9 Destinations to Plan your next Workcation in California

Whether you are a digital nomad or WFH employee looking to change up the scenery, a workcation is a great way to unwind and work remotely. California has something for everyone looking to plan their next workcation. Find peace and quiet in the desert of Joshua Tree or enjoy the amenities of city life in San Francisco. See which 9 California destinations made it to our list of best Workcation getaways...

The Best Workcation Destinations in California

What is a Workcation?

Workcation derives from the words "Work + Vacation", which you may be asking yourself why would I want to combine the two? Workcations have become a rising travel trend to emerge since the pandemic, giving individuals a change of scenery, as they adjust to their newly adopted work from home life. With companies allowing employees to work remotely from anywhere, the fantasy of grabbing your laptop and working by the pool, is now a reality for some.

Where can I go for a Workcation?

It may be exciting thinking of all the possibilities you could spend your workcation, but keep in mind there are a few key factors in choosing your destination. First you'll want to coordinate with your company to see if they have any policies regarding working outside of your home office. You can start thinking about what your goal is for your workcation. Is it to completely unplug and designate a few hours of the day for emails and phone correspondence? Or are maybe you like having a routine but may be cutting out early at 3pm to go explore your new city? Make sure to check out our Workcation Essentials at the end of this article!

Ask yourself before planning:

Is there a time difference?

How long will it take me to get to my destination?

Will I have company joining me?

Will I need full internet and phone service?

Do I plan on grocery shopping or eating out?

Do I plan on communicating as normal with clients + coworkers?

Now that you are ready to plan your Workcation, grab your laptop and head to one of these awesome California destinations:

  1. La Jolla

  2. Joshua Tree

  3. Bishop

  4. Mammoth Lakes

  5. Santa Barbara

  6. Carmel-by-the-Sea

  7. Santa Cruz

  8. San Francisco

  9. South Lake Tahoe

La Jolla

woman enjoying workcation by the beach in La Jolla california

The San Diego seaside town of La Jolla is where you can easily combine work and play. When it’s time to work, set yourself up at a café on Avenida de la Playa. Come break time, you can store your laptop in a locker at one of the surf schools, like Everyday California, and take a surf lesson or rent a surfboard. Nearby adventures include kayaking through the La Jolla sea caves and keeping a lookout for sea lions, snorkeling in La Jolla Cove (where you might spot a leopard shark), and browsing the many boutiques in the town center.

La Jolla is also conveniently located as it’s within a 15-minute drive from other beach towns like Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, Del Mar, and Torrey Pines—a prime place to hike among rare pine trees. Further afield, you can hang out in historic Old Town, visit the San Diego Zoo, or even venture on a day trip to Mexico.

One of the most popular spots in California for travelers, La Jolla also has a range of hotels that cater to business and leisure travelers alike. Fast wifi, quiet rooms, and business centers are par for the course at most major hotels and rental properties in La Jolla.

If you’re looking for authentic California culture, great surf, and other outdoor adventures amidst your working holiday, La Jolla is a top contender.

Best Lodging Options for La Jolla: The Holiday Inn is always a solid choice for free breakfast, good wifi and affordable rates. If you are looking to experience the luxury of La Jolla I highly recommend Estancia Hotel or the La Valencia!

Book an Activity: Kayaking Sea Caves, Snorkeling, Yoga on the Beach

Submitted by Chantae at The Salt Sirens

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is a great workcation spot for creative types who are looking to get away from a cold winter climate.

The town of Joshua Tree is roughly three hours from Los Angeles or Las Vegas, far away from urban distractions. It sits squarely in the middle of the Mojave Desert and is reliably warm from October to April. It’s also blistering hot in the summer, which is why Joshua Tree is a better winter destination than summer destination.

The town is great for creative types because it has a very artsy vibe. There are outdoor sculpture gardens, galleries movie sets, a quirky crochet museum and Burning Man art, which you can learn more about this this Joshua Tree guide.

The town is also literally minutes from Joshua Tree National Park. The park is full of old mining history, cool hikes and some amazing stargazing. The park gates are always open, so when you have finished your work for the day you can head into the park for some recreation and a lovely sunset at Key’s View.

You can’t get reliable internet in the park, so don’t plan on camping. But there are a lot of Airbnb’s available, including some cool glamping trailers and wood cabins which are suitable for a nomadic work life.

Best Lodging Options for Joshua Tree: This small town doesn't boast luxury hotels but you can rely on The Holiday Inn for a clean and comfortable stay. If you want to embrace the funkiness of Joshua Tree you may consider this container home or private home with a jacuzzi and hammock to rest after a day of work and soak in the stars.

Book an Activity: Rock Climbing , Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, Self Driving Audio Tour

Submitted by Carol at California Crossings


climbing the buttermilks boulders in bishop california

For a California workcation where you can take breaks to escape outside, head to Bishop! This cute little town in the Eastern Sierras is a perfect place to spend some solo time being productive before exploring all the outdoor adventures this area has to offer.

Bishop is a great basecamp for rock climbers, with world class bouldering in the Buttermilks and excellent route climbing in the Owens River Gorge. You can get your work done then work your forearms on some climbs! The area also offers plenty of trails for mountain bikers and hikers to play on.

If you want to challenge yourself on an epic hike, Bishop is close to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. Hiking Mt. Whitney requires both a permit and a lot of physical stamina, but if you can complete the hike, you’ll get satisfaction and amazing summit views from 14,505 feet.

To keep you fueled up for work and play, spend some time at Schat’s Bakery to stock up on delicious sandwiches, yummy cheese, fresh baked bread, and other snacks. And check out Mount Williamson Motel, located between Bishop and the town of Lone Pine, which caters to hikers and is a great place to stay on your workcation.

Best Lodging Options in Bishop: Looking to make some friends you might consider this affordable but cute home in town with some shared accommodations.

Book an Activity: Hiking, Rock Climbing, Off Roading

Submitted by Allison at She Dreams of Alpine

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is the ideal workcation destination in California because of its prime location nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Unlike most small towns throughout the state, Mammoth has the luxuries of bigger towns, while maintaining its small-town charm. In town, you have reliable cell reception, and all of the hotels, lodges and Airbnb stays have reliable internet as well. There are also several Starbucks and other coffee shops and areas where you can hang out and get work done. In the winter months, Mammoth Resort has the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in California. Do a couple of laps first thing in the morning, and then spend the rest of the day working away. Then finish off your day, by soaking in one of the natural hot springs in the area. While in the summer months, you have a variety of hiking trails and lakes to choose from. You can spend the mornings working and then spend your afternoon hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, boating, fishing, or enjoying anything else this town has to offer. In the summer months, the road to Tiago Pass in Yosemite is open, so just an hour North of Mammoth Lakes, you can take a day trip into Yosemite. Because of Mammoth’s close proximity to the mountains with reliable internet and cell reception, you can have a great balance of work and play in any season.

Best Lodging Options in Mammoth Lakes: Within the heart of town the Westin Monache Resort has everything you would need for a perfect workcation. Condos at the village and The Village Lodge are great options with access to free wi-fi, pool and gym.

Book an Activity: Rock Climbing, Skiing or Snowboarding, Natural Hot Springs

Submitted by Jenny at Limitless Hiker

Santa Barbara