It doesn’t have to be a wild night out in Vegas.
To be honest, the word “bachelorette” tends to send me into an automatic eye-roll. Bride crowns, penis straws, strippers in speedos, groups of wasted women wearing matching outfits at bars, doing shots and dancing on tables (OK, well, that last one doesn’t sound so bad). Just...not my cup of tea.
But, when you think about it, a bachelorette is nothing more than a weekend with your favorite people in the entire world, celebrating you and your entry into marriage with the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with.
That is something I can get behind.
So if, like me, the idea of wearing a white sparkly bikini, heels, and matching BRIDE TO BE sash and tiara at one of Vegas’ many party hotels gives you butterflies in the tummy (and not the good kind), do not fret. There are other—amazing—options out there to get together with your gal pals and have one of the best weekends of your lives. And they’re all in the USA. And we’ve listed them out below just for you:
1. Joshua Tree
Hiking through Joshua Tree State Park during the day and drinking bubbly in the hot tub while you stargaze with your besties at night is all you need for quite possibly the most magical of bachelorette weekends. Whether you choose one of the many glamping sites in the park, or one of the insanely adorable Airbnbs and hotels, prepare your ladies for some epic dinner spreads with your toes on the desert earth and photos you’ll cherish for life (bonus points if you rent the amazing 1969 International Vintage Scout 800A from Joshua Tree House to ride through the desert in style). Oh, and on your way out, make a stop at Pappy + Harriet’s for farewell food, drinks, live music, and an overall celebratory atmosphere (1980s country celebratory style, to be exact) to toast to the perfect weekend.
2. Charleston, SC
Old-world beauty with rich historic culture meets a bar and foodie scene you’re not going to forget about anytime soon. It’s hard to choose between the Airbnb on your favorite cobblestone street and one of the hotels that come in all chic and luxurious shapes and sizes (like, ahem, Belmond Place). Once you do, hit the streets with your ladies to eat, drink, shop, and soak in all that Charleston has to offer. To get the party started, head to the Vendue Hotel Rooftop Bar for seriously gorgeous views of the city, and then hit the streets for an epic bar crawl. Feeling it the next day? Make a reservation at Poogan’s Porch for the classic Southern brunch of your dreams.
3. The Hamptons
If you live in NYC, the Hamptons is a quick, easy car ride away with everything you need for a killer bachelorette weekend. Rent a gorgeous house on the water, lie by the pool sipping rosé all day, and even treat yourselves to an in-home chef to take care of your every waking need. Head to Gurneys or The Baker House for an indulgent spa afternoon before hitting the town for dinner and dancing. Just be sure to make it home in time for some old-fashioned skinny-dipping (pool or beach, pick your poison).
4. Austin, TX
Between the delicious food scene, beautiful outdoor activities, and rowdy nightlife, Austin may just be the perfect bachelorette weekend down south. Start your day with some Instagram-worthy breakfast tacos, paddleboard/kayak around Town Lake, and then make a stop at Donn’s Depot for some old-fashioned Southern charm before maybe (or maybe not) finding your way to one of Austin’s many clubs. While there are no shortage of amazing places to stay in Austin, if you and your gals are hoping to weave in a little pampering to round out your weekend, then look no further than The Loft. A 15-minute drive outside of the city, this zen oasis is oh so worth it.
For the girl gang that is most looking forward to spending time together, the Catskills are for you. Book an Airbnb on one of the serene mountaintops with acres of land that you and your girls can climb through and lakes you can jump in. Cook each other delicious meals, drink all the wine you can imagine, and play games by the fire. If you’re craving some serious brunch outside of your digs, check out Phoenicia Diner. Just be sure to scope out some grassy lands for a post-brunch, food-coma-induced nap afterwards.
6. San Juan, PR
San Juan is the best way to get your dream tropical bachelorette weekend without having to leave the USA. Stay at the Dreamcatcher Bed and Breakfast right outside of San Juan for some hippy vibes, or the Olive Boutique in the center of historic Old San Juan for a weekend filled with epic backdrops for photos. If you don’t plan on spending 100 percent of your time at the beach, comb through the streets of the old city OR enjoy the many adventures the island has to offer (I’m talking surfing, rain forest exploration, cave tours, hikes, or good old beach hopping across the island). There’s plenty of outstanding restaurants to choose from in San Juan, and when it’s time (and you’ve had enough to drink), head to Club Brava for an all-night dance party with your girls.
7. New Orleans
If the classic Vegas bachelorette isn’t for you, but you know you and your girls like to party, New Orleans brings you the best of all worlds. Start your trip with a spa day at Woodhouse Spa and a night exploring Frenchman’s. Then get ready to party. Walk around Bourbon Street with your mint juleps in hand, listen to live music everywhere you turn, and treat yourself to some late-night beignets at the infamous Cafe du Monde. If you’re looking for a place to stay, look no further than Race + Religious for a gorgeous place to call home all weekend.
If you’re getting a group of ladies together who crave action, head to Aspen. In addition to hitting the slopes, Aspen offers all the spa-ing, hiking, shopping, horseback riding, yoga-ing, and hot tubb-ing you could dream of, with the most scenic and glamorous backdrop on the map. Come nighttime, book the Tamachi Room at Kenichi for you and your girls (come prepared with a killer playlist, as you’ll get to hook up your phone in your private dining room), bar-crawl your way through downtown Aspen, and stumble into the speakeasy-inspired nightclub at Hotel Jerome. Bonus points if you’re staying at the very chic Hotel Jerome and can stumble into bed in the wee hours of the morning.
9. Napa or Sonoma
Does the idea of spending your weekend with your favorite girls drinking glass of wine after glass of wine, overlooking the rolling hills of California, and discussing notes of cherry or cacao sound like the dream? Then make it happen by heading to Napa or Sonoma with your crew. Both vineyard towns offer more wine-tasting experience than you can fit into one weekend, insanely delicious gourmet food (with great wine to match), and plenty of outdoor activities to explore the beautiful landscape. If you’re most excited to learn about wine, take some cooking classes, and relax like you’ve never relaxed before, head to Sonoma. For a little more hustle and bustle (and I mean it when I say a little), shopping, and some semblance of a nightlife to tap into, Napa’s your place.