Readers Choice

Best Girls' TripAs chosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    In terms of girls' getaways, the Windy City enjoys some of the best retail therapy opportunities in the nation, especially along world-famous Michigan Avenue. Two airports make meeting up with old friends a cinch, and the list of things to do and see (like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Chicago Botanic), is seemingly endless.

    Photo courtesy of Cesar Russ Photography

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    Tucson offers the best of the desert Southwest, with everything from championship golf courses to award-winning spas on offer for gals who choose Arizona for their girls getaway. Beautiful sunsets, botanic gardens and excellent gallery shopping in the nearby artist colony of Tubac (also the filming location of Tin Cup) make Tucson a perfect setting for days spent enjoying the company of friends outdoors.

    Photo courtesy of Meinzahn/iStock

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    New York

    The Met, flagships on Fifth Avenue, parks, botanical gardens and the flashing lights of Broadway ... this is New York City, and there's a reason why it's a Mecca for women. Ladies from all walks of life love coming here  with the girls to experience their own slice of Sex and the City. Aside from the Big Apple's iconic attractions (and there are a lot of them), the city has unique offerings as well, like TV tapings, one of the world's greatest culinary scenes and a wealth of fascinating neighborhoods and boroughs.

    Photo courtesy of Tetra Images

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    Las Vegas

    While Las Vegas appeals to party girls (with its pool clubs, late-night entertainment and dance clubs), women who like shopping, food, gambling, suntanning, tennis or golf also love this sunny city in southern Nevada.  Days are as exciting as nights in "the city that never sleeps" with countless options for entertainment, lodging, dining and amenities.  Spas are plentiful in Vegas, too, giving it yet another reason for girls to head there together.

    Photo courtesy of moodboard/Thinkstock

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    Savannah, Ga.

    Charming, walkable and friendly Savannah earns a spot as a top girls' trip destination for many reasons. The historic Southern city is filled with beautiful parks, gardens and homes, which girlfriends can tour - cocktail in hand - on a famous Martini Tour. There's no shortage of gorgeous hotels, and nearby Tybee Island makes it easy to plan a girls' day at the beach.

    Photo courtesy of Tashka/iStock

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    Music City USA is a fun trip for gals: it's got great entertainment, world-class shopping, gorgeous gardens and fun attractions.  The newly expanded Country Music Hall of Fame holds costumes galore and is a short stroll from countless music venues.  Nashville earns high marks for its foodie city and shopping in the Gulch and Green Hills neighborhoods includes luxury options.  Cheekwood Botanical Gardens thrills ladies with its lush, Southern flora.

    Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation

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    Carmel, Calif.

    Carmel-by-the-Sea has huge pull with the ladies,  thanks to its collection of excellent art galleries, year round beautiful weather and breathtaking Pacific views, all in one charming, small and very walkable European-style package. Gal pals who keep their eyes peeled might even spot actor and director Clint Eastwood, former mayor of the town, out and about. By day, nearby attractions like 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach await, and come evening, Carmel's tasting rooms and wine bars pour some of the region's best vintages.

    Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of

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    Tuscany, Italy

    Best-selling travelogues like Eat, Pray, Love and Under the Tuscan Sun have earned Tuscany a spot on the female tourist map, and it's easy to see why women keep coming back for more. Winding country roads connect medieval villages, where days are spent sipping wine and twirling pasta. Florence, right in the heart of Tuscany, houses enough fine works of art to fill even the longest itinerary.

    Photo courtesy of jenifoto/iStock

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    Charleston, S.C.

    Lovely Charleston's fame as a romantic destination is for many of the same reasons ladies like it.   It's simply beautiful; the gracious residents have lovely manners; Southern friendliness is evident at every turn; and it's filled with gorgeous churches as well as homes and gardens, many of which are open to the public.  Gals also have fun sampling the city's mouth-watering low-country cuisine, and perusing the shops on King Street.  Plantation tours are another option on a trip to Charleston.  

    Photo courtesy of Judy Martin/iStock

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    Santa Fe

    Staging a girls' getaway in quaint Santa Fe means staying in historic adobe inns, browsing galleries along Canyon Road, shopping the boutiques and jewelry markets of the Plaza, museum-hopping (Georgia O'Keefe's collection is there) and sampling the one-of-a-kind cuisine of New Mexico. In summer months, the Santa Fe Opera hosts outdoor performances and the Santa Fe International Folk Arts Market brings even more shopping fun.

    Photo courtesy of Dianne Stromberg

Santa Fe Takes the Crown for Best Girls' Trip

Charleston, Tuscany, Carmel, Nashville also Score with Readers

The ladies have spoken!  After four weeks of voting, historic Santa Fe, New Mexico has landed in the sweet spot.  It's the number one destination for a ladies trip, according to readers of USA TODAY and 10Best.  

New Mexico's amazing capital city is a popular ski destination in winter, but Santa Fe is lovely (and cool) in summer.  Memories of a lifetime are also made during fall in this gorgeous high desert location that's a Mecca for artists.  Fine art galleries abound, as do newsworthy restaurants, welcoming hotels, terrific spas, great shopping, live music and the opportunity to explore a history that stems from four distinct cultures.  

Georgia O'Keefe Museum is a highlight for many female visitors.  The best part?  Once you arrive, no car is really required.   Even the Santa Fe Opera is only a short cab ride from downtown's famed Plaza, which is ringed by hotels. 

Lovely Charleston, with its abundance of spring flora, gorgeous architecture, world-class food and gracious residents, took second place.  Tuscany - even more beloved since Under the Tuscan Sun  - took a solid third.  California's Carmel by the Sea and teh always entertaining Nashville round out our top five winners.   

Three major metros were voted into the top 10, and two more southern cities (one east, one west) drew the remainder of votes from our female audience.  

The full list of winners in the 'Best Girls' Trip' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice is:

  1. Santa Fe
  2. Charleston, S.C.
  3. Tuscany, Italy
  4. Carmel, Calif.
  5. Nashville
  6. Savannah, Ga.
  7. Las Vegas
  8. New York
  9. Tucson
  10. Chicago

Congratulations to all our winners!  

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The Experts

Libby McMillan

A longtime travel journalist, 10Best Senior Editor Libby McMillan has taken a multitude of girls' trips, from the Florida Keys to the desert southwest to the Italian Riviera.  She and her posse of female friends have traveled by boat, camper van, car, jet, train and trolley. The next big adventure is always right around the corner.  

Dawn Reiss

Dawn Reiss is an awarding-winning journalist who spent two years covering the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich for TIME magazine/ Her work has been published in 30+ outlets including: Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, AAA Living and Plate magazine. For assignments, she has eaten crickets in Cambodia, gone dog sledding in Alaska, written about estate plan essentials, iPhone apps and interviewed the likes of Maya Angelou, Justin Bieber and Bob Costas. Although she started her career as a sports reporter at the Dallas Morning News and St. Petersburg Times, she still likes the competitive nature of any industry.

Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans. After spending years flying in regularly to research stories, attend festivals and eat the city's amazing cuisine, this New Orleanian at heart moved to the Crescent City full time in 2012.  Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets including USAToday, AAA Traveler, Wells Fargo Conversations,  Philadelphia Daily News, Taste, Fodor's and others. Her new book The Hunt New Orleans is a carefully curated insider's guide to indie shops and restaurants around town.

A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum. A roller coaster enthusiast, A.D. readily admits there is fun to be had amid the madness of the theme parks, but has found there is magic, as well, in the outer-lying reaches of Mickey’s long shadow. She is delighted to share with you the spoils of her adopted city. Visit her colorful compendium at  

Joanne DiBona

You'll never see Joanne without a camera or two strapped around her neck as she travels around the world to unearth new and exciting destinations to share with her readers. Her professional career includes a long tenure in communications for the San Diego Tourism Authority, where she wore many hats. By far her favorite role was as scenic photographer for the region.  When she’s not adding fresh images to her Scenic Photos website, Joanne can be found singing with her Italian band or whipping up fresh pasta in her kitchen. Joanne is a member of the esteemed Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

M. Linda Lee

As Senior Editor for Michelin Travel Publications for 17 years, Linda worked on the Michelin Guide (the acclaimed red guide to restaurants and hotels), as well as on Michelin’s series of North American travel guides. Now a freelance writer, she is a contributing editor to TOWN magazine, based in Greenville, SC. Her passion for food and travel shines through in her articles in TOWN and in publications such as The Local Palate, Edible Upcountry, Tempus, Southwest Spirit, US Airways Magazine, and on In her spare time, she promotes "good, clean and fair" food practices through her volunteer work as Co-Chair of Slow Food Upstate.

Jessica Polizzotti

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings.  Although Jessica has been a world traveler since her teens, her favorite trip may always be her Italian honeymoon.  Living in a city that allows her to experience a change in seasons equals an opportunity to enjoy a shift in activities. As the old New England cliché says, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” 

Sally Walker Davies

Sally Walker Davies is is an experienced broadcast, print, and online journalist focusing on travel, writing for the Commercial Appeal, AOL Travel,, and The Tennessean. She is the author of Tennessee: An Explorer’s Guide and the Elvis-themed travel app King Me: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty Tour. Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated style of the eastern edge of the city, there’s a Memphis for every mood, and she loves every part of it.  

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