Sometimes you need a break from the routine, to head out of town with a group of like-minded pals. But where to go? That depends, of course, on the interests of the guys in question. It’s nice to have an active, outdoor component to the trip, but a getaway with friends is more likely to appeal to everyone involved if it includes more than exercise and fresh air. One of these seven diverse destinations might fit the bill for your crew.
1. Austin, Texas
With more than 250 live music venues, this state capital almost literally thrums with rhythm. Starting at well-known spots such as the Continental Club and Antone’s, you and your friends could happily spend several evenings listening to top-notch music at different clubs. But beyond Austin’s famous music scene are other pleasures, such as the fascinating LBJ Presidential Library, downtown’s 10-mile Town Lake hike-and-bike trail and — this is Texas, after all — horseback riding at sunset.
2. Monterey Peninsula, California
Are you and your friends crazy about golf? There may be no place in America with more courses — two dozen and counting. Nor is there likely any place with such a high concentration of famous links, from Cypress Point and Pebble Beach, to Spyglass and Spanish Bay. But the peninsula is also known for seriously good restaurants, stunning land-meets-sea vistas and premier attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which enthralls adults as well as kids.
3. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
This Midwest village with just 961 residents is home to one of America’s top resorts, the Osthoff Resort. The adjacent 292-acre lake offers some good angling, with bass, trout, pike and walleye among the fish you can catch. But the real guy-magnet here is Road America, one of the longest, oldest and most beautiful permanent road-racing circuits in the country, winding 4.05 miles through 14 turns. Watch the races or, if you want in on the action, sign up for a high-performance driving course and get on the track yourselves.
4. Bend, Oregon
An outdoor sports mecca in the eastern — and far less rainy — half of Oregon, Bend also offers plenty of opportunities to bond with friends over a well-made beer or meal. Not only does Bend have an unusually high number of places to eat (it ranks as one of America’s most restaurant-crazed cities based on eateries per capita), it might well be the country’s capital of quality beer, with an estimated one brewpub, microbrewery, nanobrewery or craft brewery for every 9,111 residents.
5. Lexington, Kentucky
If you like the idea of a cycling-focused trip, this capital of Bluegrass Country is a great below-the-radar choice. The rolling hills surrounding Lexington are famed for their estate-like horse farms, but less well known are the gorgeous, uncrowded byways that lace the region and offer wonderful beginner-to-intermediate cycling. For non-biking diversions, indulge in bourbon tasting at a distillery, tour a horse farm or spend a day watching top American ponies run at venerable Keeneland racetrack.
6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
When you’re done lolling on Fort Lauderdale’s miles of sandy beaches, consider an airboat tour of the Everglades or a visit to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Better yet, sign on for a deep-sea fishing charter down at the port. Depending on the time of year, it’s possible that you and the guys might land marlin, tuna or swordfish.
7. Las Vegas, Nevada
Forget the image of carousing bachelor parties: Vegas has become a serious destination for mature, active men (and women, of course). Golf courses and tennis courts abound, there’s excellent hiking in beautiful Red Rock Canyon, and a new bike trail makes a 35-mile loop through dramatic desert landscape outside town. You’ll eat well here, whether at celebrity chef tables or excellent Asian restaurants away from the Strip. Looking to relax? Book yourselves massages and other treatments at the Bathhouse at the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, one of the rare spas that draw as many male as female clients.