Gone With The Girls

Countless sleepovers, kitchen-raids, midnight talks, crushes, shopping dates and last-minute cramming sessions are just a few of the memories you likely made growing up with girlfriends. Then, one day—after college, weddings, jobs, babies and maybe relocating—you and your friends are all grown up and don’t have endless summer afternoons to hang out anymore. Untangling schedules to grab coffee, catch a show or take a work lunch can be tricky, so occasional phone calls and drawn-out texting conversations become the norm. Sound familiar? We think it’s time to reunite for a weekend of laughter, fun times and new memories good enough to rival the old ones. We’ve done all the planning for you, so call the girls and pack your bags. Let’s get this show on the road.

A weekend of pampering at the beach with friends might bring imagery of a Sandals commercial to mind. That’s the type of getaway you need (and want), right? Get ready—a light ocean breeze during a Swedish massage is just the beginning. Your spa paradise is just a few hours south of the Central Florida area at Eau Palm Beach Spa and Resort on an island near Palm Beach. You’ll find an environment so fully immersed in tranquility that you and your friends will be able to easily recharge and reconnect for a completely refreshing experience.

Enter the spa, a beautifully designed area equipped with quite the assortment of spa treatments, and prepare to relax your body as well as your mind. Before and after each spa appointment, take in the peace and quiet offered in your own private garden villa. The salon, garden, scrub and polish bar, fitness center and treatments work together to create a soothing, stress-free atmosphere and experience.

This resort and spa has everything you and your friends need for a long weekend. Along with spa fun, your group can get active, too. Take tennis lessons, ride bicycles along the island’s Intracoastal Waterway, rent jet skis and dine at the resort’s fine restaurants. Enjoy a bit of nightlife at the resort’s bar and the nightly lobby ‘turndown,’ involving champagne and music by candlelight. Enough already—let’s get your getaway booked.


When you arrive, you’ll be guided to the Wishing Well to light a candle and make a self-centered wish before enjoying a glass of champagne and munching on cupcakes.

The Self-Centered Garden is a place to relax, dip your toes in the fountain and bond with your friends.

Spa treatments include different types of massages, body treatments and skin care options. With one spa treatment, you’ll enjoy full-day access to the spa. Without a scheduled treatment, you must purchase a day pass to enjoy the spa.


Designate one day as your group’s spa day. Relax in the garden; then, enjoy the lobby ‘turndown’ event that evening.

One morning, grab coffee and breakfast at the resort’s Breeze Ocean Kitchen before hitting the beach. Then, relax at the pool when things get 
too sandy.

Take a day to explore the area, hitting Worth Avenue a few miles up the island and City Place in downtown West Palm Beach.


Plan your trip in advance and during the summer months for a significant decrease in rates.

Consider splitting the cost of a Lanai Terrace Suite. There’s more than enough room for four, and the terrace opens out toward the ocean.

Use the itinerary planning feature on the resort’s website to make sure you hit all the hotspots.

Schedule spa treatments close together. Then, you and your friends can reconvene in the Self-Centered Garden.

Book It!

Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa

100 South Ocean Blvd, Manalapan

(561) 533-6000



Nature Lovers

If it’s the outdoors you and your friends enjoy, Little St. Simons Island has 11,000 acres waiting to be explored. The island is located off the coast of Georgia and requires a 15-minute boat ride to get there. It’s only about three and a half hours away from Central Florida locations. At full capacity, the island can accommodate up to 32 guests. The small setting is perfect for spending quality time together and finally having a peaceful retreat from life’s daily grind. Plus, all outdoor activities, three meals per day and equipment are included in the cost of your stay.

The lodge and cottages have real rustic charm, and you and your friends can catch up around a fire in the evenings. Depending on the size of your group, choose to stay in separate guest rooms in the lodge or share a cottage. Cottages range from having one bedroom to four—with everything from living room spaces and fireplaces to bathrobes, wireless internet, refrigerators, washers and dryers, coffee makers and outdoor decks.

There are several naturalists on the island who lead guided interpretive walks, but you can grab a kayak or canoe and scout the wildlife on your own, as well. Seven miles of quiet, secluded beach are perfect for long walks, hunting for shells or riding bikes—outdoor adventure awaits.


Arrive at the lodge, settle in and explore a bit—dinner and a fire to follow.

Start your weekend with a naturalist-guided tour of the island, and finish off the day with the lodge’s social hour and dinner before relaxing on your private deck.

Spend one day hiking, kayaking, fishing or boating. The island’s staff and naturalists will be able to give you tips and answer questions before you go.

Pick one day to spend at the beach or biking the island. Request a sack lunch one day in advance so you and your friends can enjoy a picnic together.


Be sure to book your stay well in advance. You’ll be able to plan out any detailed activities, meals and accommodations with the island staff.

Pack light. The island has all the equipment you’ll need for outdoor fun. There’s a fully stocked tackle shack for fishing, and the beach pavilion has umbrellas, towels, chairs, lotions and floats ready for you to use.

There is a two-night minimum stay requirement, and pricing is all-inclusive.

Meals and social gatherings are held in the main hunting lodge.

Book It!

Little St. Simons Island

1000 Hampton River Club Marina Drive, Saint Simons Island

(912) 638-7472


Festival Friends

You don’t have to be a bunch of foodies to enjoy the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. More than eating and drinking (although that’s the best part), the festival also has an entire concert lineup, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, cake decorating and mixology workshops, cheese seminars, beverage boot camps and special guest speakers. There are grand tasting events, festival packages to choose from and even festival dining at Disney Resort hotels. You and your friends have a bit of flexibility when it comes to planning the getaway dates, as the festival runs from August 31 through November 13. Start planning now—his is a weekend for the friends who don’t stop.

Need a getaway, like, right now? Make plans to attend the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival between March 1 and May 29. Take garden tours—filled with giant plant sculptures of your favorite Disney characters—explore wildlife habitats and exhibits and attend seminars and demonstrations. You won’t go hungry at this festival either. Thirteen outdoor kitchen stations keep eats, desserts and specialty drinks available. And because you’re going for the weekend, you and your friends can enjoy the Garden Rocks Concert Series, too.

Plan to stay in one of the Disney Resort hotels. That way, you can leave your car behind and take Disney transportation to the festivals and other Disney-area shows and attractions. Let’s get these details nailed down.


Spend one day taking in whichever festival you decide to attend. Go on a tour, catch a guest speaker or demonstration, and eat as much festival food as you want.

Plan a day for concerts, and maybe fit in a grand tasting or one of the festival’s special events.

Have a girls’ day at Disney Springs. Go shopping, catch a movie, get dinner and stop by the House of Blues.

Don’t forget a lounge day with breakfast at the hotel and plenty of time at the pool. Finish the trip with one final night of fun back at Disney Springs catching Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba.


The earlier you book your hotel stay, the better. Call (407) 939-5277 for help making reservations.

Different festival packages are available depending on your group’s preferences. Be sure to check disneyworld.disney.go.com for more information.

Admission to Epcot will include most of the events in each festival, but a few things may require extra fees.

Book It!

Visit disneyworld.disney.go.com to plan your trip.

Source: disneyworld.disney.go.com

Posted in Marion Features

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