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6 Mother-Daughter Getaway Ideas

Bond and make memories at these beautiful and interesting destinations

a smiling mother and daughter walking together

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En español | There's nothing like taking a trip together to create a bond between a mom and her adult daughter. But a stellar multigenerational women's getaway needs a few key ingredients: a beautiful destination, an itinerary that includes a good mix of activities, including relaxation — and, in my opinion, spending a little time apart each day.

downtown Greenville, South Carolina

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Greenville, South Carolina

A friendly town in hilly upstate South Carolina, Greenville offers a supremely walkable downtown with browsable shops and an urban oasis at Falls Park on the Reedy River, where a 345-foot-long suspension bridge hung by a single cable and a big grassy lawn beckon. Get fixings for a picnic at Caviar & Bananas, a gourmet market and sandwich shop with delectable main courses and desserts. Consider a fascinating historical or culinary walking tour through downtown with Greenville History Tours, led by historian John Nolan (or take his driving tour, in a comfy van). You can also stroll around Greenville on your own to enjoy the public art — nearly 100 works that include Dale Chihuly's Rose Crystal Tower — and learn to pour your own soy candle under the tutelage of a master at Magnolia Candle. Then wind down with wine and flatbreads at Foxcroft Wine Bar. Search flights into Atlanta or Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport for the best airfares.

Where to stay: The new Springhill Suites Greenville Downtown has an indoor-outdoor pool and room rates ranging from around $125 to $175, depending on the time of year. Swamp Rabbit Inn is a modern six-bedroom bed-and-breakfast that sits right along Greenville's best cycling trail, with bikes available for rent; rates are $135-$200 a night.

Outdoor cafe on Park Avenue in Winter Park Florida

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Winter Park, Florida

Towns that you let you park your car on arrival and forget about it the rest of your trip are my favorites. And the upscale town of Winter Park — just north of downtown Orlando — is precisely that kind of place. Start by getting the lay of the lakes. You're surrounded by the natural Winter Park chain of lakes fringed with stately homes. Pontoon cruises with Scenic Boat Tours take your through shaded canals and within a few yards of the gracious lawns of mansions, with gorgeous views at every turn. Park Avenue, full of adorable cafes (like the breakfast staple, Briarpatch) and stylish boutiques is a pleasant place to wander. Also on Park Avenue, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is home to the largest collection of glassworks by Louis Comfort Tiffany, who wintered in the area ($6 for adults, $5 for adults 60 and up; closed Mondays). Every Saturday morning, a wonderful farmers market spills out from Winter Park's historic train depot, where you can catch the SunRail commuter train to downtown Orlando for more exploring.

Where to stay: Depending on the size of your budget, you can situate yourself within walking distance to everything at the lovely Alfond Inn, on the campus of Rollins College and home to an exquisite collection of art. Rooms generally run between $200 and $300 a night. Or consider one of the many chain hotels in and around Orlando.

view of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia from Brasstown Bald near Blairsville, Georgia

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Blairsville, Georgia

About 2 1/2 hours north of the Atlanta airport, this cozy spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia offers an appealing mix of nature pursuits and small-town charm. Visit Paradise Hills Winery, Resort & Spa, a 40-acre property with its own vineyard and tasting room. (Maybe splurge on hour-long massages for $100 each.) It's a prime launching point for outings along the Georgia Wine Highway in Union County. Find out how moonshine is made at Grandaddy Mimm's Moonshine Distillery and Museum (20-minute tours are $5). And be sure to swing past Sunrise Grocery, a charming 1920s-era country store selling local honey, soaps, fresh boiled peanuts and more. For views to swoon over, you can either hike the half-mile up or drive to the top of Brasstown Bald, Georgia's highest peak, where an observation deck is open to visitors from May through November. On a clear day, you might even be able to spot Atlanta, some 100 miles away.

Where to stay: Paradise Hills has adorable one-bedroom cottages (or up to four bedrooms, if you are more than a twosome) for only $89-$149 a night; you can also choose from several affordable chain hotels in the area.

Quebec City officially Québec, is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec

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Quebec City, Canada

Nothing can transport you and your daughter or mom (or both!) to France like a weekend away in Quebec City. During the warmer months (late spring, summer and fall), get some fresh air with a walk along the Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain, a pathway that stretches more than 2 1/2 miles and is lined with themed gardens and interpretive walks. Vieux-Quebec, the fortified old town that's UNESCO listed, oozes atmosphere and is inviting for a stroll any time of year (even if you'll need your best layers during the cold winters). Provision for a picnic or happy hour back at your hotel or vacation rental at the oldest grocery store in North America. L'Épicerie J.A. Moisan was established in 1871 and sells gourmet Canadian cheeses, pâtés, terrines and dried sausages that you'll be tempted to tote back home.

Where to stay: One-bedroom vacation rentals can be found in the old town for around $60 per night. And for Quebec's most worthy indulgence, there's no place like the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, set within the old city's walls, for $150 during quiet times of year (like mid-January), far more otherwise.

a street with palm trees in Palm Springs, CA

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Palm Springs, California

Perfect winter temperatures make Palm Springs the ideal warm West Coast getaway. But the desert oasis town, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, offers much more than sunny skies and palm trees. In 2020, look for the debut of the Agua Caliente tribe's new Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, complete with a museum and a beautiful bathhouse with a snow room for cooling off between the balmy pools. And the town's iconic midcentury modern design aesthetic is visible all over town; explore it on a Mod Squad van tour, where you'll see examples of the classic architecture style, along with Rat Packer haunts (the 90-minute Essential Palm Springs Tour is $75). The Backstreet Art District has an art walk on the first Wednesday of the month, when you can visit studios and chat with artists. And when the beautiful surrounding mountains beckon, take advantage of a very accessible way to get on-high views with a 10-minute ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It comes with views of Chino Canyon and carries you all the way to the wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park. Once you arrive at the mountain station, relax with lunch at an onsite restaurant.

Where to stay: You can choose from big-name luxury brand hotels and tiny mom-and-pop places that may or may not have been refurbished since the 1960s. The Desert Riviera Hotel dates to 1951 but has cheerful, updated rooms and a nice outdoor pool with mountain views (recent rates were in the $180-$190 range). Check out the similarly priced boutique Orbit In for retro style.

Aerial view of Anna Maria Island town and beaches

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Anna Maria Island, Florida

Want some super-relaxed bonding time? Within an hour of landing at the airport in Tampa or St. Pete, you can find yourself enjoying the sugary sands of Anna Maria Island, a barrier island on Florida's Gulf Coast with nary a chain store in sight. Golf carts are the preferred mode of transport here, but, if you're up for it, it's just as easy to get around on two wheels. Beach Bums rents Surrey bikes, too, for up to four peddlers at a time. Breakfast followed by browsing beachy knickknacks is a must at Ginny's and Jane E's, the town's iconic eatery that sprawls inside a former IGA store (the crème brûlée French toast has a cult following). The Sand Dollar Gift Shop is another must-shop for fun Florida-themed souvenirs. And the place to be by late afternoon is the Sandbar, a seafood restaurant that fronts a postcard-perfect beach with unimpeded sunset views.

Where to stay: There are many options for vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island and neighboring Holmes Beach, using services such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club is an upscale property whose two-bedroom suites have full kitchens; rates can be $500 and up a night.
 

Terry Ward is a long-time travel writer and Floridian who lives in Tampa.

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