The South's Best Girlfriend Getaways

Fairhope, Alabama
Photo: Photo: Benjamin Callahan

Need a break from reality with the people that love you the most? Grab your girls, and hit the road. The South is home to tons of great vacation spots that are perfect for a girls' weekend getaway, and we've got all of the trip ideas you need. Summer is the ideal time to take a breather from work, leave the kids with relatives, and head to one of the quaint small towns scattered throughout the South. From relaxing in the waters of Hot Springs, Arkansas, to catching up in the inviting rooms of Old Edwards Inn and Spa tucked in the mountains of Highlands, North Carolina, we've pulled together the best places for you to go for a memorable trip with friends. Gather your best gals to discover the most delicious breakfast spots, walk whimsical streets, and shop amongst the great Southern stores in these killer destinations for girlfriend getaways.

01 of 25

Hear the Sounds of Music City: Nashville, TN

Nashville Panoramic View of Skyline
Getty/Adina Olteanu / 500px

Nashville has long been a popular destination for group travel, and for good reason. Grab your gals (and your cowboy boots) for a trip to Music City, where you can shop to your heart's content and listen to music in storied venues across the city. Stay at the Graduate Nashville, and you'll find plentiful photo ops throughout the design-focused space. There's a rooftop pool, a funky bar, and a bunch of graphic design elements that will make you feel inspired. Then head out to a honky-tonk or concert venue like the Ryman Auditorium or the Bluebird Cafe to hear some live music.

02 of 25

Saddle Up in Horse Country: Lexington and Georgetown, KY

Gainesway Farm in Lexington, KY
Photo: Doug Prather

Start with a visit to Keeneland, Lexington's world-renowned track, for an inside look at Thoroughbred racing with an Official Breeders' Cup Tour. At the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, you can tour the facilities on horseback or in a horse-drawn streetcar or carriage. Book a group lesson and guided trail ride at Whispering Woods Riding Stables, which has 250 acres to explore. Beyond the stables, downtown Georgetown is lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants, while Lexington's Main Street is great for antiquing. Also in the offerings are tours of the bourbon distilleries that produce this area's famous spirits

03 of 25

Hike in Scenic City: Chattanooga, TN

Scenic Chattanooga
Photo: Stephen DeVries

Chattanooga is a hiker's dream. More than 150 miles of hiking trails are readily accessible from the (also walkable) downtown. Lace up your sneakers and explore the city's 13-mile Riverwalk; pedestrian Walnut Street Bridge over the Tennessee River; Coolidge Park; and convenient rental services for bikes, paddleboards, and kayaks. Stay close to the Tennessee Aquarium and you'll be within walking distance of the best riverfront attractions. Or make the Bluff View Art District your base, and choose a room in any of three historic homes at the Bluff View Inn bed and breakfast.

04 of 25

Discover the Other French Quarter: Fairhope, AL

Fairhope, Alabama
Photo: Benjamin Callahan

Fairhope's French Quarter boasts brick and ironwork, courtyards, and inviting passageways. Chef "Panini Pete" Blohme anchors the district, where his eponymous restaurant keeps diners filled with hot beignets, Pete's Muffaletta Panino, and such hot dogs as the German Sheppard (with sauerkraut) and the French Poodle (with onion confit and Dijon mustard). Stroll through a cluster of specialty shops, including Page & Palette independent bookstore. Make your base camp at the venerable Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear.

05 of 25

Get Outdoors in Upstate SC: Greenville, SC

Topsoil Restaurant in Travelers Rest, SC
Peter Frank Edwards

There's so much to do in Greenville all year round. It's a city on the rise, and you'll find plenty of places for dining and shopping, not to mention taking and walk and taking in the sights. Don't miss Falls Park on the Reedy and the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail. Creative types in your group will enjoy a visit to the Greenville County Museum of Art and downtown galleries too. After exploring outdoors, check out Topsoil Restaurant (pictured) in nearby Travelers Rest for a taste of local ingredients put together in extraordinary ways.

06 of 25

Waltz Across Cajun Country: Acadiana, LA

Breaux Bridge, LA
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Southwest Louisiana is a hotbed of Cajun culture. In the Hub City of Lafayette, downtown offers food and music around Jefferson Street. Beyond downtown, locals and tourists flock to Prejean's for gumbo and boudin, accompanied by live music nightly. Local musicians will send you to Lakeview Park & Beach in Eunice for a good time. For a side trip, visit Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island and the McIlhenny family's famous Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory, 170-acre Jungle Gardens, and Bird City egret sanctuary on Avery Island.

07 of 25

Bask in the Arts: Bentonville, AR

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Art Meripol

Head to Bentonville, one of Arkansas' coolest cities, with your art-loving friends. While you're there, you can while away a day at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Set in the picturesque Ozarks, you can see your fill of interesting work there, and you can continue the fun at the new offshoot, The Momentary, a contemporary art space located downtown. Stay at the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, and you and your girls will be in for a good time.

08 of 25

Rediscover the Commonwealth's Capital: Richmond, VA

University of Richmond
Courtesy University of Richmond

For a city break, you can't do much better than Richmond, Virginia, a bustling city with plenty of neighborhoods to explore. You can eat your way through town at spots like Helen's, Stella's, Lily Pearl, Sub Rosa Bakery, and L'Opossum. Work up an appetite with visits to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where you can spend all afternoon browsing and chatting about what you find there. Stay at the Quirk Hotel for easy access to city sights.

09 of 25

Explore the Wine Road: Fredericksburg, TX

Bluebonnet Field in Fredericksburg, TX
Photo: Van Chaplin

Wine Road 290 is an association of wineries along a 45-mile length of U.S. 290. In downtown Fredericksburg, The Trueheart Hotel has two suites in the main house along with 12 cottages. For something more remote, check into the 112-acre Tres Lunas Resort on Meusebach Mountain. Start your winery tour with The Reserve Wine Library at Becker Vineyards for tastings of exclusive vintages. Taste award-winning wines and tour the geothermal barrel cellar at Pedernales Cellars. Winery events are free, but most charge for tastings. (Note: Reservations are recommended and often required for groups).

10 of 25

Tour the Blue Ridge: Charlottesville, VA

krblokhin/Getty Images

When in Charlottesville, take in as many of the Virginia vistas as you can. Visit the university, sip your way through local wineries, and sightsee at two of the South's most famous estates, Montpelier and Monticello. Don't miss Charlottesville's pedestrian-friendly Historic Downtown Mall with more than 30 restaurants and 120 shops, as well as art galleries and entertainment.

11 of 25

Fly in for a Lake Experience: Greensboro, GA

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Courtesy of the The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

The lodge-style Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee has 30 acres of picturesque shoreline to enjoy. The Ritz offers five championship golf courses, water recreation, Segway tours, and s'mores served nightly by the lake. There are adventures aplenty in nearby Oconee National Forest, and on your way back to the airport, you can stop in Atlanta to shop the day away.

12 of 25

Sail into the Sunset: Key West, FL

Key West, Florida Sunset
Robbie Caponetto

Book the Wind & Wine Sunset Sail with Danger Charters and spend two blissful hours aboard a 65-foot schooner, where you can taste up to eight different wines from across the world. Along with wine, the crew serves hors d'oeuvres and a selection of domestic and imported beers. Stay at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, or opt for one of the quiet bungalows offered by Kimpton Key West.

13 of 25

Go From City to Shore: Tampa, FL

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, FL
Robbie Caponetto

The Tampa Riverwalk winds from Water Works Park in Tampa Heights to the South Plaza near The Florida Aquarium and Channel District. Pilot your own electric eBoat, or take a stand-up paddleboarding lesson with Urban Kai outfitters. Book a room at the plush Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach or the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay downtown for easy access to all the fun Tampa has to offer.

14 of 25

Have a Mountain Adventure: Harpers Ferry, WV

Sunset at Harpers Ferry view from Maryland Heights

Ali Majdfar/Getty Images

Small towns are filled with the sorts of experiences that make for fun group trips, and if you want a good time with your girls, head to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Stroll downtown and try some local restaurants, find a photo op at The Point, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, and set out on a hike on one of the many area trails. Adventure awaits.

15 of 25

Relax at a Mountain Inn: Highlands, NC

Old Edwards Inn Highlands, NC
Peter Frank Edwards

Old Edwards Inn and Spa features a historic inn, several guest estates, a boutique motel, and three different styles of cottages ideal for group trips. The Falls Cottages are clustered around a heated mineral pool, whirlpool, and outdoor fireplace. Downtown Highlands has preserved its small-town character with mostly local shops and galleries. Enjoy the spectacular mountain views with a hike to area waterfalls, a scenic drive, or a group fly-fishing lesson on the Nantahala or other rivers in the area.

16 of 25

Enjoy a Taste of Texas: Houston, TX

Houston, Texas, USA downtown city park and skyline.

SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

You could eat your way through many cities in the South, but few are more exciting than Houston, with its varied and delicious dining scene. Pack stretchy pants and fill your days with restaurant recommendations for you and your best gals. Stay at Hotel ZaZa in the Museum District, where you'll be in driving distance from great eateries. Don't miss: March, Squable, Tris, and Lucille's, for starters. Keep exploring, because delicious dishes await.

17 of 25

Escape to The Sanctuary: Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC Marsh
Jason Stemple

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, about 26 miles from Charleston, is the perfect place for relaxing on a luxe escape. The resort's special packages include things like garden-view accommodations with two queen beds; daily breakfast for two; dinner for two at Jasmine Porch or Tomasso at Turtle Point; and four 60-minute spa treatments. You'll also enjoy an on-site fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, a salon, bike rentals, and a nature program.

18 of 25

Shop Your Way through the Peach State's Capital: Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia
Photography by Steve Kelley aka mudpig/Getty Images.

Photography by Steve Kelley aka mudpig/Getty Images

If your idea of a fun girls' trip includes shops and boutiques and browsing and bags, head to Atlanta and bring your credit card. Check out the Westside Provisions District, Atlantic Station, Ponce City Market. And then there's always Buckhead. Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza, with their many corners and corridors of shops, will keep you busy for a weekend or more. Grab your gals and get to browsing.

19 of 25

Cook in The Delta: Greenwood, MS

Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, MS
Photo: Jay Adkins

In Greenwood, stay at The Alluvian. This elegant boutique hotel has 45 rooms and 5 suites, a courtyard, a spa, an impressive art collection, and a sleek lobby/lounge. Nearby, the Viking Cooking School and Retail Store offers occasional workshops throughout the year. Check out specialty shops like Russell's Warehouse Antiques & Jewelry, TurnRow Book Company, and The Mississippi Gift Company. Don't miss dinner at Giardina's, where you can enjoy fresh seafood, steaks, and Italian fare. Road-trip to Merigold for renowned McCartys Pottery. Shop, take a tour of the gardens, and have lunch at the McCartys Gallery Restaurant. End with a night at Ground Zero Blues Club.

20 of 25

Head Downtown: Tulsa, OK

Downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma
traveler1116/Getty Images

In The Tulsa Arts District, you'll find the landmark Cain's Ballroom; there's also Guthrie Green, an outdoor recreational and performance space with free fitness classes; events to attend at Tulsa Glassblowing School; an educational and performance center honoring native Oklahoman Woody Guthrie; and the Philbrook Downtown, a satellite of Tulsa's famed Philbrook Museum of Art. In the Deco District, you'll see mind-boggling architecture from the 1920s, along with eateries and shopping. Prime sipping spots include Valkyrie or Hodges Bend. Stay at the Ambassador Hotel Tulsa, the historic Mayo Hotel, or the modern Aloft Tulsa (rates from $98).

21 of 25

Recharge Mind and Body: Austin, TX

Relaxing at the Lake Austin Spa Resort
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

The Lake Austin Spa Resort provides a special kind of personal attention, well worth your dime and time. The lake setting is ideal for outdoor activities, while the LakeHouse Spa delivers 25,000 square feet of pampering. Many of the spa treatments relate to the Hill Country setting, such as Tour of Texas, which begins with a native prickly pear scrub. Pricing includes your lush accommodations as well as three gourmet meals daily, regular fitness activities, and special events.

22 of 25

Take a New River Adventure: Fayetteville, WV

Adventures on the Gorge, New River Gorge, WV
Photo: Scott Suchman

Adventures on the Gorge is a "social campground" that gives you access to America's newest national park and provides amenities such as restaurants, a pool, and common areas for guests. There are also several lodging options. Among the adventures offered are white-water rafting trips; guided hiking, biking, and climbing excursions; kayaking and paddle-boarding trips; and zip lines that are noteworthy for their impressive length, height, and speed. The TimberTrek Adventure Park features the kind of challenging obstacles, bridges, and zip lines that encourage group camaraderie. You can buy a preset package or choose from the resort's à la carte menu.

23 of 25

Houseboat in the Ozarks: Royal, AR

Houseboat in Hot Springs Arkansas
Photo: Larry Elmore

On Lake Ouachita, Wake Zone Luxury Houseboat Rentals offers boats—with baths, a fully outfitted kitchen, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, satellite television, and a hot tub—ideal for groups of 10 to 16. Sundecks and pool slides make it easy to take a dip, and rentable add-ons include everything from kayaks to margarita machines. Head over to Hot Springs and book some treatments at Quapaw Baths & Spa, which offers a full menu of services powered by the area's famed water, which comes from natural hot springs.

24 of 25

Tour a Haunted City: Savannah, GA

Six Pence Pub Savannah, GA
Peter Frank Edwards

Ghost tours are one of Savannah's most affordable and popular nighttime diversions. The Ghost City Savannah Haunted Pub Crawl and the Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour serve spooky tales with adult beverages at local watering holes. Blue Orb Tours offers a two-hour Uncensored Zombie Tour featuring colonial-era ghost stories as well as voodoo- and hoodoo-based tales and a shuttle tour of Bonaventure Cemetery. The Hearse Ghost Tours can carry up to nine guests in—you guessed it—a hearse modified for sightseeing. You can also board the Trolley of the Doomed with the Ghosts & Gravestones Savannah Frightseeing Tour. Keep the fun going with a stay in an 1873 mansion at the Hamilton-Turner Inn downtown.

25 of 25

Have a Big Time in a College Town: Athens, GA

Athens, Georgia
© iStockphoto/Getty Images

There's fun to be had in Athens, the home of the Georgia Bulldogs as well as storied music venues and great restaurants. Check out The Expat and Dinner Party for long, leisurely evening meals after shopping your way through downtown in the afternoons. Settle in at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. for a drink and a chat before seeing some live music at a downtown venue like the Georgia Theater or 40 Watt.

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