Top 5 Girlfriend Getaways
- North Coast/ Mendocino
- San Diego
- Banff, Canada
Clair Tappaan Lodge is a rustic mountain lodge nestled in the Sierras at an elevation of 7,000' at the top of Donner Pass. The friendly, casual atmosphere and affordable nightly rates (including family-style meals) make the Lodge the perfect rustic getaway to the Tahoe/Donner area. A network of nearby trails offers miles of hiking and provides access to fishing streams, remote meadows and peaks, and crystal clear lakes. The well-known Pacific Crest Trail is only a mile away and can be reached right out the back door of the lodge. The Donner Summit area is great for both road and mountain biking and is also widely known as a rock climbers' mecca. The Lodge is on the edge of the Lake Tahoe Basin, with Tahoe itself only 25 miles away. Summer rates range from $50-60 a night A special 5-night package is $200 which translates to $40 a night for accommodations and two meals; a hearty cooked breakfast and dinner. 800-679-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The best of both worlds - gorgeous beaches and a lively city - can be had in San Diego: a destination that promises great weather, food, shopping and scenery for your mini-reunion. What you'll need to pack should give you an idea of what kind of trip this will be: a bathing suit, your best walking shoes and a little sun dress. You'll spend more time outdoors here than in any other US city, feeling that Southern California sunshine and ocean breezes on your skin. San Diego is blessed with sunshine, 70 miles of sandy beaches, and days averaging 70 degrees. Add to that taco stands, farmers' markets, upscale restaurants, diverse neighborhoods, great theater and adventure. Wildlife here means more than pigeons: seals, migrating whales (from December through February), seal lions and brown pelicans. You could get lost in the lush, 1,200-acre Balboa Park for a week, which is a good thing because it's also rich with museums, a world-famous zoo, and performing arts venues. A group picnic or power-walk in Mission Bay Park may be your thing; it's the largest man-made aquatic park in the country with coves, grassy areas, beaches and athletes frolicking about. You may prefer watching surfers catch waves while you bask in the sun on the sand. Or there's always shopping for Mexican-inspired art. Best Neighborhoods for Strolling: The Gaslamp Quarter
Banff, British Columbia, Canada
Banff National Park serves as the ideal setting for girlfriends in search of adventure and spectacular scenery for a reunion. If you saw the film Brokeback Mountain you are already acquainted with Alberta's magnificent Canadian Rockies. With 2,464 square miles of wilderness, Banff presents the most stunning mountain views in the world: glaciers, ice fields, snow-capped peaks, crystal clear lakes and raging rivers. A mere 90 minutes from the busy international airport of Calgary, Banff National Park is likely the most convenient wilderness locale for your get-together. The wondrous surroundings are inspirational and energizing for a group of gals looking to reconnect, relax and recharge. Summer is cool (in the 70s) and winter ushers in the cold, but this is what makes their snow so powdery. No matter if you are hikers, bikers, skiers, or expert shoppers (or a mix of all of these), Banff National Park supplies year-round adventure. At 4,539 feet above sea level, the lovely mountain town of Banff on banks of the Bow River is unlike any national park village you've visited before. Both rustic and sophisticated, its alpine architecture, diverse restaurants and bars serve as the perfect compliment to gallivanting around the wilds of the park.
Best Strategy: Despite the wildness and enormity of Banff National Park, going sans tour group is the way to go. No guide and no hour-by-hour group activity lets you and your friends set your own pace and not worry about others. Staying in the town of Banff with a rental car, you can access many of the sights and day hikes on your own and enjoy the historic village. And if delving deeper into the backcountry by trail, raft or helicopter tempts you, there are qualified local outfitters to take you there for a day or overnight.
Scenic Drive: Pile into the car for a day, or several days of eye-popping roadside attractions between Lake Louise and Jasper on the 142-mile Icefields Parkway, which spans the length of Banff National Park. Undoubtedly one of the world's most scenic highways, the parkway leads you past more lakes than you can count and over 100 glaciers - and straddles the Continental Divide
IF YOU WANT A STAYCATION:
Stay home or find a deal in a local hotel and take advantage of nearby museums, parks, zoos, attractions and neighborhoods that you and the family don't have time to do through the year. You can now follow San Francisco's latest deals, insider tips and more on Twitter www.twitter.com/onlyinsf. More details are available at www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/escape, which provides visitors with suggested itineraries to plan their own perfect "escape," value-added incentives and exclusive offers.
Best Garden Walk: Take a short detour from North Beach and head down the famed Filbert Steps, flanked by cascading gardens, sculptures and benches - you'll be glad you did. You may hear or catch a glimpse of the famous wild, green parrots that soar from tree to tree, as seen in the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Begin your stroll at the top of the steps at the corner of Montgomery and Filbert Streets and descend to Sansome Street.
Best Cafés: Take in the mix of cultures sitting outdoors or indoors at my favorite haunt in North Beach: Café Greco. Locals swear it has absolutely the best cappuccino in the city with the perfect swirl of coffee in the light foamy milk on the top. It's a mecca for expresso buffs who sip while writing next year's great novel. Located at 423 Columbus Ave, between Green and Vallejo Streets (415.397.6261).
While in the Marina district, going into Emporio Rulli Gran Café is like stepping into a Northern Italian cafe complete with its Venetian chandelier, mahogany bar and frescoed ceiling. You'll find the large selection of homemade pastries; chocolates, cookies and gelato are equally authentic and extraordinary. Italian wines are served at the bar, or enjoy a small plate or dinner until 10 p.m. Located at 2300 Chestnut Street (at Scott). A block east at 2250 Chestnut Street the hip, yet cozy Gove Café is a relaxing spot to stop for sidewalk seating and a great selection of teas, pastries and salads.
About Marybeth Bond
Whether your idea of a "gutsy traveler" is taking your first plane ride across the USA, navigating the promenades of Paris, or kayaking in the San Francisco Bay, Marybeth Bond's travel tips, know-how and practical advice will guide you along the way.
Marybeth's books and travel talents have been showcased on The Oprah Winfrey Show, HGTV, The Fine Living Network, The CBS Early Show, National Geographic Society. She has also served as a "travel expert" and contributor to several magazines and newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Elle, First for Women, Redbook, Travel & Leisure, and The San Francisco Chronicle are a but a few.
National Geographic released Marybeth's 10th and 11th books about Girlfriends Getaways in March 2007 and May 2008.
She has walked, hiked, climbed, cycled and kayaked her way through six continents and more than 70 countries around the world. Her travels have taken her from the depths of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, across the Himalayas and the Sahara Desert.
Fun, energetic and unpretentious, Bond believes wholeheartedly in taking advantage of every weekend, vacation day and travel dream. Marybeth resides in the San Francisco/Bay Area with her husband and two children.
About the book:
A completely updated and revised edition of our best-selling travel book for women-young, old, single, married, divorced, and widowed-who continue to fuel growth in the travel industry. This edition contains considerable fresh content including more dude ranches, yoga retreats, mountain resorts and a new chapter on best home and garden tours as well as an additional section on where to take teenage daughters.
Travel expert Marybeth Bond also addresses new travel trends that emphasize value, human relationships and personal growth. Affordable escapes, close-to-home driving destinations, family bonding experiences and transformational personal journeys are all found in this book, as well as hundreds of money-saving travel tips. "50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America 2nd Edition" covers everything from fun-filled weekends in New York, Quebec, and San Francisco to festive forays to Las Vegas and Savannah; from adventurous raft trips down the Colorado River to heli-hiking the Canadian Rockies; from high-spirited reunions in Oregon to soothing retreats in Mexico. Marybeth's trip choices vary widely and suite every occasion, mood, and pocketbook.
The book is filled with practical tips on roommate etiquette, safety, packing, budgeting, and other specific advice. Short, true stories about women's experiences open each chapter, and quotes from all types of women travelers broaden the appeal-further inspiring readers to pack up their bags, call a girlfriend, and say "Let's go!"