Thelma and Louise upped the ante on the girls’ getaways when they climbed into that ’66 Thunderbird convertible 16 years ago.
These days driving to a cabin for fishing and “girl time” simply isn’t enough. Treks through the Grand Canyon, the Himalayas and Machu Picchu, horseback riding through Yellowstone and wildlife safaris in Alaska are the girls’ getaways of this century.
“Women’s adventure travel is becoming a huge market,” says Debbie Hendricks, co-owner of Just Roughin’ It Adventure Co.
Arizona has its own share of girls’ getaways, ranging from a pampering spa weekend to treks into the Grand Canyon.
INTO THE ABYSS
When girls want to bond in the outdoors, they opt for hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon or to the majestic waters of Havasu Canyon, according to Chandler-based Just Roughin’ It, which offers all-girl treks.
“I think they get a big sense of accomplishment,” Hendricks says. “They’re just trying to get away from guys and do things on their own.”
Hendricks’ company supplies gear, and her guides help clients through every step of the trip.
“We make everything easy even if your fitness level isn’t what you think,” she says. “Everyone has been able to do it.”
Details: Just Roughin’ It Adventure Co. offers a variety of guided trips. Rates vary per trip. (877) 399-2477 or justroughinit.com.
For all the adventure and treks into the wilderness, a weekend at the spa is a definite pleaser that won’t take you too far from home.
Several East Valley resorts offer some variation on the girls’ getaway weekend:
• Bring four of your best friends for a Girls’ Night Out at the Arizona Grand Resort, formerly known as the Pointe South Mountain. Amenities include a suite, margaritas delivered to your room, a chick flick and spa treatments for everyone. Rates start at $519 per night for up to four women.
Details: 8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway, Phoenix. (602) 438-9000 or www.arizonagrandresort.com.
• Rejuvenate and relax for a night or two at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The Willow Stream Relaxation Package accommodates up to two women and includes access to the rooftop pool, aromatherapy inhalation room and a $200 resort credit for spa treatments. Rates start at $651 per night.
Details: 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale. (480) 585-4848 or www.fairmont.com/scottsdale.
LEARN WHILE YOU BURN
If you’re interested in learning to be self-sufficient in your backpacking, consider a series of women’s-only classes offered by the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Backpacking courses ranging from introductory to advanced take women to the Colorado River, Rim to Rim and Havasu Canyon.
Details: Grand Canyon Field Institute. Classes range from $475 to $615. (866) 471-4435 or www.grandcanyon.org/fieldinstitute.
Taking off with girlfriends (or daughters, sisters or mothers) may seem like an indulgence, given how busy women are, but an all-female break is mentally and emotionally healthy.
“You have to take time off to rejuvenate yourself or you get burned out,” says Dr. Marlo Archer, a Tempe-based psychologist.
A girls-only weekend offers three main benefits: role relief (let dad take care of the kids and see how hard it is); renewing connections (“Women’s friendships fuel them through life, and although the friendships don’t always need much nurturing, they do need some,” Archer says); and relaxation (“If you leave a woman in her natural environment she’s going to work until she drops,” says Archer).
Getting away is especially important for mothers and their families.
“The mother in a family is the hub,” says Archer. “If she isn’t well taken care of, she can’t take care of anyone else. Moms need to give themselves some attention. Women are notorious for giving everything away until they are completely exhausted. You need to take some time for yourself.”
But does that mean running off every weekend to Rocky Point for binge drinking with the girls?
“No,” says Archer. “Once a year with your sisters and longtime girlfriends. When we start planning the spring break kind of weekends, those don’t tend to really fulfill. You end up running around and going back to your life exhausted.”