Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler, British ColumbiaNita Lake Lodge, Whistler, British Columbia
Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the world's coldest ice bar, this village nestled in the Canadian Coast Mountains is so much more than just a ski town-although the skiing here is legendary. It's also a mountain-biking, shopping, and foodie hotspot, so there are plenty of activities to satisfy everyone. About a two-hour drive from Vancouver, the destination has the feel of an intimate ski town, but with all the amenities of a big city thanks to the more than 100 restaurants, 20-plus spas, and more than 200 retail shops. With its multi-bedroom suites boasting fully-equipped kitchens, cozy-feeling fireplaces, and convenient location just 500 meters from the Whistler Creekside Gondola, Nita Lake Lodge is a great bet for families or groups of couples traveling together. (You might opt for the two-story, 1925-square-foot Glade Suite for family reunions.) Three onsite eateries serving up farm fresh-food means you won't have to corral the whole gang to venture outside every morning and night. Rates start at $169.
Topnotch Resort, Stowe, VT
Want to make a spa trip the theme of your next girlfriend getaway? Located on 120 wooded acres amidst Vermont's Green Mountains, the Topnotch Spa has 35,000 square-feet of steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, heated lap pools, and more, which practically guarantee you'll want to spend all day there. To make life easier-and more affordable-for your group of gal pals, you can book any of the 23 Resort Homes scattered across the property, each of which boasts a full kitchen, multiple baths, a living room with a fireplace, and a washer/dryer. Most also have panoramic views of Mount Mansfield. Rates start at $190 per person, per night. Or, sign up for the REDBOOK Girl Getaway package that scores you a newly-renovated room with handmade furniture, one relaxing spa treatment per day of your stay (think: a Mountain Aroma massage or Hammam Foot and Leg Ritual), and a mimosa at onsite eateries Flannel or the Roost. Rates start at $300 during ski season and $256 during spring if you book online using the promotional code REDBOOK.
A trip to Nashville makes it easy for a gang of music-lovers to follow their passion. You can sign up for Gray Line's Homes of the Stars Tour to see where celebs such as Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Kellie Pickler, Dierks Bentley, Jared Followill of the Kings of Leon, and Martina McBride have lived. Opry Backstage Tours take you behind the scenes of the Grand Ole Opry, the world's longest-running live radio show. Or head over to the Country Music Hall of Fame to hear rare recordings of legendary performers, see behind-the-scenes films by today's stars, and even get a private performance and talk with Johnny and June's son, John Carter Cash. For accommodations that feel unusually personal, check out some of the condo options located within walking distance of many big downtown Nashville attractions on vrbo.com, such as the Modern Music Loft and Rhythm Retreat. Both are at least 1000 square feet and sleep up to six people. Rates start at $200 per night with a three-night minimum.
Trafalgar British Isles Excursions
Think a family trip to trendy London's castled countryside and Scottish highlands is something that only someone with a duchess-size budget can afford? Think again. Trafalgar, one of Europe's longest-running tour operators, has made great strides in the past few years to reshape its programming to include insider experiences with locals and cost-conscious itineraries around the U.K. and Western Europe. To craft a vacation full of bragging-rights moments, blended into each trip are some exclusive dining experiences, including everything from a traditional meal in an English country manner house akin to Downtown Abbey to lunch on a Scottish highland farm where you're treated to a father-son singing duo. The best part? The crowd tends to be less of the follow-the-umbrella variety than what you'll find on most tours, since there is ample downtime built in for private exploring. That said, you have the luxury of knowing that all the annoying little details of each leg are totally taken care of, like planning transportation, activities, and meal reservations. They even bring your luggage from your hotel room to the motorcoach for you each day-a great thing when kiddies are in tow. Prices start at $1,100 per person for seven-day excursions, including all hotels and most meals.
Sandals Regency La Toc, St. Lucia
If you and your girlfriends have been dying to get your husbands onboard for a group getaway, pushing cost out of mind is a major incentive for Sandals Regency La Toc, one of three outposts of the couples-only resort chain on the island of St. Lucia. All-inclusive packages-airfare credits are part of this, too-mean that you can have whatever you like at one of the hotel's six restaurants, as well as at two other neighboring properties, Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals Halycon Beach, between which shuttles run multiple times per hour. That means no awkward, "Whose turn is it to get the check?" moments. The resort even offers special group vacation packages when you book five or more rooms that include perks such as a group portrait, private cocktail hour, and farewell cake. Plus, you'll have plenty of activity options to keep you entertained, such as unlimited golfing, tennis, beach volleyball, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and more. Or just chill out together on the beach with fruity cocktails or beers in hand. Rates start at $224 per person, per night.
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Hotel Belleclaire, New York City
From strolling around Central Park to ice-skating at Rockefeller Center to seeing shows on Broadway (we're dying for tickets for Kinky Boots, but Matilda might be more appropriate for the kids!), you can't go wrong when getting together with other families for a group trip to the Big Apple. However, finding hotel rooms that are bigger than a suburban-size closet may seem like Mission Impossible. Enter Hotel Belleclaire's Family Suites, which have two adjoining rooms (with one queen-size and two full-size beds), microwaves, DVD players with complimentary movies, and flat-screen HDTVs. Kids can keep busy with seasonal activities happening right in the lobby, like a fall harvest week that includes pumpkin carving, and Sweetery food trucks in the winter where they can get their fill of hot chocolate and pastries. Bonus: Hotel Belleclaire is offering 20-percent off rooms now through March 31, 2014. Rates for the family suite start at $339 per night.
Houseboating on Lake Powell, UT
Love flotillas? Consider renting a houseboat-or two-with your group. Lake Powell's gorgeous natural setting and many outdoor activity options make it an ideal houseboating destination. Your gang can fish, swim, and Jet Ski on the lake, or pull up to shore and hike through the rugged red rocks of the surrounding Glen Canyon Recreation Area. (Don't miss Rainbow Bridge, the world's largest natural rock formation bridge, and one of the most photographed natural wonders in the American West.) Houseboating.org has options for boats that sleep up to 12 people, and included in their prices are bedding, towels, cooking utensils, TV/DVRs, and other basic amenities to make your stay feel like a true floating home. Some even have hot tubs, outdoor grills, shaded wet bars, and top decks with cushions to make it comfy when looking for constellations in the desert night sky, or for when you feel like sleeping under the stars. Rates start around $1,620 for three nights.
Red Cottage Vacation Rentals
If you're longing for a quiet retreat to reconnect with loved ones, skip big chain hotels and opt for staying in a cozy log cabin or quaint country cottage that you have all to yourselves. Red Cottage Vacation Rentals rents out fully-furnished retreats in tranquil spots in places such as Cape Cod, MA; Long Island, NY; upstate New York; Massachusetts; and the Bahamas. The surrounding apple orchards and creek running through the property at Ten Broeck Cottage in Hudson, NY, is pure calm. The house is ideal for foodies and those who love to cook, thanks to its exceptionally-large kitchen and long raw-wood table. Also great for groups is four-bedroom Zubehause in Sparrowbush, NY, which boasts a fire pit right off the house, a full-size pool, and a large deck where you can catch up over sundowners, and a fully-finished basement with a game room. Three-night weekends start at $750.
JW Marriot Cancun Resort & Spa
If your group is looking for an exotic locale that's still close to home, Cancun may not be the first destination that comes to mind. (Blame its stigma as a wet T-shirt-contest and spring-break capital.) But this Mexican city is also rich with Mayan history, nature, and adventure activities. In the surrounding area, you'll find cenotes (sacred underground rivers), rainforest tours complete with zip-lining, small fisherman islands such as Isla Mujeres, one-of-a-kind shopping experiences at the El Centro flea market, and ancient history like the Chichen Itza Mayan Pyramid--one of the new seven wonders of the world. Stay at JW Marriot Cancun Resort & Spa, which is packed with amenities such as two free-form outdoor pools, an indoor heated lap pool, an outdoor dive pool with an artificial reef, an award-winning Mayan-inspired spa, and nine bars and restaurants. The hotel also offers plenty of group-friendly activities, like tennis and Jet Skiing. Rates start at $149 per night.
Sea Island, Georgia
Breaking: Not only does Georgia have a coast (we know it's blatantly on the ocean if you look at a map, but when's the last time you thought about visiting said coast?), it's quite the glorious locale for a family or couples retreat. Located midway between Jacksonville, FL and Savannah, GA, Sea Island is a private coastal resort with five miles of secluded beach right on the Atlantic Ocean. The island features two main accommodations: The Cloister, a total dream for families with a spa, yacht club, and beach club, and The Lodge, an intimate hotel surrounded by The Sea Island Golf Club. If a hotel stay isn't your group's style, the island also has 150 private cottages available for rent, which include complete access to the resort's many amenities. Sea Island also stays connected to its southern roots with Broadfield Sporting Club, which offers falconry, a shooting range, vegetable and herb gardens used to source produce for the resort's restaurants, and a hunt-to-table experience. Rates start at $299 per night.
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