Whether you call it a bachelor party, buck’s night, stag do, or bull’s party, the images of the best bachelor party destinations look something like smoke-filled rooms, poker, an excess of drinking, and the possibility of one or more scantily-clad women.
It’s the age-old ritual many men still observe to this day. And while scenarios such as the one depicted still play out across the world, bachelors have progressed—and not just to strip clubs.
Now, there’s more thought and creativity involved in planning one, and they often include travel. For a list of the best bachelor party destinations, read on.
One point before we get started. Yes, Las Vegas is the unofficial bachelor party destination of stags everywhere, but it’s also a bit of a cliché. Honestly, you can do better than that—and still keep your bride at the altar.
Explore your options. The ideas we’ll provide can be tailored to your circumstances. They don’t have to be location-specific. So, work with what you’ve got, and do what’s best for you and your mates.
1. Cabin in the Woods
An extremely popular choice for bachelor parties right now is renting a cabin somewhere with plenty of wide-open spaces.
Hiking, fishing, and hunting options are usually available, but the point is guys can have one last hoorah while single in the great outdoors. One of the best things to come from the travel industry is the ability to take virtual tours of the cabin or lodge you’re investigating.
These allow potential guests to see for themselves what the property looks like before committing.
Occasionally the photos are either outdated or they only show the best portions of the living space and exterior. Sites like AirBnB are oftentimes great ways to source a place to stay.
Be specific with the owners or manager of the establishment about what you’re expecting and inquire about deposits and refund policies, too.
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Another thing to consider is whether or not it’s essential to the group to have nearby access to amenities like bars and restaurants.
Some parties will use the lodging as a home base, while others may want to stay entirely off the grid over the weekend. Find out what everyone’s expectations are first. If travel and time isn’t an issue, there’s no reason you couldn’t book one in Alaska.
2. Casino Cruises
If you live near a large body of water, such as a river or in a coastal community, chances are there are nearby gambling boats that take passengers out in the evenings.
This could be a terrific way to celebrate the passing of your “singlehood” with all your male friends. You’ll find plenty of food and drink during the excursion, along with live entertainment.
If you go this route, you may want to arrange transportation to and from the pier, so everyone stays safe. Party buses and limos both work well for these situations.
Other things to consider
- It doesn’t have to be just an overnight. There are short riverboat music cruises up the Mississippi and throughout the Caribbean for 2- and 3-days’ duration. These make stops in ports along the way that offer plenty of partying and sight-seeing opportunities.
- In the Pacific Northwest, you can book a boat on the Columbia River following the same rugged routes as Lewis and Clarke. You wouldn’t likely have the same party-stop options, but that may not be what you’re looking for, anyway.
- If you are near Central Illinois why not think about renting a cabin along the Illinois River and taking the passenger boats available on a river pub crawl. You never know what each new tavern along the way will hold, but it beats the same old bars in your town. Check out options like this in your home state or one nearby. Planning mobile bachelor parties such as this is not nearly as expensive as the other cruise options mentioned.
3. Rent a Houseboat
There’s any number of lakes you can do this with, but Lake Powell on the Northern Arizona, Southern Utah border is absolutely gorgeous. It’s been highlighted on Spring Break lists for its unspoiled scenic beauty and friendly party atmosphere.
But the potential for solitude and privacy is also there when renting a houseboat. You should be able to fit your entire party comfortably aboard most houseboats.
Besides sleeping quarters, you’ll have restroom and shower facilities, as well as a galley to prepare meals in. All you have to do is bring your own food and booze, and you’re all set.
Consider the Cost
Just be aware that the fuel bill for a houseboat won’t be cheap. It should, however, average out with staying somewhere nice and having to go to restaurants and bars for sustenance and libations.
Nevertheless, here are a few more things to be conscious of.
- Houseboats are huge, so it’s helpful if you have some experience with large watercrafts, or hire someone who has that experience.
- Find out if the unit you’re looking at comes with bedding supplies (sheets, pillows, blankets), towels, and cookware. If not, you’ll have to bring those items.
- Get an idea of how much gasoline it will take to refuel the boat at the end of your trip and the cost attached per gallon.
- Beware of all the hidden costs in your adventure.
4. Pick a Camp
Not camping, but a camp like a guitar, baseball, golf, or space camp. These can be excellent retreats for the guys to learn something new or have their own “Walter Mitty” moments where life-long fantasies are fulfilled.
Most of them run 3 to 5 days, depending on the program, and provide training from professionals in their fields. Here are a few suggestions to choose from.
Train to be an Astronaut
NASA has some great chances for wannabe space explorers to take advantage of. The first is a program called the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
There you’ll receive realistic training, hear directly from veteran space explorers, and experience a shuttle mission simulation while performing hands-on space exploration activities. There are three separate packages, and each is only a matter of an hour to 4-5 hours in duration.
You could combine them over a few days for a total “rocket man” experience. KSC is one of the most highly visited attractions in the world.
Adult Space Academy
The other opportunity is entitled the Adult Space Academy, which is held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s a 3-day, 2-night camp for adults that allows trainees to assume roles in hands-on, interactive space missions and learn what it takes to be a real astronaut.
Sessions for the program are limited, so it’s recommended you make your reservations early. Food and lodging are included. Lodging is onsite at the center’s Habitat facilities, and the meals are served in the Space Camp Crew Galley.
Either way, both of these opportunities are totally immersive experiences that give you firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to prepare for travel into space.
Need some help with your swing? There are adult golf camps, such as IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where you and your pals can escape for a 4-day, 3-night package known as Relax & Recharge. It’s the ultimate program to both improve and unwind.
The package includes a 3-day golf camp, a 4-day, 3-night Legacy Hotel reservation at IMG Academy, and one Wellness Spa session (options include a 60-minute deep tissue massage).
You can find similar programs in other states where golf is a big deal.
Always wanted to tear up the track like a NASCAR driver? Or maybe you just want to drive an exotic foreign car worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It doesn’t matter, because if you’ve got the cash, you can do it. Arizona has multiple choices for this kind of action in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Chandler. But there are also schools in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, California, Nevada, Texas, and Ontario, Canada, to choose from.
Just google “race car schools” for all your options and prepare to spend some money.
5. Action Adventures
Want more action-adventure ideas for the best bachelor party destinations? No sweat. You can head on down to the Florida Keys and rent a bungalow for a few days while you go on a SCUBA diving adventure.
If you’ve never been but want to try, there are schools with classes for that, too. Your choices are not limited to the United States, either, if a more exotic local is desired. Here are a few other options to think about.
Costa Rica has a pretty good selection of surf camps where you can receive training (if need be) and get modest accommodations, along with daily massages on the beach under a tiki hut. Packages are reasonably priced, and the views are mesmerizing.
Book a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, or anywhere there’s a ski resort for three days of fun in the snow. Again, if members of your group aren’t savvy to gliding across snow-covered mountains, there are lessons for beginners. If all else fails, there’s always the ski lodge where you can hang out fireside and drink hot toddies.
You’ll have to travel to a coastal community, but sport fishing is a marvelous way to spend some time with your buds. Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula below San Diego has some awesome fishing, and companies like Kingfish Cabo can hook you up. While you’re there, you can visit Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo, hop on a booze cruise, or take a water taxi wherever you like.
The Best Caribbean Bachelor Party Destinations
Nothing says you can’t take a quick weekend trip to one of the many nearby islands in the Bahamas or Caribbean.
There’s the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas—or any of the other St. islands— Puerto Rico, Aruba, etc. You might also consider Mexico’s Cancun or Mazatlan.
They’re both well-known tourist destinations that are, for the most part, free of the kind of crime much of the rest of the country currently experiences.
Pro Tips for Booking the Carribean
Here are some of the things to look for when booking a trip like this.
- All-inclusive packages will provide you with just about everything you need to enjoy your stay. Besides your accommodations, they include top-notch food and drinks, along with discounts or coupons for shows and nearby attractions.
- Onsite spas for a little pampering and gyms for remaining fit are part of the norm with these resorts.
- Endless excursion opportunities abound, such as parasailing adventures, visiting rain forests, tours of forts and Colonial artifacts, and lots of rum tastings.
Industry Tourism Bachelor Parties
Here in the U.S., there are several states that are known for their niche industries that provide excellent tourism opportunities.
For instance, northern California and Oregon are well-known for their fantastic vineyards.
Some states like Massachusetts are known for their craft beer microbreweries, and now Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon are becoming known for their cannabis tourism.
You could easily make a 3-day bachelor party adventure using any of these suggestions as a base plan for fun.
Looking for some vino action? Check out the historic Grand Lodge in beautiful Forest Grove, Oregon.
A mere 25 miles west of Portland, guests can enjoy local and seasonal food and drinks in multiple bars and restaurants in a super cool atmosphere.
It’s large, it’s quirky, and it’s home to a crazy-eclectic art collection that covers nearly every inch of the walls. In fact, much of it is painted directly on them. Guests also have access to the massive grounds with a large soaking pool, an indoor and outdoor movie theater, spa services, live entertainment, and much, much more.
In addition to the building and grounds, there are a number of excursions and points of interest in the area, such as a scenic train ride and nearby Hagg Lake or Tillamook State Forest.
At these two spots visitors can find fishing and hiking choices, but for boat rentals, bike trails, and ziplining head to Hagg Lake.
The Oregon Coast
In addition to everything else, the Grand Lodge is just an hour’s drive to the spectacular Oregon Coast, and there are literally dozens of vineyards and winery tasting rooms in the surrounding area.
If you’re not looking to tear the roof down, this is truly one of the best bachelor party destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
If horses and wide-open spaces are your thing, then check into a working dude ranch where the men are men and you can get in touch with your country side. This is still a thriving tourism genre, and in places like Montana, where there are more than a hundred of these ranches, it’s a popular vacation option for people just like you.
But before you start your search, you should know two things. First, a dude ranch and a working dude ranch are not the same things. The former is where you’ll idyllically ride horses and fly fish in between carousing around town.
A working dude ranch means just that: you and your muscles will be put to the test being a real-life cowboy. The second thing to understand when booking these trips is that accommodations can range from five star to pretty darn rustic. So, it depends primarily on your budget and what your expectations are.
Rather than a traditional stag party, for those grooms who are looking for something more low-key or even meaningful, there are other creative options available to you. You may want to forego the debauchery usually associated with many testosterone-fueled events.
If you are a big fan of baseball (or another sport), why not take a trip with a couple guys or your new father-in-law and brother-in-law and attend three major league baseball games in different cities together.
Besides probably staying out of trouble, it will be an invaluable bonding experience while you sing “take me out to the ballgame!”
Think Outside the Box
With a little thought, you can come up with a similar plan for yourself. Just remember, the best bachelor party destinations don’t have to include Vegas. And if you’re still debating: what happens there doesn’t always stay there, so chew on that.