When you’re little, the idea of traveling with your mom or grandparents seems normal. As a teenager, you may not appreciate it so much. When you become an adult—and maybe even have kids of your own—it gets way better.
The Best Mother-Daughter Trips
By the time your mom or her mom reaches her golden years, you really start to appreciate the chance to travel together, because it’s easier to recognize the moments passing. Though there may be some comical generational differences in travel style, there’s no better way for women young and old to bond than traveling together on a mother-daughter trip.
Here are some of the best mother-daughter vacations to delight moms and daughters of all ages, no matter when you travel together.
Jolly Trolleys and Golden Gates: San Francisco, California
Everyone should see the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge at least once, and a mother-daughter trip to San Francisco is the perfect excuse for doing so. Bike or walk across the bridge to get out of the fog, and have lunch with a view in the whimsical town of Sausalito.
Pair a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with a CityPASS, which includes admission to some of the most popular Bay Area attractions, like the California Academy of Sciences and the Aquarium of the Bay, and the option to add on a cable car pass.
While roaming around Pier 39, have a bread bowl of clam chowder at Boudin Bakery, made with San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread—you won’t regret it. Nor will you regret the decadent chocolate sundae you’ll have at Ghirardelli Square after.
Where to stay: Book a room at Hotel Zoe Fisherman’s Wharf for a memorable stay central to the city’s most famous attractions.
Vinos and Velos: Cycling from Dijon to Beaune, France
For an active vacation paired with exquisite wine and a whole lot of grandeur, try a mother-daughter bicycle tour through the Burgundy region. Explore the French countryside at your own pace while stopping along the way to taste a sampling of France’s finest fermented grapes.
Start in the historical town of Dijon at the Place de la Liberation. Pedal past rolling vineyard hills and storybook chateaus on your way to the charming town of Nuit-Saint-Georges. Take a break while you’re there to appreciate a taste (or two) of the region’s Premier Cru red wines, made from Pinot Noir grapes, and go truffle hunting at one of the local farms.
End your bike tour in the fairy tale town of Beaune. Its main square has been hosting an unmissable Saturday market since the early 13th century.
Where to stay: Stay at the The Maven at Dairy Block for an exceptionally lively atmosphere with loft-style rooms, access to shopping and dining in the city’s Dairy Block micro-district, and easy access to downtown Denver.
Sipping, Sampling, and Shopping: Denver, Colorado
With so much to offer, it’s no wonder Denver is becoming such a popular destination for mother-daughter trips. If you want to shop, dine, partake in a libations tour, take in the arts, or do all of the above, you can do it in Denver.
The city’s most popular area for strolling and shopping is the neighborhood around 16th Street Mall and Larimer Square. You can dine your way around Denver with stops at Rioja, Tamayo, Avanti, and North Italia, and then drink your way around on a boozy tour. There are plenty of guided tasting tours that will take you to places like Laws Whiskey, The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Colorado Cider Company, and Denver Beer Company. The Cooper Lounge in Union Station is the best place to enjoy a fancy cocktail.
Where to stay: At the MOXY Denver Cherry Creek, you’ll enjoy a fun and modern stay. The space encourages guest interaction with a full bar and an impressive assortment of lobby games, from shuffleboard to Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Relax and Rosé All Day: Calistoga, California
While Napa may get all of the shout-outs, the best place to stay in California wine country is Calistoga. It sits at the base of Mount Saint Helena, about 25 miles northwest of the town of Napa. In Calistoga, you can do all of the iconic things mothers and daughters daydream of doing on a mother-daughter trip, like getting daily spa treatments and drinking Rosé all day.
Volcanic ash, mud, and mineral baths are the specialty spa treatment of this town. What better way to celebrate the unique bond between a mother and daughter than taking a mud bath? You can also get a proper massage treatment at Calistoga Spa and Hot Springs and the recently renovated Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa. Basically, you can walk from one end of town to the other in spa flip-flops, getting one treatment after another, and no one would blink an eye.
Take off your shoes and get stomping at Grgich Hills Estate, which offers daily grape stomping during the harvest season. Go for a royal tour and wine tasting at the Castello di Amorosa, a medieval-inspired Tuscan castle that features barrel-tasting and a torture chamber. No trip to Napa would be complete without taking a ride on the famous Napa Valley Wine Train. Book the Vista Dome for one of the most memorable meals you’ll ever have. The three-hour journey includes a gourmet meal and wine, of course.
Where to stay: You’ll find a stay at Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort to be reasonably priced and wonderfully retro.
Beauty and the Beach: Maui, Hawaii
There’s a reason everyone loves Maui. Whether you’re nine years old or 90, you can appreciate the wonders of this island paradise. Maui is an extraordinary place to make mother-daughter travel memories that will last a lifetime.
Drive the road to Hana, hike the Bamboo Forest, go snorkeling with sea turtles at Maluaka Beach, catch the sunrise at Haleakala National Park, and learn about Maui’s fascinating history at a traditional luau. Or, you know, just skip all of that and sunbathe at the beach.
Whatever you do on Maui, try to catch an evening meal at Mama’s Fish House during sunset. One of the photos you take is sure to become your new screensaver.
Where to stay: Treat your mom to a stay in the lap of luxury at the Grand Wailea to make your trip extra splendid. If you’re traveling with the whole family, stay at the Hotel Wailea, a private paradise estate in Kihei so you can make meals together and relax in the comfort of a home setting.
Shamrocks and Smiles: Road Tripping Around Ireland
Haven’t you always wanted to take a mother-daughter trip to Ireland? Want to kiss the Blarney Stone, drive the Ring of Kerry, or perhaps behold some sheep roaming lush green hills of the countryside? Take a road trip from Dublin that passes through Cork, Killarney, Dingle, and Galway, and you’ll delight in exploring these sights.
Visit the nearby town of Kinsale and take the easy hike to Charles Fort. Spend a day in Killarney National Park, and make time to visit the historic sites of Dingle before heading to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway, which is known for its traditional pubs and live Irish folk music.
Where to stay: Stop by the Hayfield Manor in Cork for a quintessentially Irish stay, complete with gourmet dining and afternoon tea service.
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Melissa McGibbon’s travel accomplishments include circumnavigating the globe on a ship, having dinner at Fidel Castro’s house in Havana, skiing steep chutes in Canada, and downhill mountain biking in Peru. Follow her on Twitter @mcmliss.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.
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