While my husband and I travel together frequently, I also spend a lot of my free time going on both work trips and getaways with my girls. For years, I’ve judged a city for whether or not it would make a good bachelorette trip or long weekend with friends, and I’ve compiled my favorite girls’ trips in the United States based on my personal travels.
This post was last updated May 2023.
From city getaways to Nashville and New Orleans to beach trips in the Gulf Coast, I can’t get enough of these girls’ trips—spoiler alert: You will not find Las Vegas anywhere on this list.
Dauphin Island, Alabama
One of the most underrated Southern destinations I’ve visited in recent years was to Dauphin Island on the Alabama coast. While 30A is great, I dug this sleepy barrier island right on the Gulf of Mexico, the perfect spot to hole up with your friends on the beach and not leave the house. If you do want to get out and about, howerver, there are plenty of other activities you could do here, like deep-sea fishing, visiting the Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab or touring the historic forts, and Mobile and Fairhope aren’t far away either.
If you’re traveling with your dogs in tow, use this pet-friendly guide to Dauphin Island to steer your trip.
Ahhh, Savannah. The Hostess City of the South. A dream of a town cloaked in Spanish moss and serving up hearty doses of Southern cooking with a side of love. There’s no place better made for a girls’ weekend, from dining at culinary hotspots like Cotton & Rye and The Grey to hitting the beach on Tybee Island, and it’s becoming even easier to visit Savannah if you’re a non-Southerner thanks to a growing number of flight options directly into the local airports.
For more Georgia trip ideas, check out all my travel tips to Savannah.
It’s no surprise that Austin tops my list as it’s Nashville’s doppelgänger, but spring and autumn in particular are glorious times to grab your girls and hop a flight to Texas’ capital and its hippest city. You can fill your shopping bags with funky clothing and home décor along South Congress, eat tacos from Torchy’s, sample the burgeoning brewery scene, see plenty of live music and spend a leisurely day out on Lake Travis.
For more tips on Austin travel, check out my past Texas trips.
The Gulf Coast, Florida
I’ve been going to Panama City Beach and South Walton since I was a wee tot, and 50 states and 150 countries later, 30A is still one of my favorite places to unwind with my family. But it’s also insanely fun with your gals in tow. I’ve held bachelorette parties in South Walton and PCB, and I love how affordable they are for the gal on a budget as you can rent a big ol’ beach house and really keep the cost-per-person low, particularly if you’re cooking out of said house and using the beach as your free daytime entertainment.
Use these travel tips to Panama City Beach to plan your vacation.
New Orleans, Louisiana
What I love about New Orleans is it’s easy to navigate, it’s relatively compact, it’s more affordable than, say, New York City and it’s got a killer music scene, perfect for those who love to burn the midnight oil (but still a good fit for those who don’t). We had a great time exploring the Big Easy and eating our weight in Cajun food. Airlift may have once been a problem, but New Orleans has a new airport terminal and is getting new flight routes all the time—and bonus: They’re serviced by my personal favorite airline, Southwest.
Plan your trip using this bachelorette guide to New Orleans.
Down along the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans is a town that I’m newly obsessed with. Natchez, Mississippi is not only the oldest settlement along the river, but it’s also got a very NOLA feel to it—only more affordable and with far fewer people. With a local brewery, plenty of great restaurants, some of the most historic homes in the South, and growing art and LGBTQ+ scenes, it’s perfect for the low-key girls’ trip when you want culture and style without all the noise.
Plan your trip and know what to do there with our travel guide to Natchez. If you’re traveling in the region by car, we also have guides to cruising the Natchez Trace Parkway, start to finish.
How can I write about girls’ trips and not include the Bachelorette Capital of the United States, not to mention my adopted hometown (I grew up an hour south of Nashville)? I can’t possibly, but I can say to please, please venture off Broadway and enjoy the real Nashville. Stay in an Airbnb on Music Row or around 12South and use my bachelorette guide to Nashville and tips for having a grown-up girls’ weekend as ways to avoid the tourist traps.
I’ve got Nashville travel tips aplenty to help you plan your trip.
Perhaps more preferred than a Nashville girls’ trip right now—at least for me—is a weekend with friends in nearby Franklin. I’ve loved Franklin my whole life, but it seems every month there’s something new to fall in love with. There’s Civil War history, sure, there’s the Masters & Makers Trail, there’s cute Nolensville with its own 31A Trail and Walls for Women mural. There’s an afternoon in Leiper’s Fork, which you can do by bike if the weather allows. And there’s great eating, drinking and shopping along Main Street.
For all my Franklin knowledge, check out all my Williamson County travel guides here.
select photos by Matthew Maxey
Charleston, South Carolina
I realize this list is tending to skew Southern—what can I say? I write what I know—but having lived in both California and New York, I find the Southern cities to be much more accessible for meeting up with groups, not to mention affordable. I’ve planned three bachelorette trips to Charleston in the past few years—not to mention, plenty other girls’ getaways to the Holy City—and for those who really enjoy eating, drinking and beaching, you couldn’t pick a better city to visit.
For more South Carolina travel, browse my trip guides to Charleston here.
St. Augustine, Florida
Despite this charming coastal city being in prime hurricane territory, it seems to weather any storm. Though I only first visited a few years ago, I’ve since done three beach trips to St. Augustine with another planned this summer. From Nashville, it was just an hour flight and then under 45 minutes to drive to St. A from there. On my trio of trips, I’ve stayed on Vilano Beach each time, explored the historic downtown and fort, had cocktails at the Ice Plant and St. Augustine Distillery, attended a concert on Anastasia Island and just kicked it on the beach.
For more tips on visiting St. Augustine, check out my Florida travel posts.
Louisville may be on your bucket list (see: mint juleps and Derby parties), but I urge you to also consider Lexington, which I believe to be one of the South’s most underrated cities. The college town has much more curb appeal aesthetically than its bigger western neighbor, not to mention it’s far more walkable. And it’s got booze to spare: Our guide to Lexington features its own distillery district, a handful of awesome breweries, and is within a half an hour from other Kentucky big boys like Woodford Reserve and Castle & Key.
For more Lexington travel tips, check out my Kentucky travels.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
I had one of the most relaxing getaways of my adult life at my friend Alex’s gingerbread cottage in Martha’s Vineyard. As a lover of literature, I obsessed over feeling like I was a character in a novel as we town-hopped our way around the island where New England’s elite have their second home. Most houses in the Campgrounds have a limit to how many weeks they can rent out a year (generally six), so if you’re planning to visit Martha’s Vineyard, it’s best to book as far out as possible.
To plan a girls’ trip to Massachusetts, check out my posts on Martha’s Vineyard.
I’ve been to Orlando with my family, I’ve been with SVV, I’ve taken small children to the parks, and I’ve been with friends. There’s really no bad way to do Orlando—just as long as your trip companions love theme parks as much as you do! If I were to have my bachelorette party again, I’d probably consider doing it at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s got the awesome waterpark Volcano Bay, five hotels to choose from (with several more in the works), so many delicious food options, and you don’t ever have to deal with the nuisances of driving anywhere. You could easily pool-, restaurant- and bar-hop around the resort complex for four or five days and never repeat anything, or you could opt to book a vacation rental on the fringes of the park and save money by making your meals in your own home kitchen.
For more travel tips to the parks and beyond, sift through my Orlando archives here.
St. George, Utah
I’ve visited St. George, which is the jumping off point to Zion National Park, no fewer than four times in the past decade, and it never fails to introduce me to new and exciting experiences. It’s particularly fun with friends, and for the gal group who loves the outdoors, you can’t go wrong with this slice of Utah paradise. It’s easy to reach, as well: Simply fly into Las Vegas and take I-15 north for 120 miles with a potential stop in the Valley of Fire on the way. Stay in Springdale if you have limited time and want to just do Zion, St. George or Washington if you want to hit up all the area parks, which I recommend.
Pro tip: If you like to imbibe, be sure and stock up your cooler in Nevada before crossing over into Diet Coke territory where beer and liquor are hard to come by.
Our guides to Zion and the nearby national parks have plenty of practical tips for traveling to the area.
I know there are plenty of other cities that are primed for fun weekend trips, and I can’t wait to explore them. High on my list for the near future is: Palm Springs; St. Louis, Missouri; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and St. Petersburg, Florida.
What are your favorite girls getaway in United States? Where should I plan to go next?
You all should come explore Bentonville! We’re home to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21c Museum Boutique hotel, and many other small-town treasures with big city amenities! For more information give us a shout!
Funny you say that as Bentonville has literally come up three times in conversation this past month! Sounds like a really cool city, and I’m intrigued.
Granted, I’ve only been in Tucson for a month, but it has serious girl trip potential! So many spa/resorts (Miraval, Canyon Ranch, etc) plus great hiking, amazing food scene (so many tacos!!!) and funky shops. I’m hoping I can get my girl squad out for a visit before I move on to the next hometown 🙂
Tucson is actually on my wishlist for 2017! I want to visit my friend Andi there and also explore the city. I worked in Arizona during summers in college, but never made it that far south!
I’d love to visit Nashville and Austin soon. They both have amazing vibes.
I’m biased, but I totally agree!
The ultimate girl’s getaway is to visit Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas! Lots of other places to visit in town, too! We would love to have you visit.
I’ve never been to Waco, but funny enough I have three (potentially four) work trips planned to Texas in 2018, so who knows? Maybe it will happen =)
This is a great list, and I love the south also ;). You should try out Fredericksburg, Texas. It’s a great place for a girls trip. There are tons of wineries, great shopping and just a fun laid back vibe 🙂
I’m actually headed to Texas in January for a project! We don’t have our itinerary yet, but I’m hoping we swing through Fredericksburg =)
Awesome list, I’ve been in USA only once and already did 2 trips from your list. Savannah was my first girls road trip in USA. Had so much fun.
That’s an excellent first road trip stop! It doesn’t get much better than Savannah =)
You’ve definitely hit on a few of my absolute favorite cities in the US (I’m looking at you NOLA and Austin) as well as some that I definitely need to visit(Nashville, Savannah and Lexington). I may be biased but I think VB should be added to the list too.
Ha! I need to get back there when there’s no gale force winds to impede my every activity 😉
The whole city I visited in the US with a friend was New York 🙂 I have yet to explore all of the cities on your list! I think that almost all cities are perfect for a girls’ trip, there’s not much you need when you can laugh together.
Any great Dutch towns for a girls’ trip?
There are certain cities that have the perfect charm for a girls’ trip and I think you’ve really hit the spot with this article. I’ve taken my mum to Austin for a really crazy (yet memorable) trip and we went to Orlando a few years ago as well (so much fun)! I think Santa Fe holds a special place in my heart though as my favourite girls’ getaway trip.
I’m not a girl, but Savannah & Charleston are two of my favorite places in the country! Excellent choices.
I absolutely LOVE Nashville, but I’m so glad you mentioned going somewhere other than Broadway! Downtown areas are always fun, but man it gets old when you see 10 bachelorette groups in the span of 2 hours. Plus, you’re right there’s so much more to Nashville than the downtown area! 12South is such a cute area!
Anyways, Maine had never REALLY been on my radar (except to check it off the list of states to visit.. I know horrible of me!) But Portland sounds like it has an awesome mix of activities! Might have to drag my bff up there for a long weekend!
Oh man, Miranda, I can’t stand what Broadway has become! I used to live right near (and work in) Times Square, and it reminds me so much of that…too touristy for my liking! My favorite areas in Nashville are Germantown, 12South, Music Row and Five Points, though the Nations is getting really cool, too.
You need to check out Portland! It’s got all the New England charm and is very walkable.
Sounds like a really cool city, and I’m intrigued.
What a fun post!
I’ve never been to the US with anyone other than my husband and son, but if I were to ever do it in the US, it would be to New York!
And as for the places in your post, I’d choose Portland, Maine (‘cos it’s in historical New England), and Universal Orlando Resort, because it would be such a laugh to have grown-up women screaming, laughing, and running around with joy!
Oh girl, UOR is going to blow your mind when you finally get there! Though I think your family would be a wee bit upset with you if you didn’t take them 😉
OMG, I love Torchy’s so much. Those tacos. They have my heart.
And I second Lexington! I spent a few nights there on a Bourbon adventure and loved the vibe of the city, and the beer, too.
After our Richmond and Smokies meet-ups, Lexington needs to be next! =)
I’m going to also add the Smokies. I had a great “Dollycation” in Pigeon Forge with my gals! Dahlonega too. A few on the to-do list are Bristol and Winston-Salem.
YES! I love me some Dolly and some Smokies. And Knoxville is one that somehow didn’t make the list, though I do actually think it’s the perfect weekend retreat for a group of girls.
I would love to go to Banff! However, this year, my friends and I are going to Portland, Maine! It is so funny you have taken a girls trip there as well. I can’t wait!
I promise to update you on how it is as a girls destination after I go =)
You’re going to have so much fun in Portland!
Fun fun fun! Nashville, Charleston and Savannah are SO high on my list for this year (they were on the list last year but time got away…).
oh, nice post, thank you.
Nashville, home of the “whoo girls” aka the rally cry of all the bachelorette parties hosted here 😂
You should scroll back the past few days and read this BuzzFeed editor’s Tweets as she was in Nashville “investigating” the bachelorette craze for a story, HA:
(tl; dr — 12South, pedal taverns, golf carts, Honky Tonks, murals…)
The Gulf Coast is one of my favorite vacation destinations Kristin! I used to visit with my friends like you and we would typically rent a large E30A home and explore all of the cute unique communities throughout the area. I’ve since been bringing my own children and we’ve made it a bit of a family tradition. I’m hoping my husband can give me some free time soon to explore some of these other destinations on your list, because they look amazing as well.
I never get tired of going there, no matter how many times I visit! What company do you rent from? I’m always looking for a good rental, as my family sold theirs about a decade ago and many of our friends have sold theirs, as well!
I love this list! I just got back from a family vacation in Brooklyn (we stayed in Park Slope) and was thinking it would be perfect for a girl’s trip in October – the weather was perfect and there’s so much great stuff to explore even if you don’t make it across the Manhattan!
Yes! And I’d add on there Huntsville after a recent trip there. Such a fun place to weekend with your gals!
i hope you saved your money and didnt waste it in fayetteville, nc. you will be sadly disappointed. i grew up there.
Try Door County, Wisconsin! Sometimes referred to as “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.” There are many wineries, inns, shopping, scenery, art galleries, recreational activities and much more.
You’ve definitely hit on a few of my absolute favorite cities in the US (I’m looking at you NOLA and Austin) as well as some that I definitely need to visit (Nashville, Savannah and Lexington). I may be biased but I think VB should be added to the list too.