Girls Getaways are always a lot of fun. You get to reconnect and catch up with friends from childhood and college, and bond deeper with newfound friends. However your group dynamic might look like, girls getaways are great for the soul and can be squeezed into a weekend or become a week-long adventure with your best friends.
California is one of the most versatile states in the USA and offers lots of entertainment and relaxation options for your group. Whether you are after nature, snow, heat, beach days or sipping wine in Napa, California has it all!
We rounded up our 15 best California Girls Getaways to inspire your next adventure with your girls!
There’s no denying that Joshua Tree National Park is located in an incredible and astonishing part of California. A little off the beaten track, this park is about two hours east of Los Angeles. Here you’ll find the famed Joshua Trees, close to the cactus-dotted Colorado and the Mojave Desert overlooking the Coachella Valley.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Joshua Tree
- Enjoy the breathtaking nature by going for a hike or stargaze to spot the Milky Way
- Go thrifting for Mexican blankets, folk art and mid-century collectibles at multiple shops like Starlite Courtyard, Hoof and the Horn and Pioneer Crossing
- Explore Pioneertown to experience a live-in motion picture set developed for actors and crew. Perfect to enjoy beer, music and line dancing!
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Joshua Tree
Palm Springs is an excellent place for a getaway and city break for you and your girls. Lounging by the pool, relaxing in a spa or going on a shopping spree. Surrounded by mountains and in the vicinity to Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs is perfect for a weekend escape!
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Palm Springs
- Ride the gondola via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and enjoy the view looking out over Coachella Valley. Once you reach the top you can hike various trails, all of them quite easy and flat
- Hike to a waterfall oasis at Tahquitz Canyon
- Take a sunset jeep tour to San Andreas Canyon
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Palm Springs
Death Valley National Park
California has no shortage of beautiful national parks, but a truly special and quirky one that you must check out is Death Valley National Park. After a mere 24-hour visit to this strange place in the northern Mojave Desert with its harsh desert climate, unique history, and varying topography, it makes for a truly unique Girls Getaway.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Death Valley National Park
- Explore Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America
- Overlook Death Valley from Dante’s View
- Sandboard in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- Bonus Tip: If your girls getaway is to Las Vegas you can book a day tour to Death Valley from the city so you get two getaways destinations instead of just one!
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Death Valley National Park
Santa Monica and Venice
Santa Monica and Venice might be some of the most well-known places in all of California. Thanks to TV shows and pop culture references, these trendy areas are worth a visit.
Visit some of the trendy rooftop bars and restaurants in Santa Monica’s nicest hotels overlooking the water, or spend a day having fun at the Santa Monica Pier.
Head to Venice to meet free-spirited art lovers, street performers, skaters and exercise fanatics working out at Muscle Beach’s outdoor gym. Stroll the boardwalk or explore the many funky shops – you won’t get bored here!
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Santa Monica and Venice
- Stroll along the boardwalk and Santa Monica Pier, then hire bikes and cycle from Santa Monica to Venice
- Wander around the Venice canals and discover the quieter side of Venice
- Take a trapeze or surfing class
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Santa Monica and Venice
Considered one of the jewels along the famous Highway 1, Santa Barbara sits right at the Pacific ocean with Santa Ynez mountains making for a dramatic backdrop. The city has a Spanish colonial heritage, which is reflected in the many Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs downtown.
Browse upscale boutiques and enjoy fresh seafood and local wine at one of the many restaurants along the boardwalk or in the city.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Santa Barbara
- Go wine tasting along the cities Urban Wine Trail
- Board a sunset cruise or a sunset kayak tour
- Go horseback riding on the beach
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Santa Barbara
- The Wayfarer My personal favourite hotel, this is a fun young hotel that also offers guided beer crawls and an excellent shared kitchen so you can save some money by cooking for yourself.
- Spanish Garden Inn
- Hideaway Santa Barbara
Set in a valley surrounded by Topatopa Mountains, Ojai is a popular recreational area with a village-like town center.
Full of art galleries, Ojai is a tourism destination known for hiking, spiritual retreats and its farmers’ market of local agriculture. Home of the biggest olive oil orchard in Southern California and lots of vineyards, Ojai has lots of cultural (and tasty) offerings.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Ojai
- Explore art galleries in downtown Ojai and follow this up with some wine tasting
- Kayak on Lake Casitas
- Spend the morning doing a yoga session, then rent bikes to see all of Ojai’s beauty in the afternoon and hike up to Meditation mount to watch the sunset
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Ojai
- Ojai Valley Inn
- Ojai Rancho Inn – My personal favourite place to stay as it is affordable, quaint and has hot tubs in the bedrooms! Plus, there is a large swimming pool, a cosy bar and an outdoor area with a firepit to toast some marshmallows and enjoy an evening with your girlfriends.
- Su Nido Inn
- The Emerald Iguana Inn
Napa and Healdsburg
Girls’ trips and wine go together like California and good weather – a non-negotiable. That’s why Napa and Sonoma Valley are a hugely popular area for girls getaways, and for good reason.
Sipping delicious local wines from the never-ending wineries while looking out over the valley’s rolling hills is something so peaceful and beautiful to experience with your group. If you have had your fill of wine, there are plenty of other things to do in Napa as well!
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Napa and Healdsburg
- Discover Oxbow Public Market
- Take a once in a lifetime flight and board a hot air balloon to see this beautiful part of California from the sky!
- All aboard Napa Valley’s wine train, taking you to some of Napa’s best wineries
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Napa and Healdsburg
Driving on Highway 1 is a bucket-list item for many, and it is not hard to see why. Beautiful coastline views on one side, rugged mountains on the other.
One of the most beautiful stretches on Highway 1 with steep seaside cliffs and winding turns is around Big Sur. Though sparsely populated, the area makes for excellent camping and hiking opportunities.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Big Sur
- Visit Piedra Blancas elephant seal rookery
- Hike to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the McWay Falls
- Grab some local wine and book a luxury glamping experience with your girls for a night or two
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Big Sur
- Fernwood Resort This is my favourite spot since you can choose between motel rooms (with hot tubs on the balcony), adventure tents (think a comfy glamping experience) and forest cabins – so there is something for everyone in your group. There is also an onsite shop and cosy bar and restaurant.
- Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort
- Big Sur Lodge
San Francisco is considered one of the most beautiful cities in North America. Its vast mix of things to do makes it suitable for everyone.
The hilly neighbourhoods and lots of classic American sightseeing spots like Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge or the Painted Ladies (made popular by TV show Full House) make it an excellent city for exploring.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In San Francisco
- Play tourist by joining a hop-on/hop-off bus tour. I personally thought this was such a great way to get around SF, we had hired a car but parking is expensive and we didn’t want to bother with that around the city. Plus taking the bus meant we could stop for a glass of rose at each stop!
- Take in city views by taking a daytime or twilight cruise through San Francisco Bay
- Free your inner child and go to House of Air, an adult-only trampoline park after 6 pm
Our Favourite Places To Stay In San Francisco
Orange County – Newport Beach and Laguna Beach
Often considered the heart of Southern California, Orange County is home to several reality TV shows, Disneyland and miles of sand along the coastline. Newport and Laguna Beach, in particular, are excellent for relaxing beach days and a huge selection of resorts to make your spa vacation complete.
My husband lived in Newport Beach for a few years and we loved spending days at the beach, on the peninsula and wandering around Balboa Island.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Newport Beach and Laguna Beach
- Take a surfing class at Newport Beach or hire paddleboards
- Hire a Duffy for the day and take a picnic and some bottles of prosecco for the perfect day on the water
- Explore Crystal Cove State Park with its sloping hills and inland canyons
- Bonus Tips: Shop at Fashion Island, enjoy a bottomless brunch at Woodys or American Junkie on the peninsula, stroll around Balboa Island and hit the beach to watch surfers surf The Wedge, go on a whale-watching cruise.
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Newport Beach/Laguna Beach
- Surf and Sand Resort This is my favourite hotelin Laguna Beach. The interiors of the rooms are beautiful and you are situated overlooking the beach and can catch the most beautiful sunsets.
- Balboa Bay Resort
- Inn at Laguna Beach
Known for its pristine beaches, parks and perfect weather year-round, San Diego has something to offer for everyone.
Whether you feel like a quiet beach getaway, nights out dancing, or going on one of the many beautiful hiking trails, the choice is yours. Close to both Los Angeles and the Mexican border, San Diego is the perfect quick getaway for you and your girls.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In San Diego
- Explore the Gaslamp Quarter, known for its many wining and dining options
- Visit Belmont Park’s historic, 95-year old amusement park
- Spend the day out on the water on a whale watching cruise
Our Favourite Places To Stay In San Diego
Unlike some of the other getaways mentioned, Avila Beach is a rather small beach town and perfect for a rejuvenating trip away.
Located on the coast of California, it is right off Highway 1, about an hour north of Santa Barbara. Similar to other Californian getaways destinations, you will find plenty of activities around hiking and vineyards here.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Avila Beach
- Hike or bicycle the Bob Jones City To Sea Trail
- Soak in the Avila Hot Springs
- Spend the afternoon at Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards where you can listen to live music, enjoy wine flights and play corn hole
- Bonus Tip: Head to Avila Valley Barn to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, cakes and more for your girls getaway weekend and then use these for a picnic on the beach at the end of the Bob Jones City to Sea trail.
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Avila Beach
- Sycamore Mineral Springs I loved this hotel, especially since we booked a room with a hot tub on the terrace! You can also book one of the hillside hot tubs or hire the Oasis Waterfall Lagoon for your group to enjoy in private.
- Avila La Fonda Hotel
Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is a small city in Southern California and sits next to – you guessed it – Big Bear Lake. With plenty of cozy lodges surrounded by mountains, this area is perfect for a nature and wilderness adventure retreat. Learn how to ski or snowboard at Bear Mountain ski resort or shop in boutiques for souvenirs.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Big Bear
- Fasten up and go ziplining with Action Tours California
- Explore the cozy Big Bear Lake Village
- Rent ATV’s and zoom around Big Bear Lake
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Big Bear
Yosemite National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful area in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Famed for free climbing the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, Yosemite is a paradise for thrill seekers. If risking your life isn’t your thing, Yosemite village has plenty of shops, restaurants, art galleries and a museum to keep you and your girls busy.
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Yosemite
- Rent bikes to explore all of Yosemite’s beauty
- Hike in Yosemite Valley
- Climb Half Dome
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Yosemite
Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is known for its wineries and olive groves.
Located in Central California, Paso Robles makes a good alternative to Napa and Sonoma Valley’s vineyards. It doesn’t only have a ravishing wine scene, but also have great craft beer and cider tastings!
Top 3 Girls Getaways Activities In Paso Robles
- Take a brewery tour and try local craft beers and ciders
- Go olive oil tasting at Alta Cresta
- Visit Ravine waterpark
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Paso Robles
Bonus! Best of Everything – Highway 1 Roadtrip
Driving on Highway 1 is an unforgettable road trip one should take at least once in their lifetime. A popular route connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, this road trip is filled with beautiful coastline views of the Pacific on one side, rugged mountains and small oceanside towns on the other.
While Highway 1 and the 101 freeway connect the entire west coast from Seattle all the way down to San Diego, most people only drive the part from Los Angeles to San Francisco. There is a direct interstate route (which would take about 5.5 hours), but the scenic route should be a no-brainer.
Since the scenic route involves winding your way down the coast, the total driving time is closer to 14 hours, taking in considering all planned and unplanned stops, so plan around 5-7 days for this road trip.
It is up to you where you start but do keep in mind that if you’re heading north, the ocean will be on your left side. If you’re heading south, it will be on your right side.
Stops you should definitely make are Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, and Malibu. There will be plenty more on the way, so pull over and plan a few extra hours to hike and explore!
While this area offers excellent camping sites, there are also a variety of great hotels available all along the route.
Places To Stay:
For more in-depth details of this road trip, have a read of our Highway 1 Road Trip article.
We hope that this article has inspired you to go on a California Girls Getaway! If you have any questions or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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