By Shannon Hurst Lane,

Shannon Hurst LaneWith leaves falling and kids settled back into school, fall can be prime time for moms to get away to relax and recharge. Whether you prefer shopping, wine tasting or a traditional spa experience, autumn offers beautiful settings and potentially lower costs before the busy holiday travel season kicks in. Here, guest blogger Shannon Hurst Lane shares favorite getaways sure to help you reconnect with friends and pump your girl power.

Go shopping
Stimulating the economy with a new outfit is a fabulous way to relieve stress, especially when you share the experience with friends. Let them help you pick out a new dress, then wear your new outfit out for a divine meal that evening. Holiday shopping can’t ever start early enough, and with girlfriends tagging along, you’re less likely to make a regrettable purchase. Top cities for shopping include: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami.
If your budget can’t survive the big city, opt for destinations with outlet malls. Sevierville, Tenn., offers outlet malls as well as various lodging options, including hotels, condos and mountainside cabins with room for groups of friends. When the gals need to relax after a day of shopping, there are plenty of day spas to choose from.
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Go 'glamping'
Camping doesn’t have to be about sleeping on the ground and swatting bugs on your neck. Girlfriends can blend glamour with nature at an increasing number of “luxury” campsites. Think wood floors, full-size beds, luxury sheets and even chefs preparing gourmet meals. Imagine sitting under the stars around a roaring campfire, sipping wine and giggling with your best girlfriends. Camp activities might include fly fishing, hiking and horseback riding. "Glamping" resorts can be found all over North America, and rates run from affordable ($89 weekday rate at Costanoa, near San Francisco) to expensive ($6,000 for a four-night package at Paws Up Resort in Montana).
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Taste wine
Pairing wine with travel is a perfect girlfriend getaway. The West Coast offers some of the most scenic vineyards and wineries in the U.S., including those in Napa and Sonoma in California, as well as wineries in Oregon and Washington. But don’t overlook lesser-known wine-growing regions such as Missouri or the Finger Lakes in New York. Wine trails can be fun road trips for girlfriends, with lodging at small inns and dining at world-class restaurants.
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Visit a spa
A spa can be the perfect escape, especially when experienced with girlfriends. Day spas are fun, but more immersive are destination spas. Quebec’s Spa Eastman is a sanctuary for revitalizing all year long, offering such activities as trust hikes and numerology. El Monte Sagrado in Taos, N.M., is an upscale resort where celebrities go to hide out. Its rustic elegance features a backdrop of Taos Mountain, an award-winning restaurant, an on-site spa and the Sacred Circle, a tree-rimmed meditation area that has been blessed by all religions.
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Hit the beach
Fall is the perfect shoulder season for girlfriend getaways to favorite beaches, where rates are typically lower and crowds are thinner. Gulf Coast beaches offer sugar-white sand and miles of shore for early morning walks. In particular, South Walton, Fla., is a collection of beach neighborhoods with activities and events designed for grown-ups. Hawaii may be the ultimate girlfriend getaway, complete with surf lessons and mai tais.

Shannon Hurst Lane is a Louisiana-based travel writer and creator of, a travel blog written by moms for moms. Follow her adventures on Twitter @CajunMama or on