Ready to get away for an all-girls vacay? Of course! Who isn’t?
Whether you’re planning a bachelorette party, a much-needed spa session, or a gal pal getaway “just because” – full of rest and relaxation or filled with go-with-the-flow fun – there are two main ingredients for a good time: The right mix of vacation buddies, and the right destination.
You can pick your posse, or the Ethel to your Lucy, for the trip. But allow me to suggest some terrific travel destinations where a wonderful time awaits you. In cooperation with HotelsCombined, here’s my list of 10 hot spots for chilling out or turning up the heat for a good time with your gal pals. I can’t rank them because the best choice depends on what you want to do, and how far you want to go. They’re all great picks.
Keep in mind: These are quick-trip destinations, and they are not spots one could compare to paradise – like Hawaii, Bali, Tahiti, or the Virgin Islands. Those go into another list of mine, for another time.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Las Vegas can be kind of wild and crazy. Well … that’s true – usually in a good way (that really depends on you and the choices you make). But it can also be a source of relaxation and pampering, plus fine dining, entertainment and shopping.
For relaxation and pampering, there are a number of luxurious spas from which to choose for facials, skin care, nail treatments, massages, and more.
Las Vegas can also be a shopper’s haven. There are shops and stores for all tastes and budgets. The biggies are there, too. I’m talking high-end shops selling genuine items from designers such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. There are enough shopping options to please just about any fashionista on any budget.
And speaking of tastes and budgets, there are dining options to satisfy the varied appetites of finicky foodies, casual diners, and everyone in between.
Entertainment options are also varied. Just about whatever comes to mind, you can find in and near Las Vegas. There are live performances (big name headliner acts or local performers, many choices), night clubs, piano bars, karaoke, zip-lining, magic shows and illusionists, female impersonator shows, and several museums. Again, there’s something for everyone. Oh, and did I mention gambling?
NEW YORK CITY
Like Las Vegas, New York City can be a place for relaxation and personal pampering – or a high-energy hot spots for fun, fine dining, excitement, entertainment, nightlife, museums, cultural outings, shows and amazing shopping.
There are even areas of the Big Apple for visitors who want to avoid crowds.
Here’s an extra travel tip: You are likely to get more attractive hotel rates in and around New York City during the winter season, after New Year’s Day.
There are so many options for accommodations and activities. You’re bound to find things that will make everyone in your travel group happy. Spend some time doing the research. It’s totally worth it!
As with other must-see big city locales, Chicago has the variety of sites to visit plus fantastic places to dine, shop, and relax. You can have a mellow time, or you can party ‘til the sun comes up.
Sure, all of the places I’ve mentioned so far has all sorts of spa, restaurant and bar, nightlife and dancing, shopping and entertainment, and cultural activity offerings.
But there’s nothing quite Chicago. The city has a vibe all its own. It’s a Midwestern city, filled with Midwestern experiences such as super-friendly people (Please use your judgment and evaluate your safety in all situations and interactions – no matter where you are). At the same time, Chicago has that cosmopolitan, big city feel. The city is brimming with excitement and possibilities.
And, if shopping is at the top of your to-do list for your getaway, you can’t go wrong strolling along downtown Chicago’s famous “Magnificent Mile” shopping district. Even if you just want to window shop, you’ll definitely get an eyeful.
Known as the “Music City,” Nashville has attracted visitors for many years. In recent years, it has become an ideal spot for gal pal getaways, thanks in part to its options for sightseeing, shopping, spa-style pampering, nightlife, overall entertainment, and dining options.
You would be foolish not to take time to check out the music scene – and it’s not just for country music fans. There’ll be many varieties of music being performed at different spots throughout the city. Two must-sees are Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Tour the Ryman during the day, or catch a music performance at night there.
You don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate all that Nashville has to offer. You just have to like a good time!
BAR HARBOR, MAINE
For an outdoorsy, activity-filled getaway, Bar Harbor is a best bet. Here, the ladies can lace up their hiking boots and go on a ranger-led trek. You can go up a mountain or along a nature trail in the area’s Acadia National Park.
Ocean experiences are also available. There are boat trips, whale-watching and lighthouse cruises, and windjammer rides.
Maine is also known for its lobster. If you love seafood, this is your place. You’ll be able to get fresh, delicious lobster and other seafood here. Pass the butter for my lobster, please?
Other locales that made my list:
Durham, North Carolina
Palm Desert, California
BONUS PICK: San Diego, California
San Diego may be a bit far from Rodeo Drive and other fine shopping venues in Beverly Hills. But there are some chic shops and boutiques in San Diego. And there’s no shortage of luxurious spas and resorts for relaxation and personal pampering.
San Diego’s ideal, overall climate – and its proximity to mountains, the desert and the ocean – makes this Southern California locale a good getaway choice. The city’s Gaslamp District has excellent options for dining and nightlife, too. San Diego is a spot where many entertainers and movie stars discreetly go to get away from all of the Hollywood hoopla.
When planning your weekend getaway, consider if you want a trip with a bunch of friends or a best friend foray. Will the trip be activity-focused, relaxation-focused, or a bit of both? What’s your budget?
It’s like my mom used to say: Do your homework before you go out to play. That’s true for mini-vacations, too. Once you know what you want to do, put in some research to see where you can find what you want … and for the price you want. If location is more important, research different locales like the 11 I’ve suggested.
Once you’ve done all of that, the only thing left to do is to go, and have fun. Safe travels!