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13 Most Romantic Getaways in California — From Malibu to Big Sur

These romantic California destinations will rekindle the spark (and your wanderlust).

Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.

best anniversary trips in california

California may be the third-largest state in the country by area, but it's unrivaled when it comes to romance. Stretching from the Mexico border in the south to Oregon in the north, the Golden State is famed for its dramatic coastline, SoCal surf vibes, ancient redwood forests, verdant mountains, and desert landscapes. Big cities like sunny Los Angeles and foggy San Francisco garner ample affection, while smaller communities just outside the urban sprawl, including Malibu, Ojai, and Sausalito, are irresistible, too.

There are spectacular national and state parks , world-class wine regions, and countless opportunities for long walks on the beach. California has some of the best and most exciting restaurants in the U.S., which makes it a cinch to impress your sweetie with a special date-night dinner. And, of course, a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway is the stuff of road trip dreams.

With such variety for every type of couple, California is ready-made for a romantic getaway. You just have to decide which tempting spot to hit first.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

A charming destination that resembles a movie set, Carmel-by-the-Sea enchants all who visit. This storybook community on the Monterey Peninsula is the perfect place for a couple's trip offering both seaside relaxation and plenty of things to do. The quaint downtown features restaurants, art galleries, and shops housed in thatched-roof cottages. Enjoy wine-tasting at more than a dozen local tasting rooms or have a picnic lunch on Carmel Beach. The area is studded with luxury accommodations like the Carmel Beach Hotel .

California has a lot of great coastal towns, but bohemian Ojai is an inland gem that shouldn't be overlooked. Downtown buzzes with boutiques and breweries and offers farm-to-fork restaurants like The Nest . If wine tasting is more your thing, that's doable, too, as are strolls along the 9.5-mile Ojai Valley Trail. Fair warning, though: These appealing pursuits do require you to step away from the cozy fireplace and panoramic views of your room at the Ojai Valley Inn . Since the inn is one of California's most romantic hotels, that proposition may be easier said than done.

Healdsburg is a vibrant wine-country destination perfect for sipping, savoring, and spa time. Marine Layer Wines and Lioco are two of the best tasting rooms downtown, while a short drive outside of town yields the many excellent wineries of the Dry Creek Valley. From the Michelin-starred Barndiva to the hip and veg-forward Little Saint , splendid restaurants abound here, too. Topping the list of most romantic places to spend the night are The Madrona and Montage Healdsburg, two of Travel + Leisure readers' favorite California resorts of 2023 .

An essential stop on any Pacific Coast Highway road trip (and a spot worth visiting on its own), Big Sur is defined by its breathtaking scenery. Towering ancient redwoods give way to coastal cliffs, and a veil of mist often cloaks the sky. There are hiking trails for all skill levels, plus some dreamy overnight accommodations, from adults-only luxury resorts like Alila Ventana Big Sur and Post Ranch Inn (both with award-winning restaurants) to cozy cabins, glamping sites, and rugged campgrounds .

Adrian Rudd/Travel + Leisure

Malibu is more than just a refuge for celebs trying to escape the flashing bulbs and furtive glances of Hollywood; it's a romance-ready beach town with a road-tripping sensibility and major chill factor. Here, you're just as likely to see classic and luxury cars as motorcycles cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway. The community boasts several stylish motels-turned-boutique-hotels , like The Surfrider and Nobu Ryokan, and its 21-mile coastline makes it easy to find a secluded stretch of sand. When you're ready for a beach day, simply roll out a blanket, uncork a bottle of wine, and share a burrito from longtime local favorite Lily's .

Joshua Tree National Park

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure

Joshua Tree National Park has become a popular place for photographers and content creators, but at its core, the area is a paradise of otherworldly scenery and outdoor adventure that attracts nature lovers and literal lovers alike. While the stunning natural environment is the main attraction here, the slew of tricked-out retro Airstreams and immaculately designed cabins are a pretty close second. Some lodgings even have outdoor claw-foot tubs, so couples can relish a soak while gazing up at the celestial magic above.

Palm Springs

It's not just the scorching temperatures that make Palm Springs a sizzling escape. Since Hollywood's Golden Age, A-list duos have run away to this desert paradise for a little R&R and a lot of romance. Swaying palms and majestic mountains frame a hip, happening downtown that's dotted with restaurants and vintage shops, while stylish boutique stays like The Colony Palms and Parker Palm Springs entice design-conscious pairs looking to live that private casita life for a few days.

Most people associate Sonoma County with rolling vineyards and wineries. Bodega Bay reveals a vastly different and intoxicatingly beautiful coastal side of the region. It's a quick, scenic drive from the best wine towns in Northern California, making it a great day trip if you're craving a change of scenery. But the romantic move is to stay the night at The Lodge at Bodega Bay . The next morning, start the day with an ocean-view hike followed by oysters at one of the famous local seafood joints.

Just across the bay from San Francisco, Sausalito feels like the antithesis of its fast-paced neighbor. It's a leisurely coastal destination where walking along the marina and admiring the bobbing houseboats counts as a well-spent afternoon. If you're into hiking, biking, or simply gawking at the majesty of nature, you're in luck — Sausalito provides an access point to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a vast swath of parkland sprawling across both sides of the iconic bridge. As far as accommodations are concerned, it's impossible not to fall head over heels for the historic ambience and unobstructed bay views at Cavallo Point .

Nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley not far from Santa Barbara, Los Alamos is a scenic yet under-the-radar wine destination. Sample crave-worthy pours at vineyards like Bedford Winery , Casa Dumetz Wines , and Lumen Wines , or pair selections from the well-curated list at Michelin-starred Bell's with elevated bistro fare. Despite the high-end culinary cred, Los Alamos holds onto a real sense of authenticity. Fans of vintage vibes will flip for Skyview Los Alamos , a hilltop hideaway set off Highway 101 that pays homage to its roots as a 1950s roadside motel.

Death Valley National Park

Though it may not seem like the most romantic of California locales, Death Valley is a once-in-a-lifetime road trip for adventurous couples. This grim-sounding but gorgeous place is home to the lowest point in North America (the salt flats of Badwater Basin) as well as awe-inspiring landscapes like those of Artists Palette and Zabriskie Point. Beyond witnessing incredible feats of nature, couples visiting this national park and its surrounds can rent a glamping site , roast marshmallows, and snuggle under the stars.

For a low-key Sonoma County getaway that scores high marks for wine and romance, the unassuming town of Kenwood is the consummate choice. It's home to a handful of excellent wineries (not to mention the extraordinary gastronomic experience that awaits at Hamel Family Wines just down the road), and it offers lovely outdoor experiences thanks to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and the nearby Sonoma Botanical Garden. Meanwhile, Kenwood Inn & Spa oozes Italianate splendor, with a distinctly grown-up atmosphere that will transport you to Tuscany — all without leaving the Golden State.

Half Moon Bay

If you live in the San Francisco area and you surf, chances are you've heard of Half Moon Bay. Beaches and surf breaks aside, it's a superb place for a romantic getaway — especially if you check into The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay . Set atop a bluff, this luxury hotel has refined rooms with fire pits and sweeping ocean views, as well as a world-class golf course, a posh spa, and three mouthwatering restaurants. Enjoy a romantic seafood or steak dinner at The Conservatory before capping off the evening with some bubbly and s'mores on your private terrace.

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13 Top-Rated Romantic Getaways in California

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Jul 26, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Serene, palm-fringed beaches; spectacular sunsets; and the majestic mountain scenery of California provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway or honeymoon. The variety of landscapes offers something for everyone.

Along California State Route One, the two-lane oceanfront thoroughfare known as Highway One, are alluring seaside towns, crescent-shaped bays, and quiet coves that appeal to beach lovers. The most breathtaking destination is Big Sur, where sheer cliffs drop off into the Pacific Ocean, offering thrilling vistas.

The lovely beach towns of Carmel and Santa Barbara delight those seeking an upscale resort experience, while Santa Catalina Island delivers idyllic island ambience yet is easy to reach.

Travelers who prefer country charm will enjoy the historic towns of Sonoma and Mendocino counties just a few hours from San Francisco. For outdoorsy types, Lake Tahoe provides the perfect combination of dazzling alpine scenery and a wide range of recreational activities, such as snow-season skiing , summertime water sports, and year-round hiking.

From quiet beaches to quaint mountain towns, there are so many attractions in California that appeal to couples. Discover the best places to visit with our list of the top romantic getaways.

1. The Dramatic Coastline of Big Sur

2. carmel-by-the sea: a quaint and upscale seaside resort, 3. santa barbara, the american riviera, 4. gourmet dining and country charm in sonoma, 5. santa catalina island, 6. rugged and unspoiled mendocino county, 7. the russian river, 8. victorian village of ferndale, 9. lake tahoe in the high sierra, 10. half moon bay, 11. paso robles: a rustic-chic country town, 12. avila beach resort town and hot springs, 13. solvang, map of romantic getaways in california.

Coastline of Big Sur

Breathtakingly beautiful, Big Sur is an escape from the rest of the world that rejuvenates the soul. The wild landscape and magnificent ocean views are truly awe-inspiring.

Accessible by a dramatic mountainous portion of Highway One, this mountainous 90-mile stretch of Northern California coastline feels cut off from civilization. There's little development and no cell service. Despite the remote location, Big Sur boasts many things to do , including luxurious hotels and resorts, gourmet restaurants, and fancy spa resorts, in addition to rustic-chic inns and campsites.

Whether couples choose to rough it or be pampered, the main draw of Big Sur is the sublime natural scenery. Blanketed in lush redwood forests, the Big Sur coastline stands 1,200 feet above the Pacific's deep blue waters. Sheer cliffs plunge into crashing waves, leaving visitors to marvel over the astounding vistas.

Below the seaside ridges, secluded beaches are tucked away between coastal bluffs. Big Sur has several state parks with extensive hiking trails through diverse landscapes.

Carmel-by-the Sea

This upscale seaside resort is brimming with charm, seen in its storybook cottages, hidden passageways, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Besides its enchanting ambience, Carmel-by-the-Sea offers everything you need for a romantic getaway: excellent hotels, fine-dining restaurants, and cultural events throughout the year.

Within a 10-minute walk from the town of Carmel is a serene sandy beach, fringed by cypress trees featuring distinctive wind-sculpted branches. This pristine stretch of shoreline is considered one of Northern California's most beautiful beaches .

A few minutes away via the spectacular 17-Mile Drive is the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links , famous for its challenging 18th hole that overlooks an iconic ocean bluff.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is also a good starting point to begin an exploration of the Big Sur coastline, which begins about 25 miles to the south. Along the way is Point Lobos , a nature reserve with hidden coves and scenic hiking trails that feature astounding coastal views.

Santa Barbara

Tucked behind the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains along a palm-fringed coastline, Santa Barbara is known as the " American Riviera " because of its Mediterranean seaside scenery and resort-like ambience.

This quintessential California destination boasts a historic Spanish Mission and stunning sandy beaches that get plenty of sunshine. Romantics will be awed by the glorious sunsets and the lulling refrain of the Pacific Ocean's crashing waves.

In keeping with the local heritage, the attractive downtown is lined with traditional Spanish-style buildings that house art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and cafés. Santa Barbara is one of the best places to visit in California , especially for shopping and dining.

Other favorite things to do in Santa Barbara include unwinding at one of the town's sophisticated spas and participating in outdoor activities. The gorgeous natural environment provides an inspiring setting for biking, sailing, and hiking . The area has some of the most amazing hikes in California, including a trail that affords sweeping panoramas of the ocean, the Santa Barbara cityscape, and the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The Rolling Hills of Sonoma County

Just an hour's drive north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is a pastoral landscape of rolling, vine-covered hills. Couples come to Sonoma to enjoy the relaxing pace of life and outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and hot-air balloon rides. It's also a place to indulge in the local gourmet cuisine based on farm-fresh ingredients.

The historic town of Sonoma offers top restaurants and inviting boutiques centered around a plaza with a tree-shaded park.

The town of Sonoma appeals to couples who enjoy gourmet dining. Some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Sonoma include the girl & the fig , a charming French restaurant on Sonoma Plaza with garden patio seating; LaSalette , a traditional Portuguese restaurant in the historic downtown near Sonoma Plaza; Tasca Tasca , a casual Portuguese restaurant that serves a wide variety of tapas; and Wit & Widsom , which offers the signature cuisine (American comfort food and California cuisine) of renowned chef Michael Mina.

To sample the region's seasonal farm-to-table cuisine, head to Folktable restaurant on Arnold Drive or Layla restaurant at the four-star MacArthur Place hotel. Both restaurants offer farmhouse-chic ambience, meals prepared from local ingredients, and pleasant outdoor-dining terraces.

Another wonderful destination in Sonoma County for a romantic getaway is Healdsburg . The lively downtown area brims with gourmet restaurants, such as the rustic-chic Valette , specializing in California cuisine prepared from locally sourced ingredients; the three-Michelin-starred SingleThread restaurant, which has its own farm to supply vegetables, herbs, fruits, eggs, and olive oil; and Campo Fina , a causal Italian restaurant with an outdoor patio and bocce ball court.

Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island has everything a romantic retreat requires: secluded beaches, picturesque seaside villages, and dreamy island scenery. The island's largest town, Avalon offers the widest choice of accommodations, from handsome historic hotels to modern resorts.

Sunbathers will appreciate Avalon's sheltered beaches. For snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking, Descanso Beach is the place to go. Tucked into a small cove, this beach has excellent facilities, including a private beach club. Guests may rent lounge chairs and cabanas or enjoy a healthy meal at the Descanso Beach Club's waterfront restaurant.

On the western end of the island, Two Harbors has the feeling of an island paradise. Sandwiched between two ports and overlooking peaceful coves, this quiet little village has two restaurants, a general store, pristine beaches, fishing spots, and small boutique hotels.

Hiking and camping opportunities abound just outside the village of Two Harbors and in Santa Catalina's backcountry. Most of the trails traverse the island's hilly terrain and offer incredible vistas of the ocean and the coastline.

Santa Catalina Island is about a one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach, San Pedro, or Dana Point. There is also a catamaran ferry service to Santa Catalina Island from Newport Beach that takes a little over one hour.

Mendocino

Mendocino County is a windswept stretch of craggy coastline in Northern California, where redwood trees flourish and wildlife is abundant. The peaceful setting, uncrowded nature spots, and gorgeous ocean views make Mendocino ideal for a romantic getaway.

Visitors are rejuvenated by hiking in the pristine environment, breathing in the fresh air, and relaxing at hidden beaches. Other things to do in Mendocino include camping and outdoor sports, like kayaking or canoeing on the Big River Estuary and boating, swimming, or fishing at Lake Mendocino , a 700-acre protected nature reserve.

Although the location is rugged and remote, the village of Mendocino is packed with inviting hotels, luxury inns, and charming bed-and-breakfasts. Mendocino is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its well-preserved 19th-century architecture. This fetching Victorian-era town also has top-notch restaurants, enticing boutiques, and noteworthy art galleries.

The historic Mendocino Hotel provides charming accommodations in the heart of Mendocino village. Several quaint bed-and-breakfast hotels are also located right in the village, including the boutique MacCallum House in a renovated Victorian home surrounded by flowering gardens; the Seagull Inn Bed & Breakfast , with cozy rooms featuring garden or ocean views; the Headlands Inn Bed & Breakfast , which serves breakfast prepared from local organic ingredients; and the Nicholson House Inn , which has guest rooms decorated in old-fashioned style.

The more urban town of Fort Bragg (10 miles north of Mendocino) is home to the glorious 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens , which features year-round floral blooms and splendid views of the Pacific; a working fishing harbor with great seafood restaurants; and reasonably priced hotel accommodations.

About 50 miles south of Mendocino, Gualala is a small community set along the ocean bluffs, backed by redwood forests. Gualala is closer to San Francisco than Mendocino, which makes it an easier destination as a weekend getaway from the Bay Area. A delightful lodge inspired by Russian architecture, St. Orres in Gualala delivers a magical overnight experience of plush rustic-chic accommodations and romantic fine dining.

Kayaking on the Russian River

Outdoorsy types flock to the Russian River during summertime for outdoor activities, such as hiking in the woods; swimming and sunbathing at the riverside beaches; canoeing, kayaking, and fishing on the river; or lazily floating down the river on inner tubes.

Anytime of year, the area offers the serenity of an idyllic nature site, with its gently flowing river and towering redwood groves. The laid-back country atmosphere and small historic towns of the Russian River area make it a wonderful place for a relaxing weekend getaway.

The town of Guerneville is a favorite vacation locale among San Francisco residents because it has a wide variety of accommodations, from campgrounds and rustic lodges to romantic inns, as well as trendy restaurants and cafés. Couples will appreciate the town's tranquil riverside setting.

A tiny hamlet that feels lost in time, Duncan Mills features impeccably maintained Victorian-era buildings (such as an old General Store) that now house art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants for today's tourists.

For striking scenery and beautiful sunsets, it's hard to beat Jenner-by-the-Sea . This remote coastal village stands on a bluff overlooking the Russian River and the Pacific Ocean. The town has two lodges with fabulous views and a sandy beach with picnic tables.

About a 30-minute drive from Guerneville, the fashionable town of Healdsburg is the best place to stay for those with high-end taste. The downtown area of Healdsburg is full of luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, and fancy locally owned boutiques.

Victorian home in Ferndale

Nestled amid dairy farms in Northern California's Humboldt County and only five miles from the Pacific Ocean, the sleepy village of Ferndale is an idyll of old-fashioned Americana. More than 200 beautifully restored Victorian buildings line the Main Street and side streets of this picturesque rural community.

Ferndale's quaint bed-and-breakfast hotels and inns are well suited for romantic getaways. Guests enjoy a pampering experience, while spending the night in vintage-style rooms.

The most luxurious hotel is The Gingerbread Mansion Inn , an elegant High Victorian edifice with an ornate facade and a plush interior featuring period furniture and decor. Adding to the charm, The Gingerbread Mansion Inn serves a full breakfast and afternoon high tea. The hotel also offers a "Romantic Picnic for Two" (gourmet lunch) basket to bring to the beach or the park.

A noteworthy monument of its time dating to 1890, the Victorian Inn is a boutique hotel with a fine-dining restaurant and authentic furnishings. The gracious accommodations are adorned with floral wallpaper and bedding. Some guest rooms feature sitting areas or bay windows.

The town's noteworthy historic accommodations include California's first bed-and-breakfast hotel, The Shaw House , a lovely Victorian house surrounded by an acre of tranquil, tree-shaded grounds. Romantics will appreciate the garden's pleasant patio area, fragrant roses, and rhododendrons, as well as the property's private stretch of coastline.

Built in the 1870s, the Hotel Ivanhoe is one of the oldest hotels in the West and the only original Victorian-era hotel that still exists in Ferndale. This historic lodging has a casual restaurant and guest rooms that are well appointed with Victorian antiques.

Humboldt County is a place of incomparable natural beauty, and the area includes several state parks with magnificent old-growth redwoods. Popular things to do here include scenic drives through ancient redwood groves and along the Lost Coast oceanfront route; a visit to the Humboldt Botanical Garden ; and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and walks on the beach.

Lake Tahoe

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, Lake Tahoe astonishes visitors with its sublime alpine scenery. The crisp, fresh air invigorates the body, and the lake's dazzling cobalt-hued waters speak to the soul.

The majestic natural environment inspires relaxation, as well as outdoor adventures. Surrounded by snowcapped mountain peaks, skiing at Tahoe is one of the top things to do in California . In summer the area becomes a playground for hiking , biking, camping , boating, and other outdoor activities at the lake.

Whether visiting for a weekend or honeymoon, couples will enjoy Lake Tahoe's fine-dining restaurants, cozy ski lodges, rustic-chic inns, and modern resort hotels. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of accommodations in different price categories.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers the ultimate in luxurious ski-in ski-out accommodations, with romantic touches such as living rooms with fireplaces and private patios or balconies. In addition to its on-site restaurants and spa, this five-star hotel has a lakefront clubhouse with a private pier, beach access, changing rooms and showers, kayaks, paddleboards, and water sports rentals.

For a quintessential Tahoe experience, the Postmarc Hotel & Spa Suites channels the style of a traditional alpine lodge while providing modern amenities and convenient lakefront access. Guests can take part in outdoor adventures such as hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding. The hotel also hosts movie nights, comedy shows, and themed dinners that appeal to couples.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a laid-back coastal community surrounded by rolling hills, small farms, and woodlands. Because of its unspoiled sandy beaches and scenic hiking trails, Half Moon Bay is a popular weekend destination for nature lovers and one of the top day trips from San Francisco .

The picturesque coastline at Half Moon Bay State Beach inspires nature walks to admire the powerful waves and breathe in the refreshing ocean air. This wide, four-mile-long sandy beach is also a great place for picnics and watching the sunset. Although the weather can be windy and misty, the dramatic scenery is always invigorating.

The small downtown of Half Moon Bay gives tourists a reason to linger. The Main Street is dotted with locally owned cafés, a few good restaurants, and cute local boutiques. A historic hotel on Main Street dating to 1932, the Half Moon Bay Inn exemplifies Spanish Revival architecture with its delicate frescoes adorning the walls and sunny interior courtyard.

The most romantic place to stay in Half Moon Bay is the Mill Rose Inn , an exquisite B&B hotel with sumptuous guest rooms featuring floral-print bedding, antiques, and vintage-inspired decor. The inn's English country-style garden blooms with vibrant flowers throughout the year, which makes it a popular wedding venue.

Scenery near Paso Robles

Paso Robles is nestled in the vine-covered hills about 30 miles away from San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast. The historic downtown has a pleasant country ambience, with tree-lined streets and many restaurants that feature outdoor dining.

Wellness seekers visit Paso Robles to soak up the tranquility of the rural landscape and to indulge in pampering spa treatments. Local spa facilities offer amenities such as thermal mineral water pools, saunas, massages, and aromatherapy.

Overnight visitors can spend the night at one of the area's charming bed-and-breakfasts or stylish boutique hotels.

Avila Beach

Sheltered by rolling hillsides, Avila Beach is a gem of the Central California Coast (10 miles south of San Luis Obispo). This sun-soaked beach resort has a wide sandy shoreline and a palm-lined boardwalk, perfect for taking leisurely walks and sunset strolls. Several beachfront restaurants feature outdoor terraces, allowing guests to dine al fresco while admiring the seaside scenery.

The most romantic place to stay in Avila is the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa , a three-star hotel set on a wooded property with a hot springs source. The resort is a haven of tranquility designed to promote wellness and relaxation. Accommodations include outdoor balconies with private mineral water hot tubs.

Solvang

Solvang surprises visitors with a vision of old-world European charm in Central California's Santa Ynez Valley. Founded in the early 20th century by immigrants from Denmark, the town resembles a Danish village with its half-timbered thatched-roof buildings and even a windmill.

In keeping with the Danish heritage, there are locally owned boutiques that sell authentic Danish-themed souvenirs, and traditional Danish bakeries that serve specialties such as butter cookies, "kringle" coffee cakes, cinnamon bread, and aebleskivers (jam-filled pancakes).

Ideal for a romantic weekend visit, Solvang has several charming boutique inns such as the Royal Copenhagen Inn and the Atterdag Inn , as well as upscale modern hotels.

Set on an expansive dude ranch surrounded by gently rolling foothills, the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is a haven of relaxation and recreation. The property offers opportunities for horseback riding, fishing, cycling, and other outdoor activities.

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Nature Lovers' Getaways: If your idea of a romantic getaway involves getting out into nature, you may want to consider some of California's parks. Sightseeing through Yosemite National Park , admiring the famous landmarks and waterfalls, or hiking the most scenic trails has its own unique charms. The park also has some outstanding campgrounds , but you'll need to book well in advance.

Redwood Forest Retreats: California's redwood forests rejuvenate the soul and inspire connection with nature. It's an unforgettable experience to hike through a forest of some of the tallest trees on the planet in Redwood National and State Parks . Another option, if you feel like roughing it a bit, is camping in Sequoia National Park , or the adjoining Kings Canyon National Park . The ancient giant sequoias and their leafy canopies provide the perfect setting for romantic hikes.

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California Travel Guide

The 15 Hands-Down Most Romantic Getaways in California

A couple exploring the wonders of the California coast

  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on healthline.com and parents.com.
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.

The possibilities for romantic getaways in California are as varied as the state itself. Whether you're looking for a short couple's getaway or a longer California honeymoon , the Golden State is full of adventures. Seafaring types exploring the US can enjoy beach resort towns and coastal cities like Malibu and Big Sur, two of the most noted places to visit in California. Urban centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco are packed with best-in-class culture and breakthrough technology, while foodies may prefer venturing north to Sonoma and Napa Valley, where America's culinary and wine industries reign supreme.

Though the state has its share of high-end destinations thanks to local Hollywood clientele, there are plenty of affordable couples getaways in California, too. Try a camping trip through Yosemite National Park to experience our nation's hallowed sequoia trees and otherworldly granite cliff views, or hike the trails in Joshua Tree National Park to witness the unexpected vibrancy of the desert up close. And of course, California's coastline is a hub for surfers of all abilities and ages. Whatever your idea of a vacation is, you'll find a romantic getaway in California that hits all the notes.

Bixby Creek Bridge on Highway 1 at Big Sur in California

Big Sur's rugged shoreline swaps white sand for jagged cliffs, which offer some of the Pacific Coast Highway's most iconic views. Aside from the bluffs, you'll spot redwood forests and even whales through the misty fog as you drive or sail along California's central coast hotspot. Besides being a historic home to beatnik poets like Jack Kerouac, Big Sur is also a prime California location for couples seeking to recharge through hikes, swims, and stargazing. April through October is prime time for weather and travelers, and some businesses close or have reduced hours in the off-season, so check before you visit.

Things to do: Visit Bixby Bridge and park at Castle Point Lookout, situated along the ocean side of the bridge's north end, at "Golden Hour" (aka sunset) for a memorable snap. When the tide is high, head to McAway Falls , where the 80-foot tidefall looks like it's descending straight into the Pacific ocean. Vacationing couples can find amazing views at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or Point Sur State Historic Park , home to a 40-foot lighthouse atop a 361-foot rock. After a day or two of exploration, indulge in a massage and soak in the natural hot springs at Esalen . For fine dining, Nepenthe offers an approachable American menu, cliffside views, and a history of impressing the likes of the late Liz Taylor.

Where to stay: Post Ranch Inn ; Ventana Big Sur ; Big Sur River Inn ; Fernwood Resort ; Big Sur Lodge ; Glen Oaks Big Sur

Bird's eye view of Malibu Beach in California

When it comes to romantic getaways in Southern California, look no further than Malibu for a weekend excursion. The surfer haven is a true stargazing destination (in the figurative sense, it's a favorite place of celebs; in the literal one, the clear skies are perfect for constellations) with the holy vacation trinity of sand, sea, and sunsets readily available. (We like to see them at El Matador State Beach , though it's far from the only shoreline in town.) Though Malibu can get congested, there are opportunities for more secluded experiences. Trade flip flops for hiking shoes and walk hand-in-hand along trails like Solstice Canyon Trail, or get your heart pumping with the Rising Sun Trail with views that give way to the water.

Things to Do: The public beaches are gorgeous (and dog friendly! ), but for a more intimate experience, get access to a quieter one loved by Tom Hanks during a private Beaches and Mansions tour . Learn to surf or go horseback riding through a canyon during an epic Malibu sunset . Nobu Malibu , a sushi restaurant, consistently ranks atop the best restaurant lists.

Where to Stay: The Surfrider Malibu ; Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club ; Hotel June Malibu ; Nobu Ryokan Malibu ; Malibu Beach Inn .

Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest National Park

Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest National Park in California

You may have sung about the Redwood Forests back in grade school — now see them in person during one of the most romantic getaways in Northern California. The region may be home to big metropolitan areas like San Francisco. But the Redwood Forests offer a serene escape from it all, making it a popular spot for San Fran couples searching for "couples getaways near me." Hike trails for people of all experience levels, spot an elk, or visit a winery. And yes, you can have a beach day, too.

Things to Do: Who said Hollywood gets all the close-ups? Fern Canyon is noted for being part of the scenery in Jurassic Park and has a beginner-friendly 1.1-mile trail. (No T-Rexes, we promise.) It's also near Gold Bluffs Beach , a pet-friendly spot with dunes and driftwood, and Lady Bird Johnson Grove, named for the former First Lady. Take in a sunset at Redwood Creek Overlook, which is situated 1000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. You'll also be near the Russian River Wine Trail, where pinot noir is a beauty all its own. Experience both on a small-group tour .

Where to Stay: View Crest Lodge ; Lost Whale Inn Oceanfront Bed & Breakfast ; Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn ; Roosevelt Base Camp ; Fern Hook Vacation Cabins .

Napa Valley

The sun sets over the vineyards in Napa Valley, California

Millions flock to Napa Valley each year to sip, swirl, and savor the boldest cabernet sauvignon that the noted California region makes. But though red vino may be the big draw, Napa offers plenty of other experiences, making it one of the most romantic getaways in the state. Michelin-starred restaurants aren't hard to find here, and many also provide a side of sprawling vineyard views or wine pairings. Fantastic shopping and luxury accommodations are also par-for-the-course, but quaint and secluded options can also be easily found, making the trip a possibility for many budgets and tastes.

Things to Do: When in Napa, stop and smell the wine. The Napa Valley Wine Train is famous, but small-group tours provide a more intimate experience for couples looking to savor one another's company. Learn more about the art and science of winemaking by taking a class (a romantic stroll through an idyllic garden is included). The wine trail tends to take center stage, but Napa is also home to a buzzing downtown with plenty of shopping and a thriving foodie scene. The behemoth Oxbow Market is full of local produce to take back to your rental and cook, or grab a meal and enjoy it on the riverside deck. Morimoto Asia Napa by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Michelin-starred Compline Restaurant are other downtown favorites. Combine food and wine experience with a small-group tour of the downtown area.

Where to Stay: The Inn on First ; Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs ; Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection ; Napa Valley Marriott Resort & Spa ; Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley .

Sonoma Valley

Sunset at Sonoma Valley in California

Napa tends to get the lion's share of the attention, but less than 25 minutes away lies another region worth your time. Sonoma is like Napa's laidback cousin, noted for its pinot noir and buttery chardonnays. Smaller than the Valley, it's perfect for a short romantic getaway in California. Sonoma also provides plenty of opportunities for other adventures that don't include wine at all, from culinary experiences to biking, hiking, and ziplining. (In fact, please do not drink wine before trying that one.)

Things to Do: Turn wine tasting into another kind of adventure by hopping on an e-trike . Combine food with wine on a farm-to-table foodie tour . Or safely kayak or bike through the vineyards (with or without kayaking, and definitely without drinking!) on a daytrip with Getaway Adventures , which offers packages for honeymooners and anniversary travelers looking for a romantic getaway in California. Bodega Bay also gives a taste of the water, but those who prefer land to sea can hop aboard a horse . Like Napa, Sonoma has its share of memorable restaurants, from The Girl & The Fig with its idyllic garden patio to Michelin-starred SingleThread Farms , which grows much of its own menu on-site.

Where to Stay: SingleThead ; MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa ; The Lodge at Sonoma Resort, Autograph Collection ; Lodge at Bodega Bay ; Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa .

Mendocino County

Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino County, California

Mendocino County is a somewhat under-the-radar gem, but it's one of the best places to visit in California. With its seemingly untouched terrain, the NoCal coastal community offers a small-town charm the Golden State isn't exactly renowned for having, while its cliffs exude the type of Big Little Lies drama that people tend to remember. Mendocino Headlands State Park offers trails, beaches, and stunning vistas. (Don't forget your SPF! ) You'll also find spatterings of restaurants to write home about and warm accommodations ideal for couples looking for "romantic hotels near me" (or as far away from their hometowns as possible).

Things to Do: Mendocino is a fantastic couple's getaway for outdoorsy types. Montgomery Woods State Park has quintessential redwoods, and Russian Gulch State Park offers gorgeous coastline views, along with the sprawling, 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens that provides chances to view canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, and a closed-cone pine forest. Step back in time to the 19th century on a walking tour of the county's village, designated as a National Historic Preservation District. Art lovers should make a pit stop at Mendocino Art Center , a gallery within walking distance of Main Street with exhibits and classes, in case you don't want to spend all your time on the trail.

Where to Stay: Nicholson House at Beaujolais Mendocino ; Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites ; Seagull Inn Bed & Breakfast ; Charming Caspar Cottage ; MacCallum House Inn ; Headlands Inn Bed & Breakfast

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park in California

'Til death do us part, right? Though the name may not scream "romance," Death Valley National Park is one of the more affordable romantic getaways in California, with gorgeous views and access to nature that can't be beat. Park fees are $15 per person or $30 per vehicle, and one visitor pass is good for seven days. Visiting during the spring, fall, and winter months is possible, but in the summer, Death Valley National Park is known for being the hottest place on earth, getting close to 120 degrees in July and August — which means you'd be turning the heat up on more than just your romance. Plan accordingly.

Things to Do: Head to Badwater Basin , a salt flat with the distinction as the lowest elevation in North America (-282 below sea level). From there, a quarter-mile hike will lead you to Death Valley's famous polygon salt formations. The one-way Artists Drive takes you through a rainbow of colorful terrain. Devils Golf Course isn't a real spot to work on your swing, but a vast expanse of eroded rock salt with jagged spires. (The joke is that only the devil could play on it.) Stay quiet as you explore, and you can hear pops of tiny salt crystals bursting in the heat. Afterwards, the Furnace Creek Campground offers a taste of civilization, including an actual golf course .

Where to Stay: Furnace Creek Campground ; Sunset Campground ; The Inn at Death Valley ; The Ranch at Death Valley .

Santa Barbara

The sunny rooftops of Santa Barbara, California

Nicknamed "The American Riviera," Santa Barbara offers a seaside escape and resort-like feel comparable to the Mediterranean. It boasts some of the most beautiful California resorts for couples, and there's plenty to do in this palm-tree-lined coastal city, which offers vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. From art galleries to water sports to simply sticking toes in the sand and enjoying the most romantic sunsets, Santa Barbara offers adventure, rest, relaxation, and plentiful opportunities for romance.

What to Do: Resort-style offerings include parasailing with dolphins , horseback rides on the beach , or simply playing with rescued equine friends . Take in 18th-century architecture and beautiful blooms at Old Mission , a mainstay on routes for trolley tours . For a more intimate experience, spare-no-expense couples can take a private tour that includes a trip to the nearby Danish village of Solvang , which is full of unique eateries and rare wine finds.

Where to Stay: Rosewood Miramar Beach ; The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara ; Santa Barbara Inn ; Harbor View Inn ; Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta ; Hotel Californian .

Sunset at Centerville Beach in Ferndale, California

About 12 miles from Oakland, Ferndale's peaceful and picturesque setting feels like a world away from the concrete jungle. Walk hand-in-hand down Main Street, where hundreds of restored Victorian buildings offer a charming turn-of-last-century backdrop. Its proximity to the ocean (just 5 miles) is another perk, as is the ability to watch the seaside sunset without the crowds of other popular spots. Plenty of quaint bed and breakfasts add to its idyllic appeal, making Ferndale one of the most underrated options for people on the hunt for top California weekend getaways for couples.

What to Do: Perfect for busy couples in need of a tranquil and affordable romantic getaway in California, Ferndale calls for self-guided tours and unstructured strolls down quaint streets. Simply take a walk through the Victorian village for historic "gingerbread" architecture, or take a drive along the coastline to clear your head. Humbolt State Park is another worthy route that ends with ample opportunities to stretch your legs together while enjoying a peaceful natural setting.

Where to Stay: Gingerbread Mansion Inn ; Victorian Inn ; Shaw House Inn ; Hotel Ivanhoe ; Ye Olde Danish of Ferndale ; Redwood Suites .

Scenic views of Lake Tahoe in California

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular spots for a romantic getaway in California. Though travelers may associate the Golden State with sunny skies and sandy shores, Lake Tahoe boasts the best ski resorts in California — yes, ski. Though noted and named for its pristine freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe is situated 6,000 above sea level in the air in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's a lauded pick for California romantics searching for "couples getaways near me," but it's also perfect for out-of-state mini-mooners looking for a weekend full of crisp air.

What to Do: Some of the most romantic ski resorts in California, like Heavenly and Kirkwood , offer a chance to hit the slopes and then warm up with hot cocoa and a side of snuggling. But aside from descending snowy mountains and soaking in a sauna, couples can sail on the glistening lake or hike trails with otherworldly views at Emerald Bay State Park . View it from above on a helicopter tour . Sport fishing , kayaking , and snowshoeing are other ways to take in Lake Tahoe's natural beauty.

Where to Stay: Marriott's Timber Lodge ; The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe ; Postmarc Hotel and Spa Suites ; Marriott Grand Residence Club, Lake Tahoe ; The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa ; Tahoe Beach and Ski Club ; plenty of opportunities for four seasons of camping in Lake Tahoe .

Half Moon Bay

Sunrise over Half Moon Bay in California.

A favorite weekend escape of San Francisco couples seeking "romantic getaways near me," Half Moon Bay offers laidback vibes, small-town charm, and coastline vistas that look straight out of a coffee table picture book. (The backdrop has become a popular spot for destination and semi-destination nuptials, and can be seen across many an Instagram story.) But Half Moon Bay also makes for a gorgeous locale to celebrate an anniversary or simply put life on pause and focus on one another.

What to Do: Take a scenic nature walk , then grab lunch and craft cocktails and beer at the getaway spirit at Half Moon Bay Distillery . A scavenger hunt will help you uncover the history of this under-the-radar California gem, and Main Street is a perfect spot for lunch at a table for two or retail therapy. Half Moon Bay Golf Links provides a chance to work on your swings in between beachside strolls.

Where to Stay: Half Moon Bay Inn ; Mill Rose Inn ; Beach House Hotel Half Moon Bay ; Half Moon Bay Lodge ; Cypress Inn .

Paso Robles

Grapes in the sunshine at Paso Robles, California

Another off-the-beaten-path gem is Paso Robles, a wine town with some of the best vineyards in the country, along with spas and forest paths that make this romantic getaway town unique. With a name that translates to "pass of the oaks," this woodsy small town also boasts quaint inns and motels for those on a budget, allowing Paso Robles to provide an affordable getaway for couples hoping for a romantic long weekend and beyond.

What to Do: Indulge guilt-free during a wine-tasting tour that lets you hop on and off at will, or cruise through wine country in a sidecar made for two . Learn about the city's history as you tour it by foot or with a trip to the Paso Robles History Museum . Explore a farm or combine bird watching and vino on a wings and wine tour . Hiking and horseback riding adventures are also available for couples looking for zero-proof ways to toast the California spirit without spirits.

Where to Stay: Summerwood Winery & Inn ; Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles ; Paso Robles Inn ; Adelaide Inn ; Courtyard by Marriott Paso Robles ; The Inn at Croad Vineyards .

Carmel by the Sea

Distinctive trees in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

This coastal village packs a ton of luxury and natural beauty into 1.06 square miles. The all-inclusive resorts for couples offer cozy beds, golf courses, and of course, gorgeous views of the ocean. There are also plenty of boutique romantic hotels for a charming escape. Outside of the accommodations, Carmel by the Sea offers plenty of spots to explore indoors and out, including galleries showcasing local art, paths for bird watching, and a rich array of marine life.

What to Do: Dr. Seuss meets Disney with Carmel-by-the-Sea's fairytale houses that look like they've been copied and pasted from a child's imagination. You can embark on a self-guided tour to take in the homes at your own pace or a 2.5 electric bike excursion . Make sweet treats with your sweetheart (or pretend you're about to win The Great British Bake Off ) during a macaron class . Small-group food and cultural tours serve history and delectable eats with local flavors.

Where to Stay : La Playa Carmel ; L'Auberge Carmel ; Carmel Mission Inn ; Pine Inn ; Carmel Valley Ranch . Airbnbs also offer unique rentals .

Yosemite National Park

View of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California

The main draw is the iconic park lauded for its views of granite cliffs and sequoia trees. And yes, this iconic nature preserve is far better in person than it is on a postcard (though those photos are beautiful, too, so go ahead and DM them to family and friends back home). But there are tons of other ways to enjoy a weekend getaway in Yosemite. The village offers galleries, restaurants, shopping, and museums packed with experiences that make spending a long weekend here worthwhile. Hotels and campgrounds offer accommodations right in the park for a unique stay.

What to Do: A trip or two to Yosemite National Park is a no-brainer. First-timers will want to be sure to visit Tunnel View for a quintessential view of Bridalveil and El Capitan and Half Dome's granite cliffs. The vista alone makes Yosemite National Park one of the most gorgeous California getaways for couples. Explore if by Jeep or foot . In the village, Ansel Adams' black-and-white photography is on full display at a gallery bearing his name . Yosemite Museum Gallery offers an eclectic mix of works.

Where to Stay: The Ahwahnee ; Yosemite West High Sierra Bed & Breakfast ; Curry Village ; Yosemite Valley Lodge .

San Francisco

Bird's eye view of Bay Bridge in San Fransisco, California

For couples looking for a cosmopolitan getaway, San Francisco represents a true destination—especially for out-of-state visitors who don't often get to experience its charms. From bucket list sights like the Golden Gate Bridge to an unforgettable foodie scene, the city is a cultural hub that draws millions of visitors each year. It's also an easy home base for couples looking to explore many California hot spots like Napa Valley and Sonoma. San Francisco's vibe is a little less glitzy than LA — it's home to Silicon Valley, an innovation capital. But its waterfront views make it just as picturesque, and an emerging retail season is bringing Hollywood style to the forefront of its streets, too.

What to Do: Ride in a colorful '60s-inspired van that looks more than a little bit like Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine, and see Mission, the Castro, and North Beach on the San Francisco Love Tour . Combine a trip to Fisherman's Wharf with a jaunt to Alcatraz , the prison that was once home to Al Capone. Eat your way across the city on a foodie tour. Visit Chinatown for an authentic taste of Asian American home cooking.

Where to Stay: Omni San Fransisco ; San Francisco Mariott Marquis ; Hotel Emblem San Francisco ; Beacon Grand, a Union Square Hotel ; Argonaut Hotel .

Exploratorium California wedding venue in San Francisco, California

The Atlas Heart

Romantic Getaways in California: 17 Destinations to Fall in Love With

* This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

From rustic retreats to ritzy resorts, these are the most romantic getaways in California. 

Love is not only in the air in California . It’s in the mountains, the rivers, the forests, and in the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

Whether you’re looking for a city break, an escape to nature, or a luxury resort, the most romantic getaways in California are waiting for you. 

Celebrate your relationship by soaring over the grape fields of Napa in a hot air balloon, soaking in a cliff-top hot tub at midnight, or sailing away to an exclusive island resort. 

While luxury hotel stays and fancy restaurants don’t come cheap, there are also plenty of romantic getaways in California for couples on a budget. Love don’t have to cost a thing! 

Whatever romance means to you, we’ve got you covered with this ultimate guide to the most romantic getaways in California.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

weekend getaways in california for couples

Table of Contents

Best Romantic Getaways in Northern California

romantic getaway in napa

What makes it romantic: California’s Napa Valley is the perfect destination for romantic getaways in California, whether you’re planning to pop the question or celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Best time to visit: Napa Valley is beautiful all year round, but harvest time – August to October – is the best time to visit. 

Where to stay: Hotel Napa Valley , The Meritage Resort and Spa

What I love most about staying in the cosmopolitan Northern California city of Napa is the sheer range of options available to suit your style, from low-key to grand romantic gestures.

You could splash out for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner at French Laundry, the legendary three-Michelin-starred restaurant in nearby Yountville. 

Or simply fill up a basket with goodies from the Oxbow Food Hall and find a quiet spot by the riverside for a picnic for two.

Take to the skies for an unforgettable hot air balloon ride over the vineyards at sunset. Or go for an afternoon bicycle tour of the Napa Valley wineries, sampling as you ride.

If you visit at harvest time, try grape stomping, a unique experience offered by some wineries in the region.

In other words: whatever your budget, you can’t go wrong in wine country.

Get your FREE California Travel Planner – including printable checklists and my favorite two-week itinerary for the state. 

calistoga romantic getaway

What makes it romantic: The naturally heated mineral springs and rich volcanic ash deposits in Calistoga are used to create the Northern California resort town’s famous mud bath. 

Best time to visit: Spring, summer, and fall are the best times to visit Calistoga.

Where to stay: Dr. Wilkinsons Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs , Solage

In other words, it’s perfect for a spa retreat weekend.

Start the day with mimosas by the pool before indulging in a massage, mud bath, spa treatment, or just a long soak in the rejuvenating mineral waters of the hot tubs. 

Once you’re appropriately relaxed, hit up nearby vineyards for a tasting tour. Castello Di Amoroso is a Tuscan-inspired castle deep in the hills of Calistoga, which you can visit with a reservation.

With a real moat, drawbridge, five towers, and even a torture chamber – all made from locally-sourced, hand-chiseled stone – the castle is worth checking out for its architecture alone.

Or take a tour over the grape fields on an aerial tram at Sterling Vineyards for stunning views of the valley before sampling wine at the hilltop winery.

And don’t worry, this might all sound pretty fancy, but there’s a resort in Calistoga for every taste and budget, from retro-chic motels to five-star luxury.

San Francisco

san francisco romantic getaway

What makes it romantic: Sunset cruises, picnics in the park, and Michelin-starred restaurants make the City by the Bay a fun destination for a romantic escape.

Best time to visit: Year-round, but the weather is best in September.

Where to stay: Fairmont San Francisco , Palace Hotel

If your idea of romantic getaways in California involves a great meal, San Francisco has your back. The city takes food and drink very seriously.

Show off your foodie knowledge by taking your significant other to La Taqueria in the trendy Mission neighborhood for a tasty taco. Or ride the cable car to Swan Oyster Depot, the seafood restaurant beloved by Anthony Bourdain.

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is a sweet spot for takeout, with picnic tables and a gorgeous view. For a high-end treat, check out Atelier Crenn, the three-Michelin-star restaurant in Cow’s Hollow.

Tour one of San Francisco’s many interesting museums, including SFMOMA, the deYoung in Golden Gate Park, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Finish the day with a serene sunset sail around the bay , seeing the Golden Gate Bridge glow in the evening light.

Looking for more to do? Read our guide to 100+ Things to do in San Francisco and what to do in San Francisco at night .

Spend the Afternoon at the beach_Mendocino beach

What makes it romantic: Mendocino’s small-town charm, beautiful inns, and stunning ocean views make this a special place to unwind with your loved one.

Best time to visit: September and October are good months to visit California’s northern coast.

Where to stay: Agate Cove Inn , Headlands Inn Bed and Breakfast , Brewery Gulch Inn (read our complete review )

Located three hours north of San Francisco in Northern California but a world away from the frantic pace of city life, Mendocino is a laid-back coastal haven. 

The quiet downtown is full of interesting small businesses with no chain stores in sight.

There are plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful surrounding redwood forests, rivers, and beaches of Mendocino County.

Hike out to the waterfalls of Russian Gulch State Park, or stroll along the coastal bluffs of Mendocino Headlands State Park and admire the Pacific Ocean vista.

But no one would blame you if you simply hung out at one of the traditional bed and breakfasts that offer delicious food, cozy fires, and spa treatments.

Looking for a complete list of what to do? Read our guide to the best things to do in Mendocino .  

Best Romantic Getaways in Central California

best anniversary trips in california

What makes it romantic : Beach strolls, stunning sunset dinners, and moonlit hot tubs by the ocean – this stretch of pristine coastline is California’s most romantic road trip.

Best time to visit : Summer and fall are the best times to visit when the weather is mild. Winter is beautiful, but storms often close the road, completely blocking access to the area.

Where to stay: Ventana , Big Sur Lodge , Fernwood Resort – if you want to camp, read our guide to the best Big Sur camping spots .

Big Sur is a rugged section of the Central Coast, bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Lucia Mountains on the other. 

The region’s wild beauty, small population, and luxury hotels make this an attractive destination for couples fleeing the city for a private romantic getaway. 

Hollywood stars Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, and Jack Black were all married here, so you know it must be a pretty special (and beautiful) place. 

Take a hike through the redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, then head to Pfeiffer Beach for a refreshing oceanside walk. Don’t miss McWay Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in the state.

Stop by Big Sur Bakery for a coffee and pastry and sit beneath a redwood on the sunny deck. 

Book dinner at Nepenthe for sunset, where you can enjoy delicious Californian cuisine while watching the sun go down over the Pacific.

Later still, book time in a hot tub perched on a cliff at the famous Esalen Institute, which opens its hot springs to the public between 1 am and 3 am.

For a special weekend, stay at the adults-only Ventana , one of the most romantic hotels in California. 

Cozy up in one of the suites with in-room fireplaces, or reconnect with nature in one of the comfortable glamping tents . 

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel by the Sea romantic getaway

What makes it romantic : Quirky Carmel is a one-of-a-kind seaside city, full of whimsical cottages and boasting a lively arts scene.

Best time to visit: Visit year-round, although the weather is best in summer and fall.

Where to stay: Hyatt Carmel Highlands , L’Auberge Carmel

Carmel is not only considered one of the most romantic cities in California, but it has also been rated as the third most romantic city in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea gained its romantic reputation with its elegant restaurants, cozy inns, and gorgeous beach.

The wide, white-sand Carmel Beach is one of the best in Northern California. It’s ideal for swimming, relaxing on the shore, or taking a sunset stroll by the Pacific Ocean. 

You’ll find it a short walk from downtown, past beautiful homes modeled after a rural English village.

Exploring the town on foot or by bicycle is the best way to get around. 

Partly because you will want to slow down to appreciate the chocolate-box cottages dotted throughout the city, but also due to a lack of addresses on houses, it’s pretty difficult for your GPS to navigate.

Ditch the car and embrace the slower pace of life, losing yourselves for a little while in this charming town. If you’re searching for romantic getaways in California, Carmel will not disappoint.

For an extended romantic weekend, combine a visit to Carmel with a road trip on the Pacific Highway down to Big Sur.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara romantic getaway

What makes it romantic : Relax on a sunny beach, tour wineries, and admire the stylish Spanish Mission architecture of this laid-back city on California’s central coast.

Best time to visit: Summer, although the mild climate makes Santa Barbara a great year-round destination.

Where to stay: Best Western Plus , Mar Monte Hotel

Just a 90-minute drive north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is home to several celebrities who seek a quieter life in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

It’s a cosmopolitan city with high-end restaurants, interesting museums, and regular art festivals, yet you’re never far from nature. 

If you feel rejuvenated by outdoor life, but your other half gets their kicks from culture, Santa Barbara is the perfect combination of the two.

Don’t miss buzzing State Street and Stearns Wharf for shopping, California cuisine, and people watching. 

For a fun introduction to the city’s culinary scene, take a Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food and Photo Tour , where a local guide takes you around the city’s best eateries.

For a culture trip, check out the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo

What makes it romantic : Conveniently located between vineyards and the ocean, San Luis Obispo is the ideal city for a romantic wine country getaway.

Best time to visit: Summer is a great time to visit San Luis Obispo.

Where to stay: Madonna Inn , Garden Street Inn

Wandering around the hilly streets lined with colorful Queen Ann homes, San Luis Obispo is like a sunnier San Francisco. 

The area is famous for its produce, which local restaurants make good use of. 

If you’re heading to San Luis Obispo for a romantic weekend, don’t miss the Thursday night Farmers’ Market, where you’ll find live music and a popular barbecue stand.

A wine tour is a fun way to sample and learn more about the region’s varietals, but many local wineries also have tasting rooms downtown.

For a fun date night, head to Sunset Drive-in, one of the last drive-in movie theaters in central California, where you can enjoy a movie under the stars.

Exhausted by all that wine-tasting? Relaxing in a private hot tub in the forest at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa in nearby Avila Beach is the best way to end the weekend.

Best Romantic Getaways in Southern California

Palm springs.

palm springs getaway

What makes it romantic : Take your partner to the oasis of Palm Springs for a luxurious resort stay, dinners under a starlit sky, and adventures into the desert. This is one of the ultimate romantic getaways in California.

Best time to visit: With so much sunshine, there’s no wrong time to go for a Palm Springs romantic getaway. Having said that, December and January see the lowest temperatures and the most rain.

Where to stay: Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel , Hilton Palm Springs

With an average of 350 days of sunshine a year, Palm Springs is the R&R capital of California. 

Palm Springs has some of the most romantic resorts in California, where you can relax by an outdoor pool with drinks service, go for a couple’s spa treatment, or play a round of golf together.

Palm Springs is easy to get to from Los Angeles, and it’s also ideal for romantic getaways from nearby San Diego .

If you can drag yourself away from the sun lounger, Palm Springs also has an aerial tram to the top of Mount Jacinto. The two-and-a-half-mile trip features expansive views of the Chino cliffs and Coachella Valley below.

Or go on a Jeep safari to the San Andreas fault, where you can explore the famous geological fault line with a knowledgeable guide and learn about the wildlife in this fascinating area.

Take advantage of the warm desert nights and request a table outside at La Quinta Cliffhouse, built into the side of a cliff. Serving up modern Californian dishes, it’s a unique setting with delicious food. 

Looking for more recommendations? Read our full guide to the best things to do in Palm Springs .

best malibu beaches

What makes it romantic: Legendary beaches, spectacular clifftop dining, and hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains – this glamorous seaside town has huge romance potential.

Best time to visit: Throughout the summer months.

Where to stay: The Surfrider , Malibu Beach Inn

Enjoy modern Californian cuisine under chandelier-lit oaks at Calamigos Ranch, a beautiful hotel set on 5,000 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. 

A popular wedding venue, dinner at Malibu Cafe is also guaranteed to be a romantic occasion.

For oceanfront dining, head to Nobu for high-end sushi or Geoffrey’s Malibu, which has been graced by Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and John F. Kennedy. 

Head to the best beach in Malibu to soak up some sun on a lounger under the palms: Paradise Cove. Controversially, the beach’s private owners charge up to $50 to visitors for all-day parking.

However, you can park for free, or much cheaper, by staying under four hours and eating at the Paradise Cove Cafe, a fabulous Southern Californian diner that sits right on the sand.

Malibu is more than just beautiful beaches. Drive out to the rolling hills of Malibu Creek State Park to find natural rock pools and an oak-shaded trail by a stream for a romantic hike .

Looking for more to do? Read our complete guide to the best things to do in Malibu .  

Joshua Tree

romantic getaway in joshua tree national park

What makes it romantic: Joshua Tree is the artsy desert town just outside Joshua Tree National Park and is the perfect Southern California romantic getaway for nature lovers.

Best time to visit: Winter or spring, as the temperatures soar to dangerously high levels during the summer.

Where to stay: Autocamp Joshua Tree , Moonlight Mesa House

The main draw for Joshua Tree is, of course, Joshua Tree National Park . The boulders, pines, cacti gardens, and wide skies are breathtaking and have inspired generations of artists.

Couples looking for a memorable photoshoot or who just enjoy walking together through beautiful landscapes will appreciate this special place.

If you want to stay inside the park overnight, you’ll need to camp. 

Aside from bathrooms and one visitor center, there are no facilities in the park, so you’ll also need to bring in all your food (and firewood, if you plan to camp).

Many of the trails are a short drive from the town of Joshua Tree, so staying just outside the park at night is a good option as well.

If you’re looking for romantic getaways in Southern California on a budget, try glamping in a classic Airstream with modern amenities at the newly opened Autocamp Joshua Tree.

Alternatively, book a cozy, private vacation rental with amenities like a soaking pool or hot tub.

Aside from visiting the national park, Joshua Tree is full of offbeat art galleries, remnants of the Old West, and cute neighborhood restaurants. 

Don’t miss the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum, with its beautiful sculptures made from repurposed junk.

Read our guide to the best Joshua Tree hotels and campgrounds . Want to make your visit to Joshua Tree a day trip? Read our road trip guide from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree .  

Big Bear Lake

big bear lake getaway

What makes it romantic : Spend the day playing in the snow before returning to your cabin, where you can cozy up together by the fire for a fun romantic weekend getaway in California.

Best time to visit: December through March for the ski season, or summer and fall if you prefer spending time at the lake instead of the snow.

Where to stay: The Lodge at Big Bear Lake , ITH Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge

Southern California’s best-known ski resort is ideal for winter romantic getaways in California.

Located deep in the San Bernardino Mountains, just over two hours’ drive from downtown Los Angeles , Big Bear Lake has many cool activities.

Try skiing, snowboarding , tubing, or hurtling down the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain for some adrenaline-inducing fun. Or snowshoe through a winter wonderland of national forest trails for a more serene adventure.

At night, Big Bear has a lively Apres-ski scene. Head to 572 Social Kitchen and Bar for live music and drinks, or Big Bear Lake Brewing Company for a microbrew and tasty apps.

Looking for more cute California snow towns? Read our guide to the best places to find snow in California . 

Santa Catalina Island

catalina island romantic getaway

What makes it romantic : Whisk your partner away to the glitzy island resort of Santa Catalina Island, the perfect destination for romantic getaways from Los Angeles.

Best time to visit: Summer and fall, when the weather is warm.

Where to stay: Catalina Island Inn , Pavilion Hotel

Santa Catalina, commonly known as Catalina Island, was bought by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in 1919, who dreamed of creating a world-class resort.

His vision is still very much alive today, with some of the most romantic hotels in Southern California and upmarket restaurants catering to visitors looking for an island escape .

There are no cars on the island, but you can easily get around with a golf cart or bicycle.

Take a cruise on an underwater sub, go SCUBA diving, explore the island’s trails , play a round of golf – or just relax on a lounger at the beach .

At night, enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the island’s beachfront restaurants, where you can sip a Buffalo Milk while enjoying the island breeze.

Want to just do a day trip? Read our guide on how to plan the perfect Catalina day trip .   Looking for more of an outdoorsy getaway? Read our complete guide to backpacking the Trans-Catalina Trail .

Best Romantic Getaways in the Sierra Nevada

romantic things to do in the bay area - hot tubbing

What makes it romantic : Summer or winter, the sapphire waters of Lake Tahoe make for an adventurous, romantic getaway destination for outdoorsy couples.

Best time to visit: For hiking trails and lake activities, visit during the summer or fall. Ski season starts sometime in December and usually continues until March or April.

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort Spa & Casino , Sunnyside Resort and Lodge

Whether you’re seeking the nightlife of South Lake Tahoe or prefer the relaxed mountain-town charm of Truckee, Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone.

Take a hike down to Vikingsholm at Emerald Bay, where you can tour the Scandinavian-inspired mansion and rent a double-kayak for a trip to the little island and its ruins.

Or, if your idea of a couples getaway in California involves a happy hour, book a sunset cruise aboard the elegant M.S. Dixie II. It’s an authentic paddle wheeler that serves up decadent cocktails and incredible views of Lake Tahoe.

During the winter months, book a stay at one of the lake’s upscale ski resorts, where you can ski, snowshoe, or sled during the day, and hit the casinos, bars, and restaurants at night.

Read our complete guide to the best things to do in Lake Tahoe , as well as where to find the best beaches , the difference between North and South Lake Tahoe , where to stay in Lake Tahoe , and where to camp in Lake Tahoe .

Nevada City

Nevada City getaway

What makes it romantic: The Victorian architecture, tight-knit community, and beautiful surroundings make this Sierra town not just romantic but Hallmark Christmas Movie romantic.

Best time to visit: Weekends in December for the Victorian Christmas Market or mid-to-late January for the film festival. The town also looks stunning in the fall.

Where to stay: Broad Street Inn , The Madison House Bed and Breakfast

Nevada City, just outside California’s capital of Sacramento , is so picture-perfect it was the setting for “The Christmas Card,” one of Hallmark’s popular holiday movies. 

The community offers visitors more than just small-town charm. 

Nevada City’s downtown has elegant wine tasting rooms, antique shops, family-run stores, and Friar Tuck’s Restaurant, which offers fine dining with friendly service. 

During December, Nevada City hosts a festive Victorian Christmas Market, complete with a spectacular Christmas tree. After Christmas, the town holds the popular Wild & Scenic Film Festival , which showcases environmental activism.

This unique combination of culture, cosmopolitan dining, and laid-back charm make Nevada City one of the most romantic getaways in California.

Read our complete guide about where to spend Christmas in California .

murphys romantic getaway

What makes it romantic: This historic gold-mining town is packed full of wine tasting rooms, great restaurants, and a saloon straight out of the Wild West.

Best time to visit: Fall is the best time to visit Gold Country when the summer crowds are lighter, and the trees change colors.

Where to stay: Courtwood Inn , Murphys House on Main

Murphys, with its Victorian-era architecture and plethora of downtown tasting rooms, is ideal for couples who enjoy food and wine. It’s also one of the best spots for romantic getaways from the Bay Area .

Book a table at Alchemy Cafe for fabulous twists on comfort foods, like roast pork belly and meatloaf. 

Or, if you’re looking for a light bite, try one of the tasty sandwiches at Aria, a bakery that customers are happy to line up for.

Spend an afternoon dipping in and out of the many tasting rooms that have taken over Main Street’s stone buildings, or pull up a stool at Murphys Historic Hotel, which looks much the same as it did in its 1880s heyday.

The surrounding area is also beautiful, so be sure to explore the forests and mountains just outside of town.

Take a stroll in a grove of giant sequoias at nearby Calaveras Big Trees State Park, or check out Mercer Cavern for an underground adventure on your romantic weekend.

Stay in a boutique inn, where you can dream of your Gold Country adventures together.

Yosemite National Park

yosemite-romantic-getaway

What makes it romantic: Experience some of California’s most stunning landscapes together before relaxing back at your log cabin in the state’s most popular national park.

Best time to visit: Yosemite is beautiful year-round, although snow blocks some areas during the winter months.

Where to stay: Tenaya Lodge , Autocamp Yosemite

Whether you’re relaxing by an alpine lake, testing your limits on Half Dome, or strolling through a sunny meadow, Yosemite offers hiking trails for everyone. It’s the perfect place to make memories you can share forever.

Yosemite National Park is full of easy, flat trails and more challenging ascents, perfect for any level of outdoor enthusiast. 

Trek through a peaceful pine forest to reach the photogenic Mirror Lake or take a short walk to dreamy Tuolumne Meadows for a picnic.

During the winter months, take a spin on the ice rink at Half Dome before warming up with a hot chocolate next to the fire pits. Or, visit in February to see the famous Yosemite Firefall . 

In the summer, take advantage of the open roads to explore Tioga Pass or enjoy the view at Glacier Point.

At night, relax in a cozy cabin or fall asleep to the sounds of nature in a luxuriously-appointed yurt.

Visiting national parks is an easy way to enjoy affordable romantic getaways in California (just make sure to bring your national park passports ). 

Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splash out, Yosemite promises to be one of your most memorable romantic getaways in California.

Read our complete guide to the best things to do in Yosemite , two days in Yosemite itinerary , and our road trip guide from San Francisco to Yosemite . 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald is a travel writer based in the Bay Area. She writes for the national parenting website Red Tricycle and on her own family travel blog, Tiny Trailblazers . She loves exploring California’s outdoors and has a weakness for a national park gift shop.

Sarah enjoys sharing her Bay Area expertise with readers curious to try popular restaurants and off-the-beaten-path adventures in California. When she’s not writing reviews and travel guides, you’ll likely find her trying to keep up with her kids on a hiking trail or deciphering the menu at a new restaurant.

Looking for more California travel inspiration? Check out these related posts below!

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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The 7 Most Romantic Getaways in California

By Megan Spurrell

The RitzCarlton Lake Tahoe

Beachside resorts, wine country B&Bs, sleek city hotels, $2,000-a-night ryokans on the cliffs of Malibu: however you define a romantic getaway , California nails it—and then some. But the real reason we look to California for weekends away—beyond the fact that it's massive, home to some of the country's best hotels , and hey, we can all agree that a sunset is just better on the West Coast—is that is does romance in that effortless, quintessentially Californian way. Whether you live in state, or you're thinking of flying in, these are the best places to sneak off to, all year 'round.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Post Ranch Inn

The Highway 1 Road-Trip Stop: Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur Arrow

Clinging to the cliffs of Big Sur , some 1,200 feet above the Pacific, is the iconic Post Ranch Inn, a nineteenth-century homestead that delivers on romantic ocean views and elevated, tranquil spaces: elements of slate, marble, and wood complement the dramatic natural setting, rather than competing with it, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls make it easy to spend hours taking it all in together. It’s easy to forget there are other guests here, despite a collection of 39 rooms—including several treehouses, and two private homes for rent—making it easy to focus on the company you arrived with. Take advantage of the spa (or better yet, let them come to you for a couples’ massage in your room), and indulge in long meals exploring the hyperlocal menu at Sierra Mar restaurant (they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with daily prix-fixes and an extensive wine list). During the day, you can borrow a complimentary Lexus for a spin along Pacific Coast Highway , or escape for a hike—likely, with nobody else around.

Get there: Three hours from San Francisco by car.

Splurge on: To really soak up the views, treat yourself to the Post House private home, which has vintage details (including the original fireplace once used by the original owners of the property, the Post Family), and private outdoor hot tub and patio that face away from the rest of the Inn, making it really feel like you have the grounds to yourselves.

Timber Cove Resort

The Rustic Getaway, With a Modern Spin: Timber Cove, Sonoma Arrow

A cliffside location, unobstructed views of the Pacific, roaring fireplaces, and moody, wood-beam details—every element of Sonoma's Timber Cove Resort seemingly adds up to a surefire recipe for a romantic weekend away. It's self-described as "one part hippie chic and two parts rustic modern", which draws a decidedly NorCal mix of couples who want to pair their downtime, whether that be wine tasting on the oceanfront deck or afternoons cozying up by the fire, with active time outside. Activities on offer include everything from private guided hikes through the redwoods (there are more than two miles of hiking trails on property), or going kayaking on the Pacific below. The location is also a perfect base for exploring Sonoma Country's wineries, and local oyster farms like Hog Island Oyster Co. (which are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour away, depending on what you go.)

Get there: It's roughly a three-hour drive north from San Francisco.

Splurge on: To dial up the romance factor to a ten, spring for the Ocean View Jr. Suite and choose the Romance Package add-on for just $50 more per night, which includes a sparkling bottle of wine in your room, and breakfast for two. (You can pretend the bottle waiting in the room was your idea—we won't tell.) This suite, the second-largest room, has a 180-degree view of the Pacific, and an in-room fireplace, redwood patio, and, unlike the larger suite, the added perk of a soaking tub.

Nobu Ryokan Malibu

The Once-in-a-Lifetime Splurge: Nobu Ryokan, Malibu Arrow

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has made a name for himself in sushi , but his namesake Malibu restaurant now has a sister: Nobu Ryokan . This elevated space is inspired by the ryokans of Japan, but this high design masterpiece is a far cry from your traditional Japanese inn—details like teak soaking tubs beneath skylights in the bathrooms, in-room dining from Nobu, and prime Malibu real estate are decidedly indulgent. It’s exclusive (read: rooms start at $2,000 a night during low season, with a two-night minimum), and everyone staying here values their privacy, which all makes for a decadent once-in-a-lifetime getaway. Even better, the M.O. of everyone here is quietly unwinding, usually in pairs, and soaking up the special space and views.

Get there: A twenty-minute drive outside Los Angeles .

Splurge on: These rooms start at $2,000 a night, so just being here is a splurge. Up the ante by booking an oceanfront bungalow, and ask about one with an outdoor Japanese soaking tub. You deserve it.

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa California

The Wellness Retreat: Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai Arrow

There's something in the air at Ojai Valley Inn —time moves slower here, where every inch of the 200-acre property has been designed to help you unwind. Farm-to-table dining options, a daily lineup of yoga and pilates classes , and ever-present organic juices feel like classic tenets of any wellness retreat, but the real draw of Ojai Valley Inn is its intangible je ne sais quoi . Take advantage of the on-site spa, known for unique treatments inspired by the valley's first inhabitants, the Chumash Native American tribe, and spend evenings over wine at The Oak restaurant. Sure, you could venture into town for the weekend farmer's market or a long hike, but we can't promise it'll be easy to pull yourself away (and who says you need to?)

Get there: A 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara, or around two hours from Los Angeles.

Splurge on: All of the spa treatments are decadent, but spring for the 100-minute Shangri-La Body Treatment (which includes a full-body buffing, wrap, then mini-facial, all of which incorporate lavender and honey grown here), or select any of the massages (options range from a Warm Himalayan Salt Stone massage, to one incorporating CBD oil), and ask for the couple's suite.

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Las Alcobas Napa Valley St Helena San Francisco Hotel

The Wine Country Stay: Las Alcobas, Napa Arrow

Wine tastings , sunsets, private hot tubs—who says you need to reinvent the wheel on your next romantic getaway, if the classics work this well? Sure, some wine country stays can feel a bit, erm, predictable, but this restored Victorian mansion stands out with turn-of-the-century architecture, sleek contemporary interiors, and a restaurant from celebrated chef Chris Cosentino that does wine-supporting dishes in a decidedly NorCal fashion (think fresh rigatoni with kale pesto). Spend your days between the farmhouse-style spa, the saltwater pool, and, of course, tasting as many of the valley's wines as you can. There's nothing quite as romantic, though, as sipping apéritifs on the communal porch, from where you can watch the sun set over the cabernet vines of Beringer Estate.

Get there: Just over a two-hour drive from San Francisco.

Splurge on: We lied, it can get more romantic than sunset on the porch—if you're willing to pay. Book a room with a private fire pit or tub, and enjoy the sunset from there (ask for a west-facing room). It’ll feel as though the entire home is just yours, even if only for an evening.

The RitzCarlton Lake Tahoe

The Mountain Escape: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Arrow

Set amongst the thick pines of North Lake Tahoe, the Ritz-Carlton is a tried-and-true getaway for couples craving a mountain retreat, with amenities. During the winter, this ski-in/ski-out hotel hits a cozy note: round out days on the slopes with cozy, lazy evenings beside the in-room fireplaces, or skip the whole thing and spend a day at the spa, from which you can appreciate the snowy hills outside. In the summer, take advantage of its convenient North Shore location as a basecamp for days on the lake (the hotel can arrange standup paddle boarding or kayaking), or rent a poolside cabana that comes with personalized service for two. All year-round, you can count on a stay shrouded in romantic mountain views.

Get there: A 45-minute drive from Sacramento, or a four- to five-hour drive from San Francisco.

Splurge on: Right in the hotel is one of North Tahoe's best restaurants, the French-inspired Manzanita . Snag Chef Roman Garcia's chef's table, where you can enjoy a private tasting menu guided by Garcia himself for $175. Reservations must be made in advance by calling Manzanita directly.

Kimpton La Peer Hotel

The Chic City Stay: Kimpton La Peer Hotel, Los Angeles Arrow

Beaches and mountains may be romantic, but a design-forward hotel in the heart of Los Angeles ? If that doesn't scream sexy, it sure whispers it. Kimpton's latest Los Angeles opening fits right into the Design District it calls home, with Scandinavian high-design that features natural materials, like wood and leather. For those eager to get out and canvas the city, use the hotel as your launchpad for hitting must-visit museums, like The Broad , and snagging must-have reservations (such as N/naka or Trois Mec ), before slinking back in the evening for drinks in the intimate courtyard bar.

Get there: It's a 40-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport.

Splurge on: Slip into something a little more comfortable—like a bubble bath in your in-room soaking tub, drawn by your personal butler. Request the Signature La Peer Bath for just $75, and a butler will fill the tub with fresh herbs like lavender and rosemary. Make sure to order a chilled bottle of Champagne on the side.

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Most Romantic Resorts in California

From San Francisco to Big Sur, California is lined with cities perfect for a romantic getaway. Rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and lush hiking trails make California one of the most beautiful states to spend time with your significant other. After visiting top hotels across the state, we evaluated how they stacked up against the competition — from the coziness of the rooms, to the serene atmosphere by the pool. Take a look at the most romantic resorts in California and start planning your amorous getaway!

best anniversary trips in california

Calistoga Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

Calistoga, napa valley, california, united states.

It's no wonder royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury Calistoga Ranch: It's in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. Attention to detail carries over from room design to landscape planning -- all modules for the lodges were flown in by helicopter to minimize impact on surrounding trees and to maximize privacy. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, a bocce court, a fabulous fitness center, and wine tasting seminars. If guests decide to venture out for some reason, they can easily access downtown Calistoga and other towns with not only loaner bikes, but loaner Mercedes-Benzes! This property stands out as one of the most remarkable not just in Napa Valley but in the entire country.

best anniversary trips in california

Post Ranch Inn

Big sur, california, united states.

The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organicarchitecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views (that are sometimes obstructed by the pervasive fog that the area is known for) and many feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better show them off. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel's cliff-top pools are stunning; and free amenities (such as yoga and stargazing) are abundant.

best anniversary trips in california

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Del mar, california, united states.

This 249-room Spanish-Colonial-style resort in the rolling hills near Del Mar is stunning, from the old-world decor to the enormous rooms to the luxurious spa. It features four pools, excellent restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, an Equestrian Center, and free car service in a Mercedes or Cadillac Escalade. But since it's inland, there are no ocean views; considerL'Auberge del Mar for closer proximity to the sand.

best anniversary trips in california

The Avalon Hotel

Avalon, catalina island.

The Avalon is an upper-middle-range boutique located in a quiet but central spot across the street from the beach. The property is intimate, with a mellow vibe, and only 15 rooms all built around a quaint shaded courtyard. The highlight here is the rooftop sun deck, offering loungers, and expansive ocean and hillside views. Rooms are spacious, homey, and well-equipped, with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, microwaves, and mini-fridges stocked with free bottled water. Prices are a little steep, but freebies -- such as Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, refreshments and coffee, and taxi service from the ferry terminal -- add value. It may also be worth considering the similarly priced Aurora Hotel, which is a bit more stylish.

best anniversary trips in california

The Inn Above Tide

Sausalito, california, united states.

A quiet alternative to San Francisco's busy downtown hotels, the luxurious Inn Above Tide is within walking distance of the shops, restaurants, and ferry in quaint, ritzy Sausalito (the scenic ferry ride to the city takes about 30 minutes). The 31 sophisticated rooms here have sweeping bay views and most come with patios overlooking the water. While there's a spa, free breakfast, and free wine and cheese receptions, its lack of a pool and an on-site restaurant may deter some visitors.

best anniversary trips in california

Sea Rock Inn

Mendocino, california, united states.

The intimate Sea Rock Inn is an upscale bed & breakfast with resort touches, offering suites and cottages with panoramic ocean views and wood-burning fireplaces. Binoculars are provided for whale-watching from private decks or the large lawn, which slopes gently toward the edge of the rocky Pacific cliffs. The inn is not fancy, but is charming, with knotty pine furniture, ebullient flowerbeds, and whimsical paintings and sculptures. Cabin-like guest rooms have plush beds from which guests can see the ocean.

best anniversary trips in california

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

La jolla, california, united states.

With its proximity to some of the most beautiful spots in San Diego, the 170-room Lodge at Torrey Pines is a haven for nature lovers and golf enthusiasts opting for a rustic, relaxed vibe. Rooms and common areas feature craftsman-styled decor and furnishings, and the rooms are sweet and spacious, with a unique woodsy feel -- though some are a bit dark and even a tad bland. The bathrooms are massive, with custom-made toiletries and most featuring beautiful soaking tubs. The lodge's on-site facilities are up to par for a luxury resort -- heated outdoor pool with underwater music, beautiful spa, and a famous golf course that's a stop on the PGA Tour.

best anniversary trips in california

Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort

Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque oceanfront land, The Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods -- yet it features 62 luxurious, streamlined rooms with wooden accents, refreshing pops of color, and modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Many rooms have fireplaces, creating a cozy retreat vibe to fit with its surroundings -- though glass doors and large windows keep the rooms feeling bright and airy. Not a place for families, the overall goal of the hotel is to create a zen, holistic retreat with such offerings as yoga classes, discovery walks; afternoon wine and cheese, Japanese baths, and two pools (one of which is clothing optional). But access to these "freebies" aren't technically free -- they're included in the daily resort fee.

best anniversary trips in california

Aurora Hotel

Aurora Hotel is a stylish 18-room B&B located a short walk from Avalon’s main drag. Rooms are small (with even smaller bathrooms), but have stylish contemporary decor, and wonderful amenities -- including Tempurpedic mattresses, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, microwaves, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffeemakers. There is a chic rooftop deck with great ocean views, and a massage room offering an extensive treatments menu -- but no full restaurant or pool. Prices are a little steep for such a limited range of on-site features, but freebies such as a weekly wine and cheese hour, Wi-Fi, and continental breakfast add value.

best anniversary trips in california

Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach

Half moon bay, california, united states.

The 18-room Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach is a mid-range boutique located in a quiet residential neighborhood next to the Pacific Ocean. The rooms are homey and romantic, and have a coastal California style that matches the setting. Some rooms have balconies offering spectacular ocean views. Fireplaces in all rooms and two-person jetted tubs in some add romantic touches. The free breakfast and evening wine reception with homemade desserts are appreciated perks, as is the resident massage therapist. There is access to a pretty coastal trail right outside the door of the property. Both Wi-Fi and on-site parking are free, but there's little else in the way of facilities.

best anniversary trips in california

West Cliff Inn, a Four Sisters Inn

Santa cruz, california, united states.

West Cliff Inn is an historic mansion perched on a hill across from a Santa Cruz beach. A bed-and-breakfast operated by the California-based Four Sisters Inns, it features smallish rooms, but most have a fireplace and modern marble bathrooms. The neighborhood has changed around the Victorian building as of late, and it now borders a mobile home park and has seen a growing homeless population.

best anniversary trips in california

Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

Beverly hills/bel air, beverly hills, california, united states.

Hidden away in a quiet residential section of Beverly Hills, this 119-room hotel pampers guests with extraordinary service (including a rare, flexible checkout policy), huge 650-square-foot standard rooms, and a 24-hour rooftop pool with 360-degree views. All in all, a hotel with few equals.

best anniversary trips in california

Cavallo Point

This historic property under the Golden Gate Bridge offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay skyline. Located in a state park in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, Cavallo Point feels removed from the hustle and bustle of the city even though it is still accessible -- the hotel operates a free shuttle to the ferry terminal. Originally built as an army base in the late 1800s, the hotel has retained many charming historical details in its two main buildings as well as in its Historic Rooms, which were all formerly officers' residences. Contemporary Rooms, on the other hand, were built into the hillside, and have great views, gas fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also features an acclaimed spa with a pool and fire pits, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving regional cuisine, an on-site cooking school, and many outdoor activities such as morning yoga and hiking. But heavy fog can block the views Cavallo Point is most known for and persistent fog horns have prompted the hotel to include ear plugs in every room.

best anniversary trips in california

The Beverly Hills Hotel

On 12 acres of lush grounds, this historic hotel is a serene, luxurious escape five minutes from Rodeo Drive. Its formal service and aura lend it a stuffier feel than the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire, but it also has anachronistic charms, like an old-fashioned soda fountain, plus a great pool and (pricey) restaurants. The historic rooms, which are the most standard, are smaller and not as luxe, but all other rooms are spacious with fresh decor, amenities such as massive flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs.

best anniversary trips in california

Yountville, Napa Valley, California, United States

Swank yet eco-friendly, this 62-room resort opened in 2009 with a mission of sustainability and luxury. Proud of its LEED Platinum certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for leadership in environmental design, the hotel is solar-powered, sources its water from geothermal wells, and uses organic cleaning products.The modern rooms are plush and the bathrooms are spa-like, complete with a pullout massage table in each one. After a day of biking and vineyard visits, guests can lounge in covered sun beds by the rooftop pool, visit the spa, or enjoy a farm-to-table meal at Lucy Restaurant and Bar. The professional staff can arrange everything from hot air-balloon rides to pedicures on the guest room balconies.

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9 Anniversary Trip Ideas in California: The Ultimate Romantic Getaway

9 Anniversary Trip Ideas in California: The Ultimate Romantic Getaway

Discover 9 unique anniversary trip ideas in California for a memorable weekend.

California.com Team

November 14, 2023

California is a land of sun, surf, and endless possibilities. If you're planning to celebrate your anniversary, the Golden State offers a variety of destinations that can make your special day truly unforgettable. From the breathtaking landscapes of Napa to the scenic beauty of Big Sur , California is brimming with anniversary trip ideas that cater to every type of couple. Let's explore nine amazing spots that promise to add a spark to your celebration!

Napa Valley: Nature's Paradise

Imagine spending time at a magnificent place surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Napa Valley . This region is perfect for couples who appreciate gourmet dining and serenity. Take a romantic hot air balloon ride at dawn, followed by a tour through picturesque estates. Napa’s luxurious spas and charming bed-and-breakfasts make it an ideal retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Big Sur: The Force of Nature and Serenity

Big Sur can be your perfect getaway , with its dramatic coastline and towering redwoods offering a serene and breathtaking backdrop for your anniversary. Drive along the iconic Highway 1, stopping at scenic lookouts for unforgettable ocean views. Stay in a cozy cabin or a luxurious cliff-top resort, and don't miss the chance to witness the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach, where the sun dips below the horizon in a burst of colors.

best anniversary trips in california

Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

Santa Barbara, often referred to as the American Riviera, offers a blend of Mediterranean charm and laid-back California style. Stroll hand in hand along the historic Stearns Wharf, enjoy the local cuisine, and explore the stunning Spanish architecture. The city’s beautiful beaches and vibrant arts scene make it a perfect spot for culture-loving couples .

Lake Tahoe: Heavenly Beautiful 

Whether it’s the snowy winter or the sunny summer, Lake Tahoe is a year-round haven for couples. Enjoy skiing or snowboarding in the colder months and hiking or kayaking when it's warmer. The lake's crystal-clear waters and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains provide a stunning setting for outdoor adventures or a quiet retreat in nature.

best anniversary trips in california

San Diego: Sun, Sea, and Vibrant City Life

San Diego's perfect weather and beautiful beaches are ideal for couples who want a mix of relaxation and city excitement. Explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter, enjoy a romantic dinner cruise around the bay, or simply unwind on the sandy shores of La Jolla Cove . San Diego's lively atmosphere and diverse attractions offer something for every couple.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Quaint and Quirky Charm

This storybook town is a mosaic of quaint cottages, art galleries, and white sandy beaches. Carmel-by-the-Sea's fairytale ambiance is perfect for couples seeking a quiet and charming retreat. Wander through its cobblestone streets, visit the historic Carmel Mission, and enjoy the town's unique boutiques and cafes.

best anniversary trips in california

Palm Springs: Desert Oasis and Retro Glamour

For a taste of retro glamour, head to Palm Springs . This desert oasis is known for its mid-century modern architecture, trendy hotels, and hot springs. Relax by a stylish poolside, explore the art and design scene, or take a scenic tram ride to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains for a breathtaking view.

Yosemite National Park: Adventure in the Wilderness

For adventurous couples, Yosemite National Park offers awe-inspiring natural beauty. Hike to breathtaking waterfalls, gaze at the towering El Capitan, and marvel at the ancient sequoias. Stay in a cozy mountain lodge or camp under the stars for a truly immersive nature experience.

Mendocino: Coastal Beauty and Artistic Flair

With its rugged coastline and Victorian architecture, Mendocino is a haven for artists and nature lovers. Explore the art galleries, take a romantic walk along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, and indulge in fresh, locally sourced seafood. This hidden gem offers a peaceful and picturesque setting for a memorable anniversary.

With its diverse landscapes and attractions, California is full of romantic destinations for celebrating your anniversary. Whether you're a beach lover, adventure seeker, or culture aficionado, the Golden State has something special for every couple. 

So pack your bags, grab your partner, and spend your anniversary in the beautiful state of California!

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10 Best Romantic Getaways in California for Couples

Nowadays, it’s hard to keep the romance alive in modern relationships while sticking between social media, Netflix, and busy scheduled work. But a short romantic vacation in California doesn’t only give you extra oxygen but also leaves you and your partner feeling closer than ever.

California is a big state in the United States and from gorgeous mountains to shimmering sunsets and spectacular beaches; you will have a lot of options when you’re craving romantic getaways in California to rekindle the romance.

Romantic Getaways in California

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10 Best Romantic California Getaways for Couples

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Romantic Getaways in California

Want to stay at a romantic hotel in California with your sweetie, watch the alluring sunset in dramatic coastal bluffs together or enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach? Visit any of these romantic places in California which are perfect for couples exploring hand in hand.

1. LAKE TAHOE

Lake Tahoe, the largest Alpine lake in North America, is also one of the best lakes in California . It’s no wonder it’s one of the best honeymoon places in California. For its azure blue water and snowcapped peaks, couples come from all over the USA to spend their romantic getaways in Lake Tahoe, California.

Lake Tahoe in summer is like paradise in California. Pace out your California romantic getaway around the picturesque lakeside area. Depending on the weather and season it offers varieties of outdoor activities from skiing and horseback riding to hiking and mountain biking.

Romantic Getaways in California | Lake Tahoe

Romantic Things to do in Lake Tahoe

  • Take a ride on the Heavenly Gondola  to enjoy some spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. At the top, enjoy the surrounding sceneries, grab a snack, and take some selfies with your sweetheart.
  • Enjoy a romantic sleigh ride near Stateline in winter. It’s a unique experience when the sleigh ride goes through the Alpine forest and meadows with Pines.
  • Adventure-loving couples can go for parasailing that takes off by boat from Kings Beach or can enjoy some of the most scenic hikes in Lake Tahoe .
  • Enjoy the laid-back vibe in Kings Beach . Relax on the beach or can stroll along with the beach hand in hand.
  • North Lake Tahoe is a popular ski destination in California . There are slopes for all level skiers. Skating hand in hand around the outdoor rink in Heavenly Village can be very romantic.

Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe for a Honeymoon

Summer and winter are the peak season in Lake Tahoe. You can spend some alone time with your partner if you visit Lake Tahoe in the fall season when the summer crowds are gone. Winter is popular here for its well-known ski resorts and various winter sports activities.

Romantic Hotels in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is filled with lots of cabins and homes. You can book the Ritz-Carlton for a romantic experience. It offers world-class luxury amenities including a spa, sauna, steam room, and an outdoor pool.

Malibu is ideal for couples who are looking for the best of both city and the beach. This quintessential California honeymoon destination boasts an iconic fishing pier, picture-perfect sandy beaches, lovely mountains, and plenty of restaurants.

You wouldn’t expect such kind of romantic ceremony in Malibu West Beach Club overlooking the ocean.

You can consider Malibu as one of the best romantic getaways in Southern California. It is no surprise if you can find celebrities strolling on the beach.

Getty Villa in Malibu

Romantic Things to do in Malibu

  • Couples can hike through a magical landscape at Malibu Creek State Park , a popular hike in southern California  that offers stunning views of gorges, hidden pools, and jagged peaks.
  • Foodie couples must visit Nobu restaurant . The ideal location right along the edge of the ocean and delicious sushi and other Japanese dishes are simply amazing for a romantic food date.
  • Relax and layout on the golden sand on Zuma beach , the most popular beach in Malibu. The wide stretch of golden sand is perfect for relaxing, playing beach volleyball, and surfing. Peace lovers can visit Lechuza beach to avoid the crowd of Zuma Beach.
  • Enjoy Malibu Wine Safaris together, visit the picturesque vineyards and wineries of Santa Barbara , and taste sample wines.

Best Time to Visit  Malibu  for a Honeymoon

Malibu received maximum footfall from June to August. For the cleanest water and pleasant water temperature visit Malibu between September to November.

Romantic Hotels in Malibu

Many celebrities live in this region. Although, Malibu is not a cheap place to live in California . You can spend your romantic California weekend getaway in the Good Nite Inn Calabasas , an amazing destination for couples escaping the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.

A drive through California Route 1 South is an essential outing during your romantic California getaway. This 90-mile stretch of Big Sur along the Pacific Coast Highway offers jaw-dropping landscapes and incredible coastal views that will leave you spellbound.

Whether you’re celebrating your honeymoon, wedding anniversary, or just a weekend getaway, there are a lot of things to do in Big Sur and to surprise your special one. Big Sur is best explored on foot as it is covered with some hiking and biking trails that pass through towering redwood forests .

romantic California getaway | McWay Falls

Romantic Things to do in Big Sur

  • Apart from the scenic drive on Route 1, honeymooners can visit the historic  Point Sur Lighthouse  situated on a 361-foot rock in the north of Big Sur. The stunning panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the breathtaking sunset from the lighthouse made it one of the most beautiful lighthouses in California .
  • McWay Falls  is a must-visit place in Big Sur. This unique fall drops 80 feet straight down onto the white sandy beach.
  • Hike the Partington Cove Trail . It is a short hike and the route winds you down the cliff, through a lumber tunnel and out into the Partington Cove.
  • Spend your romantic vacation with a relaxing spa at Ventana Inn .
  • Have lunch together at Nepenthe  restaurant while enjoying the fantastic views of the coastline.

Best Time to Visit  Big Sur for a Honeymoon

April to October is the best time to visit Big Sur. If you want less crowd, visit Big Sur in the fall season.

Romantic Hotels in Big Sur

Stay at Hidden Valley Inn . Nestled among the Santa Lucia Mountains, this elegant B&B is just a 5-minute walk to Carmel Valley Village. Couples can enjoy a delicious free breakfast, an outdoor pool, and enchanting mountain views.

Read Next : 15 Best Things to do in Carmel by the Sea

4. SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco is one of the most romantic getaways in California for any couple looking for bright sun, historic sites, great food, splendid attractions, and quality time together. San Francisco is famous for the wonderful Golden Gate Bridge, Victorian-style colorful houses, huge skyscrapers, and cute cable cars.

Romantic Getaways in California | Golden Gate Bridge

Romantic Things to do in San Francisco

  • Enjoy a laid back cruise on a luxury catamaran while the sun sets over San Francisco Bay. Admire the beauty of the city’s popular landmarks from the water.
  • Walking across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge  can be truly romantic. Take selfies together as much as you can.
  • Go for  pedal-boating at Stow Lake .
  • Indulge yourselves in a couple’s spa or massage  to rejuvenate your soul in a private suite and don’t forget to buy some unique San Francisco souvenirs as a memory of your trip.
  • Surprise your better half by booking a table for a candlelight dinner at Gary Danko restaurant .

Best Time to Visit  San Francisco for a Honeymoon

San Francisco is a crowded tourist place in California. Fall and spring are the best time to visit San Francisco for a romantic getaway.

Romantic Hotels in San Francisco

Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa have all the modern conveniences you would want including a full-service spa.

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5. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Did you explore the sunset spots in Yosemite with your partner? No matter what time of year or what occasion you want to celebrate, Yosemite National Park is one of the best honeymoon destinations in California. Yosemite offers moments of romance and intimacy for couples through its wide selection of attractions and activities.

Yosemite is the most gorgeous National Park in the country filled with natural wonders. If you have just one day in Yosemite , still you can enjoy the endless beauty of this popular National Park. Couples who want to get closer to nature and explore the stunning cliffs, waterfalls, and spectacular wildlife, must-visit Yosemite National Park.

romantic places in California | Yosemite National Park

Romantic Things to do in Yosemite

  • Hike the lower Yosemite Falls trail  which is a shot and easy hike and offers tremendous beauty with most water flow if you visit between March and May.
  • What can be more romantic than b in front of any of the magnificent Yosemite viewpoints such as Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Yosemite Falls?
  • Go for ice skate  around the Curry Village Ice Rink in winter. Whether you are a novice or expert skater, skating around the rink holding hands together can be very romantic.
  • Dine at the Ahwahnee Dining Room . The romantic ambiance and the beautiful views of elegant chandeliers hanging from a 34-foot-high ceiling will leave you awestruck

Best Time to Visit  Yosemite for a Honeymoon

Yosemite NP can be visited year-round and it sees maximum tourists between late spring and early autumn. Yosemite is heavily crowded during the weekend. Winter is the only time when you will see comparatively less crowd in Yosemite.

Romantic Hotels in Yosemite

Stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel . This is a historic grand lodge is also considered as one of the best romantic hotels in California. It features nice décor and architecture that complements the natural setting of the park.

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6. SAN DIEGO – Romantic California Getaway

San Diego is one of the best cities in Southern California . It is a well-known romantic California destination that offers activities and attractions ideal for couples. This oldest town of California is brimming with beautiful beaches, a bustling craft brewery scene, great weather year-round, and delicious seafood.  

Locating on the Pacific ocean, this coastal city is a romantic getaway in southern California with something for everyone. If you are romantic and are looking for a perfect stay in one of the most beautiful places for a honeymoon in California or to celebrate a wedding anniversary, you must visit San Diego.

Honeymoon destinations in California | La Jolla Cove

Romantic Things to do in San Diego

  • While traveling in an Diego, you must Explore Balboa Park , one of the best things to do in California . It is the hub of entertaining activities in San Diego. The park boasts museums, art galleries, gardens, and several trails to stroll. Couples are guaranteed to spend some good times in this park
  • Holding your bae’s hand stroll around La Jolla Cove  which is a stretch of San Diego coastline.
  • Visit the Hotel del Colorado . This historic Victorian-style hotel has the perfect ambiance for a romantic stroll or a picnic.
  • Relax on an evening cruise Bahia Belle  while sipping wines and enjoying music. It is an old-fashioned sternwheeler that makes you think of romance.

Best Time to Visit  San Diego for a Honeymoon

March to May and September to November is the best time to visit San Diego. However, for a romantic weekend trip visit San Diego in fall or spring when the crowd is less.

Romantic Hotels in San Diego

Stay at the Westgate Hotel , a romantic hotel in San Diego that is nicely decorated and feels rich with history, and offers the best in class service.

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7. SONOMA WINE COUNTY

Couples who are looking for romantic trips in California with breathtaking scenery, cozy accommodations, and delicious food and wine; can spend a romantic date in Sonoma surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills.

Sonoma County is a large wine region and a popular honeymoon destination in the US with more than 400 wineries and offers honeymooners plenty of fun things to do in Sonoma county . Couples can enjoy adventure activities like zip-lining through redwoods, or opt for a luxurious stay at a 5-star resort.

Sonoma Wine County

Romantic Things to do in Sonoma

  • Enjoy a guided wine tour by bike . It will take you to selected wineries where you can explore and get to know the history and viniculture. You can also try self-guided wine tours and explore the wineries at your own pace together.
  • Adventure loving couples must try Sonoma Canopy Tours . Treetop adventure is very thrilling and offers a bird’s-eye view of Sonoma’s lush forests.
  • Pamper yourselves with a massage treatment  or the Cedar Enzyme Bath  in Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary.
  • Go for horseback riding at wineries  or along the coastal bluffs of Bodega Bay.

Best Time to Visit  Sonoma for a Honeymoon

The best time to visit Sonoma county is between June and October when the weather is at its best. As usual, this is the time when the crowds are heavy. You can also visit Sonoma in winter when the crowds are light and hotel prices are cheap too. No worry about wineries as these are open year-round.

Romantic Hotels in Sonoma

There are plenty of Airbnb’s for a romantic getaway in Sonoma . Our recommendation is Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, central to Napa and Sonoma wine country and over 500 wineries, this boutique inn features a classy modern restaurant and renowned spa and sauna on site.

Looking for an affordable romantic getaway in California coast? Look no further than Eureka, a small city with a perfect blend of old-fashioned charm and modern comforts. If you are looking for a unique romantic getaway in California with less noise but full of attractions and outdoor activities, Eureka can be an ideal choice.

A perfect mix of nature, culture, and urban elements really make for a magnificent coastal city that will surely leave a memorable impression on you. Hundreds of Victorian styled houses, historic parks, and elegant horse-pulled carts create a different type of vibe that you can get once you land here.

Romantic Getaways in northern California | Victorian Architecture in Eureka

Romantic Things to do in Eureka

  • Pay a visit to Fort Humboldt State Historic Park  that showcases the history of Eureka with displays of logging equipment, a Native American canoe, and trains.
  • Exploring the old town of Eureka  feels like being whisked 150 years back in time. The old town boasts historical architectures, signature buildings, museums, restaurants, and antique stores.
  • The oldest zoo in California can be found in Eureka. Sequoia Park Zoo has a good collection of llamas, mammals, various bird species, and reptiles.
  • Drive through the Redwood Highway  that features the tall redwood trees on both sides of the highway and creates a magical vibe throughout the route.

Best Time to Visit  Eureka for a Honeymoon

June to September, the average temperature of Eureka is ideal for a romantic trip.

Romantic Hotels in Eureka

Eureka is an affordable place to visit in California and you will find several budget hotels here. If budget is not an issue I will suggest Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay Inn  for a romantic stay in Eureka. From a refreshing pool and hot tub to a fitness center, it has everything that you could need for a romantic escape.

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9. NAPA VALLEY

Still, looking for a romantic vacation in California? Well, love is in the air when there are hundreds of wineries. If your better half adore fine wine, world-class dining, and gorgeous landscapes, nothing can be more romantic than spending a romantic weekend in Napa Valley. It is also considered one of the best romantic getaways in northern California .

But there’s more for couples in Napa Valley than just drinking and eating. Downtown Napa is filled with boutiques, award-winning restaurants, ample tasting rooms, and a charming sense of character.

Napa Valley Vineyard

Romantic Things to do in Napa Valley

  • Book a ticket for Napa Valley Wine Train excursion . Enjoy your meal and a glass of wine while running through some of Napa Valley’s most scenic stretches.
  • Wine lovers can purchase Downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card  that offers twelve tasting rooms scattered throughout the town or you can book a wine tour and discover the prestgious Napa wineries and enjoy wine tasting.
  • Indulge in a romantic couple’s spa treatment  at one of Napa’s Day Spas.  
  • Enjoy a romantic hot air balloon ride  that offers breathtaking views of Napa’s fall colored vineyards.
  • Watch a splendid performance at the beautifully restored art deco style Uptown Theater , a historic landmark in Napa.

Best Time to Visit  Napa Valley for a Honeymoon

You can visit Napa Valley at any season of the year. However, Napa Valley is also considered as one of the best fall destinations in the US . The beautiful fall color adds extra romance to your romantic getaway in Napa. September to November is the ideal time to see the best fall color.

Romantic Hotels in Napa Valley

Hotel Yountville  – This luxurious boutique hotel is located near the Napa Valley Museum and features modern decor, an outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a 4000-square-foot spa.

Read Next: Why Do I Regret Moving to California?

10. SANTA BARBARA

Santa Barbara is one of the most romantic places on the California coast where so many people get married. This California beach town is a couple’s paradise for its excellent beaches, refreshing ocean breeze, sunny skies, beautiful wedding venues, swaying palms, and glorious sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

Love is in the air in Santa Barbara. The coastal city is nicely decorated with scenic natural beauty along with fine wineries, parks, art galleries, restaurants, and bars. With an abundance of romantic activities, Santa Barbara won’t disappoint the couples planning a romantic getaway in California. Rather a Santa Barbara vacation will help you to cherish your romantic moments spent here all over your life.

Sunset in Santa Barbara

Romantic Things to do in Santa Barbara

  • What is it about ocean sunsets and holding hands on the beach? Couples can enjoy the entire day in the sea waves and the Mediterranean climate. The long coastline is ideal for a romantic stroll along the beach at sunset. If you find peace, visit Leadbetter Beach, Summerland Beach, and Butterfly Beach .
  • Rent bicycles or cars and explore the best parts of the city together.
  • Grab your sweetie for a romantic dinner at Zaytoon , a popular Lebanese restaurant that features a lush, magical patio full of foliage, fairy lights, and firepits.
  • Treat yourself and your special someone to a lavish night out on the charming beach town.
  • Don’t miss the chance to visit Rusack Vineyards in Santa Barbara. Taste some fine wines in a romantic ambiance and enjoy the great views.
  • If you have no time constraint, visit Channel Islands, Los Padres National Forest as a day trip from Santa Barbara .

Best Time to Visit  Santa Barbara for a Honeymoon

March to May and September to November are the high times in Santa Barbara. Generally, crowds are thicker in the summer months. Visit Santa Barbara in early spring or fall to avoid the heavy crowd. The hotel prices are also cheap during the fall and spring seasons.

Romantic Hotels in Santa Barbara

Best Western Plus South Coast Inn  – This hotel is just 5 minutes walk from the beach and has all the perks of a big hotel including a heated outdoor pool.

California is filled with mesmerizing beaches, picturesque towns, stunning mountains, and lively waterfalls, making it a perfect dream destination for a romantic getaway. These 10 best romantic getaways in California are our top favorites, though there are many to choose from.

Happy traveling… 🙂

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12 Comments

Such a lovely list! Thank you! I hadn’t thought of Eureka, but I’ll have to check it out now :).

You opened my mind up with this post actually. I had a stale thought in my head that a romantic getaway could only be at a beach or something, but it’s plenty (if not more) romantic at a late or in a city, right? I like it!

Yes Nkem, there are lot more places for a romantic weekend getaway in California apart from scenic beaches.

Wow! I think the only way I am going anywhere this year is through your post. The beaches look amazing and I miss them all. Wish I could just travel now.

Thanks for the info. I’m not going anywhere this year 🙁 but I can dream!

This is a very informative blog, thanks for sharing about the best romantic getaways in California. It will help a lot, these types of content should get appreciated. I will bookmark your site; I hope to read more such informative content in future.

I loved your blog and thanks for publishing this!! I am really happy to come across these exceptionally well-written content best romantic getaways in California. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future!

Amazing post about California with amazing list one day i will defiantly visit. Thanks for sharing

I’m glad that you liked it.

I like Your Article I like Your Thoughts thanks For Share This Amazing Article 🙂

Thank you for showing love.

Very amazing list! my pick would be any Lakes cause it looks fun playing in water, thanks for sharing!

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » California (CA) » 15 Best Romantic (Weekend) Getaways in California

15 Best Romantic (Weekend) Getaways in California

California is everything you could ever want a romantic weekend getaway to be. There’s endless Pacific beaches, cities packed with art, and hiking trails galore in the likes of Yosemite National Park.

And it’s nothing but California Dreamin’ with these romantic getaways in ‘the Golden State’. From luxurious pampering and jaw-dropping views to exquisite cuisine, you’ll want to pack your bags as fast as you can to visit these California destinations with your special someone.

With such a huge and gorgeous state, it’s hard to cut the list down of potential picks. But I’ve managed it all the same. These getaways capture the very essence of all that is California: luxury, wine, celebrity, coast, and elegance. Here are our 15 favorite romantic getaway spots for California:

1. Meritage Resort and Spa

Meritage Resort and Spa

The Meritage Resort and Spa is the ultimate getaway for when you want to dive into European luxury without leaving the western hemisphere. Say “ciao” to this beautiful Tuscan-inspired resort nestled into the Napa Valley, known for its vineyards and charming old world landscapes.

The perfect hideaway for couples wanting to spoil themselves, the resort has a one-of-a-kind 22,000 sq. ft. spa located 40 feet underground. Using organic herbs and locally-grown ingredients, it’s menu of facials, massages, and body treatments are as luxe as you would imagine from its Napa Valley location.

To enjoy them without having to leave your spacious room, upgrade to one with a balcony overlooking the resort’s very own nine-acre vineyard. And for the ultimate in romancing, I’d suggest heading to Meritage during the grape harvest (or ‘crush’). It takes place between August and October.

Website: http://meritagecollection.com/meritageresort/

2. Farmhouse Inn

Farmhouse Inn

Tucked into northern California’s wine country in world-reknowned Sonoma, Farmhouse Inn gives you the cozy bed & breakfast feel perfect for a weekend with your sweetheart. In this intimate home-away-from-home, each of the 25 guest suites features private saunas, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs. If that’s not enough to reel you in, consider the soothing spa services the Inn offers, focusing on all-natural, herbal spa products.

Outside of the Inn, enjoy a winery tour, hiking trails, canoeing along the Russian River, or visiting the nearby Armstrong Woods State Reserve to admire California’s famous redwood trees.

Website: http://www.farmhouseinn.com/

3. La Casa del Camino

La Casa del Camino

This romantic California getaway is set directly on Laguna Beach, but that doesn’t make it all high school drama and no substance. Far from it. If you’re looking to turn up the heat, bring your loved one to this historic Mediterranean-style hotel just a block away from the stunning southern California beach featured in the reality TV hit.

Established in 1929, this luxurious hotel emphasizes elegance and style, making it a favorite among Hollywood’s elite. Couples can choose between Spanish-style rooms for when they’re feeling royal, Surf rooms to completely absorb the West Coast vibes, or sneak away into their own private cottage, called La Casita (The Little House). Nor does the romance end there, with sun sets at the nearby Top of the World viewpoint second-to-none. Pack a picnic, and nature will do the rest.

Website: http://www.lacasadelcamino.com/

4. The Westin St. Francis

The Westin St. Francis

California’s vineyards and beachfronts aren’t the only places where you can turn the romance up. There’s no better example of this than The Westin St. Francis in downtown San Francisco.

Opened in 1904, this destination flaunts its rich history with European marble, oak panelling, crystal chandeliers, and vast murals. Oozing big band vibes, celebrities, politicians, and the world’s crème de la crème have been visiting this swanky destination for over a century. And it seems to only gets better with age.

Rooms are light and modern, with just enough historic detailing to prevent them becoming plain. But it’s the hotel’s public spaces which are the star of the show. So grab your sweetie for a romantic dinner at The Westin’s elegant Oak Room Restaurant. Opened in 1913 as a ritzy spot for men to smoke cigars and drink whiskey, the Oak Room now welcomes all for high-end American dining. And all a stone’s throw from attractions including Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Website: http://westinstfrancis.com/

5. L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

L'Ermitage Beverly Hills

Join the rich and famous at this AAA Five Diamond Award winning hotel in California’s famous Beverly Hills. Situated on a palm-lined residential boulevard, you’ll soon feel part of the glitterati yourselves. And that’s before you spend a day relaxing in a luxury cabana at the hotel’s rooftop pool or draining your bank account on Rodeo Drive.

Beside sinking into the comfy sofas of this all-suite hotel, you can unwind further with a Swedish or Ayurvedic massage, before destressing in the hotel’s steam rooms. Need more inspiration for your romantic California getaway? Check out the hotel’s romance packages, which come with little surprises such as a bottle of champagne and chocolates specially made in the hotel kitchens.

Website: https://www.lermitagebeverlyhills.com/

6. Alila Ventana Big Sur

Alila Ventana Big Sur

When it comes to isolated spots nestled in their landscapes, there’s nowhere better than the award-winning Alila Ventana Big Sur. Although just a short drive off Highway One midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it feels a world away. Situated where California’s ancient forests meet the waves of the Pacific, this adults-only resort specialises in the sort of seclusion it’s just impossible to get in a big city.

Amid the trees in 160 acres of private grounds, a series of hiking trails create the perfect excuse for a romantic stroll, while little-visited beaches and coves lie just a short distance away. There’s also an onsite spa, and several all-inclusive dining options. Its 59 suites have been designed with privacy in mind, but also offer large balconies – ideal perhaps for a sundowner with the one you love.

Website: https://www.ventanabigsur.com/

7. El Dorado Hotel and Kitchen

El Dorado Hotel and Kitchen

Take in the lively town of Sonoma from your own personal balcony at El Dorado, located right in the heart of this historic settlement. Coupling wine-country charm with urban sophistication, El Dorado makes the perfect getaway for lovers in northern California.

As well as a great selection of well-sized ‘California cool’ rooms, El Dorado has curated a range of experiences which make for a fun and unusual way of spending time with your other half. Fans of a tipple looking to get beyond the region’s vines could learn to make cocktails, or at the other end of the spectrum, learn the secrets of natural dyes. There’s probably no more ‘Cali’ experience out there than this!

Website: http://www.eldoradosonoma.com

8. Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione

There’s something about California and historic Mediterranean-style resorts. They just can’t get enough of them! And who can argue, given the idyllic mix of fine weather, vineyards, rolling waves, and rustic charm? But Korakia Pensione does things a little differently.

A luxurious Palm Springs villa dating back to 1924, it combines the romance of the Mediterranean with the exotic taste of North Africa. Lined with Middle Eastern lanterns and fire pits, it’s no wonder Forbes Traveler named Korania one of the “Sexiest Hotels in America.”

On your arrival, you’ll be refreshed with mint tea, while in the morning, you’re greeted with a Moroccan-style breakfast, bursting with breads, eggs, and fresh fruit. So why not escape to your own Arabian Nights fantasy at Korakia, complete with Moorish wooden double doors, a heated pool, Moroccan day beds, and romantic courtyard?

Website: http://korakia.com/

9. AutoCamp Joshua Tree

Autocamp Santa Barbara

Looking for a romantic weekend in California with a difference? I’d check out AutoCamp Joshua Tree. Decked out in retro gear alongside a stunningly contemporary arching clubhouse, AutoCamp has served as a refuge for the American wanderlust road trippers since 1922.

Using stylish aluminum Airstream trailers for lodging, and emphasizing classic Americana décor throughout, this spot prides itself in creating comfort for the adventurous spirits passing through California. Lovers of the great outdoors will adore the ability to experience the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park without sacrificing comfort, as is sometimes the case with camping and RV stays.

Website: http://autocamp.com/joshua-tree/

10. North Block Hotel

North Block Hotel

There’s nothing like California’s remarkable Napa Valley for remarkable getaways deluged in romance. Indulge in the North Block Hotel’s own version of a lover’s weekend and you’ll encounter gorgeous Tuscan-style architecture, heated floors, and extras which can include a couple’s massage.

A quieter part of the Napa Valley than nearby Sonoma, that hasn’t stopped North Block winning a huge number of awards. It’s also surrounded by vineyards and tasting rooms, if you manage to leave your pick of the guest accommodation here. With just 20 to choose from, the feeling of exclusivity pervades stays, while the landscape of rolling hills can be admired from balconies or ground floor patios.

And the North Block also satisfies your craving for romance with their “Petals & Pampering” Package. With this addition, enjoy a Deluxe King room, a bottle of champagne, a dozen roses, a one-hour couple’s massage, and a box of artisanal chocolates.

Website: http://www.northblockhotel.com/

11. Beacon Grand

Starlight Lounge

Bringing back the style and sophistication of old San Francisco, Beacon Grand has a heritage which goes back to the jazz age. It lived most of its life as the Sir France Drake Hotel, before being reopened as Beacon Grand after a careful rennovation in 2022.

Despite the name change, this is a hotel which still manages to pair Renaissance architecture with renowned hospitality, making your stay in the city as regal as possible. World-class shopping awaits you at this hotel, with Tiffany & Co, Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, and Saks Fifth Avenue just steps from the main entrance.

Meanwhile, on the 21st floor this decadent accommodation houses its famous Starlight Room club, where Harry Denton Starlight Orhestra plays live music below crystal chandeliers with a 180-degree view of San Francisco. It’s the kind of place you don’t leave without a ring on your finger.

Website: https://www.beacongrand.com/

12. Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort

Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort

To get away from it all, the Sycamore provides you with the ultimate retreat getaway in central California. The gem of this place is their hot mineral spring tubs, located on every private balcony or patio. These hot tubs are all natural, streaming from 100 acres of natural, underground resources. Providing a real alternative to the full-on spas of other stays on this list, you’ll feel like a whole new you after soaking in this pool of divinity.

When you’re rejuvenated enough to socialize, the Sycamore offers yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi classes daily. Reconnect with your inner core and your partner at this revitalizing resort. What’s more, if you just can’t bear to leave the other love of your life – your pooch – you’ll be happy to hear they’re welcome at Sycamore Mineral Springs too.

Website: https://www.sycamoresprings.com/mineral-springs-resort/

13. L’Auberge Del Mar

L’Auberge Del Mar

This southern California resort is so romantic that they’ve already planned a package deal called With Love for those coming to their destination to propose. L’Auberge Del Mar provides your proposal with white rose petals, candles, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne, and personalized attention for reserving the perfect location for that very special moment.

If you’re not going on vacation to pop the question, you can still enjoy every single inch of this resort. Nestled on the cliffs of perfect-for-a-stroll Del Mar, California, L’Auberge allows you to take in the breathtaking beach views while indulging in upscale cuisine including fish caught fresh daily. Its estate-style rooms provide a cool place to relax, while tennis courts and a full-service spa complete the deal.

Website: http://www.laubergedelmar.com/

14. Cavallo Point

Cavallo Point

Get your front-row ticket to San Francisco’s skyline—without having to deal with city life—at Cavallo Point. In this romantic lodge in the quiet backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can enjoy peace away from the hustle and bustle of reality.

Cavallo Point served as a World War One military base during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, but has since been converted into luxury lodging with just a dusting of the whimsical. No wonder Travel + Leisure voted Cavallo Point “#1 Best Hotel in the San Fransisco Bay Area” – one of several awards it has claimed over recent years.

A mix of contemporary and historic lodgings, depending on personal taste, the most romantic of rooms come with an open fireplace ideal for cuddling up with your loved one. That said, the world-class spa treatments available are also sure to have you smiling from ear to ear.

Website: http://www.cavallopoint.com/

15. Sacred Rock Resort

Sacred Rock Resort

Escape off the beaten path, past “northern California,” to the real northern California of Elk, a town known for—you guessed it—its excessive number of elk. Four hours north of San Francisco, Elk, California sits peacefully on the Mendicino coast away from the usual flood of tourists. Where better then, to take your beau for a romantic getaway? Where indeed.

At Sacred Rock, you and your sweetie get your own private cottage situated high on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Low-key in ambience, and with the feel of an old California village, the resort comes complete with a pub for non-pretentious, home-cooked dining which is nonetheless well worth looking forward too.

Website: http://www.sacredrockresort.com/

Further reading: Most beautiful places in California

15 Best Romantic (Weekend) Getaways in California:

  • Meritage Resort and Spa
  • Farmhouse Inn
  • La Casa del Camino
  • The Westin St. Francis
  • L'Ermitage Beverly Hills
  • Alila Ventana Big Sur
  • El Dorado Hotel and Kitchen
  • Korakia Pensione
  • AutoCamp Joshua Tree
  • North Block Hotel
  • Beacon Grand
  • Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort
  • L’Auberge Del Mar
  • Cavallo Point
  • Sacred Rock Resort

Cheerful Trails

12 Most Charming Romantic Getaways In Southern California For Couples (2024)

(This article has affiliate links to products which we may make commission from at no extra cost to you.)

Planning your honeymoon, anniversary, engagement proposal or just a couple’s getaway this year? If you are looking for the best romantic getaways in Southern California, here are some places that can be your dreamy escape.

With incredible cities, picturesque beach towns, winery retreats, quaint small towns and more charming spots, Southern California has so much to offer for those looking for a romantic escape. I have curated a list of best romantic getaways in Southern California to inspire your next adventure. Hopefully, with this list, no matter what you are looking for, you will definitely find a destination that would be an ideal romantic getaway for you and your partner.

  • Laguna Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Palm Springs
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Death Valley
  • Mammoth Lakes
  • Catalina Island

Most Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Solvang - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

When it comes to romantic getaways in Southern California, Solvang definitely tops the list. Known as “a little slice of Denmark in Southern California”, this Danish-inspired town will charm any couple from its adorable shops and windmills to the delightful wineries nearby.

With so many incredible things to do in Solvang , you could spend a lovely weekend together taking it all in. Start the weekend exploring the town including visiting the windmills, finding the wooden shoes, grabbing a lovely Danish pastry, and perhaps going on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town.

After that, a day exploring wineries is a must, especially as the area is well-known for its Pinot Noirs. Carhartt Vineyards is one of the best places to go near Solvang in the town of Los Olivos. The Wayward Son Pinot Noir is truly one of the best Pinot Noirs around.

Sunstone Vineyards is another beautiful Mediterranean-inspired place with stunning views and lovely wines like the Grenache Rose and Merlot Reserve. After exploring the surrounding area of Solvang, staying at a Danish-inspired hotel is perfect.

Where To Stay In Solvang : Mirabelle Inn looks like a perfect Danish countryside estate and is perfect for a romantic getaway.

Recommended By Kat Weiss Butler of World Wide Honeymoon

Getty Villa, Malibu - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Gorgeous Malibu is the epitome of sun, beach, relaxation, and leisure times. If you are searching for a first-class beach gateway in Southern California to unwind and recharge your batteries and for romantic moments next to the ocean, head to Malibu.

Opt for an amazing beachfront rental from a range of sensational Malibu vacation rentals . Listen to the ocean waves and watch dolphins, whales, sea otters, and seals from your deck in Malibu while sipping wine with your partner in the sunset. For a perfect morning cup of joe, head to the famous Paradise Cove Beach Cafe.

Don’t be surprised if you find some Hollywood celebrities sitting just next to your table and having their coffee time there too. For a romantic fine dining with spectacular ocean views, head to celebrated the Geoffrey’s , preferred once by Marylin Monroe, Lana Turner, and Frank Sinatra.

If you and your partner are arty souls, you will enjoy Getty Villa Museum. And if you love hiking, the marvelous trails of Point Dume Natural Preserve will bewitch you. Popularly known, Malibu’s Zuma Beach is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in California. But Malibu beaches like Lagoon State Beach, El Matador State Beach, El Pescador State Beach, Carbon Beach, Point Dume State Beach, and Topanga State Beach are nothing less stunning.

Where To Stay In Malibu : Malibu Beach Inn

Recommended By Milijana Gabric of World Travel Connector

Ojai - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

If dreamy and quaint small towns fascinate you, then Ojai is perfect for you. This small town is a little paradise surrounded by scenic mountains and mystical greenness. Home to well paved hiking trails and biking trails that offer breath-taking landscape views, Ojai is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The therapeutic charm and peacefulness that lies in the beauty of the surroundings is a romantic respite for couples.

Treat your special one with a relaxing and holistic spa service at Ojai Villa Inn. Consider camping under the skies in an airstream park, the Caravan Outpost . This magical airstream park is located in a valley in Ojai. Go wine tasting in the Topa Mountain winery which offers the best outdoor wine tasting experiences in the town. Also do not miss out the viewing the legendary pink moment at the Meditation Mount during sunset hours. The sky reflects a tone of pink on the surrounding mountains which seems beautiful. Ojai is also a home to the largest outdoor bookstore, Bart’s Books . Its a memorable retreat for book lovers.

Where To Stay In Ojai : The Capri Hotel

4. San Diego

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Located in Southern California, San Diego makes a perfect romantic getaway. This city boasts a perfect climate year round with plenty of sunshine and weather in the high 60s and 70s.

Whether you want to enjoy outdoors in places like Torrey Pines State Reserve, La Jolla or Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, there are many trails and scenic vistas around San Diego where you can enjoy the magnificent views of the Pacific Coast. For the ultimate view drive up to Mount Soledad from where you can get a panoramic overview of the city and surrounding areas.

And, if you just want to relax, head to Coronado Beach where you can catch some waves and spend a lazy afternoon. To learn San Diego history, head to Carrillo National Monument located on the southern tip of Point Loma. This monument commemorates the arrival of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European explorer who landed in today’s Sun Diego. Here you can also learn about San Diego’s role in many events such as WWII thanks to its strategic position.

In the evening, head to the Gaslamp Quarter for a romantic dinner where you can enjoy a great atmosphere and have dinner at many restaurants and visit art galleries.

Where To Stay In San Diego : San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina

Recommended By Daria Bachmann of The Discovery Nut

5. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Laguna Beach makes for a perfect romantic getaway in Southern California. Located in Orange County, the town has stunning beaches, idyllic landscapes and mouth watering cuisines. Take a stroll at the enchanting Heisler Park and be amazed by the artworks and sculptures you see through the well paved park. Head to the coved beach at the Crystal Cove State Park to spend a romantic evening watching sunset views over the sea. There are many well paved scenic hike trails too at the Crystal Cove State Park.

Soak in some sunshine and relax at Laguna’s main beach. Go for a swim in the gorgeous waters or if you feel adventurous, then you can also go for surfing lessons here. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is also a popular tourist attraction here, so if you would like to see cute marine animals then you can check this out. This small coastal city has something for everyone.

Where To Stay In Laguna Beach : Casa Loma Beach Hotel

6. Los Angeles

Los Angeles - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Los Angeles is a place with many romantic things to do. The city has many dreamy viewpoints that are amazing to admire with your partner. For example, from Elysian Park, you have a wonderful and unique view of the city. And what’s even more romantic is that there’s a swing at Angel’s point in the park which overlooks admirable views of the city. Also, there are many instagrammable places in LA , making it perfect to do a couple photo-shoot with your partner.

Los Angeles is home to lots of colorful and pretty places. Another romantic activity in the city is going to the Santa Monica Pier. It has a small amusement park where you will definitely have a romantic time with your partner. Feel the magic of togetherness while floating over mesmerizing views of the countryside on a Hot Air Balloon.

Hike the scenic trails of the Griffith Park and see the fabulous panoramic views of the world famous Hollywood sign together. For an unforgettable romantic dinner date, dine at II Cielo in Beverley Hills. This award winning restaurant is known to be the most romantic restaurant in LA.

Where To Stay In Los Angeles : Shore Hotel

Recommended By Dymphe of Dymabroad

7. Temecula

Temecula - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Temecula is one of the perfect romantic getaways in Southern California. Nestled halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego but a bit inland from the coast, Temecula is a great destination for the weekend for Angelenos and San Diegans alike.

Temecula is a great romantic destination because wine country is always a fun getaway. There are a number of phenomenal wineries in Temecula making excellent wine that are fun to stop and wine taste at. Bring your own picnic for an extra romantic touch. You can also book a hot air balloon at sunrise going over the vineyards for a memorable romantic experience like no other — a great idea for a special occasion. Besides wine tasting, you can also go for hikes or shop in the boutiques downtown.

All in all, spending a weekend in Temecula is a fantastic choice for surprising your significant other while whisking them away on a romantic getaway.

Where To Stay In Temecula : South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Recommended By Allison Green of California Crossroads

8. Palm Springs

Palm Springs - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

With its retro ultra-luxe vibes set against the gorgeous desert landscape, Palm Springs is the perfect romantic getaway for couples to relax or connect over shared adventures. For a relaxing date night, there are plenty of upscale spas, like the Parker Springs Yacht Club , to indulge in couples massages and other relaxing treatments. After you have been massaged to pure bliss, you can finish out the day with an iconic Palm Springs activity- laying by the pool, sipping delicious cocktails together.

If you are instead looking for something a bit more epic, consider floating in a hot air balloon over the Coachella Desert, as you fly over mountains, vineyards, and orchards, all while sipping champagne with your love.

For a more adventurous couple, head to the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, where you can enjoy out-of-this-world hiking amongst the park’s massive morganite boulders and, at the end of the day, watch the sunset together, as the brilliant golden light fades over the Little San Bernardino Mountains. No matter what kind of getaway you are looking for, Palm Springs has the perfect romantic activity for you.

Where To Stay In Palm Springs : Alcazar Palm Springs

Recommended By Jessica Schmit of Uprooted Traveler

9. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Joshua Tree National Park is Southern California’s idyllic desert retreat, the perfect place for couples to escape and spend a romantic getaway sleeping under a spectacular starry night sky. Start with an early morning drive up to Keys View for a wide-open panoramic view over the San Andreas fault line and Coachella valley.

Then spend the entire day hiking Joshua Tree’s best trails: Hidden Valley, Barker Dam, Skull Rock, Lost Horse Mine and lastly Ryan Mountain. Don’t forget the bottle of wine to recover at the top of Ryan Mountain after a steep climb.

Extraordinarily vibrant sunsets at Joshua Tree National Park illuminate the sky with warm pink, purple and yellow hues. Watch the sun go down at Cholla Cactus Garden before being mesmerized by dancing Joshua Trees silhouetted against a never-ending sky.

California doesn’t get much more romantic than under the remarkable Joshua Tree National Park night sky.

Where To Stay In Joshua Tree : Pitch a tent or upgrade to a swanky glamping tent so you can creep right out into the midnight desert darkness. Find a secluded spot among the boulders sheltered from light to be blown away by a brilliant Milky Way and finish off that bottle of wine.

Recommended By Mark and Kristen of Where Are Those Morgans

10. Death Valley

Death Valley - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

For a unique romantic getaway in Southern California, check out Death Valley National National Park. The ruggedly dramatic landscape draws fewer crowds than most national parks, so you can savor your own stunning outdoor space with your favourite person.

If you are up for a romantic outdoor adventure, you will find so much to explore in Death Valley. From a visit to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the park and the entire country, to hiking Telescope peak , the highest point in Death Valley, this national park offers a range of memories in the making.

To cap off your romantic getaway in Death Valley, make sure to spend some time on the sand dunes at sunset. From the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, you and your sweetheart can watch the sun slowly set behind the jaw-dropping Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the distance. There’s nothing quite like gazing at the vibrant red and pink hues highlighting the most epic mountain range in California, all from the top of your own secluded sand dune.

Just make sure to visit Death Valley in the winter or spring for the most comfortable temperatures. If you’re lucky, you might encounter one of Death Valley’s famously gorgeous superblooms, which occur only about once a decade.

Where To Stay In Death Valley : The Inn at Death Valley

Recommended By Allison of She Dreams of Alpine

11. Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes - Romantic Getaways In Southern California

Mammoth Lakes is nestled right in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and whether you choose to visit in the summer, fall, winter, or spring months, there’s always something to experience.

In the summer months, you can spend your day hiking, backpacking, kayaking on one of the many lakes in the area, stand up paddle boarding, rent a boat at Lake Mary or Convict Lake, or go fishing. In the fall months, you can experience all of the beautiful fall colours, everything turns to beautiful shades of orange and yellow.

In the winter months, you can go snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding. Mammoth Resort is one of the best places to ski and snowboard in all of California, and they usually have great snow and powdery conditions. In the spring, everything starts to thaw out so you can either enjoy some spring skiing, spend time at one of the lakes, or start hiking.

In any season, you can also spend time soaking in one of the hot springs. As a couple, you can either enjoy them at night and watch the shooting stars above, or go first thing in the morning and watch as the sun rises over the Eastern Sierra.

Where To Stay In Mammoth Lakes : The Village Lodge

Recommended By Jenny Kotlyar of Limitless Hiker

12. Catalina Island

Catalina Island

Part of Los Angeles County, Catalina Island is easily one of the most romantic destinations in Southern California. Adventurous couples can opt from a variety of activities such as ziplining, parasailing, hiking the Hermit Gulch Trail and kayaking.

If you are looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway, then the beauty of the beaches coupled up with spa services, beachside dates, ferry rides and party places will add on lots of quality time for you and your loved one.

Where To Stay In Santa Catalina Island : Pavilion Hotel

We hope you enjoyed this round up of the top 12 most romantic getaways in Southern California for couples. Let us know in the comments where you are headed to next.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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From Palms to Pines: 8 Romantic Getaways in Southern California

As we sped up the Pacific Coast Highway , the hectic streets and busy city life were literally in our rear-view mirror. Looking ahead, we could see the coastline stretching out in the distance, set to the backdrop of a sky bursting with oranges and pinks. We pulled off the road, shuffled over to the soft sand, and sat side by side where we could watch the sunset fade into a pastel twilight.

The natural beauty abundant in Southern California  is really all you need for a romantic weekend with your best guy or gal, but there are a few places that really kick up the ambiance. Whether you’re in the mood for sand and surf, fresh mountain air and pine trees, or some cleansing desert heat, try one of these romantic getaways in Southern California. A new chapter in your love story awaits.

Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego

Many of the coastal communities that line the shores of sunny California are well known for their laid-back surfer vibes, but even in a line-up including Huntington Beach and Malibu , San Diego is next-level chill.

To completely tap into the SoCal state of mind, book your own spacious one-bedroom bungalow on the shores of Mission Bay at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa . The resort is located on its own island, with 44 acres of tropical paradise made for romantic walks through lush greenery and late nights in the Jacuzzi.

Make an evening reservation on the patio at Tidal and dive into their menu of oysters, fish, and scallops while watching white egrets glide by as the sky melts into an intense shade of pink. Skip dessert for now and make a stop at the resort’s convenience store to pick up firewood and a s’mores kit on the way back to your bungalow. Once the stars are out and the air has cooled, grab a fire pit just steps from your door on the beach. Cozy up with blankets and deck chairs while you listen to the fire crackle and pop and the tiny waves of the bay lap up on shore.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Lovely "shea-d pines" home with fire pit & spa near strawberry creek, idyllwild.

Sometimes the best way to reconnect is to disconnect. Head up into the San Jacinto Mountains via the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway to enjoy the peace and quiet of Idyllwild. This little mountain town was originally known as Strawberry Valley, named for the wild strawberries that grow among the pine and cedar trees.

Check in to your own mountain home called the Shea-D Pines Home , nestled among the towering trees for a secluded getaway. Follow the trail along Strawberry Creek to walk into downtown for a morning cup of coffee at Higher Grounds, peruse the art and antique shops, and eat at the best restaurant in town, Café Aroma. Head back home to spend the evening on the large wrap-around deck; breathe in the sweet-smelling mountain air, enjoy the warmth of the outdoor fireplace, or take a long soak in the hot tub.

Lovely Shea-d Pines Home With Fire Pit & Spa Near Strawberry Creek

Korakia pensione, palm springs.

A few more miles along the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway, you’ll experience a dramatic change in climate and scenery as you descend from the San Jacinto Mountains, ending in the warm desert of Palm Springs. The first hotel was built in Palm Springs in 1886. Ever since then, people from near and far have flocked to this desert oasis for blue skies and endless sunshine. Establishments like the El Mirador Hotel acted like a second home to the biggest celebrities during the golden age of Hollywood. Palm Springs’ status as a hot spot for the rich and famous only continues to grow.

Korakia Pensione could be easily overlooked among the slew of mid-century modern, brightly colored hotels known for large summer pool parties in Palm Springs, but it’s better that way. Stepping through the hotel’s keyhole-shaped entrance and into the dreamy Moroccan courtyard is like being transported to another time and place.

Korakia Pensione feels like two resorts in one since half the property is a Moorish-style villa while the other half across the street pulls from Mediterranean inspirations. Both sides feature gorgeous saltwater pools surrounded by rustic but chic villas full of style and charm.

Wake up to a full breakfast served just outside your villa in the Moroccan courtyard, enjoy a complimentary yoga class, or just relish those rays of Vitamin D from a cushy lounge chair by the pool. If you need some extra pampering, schedule a couple’s massage, and then spend the afternoon with a good book pulled from the shelves of the library lounge.

Korakia Pensione

The resort at pelican hill, corona del mar.

If you’re dreaming of a romantic getaway in Southern California that includes a rolling green landscape dotted with stunning Tuscan villas, delicious food and sunny, 75-degree weather, book a stay at The Resort at Pelican Hill . Step onto the 504-acre grounds and you might think you’ve just landed in the Italian countryside, but with the added bonus of ocean views.

The Resort at Pelican Hill in Corona del Mar exudes an effortless sense of luxury and sophistication. Practically every room and villa have a fireplace, deep-soaking marble tub and a view of the Pacific. You’d be remiss not to spend at least an afternoon at the iconic Coliseum pool, preferably at your own private cabana. This is the largest circular pool in the world, with a bottom that sparkles and glows bright blue from over one million glass mosaic tiles.

The Rotunda on the grounds of Pelican Hill easily wins my vote for the most romantic spot in Southern California. The dramatic soaring columns topped with a domed roof are reminiscent of a Roman temple, and the backdrop makes you feel like you’re among the clouds. If a walk down the aisle is in your near future, there’s no better place to pop the question or say “I do” than the Rotunda.

Villas At Pelican Hill

The beverly hills hotel, los angeles.

All that glitters isn’t gold; you’ll be awash in pastel pinks and dark greens at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel , whose long history includes a guest list that reads like the who’s who in the golden age of Hollywood. The hotel predates the city itself, so you could even call it the birthplace of Beverly Hills.

Walking the red carpet into the hotel will get you ready for the star treatment you’re about to receive. The hotel touts itself for its unparalleled service, evidenced by the original owner’s motto that the “guests were entitled to the best of everything, regardless of cost.”

A stay at the ‘Pink Palace’, as it’s often called, isn’t complete without a reservation at the famous Polo Lounge where you’ll sit in the same spots as some of Hollywood’s most prominent power couples. If you had something more relaxing in mind, hang out poolside or in your private bungalow.

The Beverly Hills Hotel

Calamigos guest ranch, malibu.

A drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu straddles the best of both worlds – Pacific coastline on one side, rolling mountains on the other. The Calamigos Guest Ranch  deliver on both sides; the private cottages, bungalows and estate rooms are located on a large ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, but you can still hit the surf by hopping on the resort’s shuttle to their private beach club just 12 minutes down the road.

Since 1937, Calamigos Guest Ranch has been welcoming visitors in search of respite from their busy lives in this simple, rustic mountain setting. The guest ranch is in Malibu Wine Country, so book a private wine-tasting tour, take a scenic horseback ride up through the hills, or head out on a guided nature walk.

If you prefer to spend your time together at the beach, go surfing or paddle-boarding with the complimentary gear available at the beach club. You could also make the most of our time at the hotel by soaking up one of the several stunning pools and the amazing Spa Calamigos located right on the property.

Calamigos Guest Ranch And Beach Club

Ojai valley inn, ojai.

Ojai is widely known as a mystic area purported to rejuvenate the mind and body. The area was considered a sacred site to the Native American Chumash tribe, naming the valley Ojai, derived from the Chumash word for “crescent moon.” Some still think that Ojai sits atop a spiritual vortex, with individuals and couples alike seeking its healing energy. Even if alternative energy isn’t your thing, you’ll still benefit from the serene atmosphere in this small town.

The Ojai Valley Inn has long played host to tired travelers looking for a weekend of wellness and relaxation. This mission-style retreat sits on an expansive property dotted with majestic oak trees and includes a world-class spa, championship golf course, tennis courts, pools, and bike paths that lead into town.

Book a couple’s massage and you’ll have time to unwind afterward in a spa room that includes a fireplace, whirlpool, and private terrace. The resort also has its own Artist Cottage & Apothecary, where you can get crafty with activities like candle-making, paper marbling or pottery painting during the open studio hours, or sign up for one of the group classes hosted by a local artist.

Ojai Valley Inn

Belmond el encanto, santa barbara.

Of the tens of thousands of miles of coastline in the United States , the area around Santa Barbara is prime real estate dubbed the American Riviera. It draws comparisons to the famous French Riviera for its blue waters, stunning mountain backdrop, and quaint, small-town streets lined with whitewashed and red-tiled structures, museums, galleries, interesting shops, and fantastic restaurants.

The Belmond El Encanto , a luxury resort perched among the hills of Santa Barbara, feels more like a wooded neighborhood than a hotel with its brick pathways, ancient eucalyptus trees, and twisting wisteria vines surrounding free-standing bungalows in the California Craftsman and Spanish colonial architectural styles. The Belmond El Encanto has everything you’d expect of a five-star hotel, including ocean views from the horizon-edge pool, verdant gardens, and spacious accommodations that feature private terraces to soak up the serene setting.

California’s central coast has been a leader in the farm-to-table movement, and the dining room at Belmond El Encanto, headed by Executive Chef Johan Denizot, is no exception. Dine al fresco on the hotel’s terrace, where all ingredients from the seasonally based menus are locally sourced, including freshly caught seafood and herbs from the kitchen garden. Order a cheese plate, and you just may be able to sample a slice of cow’s milk cheese from Ellie, the resident dairy cow.

El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara

Featured image by  Kimson Doan  on  Unsplash

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30 Best Romantic Getaways in Southern California

Last Updated By VI on April 18, 2024 in California Weekend Getaways , Map This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate Disclosure

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

Hotel santa barbara - 1 hour 50 minutes from la, the inn at churon winery, temecula, the ritz-carlton bacara, santa barbara - 1 hour 50 minutes from la.

  • Complete List & Map

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

California vacations: Southern California , Northern California , Lake Tahoe , From Los Angeles , From San Francisco , From San Diego

Hotel Santa Barbara - 1 hour 50 minutes from LA

Ideas by Occasion: Relax at a spa , Girls weekend , Birthday , Family , Honeymoon Weekend , All-Inclusive

The Inn at Churon Winery, Temecula

Ideas in New England: Vermont , Massachusetts , New Jersey , Maryland , New Hampshire , Delaware

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara - 1 hour 50 minutes from LA

8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117, Phone: 855-968-0100 , ( website link )

Holiday House, Palm Springs

Holiday House, Palm Springs

West Coast Vacations: Oregon , From Seattle , Washington

Inn Paradiso, Paso Robles - 3 hours 30 minutes from LA

Inn Paradiso, Paso Robles - 3 hours 30 minutes from LA

Weekend Trips: Southwest Weekend Getaways , Arkansas , Idaho , Montana

Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort, San Luis Obispo - 3 hours from LA

Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort, San Luis Obispo - 3 hours from LA

Where to travel next: New England Getaways , Wisconsin , Kentucky , Illinois , NJ , From NJ

Del Marcos Hotel, Palm Springs

Del Marcos Hotel, Palm Springs

The South USA Vacations: Mississippi , Georgia , Alabama , Florida , From New Orleans , Louisiana

The Pearl Hotel, San Diego

The Pearl Hotel, San Diego

Florida vacations: From Miami , Florida Weekend Getaways , Romantic Getaways , Florida Islands , Romantic Getaways in St. Augustine , Honeymoon

The Inn on the Beach, Ventura

The Inn on the Beach, Ventura

Texas vacations: From Houston , For Couples , Weekend Getaways in Texas , Texas Hill Country , Family Getaways

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

More ideas: From DC , Virginia , West Virginia , Maryland , Tennessee , Vermont , Delaware

Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

More ideas: Things to Do in Coronado

The Ballard Inn, Ballard

The Ballard Inn, Ballard

More ideas: Things to Do in Del Mar

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

905 Country Club Road, Ojai, CA 93023, Phone: 855-697-8780

Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica

1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401, Phone: 310-260-7500

Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs - 1 hour 45 minutes from LA

Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs - 1 hour 45 minutes from LA

More ideas: Things to Do on Catalina Island

The Genevieve (Formerly Santa Ynez Inn)

The Genevieve (Formerly Santa Ynez Inn)

3627 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez, CA 93460, Phone: 805-688-5588

Redwood Hollow Cottages

Redwood Hollow Cottages

256 Prospect Street, La Jolla , CA 92037, Phone: 858-459-8747

Aurora Hotel & Spa

Aurora Hotel & Spa

137 Marilla Avenue, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0454

Palm Springs Rendezvous

Palm Springs Rendezvous

More ideas: Day Trips from Palm Springs

Bissell House Bed and Breakfast

Bissell House Bed and Breakfast

201 Orange Grove, Avenue, South Pasadena, CA 91030, Phone: 626-441-3535 Things to Do in Pasadena

best anniversary trips in california

530 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405, Phone: 310-399-9344

1289 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, Phone: 855-634-5736

1576 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463, Phone: 805-688-3121

Driving Distances from Los Angeles

More southern california trip ideas.

Southern California is best known for its sun, sand, and surf, but this southwestern coastal area is also a cultural hub heavily influenced by the massive film industry in Hollywood. There is much to do in the major city of Los Angeles, with the spotlight on movie-centric stops like Universal Studios Hollywood and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Theme parks like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry, Legoland California, and SeaWorld San Diego make for thrill rides galore throughout the region. And for something more focused on art and architecture, the many moguls of Southern California have bequeathed their beautiful estates and artistic collections for the public to enjoy today. In short, this part of the country is more than just movies and stars; it has a little something for everyone.

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort is the overarching entertainment resort that houses the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure theme parks, as well as three hotels and Downtown Disney, a shopping and dining district. Disneyland is a 100% Disney-focused amusement park and the first built on the complex, as it dates back to 1955. Disney California Adventure came about much later in 2001, and this park is devoted entirely to celebrating the state of California, with elements of the Disney brand peppered in among famous California landmarks. The Downtown Disney area, which makes longer stays at the resort more convenient, is packed with Disney-themed and ordinary retail stores, as well as eateries ranging from fast food joints to sit-down restaurants.

1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, Phone: 714-781-4636

Getty Center

The Getty Center is an entire educational campus area on a hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles. The campus houses a number of buildings, including one of the two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum. To reach the center and its accompanying structures, visitors park their cars in a lot at a lower elevation and take a funicular cable car ride up to the hilltop. The museum houses a diverse, extensive collection of art that incorporates sculptures, drawings, manuscripts, photographs from three continents, and a set of pre-20th-century paintings. Perhaps the most famous of these paintings is Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises. Outside at the center, there is a large sculpture garden.

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, Phone: 310-440-7300

The Gamble House

The Gamble House in Pasadena, California is a National Historic Landmark and architectural museum. The house was originally built between 1908 and 1909 for David B. Gamble, one of the company heads of Procter & Gamble. The beautiful wooden home is three stories high and provides an unparalleled example of the American Arts and Crafts architectural style. This movement in architecture highlighted natural materials and a focus on detailed craftsmanship. In keeping with this tradition, the Gamble House has interiors lined with features made from different types of wood, which are shown off by the natural light allowed in by large windows. The property offers group, docent-led, and specialty tours.

4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA 91103, Phone: 626-793-3334

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is a family-friendly, exciting theme park that specializes in marine life, with animal residents from many different species such as penguins, killer whales, walruses, polar bears, and otters, to name just a few. With over four million visitors each years, SeaWorld San Diego is a massive complex with all kinds of things to do. In addition to the famous shows featuring orcas, dolphins, and other sea creatures that have made the park famous, SeaWorld is also home to natural marine habitats, such as Dolphin Point and Turtle Reef. The park also has splash and play areas for the little ones and large thrill rides for adventure seekers.

500 Sea World Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

Legoland California Resort

Legoland California in Carlsbad, California is truly a Lego lover’s fantasy. The resort is composed of an amusement park, a water park, an aquarium, and a hotel. Legoland is divided into several areas, including Imagination Zone, Miniland USA, Pirate Shores, and Fun Town. The activities in each area are targeted towards younger children, and they serve as the location for performances, rides, walk-through attractions, and other games such as mini golf. All are accompanied by various Lego creations, including miniatures of famous world monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, and Taj Mahal. Legoland features many of Lego’s individual collections in its attractions, including Lego Friends and Duplo.

1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 877-376-5346

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum is located just off Navy Pier in San Diego, California, where it presents the USS Midway aircraft carrier, the longest-serving ship of its kind in the 20th century and the only to operate during the entirety of the Cold War. The Midway was in operation from 1945 until 1992, and 200,000 soldiers have served on its decks. The ship museum has an extensive collection of US-made naval aircraft, which are located in its hangar deck. Visits to the USS Midway include a self-directed audio tour. During the tour, sailors who used to work on the ship talk about its history and describe different areas of the carrier, including its sleeping quarters, engine room, and galley.

910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-544-9600

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo, which is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, is world famous as one of the first zoos to utilize an open-air, no-cage concept. Opened in 1916, the zoo prides itself on housing animals in large spaces that mimic their natural habitats. To navigate the complex, one can travel via the zoo’s own buses or on its Skyfari suspended gondolas. The exhibits are separated by habitat, and many of the animals thrive in San Diego’s warm, temperate climate and do not need any artificial conditions. In addition to populations of elephants, tigers, gorillas, bonobos, and hundreds of other species, the zoo is also known as one of only four US zoos with giant pandas.

2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-231-1515

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The largest rotating tram in the world, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers users fantastic views of Chino Canyon near Palm Springs, California. The tram runs between two stations: the lower Valley Station and the upper Mountain Station. It takes twelve minutes to get to the top, and during that journey, riders pass through five biomes, beginning in the desert and landing in an alpine forest. At the peak of the tramway, visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities to experience the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area. There are 54 miles of hiking trails, and guided nature walks and winter sports are available.

1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, Phone: 888-515-8726

The Huntington Library - Art Collections - Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California bring together gems of nature, art, and architecture in a beautiful display for guests. The institution is home to a library, a botanical garden, and a large collection of art. The library building is a beautiful work of architecture created in the Mediterranean Revival style. It is home to a number of treasured items such as copies of the Gutenberg Bible, manuscripts by some of the founding fathers, and drafts of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The botanical gardens, which cover 120 acres of land, are divided into several special areas, including Chinese and Japanese gardens. As for the collection of art on the territory, it focuses mostly on American art from the 17th to 20th centuries and 18th- and 19th-century European works.

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, Phone: 626-405-2100

Hearst Castle

The name William Randolph Hearst is synonymous with the development of the print journalism industry, and this newspaper tycoon certainly lived the high life at his California estate. At its peak in the 1920s and 30s, the Hearst Castle was a happening spot for Hollywood elite. It was located far from major cities, and guests were often flown or driven in via private vehicles. The estate borrows architectural styles from Europe, a fact most obvious in its famous Roman-inspired Neptune pool. While operational, the mansion had dozens of bedrooms and bathrooms, a movie theater, several swimming pools, and even a private zoo, some of the animals of which continue to live on the grounds today. Now part of a state park, the castle’s rooms and gardens are open for tours.

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, Phone: 800-444-4445

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site is the site of a former camp where hundreds of thousands of Japanese were forcibly held during World War II. The camp, which sits between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, was in use as an internment facility from 1942 to 1945. Today, the area, which is considered a U.S. National Historic Landmark, has its own dedicated visitor center with 8,000 square feet of exhibits. The display here discusses the history of the site from 1885 to the present, but it focuses on the World War II-era period and Manzanar’s use as an internment camp. Guests can also get to know the outdoor areas of the territory on a self-guided tour.

Manzanar Reward Rd, CA, Phone: 760-878-2194

La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of tar pits situated in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park. Despite their location in an urban center, the pits are a well-known attraction because of what they show about nature. The tar that has seeped up to the surface from underground here has trapped bones from different animal species over the course of centuries. Visits to the pits include excursions to a number of different areas. Guests can tour curated pits, learn about the fossilization process, see experts carrying out up-close research at the center, and even travel back in time to meet creatures from the Ice Age.

5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, Phone: 323-857-6300

Balboa Park

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Best romantic getaways in the u.s. for 2024.

Sometimes it's necessary to take a break from the stresses of real life and spend quality time with the person you love. And what better way to do that than to travel? To help you and your sweetheart plan the ideal romantic retreat, whether it's for an anniversary or just because, U.S. News considered ambiance, privacy and access to couple-friendly activities to rank the best romantic getaways in the USA. Use this list to pick your next one-on-one vacation, and vote for your favorite locales below. Looking to stay even closer to home? Check out these romantic weekend getaways by state .

Kaua'i

Napa valley, charleston, sc, big sky, mt, amelia island, adirondacks, martha's vineyard, jackson hole.

best anniversary trips in california

Kaua'i offers many distinct ways for both thrill-seeking and sun-worshipping couples to up the romance factor. You and your sweetheart can lounge on secluded beaches , relax in a private luxury villa or go on a kayaking adventure along the picture-perfect Napali Coast. For even more opportunities to marvel at nature, check out Kaua'i's scenic state parks like Koke'e and Waimea Canyon. Once you've tackled the Hawaiian island's trails hand in hand, consider booking a private helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view you and your better half will never forget.

best anniversary trips in california

Few things are more romantic than sharing a remote island with your beau. Lanai's exclusivity can make it feel like the two of you are alone with the Hawaiian island breeze. Head to a luxury hotel or resort to indulge in high-end cuisine and soak up some sun by the pool before exploring the tiny island's landscape side by side. For a memorable hike that requires little effort, follow the short trail from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai to the Pu'upehe overlook. Also known as "Sweetheart Rock," this landmark offers stunning views of Hulopo'e Bay, especially at sunset.

best anniversary trips in california

Brimming with rolling vineyards , cozy wine caverns, chic restaurants and top-notch hotels, this wine lover's paradise 60 miles north of San Francisco is the ultimate romantic getaway. Wine enthusiasts can sip Napa's award-winning reds at intimate venues like O'Brien Estate and Jarvis Estate or while savoring gourmet cuisine on the Napa Valley Wine Train. When couples need a break from being wined and dined, they can explore the scenic Napa River via kayak, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride, or visit the town of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley for its spas and hot springs.

best anniversary trips in california

Another ideal retreat for wine connoisseurs , Sonoma is known to be more laid back than its neighbor, Napa, and boasts more than 425 wineries. However, strolling through vineyard vines isn't the only must-do activity for twosomes. Outdoor lovers will want to explore regional parks such as Taylor Mountain (for its trails) and North Sonoma Mountain (to enjoy a picnic surrounded by the peaks of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley). Plenty of Sonoma's hotels offer spa treatments, but what could be more memorable than a massage in a 22-foot wine barrel? Book side-by-side treatments at Magical Massage for a one-of-a-kind experience.

best anniversary trips in california

A low-key getaway, Charleston, South Carolina, is filled with pastel-hued historic homes, art galleries and tasty Lowcountry cuisine (perfect for foodie couples). To dial up the romance, take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage or sign up for a sunset harbor cruise just for two. For a quiet shoreside escape free from crowds, head to one of the nearby beaches like Sullivan's Island. Accommodations range from beachfront resorts to charming bed-and-breakfasts but keep in mind you'll likely have to pay a pretty penny for a stay in the historic district.

best anniversary trips in california

It's easy to proclaim your love when you're suspended atop red rocks and looking out upon miles of colorful Arizona landscape. After working up a sweat hiking Sedona's sandstone buttes, bring those romantic vibes indoors for a couples massage at one of the city's world-renowned wellness retreats . Or, if you and your amour prefer relaxing with a glass of vino, save time for a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which boasts 15 venues ranging from small tasting rooms to vast wineries sprawling along the banks of Oak Creek. At night, hold your loved one close and gaze at the star-filled sky.

best anniversary trips in california

Travel to Big Sur for its windswept coastline and rugged mystique. This peaceful destination carved out of the California coast offers a couple of luxurious hotels, but nature is the real star in Big Sur. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the area's redwood-lined trails and admire picturesque Pfeiffer Beach before setting up a tent and roughing it beneath the stars. For an atmospheric picnic, head to Sand Dollar Beach, where couples can admire the scenery sans the crowds. For a more upscale outing, take a day trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea for its art galleries and fairy tale cottages.

best anniversary trips in california

Let Big Sky's vast terrain, fresh air and rustic romance carry you and your loved one away from the ins and outs of everyday life. Every winter, couples flock to this Montana destination for its top-notch ski resort (complete with a heated chairlift), though the offseason has its charms, too (think: fly fishing on scenic rivers, hiking under an endless blue sky or taking a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.) For a curated Montana experience, spring for an all-inclusive ranch, where you'll find private cabins, homegrown cuisine and personalized service.

best anniversary trips in california

What could be more romantic than a sunrise beachfront horseback ride for two? Or a private sunset cruise aboard a 40-foot catamaran? You and your love can experience this and more on Amelia Island, one of Florida's Atlantic coast barrier islands. Hop on bikes and explore the scenic Amelia Island Trail, or pedal to downtown Fernandina Beach for its Victorian-style architecture, antique shops and galleries. After a day spent sightseeing, pamper weary muscles with a couples massage at one of the luxury resorts that call the island home.

best anniversary trips in california

This tiny Massachusetts island exudes New England charm. Stroll arm in arm with your sweetheart down cobblestone streets, unwind on white sand beaches and snap selfies in front of iconic lighthouses, such as Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse. Then, grab a lobster roll to share from one of the island's premier seafood restaurants, and revel in the extraordinary Atlantic Ocean views from the Sconset Bluff Walk. When you're ready to retire for the night, you'll have your pick of quaint Nantucket inns.

best anniversary trips in california

Whether you time your trip for summer boating, fall leaf peeping or snow season, upstate New York makes for an intimate setting. Depending on when you visit, you can bond with your beloved on a sleigh ride, a paddling trip or a scenic hike, where you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the Adirondacks' forests, lakes and mountains. When you're adventured out, bop between some of New York's most iconic small towns, including Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, for local dining and shopping. What's more, you can choose from accommodations ranging from luxe lodges packed with amenities to secluded wooden cabins for two.

best anniversary trips in california

Savannah, Georgia, is tailor-made for a weekend getaway. Spanish moss hangs over sidewalks that lead past hundreds of historic homes. The lively River Street area features a bevy of shopping, dining and nightlife options, while nearby islands provide a relaxing respite. Meanwhile, Forsyth Park provides the ultimate romantic backdrop for memorable couples photos, and if you're feeling brave, you can hold each other tight during a ghost tour at the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery. For charming digs in the heart of the city, hang your hat at one of Savannah's charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations, or rent a snug carriage house.

best anniversary trips in california

If your ideal romantic escape entails a lazy agenda, shingle-covered beach houses and quaint towns, Martha's Vineyard is just the place. On this Massachusetts island, you can relax on quiet beaches, sample decadent fare at upscale restaurants and explore the historic Edgartown Lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the harbor and neighboring Chappaquiddick Island. On a warm, sunny day, venture to Oak Bluffs, where you'll find charming gingerbread cottages at The Campground. For the ultimate romantic retreat, book a stay at one of the island's top hotels, some of which offer complimentary bike rentals, beach chairs and continental breakfast to guests.

best anniversary trips in california

Reconnect with your sweetie during a getaway to Jackson Hole. This piece of Wyoming paradise is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, including hiking and skiing. Should you need to soothe your aching muscles after an active day, go for a dip in the Granite Hot Springs, Astoria Hot Springs or your high-end resort's outdoor hot tub. Whether your dream romantic vacation includes horseback riding through the majestic Grand Teton National Park, sipping wine by a crackling fireplace or unwinding at a world-class spa, Jackson Hole is the perfect place for you and your other half.

best anniversary trips in california

For lovebirds who enjoy skiing and cuddling up by a fireplace, Aspen is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Spend your days sharing ski lifts in the snow-capped mountains before partaking in the highly touted après ski scene. If you arrive during the warmer months, take advantage of superb hiking and scenic gondola rides. Then, retreat to one of the many hotels and resorts that offer glitzy accommodations for two – not to mention some must-visit spas . If you're not ready to turn in just yet, Aspen's nightlife options include plenty of live music venues, clubs and cocktail lounges.

best anniversary trips in california

With 40 miles of protected seashore, this region of Massachusetts offers plenty of space for that long walk on the beach. And the slow pace of Cape Cod means you don't have to focus on the hustle and bustle of daily life – you can spend quality time together swimming, biking and eating fresh seafood instead. Cape Cod is also home to a handful of breweries and wineries, so you can toast to your special someone during a tasting. Splurge on one of the Cape's five-star accommodations for spectacular ocean views and sumptuous amenities like soaking tubs for two, in-room fireplaces and private balconies.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

best anniversary trips in california

Willamette Valley

best anniversary trips in california

Santa Barbara

best anniversary trips in california

Fredericksburg, TX

best anniversary trips in california

San Luis Obispo

best anniversary trips in california

Newport, RI

best anniversary trips in california

Grand Canyon National Park

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5 Unforgettable California Road Trips

C alifornia has everything from golden beaches to towering redwood forests—rolling vineyards to snow-capped peaks. As the third largest state in the U.S., the vast sprawl and varied topographical scenery mean California makes for some of the world’s most beautiful road trips. Whether you prefer rugged coastlines or the fresh mountain air, sit back, relax, and rev up for these incredible California road trips.

Santa Cruz to Pacifica – 67 Miles

Fields of wildflowers hug the gently sloping hills on one side of the road between Santa Cruz and Pacifica, while rocky cliffs drop precipitously into the crashing waves of the wild Pacific Ocean below on the other. After exploring the rides at the Boardwalk and watching the surfers ride the waves along West Cliff Drive in the laid-back beach town of Santa Cruz, start your journey north to Davenport. This quaint little town perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean is so tiny that you’d miss it if you blink, but it’s well known for two quirky restaurants , the Davenport Roadhouse and Whale City Bakery.

After a lunch of clam chowder or calamari, continue north. Go past Swanton Berry Farm and a string of rugged beaches before stopping to see the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park. The next stop is the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse, built in 1871 and the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. Pull into the lovely town of Pacifica as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, and grab a bite at what’s been dubbed “The World’s Most Beautiful Taco Bell,” perched directly on the shores of Pacifica State Beach.

Carmel to Pismo Beach – 168 Miles

The 168-mile stretch between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Pismo Beach along the rugged California coast is one of the most spectacular road trips in the world. Towering mountains rise to the heavens on one side, with cliffs dropping precariously to the sea on the other. Craggy rocks dot the coastline, creating spectacular vistas as wild waves crash to shore after their long journey across the Pacific. Make your first stop along this rugged, windy drive at the Bixby Bridge Vista Point to photograph the famous Bixby Bridge. The most photographed bridge on the U.S. West Coast, the Bixby Bridge was built in 1930 and is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.

Next, stop at the Big Sur Bakery for the fantastic cinnamon rolls or a wood-fired pizza before continuing south on Highway 1 to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur for a bracing hike through one of the best places to see redwoods in California . A further 65 miles south is a highlight of the road trip—Hearst Castle. A grand historic estate built by the publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst in 1919, Hearst Castle is one of California’s most visited historic monuments. After you tour the 165-room castle, continue the final 53 miles to Pismo Beach to stay overnight in one of the quirky retro-style motels along the beach. Note: Highway 1 is often closed in the winter due to mudslides, so be sure to check for road closures before your trip.

Sacramento to Yosemite – 141 Miles

Yosemite National Park is the fifth most visited National Park in the U.S., for good reason. As soon as you enter its magnificent borders, you feel as though you’ve stepped foot in a magical realm. Granite peaks soar overhead, waterfalls crash hundreds of feet to the valley floor below, and a vast collection of animals roam uninhibited throughout the picturesque landscape. While Yosemite is a gorgeous destination on its own, the road trip to get there is half the fun.

Start your journey in the state capital of Sacramento, the once rollicking wild west town best known as the starting point of the California Gold Rush in 1849. Take a historical walking tour of Old Sacramento’s underground before hitting the road south on State Route 99. Wend through the Central Valley’s golden fields before heading east towards the rustic Gold Rush Country town of Angel’s Camp, one of the area’s most important mining communities in the Mother Lode region during the gold rush. Travel back in time as you walk down the main street past 19th-century storefronts before continuing on State Route 4 to Mercer Caverns just outside the town of Murphy’s. These spectacular caves formed 12 million years ago feature guided tours and exquisite examples of stalactites and stalagmites.

Before you reach Yosemite, stop for an hour or two in the charming Columbia State Historic Park, a former Gold Rush mining town that has been entirely preserved. Mine for gold, visit a historic saloon, or even ride a stagecoach. Finally, drive the last 68 miles to the Yosemite Valley Vista Point, a stunning overlook that gives you a bird’s eye view of California’s most popular national park. This drive is incredibly stunning in the autumn when fall foliage is at its peak in Goldrush Country.

Northern California Volcanoes – 216 Miles

California is part of the Ring of Fire, a geological zone that circles the Pacific Ocean and is a hotspot for volcanic and seismic activity. Thus, it’s no surprise that California is home to over seven volcanoes. While most have not erupted in the past few thousand years, they are still considered potentially hazardous as they still have molten lava deep within their cores. While the threat of an eruption is unlikely, a drive past these majestic volcanoes is highly likely to inspire awe at the wonder of nature.

Head north on Interstate 5 for 163 miles before heading east on State Route 36 to Mineral. It’s here you’ll start the 30-mile Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway (State Route 89), which takes an hour to explore and goes past the Sulphurworks Hydrothermal Area, Emerald Lake, and the towering Lassen Peak. Continue north on CA 89, also known as the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, to Mount Shasta. A popular ski area and stratovolcano in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Mount Shasta last erupted 3,200 years ago. Pop into the Mount Shasta Sisson Museum to learn more about the local history before returning to Interstate 5.

San Francisco to Mendocino Through Wine Country – 189 Miles

Northern California’s most famous wine region provides one of California’s best road trips. California produces a whopping 84 percent of American wine from just 50 miles north of San Francisco in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Over 800 wineries are spread out in this beautiful region, where narrow highways lined with rolling vineyards are perfectly backdropped by crisp blue skies most of the year.

Off State Route 12 lies Domaine Carneros, a French-style winery modeled after a historic estate in France’s Champagne region. Sip pinot noir or sparkling wine on an outdoor terrace before continuing to Yountville, where foodies will find the three Michelin-starred restaurant The French Laundry . If you have planned ahead and gotten a coveted reservation, well done! Otherwise, proceed to the elegant Chateau Montelena in Calistoga. This European-style winery has perfected Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc for the past 140 years, making it one of the oldest wineries in the region. Finally, drive the last 100 miles through the redwood forests of California’s coastal mountains before arriving in the peaceful coastal community of Mendocino. Check into the Stanford Inn By the Sea for a cozy stay with spectacular views and a renowned plant-based restaurant.

Whether you choose to sip wine in Napa, walk among the giant redwoods, or eat a taco on the beach in Pacifica, these California road trips promise to provide you with a truly unforgettable experience.

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