Manicures. Massages. Vineyards. These are all famously synonymous with a status quo girlfriends’ getaway. Whether it’s a reunion with college besties or a bachelorette party, sometimes you need to shake up the humdrum and grab adventure by the horns.
We’ve scouted the country for 10 out-of-the-box approaches, from rustic to cosmopolitan.
Angel Fire, N.M.
Nestled in the Enchanted Circle, Angel Fire is a tiny mountain town that was officially founded in the 1960s. The Angel Fire Resort is home to some of northern New Mexico’s most visited ski slopes. But year-round, the mountain town offers a fresh batch of all things outdoors.
A jaunt to the northeastern part of the country in the fall offers one of the most beautiful landscapes our country has to offer. Serving as a picturesque backdrop for a girlfriend retreat, Barnard is home to Twin Farms, an all-inclusive resort in the Vermont mountains. From cooking classes to recreation, this charming getaway boasts offerings you won’t find just anywhere.
Although the landscape is rural, the accommodations come with five stars. In fact, they even have a new cooking suite where guests can take an intimate cooking class. And in the region, there are a variety of other opportunities for enjoying locally grown food from the nearby farms.
There are plenty of fitness-focused activities to inspire calorie burning afterward. Many lake activities are popular, including fly fishing and canoeing. The resort will even let you have your hand at a game of croquet on the lawn during cocktail hour. And for the ultimate healing and relaxation, you can retreat to 104 degrees of pristine water in a Japanese soaking tub.
We’ve scouted out some activities that are anything but ordinary.
Nestled on the northern tip of Isle of Palms is a lush barrier island off the coast of South Carolina called Wild Dunes Resort. It’s a 30-minute Uber ride from the lively and charming historic downtown center.
The resort is sprawled out among 1,600 acres of oceanfront paradise. Golf is a main attraction for many, but there are plenty of activities. The resort offers a chance to dust off — or discover — your ironworking skills. They have a Playing with Fire class where your group will learn the basic mechanics of blacksmithing. If you’re looking for something a little less interactive and fiery, you can enjoy a naturalist guided boat tour to Capers Island, one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands.
After you’ve experienced the natural surroundings, you can hop to downtown Charleston and experience bourbon tasting. After all, you must do as the locals do. Charleston Distilling Co. has a tasting room where you can sample a flight of various bourbons. The group can also book a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery and learn how the spirits are created.
Some getaways call for a bit more cosmopolitan glitter. And with all the treasures to unlock in Chicago, one needs a key.
The Peninsula Chicago offers Keys to the City, which unlocks once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From a hands-on kitchen experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant to a chocolate factory tour, you will experience supreme decadence. To top off the night, the Peninsula can arrange to send you up in a helicopter ride over the city. If you have a fear of heights, the program can send you down to Lake Michigan for an evening boat ride.
Here you can have a rustic experience punctuated with an urban one.
The Halcyon Hotel is a seven-story luxury property that opened in the Cherry Creek area in 2016. Expect a custom gear garage, where you can check out seasonal outdoor equipment from bikes to Vespas. Depending on the season, you can rent kayaks and take a self-guided tour of the Platte River and Cherry Creek.
Once your water adventure is complete, choose from the city’s 65-plus breweries. Denver is a fitness-focused metropolis and many breweries incorporate fitness activities into the lineup. Some of the breweries even have a bicycle pub-crawl. And what trip to the Denver area would be complete without a photo opp at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre? Even if your trip doesn’t align with a concert, you may catch an organized weekend fitness class.
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Jackson is a town in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley and home to three ski areas. But it’s a popular destination for the non-winter months, too, with the crisp air and mild temps.
Snake River Sporting Club is popular for city slickers to exchange their urban routine for a more laid-back one. The club is stretched across 800 acres and offers Western authenticity. They even have tiny 400-square-foot homes furnished by Restoration Hardware. Some of the units are equipped with covered-wagon bedrooms.
When not retreating to the tiny homes, you and your group can get lost in the day, experiencing horseback riding, whitewater rafting, archery, skeet shooting and even a chuckwagon tour. And if you care to meander away from the resort, Grand Teton National Park is 30 miles away, and Yellowstone National Park is about 90 miles. This cowgirl venture is dripping with gumption and that Annie Get Your Gun spirit.
Lake Tahoe, dipping its pool of water into two states, serves as a premier destination for adventure by land, air and water.
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe offers so many activities that you may not have time to leave the property. Heli-skiing is popular during winter months, where you are literally transferred to the tip-top of the mountain via helicopter. Have cameras ready as you pop out of the helicopter and embark on a downhill journey via skis or snowboard.
If you’re taking the gang to the Sierra Nevada Mountains during summer months, the hotel can pack a picnic for you to hit the road and have the ultimate scenic driving experience through the 72-mile journey around Lake Tahoe. There are dozens of quaint mountain towns and alpine villages to stop in and get acquainted with the region’s culture and community.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Although L.A. is notorious for lights, camera, action and all things Tinseltown, there are uncharted waters to explore. The natural surroundings of the City of Angels are breathtaking and vast. From the steep canyons to the rolling tides, you can spend your time outdoors.
Hotel Shangri-La is just a stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Pier. For the yogis in your group, you can experience YOGAqua, where the ocean is literally your yoga mat. If you feel you’re up for a more adventurous water challenge, you can attend surf school and have a group surfing lesson. When you’ve tuckered out your sea legs, be sure to hit up one of the trails of the city’s famous canyons, such as Laurel Canyon or Runyon Canyon, both in the Hollywood Hills.
After your day in the sun, you’ll want a cool night out on the town. L.A. is home to an underground music movement called Bootie Mashup. This will truly be an experience for the books. Each Saturday, a team of DJs and performers sync up to present the ultimate dance experience. The night is polished off with bootleg mash-ups of your favorite hits. And each Saturday, the tunes event finds a new underground spot to call home. So you never know where the next dance party will pop up.
Park City, Utah
Park City offers mammoth snowy views along with rich Olympic history. Most popular during ski season, the Waldorf Astoria Park City has tons of activities.
The resort is just down the road from the Olympic Park, home to the 2002 Winter Olympic games, and is still in use. Each year, athletes from all over the world come to train for their sport in both summer and winter months.
But if Olympian pursuits aren’t your cup of tea, the Waldorf offers snowshoeing on the ski slopes. During a snowshoe excursion to a restaurant on the mountain, you can enjoy the views and have a lunch of fondue and short ribs.
If your friends want an adrenaline-inducing activity, snowmobiling should do the trick. Or try dogsledding, where you race through the meadows of Park City behind a team of huskies.
Scottsdale offers some atypical experiences to complement the spa and relaxation.
The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa near Camelback Mountain collaborates with Cattle Track Arts & Preservation, tapping into the compound’s talented artists, musicians and designers to create events and programs for guests based on the Sonoran Desert.
For the ultimate souvenir, guests can venture off the property to meet and create alongside the artists in their personal studios.
And if you really want to absorb the views from the best vantage point, a sunrise balloon ride may be just what you need. You could even bring the ingredients for mimosas and have a fun breakfast party while soaking up desert views.