West Coast Girls’ Trip Ideas: 15 Weekend Trips in the Western US For the Mom Who Needs a Getaway!
In previous posts, we established the importance of a mom break and explored various destination choices on the East Coast USA and Europe. Now we will dive into the great destination options for a West coast girls’ trip for the mom looking for a weekend getaway and chance to pamper and recharge herself for the full time job of parenting. But don’t worry, even ladies without children need a break and for those of you who have stumbled upon this post, don’t feel guilty for indulging in a weekend getaway for yourself!
The West Coast of the continental US includes the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. Scattered along the coast you will find plenty of beach destinations and coastal towns, quaint villages with small town charm, culture, history, art, outdoor adventure, and night life! No matter how you choose to have fun and recharge yourself, there is something for everyone on the West Coast!
San Diego, California
If you are looking for the perfect combination of a beach and city getaway for your West Coast weekend girls’ trip, San Diego should be one of your top choices! You can experience waves, sand in your toes, sunbathing, culture, spa days, night life, and even tequila tasting!
For some relaxation, visit Balboa Park where you can enjoy a stroll or bike ride through the park, a picnic lunch, and enjoy views of the many gardens found in the park. While in Balboa Park you will want to visit the colorful Spanish Village to view some local artwork and find unique, handcrafted items.
Visit a day spa to recharge and reenergize yourself while enjoying full body massages, body scrubs, facials, saunas, and whatever else will refresh you! San Diego has plenty of spa options to choose from. Spa at the Del offers a private pool to relax in, facials, and massages. SpaTerre at the Kona Kai Resort features massage chairs and exotic treatments including Thai Herbal Therapy and aromatherapy with medicinal herbs.
The San Diego Tequila Tour will take you to Rockin’ Baja Lobster, Old Town Tequila Factory, and El Agave Tequileria where you can taste unique tequila drinks while snacking on tortilla chips and salsa. Visit Old Town San Diego, aka the birthplace of California, for history museum, live music, and tasty treats.
For those looking to enjoy the Pacific Ocean, check out Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores & Cove, or Coronado City Beach. San Diego’s Mission Beach boardwalk is the perfect choice if you are looking for some waves and entertainment, while Coronado City Beach will give you a little bit quieter of an atmosphere. For a little bit more adventure check out Coronado’s bike and kayak tours or La Jolla Kayak Tours.
If you are up for some spooks tour the Whaley House Museum. For some nightlife be sure to visit Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego, where you will find 16 blocks of nightclubs, rooftop bars, live music and dancing, and mouthwatering restaurants.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State has a unique experience to offer visitors no matter the season, so it should be considered for your West Coast weekend girls’ trip any time of year! Visit in the spring/summer for some hiking and wild flowers, visit in the fall for stunning fall foliage, or visit in winter for some skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hikes. Mount Rainier National Park encompasses 240,000 acres of forest with one of the main features being Mount Rainier, a 14,411 feet volcano.
For some scenic views, take a scenic drive along the White Pass or Chinook Scenic Byway or ride the Mt. Rainier Gondolas. The gondolas take you up 2,400 ft. to the summit, where you will be greeted by stunning views of the surrounding area.
For some shorter day hikes, check out the Nisqually Vista hike, Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail, or the Sourdough Ridge Trail. If you and the girls are up for more of a challenge, hike the Skyline Trail to Paranorma Point, the Tolmie Peak Trail, the Mount Freemont Lookout Trail, or the Green Lake Trail. If you are a waterfall chaser, be sure to visit Christine Falls, Myrtle Falls, Carter Falls, and Narada Falls which are easily reached with a short hike.
With all the hiking to be done in Mount Rainier National Park, you are sure to build up an appetite. Visit the Summit House, which is reached on the gondola ride, for fresh salads, soups, pastas, pizza, and chili. Or enjoy a Sunday brunch at the Paradise Inn Dining Room with stunning views of Mount Rainier in the background.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur, California is the perfect West Coast area for a girls’ weekend road trip. Big Sur is a 90 mile stretch along the Pacific coast extending from Carmel southward to San Simeon. The total drive is about two hours, but if you take advantage of all the lookouts and stop points you can easily spend a weekend there.
The best route along the Big Sur is North to West, so a start in Camel is your best option. Carmel-By-the-Sea is a small, charming costal village with lots of local shops and restaurants. While in Carmel you can also hit the beach or visit the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo, a restored Roman Catholic mission church.
As you begin your journey you will want to stop at the Point Lobos State Natural Preserve. Here you will find great views of the Pacific Ocean, sealions bathing in the sun, Cypress Groves, and many points of interest, including Bird Island, Whaler’s Cabin, and Devil’s Cauldron. Next, the Garrapata State Park Bluff Trail will take you along the cliff edges and step down to Garrapata State Beach a couple miles down the road.
The Bixby Creek Bridge is one of the most popular stops along Big Sur. There are pull off areas where you can stop for that instagrammable photo. The Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will be next with plenty of opportunity for short hikes, such as the Pfeiffer Falls Trail or longer hikes, such as the Mt. Manuel Trail. A short drive from there will take you to the purple sands of Pfeiffer Beach. McWay Falls will be another must visit stop where you can get great views of the unique waterfall spilling into the ocean.
The best (and cheapest) way to spend a night in Big Sur is by camping or glamping. Treebones Resort offers camping, yurts, and luxury tents. Big Sur Campground & Cabins offers a selection of camping sites and cabins. For a price you can find indoor accommodations at the Post Ranch Inn or find some more affordable options at the Big Sur Lodge.
Orange County, California
Orange County is a region on the Southern California coast that is known for its theme parks and surfing beaches. For thrill seekers, Orange County should be considered for your West Coast weekend girls’ trip.
Orange County is home to Disneyland, a place for not only the young but also the young at heart. Enjoy your mom’s weekend away by riding Disney thrill rides Splash Mountain and Space Mountain, try some of Disney’s irresistible tasty treats, and meet your favorite childhood characters! As an alternative visit Knott’s Berry Farm, another well known theme park in the area or Knott’s Soak City, a waterpark.
Huntington Beach is one of the best stops for surfing, sunbathing, and sunset viewing. The Salt Creek Beach Park is another great option for catching some waves. Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot for relaxing and enjoying the waves crashing against the shore.
For some beautiful architecture and history visit the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Stroll Laguna Beach for art galleries, art festivals if you are visiting at the right time of year, and live entertainment. During low tide visit the tide pools at Laguna Beach to see them full of all sorts of sea life. Visit Laguna Coast Wilderness Park for hiking options, wild life viewing, horseback riding, or bike riding.
Enjoy some unique and local beers on an OC brewery tour or spend an afternoon shopping at Old Towne Orange. When the sun goes down you can get out and enjoy music, live entertainment, dancing, and drinks at one of OC’s many nightclubs and bars.
San Juan Islands, Washington
The San Juan Islands are a set of four islands (Lopez, Shaw, San Juan, and Orcas) located off the coast of Washington State. All four of the San Juan Islands can be reached via ferry from the town of Anacortes. The most popular and most adventurous of the islands are San Juan Island and Orcas Island.
On San Juan Island you can enjoy a seaplane tour, moped rental and tour, ride the Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley, visit Lime Kiln State Park and view the Lime Klin Lighthouse, enjoy a picnic lunch in front of the Cattle Point Lighthouse, go biking at American Camp and English Camp, go kayaking in the San Juan channel, hike to the summit of Mount Young, go shopping in Friday Harbor, or go scuba diving in the waters surrounding San Juan Island.
Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, but is much quieter than San Juan Island. On Orcas Island, be sure to visit Orcas Village where you will find some small shops and a cidery. Hike or drive to the top of Mount Constitution for some stunning views of the surrounding areas, including views of Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park in the distance. Go waterfall chasing and hiking in Moran State Park or go kayaking or paddle boarding on one of Orcas Island’s two lakes.
Enjoy some wine tasting at Madrone Cellars & Ciders or the Friday Harbor Chocolates Tasting Room on San Juan Island or the Orcas Island Winery on Orcas Island. Both San Juan Island and Orcas Island are home to spas to fulfill all your relaxation and rejuvenating needs. Get out on the water and enjoy some wild life on either San Juan Island or Orcas Island with a whale watching excursion.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a well known city sitting on the coast of California, well known for the Golden Gate Bridge and the remaining Victorian style homes.
A West Coast weekend girls’ trip to San Francisco must include a ride on the iconic San Francisco cable car, a walk (or drive) along the most crooked street in the world (Lombard Street), a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge park to see the world famous Golden Gate Bridge, and a stop to snap an instagram worthy image on the tiled stairs in the Sunset District. For those interested in the darker side of San Francisco’s history take a trip to Alcatraz Island.
For some relaxation enjoy a picnic lunch in Alamo Square Park and take in views of the Painted Ladies, some of San Francisco’s colorful Victorian homes. Spend an afternoon being pampered, relaxing in the sauna, and taking in floor to ceiling views of the San Francisco skyline at the Nob Hill Spa.
Spend some time walking Pier 39, viewing the sealions, enjoying waterfront views, visit some of San Francisco’s quirky attractions like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, Madame Tussaud’s, and grab some fresh seafood. If you are looking to enjoy some of San Francisco’s local food enjoy the Local Tastes of the City Tour. If you’re a Disney fan, be sure to visit the The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Enjoy some shopping at the Embarcadero District, Union Square, or Hayes Valley. When the sun goes down experience San Francisco’s nightlife by bar hopping along Valencia Street, Polk Street, or the Marina.
If you’re looking for a city getaway on the West Coast of Oregon, Portland may be the stop for you! Enjoy views of the iconic St Johns Bridge from below at Cathedral Park or walk across on the pedestrian sidewalk. Hop aboard the Portland Aerial Tram for views of downtown Portland. Stroll the International Rose Garden or the Japanese Garden for a relaxing experience filled with dozens of colorful flower species.
Enjoy an underground walking tour and walk through the Shanghai Tunnels where illegal smuggling once took place. Get outdoors and enjoy some hiking through Washington Park or Forest Park. Join a guided tour of the Columbia River Gorge or visit on your own for some hiking and waterfall viewing.
Visit the Saturday Market (open Saturdays and Sundays) for fresh food and local, handmade arts & crafts. Catch a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Clinton Street Theater. Visit a unique bookstore at Powell’s City of Books.
For art lovers, visit the Portland Art Museum or the various galleries in the Pearl District and Old Town. Get out on the water and enjoy a Booze Cruise on a 14 passenger pedal powered boat. For some more liquor tasting visit Distillery Row where you will find 12 unique distilleries. For a tasty treat visit Voodoo Donuts for some unique donut flavors or visit Cartlandia for some tasty food truck meals.
For some night time fun you can enjoy some dancing, karaoke, bowling, and drinks at Dig a Pony, Holocene, White Owl Social Club, or the Goodfoot Pub & Lounge. Visit Old Town Chinatown on a weekend night when the streets are closed off to traffic and the streets come alive with music, dancing, and celebration!
Palm Springs, California
For a weekend getaway involving hot springs, shopping, spas, and nature California’s Spa City may be the answer for you! A trip to Palm Springs will give you plenty of options for relaxing and soaking in the many mineral hot springs believed to have healing powers.
Choose from Palm Spring’s spas, the Azure Spa, Estrella Spa, or Two Bunch Palms Spa, for a day of self care. Visit nearby Desert Hot Springs and explore the many hot and cold water mineral springs where you can soak in pools and jacuzzis after enjoying a massage and delicious cocktail.
For the outdoor gang, enjoy some stunning views of the Coachella Valley on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, hike to the Tahquitz Waterfall nestled within the Tahquitz Canyon, visit nearby Joshua Tree National Park, or explore desert plants at the Moorten Botanical Gardens.
Enjoy an eco tour through the Coachella Valley and enjoy desert views, canyons, rock formations, and more! Go for a hike at the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons or at the Thousand Palms Oasis. For a unique view of the Coachella Valley enjoy a hot air balloon ride. Head out to the desert on a sunset tour for some seclusion and magnificent views.
If you enjoy museums and art, visit the Cabazon Cultural Museum, Allan Pitchko Art Galleries, Backstreet Art District Art Walk, or the Palm Springs Art Museum. You can catch some live entertainment at the Annenberg Theater. If golfing is your thing you will find over 100 championship-level golf courses in the area. For some shopping visit the Shops on El Paseo or along Palm Canyon Drive. You can also find plenty of night life options in Palm Springs, from casinos to night clubs and bars.
Located in Eastern Oregon, Joseph is a city featuring plenty of outdoor expeditions, natural beauty, adventure, shopping, and culture! Although you won’t find access to the Pacific Ocean, there is much to be adored and admired on a west coast weekend girls’ trip to Joseph.
For some outdoor adventure, Joseph is known for its whitewater rafting adventures. You can join one of many tours with Winding Waters River Expeditions. Joseph is also home to miles of excellent mountain biking trails. Visit Wallowa Lake State Park for some outdoor fun-swimming, kayaking, and paddle boating. Take a ride on the Wallowa Lake Tram for stunning views of Wallowa Lake and enjoy a nice meal at the Summit Grill.
Go horseback riding or hiking at the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area or for a unique experience take a ride on the Joseph Brach Rail railriders through Wallowa Valley. You can also hike your way to one of the many lakes in Joseph and the surrounding area, including Maxwell Lake, Mirror Lake, Brownie Basin, LaGore Lake, and Copper Creek Basin. If visiting in the summer and looking for a place to cool off visit the Blue Hole, which can be accessed from the Indian Crossing Trailhead.
Go shopping for some local fresh food and handmade arts & crafts at the Wallowa Valley Farmers Market every Saturday or stroll downtown Joseph for cute local shops and boutiques. Stop at Arrowhead Chocolates for some chocolatey treats, coffee, and tea. Visit the Stein Distillery in downtown Joseph for whiskey tasting or Embers Brewhouse for food and local brews.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
For wine lovers, the Willamette Valley wine region is one destination you should consider for your west coast girls’ weekend trip with over 600 wineries in the region. Willamette Valley is a 150 mile long valley stretching from Portland Southward to Eugene.
A wine tasting tour, either self planned or guided, is a given when visiting Willamette Valley. Some of the must visit wineries in the region include Willamette Valley Vineyards, Eyrie Vineyards, and the Domaine Serene Winery.
Aside from wine tasting, a stay at the Allison Inn & Spa can make your trip complete. The inn features a full spa with massages, facials, manicures, & pedicures, a sculpture garden, and an onsite restaurant. For art lovers visit the areas many art museums, including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the Mid-Willamette Valley Art Trail.
A visit to Silver Falls State Park will give you the opportunity to hike, camp, go horseback riding, and view Silver Falls. If you’re a bike rider go for a ride along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway or follow the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Grants Pass is a city located in Southern Oregon near the Rouge River. Grants Pass is a great West Coast weekend girls’ trip option for an outdoor escape combined with art and culture.
Grants Pass offers plenty of water activities. Hop aboard one of Hellgate Jetboat Excursions‘ tours for a thrilling time on Rogue River or choose from many tour companies for a rafting experience on the river. Another way to experience Rouge River is by walking the pedestrian bridge at Reinhart Park.
See the beautiful Rainie Falls after a moderate 3.7 mile hike or choose from trails of all levels for a hike at Cathedral Hills. Go ziplining at Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure. Visit nearby Oregon Caves National Monument for a unique tour of the cave system.
If visiting in season, be sure to stop at Lavender Fields Forever and stroll through fields of bright purple lavender and stop for a photo op. Explore a real life ghost town, Golden, which was once a mining town home to over 100 residents.
For art lovers visit the Grants Pass Museum of Art or catch a live performance at the Barnstormers Theatre or Rogue Theatre. Visit Glass Forge to see stunning works or art and watch glass blowing live. Go wine tasting along the Applegate Wine Trail, featuring 19 local and distinct wineries. Shop downtown Grants Pass for the many local boutique shops and antique stores.
Bandon, Oregon is one of the best west coast weekend girls’ trip destinations for relaxation with less crowds and a slower pace than some of Oregon’s coastal towns.
For some scenic views visit the Coquille River Lighthouse or drive the Beach Loop Drive to some well known rock formations, including Face Rock, Elephant Rock, and Wizard’s Hat. Walk along the beach and view the tide pools full of sea life. Go horseback riding along the beach with Bandon Beach Riding Stables.
Bandon is known for its fishing, crabbing, and clamming, so why not try your hand at it while visiting? You can visit a local fishing shop to get supplies and training. If visiting in early September, check to see if the Cranberry Festival will be going on, where you could enjoy live entertainment, cranberry eating contests, dancing, artisans, and delicious food!
Stroll the streets of Old Town for shopping at unique boutiques, local shops, and art galleries or take a walk along the Coquille River boardwalk for fresh air and wild life viewing. View some local art at the Second Street Gallery or Art By the Sea.
Instead of wine tasting, go “sweets tasting” at The Cranberry Sweets & More Store. The store has a wide variety of selections, including Key Lime Tea cookies, Beer & Cider Candies, Cranberry Walnut fudge, and flavored jelly beans, popcorn, and toffee’s. If you prefer some ice cream or gourmet cheeses visit the Face Rock Creamery. Visit Tony’s Crab Shack for their crab sandwich or the Bandon Fish Market where you will find a wide selection of fish.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
With four miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean, Cannon Beach makes for the perfect sun and sand West Coast weekend girls’ trip getaway. Located on the coast of Oregon, this small seaside city is known for Haystack Rock and the nearby tidal pools, it’s section of the North Coast food tour, state parks, and shopping! For the outdoor enthusiast you can find hikes, biking, water sports, and Cannon Beach Walking Tours!
If your main reason for visiting Cannon Beach is the water, be sure to visit Ecola State Park. Your visit will start with a drive through the Ecola State Park rain forest that will take you to the beachfront with stunning views of Haystack Rock and the coastline. Within the park you can find hiking trails, views of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, and spots for bird and whale watching. Throughout the park you can find plenty of tide pools full of sea life.
Many of Cannon Beach’s restaurants are featured on the North Coast Food Tour, including Ecola Seafoods, Sea Level Bakery, Public Coast Brewing, MacGregor’s Whiskey Bar and Restaurant, and even a cooking school, EVOO Cooking School, where you can learn to make a new tasty dish!
Although you won’t find any chain stores in Cannon Beach, you can find plenty of small, local specialty shops, boutiques, and galleries that the small city is well known for. You can find everything from regionally designed fashion, handcrafted jewelry, unique wines, and locally made art pieces. You will also find an old fashioned candy shop in town with taffy, hand dipped chocolate, and plenty of candy jars!
Olympic National Park, Washington
If your perfect idea of a West Coast weekend girls’ trip is a retreat into nature, Olympic National Park should be on your list of options! Olympic National Park, sitting on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, is home to a wide range of ecosystems, from a rainforest, waterfalls, beaches, and mountains, there is something for any outdoor lover to enjoy!
When visiting Olympic National Park, be sure to visit the Hoh Rain Forest to see stunning moss covered trees. Tracking down some of the largest trees in the country are worth the effort when visiting Olympic National Park. You can find the largest Sitka spruce in the country at 191 ft., the tallest Pacific silver fir at 220 ft., and the largest Douglas fir at 281 ft.
Spend the day at one of Olympic National Park’s beaches, such as Kalaloch Beach or Shi Shi Beach, for tide pool viewing, wild life viewing, high bluffs, and some stunning Pacific Ocean views. You can also find some water sports-kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding on Olympic National Park’s two lakes.
Olympic National Park has plenty of hiking options of all difficulties. For some easy hikes check out the Hoh Rain Forest Hall of Moss, Staircase Rapids Loop, or the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail. For some more difficult hikes check out the Grand Pass Trail, the Switchback Trail, or the Sunrise Ridge Trail. For waterfall chasers hike to Sol Duc Falls or Marymere Falls. Visit the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and soak in their three mineral hot springs pools.
You can expect to run into some wildlife while exploring the park, from deer and elk to cougars and bears. Throughout the park you will also find some spots along the The Whale Trail, where you may get lucky enough to spot these majestic creatures off the coast. For a unique and mesmerizing experience choose to camp overnight in the park. When the sun goes down the sky will come to life as billions of stars come aglow.
This small town situated at the mouth of the Columbia River is full of natural beauty, history, shopping, and fun! Begin your trip in Downtown Astoria, where you can find loads of local shops and breweries. Enjoy stunning views of the Columbia River along the Astoria Riverwalk as you walk past ports, lighthouses, ferries, and more!
For some stunning views of Astoria, climb to the top of the Astoria Column, a historic monument honoring the original settlers of the area. For some relaxation stroll the gardens, ponds, and statues at Garden of Surging Waves. If you are interested in the history of the area visit Fort Astoria or Fort Stevens State Park. A visit to the Astoria Sunday Market will have you enjoying hundreds of local vendors and tastes from around the world.
Visit the Clatsop Spit, an area of jagged black rocks along the beach known for its shipwrecks. Visit the Painted Lady Lavender Farm and stroll through fields of purple as far as the eye can see. Enjoy a secluded hike to Youngs River Falls.
If you and your girls are a fan of the Goonies, Astoria is home to many Goonies’ film locations, including the County Jail, bowling alley, Lower Columbia Bowl, Cannon Beach, many of the character homes, and more!
After a long day exploring visit the Astoria Aquatic Center to soak in some hot tubs. You can also find plenty of breweries to visit in Astoria, such as the Fort George Brewery or the Buoy Beer Company.
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