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Planning end-of-summer trips can be the toughest to navigate, and there’s real complexity to figuring out what works.

Some families blow through their summer travel budget in June, and so anything expensive at the end of the summer is off the table. Other families must time things around school schedules as the largest Northwest Arkansas school districts are back in session on Monday, Aug. 15.

There are just five more weekends to take a trip before the school year starts, and just four if you assume no family wants to arrive home from a junket on Aug. 14 and head to class the following day.

With school schedules in mind, these are our picks for the best last-minute weekend trips on these hottest summer days. We give preference to the nonstop destinations from Northwest Arkansas National Airport. Moreover, if the price is anything over $325 roundtrip, it’s not eligible to be included in our list.

Keep in mind that airfares change often and the prices today could be far different if you wait long before buying.


United Airlines has lower fares on dates later in August, but we’d leave XNA on July 29 and come home on Aug. 2 for $316 since one goal is to complete the trip before Aug. 15. If baseball is your thing, the White Sox against the Royals on Aug. 1 might be fun.


Frontier Airlines goes to Denver late on July 30 and gets back to Northwest Arkansas midday on Aug. 2. Whole trip is $178. Take the train from the Denver airport to downtown because it’s cool. It’s $10.50 a person, and less hectic than driving.


The best Florida deal right now is Breeze Airways to Tampa. It’s not the least expensive at $203 roundtrip, but that Tampa airport is amazingly good as is the flying experience on Breeze. Flight leaves XNA on Aug. 5, back to XNA on Aug. 8.

Other Florida option: Allegiant Air can get you to Fort Lauderdale and back for $319 if you leave XNA on July 28 and come home on July 31.


Don’t for one second think the low-cost carriers at XNA aren’t saving the region’s travelers millions of dollars every year. They are.

A great example is the Aug. 4-7 trip on Allegiant from XNA to Nashville. Allegiant sells it for $128 roundtrip. Prefer American Airlines? Great, but it’ll cost you $588 roundtrip on the same days.


Flying to Atlanta at a good price can be challenging from XNA, but Delta Air Lines has some solid fares. Great? No. Good? Yes.

Flight leaves XNA on July 28 and gets back to Arkansas on July 31 for $318. If you fear a trip disruption of some sort, the Atlanta trip is a good option because Delta flies that round multiple times a day.