8 Girls’ Trip Ideas for Summer
High tea and shopping, sunbathing and spa time, or craft beer tasting and hiking: whatever your crew is into, there’s a girls’ trip that’s just for you.
It’s only a three-hour flight from Florida, but you’ll feel worlds away from home when you touch down in Aruba, a Dutch island in the south Caribbean with postcard-perfect white sand and turquoise water. Even more reason to visit is the Hilton Aruba, which recently underwent a facelift. Your clan can set up camp at a beachfront palapa and laze the day away, hit the spa, or get active with snorkeling, paddle boarding, cycling, tennis or an adventure Jeep tour of the island. Dine at the hotel or try out nearby favorites The Flying Fishbone or Bugaloe.
The fact that bars and restaurants will let you take your wine, beer, or cocktail in a to-go cup pretty much sums up the 'anything goes' atmosphere in New Orleans. But there’s more to the place than boozing on Bourbon Street. Check-in to boutique hotel The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, where the rooms look like a cool friend’s New York loft apartment and the on-site restaurant Compere Lapin draws tourists and locals alike. An afternoon listening to jazz and drinking wine in the garden at Bacchanal is a must, and when you get hungry it’s a short walk to The Joint for burgers and other southern fare. You can’t leave New Orleans without enjoying a seafood feast, and local favourite Bevi Seafood Co. never disappoints. At night head to Frenchmen Street for live music at The Spotted Cat or d.b.a, where there’s also a night market that stays open until the wee hours.
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If you can get the squad organized enough to make a trans-Atlantic trip, you’ll be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime and the Instagram posts to prove it. After checking into an outrageously cool boutique hotel like The Soho Hotel head out for high tea at Sketch, the ridiculously pretty restaurant with the pink interior you might recognize from Instagram. Buzzing on tea, sugar and maybe a little champagne, hop on a big red bus tour (which for some reason doesn’t feel cheesy in London), or get your shopping fix at Harrods, Fortnum & Mason or Dover Street Market. For the best sunset views, make a reservation at Duck & Waffle, the highest restaurant in London. Leave some room for a late-night dinner at Chiltern Firehouse, a dark and loud restaurant/bar where you’re likely to spy a celebrity hanging out in one of the leather booths.
It’s hard to beat Cancun for a beach break. Avoid awkward conversations about who paid for what and check-in to an all-inclusive, which no longer has to mean watered-down margaritas and frozen pizzas. Sandos Cancun is perched right on the white sand beach of Cancun’s hotel strip, and has three infinity pools and a spa. Obviously your days will be spent swim/drink/eat/nap/repeat-ing, but if you feel like heading out for dinner there are great options close to the hotel. Puerto Madero is an Argentinian restaurant specializing in fresh seafood and steak, and Tempo by Martin Berasategui features uber-modern, fine-dining cuisine.
Staying out all night and recovering on the beach or by the pool the next day is a sure-fire way to bond with your girls, and there’s nowhere better to do it than Miami. Book into stylish boutique South Beach property The Betsy with its very Instagram-able rooms and daily happy hour. The place to be for dinner is Zuma, a modern Japanese venue downtown with a fun, sexy atmosphere. Post-dinner, the clubs and lounges with the best vibe are often at the upscale hotels, such as the eccentric Living Room bar at The Faena Hotel, the rooftop bar at the Mondrian Hotel and WALL at the W South Beach. Inner-city arts neighborhood Wynwood is increasingly becoming the place to be. Check out the street art before dinner at Alter, then finish up at Gramps, a cool dive bar minus the seediness.
Less than three hours from Miami, Cartagena is a historic city of colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and impressive cathedrals. The boutique hotel game is strong here; one of the best is Casa San Agustin, with its chic rooms and L-shaped pool (the perfect spot to cool off when the heat gets overwhelming). The best thing about Cartagena is wandering the old city, but uber-cool hood Getsemani, with its mural-covered walls, is also a must. For less busy beaches, take a day trip to the Rosario Islands. When you return at night, watch the sunset on the city wall with a cold drink in hand, then grab dinner at La Cevicheria or Don Juan Cartagena.
Two hours west of Charlotte, laid-back Asheville has one of the most exciting craft beer scenes in the US. Book a tap room tour or make your own way: Wicked Weed, Burial Beer Co., the Funkatorium and Asheville Brewing Company should all be on your list. Burn off the beer with a hike or cycle in the Pisgah National Forest, and be sure to spend a day at Biltmore Estate, the sprawling former Vanderbilt mansion that’s the closest thing America has to the Palace of Versailles. You should also spend an afternoon at the spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn, where you can get a massage and soak in the indoor and outdoor mineral pools, sipping wine while you’re at it. For dinner, Nightbell is an upbeat, casual spot with a focus on share plates and cocktails. The Windsor Boutique Hotel offers stylish rooms in a convenient location on Broadway, one of Asheville’s most fun and bustling strips.
If the squad is in need of some R&R, hop on a flight to Hawaii and head straight for Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. It’s close enough to central Oahu and Pearl Harbour, but being a little further out, it’s extra chilled. The Marriott is one of those hotels you could easily not leave for your entire stay, with its palm tree-lined beach, surfboards for rent, rooms with balconies and ocean views, super relaxing spa, and restaurants serving up plenty of seafood and other fresh fare (is it possible to eat too much poke?). But if you do wander off the grounds, you'll want to hit Tiki’s Grill & Bar and Roy’s for sushi by the sea.
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