Great Places for Group Travel
It’s unavoidable, you’re sitting around with your friend’s or interdicting yourself to a new addition in your workout class, and someone will mention a burning desire to get away from it all. To the mountains, the beach, maybe a historic city — anywhere that gives them the chance to find adventure. Traveling with a group can mean bonding over newfound common interests, sharing laughs, and making memories that will last long after you return home.
In fact, some groups even make it a tradition to rent the same lake house or beach bungalow every year. If you’re looking for something new, here are 15 great cities, countries, islands, and resorts to explore.
Europe is too far to travel for a long weekend, but luckily, Montreal offers that charming European vibe — and it’s a quick plane ride away. Brush off your high school French and check into the boutique Hotel William Gray tucked into Old Montreal, the city’s charming historic district, which is now filled with sleek shops and inviting restaurants. Eat your way through Mile End and Plateau, pick up a bagel at Saint-Viateur, check out nightlife hot spots, and stroll through Jean-Talon, one of Montreal’s oldest public markets.
Grab a group of adventurous travelers and spend a week exploring the natural wonders of Iceland. Wander the streets and shops of Reykjavik, learn about the country’s history at the National Museum of Iceland, snag a dinner reservation at the revolving glass-domed restaurant Perlan, and work off jet lag with a cup of coffee at Reykjavik Roasters. Then head to the Golden Circle with stops at the majestic Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and the Geysir that gave all other geysers their name. Make sure to save time for a swim in the dreamy waters of the Blue Lagoon!
3. Napa Valley, California
California’s Napa Valley is the ideal destination for anyone who loves good food, beautiful landscapes, and outstanding wine. Mild temperatures mean that it’s always a good time to visit Napa, whether taking advantage of “Cabernet Season”, hitting up the Napa Valley Truffle Festival in January, eating your way through St. Helena, riding the Wine Train, or enjoying a concert in Pioneer Park in Calistoga. Calistoga Ranch has guest lodges that are good for a group with a spa featuring warming baths with supposedly curative properties that are perfect for working off the after effects of too much wine.
4. Cartagena, Colombia
Colombia has evolved into a peaceful country with exciting cultural offerings, a vibrant dining scene, and, of course, incredible coffee. Head to Cartagena to visit the oldest port city in the Americas, which combines urban charm with a beachy vibe. Check into one of the many luxury hotels opening in the area, tour the bohemian Getsemani neighborhood, and explore Old City during your stay. Cartagena sits on the shores of the Caribbean and if you want a beach day, arrange for a boat to take you to Playa Blanca on the Isla de Barú for a day of sun and turquoise water.
5. Los Angeles
Thanks to ride sharing companions these days, you don’t need to rent a car to get around L.A. anymore--which makes it an even more desirable vacation spot. Stay at the centrally located and comfortably hip LINE hotel in Koreatown and you’ll have easy access to the shops in Venice, the restaurants in Silver Lake, and the nightlife in Hollywood. Explore the newly revived downtown LA, visit the Getty Museum, hike up Runyon Canyon, and try to snag tickets to the Broad.
6. Helsinki, Finland
Spend your days checking out the shops in the design district, walking the halls of the Kiasma contemporary art museum, dining at the lively Holiday, or taking a sauna at the sleek public sauna, Löyly. Finnair's stopover program makes it easy to visit the city even if your final destination is elsewhere, and it’s definitely worth the stop!
7. Sanya China
While China isn’t the most obvious beach destination, Sanya’s white sand beaches might change that. Sanya is the main tourist destination on Hainan, an island province that is designed to lure in tourists with abundant hotels, golf courses, shopping, and more. Book your stay at the luxurious Edition hotel, where you'll find stunning architecture and even more impressive amenities, including four restaurants, a private beach, SkyBar, six swimming pools, and play-land with train rides, a rock climbing wall, an electric car racing circuit, bumper cars, mini golf and every water sport you can dream up.
8. Sedona, Arizona
Get in tune with Sedona's positive vibes; home to vortexes, crystal peddlers, and an effortless relationship with nature. Shop at Tlaquepaque, Arts & Shopping village, browse the galleries and shops along Highway 89A, indulge in Ayurvedic fare at Chocola Tree Organic Eatery, or simply watch the sunset over the desert mesas. Book a room at L’Auberge de Sedona for their in-room massages, which are the perfect way to work out the sore muscles earned on a hike through Red Rocks State Park.
9. Beaver Creek, Colorado
For a rustic retreat with a few good friends, head to Trappers Cabin at Beaver Creek Resort, perched at 9,500 feet in the mountains of Colorado. This luxurious mountain getaway sleeps 10 with a fireplace, hot tub, and incredible views of the alpine landscape. Winter visitors can hit the slopes right from the door, while summer adventurers can hike or mountain bike. For a luxurious getaway, book the hotel’s White Carpet Club, which will arrange first class airfare, a private helicopter transport, and a private car to deliver guests to the mountain cabin where they will be greeted by a personal chef, concierge, and every amenity imaginable.
Guatemala’s rural landscape is a patchwork of brilliantly blue lakes, stark gray volcanoes, and verdant green hills that are ripe for exploration. Book one of the nine rooms at Casa Palopó — the country’s first Relais & Châteaux property — to visit the Mayan villages that surround the spectacular Lake Atitlán, or head to La Lancha, the rainforest retreat above Lago Petén Itzá, near Tikal National Park and the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
12. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The city is lined with ancient walls, stately architecture, buzzing nightlife, and sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea. Take your photo alongside the anchors at the Maritime Museum, walk the cobblestoned streets of Old Town, take advantage of the city’s infamous clubs, and find a cure for what ails you at the Old Pharmacy—the third oldest in the world—which has been curing hangovers since 1317!
13. Austin, Texas
Go find out if the stars at night really are bigger and brighter in Austin, the capital city and culinary heart of Texas. Go for classic Southern style at the Four Seasons or check out the hip charm of Hotel Saint Cecilia. If the weather’s hot, do like the locals and head to Barton Springs Pool or Lady Bird Lake. Catch a concert at the Moody Theater where Austin City Limits takes place or watch a movie at the Alamo Draft house. When you’re placing your order at Gourdough’s donuts or Torchy’s Tacos, remember everything is bigger in Texas!
14. Danube River Cruise
Weave past ancient castles and towns as you make your way across several European stops on a Danube River cruise. Most liners offer itineraries along the river, giving you a variety of trips to choose from. The Adventures by Disney Danube River cruise provides an eight-day itinerary that includes cycle rides along the river, treetop climbs filled with views of the Austrian Alps, a visit to a 7,000-year-old salt mine, a ride across an underground lake, and chocolate tastings inside a Baroque palace for families. Meanwhile, luxury travelers can take advantage of Uniworld’s “Enchanted Danube” itinerary, where they’ll have a Mozart and Strauss concert in a Viennese palace, while amenities including L’Occitane and Hermes products and in-suite butler service ensure the utmost comfort onboard.
Choices abound in Italy, from shopping fine leathers and shoes to marveling at Renaissance artwork and indulging in delectable wines. You can have an active trip filled with skiing in the Dolomites, a sun-bathing vacation in the Aeolian Islands, or a history-filled trek through the museums of Rome and the volcanic city of Pompeii. Full-service tour companies like Olsen-Ol'eary, can put together an itinerary for you that includes private tours of the Vatican complete with a behind-the-scenes look at its mosaic shop.