As an outdoorsy person currently working to figure out my own bachelorette party, I know that planning a get-together to make everyone happy is harder than it seems. From affordability to availability of accommodations to area activities to car rentals and airports, there’s a lot to figure out.
What complicates the issue even further is that most of the information you’ll find on the best bachelorette party destinations is focused on traditional activities — heading to bars, getting massages, or dressing up in matching t-shirts and pink sashes to go wine tasting. And while I certainly enjoy wine tasting, I’d rather stay home than wear cliché pink t-shirts or do tequila shots at 11 AM. That’s why I’m looking at the best bachelorette party destinations for alternative, older, or more low-key brides.
The destinations below are some of the most unique and fun places in the US you can gather your ladies (or guys) for a weekend of fun. And while you probably won’t run into too many other bachelorette parties while you’re there, they do all have a few factors in common:
They’re all close to an airport: If, like me, you have attendees flying out for the weekend from across the country, you want to make it as easy on them as possible. All these destinations are relatively close to an airport, so no one has to rent a car or take a long trip once they land to reach the party.
They all offer a range of lodging options: Whether you want to camp, stay in an Airbnb, or spring for a posh hotel, you’ll find a wide range of nearby lodging options for you and your crew.
They all offer something different: Most of these places have bars where you can stay out late, but they also offer something unexpected, outdoorsy, or new for your group.
If you’re also not super keen on an urban, nightlife-filled soiree, check out these five alternative bachelorette party destinations below for brides looking for something a little different.
1. Portland, OR
- Closest airport: Portland International Airport (0 miles)
Probably the most urban destination on this list is Portland, but if you’ve been there, you know it’s not exactly a mainstream city. It feels smaller and more walkable than most comparable cities. To the south is the Willamette Valley wine region, where groups can take e-bike or hiking winery tours. It’s also only about 90 minutes to Tillamook (yes, home of the Tillamook cheese factory), a cute coastal town with great seafood, pretty PNW beaches, and an open-air train sightseeing tour. And if you really want to stretch your legs, Portland is also just 30 minutes from the Columbia River Gorge, a waterfall-laden natural area packed with lush cliffside trails and fabulous views of the Columbia River. You can also sail or paddle in the area.
But if food is more your focus, you’re in luck, too. Portland is home to an H.P. Lovecraft-themed bar called the Coffin Club, several tiki bars, and a bar called Creepy’s, which feels more like a circus sideshow than a dining establishment. And if you’re not a drinker (or even if you are), you may be interested in one of Portland’s other quirky activities, like a private tea tasting, an Indigenous craft-making class, a root- or mushroom-foraging afternoon tour, or even a bakery-to-bakery “Donuts of Portland” bike tour.
2. Juneau, AK
- Closest airport: Juneau International Airport (8 miles)
You may be surprised to learn that Alaska isn’t as long of a flight as you’d think, especially if you fly into Juneau, which is about a two-hour flight north of Seattle. It’s one of the best bachelorette party destinations if you’re celebrating in summer or fall as it’s basically an outdoor paradise. You can go whale watching on Alaska’s inside passage, take a trek with your crew out to the stunning Mendenhall Glacier, or go on a bear-watching hike.
If you’re up for a more extreme adventure, consider a helicopter dog sledding tour, taking a seaplane to a remote picnic with fresh-caught salmon and wine, or kayaking through the remote Glacier Bay National Park. And if you want to stay closer to town, you could go for a half-day hike through temperate rainforest, have a Prohibition-themed dinner party, or even pan for gold on a history tour. There are far fewer activities available in winter, though if you’re into activities like dog sledding or touring ice caves, you’ll appreciate the low prices and small crowds between October and April.
3. Williamsburg, VA
The middle of Virginia may not seem like the most exciting place for a bachelorette party, but it actually has a lot to offer, plus relatively small crowds and affordable pricing.
The main draw for any fun-loving bachelorette party will be Busch Gardens. The park is many steps above your average theme park chain, with a serious commitment to its atmosphere, fabulous indoor and outdoor rides including several roller coasters, live shows and performances, and a massive German-themed “FestHaus,” which carries all manner of German beers. It’s not nearly as crowded as well-known parks like Disney World or Universal Studios and is far cheaper, too. And if you visit in the summer, you may want to spend a day at Water Country, with a massive lazy river and options for renting private cabanas.
What makes Williamsburg one of the best bachelorette party destinations for unique brides is that it has such a wide variety of activities. If theme parks aren’t your thing, head to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Site for a ghost tour or check out the quirky folk art museum. And if you’re willing to head just a few miles outside of town, you’ll find wineries, riverfront restaurants, and guided horseback riding tours along the James River.
4. St. George, UT
- Closest airport: St. George Regional Airport (15 miles)
The town near Zion National Park (Springdale) is a cute little town with fun restaurants and easy access to the park — but it’s usually quite crowded, as is the park itself. So instead, base yourself about an hour down the road in St. George, Utah. You can day trip to Zion National Park — renting e-bikes to ride through the park is a particularly fun group activity — but spend the rest of your time exploring the equally beautiful areas outside the park.
You could head to Snow Canyon State Park to hike through the red rock slot canyons, explore lava tubes, or take a stargazing or (yikes!) scorpion-finding hike. The Above Zion Via Ferrata offers a chance for your group to see an otherwise-inaccessible part of Zion National Park while strapped 1,000-foot-tall cliffs, and St. George offers gorgeous mountain biking, whether you’re a pro or first-time rider. Other options include more traditional bachelorette party activities, like hanging at a glamping resort or hitting a spa.
Food-wise, St. George is surprisingly diverse (and affordable compared to most cities), with options for everything from family-style tapas to Thai to hip pizza joints. St. George is also very close to The Wave, if you can manage to snag a permit for your crew.
5. Monterey County, CA
Closest airport: Monterey Regional Airport (3 miles)
If you want the Napa Valley vibes with the addition of coastal breezes and a bit of whale watching, head to Monterey, California. The seaside town is a great place to base yourself for a few days if you want to walk along the famous Old Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium, or go on a whale-watching boat tour or paddle kayaks with sea lions. The town has excellent restaurants as well as fun group activities like escape rooms and tours of Cannery Row.
But the fact that the greater Monterey County has so many places to go in its borders is what makes it one of the best bachelorette party destinations for outdoorsy brides. Groups can head inland to Salinas and the Monterey County wine region, home to more than 150 wineries. But if you don’t feel like making the drive to a winery, just head a few minutes south of Monterey to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a former artist commune turned into a charming beachside town, complete with “fairytale houses,” dog-friendly beaches, dozens of tasting rooms, arts venues, and enough boutiques and art galleries to fill an afternoon of wandering.
And if you’re willing to drive about an hour, you’ll be at one of the most beautiful places in the entire country: Big Sur. Head out for a day hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, have a picnic under the redwoods, enjoy a glass of wine at an outdoor restaurant loved by Jack Kerouac, take a plein air art class, soak in an ocean-view hot spring…the options are (nearly) endless.