Amy Poehler had no idea what she unleashed when Galentine's Day exploded into popular culture via a 2010 episode of "Parks and Recreation." In the episode, Poehler's beloved-yet-quirky character, Leslie Knope, gave a name and date to a new holiday in which women leave their husbands and boyfriends at home to show their girl gang some love. In her own words, "it's all about ladies celebrating ladies." Since then, Galentine's Day has grown into an unofficial holiday on February 13, inspiring women -- young, old, single, married, or just crushin' hard -- to get together and celebrate each other.
But while Leslie Knope and her gal pals only ventured as far as the local diner for breakfast, we want to help you make this Galentine's Day one for the books. This year's big day falls on a Monday, so grab your girls and treat yo' self to the perfect Galentine's Day weekend getaway. (And if you want to maximize girl time by popping the cork over the long President's Day weekend instead, your secret is safe with us.)
It’s winter in most parts of the country, so grab your best babes and warm up on the beach. But not just any beach — Clearwater Beach in Florida took the number one spot on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice list for top U.S. beaches in 2016. Thanks to Clearwater‘s balmy winter temperatures that average in the mid-70s, you and your friends can grab frozen drinks (yes, in February) and booze, bronze, and bond on the soft white sand. And since you’re off the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, swimming, snorkeling, or taking exhilarating rides on WaveRunners are also all options. Once you watch that famous Florida sunset sink under the horizon, it’s time for dinner, followed by party time at a local club or a trip down Clearwater’s Craft Beer Trail.
Our Hotel Pick: Located directly on the white sands of Clearwater Beach, the 253-room luxury Sandpearl Resort is an ideal spot for your girlfriend getaway. Master teamwork at one of the resort’s cooking classes, motivate each other in a group exercise class, indulge in one of the spa packages, or simply swap stories around the nightly beach bonfire. We recommend splurging at the hotel’s highly-acclaimed four-diamond restaurant one night — guests rave about the food.
Heading to Italy might mean postponing the quality girl time until the following week’s long holiday weekend, but once you find yourselves sipping Tuscan wines, soaking in the rolling hills, and strolling through medieval villages with your best friends, won’t regret it. You’ll also be visiting just in time for Tuscany’s festive Carnevale season. Several villages throw celebrations throughout the month and on the weekends surrounding Galentine’s Day. Make a day trip and strap on a glittering mask, toss a feather in your hair, and join the party and parades.
Our Hotel Pick: Book a stay at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa and snag the Unforgettable Experience in Tuscany Package, which showers folks with a wine tasting, mini spa treatment, cooking class complete with a diploma and chef’s hat, and one of the property’s upscale rooms. Set in the Serchio Valley overlooking the Apuan Alps, the hotel also offers a scenic setting for exchanging Galentine’s Day gifts.
Sin City seems like an obvious choice for a girls’ getaway, especially for party animals and friends who don’t want to witness canoodling couples around every corner. It’s also a good pick for a group that’s full of different interests. In Vegas, you’ll find world-class shows, gourmet restaurants, and luxurious spa treatments right next to gritty dive bars, all-you-can-eat buffets, shiny slot machines, VIP bottle-service clubs, and strip clubs. No matter how you roll, a Galentine’s Vegas vacation is sure to be a memorable one.
Our Hotel Pick: We might normally suggest the party-heavy Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for a girlfriend getaway, but since it’s February — and more importantly, Galentine’s Day — we recommend a more luxe spot with fewer distractions. Turn your attention to Aria Resort & Casino in the heart of the Strip. This 4,004-room is reasonably priced over both weekends around Galentine’s Day, though you might feel the urge to splurge on a group-friendly Sky Suite, which comes with VIP treatment like limo rides to and from the airport and a personal elevator. The rest of the property is packed with 16 restaurants, seven bars, four pools, a nightclub, and a 150,000-square-foot casino. It’s also attached to Crystals shopping mall. Oh, and did we mention the 80,000-square-foot spa?
If your girl squad is looking to not only leave their significant other behind, but also shed the stress and tech-fueled hubbub of everyday life, the eco-friendly Mexican beach town of Tulum is the perfect spot to unplug this Galentine’s Day. With spotty (or no) cell service and limited modern-day distractions, you and your girlfriends get the rare, yet bond-strengthening experience of hanging out the old-fashioned way. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, exploring the shops and restaurants off the main dirt road, swinging in hammocks, and sipping cocktails while watching the sun go down.
Our Hotel Pick: Nueva Vida de Ramiro has 33 rustic rooms and studios set within a natural setting along a long stretch of beach. This family-owned, mostly solar-powered property has been around for two decades, and set the tone for the glut of properties that followed. But don’t worry, though — there’s 24-hour electricity. The quiet and nature-surrounded boutique hotel is a great spot to disconnect from your busy life back home and reconnect with each other. You can also rent bikes or check out the on-site sea turtle conservation program.
While some like an adventurous, action-packed Galentine’s getaway, others prefer to relax and focus on wellness. If you fall into the latter category, consider the balmy, breezy Miami. This southern Florida wild child may have a reputation for partying, but it’s also a health-conscious destination. Spend your morning with breakfast in bed, then meet up with your besties for a yoga or meditation class. The rest of your time can be spent at the spa, soaking up some sunshine at the pool or beach, or taking a walk down Collins Avenue to check out the cool Art Deco buildings. Be sure to stop by DIRT, a hip and healthy spot that serves up nutritious and colorful plates, smoothies, and bowls packed with seasonal food.
Our Hotel Pick: To truly give your inner queen some much-deserved attention, check in to the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort. With some of the most beautifully decorated large rooms in Miami, a beachfront location, a great spa, and a huge fitness center with a rock-climbing wall and dozens of daily classes, this Miami resort is a great choice for a healthy vacation. Opt for the Thermal Experience — the hydrotherapy circuit offers the chance to rotate through experiential rain baths, Turkish and Finnish saunas, whirlpools, and a bubbling foot bath, to name a few.
For gastronomic girl groups who are looking for a fun, food-filled getaway, look no further than Tampa. This Floridian city’s food scene has been getting lots of love over the last few years — “Travel + Leisure” praised the destination for dishing up some of the country’s most creative cuisine. While visiting, gals can nosh on delicious meals, explore the city through food tours, taste their way to a new favorite bottle of wine, and learn some sharp tricks in the kitchen during cooking classes. Pay particular attention to the area’s tasty Cuban food (it’s a long-held local belief that this is the city that birthed the Cuban sandwich), fresh Gulf seafood, and a handful of delicious steakhouses. Valentine’s Day, eat your heart out.
Our Hotel Pick: Turning Galentine’s Day into an epic epicurean adventure is easy at Epicurean Hotel in Tampa. The 137-room luxury property features chic and modern interiors accented with a culinary theme. Multiple fine wining and dining options include a restaurant, rooftop bar, patisserie, and huge wine shop. For friends hungry to learn more, a cooking class or tasting at the hotel’s Epicurean Theatre demo kitchen is a must. Even spa treatments have a food-themed twist, like dark chocolate wraps, coffee scrubs, and sweet milk massages. Rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with a curated selection of wine bottles available for purchase and gourmet snacks. Your group can also flaunt their food bellies at the outdoor pool or burn off dinner in the fitness center.
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