Solo Vacations in California: the Best Destination Inns for Traveling Alone
Traveling alone can be a gift. It provides the freedom to choose where you want to go and what you want to do. You can follow your heart and set your own pace for a compromise-free vacation that can introduce you to new places, new experiences, and new people. Whether you’re looking for some time alone for self-care and quiet reflection or just want to explore someplace new, we’ve compiled some great destinations in California for solo travelers.
Inn of the Lost Coast
If you’re searching for a secluded piece of paradise to relax and explore, the Inn of the Lost Coast is an idyllic choice. Nestled in the tiny fishing village of Shelter Cove, the inn stands on a cliff overlooking the ocean and is surrounded by rugged terrain, black sand beaches, and unparalleled scenic beauty. Spend your days hiking uncrowded beaches, exploring tide pools at low tide, and watching marine life play in the waters. Treat yourself to a few beers on tap at California’s most remote brewery, Gyppo Ale Mill, and enjoy authentic Venezuelan dishes at Mi Mochima. After a day exploring the Lost Coast, retire to your room with its own private balcony and a front row seat to the most stunning sunsets. Upgrade to a spa room to enjoy your own sauna and spa tub while the waves crash against the shoreline below.
Inn at Moonlight Beach
Just north of San Diego, indulge in the warm sunshine and self-care at the world’s first WELL Certified hotel. The Inn at Moonlight Beach is a tranquil retreat for solo travelers offering an array of packages designed to help you celebrate yourself. The WELL Loved Me package is a particularly dreamy choice. The package includes a 60-minute Signature Moonlight massage, pre-arrival clearing of the room with a choice of sage, copal, or palo santo, a bottle of bubbly with champagne flutes and strawberries upon arrival, a charcuterie plate, cheese plate, or vegan plate, organic dark chocolate with seasonal fruit, a fresh herb flower bouquet from the inn’s biodynamic farm, a medicinal flower and herb tea bath, and complimentary late checkout. The inn is located just a short walk from Moonlight State Beach as well as the shops, cafes, and yoga studios in downtown Encinitas.
The Redwood Riverwalk
Take a solo road trip to Humboldt County to wander the hushed trails through ancient redwood forests and savor some alone time. Centrally located to Redwood National and State Parks (including the famed Avenue of the Giants), Victorian villages, art galleries, dairy farms, beaches, and more, The Redwood Riverwalk is a great roadside lodging choice just off Highway 101 in Fortuna. The independent, small-scale motel is staffed by locals who pride themselves on providing personalized recommendations for what to see and do. The walls of the motel showcase local art from contributing artists depicting Humboldt’s landscapes and culture. The motel also features virtual check-in, rooms along open-air corridors, an outdoor courtyard with picnic tables that are lit by string lights at night, and a fenced pet area for four-legged traveling companions. The motel is just a block from the local brewery and the Fortuna Riverwalk along the Eel River.
Volcano Union Inn
Deep in the heart of Amador County, the tiny village of Volcano (population 100) is a quiet place for a personal retreat. Founded during the Gold Rush, the town exudes Old West charm with quaint shops and restaurants. Meandering country roads lead to nearby Chaw Se Indian Grinding Rock State Park, Black Chasm Cavern, and Daffodil Hill, which bursts into bloom every spring. Housed in an 1880’s saloon and boarding house, Volcano Union Inn offers four cozy guest rooms built above a restaurant and bar serving elevated pub fare. After the bar closes, the blaze of stars in the sky serves as a nightlight and the crickets will lull you to sleep. In the morning, you’ll be treated to a made-from-scratch breakfast. It’s a place to step back in time and take time to reflect, plan, and be at peace.
Stanford Inn by the Sea
A truly transformative experience awaits solo travelers at this famed eco-resort and wellness haven on the Mendocino coast. Stanford Inn by the Sea offers a wide range of programs in nutrition, plant-based cooking, creativity, meditation, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, Tai Chi, yoga, massage, spa treatments, gardening, and more. An inspiring, light-filled yoga studio feels like a treehouse hideaway, while on-site organic gardens inspire the gourmet, plant-based cuisine at nationally acclaimed Ravens Restaurant. You can book a massage in the forest, paddle an outrigger canoe along Big River, and learn recipes and techniques for transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based diet. The inn’s guest rooms exude a cozy, understated luxury and feature wood-burning fireplaces, hardwood floors with Persian rugs, fine linens, and beautifully crafted furnishings. The resort also offers a heated saltwater swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna housed in a large greenhouse.
The McClelland House
Recently named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of Napa’s newest luxury secrets, The McClelland House in downtown Napa is an indulgent retreat for solo travelers. The newly renovated boutique inn blends old-world grandeur with modern luxury and provides the highest level of personalized service and hospitality. The innkeepers claim that no request is ever too much. You’ll be spoiled with 24-hour concierge service, luxury vehicle chauffeur service anywhere in Napa Valley, and gourmet breakfasts prepared by a chef with the Napa Culinary Institute of America. You can book an onsite massage, unwind in a freestanding soaking tub, or take a cruise on the hotel’s electric bikes up to Yountville or Skyline Park. Downtown Napa’s best restaurants are just two blocks away.
Inn at Playa Del Rey
Solo travelers seeking a private oasis within the bustle of Los Angeles can find serenity at the Inn at Playa Del Rey. The secluded B&B overlooks the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and Marina del Rey and is modeled in the style of a classic New England beach resort. The inn features an array of amenities and access to outdoor activities that are ideal for solo travelers. Airy, casually elegant rooms feature high-end linens, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and designer bath products. For a special splurge, upgraded rooms offer fireplaces, decks, jetted spa tubs, and marina or wetlands views. In the communal spaces, guests can enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, afternoon tea, and cookies, and—if the inclination to socialize strikes—an evening wine hour in the lobby. The inn also provides bikes to borrow for exploring the bike trails and sprawling beaches just blocks away.
If you’re in need of a respite from the city, the Lavender Inn in Ojai offers a relaxing and safe small-town escape less than two hours from Los Angeles. The historic boutique hotel is nestled amid peaceful gardens and is just steps from the boutique shops, galleries, and tasting rooms of downtown Ojai. Stroll through town, set off on a hike or a bike ride, enjoy one-of-a-kind dining experiences, or just cozy up at the inn. Relax in the garden’s private nooks with a good book or treat yourself to a massage outdoors in the private garden gazebo or inside the inn’s day spa. In the evenings, unwind with a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. You’ll return home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
The Casitas of Arroyo Grande
Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco near San Luis Obispo, The Casitas of Arroyo Grande offer great options for solo travelers without ever having to leave the property. The 12-acre estate includes a collection of four casitas (small houses) overlooking vineyards and a verdant hillside. The casitas feature Spanish-style architecture and furnishings, kiva fireplaces, and a full breakfast served on your own private patio each morning. The property also features a heated 25-meter lap pool, bocce ball court, lush gardens, and a mile-long loop walking trail. Wine tasting, antiquing, kayaking, hiking, and guided tours of the elephant seal rookery are all available nearby. As is Hearst Castle, which is slated to reopen soon. The innkeepers can also make recommendations for restaurants with intimate bar seating or carry out if you prefer a fire and a movie in the comfort of your room.
West Cliff Inn
Enjoy a solo seaside retreat to Santa Cruz with a stay at the West Cliff Inn. Housed in a beautifully renovated 1877 Italianate Victorian, the three-story inn features chic coastal-inspired décor and a wraparound porch with stunning views of the Monterey Bay. Many of the rooms offer gas fireplaces and jetted spa tubs. Some also include private balconies for enjoying the view. You’ll be treated to a delicious breakfast each morning, afternoon wine and cheese, and complimentary bikes for exploring town. You can head out along the bike path to watch the surfers at Steamer Lane or visit the monarch butterflies at Natural Bridges State Park. The inn is also just a stone’s throw to the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz wharf, and Cowell’s Beach. The inn offers beach towels and other gear for enjoying a day on the sand.
In downtown San Luis Obispo, the Hotel Cerro serves up several options for travelers staying single this season. On Sunday, February 13, the hotel is hosting a fabulous Galentine’s Brunch where you can meet up with friends or meet new ones (a benefit of traveling solo). If you’re looking to indulge in some self-care, you can unwind with a massage, facial, or body scrub at the hotel’s onsite spa, Spa Cerro. The hotel’s rooftop pool deck and bar offer an idyllic spot to enjoy craft cocktails and lounge the day away, while the complimentary bikes make it easy to cruise around town. All the guest rooms offer stylish, contemporary interiors, but consider upgrading to a garden suite, which features a private patio with its very own fire bowl. The patios provide a private, relaxing space for enjoying alone time with a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine.