Surprisingly Awesome Destinations for a Friends’ Getaway

My two friends and I recently decided we needed a girls’ getaway; we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before without having to get on a plane. The answer was Atlantic City, a place I never thought I’d venture to willingly. But over the last year or so, I’d heard some amazing things about the destination, and how they’ve really put a lot of effort into making the area more appealing to all types of travelers, so I figured I’d give it a chance. I was not disappointed by our AC trip, which made me rethink girl getaways in general. We keep booking spa weekends and wine tours, which turn out to be amazing, but we are overlooking some amazing trips that would make surprisingly perfect girls’ getaways. These options will get you on the road with your besties in new and creative ways you might not have ever considered.

Head to Atlantic City:

If you’re on the East Coast, you don’t have to be a gambling expert or fist-pumping pro to enjoy Atlantic City (bonus points if you are though). As someone who is neither of those things, I highly suggest you head to AC for a weekend, let loose, and do both of those things because you will have insane amounts of fun. Trust me, I speak from experience. Here’s how the ideal AC night should go down: Dinner at the Viking Cooking School where you will learn how to make a delicious dish and bond with your besties and new friends, saunter into the casino where you either throw down some dough or become friends with someone who is and root for them, then stumble into Harrahs’ after dark indoor pool party where you will fist pump to some DJ you’ve never heard of, all with a HUGE smile on your face. Here’s a tip: Book a room at Harrah’s so that at the end of the night, you can just fall into bed. If you need something a little more tame, head to the Chelsea hotel the next day where there is no casino, so things are a bit more refined. Treat your hangover with a carby breakfast at Teplitzky’s, and then head up to the 5th floor for a relaxing day at their gorgeous pool.

Rent a house an hour away from where you are right now:

Seriously. Getaways need not be fancy. Back in the day, a girls’ getaway was just a slumber party at a friend’s house, and it was all you needed. Channel the simpler times by having a good ol’ fashioned slumber party with your girls—but to keep things interesting, do it at a stranger’s house. Wait, I’m not suggesting you break into someone’s home. Just go on Airbnb, find a house that you can all (relatively) conveniently meet at, order the pizza and girly movies, and you’re set.

Take a road trip to Salvation Mountain

California people: Just three hours from L.A. is this amazing art piece, built and maintained painstakingly by Leonard Knight almost until his death earlier this year. It is a homage to love and to God and it is by far one of the most unusual and obsessive works of art you will ever see. Knight was a loner and a drifter who spent three very passionate decades installing it (for a preview before your trip, check out this clip from Into The Wild.)  After the trek, head back into Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, or Desert Hot Springs and kick back together for at least a night.

Visit Amish Country:

The Amish lifestyle is extremely intriguing, and you know you’ve always wondered about it. So why not head to Lancaster, PA with your buddies and see what it’s all about? Who better to experience a new culture and lifestyle with than your besties? It may even give you a new outlook on life. Okay, so when you’ve had enough of that, there are spas, wineries and breweries! It’s basically your average girls’ getaway, plus some seriously interesting cultural experiences.

Take a Cruise:

Yes, I know this is a supposedly fun thing people don’t always want to do again—but not with your best friends! All I’m suggesting is that you hop on a cruise, and just, well, cruise. If you like the idea of the all-inclusive but don’t really want to sight-see or plan anything, get on a cruise to nowhere. Many of the major cruise lines have trips that just kind of float through the ocean without stopping so that guests have enough time to relax and take advantage of everything the ship has to offer. Enjoy the shows, restaurants, spas, and pools without having to plan a single thing. Now that sounds like a getaway.

Go on safari:

Okay, this is SUPER SPLURGE-Y, but for all you cash-rich folks, channel Chelsea Handler, grab your girls and go into the wild. In her latest book, Chelsea regales us with hilarious tales of her African safari adventures, which inspired me to do the same because, if we’ve learned anything from Chelsea, it’s that she knows how to have fun. It might be far, but I highly recommend going on a South African safari for a truly life-changing experience, the kind of experience you want to share with your best friends. You will want someone to celebrate with when you spot the Big Five, to squeal with over the unreal atmosphere, and to drink with during downtime. For a truly alternative girls getaway, go to the Madikwe Safari Lodge, where you can eat fabulous meals, receive spa treatments, and bond just like you would on any girls’ getaway, but in a location that’s just a little bit different.

Featured image via HBO