My mom is hands-down my favorite travel companion. We have a similar palate (thanks, genetics?), which makes splitting dishes easy. We both prefer an itinerary that isn’t too tightly scheduled, leaving time to explore and discover hidden gems off the beaten tourist path. And when one of us needs some alone time to recharge, the other responds, “Say no more!” with no explanation necessary.
Whether you’re looking to plan your first or 14th trip with your mom, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite vacation spots that are perfect for traveling mother-and-daughter duos.
Whether you like beach escapes or mountain retreats, pints of beer or glasses of wine, relaxing spas or intrepid adventures, here are six United States destinations that are perfect for bonding with mom.
1. Spa Vacation
Go: San Antonio, Texas
To get this right, book a room at La Cantera Resort & Spa, a Destination Hotel. From the hotel, and its spa, you’ll get sweeping views of Texas Hill Country. What really sets this spa apart, though, is that you can book a private sky loft — which almost feels like a luxe, private tree house — in which to get your treatment, and then soak in an oversized tub while you take in the verdant views of rolling hills. For a spa treatment special to this area, go for the two-hour Absolute Texas massage, which incorporates locally made beeswax and honey with lavender.
If you can, peel yourself away from the infinity pool and head to the Pearl neighborhood, which is less crammed with tourists than the Riverwalk, and has hip restaurants, cafes, shops and a farmers market.
After the sun sets over that big Texas sky, step outside, where you’ll get treated to nightly fireworks shows courtesy of the nearby amusement park.
2. Wine Country
Go: Healdsburg, California
This Sonoma County gem is a regular on “best small town” lists, thanks to a quaint downtown square and charming bed and breakfasts. But Healdsburg — which has roots as a farming town — has an elevated culinary and wine scene that rivals what you’d find in big cities.
Here, wine lovers have more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms to choose from. Some standouts include the Jordan Vineyard & Winery, which is inspired by the great wine estates of France, and Longboard Vineyards‘ tasting room and winery, which was started by a surfer-turned-winemaker.
The staff at Hotel Les Mars will greet you with a glass of champagne when you arrive (and they have a knack for remembering your name each time you return). The opulent European-style lodging will set the perfect tone for your wine getaway, with classical music playing when you open the doors to the room. Chaise lounges, Parisian decor and marble showers in the guest rooms will have you and mom feeling like true royalty.
Let an expert guide from Wine Country Bikes take you on a bike tour of wine country. You’ll roll over the hills, stopping at wineries as you go for tastings and cheese pairings and enjoying a picnic-style lunch.
Shed, a restaurant right next door to the hotel, is the winner of a James Beard Award (think: the Oscars for the culinary world) for restaurant design. This open, sun-soaked spot is a great place to pick up fresh produce to pack for your day spent exploring the vineyards.
3. Beach Getaway
Go: Miami Beach, Florida
Fun history fact: Miami was founded by businesswoman Julia DeForest Tuttle, the only woman to found a major American city — which, of course, makes this a great setting to stage a mother-daughter vacation. Well, that and the turquoise waters and sun-soaked beach.
The W South Beach is a hip hotel that sits right on the beach, with rooms that show off views of the ocean. The Bliss Spa gets you a brownie buffet (because let’s be honest, cucumber-infused water isn’t going to cut it), and the treatment menu has standouts that include a hot milk and almond pedicure. Plus, the hotel will loan you its signature turquoise bikes to ride along the beach boardwalk.
Once you’ve got your daily dose of vitamin D on the beach, head to Lincoln Road Mall. This pedestrian mall is full of shops, galleries and cafes.
For quite possibly the best fried chicken sandwich you’ll ever taste, order the Korean Fried Chicken sandwich from The Dutch, inside the W South Beach. Bonus: Your drinks — like the Pineapple Baby, a tequila-pineapple juice-cilantro concoction that’s served inside a cute ceramic pineapple — will tamp down the fire from your sandwich.
4. Mountain Escape
Go: Park City, Utah
You know this mountain town as the stage for Sundance and epic skiing. But for its next trick? It also acts as a fun summer escape, with gourmet restaurants, gorgeous hiking trails and scenic golf courses.
The Washington School House Hotel is a former schoolhouse that has been converted into a boutique hotel. The design details are stunning: An antique mirror from an opera house in the south of France and a large antler chandelier are attention-grabbers in the hotel’s “living room.”
You might want to invest in a waterproof camera for this one, because you’ll definitely want to snap photos. You can combine yoga and stand-up paddle boarding, and do so in an epic location: the Homestead Crater, which is a geothermal wonder. Book a reservation with Park City Yoga Adventures.
You can catch live music at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, which plays host to a long lineup of outdoor summer concerts. You can also pre-order Deer Valley’s Gourmet Picnic Baskets and Bags to take with you, but do so before 5 p.m. the day before each concert.
RELATED: How will you get to your vacations spots? Scientists have figured out the ultimate road trip that hits all 48 contiguous states, with each stop being a landmark, national park or historic site.
5. Beer Country
Go: Denver, Colorado
Denver plays host to the Great American Beer Festival every fall, and its breweries host fun activities such as yoga, as well as beer and cheese pairings. Plus, more than 200 breweries have opened up in this craft beer mecca in the past decade.
At Hotel Indigo, you’ll be greeted by the hotel’s resident dog ambassador, Barkley, a friendly golden retriever. Vintage gold-mining murals inside the hotel are a cool nod to the gold rush era in Colorado.
This newcomer hotel is right in the center of all the action, too. It’s across from Union Station, which serves as a living room of sorts for Denver. The revitalized historic train station has restaurants, bars, shuffleboard, an ice cream shop and stores.
Visit Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s first brewpub, which was co-founded in 1988 by Denver Governor John Hickenlooper. You can take tours of the brewery Tuesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., but call ahead (303-297-2700) to verify a tour is available.
The best ice cream in town is served out of a giant, 28-foot-tall cream can at Little Man Ice Cream. The lines are long, but you’ll be entertained with live music, movies or hula-hoops.
6. A Foodie Town
Go: Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has a high concentration of notable chefs. Among them: James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, who leads Husk. The famed southern restaurant is governed by the mantra “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.” Charleston is also home to chef Craig Deihl, who is known as the “charcuterie king,” and who leads Cypress.
The HarbourView Inn is a waterfront hotel that overlooks Charleston harbor. Take your breakfast up to the rooftop terrace, which offers up a panoramic view of this charming city that’s splashed with pastels and set to the tune of mules clip-clopping down the cobblestone streets.
Get in on one of the city’s ghost tours, which are led by tour guides with lanterns.
For a memorable lunch, head to 5Church. The restaurant is housed in a former church, complete with stained glass windows. The “Art of War” is hand-painted on the ceiling.