7 Best Girls Trip Locations for the Ultimate BFF Getaway

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Family vacations give you and yours the chance to create cherished memories. Couples vacations allow you to reconnect with your significant other. Solo vacations allow for some precious “me time.” But when it comes to cooking up an epic getaway, give us a girls trip.

A girls getaway (no matter how old you and your “girls” are) is simply the best way to reconnect with best friends. We’re all spread around the country and the globe, busy with work, family, and real-life responsibilities. But a girls trip lets us all set those worries aside for a few days or more, and talk, laugh, cry and bond.

So, what’s your idea of the perfect girls getaway? Wine tastings and spa treatments? Hitting hiking trails and kayak paths in national parks? Seeing a Broadway show or ordering another round of cocktails at a beach club? We’ve got some ideas for your next girls getaway, with this round-up of the best girls trip destinations in the US and farther afield.

Napa Valley is an excellent 40th birthday celebration destination
A Napa sunset. Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Wine Country, California

To mark our 40th birthdays, my besties and I spent a wonderful week at a rented villa in Sonoma Valley, California, where we alternated between sightseeing, wine tastings, and cooking in our villa. Here are some of the best things to do in California’s Wine Country:

Visit wineries

Sonoma and Napa valleys are right next door to each other, so it’s easy to visit some of the best wineries in both areas. One day we even hired a limo to take us around to different wineries, and no one had to worry about being the designated driver!

Spend a day in San Francisco

San Francisco is about a 1-hour drive from Wine Country, which makes it a super easy day trip. We hit several highlights in a day, including Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square, Coit Tower, Haight Ashbury and the Castro.

Soak in the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Located about 30 miles north of Sonoma, the Calistoga Hot Springs are an amazing natural hot mineral springs around which a spa and hotel complex has been built. If you book a spa treatment, you can get a day pass to use the hot pools, which are incredibly relaxing.

Sedona red rocks at dawn at the Enchantment Resort
There are many hiking trails steps from your casita door at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

2. Sedona, Arizona

For a girls weekend focused on hiking, spa treatments, meditation and outdoor activities, all in a beautiful desert setting, head to Sedona, the laid-back, magically beautiful area south of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Here are some of our favorite girls getaway activities in Sedona:

Hike the incredible landscape

Hiking trails around Sedona can take you to the area’s four vortexes, areas of concentrated energy, or simply to stunning waterfalls and creeks great for swimming. The red rocks vistas are absolutely stunning.

Road trip it to the Grand Canyon

The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is about a 2-hour drive from Sedona, and seeing the canyon is definitely one of those bucket list experiences. Or stay closer to home base with a visit to one of the areas many national forests and recreation areas.

Make it a gallery and spa day

Sedona’s many art museums and galleries display and sell works by Native Americans and other local artists. Spend a morning gallery-hopping, enjoy a late brunch, then head to one of the area’s many spas for a spa treatment.

The volcano show at the Mirage at night, one of the fun things to do in Las Vegas with kids
The Mirage “volcano” erupts every night on the hour from 7-11pm. Photo credit: Cindy Richards

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Whether you’re here for a riotous bachelorette party or a just a quick weekend getaway, Las Vegas delivers. With its glittering casinos, luxury hotels, amazing nightlife and entertainment, and some of the best restaurants in the world, it’s always a safe bet for girlfriend getaways. Here are some of the best Vegas activities for you and your besties:

Hire a limo and hit the town

For yet another big birthday with my best friends, we dressed up, hired a limo for the evening and made the rounds of several casinos, from The Strip all the way over to Fremont Street. We got to pretend to be rock stars for the night, and someone else took care of the driving.

Zip or soar over the city

Soar above the lights of Las Vegas on the High Roller, a giant, slow-moving observation wheel set just off The Strip. Book a “Happy Hour Cabin” and enjoy the 30-minute ride with a bartender and open bar! The truly daring can go ziplining down adjacent The Linq Promenade, or careen over Fremont Street.

Have a meal or drinks with a view

At the close of our memorable girls weekend in Vegas, we held our goodbye brunch at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris Las Vegas resort. The outdoor seating offered great views. Or for nighttime Vegas hotspots with unmatchable views and ambiance, head to the rooftop bar at The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, Skyfall Panoramic Bar & Lounge at the Delano, or the crazy scene at Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub.

Things to do with kids in New York, view from the Empire State Building observation deck
View from the Empire State Building. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

4. New York, New York

It might just be the ultimate weekend getaway with the girls — a few nights in New York City, where you don’t worry about how much that taxi, hotel, or cocktail are costing you. Throw in dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants, orchestra seats at a Broadway show, and some art museum hopping. Here are our favorite NYC experiences with the girls:

Make like uptown girls

When my sister and I recently enjoyed a girls weekend in NYC, one of our first stops was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s top art museums. We followed that up with a light snack at the Met’s rooftop bar, then a walk through Central Park.

Do dinner and a show

On your next girls trip to NYC, plan an elegant evening out at one of the foodie-focused restaurants in Lower Manhattan, then head to Midtown for a Broadway show — and splurge on the good seats, because YOLO!

Play tourist Downtown

Take a walking tour of SoHo, the West Village or the Financial District, followed by stops at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the new One World Trade Center and the Oculus. Then head up to Hudson Yards, a reclaimed industrial area that’s now one of the city’s shopping and foodie hotspots.

Group of kids having a hula lesson on Waikiki beach - one of many things to do in Hawaii with kids
Hula lesson in Waikiki. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

5. Hawaii (seriously, anywhere in Hawaii!)

If you and your pals have the time and the budget, there’s nothing quite like Hawaii for the most epic of girls getaways. Take your pick of islands — my favorite is Kauai, but then again, I’ve never been to Maui — they all offer scenery, surf, snorkeling and amazing beaches, plus incredible resorts, outdoor activities and culture. Here are some top activities for you and your besties in Hawaii:

Dive into watersports

Immerse yourself in this tropical paradise with a catamaran and snorkeling trip, a sunset sailboat ride, or a kayaking tour through rainforests and in search of waterfalls. You can also find resorts and schools that offer PADI dive certification.

Check into a luxury resort

The oceanside resorts of Hawaii are some of the finest anywhere, with incredible lagoon-style pools, beach clubs with watersports, and some of the best restaurants on the islands. Some even rent entire villas, so your whole party can stay together.

Go horseback riding

Cue the keepsake photos! A group horseback riding excursion can trot you through some of Hawaii’s most stunning scenery, from sandy beaches to the lush terrain of these volcanic islands. Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island all have horseback riding outfitters.

A sign in the sand on the beach in Cancun, one of the best places to spend a 40th birthday,
Life really is better when you spend it on a Mexican beach! Photo credit: Kimberly Miles

6. Mexico’s Caribbean Coast

With its convenient flight connections to the US west coast and east coast, we love the Mexican Caribbean as a great meeting point for far-flung best friends. Check into an all-inclusive, grab your cabana at the beach club, and let someone else worry about mixing the cocktails. Here are some great ways to see the Caribbean Coast of Mexico:

Take an eco-tour

Support the local economy and be a responsible traveler with an eco-tour, that might take you snorkeling in clear, cold cenotes or on colorful coral reefs, on treks to spot birds and wildlife, to archaeological ruins or to small towns that still retain their Spanish-colonial style architecture.

Spend time on the sea

The Caribbean Sea is home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and a big chunk of it is in the waters off Mexico. Explore it firsthand with a snorkeling trip, many of which include lunch and beach time on a deserted island.

Arrive on a cruise ship

Girls trips don’t get much more no-brainer than a cruise. Cruises to Mexico depart from Galveston, Texas, and Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, Florida, with several stopping in Key West and other Caribbean ports of call.

St. Louis Cathedral and Andrew Jackson statue in Jackson Square New Orleans
New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral is an iconic landmark found in Jackson Square. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy is an easy choice for girlfriends who want a mix of culture and party time in one of the US’s most historic cities. It’s well-connected from east coast and midwestern hubs, like Chicago, and is a great “halfway point” for friends traveling from across the country. Plus there are some great, historic boutique hotels in the city. Here are some great New Orleans activities:

Listen to live music

New Orleans is one of the best cities in the US to catch live music, from the city’s legendary jazz clubs to street performers and big-name festival headliners. Get some recommendations from your hotel or a local resident, grab your girls and go live it up.

Take a city tour

Historic districts, cobblestone streets, beautiful gardens and parks, not to mention the city’s enigmatic old cemeteries, New Orleans shows its proud heritage at every turn. It may be a party town, but it’s a sin to visit here and not take in some of that rich history.

Go on a food and bar crawl

Cajun cuisine, micro breweries, decadent pastries and whisky-infused cocktails…no trip to New Orleans is complete without sampling some of its foodie traditions and new culinary and beverage innovations.

Where will you take your next girls trip?

Planning a girls trip is half the fun, and we hope these girls trip ideas have provided you with some great inspo for your next getaway. Remember to let everyone have a say in the trip planning, and search for compromises, so that those of you who want pedicures and spa treatments are as happy as those who want live music, art museum visits or outdoor activities.

And don’t forget to have a blast — and start planning your next getaway!

Liz is a writer and editor based in central Italy, from where she writes about family, soft adventure and sustainable travel in Italy, the rest of Europe and farther afield. She’s also the co-founder and owner of Villaggio Tours (https://villaggiotours.com/), a small-group tour company offering an authentic taste of Italian village life.
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