There’s no denying it: California is one of the most romantic states in the U.S. From its stunningly beautiful coastlines to its majestic mountains and everything in between, the Golden State is brimming with romantic potential. But what are the best romantic getaways in California? I’ve compiled a list of 14 Top-Rated Romantic Getaways in California, with all the info you need to plan the perfect romantic getaway. So pack your bags, grab your sweetheart, and get ready for some serious Californian romance!
1. San Francisco
San Francisco is a classic choice for a romantic getaway in California. This beautiful city by the bay offers something for everyone, from its world-famous landmarks to its vibrant nightlife.
Some of the best things to do in San Francisco with your partner include taking a cable car ride through downtown, visiting Alcatraz Island, strolling through Golden Gate Park, and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and Chinatown.
San Francisco is also home to many excellent restaurants, perfect for a romantic dinner for two. You can find cuisine from all over the world here, but I recommend trying some of the city’s famous seafood dishes.
There are plenty of hotels in San Francisco to choose from, depending on your budget and style preferences. For a truly romantic experience, consider staying in a historic bed and breakfast inn in one of the city’s charming neighborhoods.
All in all, San Francisco is one of the top weekend getaways in California to visit with your significant other. Just be sure to pack comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely do a lot of walking during your stay.
2. Meritage Resort and Spa
If you’re looking for the top-rated romantic vacations in California wine country, consider the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. The Meritage is an ultra-luxurious, AAA Four Diamond resort set among vineyards on a hillside above the city of Napa.
The Meritage Resort and Spa feature 322 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, many with balconies or terraces overlooking the vineyards. The accommodations are spacious and elegantly furnished, with all the modern amenities you would expect in a luxury resort. The resort grounds are just as lovely as the guest rooms, with manicured gardens, fountains, and a heated outdoor pool.
The highlight, for me, was the 22,000 sq. ft. spa located 40 feet underground. I was even surprised to learn that wine is incorporated into many of the spa treatments. And since I was with my wife, one of the staff recommended we try “Vino Bello.” This type of massage incorporates grape seed scrub followed by a mineral, antioxidant-rich wine, and rosehip mud wrap to help rejuvenate the skin. We both loved it and agreed that it was one of the best massages we’ve ever had.
After our spa treatments, we relaxed in the sauna and steam room before heading to the on-site restaurant for dinner. The food was excellent, and the wine list was, of course, outstanding.
We had fun during our stay at this resort, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic getaway in California wine country.
3. Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma
If there’s a romantic place, it’s wine country. And if there’s a place in wine country that’s extra special, it’s Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma. This award-winning, five-star inn is located in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country. The Farmhouse Inn has 25 elegant rooms, each with a king-size bed, a fireplace, a private sauna, and whirlpool tubs. The best part is that the inn is located on a working farm, so you can get a true taste of the countryside.
The Farmhouse Inn is known for its excellent restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The wine list includes more than 40 selections from Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries.
In addition to the restaurants, the Farmhouse Inn has a spa, a swimming pool, and a hot tub. There are also plenty of activities in the area, including hiking, biking, and wine tastings. In short, if you’re looking for the best romantic getaways in California, the Farmhouse Inn is the perfect place to stay.
4. Lake Tahoe
Vacationing in California cannot be complete without a visit to Lake Tahoe. This huge freshwater lake is nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the state line between California and Nevada. It’s about 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, with 72% of the area located in California.
Lake Tahoe is a very popular year-round destination, offering myriad outdoor activities. The best time to visit depends on your interests. Summertime is ideal for swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking. Winter conditions are perfect for snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.
For couples looking for a romantic getaway, I recommend the North Shore area of Lake Tahoe. It’s quieter and less crowded than the South Shore, which is known for its casinos and nightlife. The North Shore features pretty towns, excellent restaurants, and luxury resorts.
But if you want to have your romantic getaway in the South Shore area, that’s great. The casinos and clubs will give you a chance to dress up and have a night on the town. Plus, don’t forget to take a cruise on MS Dixie II. This paddle wheeler offers lunch and dinner cruises, as well as sightseeing tours. MS Dixie II has a heated deck where you can enjoy the views even when it’s chilly outside.
5. L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
If there’s one place that oozes luxury and romance, it’s L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. This AAA Five-Diamond-rated property is a world-renowned haven for the rich and famous. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, the hotel is within walking distance of Rodeo Drive’s best designer shops.
What makes this hotel one of the best places for vacations in California is elegant accommodations, first-rate service, and an array of amenities, such as a rooftop pool with cabanas and a full-service spa. And if that’s not enough to get you in the mood for romance, the hotel can also arrange special romantic packages complete with champagne, chocolates, and flowers.
I should mention that L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is not a cheap hotel, but if you’re looking for a luxurious and romantic getaway, it’s worth every penny.
6. North Block Hotel in Napa Valley
Napa Valley is best known as a wine-producing region, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. The towns of Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga at the southern end of the valley are home to many world-renowned wineries that offer tastings and tours.
The North Block Hotel is a luxe property located in the heart of Yountville. The hotel occupies a historic building that once served as a stagecoach stop. The North Block has been meticulously restored, and the rooms feature antique furnishings and modern amenities.
I recommend this hotel as one of the best romantic getaways in California because it’s so intimate. There are 20 guest rooms divided into six categories. They include Premium King with Fireplace, Premium King, Superior King with Fireplace, Deluxe King, Deluxe Queen, and Deluxe Double Queen. We stayed in a Deluxe King, which was spacious and had a lovely view of the garden.
And if you want to make things more romantic, you can book the “Petals & Pampering” package. It includes an overnight stay in a Deluxe King room, a bottle of champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and one-hour spa treatments.
7. Cavallo Point
Want to cuddle up with your sweetheart in front of a roaring fireplace? You can do just that at Cavallo Point, a former U.S. Army post turned into a luxury lodge in Marin County. The lodge is situated on a hillside with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.
Cavallo Point has its own history dating back to the Civil War era when it was part of Fort Baker, a coastal defense site. In the early 1900s, the U.S. Army developed the area into a coastal artillery post. Cavallo Point served as an active military post until 1971. The property was transferred to the National Park Service in 1995 and underwent a $70 million renovation, reopening as a lodge in 2008.
The resort has 142 luxurious guest rooms, including suites in historic buildings and contemporary canvas cottage accommodations. All of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, and some also have private balconies or patios with stunning views.
Cavallo Point is an ideal place for a romantic weekend getaway in California. You can spend your days exploring the scenic hiking trails in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And when you’re ready to relax, enjoy a couple’s massage at the spa or take a yoga class together. In the evening, dine in one of the resort’s restaurants and then cozy up by the fire with a glass of wine.
8. La Casa Del Camino
This historic hotel in Laguna Beach was built in 1927 and originally served as a beach house for Hollywood celebrities. The Spanish-style architecture and ocean views make La Casa del Camino one of the best romantic getaways in California.
The hotel’s grand lobby features a cozy fireplace, comfortable sofas, and an antique piano. The 39 guest rooms are individually decorated with an old-world flair and modern amenities. Many of the rooms have balconies with ocean views.
La Casa Del Camino is located in the heart of Laguna Beach’s vibrant Art District. The hotel is within walking distance of galleries, shops, and restaurants. Main Beach is just a block away.
Amenities at La Casa del Camino include a rooftop deck with ocean views, a fitness center, and complimentary bicycles. The on-site bar is a great place to enjoy a cocktail or light meal.
So if you’re looking for a romantic getaway in California, La Casa del Camino is a great choice. The hotel’s ideal location, historic charm, and modern amenities make it a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate with your loved one.
9. Yosemite National Park
Love is definitely in the air at Yosemite National Park, one of the most popular weekend getaways in California for outdoor lovers. The 747,956-acre park is best known for its waterfalls, but there is also an abundance of meadows, forests, and granite cliffs to explore.
The park offers plenty of activities for couples. You can go hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, or take a scenic drive through the park. There are also several ranger-led programs, including walks and talks, films, and campfire programs. One of the best things to do here is to relax in the natural setting and enjoy the views. There are also plenty of places to picnic, and you can find a spot next to one of the many waterfalls.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are several hotels and lodges in Yosemite National Park. The Ahwahnee Hotel is the most luxurious option. The hotel has been open since 1927 and is considered a National Historic Landmark. I suggest you make reservations well in advance, as rooms fill up quickly.
10. Santa Barbara
Dreaming of the best romantic getaways on California’s Central Coast? Santa Barbara is a perfect choice, especially if you’re looking for a place with an unbeatable climate. The temperature here rarely gets too hot or too cold, making it a great destination for a romantic getaway any time of year.
You can stroll with your lover hand in hand along Santa Barbara’s famous State Street, stopping to window-shop, enjoy a bite to eat, or people-watch from one of the outdoor cafes. History buffs will want to visit the Santa Barbara Mission, founded in 1786, and nearby is the Presidio State Historic Park, the site of the last Spanish fort in California.
For a dose of nature on your romantic getaway, drive up into the hills above Santa Barbara for panoramic views of the city, the ocean, and the surrounding countryside. Then head to one of Santa Barbara’s world-class beaches for a sunset stroll along the water’s edge.
After a long day of exploring, relax with a glass of wine at one of Santa Barbara’s many tasting rooms. The area is renowned for its Pinot Noir, but there are also excellent Syrah and Chardonnays.
When it comes to romantic lodgings in Santa Barbara, you’ll find everything from cozy inns to luxurious beachfront resorts. For a splurge, consider the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. This elegant property is situated on 22 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, right on Butterfly Beach.
Or, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, check out the Santa Barbara Inn, which offers comfortable rooms and suites at reasonable rates. The inn is located in the Funk Zone, a trendy area with art galleries, breweries, and tasting rooms.
11. Big Sur
The best way to describe Big Sur is “a work of art.” The natural setting is so beautiful that the area has been designated a National Scenic Byway and an International Biosphere Reserve. This is a land of soaring cliffs, crashing waves, and towering redwoods where time seems to stand still. It is no wonder that Big Sur is a favorite destination for artists, writers, nature lovers, and couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The best way to see Big Sur is by driving along the famous Highway 1. This is one of the most scenic drives in the world, and there are plenty of pull-offs where you can stop and enjoy the view.
Be sure to visit Pfeiffer Beach, which is known for its unique purple sand. Another must-see attraction is the Bixby Creek Bridge, which offers dramatic views of the coastline. There are also numerous hiking trails in Big Sur that offer a chance to commune with nature.
Overall, Big Sur is one of the best places in California where couples can enjoy a romantic getaway. With its dramatic scenery and its wealth of outdoor activities, Big Sur has something for everyone.
12. Mendocino County
Mendocino County is another one of the best romantic getaways in California for nature lovers. It’s a vast and sparsely populated region with plenty of room to roam, and the scenery changes as you go from one town to the next.
Start your visit in the town of Mendocino, a quaint fishing village set on a rocky headland. Take a walk through the quiet streets and browse the art galleries, craft shops, and antique stores. Be sure to visit Mendocino Headlands State Park, where you’ll find miles of hiking trails with sweeping ocean views.
Just south of Mendocino is the village of Fort Bragg, a historic logging town set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Skunk Train, a vintage locomotive, runs through the redwoods to Willits (another charming country town) and back.
Fort Bragg is also home to the Glass Beach, where you can see colorful sea glass that has been smoothed by the surf over many years. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk and collect souvenirs at the same time.
End your Mendocino County getaway with a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs at Orr Hot Springs. The clothing-optional setting is perfect for couples looking to add a bit of spice to their vacation.
13. Carmel-by-the Sea
If you’re looking for a place to curl up with your sweetheart and enjoy some good old-fashioned romance, look no further than Carmel-by-the-Sea. This small seaside town, located just south of Monterey, offers everything you need for a romantic getaway. From cozy inns and bed and breakfasts to upscale restaurants and boutique shops.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is also known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, which are perfect for strolling hand-in-hand. In addition to the beaches, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy together, such as hiking, biking, and golfing.
And if you’re looking for some arts and culture to enjoy as a couple, Carmel-by-the-Sea is home to more than 100 art galleries. The town is also a popular destination for wine lovers, as there are many nearby wineries to explore.
When it comes to lodging, Carmel-by-the-Sea has no shortage of romantic inns and bed and breakfasts. If you’re looking for something truly special, consider the Holly Farm, a historic bed and breakfast situated on 10 acres of gardens and woodlands.
14. Santa Catalina Island
Last on my list of the most popular romantic destinations in California is Santa Catalina Island, situated about 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach. The island is best known as a resort destination, featuring many hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
Avalon, the main village on the island, is best explored on foot. The streets are lined with quaint shops and restaurants. You can also take a tour of the Catalina Island Museum, which chronicles the history of the island.
Other attractions on Santa Catalina Island include the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and Descanso Beach Club. Lovers can take a scenic hike to the top of Mt. Ada or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around Avalon.
One of the best ways to experience Santa Catalina Island is to take a glass-bottom boat tour. This is a great activity for couples who want to learn more about the island’s marine life and explore its underwater world. I also recommend taking a romantic dinner cruise around the island or go on a jeep safari tour. There are many different ways to explore Santa Catalina Island, and I’m sure you’ll find an activity that suits your interests and budget.
Taking a romantic vacation is a great way to rekindle the spark in your relationship. I encourage you to try one (or all) of these top-rated romantic getaways in California if you have the chance. Each destination has its own unique charm, and you are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.