Girls Vacation Scottsdale
Credit: Mountain Shadows Resort

Your Guide to a Wellness-Inspired Girls’ Vacation in Scottsdale

Gather Your Girls and Head to the Arizona Desert for Some Fun in the Sun

Like many things in life, working on your wellness is more fun when in the company of friends. If you’re looking for the perfect place to escape with the gals, while still keeping on top of your personal health and fitness goals, Mountain Shadows Resort in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, may be just what the doctor ordered. No need to rush into the research, because we’ve done the digging and crafted the ideal itinerary for a gorgeous girls’ getaway. From brunching and sunning, to facials, hiking and horseback riding, the scene is set for a trip to remember. Whether your group is up for outdoor adventures, or jonesing for some serious rest and recovery, we’ve got your weekend plans all locked up. 

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Mountain Shadows Resort

Girls Vacation Scottsdale
Credit: Mountain Shadows Resort

For the ultimate deep dive into desert decadence, Mountain Shadows Resort is your one-stop shop for all things wellness and relaxation. This stunning resort is an icon of luxury and design situated in the serene enclave of Paradise Valley with palm-tree lined pools, multi-room residences, a par-three golf course, two on-site restaurants and more. 

To keep you on track with your fitness routine, grab the girls for a group class at the resort’s state-of-the-art health center where, you can partake in high-octane workouts like cardio kickboxing, aqua aerobics and TRX training, or you can opt to keep cool with mat Pilates and yoga stretch sessions. Private training is also available for $100 a pop, while group classes and gym access are complimentary for resort guests. For a more outdoorsy experience, try your hand at a round of golf. Practice your swing with a tee time on the 18-hole short course, rated one of the top Par-3 courses in the country by Want something a little off the beaten path? Plan a group hike through the magical Camelback Mountains, whether on your own or on a guided tour with Wild Bunch Desert Guides. Choose your route and trek your way to the top of Camelback Mountain via the Cholla trail, or the more challenging Echo Canyon trail. Either way, incredible views await at the top. Book a private in-room massage or stay cool by the pool after your adventures and relax in a private cabana or reserve daybeds for you and your pals. Toast to a day well spent and some serious fun in the sun with a chilled cocktail in hand.



Bottomless Brunch at Sumomaya

Mexican/Asian fusion cuisine may not be the first idea that comes to mind when planning a bottomless brunch, but once you’ve experienced Sumomaya, you may end up rethinking your entire strategy. Perfect for groups with varying tastes and preferences, the eclectic menu seamlessly blends egg rolls, poke bowls, pad Thai and ramen with huevos rancheros, burritos, enchiladas and carne asada tacos. Go-to morning staples like avocado toast, oatmeal and bacon and eggs are also an option for the more traditional breakfast lover. Best of all, for just $39 per person, your crew can split unlimited shared plates, with brunch bevs for an extra $35 each and unlimited refills for only (checks notes) 1 cent.



Lunch at Farm & Craft

Farm fresh dining takes on a fast-casual form at Farm & Craft—the perfect spot for a healthy (and sustainable) snack that won’t break the bank. Munch on Thai lettuce cups, hummus or strawberries and burrata to start, then get to building your own bowl with a base of chicken, steak, salmon or tofu. Choose sides of cauliflower mash, roasted beets or fig balsamic mushrooms (just to name a few). Flatbreads like kale pesto chicken or roasted corn and squash can be crafted with gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese, while sandwiches like steak and farro or garden veggie with tahini and grilled chicken can be modified with gluten-free wraps. Clink glasses with a round of skinny margaritas or Kombucha cocktails to commemorate a fabulous afternoon.



Afternoon Snack at Kaleidoscope Juice 

Girls Vacation Scottsdale
Credit: Kaleidoscope Juice

In need of a midday pick-me-up? Kaleidoscope Juice has something to cure whatever’s got you dragging. Create your perfect smoothie and marvel at the array of add-ons to soothe any ailment, from spirulina and collagen supplements to superfoods like bee pollen and goji berries. Make your choice among all the butters and milks—coconut, cashew, grass-fed and Ghee—and throw in some chlorophyll, pumpkin seeds or blue-green algae for good measure. Grab a cup of cold brew for a classic caffeine crush or opt for a mushroom blend with adaptogens and nootropics for an energy boost that’s a little more outside the box.



Dinner and Drinks at Hearth 61

Credit: Mountain Shadows Resort

For a wholesome dinner that will keep your group feeling in form, head to Mountain Shadows Resort’s on-site restaurant, Hearth 61, for some nourishment. Begin with an array of tempura oyster mushrooms, house meatballs and hiramasa crudo, or for those going meatless, some organic greens and superb salads are excellent choices. Gluten-free folks may want to skip the flatbreads and head straight for the pan-seared salmon, braised beef short rib or roasted swordfish. If drinks and desserts are in the cards, splurge on the pumpkin-bourbon creme brûlée or peach panna cotta and peruse the extensive wine list for the perfect pairing.



Sunrise Hike at Pinnacle Peak Park

Set an alarm and get ready to catch the morning sunrise from the top of Pinnacle Peak Park. A comfortable 2-mile trek with moderate difficulty, this scenic trail will take you on a leisurely journey through the Sonoran Desert, culminating in a spectacular panorama of the majestic mountain landscape. Look out for the local flora and fauna throughout the 150-acre park, and pack a picnic and a tripod to snap some fun pics for the ‘Gram!


Take a Lower Salt River Kayaking Tour with REI

Salt River Kayak
Credit: Jeff Moore

For something a little more high-key, take an REI Lower Salt River kayaking tour. Hop on a two- person inflatable kayak to explore this Arizonian oasis in the heart of the desert. Don’t worry, you won’t have to fend for yourselves—the half-day excursion includes a guided tour by a certified river host, and your ticket includes bottled water and snacks, life jackets and forest entry fees. Grab an oar and build those biceps while floating peacefully along the Salt River, from Saguaro Lake to Granite Reef. Bring a swimsuit and take a cool dip, soaking in the serene scenery and keeping an eye out for the wild horses and bald eagles that make an occasional appearance in the distance.



Explore the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market

Credit: Iñigo De la Maza

Spend a leisurely afternoon perusing the goods and produce at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. For the past 14 years on every Saturday from October to June, more than 100 local vendors and agriculturists have been proudly putting their homegrown treasures and edible wares on display—from organic produce and local cheeses to free-range eggs, freshly baked artisan breads and homemade jam. Spend the afternoon strolling the stalls and sip on some seasonal cider or curate a bouquet of fragrant flowers to bring back and freshen up your cozy suite.


Horseback Riding through the Sonoran Desert

Credit: Victor Grabarczyk / Unsplash

Round up your cowgirl crew and head to MacDonald’s Ranch for some equestrian entertainment. Hop on horseback and explore the desert terrain from new heights, courtesy of your new four-legged friends. Stop by for a quick and idyllic trail ride, or check the schedule and come on down for a Cowboy Cookout, where you’ll enjoy an hour-long sunset ride followed by a full dinner spread of chicken or steak with beans, salad and mashed potatoes, followed by s’mores roasting by an open fire. You can also opt for a 30-minute hayride, where you’ll tour the grounds and pet the animal residents who call the ranch home. Yeehaw!



Private Cabana at the Mountain Shadows Resort Pool

Girls Vacation Scottsdale
Credit: Mountain Shadows Resort

For the ultimate indulgence, reserve your own private cabana by the Mountain Shadows Resort pool. Bask in your personal poolside paradise, stocked with a mini fridge, a flat-screen TV and a complimentary bottle of house rosé to get you started. Fill up on snacks and libations for the group from The Citizens Club—think finger foods like chips and queso dip, fancy fruit platters, or classic burgers and salads. Beat the heat under the pretty palms, then take a leisurely lap in the sparkling pool. After warming up in the sun, cool off in the shade of your cozy cabana. Rinse and repeat.


In-Room Massage at Mountain Shadows Resort

Muscles in need of some extra attention after a day of outdoor activities? Spring for an in-room massage and let the relaxation come to you. Certified spa technicians are on hand to perform the rub-down of your choice—Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu or Reflexology—and address your aching areas. Infused with fragrant botanicals and sweet scented oils, no wellness weekend would be complete without a luxurious massage. Get ready to return to the real world feeling refreshed and free of stress.


Self-Care at Second Nature Clinic

Credit: Second Nature Clinic

If a full day of self-care is what you’re craving, step into Second Nature Clinic, where you can meet with a naturopath and create a plan for some holistic healing. Sign up for a round of wellness shots or IV therapy with the gals to infuse key vitamins and antioxidants back into your bods. Get a boost of B12 for an extra dose of energy, give your immune system a jolt with vitamin C and zinc, or rehydrate after a few cocktails with the Hangover Cure—including a dash of glutathione to alleviate brain fog and soothe the liver.


Facials at Hi, Skin

Is that 12-step skin-care routine not quite cutting it? Book a refreshing facial at Hi, Skin for some extra glow on the go. Not sure what your pores are craving? Leave it to the pros. A certified esthetician will help address your skin-care concerns and find the perfect topical solution. Offering an extensive menu of treatments, from your standard exfoliation scrubs, soothing masks and chemical peels to dermaplaning, LED therapy, cryo technology and Gua Sha techniques, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy some primo pampering with noticeable results that will last long after you arrive back home.




Based in Los Angeles, Kandace has spent the past ten years in the fashion and lifestyle space, and recently in entertainment at Sony Pictures Studios. She has a Masters in Journalism from Emerson College and has studied in Paris, Firenze, and Washington DC, beginning her career as a style editor and tastemaker for NBC. She is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, having studied screenwriting for film and television at UCLA, and her work has been celebrated around the world, in cities like London, Nice, New York, and Montréal. Paying homage to her French heritage, she is also the creator of The Chic American--a style and culture editorial destination for Francophiles, dedicated to the art of living an elevated, French-inspired lifestyle.




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