Sometimes, you just need a good trip out of town with your best friends. Whether you're planning a trip for next year or next month, keep reading for some of our favorite out-of-state destinations for trips filled with unbridled fun, deep friendship and countless belly laughs.
Get a true Gulf Coast experience with a trip to the Bradenton area of Florida, which includes the pristine beaches and attractions of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. Accommodations abound, including Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort and Waterline Villas & Marina, along with the newly opened Mello by the Beach—a charmingly mod escape.
Take the Gulf Island Water Ferry to downtown Bradenton, enjoy shopping on Pine Avenue, dine sustainably with a view at The Sandbar, elevate your beach time with the luxury cabana rental setup services of Beach Suites and more. You could even enjoy oceanside massages in an open-air tiki hut, thanks to Sea-Renity Eco Spa.
For an experience centering natural beauty, spirituality and wellness, a trip to Sedona, Arizona might be just the thing. Here, your group could take a Jeep tour to feel the mystic energy found at one of the area vortexes, open your minds with an intuitive or tarot card reading, practice yoga perched atop the destination's red rocks, enjoy a leisurely hike and more. Dining options also abound, like the healthy options found at the upscale Secret Garden Cafe and authentic dishes at Hiro's Sushi and Japanese Kitchen.
Heritage monuments and parks delve into the area's Native American culture and history, while a number of art galleries share the perspectives and creations of local artists and artisans. Also worth considering is admiring the area's gorgeous scenery from above with a hot-air balloon ride! And if you're up for a drive, the Grand Canyon is a mere two hours away.
In Portland, Maine, world-class eats, cobblestone streets and coastal vibes abound. Lay your heads at the Inn on Carleton, a fully restored 1869 landmark building in Portland's prestigious West End neighborhood, or take things in a more rustic direction with a stay at a nearby cabin or adventure resort. Fantastic views of the Portland Harbor and a bustling nightlife scene are easy to find in Old Port, while tours for almost anything you can think of allow for a true custom Northeast experience for your trip. Be sure to rent a bike on Peaks Island to truly feel the coastal air.
Of course, you can't leave Maine without enjoying some delicious eats. Try the Lobster Roll Flight at Highroller Lobster Co., the Belgian frites at Duckfat, and the oysters at Eventide Oyster Co. Reservations are highly encouraged!
For a trip that's all about lounging poolside and soaking up the California sun, look no further than Palm Springs, a desert oasis recognized for its year-round warmth, Desert Modernism architecture and LGBTQIA+-friendly community. Choose from a number of boutique hotels (many of which are adults only), including the neon-clad Saguaro Palm Springs, rustic-chic Sparrows Lodge, and nationally-recognized L'Horizon Resort & Spa.
When you're not lounging by the pool, see the sights with a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, enjoy brunch on the patio at Spencer's (at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains), hop aboard a cannabis bus tour, take a swing at one of the area's world-class golf courses and order a cocktail at Bootlegger Tiki.
The party vibes and rich cultural significance are strong in vibrant New Orleans, which is often recognized for its Mardi Gras celebrations. But if collecting beads down Bourbon Street isn't necessarily your thing, the Crescent City still has plenty to offer. Plan your trip around one of the city's many other festivals, enjoy a beignet and views of Jackson Square at Café Du Monde, sip on a sazerac during a walking cocktail tour, indulge in the sounds of live music on Frenchman Street, dine on signature New Orleans dishes on Muriel's cast iron balcony, shop the boutiques on Magazine Street and more.
New Orleans is also known for being one of (if not the most) supernatural places in the country. Exploring the spookier side of the city is simple, thanks to bountiful nighttime ghost or cemetery tours and a number of haunted hotels and attractions. Even vampire lore has found a home in the Big Easy.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of VisitPalmSprings.com.