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Gwen in Santa Monica California

Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to California solo travel, all from my California travel, so you plan and book your solo trip to California easily. What are you waiting for?


About California

State of California image
State of California
California State Flag
California state flag

California – “The Golden State”, is the 3rd largest state in the USA and home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the popular destinations: Redwood National Park and Yosemite National Park. Entered into the USA as the 31st state, California’s capital is Sacramento, and its largest city, is Los Angeles.

Other popular California destinations include Joshua Tree National Park, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, San Diego, Disneyland, Sausalito, Muir Woods, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Lake Tahoe. Yes, there are a lot more.

California is known for its beaches, wine, entertainment and music industries, Apple, Google, Facebook, incredible weather, the gold rush of 1849, the end of Route 66, Haight Ashbury, the San Francisco Giants and 49er’s, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, the Grateful Dead (there are too many bands to list), all Hollywood stars, the 5th largest economy in the world, the Getty Museum, the Golden Gate Bridge, more national parks and outdoor spaces, and a national leader in culture and environmental policy making California the best state in the USA. Yes, that’s my opinion.

Hermosa Beach California bicyclists and restaurant

Popular California Activities

California’s weather, mountains, lakes, rivers, expansive coastline, agriculture, wineries, museums and entertainment industries and venues offer some of the best hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, fishing, wildlife and marine life watching, surfing, boating, dining, wine tasting, and cultural, sporting and entertainment events in the USA year-round.

Best Wine Tasting Tours in California


California Holidays

In addition to U.S. holidays, California may observe additional state or local holidays. It may be a good idea to check what state or local holidays they celebrate to see if there are any public service, school, or other closures as this may impact your tourist itinerary, ability to obtain travel or other services, or it could mean more tourists and/or higher prices in your California destination.

Take a few moments to see if there are California holidays to better help you plan California travel.

Fishermans Wharf sign San Francisco

Tipping in California

See tipping guidelines in my USA Travel Guide for tipping in California.

Travel Requirements

U.S. states do not impose additional travel requirements, such as documentation and vaccinations, other than those imposed at the national level. See the USA Travel Guide for all USA travel requirements.

Electronic Requirements

All U.S. state electric outlets require a Type A (two prong) and/or Type B (three prong) adapter. See the USA Travel Guide for electrical requirements in the USA.

Cyber Security While Traveling

Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.

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Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Californian destinations, all from my travel in California, to plan your best California solo travel.

The more I travel in California, the more that gets added to this California Travel Guide. Keep checking back.

San Francisco

FREE Walking Map Download

Download the San Francisco Walking Map PDF for your travel devices.

Best Things to Do in San Francisco

Best Day Trips from San Francisco

I traveled California in 2022 with which I will provide more on San Francisco as well as the following California destinations. Until I write about these, here are my recommended things to do in each California destination.

Sonoma County

Best Things to Do in Sonoma County

Santa Barbara

Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Los Angeles

Best Things to Do in Los Angeles

Best Day Trips from Los Angeles


It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.

No California guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun California things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo California trip.

Cheap Flights to California

With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to California, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to California now.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to California

California Places to Stay

Second in importance to buying airline tickets to California is finding the best place to stay in California for your California solo travel. Develop your California travel itinerary now and find the best California travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.

Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in California

Getting Around California

California has all forms of transportation, including Carpoolworld, Uber, Lyft, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).

Of course, you can easily get a taxi or find a rental a car in California if it better suits your California travel itinerary.

Find the Best Deals on California Rental Cars

California also has regional buses and is part of the Amtrak train system.

Things to Do in California

Here are some of the top things to do in California to book for your California solo travel.

Best California Food Tours and Activities


There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in California. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

Air Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like,, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ground Transportation

Try to avoid flying in California by taking a regional bus or the Amtrak train.

When booking a rideshare in California, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in California.

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in California are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter.

Explore California Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

Lime also has electric scooters to rent in California for fast and clean commuting in select cities.

Powell Street Cable Car - 1 Day in San Francisco

Accommodation Tips

Look for California accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for USA Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

Walt Disney statue Disneyland California

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for USA certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find accommodations in California implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Travel Sustainable accommodation. started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.

Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in California

Eco-Friendly Things To Do

California has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in California. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

Top Eco Friendly Activities in California

Eco-Travel Products

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect California’s environment. 

For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

Hermosa Beach California sunset


Before You Go

Buy USA travel insurance and international medical insurance for your solo travel in California to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.

Safety in California

In addition to the solo travel safety tips in the USA Travel Guide, if you are planning on going hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping, swimming or doing any other activity that will take you into remote places, please ensure you research the local travel and weather advisories in advance and respect warnings not to travel.

Let people know where are you going, provide them your itinerary, and ensure you have safety and emergency measures provided for in your travel belongings.

In larger cities, like Los Angeles or San Francisco, do not be surprised to see an element of homelessness. Not all areas of homelessness are dangerous. They may be sketchy or may make you feel uncomfortable. Therefore, read up on the latest updates for safety, keep alert, and avoid walking in certain areas at night.

Fire Season Travel Tips


California Sales Tax

California levies a statewide sales tax and cities levy an additional, local sales tax. Where you vacation in California could increase your holiday budget. Reviewing California cities’ sales tax rates may help you prepare your California travel budget.

Best Time to Visit California

Depending on where you go and when you go will greatly impact how much your California trip will be. Off season (winter) anywhere should cost less than shoulder (spring and autumn) and high season (summer).  But let’s face it – this is California and it can be expensive. 

I suggest doing research and booking well in advance no matter where you go to cut down on travel costs.

Hermosa Beach surfer statue

Budget Accommodations

Staying in California hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in California, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in California – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.

Don’t overlook exploring hostels in California if you’re on a budget.

Reserve Your California Hostel

Best Time to Book Travel

California can be pricey depending on your California destination and time of travel. The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.

Ready to book California solo travel? Don’t miss out and find the best California travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling California.

Book California Travel Early to Save Money

Santa Monica Pier California


I was born in SoCal and lived in California for 15 years of my adult life, not to mention all of the summers I spent there visiting family. I absolutely love California. Sorry, but in my humble opinion, California is the best in the U.S. It’s on the forefront of all trends and laws. It has amazing weather, great wine tasting, the San Francisco Giants, my friends and family, and tons of things to do.  If you haven’t been to California, go!

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