My two daughters and I have a tradition of taking a cruise together every year or two. We have many fun—and funny—memories from those trips. And the getaways I took with my mom hold a special place in my heart.
Dressing up for dinner, sharing confidences, laughing about silly things—there’s something special that happens on a mother-daughter vacation. Even if there are some rocky moments, these trips are a bonding experience that you’ll treasure forever.
Whether you and your favorite girl are foodies, shopaholics, art fans or adventurers, you’re sure to create lasting memories on a mother-daughter trip. Here are nine spots to inspire you.
Big Island, Hawaii
Hawaii is so much more than sunshine. Whether you stay in a local home or a large luxury resort, be sure to connect with the beautiful local culture. Situated on the Kohala Coast, the beachfront Fairmont Orchid is a tropical oasis that offers onsite cultural classes such as hula, basket weaving and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language. On the private beach, you and your kid can dip your toe into traditional activities like stand-up paddling and canoeing. Afterwards, enjoy a lomi lomi massage in Spa Without Walls. The weekly luau is a Hawaiian feast offering smoked kalua pork, poi, poke and much more. Fairmontorchid.com
Massanutten Resort, Virginia
This resort in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley offers activities all year round. It’s a great option with younger kids, in part because it’s within driving distance of several East Coast cities. In winter, you and your daughter can enjoy skiing down snowy slopes, sledding, and twirling on the ice rink. From spring to fall, the indoor/outdoor WaterPark has attractions like a triple-jet Flowrider Endless Wave, a lazy river, and several pools and slides. For some solitude and a chance to chat, take a hike through the Shenandoah National Park. Of course, it’s always nice to spend some time in the spa, which has a wide menu of services. And with 12 onsite dining options, you won’t have to leave the resort for a relaxing meal together. Massresort.com
Cape Neddick, Maine
Perched atop Bald Head Cliff overlooking crashing waves, Cliff House Maine is an iconic New England waterfront resort. If you have an older child, this is a quiet, secluded place where you can cozy up with a book, take a cooking class or historical tour, get a massage, and learn from an Artist in Residence. Maybe surprisingly, this is a great spot for shopping. If you can’t find what you want onsite, head over to nearby Ogunquit, known for its eclectic boutiques. Or, drive 20 minutes to the outlet malls of Kittery for a broad selection of major brands. cliffhousemaine.com
Palm Springs, California
This desert town’s waterfalls, streams, and lush palms are no mirage. While the Palm Springs area is known for sprawling resorts, sparkling swimming pools and golf courses, it’s also an oasis of natural wonders, which makes it great for a getaway combining culture and the outdoors. Hike on your own into Indian Canyons to see a waterfall or take an off-roading Red Jeep Tour to a maze of box canyons, the San Andreas Fault Line and a year-round stream called a fault gurgle. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway that brings passengers to a mountaintop with a network of trails often covered in snow. If you’re traveling with your over-18 child, opt for Two Bunch Palms, the first carbon-neutral resort in the U.S.; its natural hot springs are divine. twobunchpalms.com
Located an hour’s drive northwest of San Antonio, Fredericksburg was settled by German immigrants in 1846—and retains a lot of European influence today, which makes for a fun, kitschy family vacay. Fredericksburg’s German roots still influence architecture, food, and culture. Take a trolley city tour, visit Pioneer Village to see historic Sunday Houses (built by early farmers to attend church in town), and shop for locally made and German products on Main Street (especially festive during the holidays). Accommodations vary and include the charming Hill Country Herb Garden cottages, modeled after Sunday Houses, but with plush amenities and porch swings. An onsite restaurant and herb garden make this a cozy place for a mom-daughter escape. Hillcountryherbgarden.com
Clearwater Beach, Florida
For a relaxed toes-in-the-sand getaway, head to this town on Florida’s West Coast, about 20 miles from Tampa International Airport. The area’s calm surf and silky sand anchor many Clearwater hotels. Among them is the oceanfront Sandpearl Resort, where the sandy beach shimmers with colorful shells. The hotel is a conducive place to relax and enjoy the lagoon-style pool and cabanas with comfortable furniture, and mini refrigerators. If your daughter isn’t old enough for the spa (ages 16 and older), book a treatment for yourself while she’s making friends in Camp Ridley for ages 5 to 10. Later, head out together to Pier 60, a gathering place for sunset festivals featuring street performers, musicians, artisans, and crafters. opalcollection.com
European River Cruise
What teen (or mom) wouldn’t swoon over a seven-night cruise along the Seine River to Paris and Normandy? AmaWaterways river cruises (for ages 14 and older) is the first river cruise company to design ships that accommodate multi-generational families. More intimate than ocean cruises, these luxury river cruises typically have port stops every day and include shore excursions. Each day brings new adventures biking through cities, going on walking tours to explore historical sites, trying new food, and gaining a rich cultural experience. Monet’s Gardens, the harbor town of Honfleur and Normandy’s beaches are sure to leave a lasting impression. Onboard amenities include cuisine from the local region and morning sunrise yoga classes on a ship’s roof deck to take in the scenery. www.amawaterways.com
Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Situated between Riviera Maya and Cancun, the five-star Grand Residences Riviera Cancun provides a luxurious homebase for exploring ancient Maya ruins, snorkeling along the world’s longest underground rivers, and relaxing on white sand beaches. Active moms and daughters can explore the local area on a guided bike ride for ages 12 and older. There are also plenty of onsite resort activities, which include cooking classes for ages 18 and older, and spa treatments for ages 16 and older. Or, just hang out by the pool for fun and games. grandresidencesrivieracancun.com
Head for wellness central with your college-aged kid. The Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa has a secluded location on 400 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It’s where you can unplug and focus on your well-being, whether that means uninterrupted time for yoga, an improvisational class, or a two-hour Miraval Outback hike. A variety of daily workshops, classes, lectures, and activities focus on individual growth, reflection, mindfulness and intentional reconnection in a positive space. It’s a restful retreat that might just be the perfect place for you and your daughter or mom to deepen your bond. www.miravalresorts.com