Bachelor parties, Father’s Day, or a big birthday celebration — there’s no shortage of reasons to get away with the boys. The next time you boys need some time off from the girls, skip the afternoon outing in favor of a full-blown vacation. We’ve rounded up the 10 best activities and destinations where you can bond with your buds — whether watching baseball, drinking beer, or a getting a back rub — on a guys-only getaway.
1. Catch a baseball game in Boston
Even a die-hard Yankees fan can’t deny Boston's place in baseball history. The beloved Boston Red Sox (known locally as the Sawx) are such an integral part of the city’s identity that even ambivalence is considered blasphemy. Their fans are fanatical and their home, Fenway Park, looks very much like it did when the first game was played there in 1912. The best time to see the boys of summer in action is — well, the summer — but no matter what time of year you visit Boston, you can always take a tour of Fenway Park for a behind-the-scenes look at one of baseball’s most famous franchises.
Book it: The centrally located Omni Parker House offers a two-night deal on select weekends through Sept. 2, 2007 that includes accommodations, tickets to a Friday or Saturday game, and breakfast from $289 per night.
2. Cook in Napa
Guys who think cooking is “woman’s work” obviously missed the memo, because the majority of the world’s top-rated chefs are men. You may never own a Michelin-starred restaurant, but there’s no better place to learn the basics than the Culinary Institute of America in Northern California’s Napa Valley. The CIA offers very masculine "Ancient Cookfire" cooking classes — you’ll be the ultimate barbecue man on the block in no time. If it gets too hot in the kitchen, get out to one of Napa Valley’s superb restaurants where you can sit back and let someone else do the cooking, or enjoy the fruit of the vine at one of the Valley’s 300-plus wineries.
Book it: The CIA 's Sophisticated Palate series offers an "Ancient Cookfire" course (debuting Sept. 20-21, 2007). The intensive two-day program is $1,995 per person and includes kitchen orientation, lecture, hands-on cooking, and food and wine pairing.
3. Drink beer in Bavaria
There may be no better place on earth for beer lovers than Bavaria, Germany’s largest state. The capital city of Munich is home to the world-famous Oktoberfest, but there’s plenty of sud-sipping to be done in Bavaria all year long. Beer gardens and beer halls abound, as do centuries-old breweries whose output adheres to the strict standards set forth in 1516. With so many places to lift a glass and say prost!, you won’t have much time for sightseeing; if you need a break from imbibing however, there are plenty of castles, monasteries, medieval villages, lakes, and mountains to explore. For more great places to throw back a few, check out our Top 10 cities for beer lovers.
Book it: BeerTrips.com offers a 10-day "Countryside Beers of Franconia and Bavaria" tour this Sept. 27 through Oct. 7, 2007. The land-only price of $2,445 includes accommodations, transportation, brewery tours and more.
4. Golf in Ponte Vedra Beach
Unless you’ve whittled your handicap down to scratch, you won’t be playing on the PGA tour. Instead, head to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and book a tee time at the TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players Championship — known as the “Fifth Major” — and the site of Tiger Wood’s incredible 60-foot “better than most” putt that helped him win the tourney in 2001 (you can try to recreate the moment on the famous 17th-hole). No matter what level you're at, playing a course that's as steeped in golf lore as this one is an experience best shared with the boys.
Book it: The Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa offers a three-night "Fins, Foursomes, and Fables" package through Sept. 4, 2007. Priced from $502 per person, the offer includes two rounds at the TPC, surfing lessons, and a fishing trip.
5. Off-road in Death Valley
Former boy scouts looking for a wilderness camping adventure should look no further than Death Valley, Calif., where deep-rock canyons, old mining camps, and the arid Panamint Mountains beg to explored. See it all via 4x4 — and if you’re feeling really adventurous, spin your wheels in the sand of the Dumont Dunes, some of the tallest dunes open for off-road riding. Set up camp under the stars and test your survival skills, because you’ll be sharing the land with wild donkeys, coyotes and snakes. Pack plenty of drinking water — about two gallons per person per day — if you don’t want the park’s name to predict the outcome of your trip.
Book it: Western Adventures offers three-night guided 4x4 tours of the region starting in the town of Trona, Calif., and continuing through area’s mountains and valleys from $429 per vehicle.
Don't miss these Travel stories
Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors
With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.
- Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
- Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
- MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
- Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year
- Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors
6. Party in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is the ultimate spot for excess, a place where boys can be boys and indulge in the activities guys love: gambling, girls, and nightlife. The Hardwood Suite at the Palms Las Vegas is tailor-made for men — think a basketball half-court and scoreboard, a massive hot tub, a full bar and a pool table. More basketball touches like a lavish locker room and jerseys are courtesy of Palms owner George Maloof, who also owns the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Models wearing cheerleader and referee uniforms will even act as hosts for your special night. If you're looking for ladies, we've got you covered — we recommended Vegas as a top girls getaway, too.
Book it: Nightly rates for the Hardwood Suite start at $25,000. Two master bedrooms and three extra-large Murphy beds plus a living room sleep 10. But if you’re just there to party, the max capacity is 325 — invite all your closest friends and get your game on.
7. Play cowboy in Lajitas
Nestled between Big Bend National Park to the west and the Rio Grande to the south, the rugged landscape of small-town Lajitas, Texas, can inspire even the slickest city slicker to don a 10-gallon hat, pack a pistol and settle in for a heated game of poker with his pals. The best place to coral your inner cowboy is at the Lajitas Resort’s Badlands Hotel, which recreates a Wild West frontier town complete with tumbling tumbleweeds and a rickety boardwalk, albeit with modern comforts and amenities. Don’t leave without trying to drink the town’s local celebrity — a beer-swilling goat — under the table (you’ll find Clay Henry guzzling longnecks at The Trading Post).
Book it: The 25,000-acre Lajitas Resort offers a 3-night "Dudes in the Desert" package. Included is four round-trip air tickets from Austin or Dallas, two 2-bedroom suites, a private BBQ dinner, unlimited golf, cowboy-style pistol shooting, in-room hospitality bar, and a private Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament with dealer, snacks and cigars — from $7,640.
8. Spa in Chicago
Cubs-crazed Chicago is tailor-made for a getaway with the guys; but after you’ve had your fill of sports, pizza and jazz, head out for a relaxing day at the spa. If you secretly love to be pampered, you’re not alone — about a third of US spa-goers are men. Get your back massaged (or waxed) in masculine surroundings — think pool tables, brown leather chairs and '40s pin-up-girl posters — at the 316 Club Barber Spa. Don’t worry: If you have to miss the Cubs game because your skin is still exfoliating, you can catch it on the flat-screen TV in the lounge.
Book it: The 316 Club Barber Spa attracts guy’s guys with its players-club ambiance (free beer and wine, a Vegas-style odds board). The Pit Boss package includes a massaging shampoo, haircut, hand massage and detail, five-step shave, and shoeshine, all for $95.
9. Sport fish in Panama
If the only thing you know about Panama is that is has a famous canal, it’s time for a trip to Central America. Panama is full of surprises; that it’s an excellent spot for sport fishing is one of many. Grab the guys and head south for a “reel” good catch — Panama’s waters are home to swordfish, marlin and even some shark species. Even if the fish aren’t biting, the landscapes alone are worth the trek — exploring the country’s tropical rainforests and untouched beaches isn’t a bad way to spend a weekend with the boys, either.
Book it: Go sport fishing in Panama’s remote Darien Gap with Travel Junkies. $4,485 per person gets you flights from Panama City, transportation to and from your hotel, accommodations at the exclusive Tropic Star Lodge, and four days of fishing that start whenever you feel like waking up.
10. Surf in Sydney
The “Man” in Manly Beach isn’t the only reason for its guy-getaway allure. Known as the Bondi Beach of the north, this strip of Sydney sand attracts hordes of visitors looking to kick back and ride the waves (and perhaps steal a glance at topless sunbathers, a regular sighting on local beaches). Bikinis (or lack thereof) aside, men who'd rather focus on the water can master killer waves by enrolling in a local surf school and learning from the pros. Plus, once the sun goes down, you can head out and enjoy Sydney’s legendary nightlife.
Book it: The Manly Surf School provides programs with qualified instructors for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Four-day courses are priced at $120 per person and two-hour single lessons are available from $55.
ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.