Photo: Justin DeMutiis Photography
Not the kind of girl who wants a limo, so much booze you nearly black out, and a crystal-adorned tank that says "Bride" for your bachelorette party? It is actually possible to get your friends together for a memorable weekend away and do something that's more you to celebrate your impending nuptials. We rounded up three ways to escape with your girls that don't involve partying your way down the Vegas strip.
Bachelorette parties love Vegas for easy flights and cheap hotels. But if you're not into seeing The Thunder From Down Under, you can stay on the Strip and still easily get to tons of edgy, extreme activities just an hour ride or less from downtown.
What to Do: See the Grand Canyon — by helicopter. Papillon offers tours in special helicopters with wraparound 180-degree views, so you can see the canyon's steep drop and the winding Colorado river. If you'd rather be breaking the speed limit on land, head to Exotics Racing, where you can take out a Porsche, Lamborghini, or other ride that will make your fiancée jealous (not to mention live out your childhood Barbie Corvette dreams) and race your friends, whipping it around the track at 130 mph. At night, take a moonlit ride on FlightLinez Bootleg Canyon, where you and your girls can zipline across 8,000 feet of cable at 60 mph over the desert, with views of turquoise Lake Mead.
Where to Eat: Ditch the never-ending buffets in favor of Chayo, an upscale Mexican restaurant and tequila bar with amazing guacamole (made with pomegranate seeds) in the newly-launched The Linq Corridor. End your extreme adventure weekend with a ride on the restaurant's mechanical bull.
If you worship the house of Goop, consider heading to Miraval Resort and Spa outside of Tucson, AZ. The spot is all about healthy living and staying active. It's a great bonding experience, and is super relaxing during stressful wedding-planning time.
What to Do: Wake up early for the Outback Hike, where you'll spot all kinds of desert cacti, or join one of the workout classes like cardio drumming that feels fun, not like torture. Spend the rest of the day taking seminars on healthy cooking and mindful eating, lounging by the pool (where you can also take a floating meditation class), or use your built-in resort credit toward luxurious massages, facials, and manis; book an evening appointment so after your treatment you can sit around the fire pit in your bathrobes.
Where to Stay: Bunk together in one of the resort's award-winning private villas.
Where to Eat: All of your meals are provided, and the portions are sized so you can have an appetizer or two, an entrée, and a dessert and not feel stuffed (or guilty). Note: The flourless chocolate cake is not to be missed.
If you're an outdoorsy girl, but some of your 'maids are very attached to their blow dryers, this is a happy compromise. It puts you out in nature in a solar-powered tent, but still with lots of great amenities so no one gets eaten by a bear or a case of poison ivy.
What to Do: Orenda in the Adirondack State Park, just a three-and-a-half hour drive from New York City, feels far more remote — and relaxed. Take a hike along the Hudson River or a swim in Garnet Lake, then rinse off in the camp's outdoor shower. Make lunch in the open-air kitchen, then when evening comes, sit in the Adirondack chairs arranged around the fire pit.
Where to Stay: You can rent out the property's four canvas tents, each of which is stocked with fresh pillows, linens, and queen-size beds (no sleeping bag necessary).
Where to Eat: Around the campfire! It doesn't mean you have to eat hot dogs and canned beans — after all, that wouldn't put the "glamour" in "glamping." Deputize your foodie friend to pack a cooler with wine and supplies for an al fresco gourmet dinner ... and s'mores, of course.