Here’s a reason to say no all your daily responsibilities and yes to a few days of fun: a girlfriend’s getaway. These much-needed trips offer time for bonding, reconnecting, decompressing, physical rejuvenation and a downright good time. “Girlfriend getaways are important to wellbeing and emotional stability. There’s something special about being able to take a fun vacation with my girlfriends each year,” says Christina Brown of the lifestyle site, LoveBrownSugar.
Whether your trip calls for lots of food, sightseeing, a chance with lady luck or spa services, we’ve got you covered with four fun places from the east to west coast. Honor your time, commitment and body with a break; according to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans spent $683.1 billion on leisure travel in 2016. The report also listed shopping, visiting friends and dining as top five leisure travel activities. Now, book a trip with your besties, have a great time and take squad goals-worthy photos.
1. Washington, D.C.: There’s still a lot of flavor left in Chocolate City. Reserve a room at Kimpton Rook and Mason Hotel and toast your trip with free drinks. “We host a wine and nonalcoholic beverage service for guests from5-6 p.m. every night,” says Donte Johnson, the hotel’s general manager. If getting low, scrubbing the floor with it or bussing a whine is anywhere near your agenda, swing by Rosebar, a party hotspot that’s open every night. The next morning, sleep in until it’s time for spa treatments. “Requests for in-room spa treatments can be scheduled through the front desk with advance notice,” Johnson says. The hotel currently offers a free third night stay or special package featuring a guide to D.C.’s African American Heritage Trails. Speaking of heritage, head to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which features a colossal collection of artifacts, media, music, photography and more. Entry requires a pass, so reserve online. After, visit Black-owned Oohh’s and Aahh’s for soul food or Service Bar for six-cheese mac and cheese; chicken tenders and waffle cones; or evening cocktails.
Trip tip: After sightseeing, partying and catching up with your friends, toast the good time with a bottomless mimosa Sunday brunch at Creme Restaurant & Bar, a Black-owned restaurant in Columbia Heights.
2. Atlanta, Georgia: Visit popular places for free like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site or Hammond House Museum, which showcases the work of artists from America, Africa and the Caribbean. Opt for a CityPASS ticket booklet for discounts to attractions like World of Coca-Cola and CNN Studio Tours. The list of where to eat is long, but here’s a snapshot: Negril Village Atlanta for Caribbean food and its weekly rum punch Friday event featuring a reggae band and DJ; Ponce City Market or Krog Street Market, which respectively offer over a dozen dining options; and Serpas True Food for Sunday brunch with Louisiana-flavored dishes. The most notable stores are at Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza, but the real deals are at consignment and thrift stores. If you and your girlfriends are in town the last weekend of the month, hop on the Thrifting Atlanta Bus Tour, which makes stops at several resale shops in metro Atlanta. For personal resale shopping services, contact Nia Hand, creator of Hand-Picked Style and a self-described fashion blogger, photographer, designer and Goodwill/thrift store advocate. Peep her style at the aforementioned website or Instagram.
Trip tip: Book accommodations in neighborhoods like Midtown and Buckhead, which are easily accessible by MARTA, the city’s train service that also services Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada: Blow your budget in Sin City. Visit Paris’s Eiffel Tower, New York’s Statue of Liberty or take a gondola ride in Venice thanks to hotels with practically perfect replicas of iconic places and things around the world. Since Las Vegas is landlocked, hotels like Mandalay Bay built a beach, replete with tons of sand, a wave pool and rentable cabanas. There are over 20 shopping centers along the immediate strip, so shop until you drop at Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, La Perla, Valentino and hundreds more. Refuel at Carnevino, an Italian steakhouse or Herringbone Las Vegas, a seafood hotspot with an in-house DJ. On the offshoot that one of your friend’s significant other pops up to propose, they can go to the chapel and get married. Of course, you all can hit the jackpot, literally, at one of more than 30 casinos nearby.
Trip tip: The temperature is over 100-degrees Fahrenheit in July and August so wear sunblock. Your natural melanin is not enough to protect you from sun burn. Trust.
4. Greater Phoenix, Arizona: “The sheer number of spa options turned our pocket of the Southwest into a hotspot for rejuvenation. Day spas have become the new social hangout and the focus on health is part of the allure,” says Michelle Streeter, Visit Mesa spokesperson. Bring on the bliss at Revive Spa at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Visitors can book one-off services or multi-service packages inclusive of a facial, massage, manicure, pedicure and lunch. Should you tire of being rubbed and scrubbed, stroll over to one of the outdoor pools, complete with a lazy river and waterslides.
Trip tip: Eat at Pita Jungle, a casual dining spot with healthy, robust vegetarian options and more. There are two Mesa locations; Streeter recommends the one at Dana Park.
Carolyn Desalu is an essayist and travel and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Ebony, Essence, Catapult and The Globe and Mail. Aside from writing a book of essays, she enjoys finding the best doughnut shops in every city she visits. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @bycarolyndee