Solo Travel at CINP

The Best California Getaways for First-Time Solo Travelers

When she set out to create her Amazon Prime series, “Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel,” Pamela Holt really wanted to get to the core of solo travel and how it has changed her life, expanded her worldview and given her the confidence she didn’t know she needed in her 40’s, 50’s and beyond. Having traveled to over 90 countries and territories solo, a question she gets a lot from individuals interested in solo travel is, “how do I start?”

While she’ll never say no to an international trip, many people don’t realize the best way to get started with solo travel is right in your backyard. In fact, starting your solo travel journey with some local destinations is a great way to get your feet wet and build your confidence before setting your sights on international travel. Right here in California, we’re blessed to be just a short drive, train or boat ride away from some incredible destinations. Read on to learn more about the top local getaways for first-time solo travelers.

Surfers Point


If you’re a first-time solo traveler, Ventura’s shores are the perfect place to dip your toe into solo travel. Just a short drive from LA, Ventura is a charming beach-side town that’s also home to the X Games Ventura, returning June 27 to June 30. Bring a beach towel and lay out on Ventura’s crowd-free beaches or explore the pedestrian-friendly downtown, lined with cute boutiques and delicious eats. If you’re looking for adventure, go to where the wild things are at the Channel Islands National Park and enjoy outdoor adventure from the mountains to the beach. Consider taking the Pacific Surfliner train from Downtown LA, a great way to add a little extra adventure to your first solo trip. For more inspiration, be sure to check out this solo travel guide to Ventura.


From relaxing beach vibes to state-of-the-art shopping to food, Torrance offers something for each type of solo traveler. Torrance Beach features a 1.5-mile stretch of pristine uncrowded coastline that serves as a starting point for the 22-mile Strand Bike Path. Torrance is also home to one of the largest shopping malls in the United States, the Del Amo Fashion Center. If you love noodles, you’re in luck – Torrance is the ramen capital of Southern California, with many ramen spots to choose from, such as Hakata Ikkousha Ramen, Ramen Yamadaya and Shin-Sen-Gumi. For more inspiration, don’t forget to check out this solo travel guide to Torrance.

Spa at Sec-he palm springs waterfall
The Spa at Séc-he

Greater Palm Springs

If you’re interested in a wellness- and shopping-inspired solo trip, look no further than Greater Palm Springs. Here, you’ll find The Spa at Séc-he, where day spa passes provide you with access to relaxing treatments, a private soak in mineral waters dating back 12,000 years and over 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor facilities. Or, take a walk at Sunnylands Center & Gardens, a 15-acre labyrinth of gardens featuring a rotating art exhibition and café. Lastly, don’t forget to peruse upscale shops and dining options at El Paseo in Palm Desert.


The hiking in Idyllwild is hard to beat and has trails for beginners to experts. If you’re up for a challenge, Devil’s Slide Trail is an 8-mile hike that leads you to serene views of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains. If you’re a beginner, check out Idyllwild Park Trail, a 5-mile that is a must for visitors looking to explore the San Bernardino National Forest. Don’t forget to stop by Mama’s Egg House for some of the best breakfast burritos to fuel up before your hike. If hiking isn’t your thing, Idyllwild is also home to eclectic artists, art galleries and antique shops. Idyllwild is a great destination for a solo travel digital detox.

The-genevieve summer in california
The Genevieve

Santa Ynez Valley

Just a three-hour drive from Los Angeles, Santa Ynez Valley offers six charming towns in one (Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Buellton, Solvang and Ballard). Each of the communities is just a 10- to 20-minute drive from each other so you can experience the old-world Danish charm of Solvang and the wild west charisma of Los Alamos all in one trip. The Santa Ynez Valley has something for every solo traveler – whether its wine tasting (pro tip: hotels like Santa Ynez’s The Genevieve offer wine passports to guests, which give them access to complimentary tastings around the region), good eats (you can’t beat Bob’s Well Bread Bakery for breakfast or Bell’s Los Alamos for dinner), guided hikes, horseback riding, vineyard tours, lavender and olive farm tours, and more.

For more travel inspiration, tune in to Season 2 of “Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel,” now streaming on Amazon and for free on GoTraveler.

Top two images, photo credit: Visit Ventura

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