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.
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?