Places to Go With Friends: 7 Vacations and Activities
As the world continues to get a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is once again on everyone’s mind. And what better way to celebrate your newfound freedom than by going on an adventure with some friends?
Getting out and taking a trip with the people you love is one of the best ways to build lasting memories. But there’s more to it than that. Traveling has been shown to reduce stress, decrease the risk of heart disease, and boost overall happiness and satisfaction. Likewise, spending time with friends results in a range of physical and mental benefits. In other words, finding fun places to go with friends is not only a good time; it’s also good for you.
Of course, before you can break free of your responsibilities and hit the open road (or skies or cruise lines), you should probably have a destination in mind. That’s where we come in! Here, we’re going to give you some of our top suggestions for the best places to go on vacation with friends, along with a few activity ideas that are closer to home. So, start packing your bags and tell your significant other not to wait up, because you’re going to want to get going on these adventures as soon as you can.
Places to Go with Friends: Group Vacation Destinations
Feel like getting away from it all with your best buddies? Here are three top vacation destinations that are even more fun with friends:
New York City
Widely considered the cultural capital of the modern world, the Big Apple is an experience you won’t want to miss. With so many things to do and see, it’s no wonder it’s the city that never sleeps–and you won’t want to either! With a nearly endless number of amazing food options, shopping opportunities, and must-see sights — not to mention a nightlife unlike anything you’re likely to find west of the Hudson River — a group vacation to NYC has something for everyone.
Must-Do Activity: Sure, it may feel a little touristy, but you’ll regret it if you don’t get out there and see the sites. The good news is that you have a range of options for getting to the important landmarks and rich cultural history of NYC; cruises through the bay, day tours in open-top buses or private vehicles, and walking tours are all great ways for you and your friends to soak in the essence of the City. Or, site-see in style — take to the skies, and get a bird’s-eye view with a New York City helicopter tour.
Top Tip: As the saying goes, no one drives in New York — there’s just too much traffic! Save yourself the headache of congested roads and aggressive drivers, and instead, get familiar with the New York City subway system. The trains are well kept, easy to use, and probably the fastest way to get around the city. Depending on how long you plan to stay in the city, buying a 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard may be the best travel investment you or your friends will make.
If your idea of fun trips to take with friends includes letting loose and possibly not remembering it in the morning, then Las Vegas should be at the top of your list. We’re kidding, of course…about not remembering the experience. Filled to the brim with casinos, fine dining, shows, activities, bars, and shopping opportunities, Vegas is one place you will never forget. And, if you’re looking for a non-stop party destination on a budget, you should know that Las Vegas hotels are ridiculously cheap — as long as you don’t drop too much into the slot machines in the lobby.
Must-Do Activity: Casinos are the heart of the Las Vegas entertainment scene, but if blackjack and craps aren’t your forte, you should still hit up the major Vegas Strip casinos to catch a show or two. Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio gives new meaning to the word ‘spectacle,’ and if you plan ahead, you should be able to time your trip to catch major headliners at the Monte Carlo, Caesars Palace, the MGM Grand, and more.
Top Tip: Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the world, and if you try to visit it during a holiday or weekend, you’ll see exactly what that means. If swimming upstream through a literal sea of churning partiers isn’t your idea of a good time, consider planning your group vacation for mid-week. This will allow you to experience all the non-stop fun, without having to violate your personal space.
Are you and your friends music lovers? Then set course for Nashville, Tennessee. “Music City” is aptly named, and even non-country-music enthusiasts will enjoy a show at the Grand Ole Opry. But Nashville is also so much more. It’s a city with a culture all its own. And whether you decide to explore your inner foodie at the 5th + Broadway retail complex (possibly the world’s best food court), boost your brain at the Adventure Science Center (hands-on science is hilariously fun with friends), or just take in the sights, Nashville is one city that you and your pals will be glad you visited.
Must-Do Activity: Murals? Seriously? Just hear us out. If you’re into capturing the moment (and then sharing it on social media), there are no better backdrops than the 100+ murals that can be found decorating the walls and alleys of Nashville. Take your group on a walking tour of the city’s top murals and get the kind of group photos that will keep you and your friends high on Nashville long after the vacation ends. Just make sure to break up the walk by stopping in at top restaurants and bars along the way.
Top Tip: Find out what free events are happening. Nashville loves free entertainment and community events — so much so that there’s hardly a weekend throughout the whole year without something spectacular happening. As you plan your trip. Do your research and figure out what kinds of free events will be going on while you’re in town. That way, you and your friends can save your spending money for some upscale shopping…
Take advantage of the 233 sunny days a year by visiting Orlando. Explore legendary theme parks, water parks, activities in nature, exciting sports and world-class spas while you’re in town and discover what Orlando has to offer as a top option of places to go with friends.
Spend the day embracing your inner child at Disney World or Universal Studios. Experience an all in one fun day complete with rides, dining, and water parks.
Stay at one of Villatel’s Luxury Rental homes. Ideal for large groups of people and equipped with everything you might need while on a trip with friends. Explore rental options here.
Places to Go with Friends: Closer to Home
If you want some fun with friends, but aren’t looking forward to the cost and time commitment that go along with travel, why not keep things local? Here are four entertaining activities that you can do with friends (but without a plane ticket).
Hey, who says that adventure can’t also be relaxing? If you’re looking for an excuse to spend a day or a weekend with your closest friends, then why not schedule a spa day? Being wrapped in bathrobes while getting pampered for hours on end is pretty darn awesome, and even more so when you share the experience with those you’re closest to. A spa day also tops the list of fun things to do with your best friend, just in case you’re looking for something more one-on-one.
Just make sure that you check out your options and plan your spa package beforehand. That way, you’ll be able to relax and unwind together, instead of getting different treatments at different times. Check with the spa to see if they have spa-party packages available, which will give you access to group spa treatments, and may also help offset the cost.
Top Tip: Although massages and facials may be the most obvious activities, they’re probably not the only options available. Take advantage of every opportunity that interests you! See what else there is to do at the spa, and make sure to factor meals into your mental-health group staycation.
Despite what you might have thought back when you were in school, the truth is that learning is fun — particularly when you can learn alongside friends. And what subject is more fun to learn about than cooking? Group cooking classes are available in most cities, and allow you and your friends to collaborate together to create something special (and then eat that special something once you’re done).
Check around and see what cooking classes are available in your area. You’ll need a clear idea of not only what kinds of foods your friends prefer, but also whether there are any food allergies in your group that you’ll need to take into account. And, if you’re more interested in pleasing your sweet tooth, then dessert-making classes and chocolate dipping may be a better option.
Top Tip: Hands-on cooking is anything but tidy, and this is even more true when you’re tackling recipes you’re not already familiar with. Dress for the mess, and make sure that your friends know to wear casual clothes that can be washed at home. After all, getting your hands dirty — not to mention your shirt and pants — is all part of the experience.
There are few places to hang out with friends that are more fun than the great outdoors. Group camping lets you experience adventure (and maybe even some tough challenges) with the people you care most about. This makes it perfect for strengthening friendship bonds and enjoying each other’s company, without all of the distractions of the modern world.
Just remember: The difference between a fantastic camping trip and a terrible one is planning. Figure out well in advance what kinds of camping foods your friends will and will not eat, make a detailed list of the gear and supplies you’ll need, and don’t put off reserving a campground. You might be surprised at how hard it is to find a place to pitch a few tents come camping season.
Top Tip: Camping is an activity all on its own, but if you're going to be spending more than just a single night out in the wilderness, you may want to come up with a few other activities to keep things from going stale. Hiking, playing cards, tubing down a river…figure out what your options are and prepare backup plans in the event that something falls through.
In the mood for a little friendly competition? Feel the need for speed by taking your friends to the local go-kart track. Go-karting is a great way to put the pedal to the metal without risking a moving violation. Get your blood pumping and feel the wind in your hair–and most importantly, follow it up with dinner where you can all brag about your best lap times.
Of course, the real fun of go-karting with friends isn’t just getting to spend time together; it’s absolutely destroying them on the track. So keep your foot on the gas, dive bomb into those turns, and keep an eye out for any sneaky passing attempts. And if your friends are just as competitive, you can up the stakes by making the losers split the cost of dinner.
Top Tip: When it comes to go-karting, group size really matters. Check to see how many cars are allowed to race at once, and make sure that you don’t bring more people along than there are karts to accommodate them. At the same time, you’ll want a large enough group to properly fill out the track and keep things interesting. If possible, reserve specific race times so that you can be sure that your entire group will be able to race together.
Places to Go with Friends: The Possibilities Are Endless
The greatest thing about being with friends is that no matter what you decide to do, you’re sure to have an enjoyable time doing it. So get out there and explore the possibilities! Whether you take a trip around the world or just spend an afternoon at the park, what you and your friends are going to enjoy most is being able to share the experience with each other.