Affordable Southern Getaways For You And Your Girlfriends

<p>Getty Images/ Thomas Barwick</p>

Getty Images/ Thomas Barwick

Sometimes the best balm for the busyness of life is a few days away with your best gal pals. When a wine night or dinner out just won’t do, up the ante and take a girlfriend getaway guaranteed to restore your spirit and give you memories to last a lifetime (or at least until your next trip together). Of course, with family vacations and maybe even a much-needed couple’s retreat to factor in, it can be hard to find room in the budget for an extra trip. Luckily, the South is full of lively locations where you can have a wonderful weekend away without breaking the bank. Whether you and your college pals want to relive the glory days in a bustling city, or prefer to soak up sun and serenity on a quiet beach, there’s a locale for every type of traveler. Here are 10 affordable Southern getaways to consider for your next girlfriend getaway.

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama

<p>Courtesy of Gulf Shores &amp; Orange Beach Tourism</p>

Courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

With its crystal-clear waters and white sand shores, Alabama’s Gulf Coast makes a great vacation for any beach lover. But there’s something extra enchanting about spending hours of uninterrupted time on the beach with nothing but a good book, your friends for company, and maybe a cold beverage in hand. Rental options range from condos and hotels to beach houses where the entire crew can spread out. When dinner rolls around, head to The Gulf for waterfront views, tropical cocktails, and fresh seafood. You can also consider a sunset dolphin cruise because there’s nothing more romantic than strong female friendships.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

<p>joe daniel price/Getty Images</p>

joe daniel price/Getty Images

Get the best of both worlds in this outdoor-loving city that knows its way around a fancy dinner table, too. For those who love a good hike but love a great meal at the end of the day just as much, Chattanooga is the place for you. Grab a suite or adjoining rooms in The Dwell or Moxy boutique hotels, then set out on a day of adventure that could include anything from a hike at Rock City to kayaking along the Tennessee River. Make plans to hit several restaurants and bars during your trip including Alleia, Two Ten Jack, Flying Squirrel, No Hard Feelings, and Calliope.

Waco, Texas

ChrisBoswell/Getty Images
ChrisBoswell/Getty Images

HGTV fans will flip over this vacation destination, but the tiny Texas town has a lot more going for it than just Fixer Upper fame. Of course, you’ll make the perfunctory stop at the Magnolia Market and likely buy more than your fair share of home accessories. You can also eat dinner at Magnolia Table and even stay in one of several Gaines-owned properties. Everyone can enjoy more shopping at Spice Village, a community of 60 independently owned boutiques. After, grab a picnic lunch and head to the 416-acre Cameron Park for time outdoors.

Asheville, North Carolina

<p>Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images</p>

Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images

Great food, great beer, and the great outdoors—that’s the essence of Asheville and why it makes such a great girlfriend getaway town. The eclectic North Carolina mountain village has something for everyone, from waterfall hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains to a vibrant artist and maker scene in the River Arts District. If you’re an early riser, pick up morning treats from Hole Doughnuts or OWL Bakery and return to your Airbnb a hero. Create your own brewery tour of Asheville’s 40-plus breweries, then enjoy a special dinner out at Curate, Rhubarb, or Benne on Eagle. For a bonding experience that’s sure bring on the belly laughs, try goat yoga with Kidding Around Asheville.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

If any of your pals are old Dawson’s Creek or One Tree Hill fans, or if they went through an obsessive phase with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or A Walk to Remember, they’ll recognize the cinematic locales sprinkled throughout this city set on two waterways. Spend a morning touring the gorgeous grounds of Airlie Gardens, then take the rest of the afternoon to stroll the two-mile Riverwalk, where you can pop in and out of whichever of the 200 restaurants and shops suit your fancy. Another great perk to this destination? There are three different beaches within a 30-minute drive from downtown.

Franklin, Tennessee

STACY K. ALLEN
STACY K. ALLEN

Nashville may be bachelorette central, but little sister Franklin is ideal for a more mature getaway with your girls. Escape the craziness of Broadway for Franklin’s quaint downtown, where you can walk just about anywhere and find a friendly face inside every store. Once you’ve shopped ‘til you’re just about ready to drop (the boutique selection here is extremely accomplished), treat yourself to a massage or facial at The Spa at Leiper’s Fork. If you’re in town on a Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the Franklin Farmers Market.

Savannah, Georgia

<p>Amy Luo/Getty Images</p>

Amy Luo/Getty Images

There’s no denying that Charleston has its charms, but when it comes to being budget-friendly, it’s doesn’t exactly earn top marks. For a more wallet-conscious classic Southern escape, Savannah’s live oaks, Spanish moss, and cobblestoned squares should be just the ticket. You’ll have fun getting spooked on a downtown ghost tour, love strolling and shopping on River Street, and enjoy the Zen of a beach day at nearby Tybee Island. Pictures at Forsyth Park are a must so you can remember your lovely trip for years to come.

Dahlonega, Georgia

<p>Ian Dagnall/Alamy</p>

Ian Dagnall/Alamy

For a small-town escape with your besties, there’s no quainter place to go than Dahlonega in North Georgia. The quiet hamlet’s downtown seems pulled straight from a Hallmark movie and offers plenty to explore by way of antique shops, art galleries, and specialty stores. Stay at one of Dahlonega's lovely privately owned bed and breakfasts (Mountain Laurel Creek Inn & Spa is a favorite), and be sure to explore the area’s many wineries. Dahlonega is the heart of Georgia wine country after all.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Alex North Photography
Alex North Photography

If you and the gal pals love a charming beach town but are looking for options beyond your favorite Florida haunts, Ocean Springs may just be your new best friend. The Mississippi coastal town is known for its quiet beach, walkable downtown, and surprisingly accomplished art scene. For a foray into the arts, be sure to visit the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and the Mary C. O’Keefe Culture Arts Center. The girls will love lunching on the patio at Maison de Lu and grabbing drinks at The Wilbur Bar, located on the ground floor of The Roost boutique hotel.

Alexandria, Virginia

<p>K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria</p>

K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

D.C.’s many neighborhoods can be the kind of whirlwind you don’t need on a relaxing girls’ weekend, but venture across the Potomac River and the historic town of Alexandria is just the right speed. Spend time exploring the cobblestone streets of Old Town, where you’ll find adorable specialty shops like Penny Post for paper goods, Red Barn Mercantile for home décor, and The Hour for vintage barware. Saturday mornings should be spent at the Old Town Farmers' Market at Market Square on King Street, and you can keep exploring at the nearby Torpedo Factory Art Center, where dozens of artists keep open studio hours and sell their works.

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