Gather Your Girls! Here Are the Best Girlfriend Getaways For 2019
"You're the loves of her life. And a guy's just lucky to come in fourth."
Mr. Big may have uttered this iconic line 15 years ago on Sex and the City, but the importance of female friendship still rings just as true in 2019. While we're making space for self-care and prioritizing what really matters, there's nothing like uninterrupted quality girlfriend time. Why should bachelorette parties be the only excuse to escape on vacation with your tribe? Making memories over once-in-a-lifetime experiences is just as important as the all-important Sunday brunch therapy sessions. Whether your crew prefers to get a little wild in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, or relax and unwind in Bali, we've selected the amazing getaways for 2019 that every girl in your crew will love!
For the past few years, Nashville has been one of US's reigning bachelorette party destinations outside of Las Vegas. Because of that, businesses there know how to cater to a girl crew. From taking in a great live show at a honky-tonk on Broadway to getting up on stage and belting your heart out to lost loves at an open night, the ever-expanding chic brunch offerings, and a great cache of vintage shopping, Nashville is the perfect place for a close to home, but not quite home, girls' trip. Hip hotel brand Dream Hotels is opening its Nashville location early this year, and we're guessing the hotel's Parlour Bar is going to have some good Nashville royalty people-watching. Hello, Lily Alridge!
Get lost in souks bargaining for beautiful treasures and watch the sunset over the Sahara desert on an epic girls' trip to Marrakech. Insider tip: the riads in Morocco are splendid, with amazing Moroccan decor and beautiful tile work. When I was on a trip to Marrakech, we opted for a modern, impossibly chic riad, Riad Goloboy, with bright jardin Majorelle Blue interiors and bold art installations.
We all have that friend, the movie buff, who chooses her next vacation based on her favorite film locations. She might be in love with a new city this year with the release of Berlin, I Love You, the latest installment of the Cities of Love franchise starring Dianna Agron, Keira Knightley, and Helen Mirren. Berlin has become synonymous with the alternative, the new, and the creative freedom to take risks. A long weekend in the city, exploring the famed coffee houses and nightlife, could be just what you and your friends need!
Are you and your friends absolute foodies? You are going to fall in love with Singapore. This place is food obsessed! Shiok, the Malay word for a feeling of unadulterated pleasure in reference to food, has been a staple in the language centuries before the word "foodgasm" was thought of. Tour jaw-dropping sites featured in Crazy Rich Asians like the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark or Gardens by the Bay, the futuristic location of Colin and Araminta's wedding. Trust us: even the airport here is a must-see. Changi Airport has been named the best airport in the world six years in a row.
Plan a trip to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France and insert your crew right into French art history. In an art-lover's French dream vacation, tour the sites of world-renowned French paintings and take classes yourself. Meditate at The Rock of La Fileuse, the inspiration behind 23 works of Claude Monet that are currently at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fine Arts Museums of Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. Visit the home of Suzanne Valadon, muse, mother, and inspiration to many prominent artists, including Renoir, and also a prolific artist herself — wild for a woman of her time! Or visit the site of Monet's lilies.
In the same trip, you can explore the French city Limoges, which is a bit off the beaten path but a UNESCO creative capital for its celebrated "fire arts." Ceramics, enamels, and glass-making are important strongholds in Limoges, and you've seen work from Limoges throughout the world — for example, Hermes' signature ceramics. Limoges is at the same time a young and vibrant city due to the university, and of course, it's charming . . . is that a French requisite?
Napa Valley, CA
What's girls' night without that perfect bottle of red or Rosé? We think Napa Valley could be the perfect getaway for you and your crew. Enjoy the family-owned wineries of the Silverado trail and get your cycling in touring the wineries by bike. Picturesque green rolling hills, world-class food . . . and with more than 500 wineries in the area, you are sure to find your favorite blend! Stay at the Solage and snag a complimentary beach cruiser to pedal to nearby wineries as part of the resort's Sip & Cycle program, including a tasting. You can see what the CBD craze is all about with the Solage's healthy lotus CBD spa treatments. If you're looking to splurge, try the Many More Travels Curated Journey experience, which gives you access to gated, hidden locations in Napa Valley known only by the top wine aficionados in the world, exclusive tastings at stunning small-production wineries, and multicourse dinners at private estates, caves, chefs' homes, or other treasured locations paired with estate and reserve wines!
Plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your crew exploring the beautiful country of South Africa with a safari. I saw all five of the South African big five (elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo) and many other incredible creatures on game drives with Becks Safari Lodge in one day. Visit Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with Table Mountain in the skyline, and Johannesburg, where you and your girlfriends can tour art galleries, discover new designers, and dance all night to the South African beats taking the world by storm.
Insider tip: plan your trip around Fall, which is South Africa's Spring and early Summer, when Johannesburg hosts festivals like Afropunk South Africa or Joy of Jazz. After taking in an international music festival, you and your squad can head to safari in the Limpopo region and finish your trip in Cape Town and wine country! Book a private, luxury food and wine tour with Explore Sideways. With the dollar being so high right now, a full weekend of gourmet food and wine in South Africa is less than a quarter of the price of Napa and comparable European destinations.
The Resort at Paws Up, Montana
You guys have been talking about glamping for years! Well, it's time to finally head to one of the top 20 resorts in the world for experiencing nature. The Resort at Paws Up is a top-tier Wild West luxury ranch. Paws Up has one of the largest activity lists of any ranch resort, with something for everyone: a relaxing day at Spa Town (the outdoor, white-canvas-tented spa), fly fishing, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, or more adventurous activities like rock rappelling or an authentic cattle drive. As opposed to being confined to the hotel's perimeters, Paws Up affords you the freedom of 37,000 acres of untouched Montana wilderness as its playground. The property has a variety of accommodations: beautiful rustic homes, luxe tents where you can reserve a full camp of six tents, or the incredible Island Lodge at Salmon Lake, an island retreat so you and your girls will really feel like you have the place to yourselves. Don't worry — there's a "s'moreologist" on site!
Sun Valley, Idaho
Gather the book club, because we're heading where Ernest Hemingway spent his last days: beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho. This ethereally perfect mountain town is not just for the Hemingway fans. Endless outdoor activities like backcountry skiing, sledding, and even heliskiing await the more intrepid ones in the crew. For the artsy hibernator, the town is filled with gallery exhibitions. And for another celestial experience on our list, stay at the Hotel Ketchum. The boutique hotel is located on the Dark Skies Reserve, where you'll get an untarnished look at our amazing galaxy. From bibliophiles to daredevils to the starry-eyed, Sun Valley seems to have something for everyone. It's a group-pleaser!
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, The Arctic Circle
Does it ever feel like the stars aligned to bring you and your friends together? Why not take a bucket-list trip to see the Northern Lights? Head up to the Arctic Circle and stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in the Laplands, Finland — reportedly home to Santa Claus! You guys will feel like kids again, spending your days snowmobiling, ice fishing, on reindeer rides, and laughing in piles of snow. Splurge on a cabin with your group and have a slumber party in the tempered glass igloo room. We bet you've never had girl talk with this natural phenomenon as your backdrop.
Scribner's Lodge, The Catskills
Have a group hygge a stone's throw away from NYC. Were you inspired by the Scandinavian lifestyle movement, embracing all things cozy and exuding all-around warmth and good spirits? Head up to the Catskills for a Winter weekend at Scribner's Lodge. This cozy mountain retreat has been popping up a lot on our feed lately. Late-night fireside chats, cozy socks, hot cocoa, and giggles in the morning await. We'll see you there!
Taking a step into the magical city of Cartagena, you'll immediately see why the city is a must-visit destination for you and your girlfriends. The colorful homes only rival the bougainvilleas dripping from rooftops, the azure waves of the sea, and bright plazas drenched with unrelenting Caribbean sun. The energy of the Caribbean city is palpable, and its size is totally doable for a long girls' weekend, even though there's always more to discover in Cartagena. Stay at Casa San Agustin, an old restored convent dating back to the 17th century. Some rooms have private gardens and pools for when you and your friends just want to take it easy and sip limonadas.
Rockhouse Hotel, Negril, Jamaica
Cliffside villas are perfect for a midnight dip right into impossibly turquoise Dolphin's Cove, the iconic Jamaican Sound System stage that's hosted the top reggae acts in the world, and just a style that exudes casual and accessible luxury. It's no wonder that the It girls of the modeling industry like Imaan Hammam, Melodie Monrose, Bella Hadid (who said she decided to take her girls there), Rita Ora, Emily Ratajkowski, and Hailey Beiber (née Baldwin) flock to Negril's Rockhouse Hotel. Make Rockhouse your home base on your girls' trip to Jamaica and you'll all certainly get your groove back.
Martinique, French West Indies
Do you guys look at Rihanna's Crop Over costumes every year and promise that one year you'll do a Carnival? If you're not quite bold enough for a full-on Crop Over and want to ease into Carnival life, head down to Martinique! This beautiful island's Carnival in March is the perfect place for you and your tribe to do your first Carnival, as it's the only one that's really participatory; there are no barriers separating the spectators and marchers. Everyone is encouraged to participate, and everyone does! When you're not reveling, you will love exploring Martinique's superverdant mountains and spectacular white and black sand beaches. Norwegian has flights there from US cities for as low as $59, so this is a doable vacation for everyone in your group!
Rincón, Puerto Rico
If learning to surf — and maybe meeting some surfers — has been on your to-do list for a while, make a fun girls' trip to Rincón, Puerto Rico. On the west coast of Puerto Rico, Rincón gets beautiful waves and is world famous for surfing. There are also great points for beginner's and tons of surf schools and teachers to choose from. À la Blue Crush, learn to ride waves all day and watch the sunset as you sip sundowners; after all, Rincón is called "the town of beautiful sunsets."
If the classic Britney Spears movie Crossroads taught us anything, it was the cathartic powers of a cross-country road trip with your besties. You know those classic cars that you see in Havana? Rent one for epic road trip experiences through Cuba's western half. Cuba, with its low violent crime, is often rated as one of the safest places for women to travel solo. So you and your crew should have no worries hitting the road! Spend a week or so visiting off-the-beaten-path places like Viñales, Cuba's tobacco country; UNESCO World Heritage city Trinidad de Cuba, the country's university town and the hallmark of what's young and fresh from the island; Santa Clara; and the stunning Cuban landscapes and countryside. Havana has been on everyone's radar for the last few years, so this is how you and your crew are going to take it to the next level.
The Gulf of Mexico beach town of Clearwater, FL, is the place to take a girls' trip for the weekend. Clearwater Beach and its powdered-sugar sand was voted the best beach in the country in 2018 by TripAdvisor. Book a weekend getaway with the girls at Sandpearl Resort and enjoy a private beach, lagoon pool, and even s'mores at the resort's beachside fire pits. Pamper yourselves at the spa's healthy happy hour, which includes a sampling of mini treatments, light appetizers, and refreshing cocktails.
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Head to the Riviera Nayarit and have a fun, albeit more mature, stroll down memory lane. Landing in Puerto Vallarta, trade in days of shooters for tequila or mescal tastings in one of the city's many five-star restaurants. Ziva Puerto Vallarta has the largest ocean-facing spa in the region and makes for the perfect spa day of your girls' weekend. This spa also has many treatments on its menu that utilize local ingredients such as agave. The Malecón hosts art walks every Wednesday night, opening up all of the art galleries in the city.
Just a short car ride away, my favorite town in the region is actually the magical village — the Mexican government designated it a "Pueblo Magico" — of Sayulita. Life revolves around the beach here. From the locals' connection with the waves to the array of options of clean eating, some time in Sayulita will transform your spirit. Once a small fishing village, Sayulita couldn't stay a secret for long.
Hint: go during the weeks between New Year's and Easter; without tourists from neighboring towns coming in for day trips, you'll see Sayulita return to its normal, but still bustling, pace. Head to the W Hotel in Punta Mita's Living Room for sunset cocktails. You will be wowed at the modern decor incorporated with traditional Mexican Huichol tile work when you see the space. Plan for an epic group shot on the Huichol Sunway.
Hotel Dos Ceibas Eco Retreat, Tulum, Mexico
Your gang has made a conscious effort to lead more sustainable lifestyles and connect with their inner self and the universe in 2019, so why not incorporate that into your getaways as well? Pack your bags for Hotel Dos Ceibas Eco Retreat on Tulum Beach, next to the beautiful Sian-Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Dos Ceibas Posada Ecológica is surrounded by tropical gardens, including two Ceiba trees, known as the sacred trees of the ancient Mayans. As an activity, the hotel organizes lessons of sacred dance, meditation, and full-moon Mayan ceremony. This eco-resort is perfect for groups, with yoga classes every morning, group massages on the beach, energy circles, meditations, group dinners, and group temazcal steam baths for up to 10 people. You and your gang will leave Tulum with your chakras aligned and an even closer bond.
Whether you're in Waikiki or Maui, when you ask many native Hawaiians which is their favorite island, you'll often hear Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle. This lush dot in the Pacific Ocean is the epitome of all-natural, low-key living, making it the perfect getaway for a weekend detox. The oldest inhabited Hawaiian island, Kauai's slow pace will have you immediately feeling relaxed. From sunrise blessing ceremonies to awe-inspiring waterfalls that will show you the true meaning of the word awesome, there's a strong sense of beauty in the natural life force of Kauai. It's one of the reasons Hawaiians appreciate it. Yeah, there are spas, yoga retreats, and the like, but Kauai encourages you to immediately live that lifestyle, if only for two days, instead of focusing on the trappings of attaining that lifestyle.
We love Dominica. Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, this island could be the Caribbean's best-kept secret. Known as the nature island, this lush locale in the eastern Caribbean is a favorite among wellness travelers and nature-lovers. The island is home to volcanic peaks, tropical rainforests, rivers, healing springs, and more. Big in the diving community, Dominica is also a beautiful place for whale-watching. Dominica has that comeback spirit. Tropical Storm Erika devastated the island in 2015. They rebuilt it only to be hit again by Hurricane Maria in 2017. But the government is heavily invested in restoration, and now is a great time to visit.
If you and your tribe want to be conscious about where your travel dollars are going, look to these locales that need tourists to come back and spread the gospel again that they're doing well. Those travel dollars support a new chapter for places like Dominica. The island is still not operating at 100 percent, so for the group that looks for opportunities of voluntourism, this is a perfect choice. It's definitely a trade-off for uncrowded beaches and unusually low prices. There's no lacking natural beauty. One of the island's most breathtaking properties, Secret Bay is now open for business! The Fort Young Hotel is open during reconstruction and offers a five-night voluntourism package ($837 per person with additional discounts) that includes trail-clearing.
Head to the eternal city to celebrate an eternal friendship. Rome is romantic, charming, and known for its wine and pasta — what a perfect place for a girls' getaway. The thing about this ancient city is there's always something new to discover. Rent a palatial apartment in the Monti district (a very old area in the Forum and a stone's throw from the Colosseum), which is experiencing a revitalization. There are great independent boutiques and yummy modern Roman eateries. Book a tour with Roma Experience, which includes VR tours of the Colosseum, an underground tour of Nero's Golden palace, and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the best art restoration labs in the world. We have a feeling you've never seen Rome quite like this.
As one of the most affordable countries to visit in Western Europe (and accessible, with frequent flights from the East Coast), Portugal is a great idea for a getaway. Gather the group and head to Lisbon. Soak in the amazing wine, food, and culture at a fraction of the cost of more traversed Western European capitals. Live like the queens you are and stay in one of our favorite palaces in the city: Palácio Belmonte. Make sure to do a headcount on the way home . . . a few friends may stay!
The Wayback Cafe and Cottages, Austin, Texas
Have you ever wanted to spend one more weekend, as an adult, at sleepaway camp? The newly opened The Wayback Cafe and Cottages has us feeling all the sleepaway camp vibes on its three-acre oak-tree-dotted property. A piece of land that was the former favorite hangout of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin has been transformed into an intentionally hidden eight-cottage getaway tucked just eight miles outside Austin off Bee Cave Road. If those trees could talk! The Wayback will be host to upcoming Texas wine dinners, live music, yoga on the lawn, full-moon dinners, small holiday markets, movie nights, croquet tournaments, and scavenger hunts — so there will be plenty for you and your team to do!
Walt Disney World and Winter Park, Florida
Maybe you love that feeling of staying up late giggling with your girlfriends because it makes you feel like a kid again. One of our favorite places also evokes those happy childhood memories. Have a girls' getaway that your inner child would envy at Walt Disney World! Amazing rides, delicious food — isn't Epcot so much more fun as an adult? All the international cuisine and a free pass to act like a kid makes this a true girls' trip.
Only a half an hour away from the park, stay at the award-winning Alfond Inn. From here, you guys can walk to Winter Park for world-class shopping and dining. If you want to take it easy one morning, we'd recommend a boat tour on Winter Park's chain of lakes followed by a visit to the Morse Museum, which houses the nation's largest collection of Tiffany works.
Few families vacation like the Kardashians, and since seeing the family's epic Indonesia trip, we've had Bali on our girlfriends' getaway list. Let Pura Vida adventures do all of the leg work for you so you and your girls just have to show up. The company's Bali surf and yoga trip includes an eight-day guided luxury retreat on the mainland of Bali and neighboring island Nusa Lembongan. Beachfront properties, snorkeling in coral reefs, surfing impossibly blue waves, shopping in Bali, sunset yoga, and exploring the beautiful temples of Indonesia are just some of the experiences you and your friends will cherish.