It’s almost inevitable. You’re sitting around your friend’s living room or grabbing a beer and burger and someone will mention a burning desire to get away from it all. They want to head to the mountains, the beach, a historic city—anywhere that gives them the chance to share a new adventure with old friends. In its best moments, traveling with friends means common interests, big laughs, and new stories to add to the rotation.
Some groups make it a tradition to rent the same lake house or beach bungalow every year. If you’re looking for something new, here are 15 ideas for great cities, countries, islands, and resorts to explore with your best buddies.
Europe is too far to travel for a long weekend, but Montreal offers that charming European vibe—and it’s a quick plane ride away. Brush off your high school French and check into the new boutique Hotel William Gray tucked into Old Montreal, the city’s charming historic district, which is now filled with sleek shops and inviting restaurants. Eat your way through Mile End and Plateau, pick up a bagel at Saint-Viateur, check out nightlife hot spots, and stroll through Jean-Talon, one of Montreal’s oldest public markets. Montreal is gearing up to celebrate its 375th anniversary with a year’s worth of events planned to mark the occasion meaning it’s a great time to visit.
Destination Kohler, Wisconsin
Set in the village of Kohler, Wisconsin—two-and-a-half hours north of Chicago and one-hour north of Milwaukee—Destination Kohler is made up of several lodges and clubs with chic accommodations, sophisticated dining options, activities for all interests, and a world-class spa (after all, this is where the Kohler bathroom fixture empire started). Visit in winter to challenge your friends to learn the art of Bavarian curling or go on a pheasant hunt, while summer activities include golfing at the PGA-approved courses, horseback riding, fishing, or trap shooting. There’s so much to do at Destination Kohler that you may just forget to leave at the end of the trip.
Grab a group of adventurous friends and spend a week exploring the natural wonders of Iceland. Wander the streets and shops of Reykjavik, learn about the country’s history at the National Museum of Iceland, snag a dinner reservation at the revolving glass-domed restaurant Perlan, and work off jet lag with a cup of coffee at Reykjavik Roasters. Then head to the Golden Circle with stops at the majestic Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and the Geysir that gave all other geysers their name. Save time for a swim in the dreamy waters of the Blue Lagoon.
California’s Napa Valley is the ideal destination for anyone who loves good food, beautiful landscapes, and outstanding wine. Mild temperatures mean that it’s always a good time to visit Napa, whether taking advantage of “Cabernet Season,” which runs from November to April, hitting up the Napa Valley Truffle Festival in January, eating your way through St. Helena, riding the Wine Train, or enjoying a concert in Pioneer Park in Calistoga. Calistoga Ranch has guest lodges that are good for a group with a spa featuring warming baths with supposedly curative properties that are perfect for working off the after effects of too much wine.
Frequent viewers of Netflix’s drug war series, Narcos, may not realize it, but Colombia has evolved into a peaceful country with exciting cultural offerings, a vibrant dining scene, and, of course, incredible coffee. Head to Cartagena to visit the oldest port city in the Americas, which combines urban charm with a beachy vibe. Check into one of the many luxury hotels opening in the area, tour the bohemian Getsemani neighborhood, and explore Old City during your stay. Cartagena sits on the shores of the Caribbean and if you want a beach day, arrange for a boat to take you to Playa Blanca on the Isla de Barú for a day of sun and turquoise water.
Thanks to Uber, you don’t need to rent a car to get around L.A. anymore, which makes it even an even more desirable vacation spot. Stay at the centrally located and comfortably hip LINE hotel in Koreatown and you’ll be within easy of the shops in Venice, the restaurants in Silver Lake, and the nightlife in Hollywood. Explore the newly revived downtown LA, visit the Getty Museum, hike up Runyon Canyon, and try to snag tickets to the Broad.
Finland is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary and the country’s capital city is preparing for a serious party. For classic luxury, book a room at Hotel Kamp, while the design-minded may prefer the Lilla Roberts. Spend your days checking out the shops in the design district, walking the halls of the Kiasma art museum, dining at the lively Holiday, or taking a sauna at the sleek new public sauna, Löyly. Finnair has launched a stopover program making it easy to visit the city even if you’re final destination is elsewhere, and it’s definitely worth the stop.
It’s easier to stick to resolutions when you have back-up, so grab a few friends and head to St. Lucia to unwind while shaping up at BodyHoliday. The all-inclusive resort combines spa treatments, whole foods, and cutting edge fitness routines like Spoga (that’s spinning + yoga) and science (they have a genetic testing program to create personalized roadmaps for health) to create a whole body experience that is actually fun and relaxing. Play a game of tennis, go for a round of golf or archery, or try something even more adventurous like cave diving or rappelling, or just kick back and relax on the shores of the Caribbean.
Nashville has some big musical landmarks to celebrate in 2017 including the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the 35th year of the iconic Bluebird Café, and the 125th anniversary of the Ryman Auditorium, the venue where bluegrass was born that has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash. Help ring in the festivities at the sleek Thompson, which is within walking distance of the musical landmarks and the restaurants and shops that fill SoBro (that’s South Broadway neighborhood).
While China isn’t the most obvious beach destination, Sanya’s white sand beaches might change that. Sanya is the main tourist destination on Hainan, the island province that has been at the heart of a recent Chinese push towards attracting tourists and is designed to lure in visitors with abundant hotels, golf courses, shopping, and more. The newest addition to the luxury hotel scene is the latest EDITION hotel from Ian Schrager with stunning architecture and even more impressive amenities, including four restaurants, a private beach, SkyBar, six swimming pools, and playland with train rides, a rock climbing wall, an electric car racing circuit, bumper cars, mini golf and every water sport you can dream up.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Go find out if the stars at night really are bigger and brighter in Austin, the capital city and culinary heart of Texas. Go for classic Southern style at the Four Seasons or check out the hip charm of Hotel Saint Cecilia. If the weather’s hot, do like the locals and head to Barton Springs Pool or Lady Bird Lake. Catch a concert at the Moody Theater where Austin City Limits takes place or watch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. When you’re placing your order at Gourdough’s donuts or Torchy’s Tacos, remember everything is bigger than Texas.
This article originally appeared in Travel & Leisure.