Taking a trip with just the girls (or however you prefer to call them: ladies, women, gals, sisters, besties) is one of the best ways to blow off steam, but it doesn't have to blow your whole budget. It's entirely possible to enjoy a getaway that's heavy on fun and light on the wallet, right here in the United States. Though you might have to sacrifice luxe extras like turndown service and fruity cocktails delivered to your pool chair, our budget-friendly destination picks provide plenty of entertainment, vibrant nightlife scenes, and lots of culture. Read on for our list of fun and affordable destinations for a girls' getaway in the U.S., plus our hotel picks with rates around $100 per night.
Celebrated artist Georgia O’ Keefe called Santa Fe home, and she was widely influenced by the desert’s colors, landscape, and culture. The city’s vibrant heritage and adobe-style architecture, plus its world-famous art and culinary scene, make it an ideal choice for a girls’ trip. Vendors sell their Southwestern-inspired jewelry, art, and textiles in the central plaza, which is surrounded by authentic Mexican restaurants and heritage museums. Canyon Road is designed for an afternoon of gallery hopping, and those who want to enjoy nature have access to endless desert hiking trails all around the city. For ladies who want to truly relax, Ten Thousand Waves is one of the most immersive and unique spas and hot springs in the Southwest.
Ann Arbor is a picturesque place to visit throughout the year, but we especially like the collegiate vibe, crisp air, and cider donuts at the Dexter Cider Mill in autumn. The idyllic city is home to the University of Michigan, and along with rowdy football games and tailgate parties, visitors can access the planetarium, botanical gardens, and art gallery for free. Brewery tours are another popular pastime, and there are several to choose from. We like Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub for its use of solar power energy. For ladies who just want to shop at boutiques and eat at local restaurants, the downtown area is filled with charm — and students.
You might be familiar with Palm Springs due to its yearly influx of flower-crown-wearing music lovers at Coachella. During the April festival, prices spike, but for the rest of the year, Palm Springs provides an affordable California vacation — especially during the hottest summer months. It’s about a two-hour drive from pricier Los Angeles, and is a favorite destination for bachelor and bachelorette partiers from L.A., who love the low prices at the fun food and bar scene. Norma’s, at the Parker Palm Springs, is a chic patio restaurant with hipster diner fare and the crowd to match. Along with outdoor activities like hiking and golf, the area has architectural tours of mid-century modern homes and loads of antique stores. Of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you spent the entire getaway posted up by the pool.
Pigeon Forge is famous as the home of Dolly Parton’s amusement park and musical entertainment mecca: Dollywood. And while we strongly urge you to visit the park, the surrounding area is also worth exploring for its stunning natural beauty and easy access. The Great Smoky Mountains offer waterfall hikes, incredible wildlife, and breathtaking mountain vistas. Tennessee is also known for its music scene and honky-tonk nightlife. For dining, Tennessee is devoted to barbecue, accompanied with mouth-watering sides like cornbread, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. If you forgot to pack your cowboy boots, Pigeon Forge has you covered with western gear retailers.
Daytona Beach isn’t exactly the most glamorous beach destination in Florida (that honor goes to the much more expensive Miami), but if you want a girls’ weekend filled with sun and sand at a steal, then this is your spot. Daytona’s white-sand beaches stretch for miles, and the city gets around 239 days of sunshine a year. Two times of year to avoid (or embrace, depending on what you think is fun) are spring break, when college kids take over, and mid-February, when the city hosts the Daytona 500 and hotel prices spike. Otherwise, Daytona has affordable seafood restaurants, kitschy shopping, and Joyland Amusement Center.
Las Vegas can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you live in a part of the country that requires a flight to reach Sin City. As an affordable alternative, there’s nothing quite like the faded glamour of Atlantic City. This old-school favorite offers beach access for daytime relaxing, and tongue-in-cheek evening entertainment at the towering casinos. Daytime boogie boarding in the water and bike riding on the boardwalk transition to nights spent sipping martinis and hitting the roulette tables. Food options range from all-out steakhouses to budget-friendly subs. Sure, Atlantic City can feel a little rough around the edges, but that’s part of the charm.
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If a GNO is on your agenda, bring along a stylish, sustainable dress from Reformation and be the best looking group in the venue.
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