The popularity of the girlfriend getaway has surged in recent years, and there’s no doubt that hanging with besties is a great way to travel. Recent studies have shown that having a close network of friends makes people happier and healthier, and getting away together is a time to reconnect, support each other and do some self-reflection.
In these five popular destinations, girlfriend groups can enjoy dining, live music, shopping, outdoor excursions, spas and boutique hotels on their getaways.
Nashville is one of the country’s most popular destinations for girlfriend getaways and bachelorette parties. Women’s groups often head to iconic eatery Hattie B’s for a plate of its famed Nashville hot chicken before visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the evening, groups can go to Honky Tonk Central at Robert’s Western Wear, where they can order a burger, listen to live music and buy a pair of cowboy boots in the same place and have a nightcap at Black Rabbit, a 1920s-style speakeasy.
On day two, groups can have a hearty Southern breakfast at Biscuit Love and spend the morning exploring the shops of the Hillsboro neighborhood. They can have lunch at Martin’s Bar-Be-Que Joint before exploring the quaint historic Germantown neighborhood and enjoy a group spa treatment at Renew Wellness Spa along with a sweet treat from the Cupcake Connection. Groups will love local favorite Acme Feed and Seed for dinner before catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry.
On day three, groups can explore the Parthenon in Centennial Park to learn why Nashville was nicknamed “the Athens of the South.” They can finish the day with any last-minute shopping to end the Nashville weekend..
The popularity of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ HGTV show “Fixer Upper” may have put Waco on the map, but the city offers plenty to do. Groups can start their trip with a photo at the #MilesToMagnolia sign before visiting one of several homes featured on the show that are available to tour.
“People want to experience Waco because they value a welcoming home, comfort and personal relationships,” said Carla Pendergraft, director of marketing at the Waco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “We have the Magnolia Trail for ‘Fixer Upper’ fans, but we have so much more. People don’t just visit once, they come again and again to keep discovering.”
Groups can spend their first day exploring the shops featured on the HGTV series, among them the Cedar Chest Antique Mall, the Black Oak Art Studio and Harp Design Co. Lunch at the Gaines’ Magnolia Table is a must. Beyond Magnolia Market at the Silos and the Magnolia Warehouse Shop, decor shops in Waco abound. For dinner, diners can try the Gut Pak at Vitek’s BBQ, a local riff on Frito pie.
On day two, groups can enjoy breakfast at Lula Jane’s, known locally for its pastries, then spend the afternoon with Waco Wine Tours tasting wine and exploring how it’s made. After lunch at local farm-to-table Café Homestead, they can spend the afternoon exploring the Homestead Heritage Traditional Crafts Village, which includes shopping for handicrafts, touring the workshops and exploring the farm.
Newport, Rhode Island
The City-by-the-Sea has long been a favorite escape for the aristocracy. Today, it’s a laid-back place to relax. Groups can start with a stroll on the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path with crashing waves on one side and historic mansions and museums on the other. Among the most famous is the Breakers and Rosecliff. For dinner, visit America’s oldest tavern, the White Horse Tavern, built in 1673, a favorite of Jackie O’s.
“Newport is an ideal destination for a girlfriends’ getaway because whether traveling with a group of your greatest gal pals or simply your bestie by your side, you can choose your own adventure,” said Andrea McHugh, senior communications manager at Discover Newport.
On day two, groups can spend the morning on the luxurious Water Journey at the Bodhi Spa. In the afternoon, they can explore Newport’s unique eateries on a food tour with Rhode Island Red Food Tours, where they’ll also explore local history. Groups won’t want to miss the sunset from the rooftop bar at the Vanderbilt hotel with views of the boat-studded sea.
Day three, groups can start with breakfast at Belle’s Cafe, where the pancakes come with a view of the harbor. Groups can explore the boutiques and galleries along the cobblestone paths of Bowen’s and Bannister’s Wharves to work up an appetite for a cup of clam chowder at the Black Pearl, a Newport classic, or local oysters on the half shell at the Clarke Cooke House, another staple.
Scottsdale is famous for its resorts, and girlfriend groups will find plenty of luxurious experiences at a variety of properties in the area. Groups should be sure to take the expression “Treat yourself!” to heart with a service at the Joya Spa, which features a Morocco-inspired hammam. In the evening, they’ll want to head outdoors for a bespoke dinner under the desert stars with Cloth and Flame.
“Scottsdale is an ideal destination for a getaway, with first-rate accommodations and amenities in a lush desert setting,” said Rachel Sacco, CEO of Experience Scottsdale. “From hiking and horseback riding to hot-air-balloon rides, the opportunities are endless and just minutes from Scottsdale’s vibrant downtown.”
Scottsdale is a popular hiking destination, so on day two, groups can challenge themselves to one of the area’s popular hikes, like the 4.5-mile Gateway Loop. For a taste of Native American culture, they can pay a visit to the Heard Museum in neighboring Phoenix and, afterward, head back to Scottsdale’s Old Town district and have lunch on the patio at Olive and Ivy. The afternoon can be spent sipping their way through the six wine-tasting rooms on the Wine Trail.
On day three, groups can enjoy poolside yoga or spin at the resort before heading to brunch at the Breakfast Club. The day can be spent shopping in town at local boutiques like Leela Market and Carmen while indulging in some sweet treats at Super Chunk or Diego Pops, the perfect end to a Scottsdale vacation.
Charleston, South Carolina
Groups can begin their trip to Charleston with lunch at Caviar and Bananas, a trendy gourmet market. Next, they can head to King Street, Charleston’s award-winning shopping district, where a treasure trove of books awaits at Blue Bicycle Books and a collection of vintage jewelry can be found at Croghan’s Jewel Box. Groups can enjoy dinner al fresco by flickering candlelight at the Peninsula Grill; everyone should save room for the restaurant’s famous coconut cake. After dinner, it’s fun to visit the rooftop bar at the Vendue Hotel, where they’ll be treated to sweeping views of Charleston Harbor and Waterfront Park.
Charleston is known for its iconic Southern architecture. On day two, groups can take a walking tour of the city’s unique buildings with Free Tours by Foot. The city has several historic house museums, including the Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House. Rodney Scott’s BBQ is a don’t-miss Charleston destination, so good it earned a James Beard Award. In the afternoon, groups can enjoy a luxurious spa treatment at the elegant Wentworth Spa, a former stable in the garden of the historic Wentworth mansion. Groups can have dinner at Husk, celebrity chef Sean Brock’s ode to Southern cuisine, followed by a nightcap at the Cocktail Club, known for its craft cocktails.
On day three, groups can rent a cruiser bike from Affordable Bicycle Shop and pedal the beach. For lunch and dinner, they’ll enjoy eating fresh local seafood at any one of Charleston’s popular eateries, like Hank’s Seafood Bar. In the afternoon, groups won’t want to miss a harbor cruise on the 84-foot wooden Schooner Pride to close out the trip.