Starbucks store. Soar to the top of the Space Needle for breathtaking views of the city, Puget Sound, the mountains and beyond. Roam around local hotspots like Pioneer Square and Discovery Park to immerse yourself in the often quirky and unique culture of this Pacific Northwest gem.
Blaze a Trail to Bend
Discover a new side of the northwestern U.S. with a long weekend excursion to Bend, Oregon. Located on the Deschutes River at the eastern edge of the Cascades, this former logging town’s high desert climate translates into more than 300 days of sunshine per year. From the incredible skiing of Mount Bachelor to the charm of the Bend Ale Trail, Bend beckons to anyone who needs a break from the norm.
The best way to get to Bend is by flying into Redmond Airport, which is about 45 minutes away. Get around nimbly while still carrying everything that you need with the SwissGear 6283 21-inch Expandable Softside Carry On Spinner Luggage suitcase. Convenient touches, including a fully lined interior and removable zippered wet bag, ensure that you’re ready for anything. The luggage expands too, creating room for whatever treasures you pick up along the way.
As for how to occupy yourself during your long weekend in Bend, the possibilities are endless. Hit the Deschutes River for fishing and whitewater rafting fun. In the winter, head over to Mount Bachelor ski slopes or the snow park at Newberry National Volcano Monument. In town, visit the High Desert Museum to learn about the area’s unique climate, flora and fauna. After checking out Bend’s famous mountain bike trails, wrap up your day by grabbing a pint at one of its nearly 30 breweries. No matter how you spend your time there, Bend is sure to remain with you for many years to come.
Surround Yourself with Beauty in Sun Valley
Discover yet another side to the northwestern U.S. with a long weekend getaway to Sun Valley, Idaho. The former mining town, which is located next to Ketchum, serves as a progressive, upscale enclave in an otherwise highly conservative – and more hardscrabble – state. For years, celebrities have flocked here, drawn by its incredible skiing, unforgettable vistas and charming, walkable downtown.
If you come to Sun Valley during the winter, you won’t want to miss the area’s amazing skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Sun Valley Resort, in particular, is a main attraction for people who love hitting the slopes; more than 100 ski runs are available. Over at Proctor and Dollar Mountains, you can check out the world’s first chairlifts, which were built during the 1930s.
Summertime is a fun time to visit Sun Valley too. Downtown is designed as a walking village, so you can see everything on foot. Located as it is in the Whitewater State, Sun Valley offers opportunities for paddling and whitewater rafting; the Salmon River, also known as the River of No Return, is a popular choice. Dozens of mountain biking trails wend their way around Sun Valley Resort too, giving summertime visitors the chance to explore the slopes in a different way.
Have Big Fun in Big Sky
Until the 1970s, Big Sky, MT, was a ranch. Today, this mountain town is best known for its amazing skiing opportunities – and for its proximity to Yellowstone National Park. After flying into Bozeman, a 45-minute drive along the Gallatin River will bring you to Big Sky and a long weekend of unforgettable adventures.
Having the right gear is an essential part of seeing what Big Sky has to offer, and the SwissGear 1900 Travel Laptop Backpack may be the best backpack for the job. It boasts a roomy interior — perfect for stowing a spare sweater or hoodie — and convenient mesh side compartments. A fleece-lined pocket provides perfect storage for sunglasses, toiletries and other travel essentials, and the shoulder straps can be removed to turn this travel backpack into a tote. There’s also space for a 17-inch laptop or tablet, so you can stay connected while enjoying horseback rides, local golf courses and, of course, incredible skiing.
With more than 375 inches of snowfall per year, Big Sky is a snow lover’s dream. Off the slopes, places like the Karst’s Camp ghost town and the majestic Ousel Falls offer intriguing sightseeing opportunities. Therefore, there’s plenty to see and do here whether you visit during prime skiing season or during the height of the summer.
With a long weekend at your disposal — and a great travel backpack over your shoulder — checking out the northwestern U.S.’s best sights is totally doable. Whether you head to Big Sky, Vancouver, Sun Valley, Bend or Seattle – and regardless of where your interests lie — you’re certain to come away with incredible memories.