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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.

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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 accommodation. An Airbnb vs. a hotel is really dependent on how much time you plan to cook or stay. 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 wants 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!

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Girls’ Getaway Hotels in California:

  1. Korakia Pensione, for the best adults-only hotel
  2. White Water Cambria, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
  3. Ojai Valley Inn, for the best resort stay

16 California Girls’ Getaway Weekend Ideas


1. Laguna Beach

16 California Girls' Getaway Weekend Ideas

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 for a few days of fun. Plus, the weather most of the year is great from spring to fall.

Helpful Laguna Beach Guides to Plan Your Trip

Laguna Beach Hotel Recommendations

  1. Surf and Sand Resort, for the best beachfront hotel
  2. Hotel Joaquin, for the best interior design hotel
  3. Laguna Beach House, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

2. Palm Springs

Since I mentioned it before, I am very biased 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.

Helpful Palm Springs Guides to Plan Your Trip

Palm Springs Hotel Recommendations

  1. Korakia Pensione, for the best adults-only hotel
  2. Azure Sky, for the best new adults-only hotel
  3. Parker Palm Springs, for the best luxury hotel

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.

Helpful Northern California Coast Guides to Plan Your Trip

Northern California Coast Hotel Recommendations

  1. Heritage House Resort & Spa, for the best oceanfront hotel
  2. Mendocino Grove, for the best glamping stay

4. Joshua Tree

16 California Girls' Getaway Weekend Ideas

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.

Helpful Joshua Tree Guides to Plan Your Trip

Joshua Tree Hotel Recommendations

  1. Autocamp Joshua Tree, for the best overall stay
  2. The Bungalows Retreat, for the best private home
  3. The Joshua Tree House, for the best vacation rental

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.

Helpful Central California Guides to Plan Your Trip

Central California Hotel Recommendations

  1. Geneseo Inn, for the best Paso Robles hotel
  2. San Luis Creek Lodge, for the best San Louis Obispo hotel
  3. White Water Cambria, for the best design-for-dollar

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.

Helpful Lake Tahoe Guides to Plan Your Trip

Lake Tahoe Hotel Recommendations

  1. The Coachman, for the best South Lake hotel
  2. Basecamp Tahoe South, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
  3. Desolation Hotel, for the best new South Lake hotel

7. Point Reyes (& Surrounding 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.

Helpful Point Reyes Guides to Plan Your Trip

Point Reyes Hotel Recommendations

  1. Nick’s Cove, for the best waterfront hotel
  2. Olema House, for the best Point Reyes hotel

8. Big Sur

16 California Girls' Getaway Weekend Ideas

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.

Helpful Big Sur Guides to Plan Your Trip

Big Sur Hotel Recommendations

  1. Alila Ventana, for the best all-inclusive resort
  2. Big Sur Lodgefor the best group-friendly stay
  3. Big Sur River Innfor the best budget stay
  4. Glen Oaks Big Sur, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
  5. Post Ranch Inn, for the best luxury hotel

9. Nevada City

The National Exchange Hotel
Image via Booking.com

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.

Nevada City Hotel Recommendation

  1. The National Exchange Hotel, for the best overall hotel

10. Malibu

Travel Guide to Malibu, California

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!

Helpful Malibu Guides to Plan Your Trip

Malibu Hotel Recommendations

  1. The Surfrider Malibu, for the best overall hotel
  2. Malibu Beach Inn, for the best ocean view
  3. Hotel June Malibu, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

11. Ojai

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.

Helpful Ojai Guides to Plan Your Trip

Ojai Hotel Recommendations

  1. The Capri Hotel, for the best overall hotel
  2. Ojai Valley Inn, for the best resort hotel
  3. Ojai Rancho Inn, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

12. Los Alamos

Things to Do in Solvang, California

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.

Helpful Los Alamos Guides to Plan Your Trip

Los Alamos Hotel Recommendations

  1. Alamo Motel, for the best overall hotel
  2. Skyview Los Alamos, for the best design hotel
  3. The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern Auberge Resort, for the best luxury hotel

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.

Helpful San Francisco Guides to Plan Your Trip

San Francisco Hotel Recommendations

  1. San Francisco Proper Hotel, for the best overall hotel
  2. 1 Hotel San Francisco, for the best waterfront hotel
  3. Fairmont San Francisco, for the best luxury hotel

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.

Helpful Santa Barbara Guides to Plan Your Trip

Santa Barbara Hotel Recommendations

  1. Hotel Californian, for the best overall hotel
  2. Palihouse Santa Barbara, for the best downtown hotel
  3. El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, for the best luxury hotel

15. Carmel-by-the-Sea

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.

Helpful Carmel Guides to Plan Your Trip

Carmel Hotel Recommendations

  1. Hotel Carmel, for the best village hotel
  2. Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave, for the best new hotel
  3. Carmel Mission Inn, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

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.

Helpful Guides to Plan Your Trip

Napa Valley Hotel Recommendations

  1. Andaz Napa, for the best downtown hotel
  2. Carneros Inn and Spa, for the best resort stay
  3. Dr Wilkinsons Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs, for the best spa stay

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16 California Girls' Getaway Weekend Ideas

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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