Women need other women. The closeness we share with our female friends is a unique and special bond. This connection takes many forms: mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters, girlfriends and colleagues. Female friendship gives us stability and a sense of belonging. That's why it's important for us to create ways to share time together -- whether that's a weekly coffee date or membership in a book club.
But what about giving yourself the gift of an even bigger experience? Whether or not your besties live in the same city as you, consider taking a trip together once a year to strengthen your ties. Girlfriend getaways can be mellow, exciting or anything in between.
Here are 10 very different but equally awesome girlfriend getaways. There's something in here you're sure to love.
Rent a Beach House
A beach house can be a great home base for a girlfriend trip any time of year. A comfy, cozy pad with picturesque views of an ocean that's just steps away -- what could be a better setting for sharing the company of your favorite ladies?
During summer months, play outside together! Bust out the beach games like horseshoes or bocce ball. Swim, sunbathe and take walks along the shore. Who wants to dine out when you're staying at a beach house? Make meals together in your kitchen or grill on the barbecue. Dine alfresco and just sit back to take in the melodic sounds of crashing waves.
A seaside cottage can be just as fun during colder seasons. Throw some logs in the fireplace, or bundle up and stoke a fire pit outdoors. Get snuggly in your PJs and play board games, read books, listen to music or even cook your favorite comfort foods.
Camp in the Great Outdoors
Here's an inexpensive and adventurous option for all you outdoorsy gals. It's as simple as throwing a sleeping bag, tent and cooler of food in your car and taking off.
Designated campgrounds often come equipped with drinking water, bathroom facilities or showers. If you don't care about these conveniences, you can get more privacy and adventure by backpacking in to a remote site in the back country. It's just you, your girls and nature. Hike, mountaineer, river raft or do whatever outdoor sport suits your fancy. Gather around a bonfire, roast marshmallows and share stories (after all, that is one pastime we're good at!).
Go Wine Tasting
You don't have to go to Napa Valley to have a first-rate wine tasting experience. This iconic wine region in northern California does, indeed, offer world-class vineyards. But there are many quality family wineries in rural towns across the country worth checking out, too. Not to mention, lesser-known places can be more affordable for visitors.
One such place is the town of Sonoita in southern Arizona. In Sonoita, you'll find a cluster of wineries that offer facility tours, wine tastings (usually for a fee) and food at eateries on-site. Buying a wine tasting tour from a car service or limousine company can be a festive and safe way to get around during a day of drinking.
Wherever you end up, you're sure to have a blast with your group, see beautiful scenery and learn something new about the almighty grape and why it tastes so good when it's poured out of a bottle!
Party in Vegas!
Las Vegas: land of lights, clubs, big shows and even bigger casinos. Go big or go home!
Round up the rest of your party crew for a round-the-clock extravaganza that can be as wild as you want it to be. Vegas is intense, and there are many things to see and do. Go with girlfriends who are after the same experience as you to minimize conflicting agendas.
After you've spent plenty of time by the hotel pool, bust out your best cocktail dress and hit the strip! Pack your boa, dancing shoes, lucky rabbit's foot for the craps tables and whatever else you need for a good time. Here, everything is over-the-top -- from architecture and world-famous restaurants to dance clubs and performances. Rip it up, and have fun!
Take a Volunteer Vacation
Is there a cause you feel strongly about? Maybe you lost your grandmother to cancer or a friend to Hurricane Katrina. Consider participating in an on-the-ground relief effort and making a volunteer vacation out of your girlfriend getaway.
Plan your own visit or go with an organized group. Teaming with your mother, sister or friends to help others who are suffering or less fortunate not only feels good, but it can also be a life-changing experience for you.
Just because you're "working" doesn't mean you're not having fun! You can see a new part of the country or world, meet other interesting people and learn new skills. Sharing extraordinary experiences like this can deepen the bonds of friendship. You also might get to know yourself in a different way and discover new aspects of your friends, too.
Sport It Up
If you and your girlfriends share an interest in golf or yoga, take a trip together that revolves around your favorite activity. Consider a location that looks interesting, meets everyone's budget and is accessible to all.
For example, are you into meditation? Research ashrams or meditation retreats where you can learn and practice. Choosing a girls' getaway based on an activity can be a wonderful way to focus a trip (everyone knows what to expect), burn calories, improve your skills or meet other people who dig that hobby as much as you.
If you opt for a group activity, it's best to take this kind of trip with women whose skill levels are all about the same. Seasoned golfers won't want to hit the greens with a novice who doesn't know the rules or who plays the game at a slower pace.
Women rock. We do it all. We take care of careers, our family, parents and pets. It's easy to forget ourselves in the shuffle. We all need a little downtime to rejuvenate. But decompression needn't be a solitary activity.
Get a gang of girlfriends together and check in at a health resort or spa for some much-deserved peace and relaxation. This is the perfect place to tune out the responsibilities of work or kids and pamper yourself and recharge. Standard treatments include massage, facials and manicures. Other things you might find are guided walking tours in nature or around the resort's pristine grounds, healthy cooking classes and even women-only areas for nude sunbathing.
Visit a Culinary School Abroad
Want a tasty excuse to travel to somewhere amazing, learn creative culinary techniques and eat delicious foods with friends and locals? Go on a cooking vacation in a place like Italy, Spain or France.
Stick to places known for superb cuisine (as well as safe streets, food and water). A cooking vacation is one of the fastest and most enjoyable ways to immerse yourself in a foreign culture. Get to know a region's people and history through its food.
It's common for guests to stay in their own villa near those of other guests. Cooking demonstrations are given to small groups, and you'll learn how to navigate outdoor markets and purchase fresh fixings. Everyone returns and practices the technique modeled earlier. Of course, there's quite a spread at the end of the day!
Learn a Language
Another way to immerse yourself in a foreign locale and absorb all it has to offer is to take an immersion class. Go with one or two of your female friends for companionship and support in learning another language. You can find short, two-week classes or ones that are even longer.
Learning a language is contextual; you rely on cues from your environment to derive meaning from words. Being on location and abstaining from speaking any English will help you speak another language faster and better than you may think is possible. If you go a long distance for this experience, you might as well tag on an extra few days before or after your class to explore the area with the gals.
Rendezvous at a Girlfriend's Place
Here's a fabulously fun and inexpensive option for a killer ladies getaway: have a girls-only slumber party!
Nominate someone in your clan who has a home with enough space (and beds or blow-up mattresses) to accommodate everyone. This getaway is less about experiencing a new place and more about reconnecting with good friends and sharing quality time together.
Some of the most enjoyable times can be so simple. Hit up the local farmers market, gather in the kitchen and prepare meals together. Every community has its own flavor; check out local events or attractions like parks and outdoor recreation areas, comedy clubs or happy hour hot spots. Kill an evening sitting around in your PJs sipping wine and sharing stories. Turn up the music up and have a living room dance party. The sky's the limit -- for more inspiration, think back to the slumber parties of long ago. Pizza and makeovers? Whatever you do, you'll have a great time.
Hosting a trivia night can spice up a slow bar night or be a great fundraiser. Learn how to host a trivia night to get started.
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- Cooking Vacations. (March 31, 2011).http://www.cooking-vacations.com
- Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. (March 31, 2011). http://www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp
- Napa Valley.org. (March 31, 2011).http://www.napavalley.org
- "Spilling our Guts to our Female Friends." Psychology Today. Nov. 4, 2009. (April 1, 2011).http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friend-or-foe/200911/spilling-our-guts-our-female-friends
- Zador Spanish Schools. (March 31, 2011). http://www.zadorspain.com