Spring is the season for bachelor and bachelorette parties, when engaged couples celebrate their final days of freedom before their summertime nuptials. Of course, bachelor/ette parties head everywhere around the globe to embrace their fleeting singledom, but some destinations are always at the top of everyone’s list. Here, we bring you six of the most popular destinations for bachelor and bachelorette parties. But instead of limiting you to the traditional activities, we also offer alternative options for those looking for something a little different. Either way, these spots are sure to make your party memorable.
1. Las Vegas
This one comes as no surprise: Tons and tons and tons of bachelor and bachelorette parties head to Sin City to let loose. Chock-a-block with nightclubs, casinos, pool parties, and strip clubs, Vegas is a massive playground and even the nicest hotels offer relatively inexpensive rates. But that’s all because they know you’ll be spending your life savings on gambling, fine dining, and, often, strippers. Though it used to be just a spot where soon-to-be married men got away, now plenty of bachelorette parties choose Vegas as their destination as well; Kim Kardashian partied at Tao at the Venetian before her ill-fated marriage to Kris Humphries.
Alternative Pick: If stripper shows and packed clubs aren’t your thing, Vegas can still be a great spot for a bachelor/ette party, especially for those on the West Coast who can easily get to the area. About a 30-minute drive from the Strip, Henderson features numerous luxe hotels that are nonetheless relatively reasonably priced and feel miles and miles away. The Westin doesn’t even have a casino; instead, visitors visit the gorgeous spa, enjoy water activities at the beach, relax by the large pool, rent bicycles to explore the property, and take outdoor yoga classes.
2. New Orleans
NOLA is a world-renowned party spot and not just for Mardi Gras. As home to well-respected professional football and basketball teams, residents and visitors can always find something to celebrate. Plus, lax open container laws means partying on the street is legal and a popular pastime. Even if you don’t plan on downing hurricanes by 9 a.m, New Orleans is a nice spot for some more refined wining and dining; known for casual, on-the-go dishes such as po’ boys and jambalaya sandwiches, the city has equally top-notch gourmet restaurants where even the pickiest of eaters will be impressed.
Alternative Pick: Why not celebrate (or mourn) the death of your single life with a visit to a graveyard? While some bachelor and bachelorette groups may spend their days in the bars, those not nursing hangovers can take advantage of their time be visiting famous sights, such as the city’s historic graveyards, before the sun’s heat gets too bad. St Louis Cemetery is the most famous in the area, is the final resting place of Marie Laveau, the legendary “voodoo queen.” The cemetery is just a six-minute walk from the Dauphine Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter.
Miami is arguably the East Coast’s main party spot, particularly for its beachside location. Most bachelor and bachelorette parties choose South Beach when planning their getaways. Of course, there is the beach and year-round sunny weather (aside from hurricane season), but Miami also boasts delicious seafood restaurants, numerous designer and vintage shops along Lincoln Road, several professional sports teams, and numerous clubs that stay open till 5 a.m.
Alternative Pick: Miami has a calm side as well, it’s just not in South Beach. Instead, those looking for a more relaxing getaway opt for surfer-friendly Key Biscayne. It certainly does not have the party scene of South Beach (it attracts plenty of families and retirees) and the Ritz-Carlton is really the only hotel, but bachelor and bachelorette parties seeking relaxation over raucous partying will enjoy the tranquil, seven-mile-long island, easily accessed from the mainland across a scenic causeway. Numerous nature trails, the beautiful Crandon Park Beach, the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, with its historic lighthouse, and upscale golf courses and tennis clubs make it the ideal spot for an active pre-nuptials getaway.
More popular among bachelor parties than bachelorette, Montreal is an easy international getaway for those on the East Coast. It’s a cold destination, but locals teach tourists how to keep warm; namely by visiting the city’s many bars and nightclubs to dance and chug some drinks. Canada’s party city also as a plethora of strip clubs, and even a small casino.
Alternative Pick: If you don’t plan on getting so crazy while in Canada, Montreal is chock-full of museums, shops, beautiful cathedrals, and parks, so you can have a cultural getaway (or at least use that as your cover). The city, where half the residents speak French, boasts a world-renowned Museum of Fine Arts, as well as Underground Montreal, where there are numerous shops, restaurants, and theaters. Old Montreal boasts some of the most gorgeous architecture, and Le Petit Hotel is housed in a beautiful 19th-century building.
With its sweet Southern charm and sunny weather year round, Charleston has long been a popular choice for destination weddings and honeymoons. But recently, it has become increasingly popular among bachelor and bachelorette parties. First of all, it can’t hurt for soon-to-be married folks to just look, and Charleston is continuously ranked in the top five for the U.S. cities with the most beautiful people. Plus, the waterfront town boasts amazing restaurants (many renowned NOLA chefs came to Charleston after Hurricane Katrina), awesome golf courses, hopping bars, and sandy beaches.
Alternative Pick: If the future bride or groom is a history buff, Charleston is steeped in history. Visitors can skip the bars (or just save them for later), and visit the gorgeous mansions (the Jasmine House Inn is housed in building that dates back to 1843) and churches that line the water or check out sites such as Fort Sumter, where the opening battle of the Civil War took place, and The Citadel, a historic military college. Most weekends also coincide with festivals; the Charleston Boat Show, Charleston Fashion Week, and Chazz Fest — Charleston Jazz and Heritage are all fun alternatives to the beach scene.
New York City is often an easy meet-up spot on the East Coast, and it’s the most visited city in the U.S. for a reason. Bachelorette parties love the luxe spas, the high-end designer shops in the Meatpacking District and the Upper East Side, and the vintage finds in SoHo, while bachelor parties opt for the sports bars galore and the strip clubs. But all parties often enjoy that most bars are open till 4 a.m. New York is an expensive destination (especially with hotel room prices that are sky-high) but at least with cabs at every corner and the most comprehensive public transit system in the world, you won’t have to worry about anyone getting behind the wheel.
Alternative Pick: For something a little different, some parties plan activities such as improv shows and walking tours; those who haven’t been to the city in a few years may want to check out the HighLine, which runs directly under the hip Standard Hotel in the equally hip Meatpacking District. Or, if you want to escape the mayhem of the city altogether, the Hamptons are a quick getaway. Though visiting during summertime is the obvious choice, the Hamptons are a great destination for the fall too, with nice spas, lower rates, and numerous vineyards.