With summer and warmer weather here, it’s my favorite time to take a girls’ getaway with a friend. California is one of my favorite states to head out on a weekend as the options for destinations are endless.
Whether you want to relax poolside, explore a coastal town, or wine taste through one of the many wine regions, you have a plethora of choices. Over the years, my close friend and I went on a yearly basis to Palm Springs to one of our favorite hotels for a few nights. It became a tradition for our birthdays and made for a fun girls’ getaway. Those have been some of my best travel memories.
When choosing a destination in California for a weekend away with a friend, I always recommend considering a few things. One big choice is accommodations. An Airbnb vs. a hotel is really dependent on how much time you plan to cook or stay in. This will help narrow down your choice and make sense of your stay.
The other element I always like to clear up before heading out on the trip is budget. Getting this expectation set prior to traveling on a getaway weekend will clear up any of the uncomfortable conversations that can arise.
As for where you go — pick somewhere that both of you will find something to enjoy. Easier said than done, but it’s helpful to know what each want out of a weekend trip.
So these are some of my favorite California girls’ getaway weekend ideas. From the coast to inland, from active to relaxing. You may even find embarking on a road trip with a friend is a great trip to plan!
This post contains affiliates which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase. As always, all things recommended are my own opinion and your support is always appreciated.
16 California Girls’ Getaway Weekend Ideas
1. Laguna Beach
One of my favorite spots in Southern California for relaxation and great food is Laguna Beach. It’s such a quaint city right on the ocean with a fun downtown to explore. You’re footsteps from the beach, there are coastal trails, and you could even rent paddle boards for the ocean.
It’s one of those effortless spots to go hang out at for a few days of fun. Plus, the weather most of the year is great from spring to fall.
2. Palm Springs
Since I mentioned it before, I am very bias toward Palm Springs as the ultimate girls’ getaway. When I go on a trip with my close friend, we love to put our feet up poolside and relax. Palm Springs has so many wonderful hotels with pools and restaurants, so you can hole up for the weekend.
Alternatively, the rental homes here are endless, so you can definitely snag a great Airbnb for even a larger group. Palm Springs has endless restaurants to choose from, you can cycle through town, and there is great shopping.
Palm Springs, for me, is a relaxing destination to have the best of both worlds. I couldn’t recommend it more for a girl’s weekend.
- 20 Best Restaurants in Palm Springs
- Best Palm Springs Hotels for All Budgets
- The Hip Guide to Palm Springs
- Incredible Things to Do in Palm Springs
3. Northern Coast Road Trip
For those looking to go on a longer trip immersed in nature with a friend, I’d recommend a Northern Coast road trip. There are so many wonderful spots to explore starting in Mendocino all the way up to Trinidad.
Along the way, you’ll find local eateries, scenic beaches, and redwoods to explore. I did this trip with a girlfriend a few years ago and loved getting to explore this part of California. You can easily make a week-long trip out of this or choose to go for a few days.
Hotel Recommendation: See Guide
Helpful Guides to Plan Your Trip: The Northern California Coast Road Trip Itinerary
4. Joshua Tree
If you’re looking to get off the grid and disconnect with a girlfriend, Joshua Tree comes straight to mind. This desert destination is perfect for those who want a slow weekend away immersed in nature.
I’d recommend renting an Airbnb as the restaurants are a bit more limited here, plus you’ll have a bigger space to enjoy. Nearby is Joshua Tree National Park, where there are several hiking trails to choose from. Just keep in mind that the summer months are incredibly hot.
5. Paso Robles + San Luis Obispo
For a great combination of coast and wineries, I love a weekend in SLO and Paso Robles. You can easily stay in either of the destinations and drive to the other. Or, you could book a few nights in each.
In Paso Robles, there are so many wonderful wineries like Cass Winery or Halter Ranch. The downtown has a lot of restaurants and a few shops to explore. In SLO, you’re so close to the coast, that I would spend my time out at Avila Beach or Morro Bay.
There are also some pretty chic hotels that have opened up this last year in the area, so if you love design, you’ll have a few hotels to pick from.
Hotel Recommendation: Geneseo Inn in Paso Robles or San Luis Creek Lodge in SLO
Helpful Guides to Plan Your Trip: The Design Lover’s Guide to a Central California Road Trip
6. Lake Tahoe
For those wanting to explore more of Northern California, Lake Tahoe makes for an incredible outdoor destination. We head up here frequently, even just for the day with friends. I love that Lake Tahoe is a year-round place to visit.
So if you and a friend love to hike and want to hang by a lake, summer here is perfect. Or perhaps you both love to ski, then this is a great winter choice. Lake Tahoe is such a beautiful natural setting and there are quite a few restaurants if you plan to stay in South Shore or near Incline.
7. Point Reyes (& Area)
Located in Marin County, Point Reyes is one of those effortless spots to go hang for a few days. It’s a go-to for those who love good food like fresh oysters and local cheese, access to the ocean, and scenic views.
It’s a slow-going pace in Point Reyes and one for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. I recently went with a girlfriend to spend two nights hanging out and going for hikes in the area. I love that you’re right on the water and there tends to always be a moody atmosphere here.
8. Big Sur
One of the top picks in California for any vacation is the iconic area of Big Sur. Big coastal views and stunning landscapes make it a top choice for an adventure-filled trip. If you’re heading out with friends, you could even indulge to stay at one of the top resorts there.
In Big Sur, you’ll find local restaurants, hidden beaches, and endless trails to choose from. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even snag a camping site at one of the parks (book in advance).
One other idea is to create a longer road trip from say San Francisco to Los Angeles and stop overnight in Big Sur. I always recommend at least night to see most of the sights.
9. Nevada City
For those looking to get outdoors and explore one of the most charming towns in California, Nevada City has both. The main street is packed with local restaurants, boutiques, and a few coffee shops. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails and the Yuba River to enjoy and cool off.
With the recently opened and renovated National Exchange Hotel, this city just got a whole lot cooler. It’s a perfect weekend destination with a few friends.
Hotel Recommendation: The National Exchange Hotel
Effortlessly cool and quite the top beach destination, Malibu comes to mind for a girlfriend’s getaway trip. Spend your time at the beach, pick from several chic restaurants to dine at, and have your fill of curated boutiques. Malibu is laidback yet has it all.
It’s a small town, so you’ll find that you can really see quite a bit of it on a weekend trip. Plus, you’re close to some local day trips to Santa Monica and LA. And don’t forget to catch the sunset at El Matador Beach!
Ojai is such a charming town inland from the coast. Filled with several hotels to choose from that have pools, incredible restaurants, and a lot to do. You can go wine tasting, hit the trails, or browse several of the incredible shops here.
Ojai really does have it all for a girl’s getaway and love that you have the flexibility to choose different experiences. You can even go olive oil tasting here or take part in a pottery class.
12. Los Alamos
Off the beaten path, as some may say, Los Alamos is one of those up-and-coming destinations in California. Known for being in wine country and small, this destination packs a punch with things to do.
You’ll find a great food scene at restaurants like Bell’s and Bob’s Well Bread Bakery. And while in town, don’t forget to stop by the effortlessly chic Bodega for wine tasting.
13. San Francisco
For those looking to get away to the city, San Francisco is my first choice. There are endless things to do in SF, from museums to exploring neighborhoods. You can partake in a food tour, stay up late hopping from one bar to the next on Polk Street, and more.
San Francisco really has it all for a more action-packed weekend away with friends. In fact, it’s where I had my bachelorette party. Loved getting to explore the city’s restaurants with friends, shopping, and making the most of our time there.
Hotel Recommendation: The Proper
Helpful Guides to Plan Your Trip: The Ultimate Local’s Travel Guide to San Francisco
14. Santa Barbara
Coastal bliss and one seriously beautiful city make Santa Barbara a favorite. It’s one of those cities you can visit a few times and always find something new to do. The downtown is very walkable or you could even rent bikes to explore further out to places like the mission and beaches.
Santa Barbara is one of the bigger cities with beaches so if you’re looking for both amenities, I’d pick here.
Hotel Recommendation: Palihouse SB or El Encanto, a Belmond Property
Helpful Guides to Plan Your Trip: A Slow Road Trip Guide To Santa Barbara, Ventura, And Ojai
A fairytale town on the central coast, Carmel is a charming location. We’ve gone with friends a few times and find that the relaxed vibe puts everyone at ease. There are plenty of accommodations downtown which I’d recommend being able to walk to everything.
Down the coast, there are state parks to explore like Point Lobos and a few beaches that are great for the day. If you go inland, you’ll find Carmel Valley for some great wine tasting at places like Folktale Winery. Carmel is always a win for a getaway.
16. Napa Valley
And our last but not least spot to recommend is Napa Valley. The heart of wine country and one of the top spots to go for a girl’s getaway. You have endless wineries to choose from, chic hotels with pools to lounge by, and elevated dining.