A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the blog "Why Girlfriend Getaways After 40 are Better." Never did we anticipate that it would be so popular: The influx of traffic shutdown our website twice in two days! While the novice blogger in me would like to think it was the witty words about my experience in Cancun (or the photo of my 40-something friends rocking bikinis) that "broke the Internet," I know better. It was read and shared over and over because ... WOMEN ARE HUNGRY! Hungry for fun, new experiences, relaxation and, most of all, an escape from their everyday lives.
So, why keep starving yourselves? "I can't afford it." "My husband won't like it." "My kids won't be able to function while I'm gone!" Um ... Yes, you can afford it if you plan appropriately. Your husband will get over it. Your kids will survive, even if someone feeds them gluten-riddled bread. No more excuses! At the end of that blog, I reminded you that you deserve a getaway—and I promised I'd share some destination ideas.
Because I really wouldn't want to screw this up for you, I sought the expertise two local travel professionals (women, of course) and asked them to share their top destination picks for girlfriend getaways. They had some great ideas!
Angela Denton and Marva Donovan of Dolphin Vacations, Grand Rapids and Zeeland ...
San Francisco, California
There is so much to see and do in SFO. It's easy to get around: There are hop-on/hop-off double-decker buses that run near all of the tourist locations. I recommend staying near Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square. From there you are within walking distance to many attractions. You can dine and shop in Chinatown and visit Fisherman's Wharf in the afternoon for some incredible seafood, including the famous sourdough bread and clam chowder. You also have museums, Alcatraz Island, Haight Ashbury and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you enjoy wine, take a day trip out to the Wine Country and spend an afternoon on the 25-mile Napa Valley Wine Train.
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Travel Association.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There is so much more to New Orleans than partying on Bourbon Street and Mardis Gras. It's a friendly city and it's excellent for women's life-event celebrations. The city is rich in history. There are historic walking tours and haunted tours, tales of Andrew Jackson, Pirate Jean Lafitte and writer William Faulkner. Visit Preservation Hall and hear some amazing Jazz and enjoy art galleries and boutique shopping. The dining is incredible with French, Southern and Creole influence. A calmer alternative for evening music is Frenchmen Street, where you'll also meet local artists in the night market. There is a reason they say, "Let the good times roll!"
Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Just 115 miles from Phoenix, Sedona offers total relaxation, luxurious spa treatments and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. You will want to spend a few days in Sedona. Take a Pink Jeep Tour through the breathtaking red rock canyons. Shop the quaint elegant stores, get in touch with your "inner self" by having your tarot cards read or wander on a spiritual healing tour. You will be pampered, refreshed and renewed. There are activities for all fitness levels, whether it's a short hike or a rock climbing adventure. This place is all about promoting healing, energy and fun!
Photo courtesy of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.
Tami Lemson, Manager Vacation Sales, Breton Travel, Grand Rapids ...
Mexico (Riviera Maya or Los Cabos)
They have great all-inclusive resorts, which offer a super bargain. The resorts have both spectacular beaches and pools. The resorts offer a lot of daytime activities and some nighttime entertainment. Many resorts have outstanding spas; however, these services are extra. If the girls want to bring their children, these resorts are known for their kids' programs. They could have a great time without ever leaving the resort, but shopping, deep sea fishing, pub crawls and adventure excursions abound. Remember: You must have a passport.
Photo courtesy of VisitMexico.com.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas is like Disneyland for adults: Every hotel is a theme park. What comes to mind first in Vegas is the nightlife—great restaurants, show, casinos and wonderful clubs—but the days are fun, too, with terrific shopping and world-class pools and sun.
Photo courtesy of Richard Termine.
New York City
New York can be pricey, but lots of fun. See some Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, shop at the world's greatest stores and eat at the restaurants you see on the Food Network. Or you can spend less and see the sights from the hop-on/hop-off bus, eat at iconic delis and Little Italy restaurants, visit some of the most famous museums, and walk in Central Park free.
Photo courtesy of Gray Line Sight Seeing.
Arizona is a terrific destination if you crave the sun. Resorts here are known for their impressive spas, which are always great for a girls' getaway. If you don't want to just hang around the pools, you can go horseback riding or enjoy other interesting outdoor activities.
Photo courtesy of Gayle Lindgren/FreeImages.com.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater, Florida, is known for its beaches. The hotels are high-rise resorts all along the impressive beach area. When you have had enough sun, there is notable shopping and nightlife. Clearwater is a perfect domestic destination for those seeking a quick getaway.
Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Collura-Gehrt.
Certainly, there are many more options. We got some ideas from our readers, too, including Savannah, Hilton Head, Turks & Caicos, Dallas and Nashville. It's probably best to first come up with the consensus of what your group's main goal is and also what you're willing to spend. That will help narrow down your destinations. Do some research online, or save time and consult a travel agent.
I hope these ideas further inspire you to gather the girls and plan your getaway!
We at West Michigan Woman would love to hear about your experiences! E-mail me any time: [email protected]
Written by Jill Carroll, marketing manager at Serendipity Media. This mom of three boys from Cannonsburg finds balance by working hard, playing hard and drinking margaritas poolside with girlfriends.