9 Girls Trip Ideas for a Perfect Mini-Getaway

two women in dresses jumping: girls trips
(Photo: @manrikphoto via Twenty20)

Time with friends is important, especially in those busy kid-wrangling years. It’s like a little Mommy reset button that delivers good times, laughs, and totally fresh perspectives so that you can get back to your crew with renewed energy. Even if you can only escape for the day, girls trips are worth the planning. Ready to get out with your gal pals and share some adventures? Here are some girls trip ideas that you can customize to your own locale or interests.

Go Wine Tasting

Always popular with my favorite girls trip companions is a day of sipping wine and swapping stories. There are over 250 AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in the U.S., and while California has the most wine-grape-growing regions, more than two dozen other states also have wine regions. Whether you’re in the West, East, Midwest, or South, you’re likely not far from a wine region with tasting rooms. Another bonus: wine regions tend to have good restaurants and other girls weekend getaway friendly activities like spas and hiking, so you can round out your tasting tour. 

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is a favorite of mine in the Midwest. This collection of 21 wineries is located in scenic little towns near beaches and sand dunes, and is a girls weekend destination where you’re sure to find a restful, rejuvenating retreat. 

Ride Horses

Ranches and stables around the U.S. offer horseback trail rides. There’s something soothing about connecting with animals in the outdoors, making it a great idea for a girls trip. Even those dude ranches that cater to families tend to have great offerings for adults traveling together. 

If you can escape for a long weekend or more, consider rounding up some friends for a girls trip to Vista Verde Guest Ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The expansive blue skies seem almost as endless as the bounty of chef-prepared meals, the myriad of outdoor activities (yoga, rock climbing, paddle boarding, and more), and the herds of beautiful horses grazing outside your luxury cabin door. Spend your days cowgirling, rafting, fishing, or doing whatever your soul desires. Then toast by the campfire to days well-lived. 

Rent a Sports Car 

Perhaps a scenic drive in a sports car gets your motor running. Rent a convertible, exotic (Ferrari anyone?), or classic ride, and hit the open road … or race track. Outfits around the country offer the chance  to drive exotic and luxury cars. Las Vegas’ Exotics Racing, for instance, has the largest fleet of exotic super cars in the country. Xtreme Xperience runs cars on racetracks in 35 locations around the U.S. Its motto? No speed limits and no experience necessary. 

For a classy outing off the track, head to Wisconsin. The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva partnered with Classic Car Rentals to offer guests the opportunity to take a 1969 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow or 1980 red Corvette out for a spin. Cruise around Geneva Lake or explore the countryside. With the wind in your hair and your best friends in the car, you’ll feel wild and free, and able to catch up on everything. 

Go Hiking and Parasailing

Hiking is one of my absolute favorite girls getaway activities, and it’s so much more fun to do while chatting with friends rather than while breaking up fights between kiddos. One of the most gorgeous hikes I’ve ever done was around deep blue Lake Tahoe. Among the tall evergreens, climbing toward sunny skies, and surrounded by cool mountain air, you can’t help but become entranced by the calm serenity of this massive alpine lake. There are hundreds of hikes around Lake Tahoe and into neighboring Desolation Wilderness. 

After your hike around Lake Tahoe, why not see it from above by parasailing the lake with a local outfitter like Action Watersports. Parasailing—being pulled into the sky behind a boat while riding the wind on a giant kite—is not nearly as scary as you may think, and the views are spectacular.

Trek with Goats

Frolicking with goats is a guaranteed good time. Many have tried goat yoga, but have you considered goat trekking? With roots in the Alps, goat trekking has become a popular way for backcountry hikers to haul their loads. But for a more relaxed approach to goat trekking, try a playful stroll through forests and meadows with baby goats from Hoof It in Galena, Illinois. On a recent girls trip, my good friend and I wandered prairie trails with goats that would nibble and munch leaves along the way, then scamper along to catch up. Round out the day with a post-goat-trek bonfire and wine tasting. 

Explore Food Trails and Festivals

Even better than going out to dinner with friends is taking your time on a food trail, trying all sorts of different dishes along the way, and turning a meal into a girls trip. In Buffalo, New York, sample your way along the Buffalo Wing Trail. In Kentucky, hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Love cheese? Find plenty to enjoy on a tour of Wisconsin Cheese or while exploring the Sonoma Farm Trails in California. From donuts to tamales to pizza and barbecue, you’re sure to find culinary delights to tickle your taste buds in every corner of the country.

Want to ditch the car and celebrate food in one single spot? When we get back to gathering again, I plan to go to Chicago Gourmet, one of my absolute favorite food festivals. Other amazing food and drink celebrations that make a great place for a girls trip include Queens Taste in New York City, Colorado’s annual Great American Beer Festival, Walt Disney World’s Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Oakland, California’s Eat Real Festival, and Atlanta’s Chomp and Stomp Chili Cook-Off and Bluegrass Festival. 

Bliss Out at a Spa

When someone utters the words spa day, do you automatically yell “Yay!” To me, there’s nothing better than a day of pampering that includes a deep tissue massage. Plus, what better way to unwind than by blissing out with your girls. 

You and your girls trip companions can find amazing day spas and resort spas around the country, but if you’re looking for a spa worth traveling for, I love Aji Spa at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. In the heart of the Arizona desert, this revitalizing luxury retreat features services that draw on Native American healing practices and local ingredients. Plus, you can see wild horses roaming in the distant landscape as you lounge poolside. If you can escape for the weekend or week, bravo to you.

Go for a Walk on the Beach

No matter the weather, there’s something refreshing about a walk on the beach. My friends and I can walk and talk for hours. Beautiful beaches abound:I love the squeaky sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama; and the seaside cliffs of Monterey and Big Sur, California; and of course, the colorful beaches of Hawaii.

Kayak, Paddleboard or Bike

Sometimes a different mode of transportation is all you need to reset your mind. Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or bike with friends and see what happens. One of my favorite bike rides with a gal pal was in Anchorage, Alaska. We pedaled 11 miles on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Not only were we surrounded by snow-capped mountains and serene waters, we also encountered a mother moose with her young, fuzzy-antlered babies munching leaves along the trail. Grab your favorite friends and paddle or pedal your way to a new view of the world.

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Cortney Fries
Cortney Fries is a seasoned travel journalist, with her writing and expertise appearing in Redbook, MSN, Parents, Family Vacation Critic, Chicago Parent, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and several AAA magazines. Exploring the outdoors, learning, and trying new things are her favorite activities, best accompanied by family and friends. When she’s not hiking, sleeping in an ice hotel, or soaking up different cultures, she can be found cooking and creating with her husband and two children in the Chicago area.

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