Crazy Las Vegas bachelor parties are a thing of the past as grooms choose to indulge their passions, from beer tastings to racing cars.
Oh, Baby Driver
Make a pit stop in your race to the altar at a driving school. Burn rubber at the BMW Performance Driving School (bmwperformancecenter.com) in Thermal, California, before chowing down on a 32-ounce wagyu tomahawk chop at The Edge Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage (ritzcarlton.com). Or, head North to Sonoma to get behind the wheel of a McLaren or Formula 3 race car at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center (simracewaydrivingschool.com).
Take your fast car and head to Nevada’s Spring Mountain Motor Resort (springmountainmotorsports.com), where the guy gang can whip around the longest road course in North America in high-end Corvettes, Cadillacs or Radical SR3s. When you run out of gas, retire to the on-property lofts. The clubhouse offers meals, massages and martinis.
Mix It Up
A bachelor party is about “bro”-ing down, but picking up some new recipes at the same time will earn major points. The Wine Country Home weekend package at Napa’s Carneros Resort and Spa (carnerosresort.com) includes a private cooking class with its executive chef in the Viking-appliance-appointed kitchen of a luxurious three-bedroom house. It also includes a caviar and Champagne tasting and a farm-to-treatment massage at the newly renovated spa.
At Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa (meritagecollection.com/estancialajolla), grooms pick their spirit of choice (whiskey, tequila or beer), and the mixology team leads an informative high-end tasting, with notes on the chosen liquor’s production and history, followed by a cocktail-making lesson. Then the students become the teachers and craft two signature drinks of their very own. It’s easy to add dinner and a round of cigars to the experience.
Monterey County’s V6 Ranch (parkfield.com) hosts dude ranch weekends, cattle drives and cowboy academies for city slickers who want to ride horses through scenic hills while herding cattle, or learn to rope, sort and pen bovines. Bunk down under the stars or in the lodge. If you want to add hunting and fishing to the itinerary, pack your best camo and flannel duds and saunter over to where the buffalo roam.
North Dakota’s Black Leg Ranch (blacklegranch.com) has been a working cattle ranch since 1882. On the ranch’s 17,000-plus acres guests will discover five lodges to rent, including the original 100-year-old ranch house, plus plenty of activities and entertainment that includes an 1800s railroad, ghost town, roaming buffalo, first-class waterfowl, upland and whitetail hunting, a two-story saloon, poker tables, an arcade, and a shooting range with a fully automated skeet thrower, not to mention ATV excursions and even quicksand. Guests will have the luxury of three meals a day featuring Black Leg Ranch’s Midwestern Plains-inspired cuisine and the option to relax at the ranch’s on-site brewery.
OUE Skyspace LA (oue-skyspace.com) boasts the Golden State’s tallest open-air observation deck, that scary glass Skyslide and Celebrity Helicopters (as seen on The Bachelor). Arrange drinks and dinner by Patina Catering on the terrace before getting the bird’s-eye view of the bright lights and big city with stunt pilot Robin Petgraves, who will also highlight famous movie scenes.
Jucy (jucyusa.com), a New Zealand–born company, rents Trailblazers, a sort of RV-minivan hybrid that sleeps four (including two in a pop-up penthouse on the roof), drives more like a car than a camper, and packs a built-in fridge and two gas stoves in the trunk. With Jucy branches in LA, Oakland, Las Vegas and Vancouver, it’s easy to plan a camping/road trip to California’s national parks or Utah’s Mighty 5 (do you dare tackle the switchbacks and sheer cliffs of Zion’s Angels Landing Trail?), a ski weekend in Whistler or even an outing filled with traditional singleton shenanigans on the Vegas Strip. The company even offers special packages for popular festivals such as Stagecoach, Electric Daisy Carnival and Lightning in a Bottle.
Hang 10 at the beachfront Dream Inn Santa Cruz (dreaminnsantacruz.com), which recently reopened with a whimsical retro surfer style. In keeping with the theme, it rents boards and arranges private stand-up paddleboarding lessons at Club Ed (club-ed.com), a private surf school opened by surf legend Ed Guzman, located just steps away on Cowell Beach. Recuperate with Bloody Marys and grub from the hotel’s taco cart.
Drink It All In
Portland, Oregon, kicks the pub-cycle craze up a notch with BrewBarge (brewgrouppdx.com), a 14-seat paddleboat, with cup holders, that tools around the Willamette River for 90 minutes at a time. Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel (riverplacehotel.com) can make reservations, fill up your growlers for BYOB and provide the homeys with a headquarter. The two-bedroom suites have marina views, full kitchens and access to free pours at the nightly social hour.
Not to be outdone, New England’s Hotel Vermont (hotelvt.com) invites beer lovers to Burlington for fermented fun with two different beer offerings during summer months. The Beer Concierge Program takes guests for a spin via bike to four breweries, including Foam Brewery, Switchback, Zero Gravity and Citizen Cider. The hotel will also arrange for a tasting with a beer concierge for a more in-depth session. Or, true hopheads can tour local producers, including The Alchemist, Lost Nation, Hill Farmstead, and Black Back Pub, enjoy a five-course tasting menu with ale pairings at Juniper and take home a commemorative glass.