Photo: Clane Gessel Photography
For many brides-to-be, the bachelorette party is no longer contained to a couple debauched hours on a Saturday night. The traditional festivities are now more like mini honeymoons with your besties. The evolution of this rite of passage is an opportunity to make memories beyond those involving lots of vodka and a Las Vegas DJ. For those brides who are looking for something a little bit different, we have a few options to consider.
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you think New Orleans, Louisiana, is only a blast during Mardi Gras, think again. The Big Easy is a prime place for a wild girls' night out. Book a couple of chic rooms— or the stunning three-bedroom penthouse suite!— at the newly opened Henry Howard Hotel, a circa 1860s mansion-turned-boutique hotel in the Garden District. The Parlor Bar is the perfect place to kick things off with a Bloody Mary, or bring in a yoga teacher for a class with your girls. In addition to a special dinner at hot-spot Cochon and a fancy jazz brunch at Commander's Palace, you can keep busy with bike tours, shopping on Frenchman and Magazine streets, and plenty of live music.
Key West, Florida
If lying on a lounge chair, frozen cocktail or glass of rosé in hand, is your idea of a good time, Key West might be the place for you and your maids. On the furthest south island in Florida (and the Southern-most point in the continental U.S.), things are super chill, with a kind of New Orleans-at-the-beach vibe. Along with unlimited hours of bronzing and countless adorable inns to stay in, there are opportunities for fun activities, too. A kayak tour is the coolest way to explore the keys, plus it'll help tone up your arms for the wedding! And for afterward, the sea-side bars are open late for lots of dancing.
See More: Budget Savvy Bachelorette Party Ideas
Santa Barbara, California
To get away from it all and just shut off, glamping is your best bet. At El Capitan Canyon, about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, California, you and your besties can bunk up in plush beds inside canvas safari tents under groves of historic sycamore trees. It's got a little bit of everything: beautiful beaches for sunbathing and swimming, massages in the spa, beach cruisers and hiking trails, wine country an hour away (or you can conveniently buy local vino in the market) and by nightfall, the opportunity to make s'mores with your girls under the stars.
Nashville, Tennessee, aka Music City, is a blast for a bunch of chicks who are celebrating their friends' upcoming "I do," especially if they're lovers of country, Johnny Cash (there's a museum dedicated to him) or Southern food (the city's famous for its hot chicken). Base yourself at the Hutton Hotel, a boutique hotel elegant enough for your bash. For a fancier dinner out, try the creative cuisine at Etch, and book brunch at The Southern so you can soak up the alcohol you've consumed while skipping around between speakeasies, bars and iconic venues like the Grand Ole Opry.
Cancun and Los Cabos might as well be Las Vegas south. But Sayulita, just a short drive from Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico is a hidden gem where cool girls with a sense of adventure can cavort. Check into Hotel Hafa, a tropical little boutique hotel, and spend the days getting your fill of not just street tacos but beaching, surfing, standup paddleboarding and swimming in the crystal-clear water. Try the famous Mexican-Mediterranean food and margaritas at Don Pedro's, right on the beach. Make sure to also do some shopping: hit up Pachamama and Evoke the Spirit for boho-chic souvenirs of your girls' trip.