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Travel + Leisure readers ranked the best cities for decompressing with your gal pals. The variables? Shopping, yoga, gallery-hopping, and a cocktail that tastes like a candy bar.
No. 4 Honolulu
America's Best Cities For Getting Away With the Girls
No. 4 Honolulu
Who cares if Honolulu also ranks at the top of our survey for romance and families? The Oahu city makes it easy to quietly ignore the couples and the kids calling out for someone else’s mom. If you stay at the Moana Surfrider, which has long been called the “first lady of Waikiki,” you can enjoy tea on the veranda and yoga on the beach. For some yoga on the water, take a stand-up-paddleboard lesson from Surf HNL. One more reason to relax: the city also ranks near the top of the survey for feeling safe.
Among the trips Casey Wohl racked up while researching the Girls Getaway Guide, one of the most memorable was Savannah, GA. “That’s where we had breakfast next to Robert Redford and met him afterward,” she says. “Talk about a hot girls’ getaway.”
Even when Redford’s not in town, Savannah scored in the top 10 for girlfriend getaways, according to Travel + Leisure readers. They ranked 35 metro areas for such features as walkable streets, wine bars, and great theater in our annual America’s Favorite Cities survey.
Those are a few of the charms that draw groups of traveling women, whether coming to town for a bachelorette party, a book-club weekend, or a reunion of high school buddies. Whatever the trip motive, they’re a force to be reckoned with: a few years ago, an AAA study showed that girlfriend getaways generate about $5 billion annually for the travel industry.
And cities are rolling out the pink carpet. In Honolulu and San Diego, you can take women-only surfing or stand-up-paddleboard lessons. Charleston, SC, offers shopping tours with local decorators. In New Orleans, which took the crown at No. 1, you can learn to make chicken gumbo at Langlois Culinary Crossroads or check out the live-music scene. One boutique hotel in Providence, RI, offers a cut-loose karaoke bar right off the lobby.
Of course, each group will have its own definition of what constitutes a great girlfriend getaway—and there’s an intangible element that helps make a city feel welcoming.
“For me and my girlfriends, the common denominator is going somewhere where we don’t have to think about deadlines, dishes, or drudgery, but indulge in good food and conversation,” says Suz Garber, a Philadelphia-based healthcare executive who has traveled to Vegas, San Diego, and Miami with her friends. “Heck, we could probably do that in Peoria,” she adds, “but good shopping and shows don’t hurt, either.”