Leave the husbands and kids at home! There’s nothing like a getaway to spend some bonding time with your girlfriends while discovering a new city. These weekends create unforgettable memories and also give you a much-needed recharge from the daily grind. It wasn’t easy to choose, but here are five of our favorite American destinations for the ultimate girls weekend.
San Diego, California
Situated along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego has the perfect year-round climate and laid-back vibe. Even so, you can choose to be as busy as you like with the famed San Diego Zoo, picturesque beaches, shopping areas and countless restaurants on hand.
Hailed by “Forbes,” “Conde Nast Traveler” and “U.S. News and World Report” as one of the top hotels in the U.S., Rancho Valencia, in the Rancho Santa Fe area of San Diego, is truly heaven on earth. The suites and villas are ideal accommodations for larger groups. Schedule a treatment at the wellness spa, partake in a yoga class, or simply kick back at the pool (the service can’t be beat). A group dinner at The Pony Room within the resort is a must. Think rich and rustic surroundings, lots of cozy fireplaces, and delicious, fresh cuisine. Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity or two during your stay!
If you’d rather hunker down in Del Mar, consider a stay at L’Auberge Del Mar, a luxury hotel located minutes from the beach. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, the view here is spectacular and at least warrants a pre-dinner aperitif. The beautiful Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is located away from the hustle and bustle but still minutes from the beach and many of San Diego’s most popular attractions.
A hike at Torrey Pines State Beach is breathtaking and the perfect morning activity before a day of sightseeing or shopping.
Rent bikes around Coronado while exploring the town, or spend an afternoon shopping in the Cedros District, an area of Solana Beach situated in North County. While there, pop into Tucci Boutique for trendy fashions and Solo Boutique for home decor. If you happen to be here on a Sunday, pick up some eats at the impressive Cedros Avenue Farmers’ Market and pack a picnic.
Where to dine? True foodies will love Juniper and Ivy, helmed by “Top Chef All-Stars” winner Richard Blais. For fresh seafood and a hip scene, Ironside Fish & Oyster can’t be missed. Head to Little Italy for an after-dinner drink at Kettner Exchange.
The Hamptons, New York
The South Fork of Long Island is comprised of various towns that make up the Hamptons. From the beach to the eats, the Hamptons is nothing but enticing and only a two-hour drive from the city.
Of course, your troop can always chip in on an Airbnb home, but for a shorter stay, The Surf Lodge in Montauk is the ultimate in cool retreats, particularly during the summer. Think live concerts, a fun, laid-back scene, and beachy, ‘60s-inspired decor. Looking for something more luxurious? Check out modern-yet-cozy Topping Rose House located in Bridgehampton.
Cooper’s Beach is consistently rated one of the best beaches in the U.S., and you’ll see why. It’s pristine year-round and many people love visiting for the view, even during the cooler months.
Working on your fitness? Take a group class from trainer to the stars Tracy Anderson, whose Hamptons studio is the only location where you can try out her class without being a full-time member. Don’t be surprised if Anderson (a Hamptons resident) pops in to teach the class herself.
Wolffer Estate Vineyard is one of the more popular vineyards— maybe because it’s acclaimed rosé, “Summer in a Bottle,” is so delicious that last year it was sold out by July. All of the wines here are fantastic and the property itself is gorgeous. During “Twilight Thursdays” you can sample the wines while enjoying live jazz music.
Who needs Soho for outstanding shopping when you have the Hamptons? Get lost walking around Sag Harbor. You’ll find a vast selection of gift items and home furnishings at modern general store Sylvester & Co., fun beachwear at Flying Point Surf & Sport, and treasures at notable, luxury designer consignment shop Colette.
If you’re in Montauk, don’t miss Whalebone Creative for rad surf tees for the man in your life.
In East Hampton, check out contemporary gem 25 Park; Lisa Perry for colorful, mod silhouettes; Zimmerman for girly dresses and spectacular swimsuits; and last but not least, Tate’s Bake Shop for sugary treats to bring home.
Clam Bar is worth pulling over for! Located on the side of the road, the lobster rolls are the freshest and tastiest you’ll ever have.
Ruschmeyer’s is a much-buzzed-about hotel in Montauk that’s only open during the summer. The Restaurant at Ruschmeyer’s is perfect for a group and the summer camp-themed setting is something to see! Dine on fresh, local fare at the restaurant; then pop next door to the Electric Eel for live music and dancing. Head to Southampton Social Club after dinner for al fresco drinks and a hip scene.
Charleston, South Carolina
One visit to this charming city and you’ll see why it’s constantly named the most hospitable place in America. The striking architecture, rich history and impressive array of restaurants can’t be beat!
Award-winning luxury hotel The Restoration on King is unique in that it only has 16 suites, each designed to feel like you’re in a fully furnished apartment. Amenities include a washer/dryer, fully equipped kitchen, evening wine and cheese receptions, and complimentary bike rentals. In the morning, the hotel delivers a fabulous picnic basket breakfast to your room, a true highlight during your stay.
The elegant Zero George Street Boutique Hotel is comprised of 18 studios and suites within five different historical residential buildings dating back to 1804. Modern furnishings, garden courtyards, complimentary bike rentals, evening wine and cheese pairings, and daily continental breakfasts are included.
Both hotels offer special touches that showcase their top-of-the-line customer service, and both are located minutes away from downtown Charleston.
Take a Charleston city tour to see the city’s most famous sights or take a plantation tour to visit America’s most historic plantations filled with elaborate manor houses and magnificent gardens. Better yet, the combination tour lets you see it all! Also worth mentioning are the many culinary tours of Charleston, letting you sample from the best restaurants in the city while learning about the history of Charleston’s signature bites.
Charleston’s shopping scene may make your pulse race. The downtown shopping area is broken up into four sections known as Market Street (includes the historic Charleston City Market), Upper King (interior design district), Middle King (chain stores and boutiques), and Lower King (antiques). Don’t miss fabulous women’s clothing and accessories at Hampden Clothing or Worthwhile, and furniture and home decor at Elizabeth Stuart Design.
More than 30 galleries dot the cobblestone streets of The French Quarter neighborhood. During the first Friday of each month, the galleries stay open late and many offer wine and appetizers.
Charleston is a true culinary paradise from edgier, up-and-coming restaurants to tried and true favorites. Enjoy the sunset and a pre-dinner cocktail at the rooftop bar of The Vendue Hotel or Pavilion Bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel. Afterward, head to Husk for Southern-style farm-to-table cuisine. The menu changes daily but favorites (like the heavenly skillet cornbread) are constants. Restaurants FIG and McCrady’s are a bit pricier but worth the splurge! For breakfast, don’t miss Callie’s Charleston Biscuits for sweet tea and biscuits that are divine. Need a sugar fix? Hit up Sugar Bakeshop for a cookie, tart, or their famous strawberry cupcake.
The capital of Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and is home to the University of Texas. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities, likely because of the incredible barbecue, nightly live music and wonderful energy.
The bungalow-style Hotel San Jose may be the coolest place you’ll ever stay. Located on South Congress, steps from some of the most popular restaurants and stores, you’ll love the vibe of this hip retreat that also wins raves for outstanding hospitality. It’s sister hotel, Hotel Saint Cecilia, is a chic boutique hotel that also boasts a stellar location. If you prefer a bed and breakfast, Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street is located in the heart of the city and boasts true Southern charm.
For ultimate pampering, the luxurious and award-winning Lake Austin Spa Resort is THE place to get rejuvenated. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Austin, this dream-like oasis makes for an unforgettable experience with your girls (don’t bother packing too much—you’ll end up lounging in your robe all day). Each of the 40 rooms and suites has a private patio and includes views of Lake Austin or one of the Japanese meditation gardens. Choose from more than 100 spa treatments, try one of the latest workout classes, or unwind at the pool. The gourmet cuisine is so tasty you’ll forget it’s healthy.
Barton Springs Pool is a three-acre man-made pool located on the grounds of Zilker Park and fed from underground springs. The pool remains open year-round and maintains a temperature of 68-72 degrees. Even if you don’t feel like taking a dip, it’s still a beautiful sight to see. Pack a picnic and experience what locals call “Eden in the middle of Austin.”
Roam 6th Street, one of Texas’ best known streets. You’ll come across a plethora of restaurants and bars.
For an unforgettable live music experience, Austin City Limits Live (ACL Live) at The Moody Theater is the most renowned music venue in Austin and home to the long-running PBS series, “Austin City.” Fans say, “There’s not a bad seat in the house.”
You can’t think of Austin without thinking barbecue and for the real deal, don’t miss The Salt Lick or Franklin Barbecue. Guero’s Taco Bar has some of the best Tex-Mex as well as a lively scene. For doughnuts on steroids, head to Gourdough’s for made-to-order, gourmet doughnuts in an overwhelming variety of options. “Top Chef” alum Paul Qui’s acclaimed restaurant, Qui, serves innovative prix fixe courses along with “family style” group cocktails. After a night out, head to Josephine House the next morning for breakfast staples and ambiance that’s magazine-worthy.
Beautiful Savannah is called the country’s best walking city—perfect for exploring its vivid history as well as boutiques and restaurants dispersed among hundred-year-old magnolia trees.
Located in the heart of downtown’s historic district, the Bohemian Hotel is situated right on the riverfront with beautiful views of the city. The service is outstanding and the restaurant and rooftop bar are also worth noting. The chic Andaz Savannah Hotel stands in a central location, and you can always catch the trolley right in front of the hotel to take you around the city.
Tours, tours, tours! Take your pick because the list is endless. If your group loves history (and a good scare), a ghost city tour takes you through the best-known haunted locations in the city. Historic cemetery tours have become leading tourist attractions in addition to the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” tour, where you will visit the Bonaventure Cemetery made even more popular by the book. A riverboat cruise makes for a relaxing, scenic tour and the perfect group photo op.
Broughton Street is Savannah’s most popular shopping destination. There are numerous locally owned businesses as well as upscale designer stores. Make sure to stop at The Paris Market and Brocante, a standout two-story bazaar with fantastic antiques and décor from around the world.
If you love antiquing, you’ll want to spend hours browsing the many antique malls in the historic district.
Dine at Paula Deen’s original restaurant, The Lady and Sons, for the buttery, Southern home cooking she’s famous for. The Olde Pink House is a bit fancier and serves delicious Southern specialties in an 18th-century mansion. Many say that Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, located in the Historic District, has the best fried chicken in Georgia. You’ll dine family-style on every Southern specialty you can imagine. If you have a sweet tooth, Leopold’s Ice Cream has been a Savannah staple for nearly 100 years and makes all of their ice cream on the premises. Savannah’s Candy Kitchen has candy galore, but don’t leave without the heavenly pralines. Finally, be sure to stop at Byrd’s Famous Cookies and pick up a few bags of their addictive cookies to bring home.