By Ashley Mateo for Redbook
Family vacations are great, and romantic getaways are crucial to a healthy marriage. But sometimes you just have to get away with your girls. Between work obligations, parenting duties, and keeping your husband from turning into your roommate, it can be tough to put the effort into maintaining your friendships. But your friends are crucial to your sanity — and a quickie girls' trip can be all you need to reset, relax, and remember what it's like to have fun without all your other responsibilities.
This Caribbean escape averages 82°F year-round, which makes it perfect for a girls' getaway literally any time you're craving white sand beaches, palm trees, and chill ~island vibes~. The Palm Beach strip boasts hotels galore, but if you're looking to really indulge on a rare long weekend away from work/husbands/kids/responsibilities, you'll want to set up camp at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. When you're not on the five-star resort's beach, go HAM on relaxation at the 15,000 square foot spa, where you can get island-inspired face and body treatments like the Dushi Tera massage, designed to reveal glowing skin and remove toxins. You'll want to make time to sip on a Cadushi (Cactus) Cocktail (or two) on the Divi Bar and Lounge Terrace, where you'll be treated to stunning sunset views. At night, try your luck at the hotel's on-site casino, where your crew can set up a private casino clinic — and try to win enough money to come back the next weekend.
SAN DIEGO, CA
You'll want to visit SD with your BFFs — or, Best Fitness Friends. Why? Because it's one the top 10 fittest cities in America. With 26 miles of shoreline and 340 parks over 40,000 acres from Sunset Cliffs to La Jolla, you can hike, bike, and swim to your heart's content. And don't forget to sign your whole squad up for beginner's surf lessons at the female-run Surf Diva. If your friends are the kind that love to 'gram their fitness adventures, stay at La Jolla's La Valencia, a fully pink, 1920s gem where Cary Grant used to stay.
WATCH HILL, RHODE ISLAND
You're never too old for sleepover parties, especially when they take place at the Watch Hill Inn's Lilly Pulitzer Suite. Call up all your sorority sisters for a weekend getaway in the seaside hotel's cheerfully decorated room. Décor courtesy of the resort brand includes exclusive Lilly Pulitzer Bedding, Lilly Pulitzer bar accessories, and Lilly Pulitzer beach totes you can take with you when the fun is done. But if this sounds too much like your sorority house days, there are some grown-up perks, too, like a gas-burning fireplace, a fully equipped stainless steel kitchen, and a goose-down king-size bed. Spend your day riding one of the inn's limited edition Lilly Pulitzer x Martone bicycles to the beach and around town, then head back to your suite for a killer view of the sunset over Little Narragansett Bay from your own private terrace.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
Calling all Elizabeth Taylor fans: If you live for Liz's glamourous Hollywood life, you don't need to book a ticket to Los Angeles. With the "Girlfriends & Glamour Getaway" package, you can head to Fort Lauderdale for a luxurious weekend escape. You'll get a look at Taylor's extensive "riches" in a NSU Art Museum photography exhibition, dine and drink your way through the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment district of town, and enjoy a luxurious stay at the Las Ola's Riverside Hotel, which offers in-room balconies, marble bathrooms, and gorgeous views of the Fort Lauderdale skyline. It's a little taste of the lifestyles of the rich and famous — without the sky-high price tag.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
Head up the coast a bit from family-friendly Newport Beach for another oceanfront town that's perfect for girls' looking for a little slice of carefree California life. Book a stay at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, where you can enjoy the brand-new main pool with luxury cabanas complete with flat-screen TVs and personal refrigerators that you can stock with all your favorite essentials (rose all day!). Then head down the beach for surf classes with Toes on the Noes instructors or a beach yoga class right on the sand.
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
Chick lit queen Elin Hilderbrand is back with her latest ode to the Cape, The Identicals — a story about two sisters isolated on two different islands — and it's going to make you want to pack your bags, grab your girls, and start debating which you prefer: Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. If you're more of the Vineyard persuasion, book a stay at Summercamp, a cheery boutique hotel in Oak Bluffs. It's full of perks that will take you right back to your actual summer camp days: a Camp Canteen with classic snacks; a game room with vintage games, a movie screen, carpet twister, and ping pong; and giant porches and balconies with harbor views and rocking chairs (because you're not campers anymore). More into Nantucket? Make yourself at home at the Greydon House, a super low-key hotel designed to reflect this part of the island's vibes (think lots of nautical details). No matter which part of the island you're in, take advantage of the amazing restaurants, top-notch shopping, pristine beaches, and the opportunity to enjoy it all with your BFFs.
Don't worry, this isn't a suggestion to regress back to college spring break — there's so much more to Cancun than body shots at Señor Frog's. Just a short drive from the airport on the Yucatan Peninsula, you'll find the NIZUC Resort & Spa, the kind of idyllic slice of paradise partiers a few miles away can't even fathom. There are oceanfront suites and private villas where you can revel in the views of the Caribbean Sea, bespoke spa treatments using Mayan healing rituals and local herbs and plants, six restaurants on the property, and a swim-up bar smack in the middle of a giant reflective pool — and instead of shots, you can sip on fresh juices made from local ingredients. Want to experience Cancun beyond the resort's 29-acre property? Set up a day trip to the Great Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, the ruins at Tulum, or the caves of the Rio Secreto.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Pinterest has declared New Orleans the top pre-wedding party destination of 2017, but that doesn't mean you need a bachelorette party as an excuse to go. Yes, it's known for its party atmosphere — but that doesn't necessarily mean Mardi Gras beads and Bourbon Street. In between exploring the French Quarter and sampling all the Cajun and Creole food the city has to offer, hit up a classy spot like the Moxy Bar at the Moxy Hotel, which is decked out with vintage French horns and metal voodoo skulls, or grab a stool at the Henry Howard Hotel's marble bar. But if you're going to sleep where you drink, your best bet is the Roosevelt Hotel, a gorgeous turn-of-the-(19th)-century building that's been restored to it's previous glory, plus a few modern bonuses — like the rooftop pool and 12,500-square-foot spa.
Sedona is one of those places in the U.S. that can make you feel like you're not just in another country, but on another planet. It doesn't really matter where you stay, because you're going to spend a huge chunk of your time outside, Instagramming hiking the famous Red Rocks, horseback riding through Dead Horse Ranch State Park, or sightseeing cool local spots like the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Montezuma Castle, and the Palatki Ruins. But to sleep, you can'd go wrong at L'Auberge de Sedona, with rooms offering epic panoramas of the incredible scenery.
Ah, Miami. It's basically as far south as you can go in the United States (while staying in a big city), and if you need a warm-weather escape, a city that rarely drops below 60° is a solid choice. You can hit the beach year-round, eat all kinds of Latin-inspired deliciousness, snap a ton of Instagrams at the Wynwood Walls, and even take a quickie road trip down to the Keys for some quiet time. If you're staying in the city, though, hit up The Confidante Miami Beach — starting in July, the hotel will host spa nights at their open-air rooftop spa. You'll get a free glass of prosecco and 15% off any spa treatment — and if your group is big enough (9+), you can reserve the whole place for yourself and customize your experience. Visit just for the Spa Night perks, or make the hotel your home base for girls' weekend.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Seriously! If you aren't hemorrhaghing money at the pool parties, the club bars, or in the casinos, Vegas is actually one of the cheapest destinations in the U.S. (In fact, the average hotel price for two nights is just $158, and average airfare is $237.) And there's so much more to do that get wasted there. Rent your group a car and make the 15-mile drive south to the Instagram-friendly Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation that truly pops in the middle of the desert. If your friends are all about the 'gram, you'll also want to visit the Neon Museum, where you can get up close and personal with historic Las Vegas signs. (Your husband would be over taking photos of you in front of cool signs sofast; that's what friends are for.) But if your really looking for a low-key trip — I know, it's the antithesis to what Las Vegas stands for — spend a day luxuriating at Canyon Ranch Las Vegas, where you can customize a whole Girlfriends' Getaway package for your crew.
WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON
Napa where? Just one hour south of Portland is another, lesser-known (and less crowded) valley renowned for its wineries (there are 500 of them), and it's exactly where you and your friends want to go when you're looking for a relaxed getaway where you can still drink...a lot. It was named the Wine Region of the Year in 2016, and it's famous for it's pinot noir. The top wineries to hit: Stoller Family Estate, if not for the pinot and chardonnay, then definitely for the solar-powered, sun-drenched tasting room; Raptor Ridge Winery, because the 360° views are truly breathtaking; and Willamette Valley Vinyards, where you can get 4 pairings of wine and food for just $20. As for where to stay, scroll through Airbnb for some truly unique rental options (like this incredible treehouse or this rustic tiny home).