Wedding season comes fast every year. From the perfect wedding gift to buy (whether it’s for the couple, the groom, or, if you’re the groom, the groomsmen) to managing PTO, the wedding itself can be a lot to think about even as a guest, let alone the couple getting married. But before the wedding there’s the bachelor party. While Vegas is a classic perennial favorite, you can only go on so many Vegas bachelor parties before you ask yourself, “What else is there?”
There are a couple of key things to look for in a bachelor party destination:
- Budget: Bachelor parties can be expensive, so it’s important to set a budget before you start planning. This will help you narrow down your options and choose a destination that fits your budget.
- Interests: The groom and his friends should all have a good time on the bachelor party, so it’s important to choose a destination that caters to their interests. If the groom loves to golf, for example, you might want to consider a destination with a golf course.
- Location: The location of the bachelor party is also important. If you’re planning on doing a lot of activities, you’ll want to choose a destination that’s close to things to do. If you’re looking for a more relaxing bachelor party, you might want to choose a destination that’s more remote.
- Time of year: The time of year can also affect your decision. If you’re planning on doing outdoor activities, you’ll want to choose a destination that has good weather during the time of year you’re planning the party.
These 13 destinations all meet the criteria for a great weekend with the groomsmen.
East Coast Bachelor Party Destinations
If you and the boys are looking for a destination that’s big on greenery, gastronomy, and beer, then Burlington is the spot. It’s a charming city with a lot to offer, from its nightlife to its stunning natural beauty–think hiking, biking, swimming, and boating at Lake Champlain, the Adirondack Mountains, and the Green Mountains. In town, Burlington has a variety of activities to offer, from its many breweries and wineries to its museums and art galleries. Easily walkable and downright comfortable, Burlington’s best foot forward is its farm-to-table mantra that seems to permeate every restaurant and brewery in the region. Rent a boat on Lake Champlain and then cool off with a cold one on Church Street. Burlington is an affordable city, but if you’re looking for one “fancy dinner” while in town, I can’t recommend Hen of the Wood enough.
Over the last decade, Baltimore has put a great amount of effort into combating the stereotype of the city perpetuated in shows like The Wire. It’s a great option for those looking to eat and drink their way through a weekend. Inner Harbor, the most tourist-centric part of town, has a great array of reasonably-priced food and drink with waterfront views, the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and USS Constellation. If it’s summer, hit up Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a beautiful ballpark, and it is a great place to catch a game. Nothing better than having an excuse to drink at noon with your buddies. Or, if you’re feeling outdoorsy, crabbing is a popular activity in Baltimore and you can rent a boat and go crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay.
An urban success story, Pittsburgh has grown into the full potential that a midsize city could be. Divided into a variety of neighborhoods and an expansive suburban area surrounding, it’s got something for everyone. Do a restaurant tour (including stopping by the famous Pamela’s), go to a Pirates, Penguins, or Steelers game (because you have to), then mosey on out to the Laurel Highlands for golf, clay pigeon shooting, and rafting. Art fans will appreciate a stop at the Andy Warhol Museum, which is dedicated to the life and work of Andy Warhol, while the views are hard to beat on the Duquesne Incline, a historic funicular railway that offers stunning views of the city. If the weather is right, kayaking is a popular activity in Pittsburgh. You can rent a kayak and paddle down the Allegheny River to get some exercise and to enjoy the outdoors.
South/Southwest Bachelor Party Destinations
Mix a little bit of Vegas with a lot of adventure in the Reno-Tahoe area. Only 50 miles separate the two destinations, so rent a car to transport you from “The Biggest Little City in the World” to one of the best outdoor destinations in the U.S. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful lake that is surrounded by mountains. There are plenty of activities to enjoy on the lake, such as swimming, boating, and fishing. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are a great place to go hiking, with plenty of trails to choose from. You can also still get that gambling fix at the region’s casinos.
Southwest/West Bachelor Party Destinations
Corpus Christi, TX
While Austin may get the most attention for bachelor parties in Texas, Corpus Christi has a lot to offer, too. Situated on 75 miles of coastline, it’s a similar vibe to Florida but lacks much of the family-friendly overtourism (and that’s a good thing). You’ll experience coastal cuisine inspired by the Gulf area but with a Texas twang to the barbecue, drinks, and, yes, portions. Everything, as they say, is bigger in Texas. For more than just nightlife, there’s fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on one of the many charters available where you can catch fish like red snapper, grouper, and flounder. Or for an outdoorsy outing, head to the Padre Island National Seashore (a barrier island sea turtles, pelicans, and dolphins where you can swim and hike) or Aransas National Wildlife Refuge tosee birds, alligators, and other wildlife. Also be sure to check the calendar at the multi-purpose American Bank Center arena.
Judd Lake, AK
This one may take some convincing, but it’s too beautiful to not include on the list. Judd Lake is the veritable wilderness compared to other destinations on this list. You’re mostly looking at staying in the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, a luxury hotel with two cabins to rent out. From there, a concierge will tailor your experience, including: heli-skiing, kayaking, wakeboarding in the Alaska tide, and fishing. To relax, the lodge has a private chef available, and wood-burning saunas. This is for the bachelor party that wants a little self-care and to hang out before the stress of the wedding hits them. Nothing wrong with that.
Olympic Peninsula, WA
Similar to Alaska, Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is a bit destination-restrictive for a specific kind of bachelor party. Here, I recommend starting in Seattle to experience Pike’s Place and some good coffee, then working your way up to the various islands and locations by ferry and renting a couple cars to get the full PNW experience. Stop by Captain Whidbey for a fantastic night in a gorgeous Vogue-approved hotel, then work your way out to Taylor Shellfish Farm to shuck your own oysters, and maybe stop by Snoqualmie to see the waterfall and lodge featured in Twin Peaks. The options are yours to take in Washington, because there’s a little for everyone.
Southern charm doesn’t have to be boring. Winston-Salem has reinvented itself to be a welcoming and vibrant small city in the Tar Heel State. You and your party will most likely stick to Fourth Street and that general area, where gin bars, breweries, and a few steakhouses dot the avenue. Take a day out to the Whitewater Center for, you guessed it, some intense rafting, but also some other cool activities like rope climbing, ziplines, and bungee jumps.
Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs has a reputation for being a bit sleepy – but I ask you: What’s wrong with that? With 300 days of sunshine and over 100 golf courses, Palm Springs is a warm-weather option for just sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the sun. This is very much a “treat yourself” destination in my book: reserve a classic car, spend a day on the course, then retreat with your party to the Parker Palm Springs, one of the best hotels in California (for real).
Central/Midwest Bachelor Party Destinations
Having a bachelor party in Lexington is for anyone who appreciates the culture of alcohol (and, yes, getting a little hammered is okay too). First and foremost, there’s the Distillery District, a 25-acre property with two distilleries that anchor the town to a more up-and-coming drinking scene. There’s also the Bourbon Trail, a curated tour highlighting the spirit Kentucky is most known for. If you want to sip and savor your trip, Lexington’s your place.
Beer. That’s all we can say about Milwaukee. Beer. Beer. Beer. First, you’ll want to take a tour of Miller Beer brewery tour, then head to one of the twenty other breweries in the area. From there, you’ll want to sop up some of your liquid lunch with the highly fatty (and highly delicious) German restaurants in the area, with authentic options and innovative updates to classic brat alike.
Another Rust Belt resurrection, Indianapolis has been growing in popularity as an alternative option to Detroit, Chicago, and even Louisville. With a growing art and food scene, you’ll experience the potential of Midwestern food beyond casseroles. Hit up the Indy go-karts and get into the racing spirit of the Hoosier state, then tour the very walkable city to hit up a few pubs along the way. It may be small, but it’s a relaxing and affordable option for many smaller bachelor parties.
Make it a boys’ experience instead of a boys’ trip. One of my favorite options on the list, this is really about getting the full outdoor experience and making it your own. Here’s how you do it. Rent a giant Airbnb that can sleep all your guests comfortably. Then rent a couple boats. Then hit up a grocery store and a liquor store and buy more than you need. Then just chill. It’s all you need and make each day your own. No itinerary. No schedule. Just relaxing with your friends. Sometimes that’s the best option there is.