In 2020, we saw a huge boom in the number of young campervan and RV owners. If you snagged an RV of your own during the pandemic and haven’t hit the road since resuming your normal day-to-day, it’s time to plan a road trip.
Who better to hit the road with than your closest girlfriends? A girls’ weekend road trip is a great way to bond, see the sights, and form lasting memories—and traveling by RV can cost substantially less than booking a weekend in a hotel.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to plan a girls’ getaway in California, one of the most popular states for RV living and RV camping trips.
Whether you want to see Los Angeles or San Francisco, Santa Barbara or San Diego, we’ve got you covered. Read on for all the tips and pointers you’ll need to plan the perfect weekend getaway in a campervan.
RV Camping Trip Tips
Before we talk about destinations to consider, let’s talk about some of the tips you need to know before you hit the road. While camping in an RV or campervan affords some luxuries that a typical camping trip doesn’t, proper preparation is still necessary for a successful trip! Bring these tips up with your friends as you finalize girls’ trip.
Book Your Campground Reservations Early
Many campsites book up quickly, especially those with the amenities you’ll need, like electrical RV hookups. All the campsites we recommend have RV hookups, which means they’re often in high demand. You may want to book as early as six months in advance, especially if traveling at peak camping times for the area.
Don’t Risk an RV Breakdown
If you’re driving your RV over the weekend, make sure to have it checked out by your local mechanic first. The last thing you want is to hit the road only to end up stranded because something is wrong with the engine or discover that your plumbing isn’t working.
When you rent an RV or campervan from Travellers Autobarn, you can rest assured that your vehicle will be safe to drive and equipped for all your camping needs.
Though you will have more space in an RV than in a tent or on a backpacking trip, you should still pack only the essentials. In addition, when you’re taking a group trip, you should communicate about who is bringing what to avoid overpacking. For example, we recommend planning your meals for the weekend and coordinating who will get what.
Make sure you also bring weather-appropriate clothing and outerwear for the projected forecast, checking the weather one last time before you hit the road to ensure you have all of the layers you’ll need for comfortable travel. If you spend long hours hiking or exploring away from the RV, you will also need a comfortable pack that can hold water, snacks, layers, and any other gear you’ll need.
Take Climate Into Consideration
If you’re not a California native, you may not realize how rampant wildfires can be in certain areas of the country. Before selecting a location and date for your camping trip, check wildfire predictions for that area and season. If you’re visiting a place that is often the site of wildfires, like Lake Tahoe, you may want to develop a contingency plan to stay elsewhere in the event of a wildfire.
In addition to fires, you should account for predicted weather. While southern California is comfortable even in winter months, northern California has more distinct seasons.
Places to Go on Your California Girls’ Weekend Road Trip
Now, let’s talk about some popular places that you can visit on a weekend and where to camp. As we mentioned earlier, all of the campsites we recommend are equipped with RV electrical hookups to keep your RV or campervan at peak performance. However, some popular campsites have limited booking periods, so planning in advance is the best way to ensure you can stay at your desired campsite.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the most-visited national parks in the country for good reason. It is best known for its waterfalls (including the Bridal Veil Falls—a great destination for bachelorette parties!), but you will also enjoy giant sequoias, the incredible Half Dome, Glacier Point, and more.
Please be aware that while campgrounds are open to RVs within Yosemite’s protected land, none offer electrical hookups. We recommend Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, located a short five miles from the park’s western entrance. In addition to electrical hookups, this campsite offers flush toilets, laundry facilities, picnicking and BBQ areas, and satellite TV.
If you’re considering a weekend getaway to southern California and the great outdoors aren’t calling your name, consider a trip to Disneyland. A little over 30 minutes from Los Angeles, you can save several hundred dollars that would otherwise be spent on the park’s expensive resort hotels by traveling in a campervan. A park hopper will grant you and your girlfriends’ access to both the original park and California Adventure so that you can make the most of your Disney weekend.
Our campsite recommendation is Anaheim Harbor RV Park, located within walking distance of Disneyland Resorts. In addition to electrical hookups, this campsite offers showers, flush toilets, laundry, and wifi. It also offers a perfect view of Disney’s fireworks shows, making a magical evening outdoors even more magical.
If the driving element of a road trip is your favorite part, consider taking a trip down Highway 1. The entire coastal road stretches from Orange County to Mendocino County, and you can stop in several major cities and parks (hello, Big Sur!) along the way.
Where you stop for the night will depend on how far you intend to travel (and which stretch of the highway you plan to drive), but there are a few campsites we’d be remiss not to mention. These include Seacliff State Beach in Santa Cruz, Carmel-By-the-River RV Park near the Carmel Highlands, and Big Sur Campground.
As long as you avoid the peak heat of the summer, you’ll experience breathtaking views, unique wildlife, and that (mostly bearable) dry heat. If you’re looking for color, go in the spring during the height of wildflower growth. Much of Death Valley can be explored in your RV or on foot, although you’ll want to visit between November and March if you’re looking for a strenuous hike.
The best part about camping trips in Death Valley is that its RV campground, Furnace Creek, is one of the only National Park campgrounds with full electrical hookups. However, it doesn’t have some of the other amenities you might be looking for, like wifi, showers, or laundry services.
If you and your friends are more city gals than wilderness lovers, you’ll be happy to know that San Francisco is a great destination for your girls’ weekend road trip. San Francisco is rich in history, culture, art, and shopping opportunities. Plus, you’ll find a wide range of cuisines to ensure everyone’s taste is satiated.
Whether you plan to surf or not, you won’t want to miss the chance to camp out next to the Pacific Ocean. The San Francisco RV Resort is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean and offers full electrical hookups, wifi, laundry services, showers, and more. Plus, you’ll only be 15 short miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.
When you’re traveling with friends, it’s hard to go wrong with Napa Valley. Napa is one of America’s best destinations for wine lovers, offering tons of wineries, big and small, where you can enjoy wine tasting, learn about wine, and ultimately have a fun and classy vacation. (If not all of your friends are wine lovers, don’t worry—Napa has more to offer than just wine country. It also has great food and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, including hot air balloon rides!)
There’s no better RV campsite in Napa than the RV park at Napa Valley Expo. In addition, historic Downtown Napa, the Oxbow Public Market, and the Napa Valley Wine Train are only a ten-minute walk away, so you won’t have to choose a designated driver for the weekend.
Need an RV Rental? We Can Help
Looking to plan a girls’ weekend road trip in California? We hope our guide has made it easier to pick your destination and find the perfect campsite. We love offering vacation ideas for RV lovers who want to travel in style.
Need an RV rental for your camping trips? We’ve got you covered there, too.
Book now to get the RV or campervan of your dreams. We’ll offer a free quote so you can make an informed decision and meet your vacation budget.
Here are a few more articles you may enjoy!
Top 8 Weekend Road Trips Outside of Las Vegas
10 Weekend Camping Trips Outside of Los Angeles in a Campervan
15 Best Weekend Camping Trips Outside of San Francisco
11 Weekend Road Trips on the West Coast in a Campervan
About the Author
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.