If you’re searching for an idyllic weekend escape where you can enjoy some alone time with the one you love, you’ll find that you’re spoiled for choice in California with its beautiful destinations and romantic resorts. To help you choose the best of the best, these perfect weekend getaways are sure to get you packing.
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Big Sur has long been a favorite idyllic spot away from the hustle and bustle of the city for both Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area residents. It sits along an epic Mediterranean-style stretch of coastline that’s often referred to as California’s own Italian Riviera and offers tons of things to do that couples will enjoy. You’ll find numerous luxurious accommodation options in the area too, like Post Ranch Inn, renowned as one of the most romantic places to stay in the world, with infinity pools overlooking the Pacific. Nearby, is one of the most unique beaches in the world, a rare purple sand beach at Pfeiffer State Beach. The sand gets its purple hue from the manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding waves, and framed by the azure Pacific, the contrast is simply stunning.
Mendocino is a stunning seaside village located about three hours north of San Francisco, which sits atop breathtaking rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific and is somewhat reminiscent of Ireland’s coastline. It’s lined with grand New England-style Victorian homes and filled with walking trails that provide jaw-dropping ocean views. You can spend your days strolling the postcard-perfect beaches and peering into tide pools, hiking through Redwood forests and wine tasting at multiple area wineries. Just north of town is Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, set across 47 oceanfront acres that include canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, a pine forest and of course, a wide variety of plant and floral collections. Visitors can walk through the path that winds through colorful flowers leading to a dramatic cliff where a park bench overlooks the ocean.
Joshua Tree National Park
Just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and you’ll feel like you’re in a whole new world. Joshua Tree National Park is a fantastic place to escape the chaos of the big city, with its array of outdoor adventures. Marvel at its alien-like terrain populated by endless stands of the famous, bizarrely-shaped Joshua trees as well as enormous boulders that tower hundreds of feet into the sky, giving it the appearance of a scene from a sci-fi flick. It offers a multitude of fabulous hikes, and some of the best stargazing opportunities after dark. Visit in the spring and you’ll see endless beautiful wildflowers that brighten up the landscape.
Yosemite National Park
If you’re a pair of wilderness lovers, you may want to head to Yosemite National Park. Outdoor activities here include exploring countless waterfalls, dramatic soaring peaks and steep granite cliffs, and is perfect for the ultimate romance and nature getaway. Overnight at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, which defines luxury with its awe-inspiring views of Half Dome, Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls as well as its stunning lobby, complete with a crackling fire in the massive fireplace. Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the park, and a trek to Vernal Falls is a must. Take the 600 granite steps that leads to the waterfall while the cascading waters splash their gentle mist and create colorful rainbows that lead to the top.
Napa Valley is a no-brainer for wine and food enthusiast couples. While the region is famous for its spectacular vineyards and wineries, it wasn’t always a popular foodie destination, but its food scene is quickly rising, measuring up to and sometimes even exceeding its famous drink. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy all sorts of other adventures, like a hot air balloon at sunrise. For the ultimate romantic stay, book a room at the Auberge du Soleil Resort, which offers the “couple’s experience of a lifetime,” and a spa with three temperate springs that overlook the vineyards and olive grove as well as a fine dining restaurant that matches the beauty of the landscape, and serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
Coronado Island, San Diego
Known as the “Enchanted Isle,” the beaches on Coronado Island in San Diego are some of the best in the nation, and its crown jewel is Coronado Beach, frequently rated the finest beach in the U.S. The scene almost seems as if it’s too perfect to be real, with powdery-soft sand that glistens due to its mineral content, sitting at the edge of brilliant blue waters. Hotel del Coronado is a historic hotel with vibrant red turrets and this romantic seaside setting that makes an ideal romantic getaway for beach-loving couples. And, you can even retrace the footsteps of the likes of Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, who starred the classic comedy “Some Like It Hot” together here.
The City by the Bay offers an ideal romantic retreat for those who want to enjoy both nature and a host of cultural attractions, with its magnificent landscapes, scenic strolls, fantastic eats, world-class museums and countless attractions. Take a stroll, hand-in-hand, across the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy one of the most stunning vistas on Earth, with the city skyline, the dazzling Pacific and Alcatraz Island, all coming into view. Dine on artisanal cuisine that can be found around practically every corner, from food trucks to gourmet eateries, and cap off your getaway with a sunset sail underneath the iconic bridge or at the Top of the Mark, located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel.
This world-famous Southern California seaside town offers practically an endless number of romantic spots, including a wealth of fine, romantic eateries that overlook he ocean as well as luxurious waterfront accommodations, like the Malibu Beach Inn, tucked between the rolling hills and its own private golden stretch of sands along the coast. Watch for dolphins from your balcony and enjoy some of the country’s most romantic dinner tables right at the edge of the Pacific. There are also a number of hiking trails at nearby Solstice Canyon where you can enjoy fantastic views and alone time that interrupted only by the occasional deer.