Murals in Oklahoma City's Plaza District

Hey Girl Hey! The Best Girls’ Trips in the United States

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Studies show that consumers are ready to pull the trigger on booking travel after a long year at home. And while I ask you to please wait until you’re all vaccinated to take a girls’ trip—and even then, please properly quarantine beforehand and mask up to protect those around you—it’s not too early to start dreaming and even planning. So I’m dusting off one of my most popular posts on girls’ trips in the United States and adding some recent favorites, so you can plan that long-awaited getaway with your pals.

Planning a trip to Dauphin Island

Because while my husband and I travel together for a living, I also traditionally have spent 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 my girlfriends, and I’ve compiled a list based on what I’ve deduced. From city getaways to Nashville and New Orleans to beach trips in the Gulf Coast, I can’t get enough of these great girls’ trips and look forward to the day when I can travel with friends again. (Spoiler alert: You will not find Las Vegas anywhere on this list.)

Girls Trip to Panama City Beach

This post was last updated February 2021 and contains affiliate links.

Dauphin Island, Alabama

One of the only out-of-state trips I’ve taken in the past year was a quiet getaway to Dauphin Island on the Alabama coast. While I’ve always been more of a 30A girl, I definitely 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, which is exactly what we did. Although, if you do want to get out and about, 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.

An Aerial Shot of Dauphin Island, Alabama (copyright: Kristin Luna)

Renting a house on Dauphin Island, Alabama
Renting a house on Dauphin Island, Alabama

Renting a house on Dauphin Island, Alabama

Where to stay in Dauphin Island: This glorious three-bedroom house right on the beach that sleeps 7 people and starts at $206 a night

Where to Stay on Dauphin Island, Alabama

image courtesy of Airbnb

Other great rentals on Dauphin Island:

Savannah, Georgia

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. I can’t think of a 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 to checking out the late-night scene on River Street, 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.

Girls Trip to Savannah, Georgia

Where to stay in Savannah: this perfect Victorian house complete with a pool that sleeps 14 people, starting at $437 a night

Where to Stay in Savannah, Georgia
Where to Stay in Savannah, Georgia
Where to Stay in Savannah, Georgia

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other great vacation rentals in Savannah:

For more Savannah ideas, check out all my travel tips to Savannah

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City might not be a girls’ trip recommendation you expected, but it’s one of my biggest and I can’t imagine a more fun mid-sized city than the heart of Okie territory. Why? Consider this: No traffic, affordability, easy parking, compact, plenty of delicious places to brunch, great local shopping, murals and street art photo opps for days, outdoor adventures galore. I guess the question remains: Why wouldn’t you go to OKC on your next long weekend break?

The art at the 21c Oklahoma City Hotel

Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
Where to Stay in Oklahoma City

Ride OKC Bike and Brew Tour in Oklahoma City

Where to stay in Oklahoma City: this four-bedroom Plaza Place home in the Plaza District, starting at $89 a night

Where to Stay in OKC
Where to Stay in OKC
Where to Stay in OKC

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other great rentals in OKC:

For more advice on traveling to Oklahoma City, dip into my past OKC travels

Austin, Texas

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.

Girls Trip to Austin, Texas

Girls Trip to Austin, Texas
Girls Trip to Austin, Texas
Girls Trip to Austin, Texas

Where to stay in Austin: this bad-ass, street art-inspired, six-bedroom house that sleeps 12, starting at $638 a night

Where to Stay on a Girls Trip to Austin, Texas
Where to Stay on a Girls Trip to Austin, Texas
Where to Stay on a Girls Trip to Austin, Texas

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other places to stay in Austin:

For more tips on Austin travel, check out my past Texas trips

The Gulf Coast, Florida

I may be biased as my family used to have a vacation home in Destin and I’ve been going to Panama City Beach and South Walton since I was a wee tot. And 30A is still one of my favorite places to unwind, with SVV or with my family. But it’s also insanely fun with your gals in tow. Ever since my freshmen year in college, 30A has been where my girls and I go to have a little fun, but mostly settle into that toes-in-the-sand, drink-in-my-hand mentality. In recent years, 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.

A Pet-Friendly Vacation to Florida

Girls Trip to South Walton, Florida
Girls Trip to South Walton, Florida
Girls Trip to South Walton, Florida

A Pet-Friendly Vacation to Florida

Where you’re staying: this four-bedroom house with a pool in Rosemary Beach that sleeps 11, starting at $135 a night

Where to Stay in Rosemary Beach, Florida

image courtesy of Airbnb

Other vacation rentals in South Walton:

New Orleans, Louisiana

I had my own bachelorette party in New Orleans and went back for round two a few summers ago with two of my favorite bloggers for the ultimate girls trip in New Orleans. What I love about NOLA 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.

Girls Trip to New Orleans

Where to stay in New Orleans: a two-bedroom, 19th-century home in the Garden District, starting at $119 a night

Where to Stay in New Orleans, Louisiana
Where to Stay in New Orleans, Louisiana

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other places to stay in New Orleans:

Natchez, Missisippi

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.

Sunset in Natchez, Mississippi

Where to stay in Natchez: the two-bedroom Main Street Loft in downtown, starting at $150 a night

Where to Stay in Natchez, Mississippi: Main Street Loft

Other places to stay in Natchez:

Read more about my trip to Natchez, Mississippi via the Natchez Trace Parkway

Nashville, Tennessee

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.

Nelson's Green Brier Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee

Girls Trip to Nashville
Girls Trip to Nashville

Girls Trip to Nashville

Where to stay in Nashville: a four-bedroom bungalow in East Nashville that sleeps 8, starting at $224 a night

Where to Stay in Nashville, Tennessee
Where to Stay in Nashville, Tennessee
Where to Stay in Nashville, Tennessee

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other great Nashville Airbnbs:

I’ve got plenty more Nashville travel tips to help you plan your trip

Franklin, Tennessee

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, but there’s also the Masters & Makers Trail, which includes a stop at one of my favorite distilleries in Tennessee. There’s cute Nolensville with its own 31A Trail and brand-new 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. You won’t be pressed for ways to spend a leisurely Southern weekend with your girls when visiting Franklin.

Fall Colors on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Girls Trip to Franklin, Tennessee
Girls Trip to Franklin, Tennessee
Girls Trip to Franklin, Tennessee

Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

select photos by Matthew Maxey

Where to stay in Franklin: this three-bedroom house right off of Main Street that sleeps 8, starting at $285 a night

Where to Stay in Franklin, Tennessee
Where to Stay in Franklin, Tennessee
Where to Stay in Franklin, Tennessee

images courtesy of Airbnb

Other Franklin vacation rentals:

For all my Franklin knowledge, check out all my Williamson County posts

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 (and as a CPA’s daughter, I’m always looking for a deal). 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.

Charleston Girls Getaway

Girls Trip to Charleston
Girls Trip to Charleston
Girls Trip to Charleston

Beach trip to Charleston

Where to stay in Charleston: this five-bedroom home on Folly Beach that sleeps 10, starting at $625 a night

Where to Stay in Charleston

image courtesy of Airbnb

Other great vacation rentals in Charleston:

For more South Carolina travel, browse my past trips 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.

Girls Trip to St. Augustine, Florida
Girls Trip to St. Augustine, Florida
Girls Trip to St. Augustine, Florida

Girls Trip to St. Augustine, Florida

Where to stay in St. Augustine: this two-bedroom Dune House on Vilano Beach, starting at $265 a night

Where to Stay in St. Augustine, Florida

image courtesy of Airbnb

Other places to stay in St. Augustine:

For more tips on visiting St. Augustine, check out my Florida travel posts

Lexington, Kentucky

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: Lexington has 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.

Girls Trip to Lexington, Kentucky

Girls Trip to Lexington, Kentucky
Girls Trip to Lexington, Kentucky
Girls Trip to Lexington, Kentucky

Girls Trip to Lexington, Kentucky

Where to stay in Lexington: obviously this three-bedroom loft over a distillery that sleeps 6, starting at $350 a night

Where to Stay in Lexington, Kentucky
Where to Stay in Lexington, Kentucky
Where to Stay in Lexington, Kentucky

Other great rentals in Lexington:

For more Lexington travel tips, check out my Kentucky archives

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. The best part? She’s now renting it out for six weeks a year. 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.

A Girlfriend Getaway to Martha's Vineyard: Where to Eat, Stay, Drink and Play

Where to stay on Martha’s Vineyard: Alex’s adorable four-bedroom gingerbread house that sleeps 6, starting at $595 a night

Planning a Vacation to Martha's Vineyard

Planning a Vacation to Martha's Vineyard
Planning a Vacation to Martha's Vineyard
Planning a Vacation to Martha's Vineyard

Planning a Vacation to Martha's Vineyard

Other houses on Martha’s Vineyard:

To plan a girls’ trip to Massachusetts, check out my posts on Martha’s Vineyard

Orlando, Florida

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.

Orlando Girls Getaway
Orlando Girls Getaway
Orlando Girls Getaway

Orlando Girls Getaway

Where to stay in Orlando: this four-bedroom house with enclosed pool near the parks that sleeps 10 guests, starting at $185 a night

Where to Stay in Orlando Near the Parks
Where to Stay in Orlando Near the Parks
Where to Stay in Orlando Near the Parks

Other places to stay near the parks in Orlando:

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.

Beyond Zion National Park — Four Gems Worth Exploring in the St. George, Utah Area

Where to stay in St. George: this three-bedroom desert oasis with pool in Washington that sleeps 5 people, starting at $200 a night

Where to Stay in Zion National Park, Utah
Where to Stay in Zion National Park, Utah

Other places to stay near Zion National Park:

For more info on Utah travel, explore my Zion travel tips here

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.

Exploring St. Augustine: Welcome to Florida's oldest city.

What are your favorite girls getaway in United States? Where should I plan to go next?


 

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The Best Girls' Trips in the USA
The Best Girls' Trips in the United States
The Best Girls' Trips in the USA
COMMENTS
  • November 14, 2017

    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!

    With gratitude,
    Bianca

    • November 14, 2017

      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.

  • November 15, 2017

    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 🙂

    • November 26, 2017

      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!

  • November 16, 2017

    I’d love to visit Nashville and Austin soon. They both have amazing vibes.

    http://www.goldclutter.com

    • November 26, 2017

      I’m biased, but I totally agree!

  • November 17, 2017

    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.

    • December 9, 2017

      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 =)

  • November 18, 2017

    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 🙂

    • December 20, 2017

      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 =)

  • November 18, 2017

    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.

    • December 20, 2017

      That’s an excellent first road trip stop! It doesn’t get much better than Savannah =)

  • November 18, 2017

    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.

    • December 20, 2017

      Ha! I need to get back there when there’s no gale force winds to impede my every activity 😉

  • November 18, 2017

    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.

    • December 20, 2017

      Any great Dutch towns for a girls’ trip?

  • November 18, 2017

    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.

  • November 18, 2017

    I’m not a girl, but Savannah & Charleston are two of my favorite places in the country! Excellent choices.

  • November 21, 2017

    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!

    • December 20, 2017

      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.

  • November 22, 2017

    Sounds like a really cool city, and I’m intrigued.

  • November 23, 2017

    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!

    • December 20, 2017

      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 😉

  • November 24, 2017

    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.

    • December 20, 2017

      After our Richmond and Smokies meet-ups, Lexington needs to be next! =)

  • November 26, 2017

    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.

    • December 20, 2017

      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.

  • December 19, 2017

    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!

    • December 19, 2017

      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!

  • January 3, 2018

    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…).

  • January 12, 2018

    oh, nice post, thank you.

  • March 12, 2018
    Lori

    Nashville, home of the “whoo girls” aka the rally cry of all the bachelorette parties hosted here 😂

    • March 12, 2018

      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:

      https://twitter.com/annehelen

      (tl; dr — 12South, pedal taverns, golf carts, Honky Tonks, murals…)

  • August 12, 2018
    Carol Ravel

    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.

    • August 12, 2018

      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!

  • October 21, 2018
    Trisha Boyer

    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!

    • October 22, 2018

      Yes! And I’d add on there Huntsville after a recent trip there. Such a fun place to weekend with your gals!

  • January 20, 2020
    tracy

    i hope you saved your money and didnt waste it in fayetteville, nc. you will be sadly disappointed. i grew up there.

  • February 4, 2021
    Amy

    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.

  • February 23, 2021
    nha trang

    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.

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