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.
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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 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.
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.
3. BIG SUR
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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