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When many couples start thinking about their honeymoons, images of tropical islands and exotic lands come to mind. However, there are plenty of beautiful places and adventurous spots right here in California to celebrate your first days as new spouses too. California is a great place to take a honeymoon if you don’t have a lot of time to take off work, want to save some money after going all out for the wedding, or just prefer to stay closer to home until you have more time to plan a longer overseas trip. Here are our favorite honeymoon destinations in California.
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Palm Springs is a perfect honeymoon destination when it’s cold elsewhere and you’re looking for a warm and sunny desert retreat. There are lots of spas and great resorts in Palm Springs to indulge in a little luxury and perhaps get a couples’ massage or other rejuvenating treatment. You can also spend your days browsing the shops and art galleries, dining out on fabulous cuisine, and exploring the area’s museums. Couples who enjoy golfing will also find Palm Springs to be a pure paradise for their honeymoon.
Napa is the essential honeymoon getaway for wine-loving couples who want a peaceful place to sip favorite beverages in a romantic setting. Late summer and early fall are lovely times to go on a honeymoon to Napa after the hottest heat of the summer has tapered off. Hop onboard the wine train to enjoy onboard performances, good food, and safe and easy transportation to some of the top-rated local wineries.
We also love Catalina Island as a honeymoon destination because it’s close to Los Angeles but feels like an entire world away. There is no shortage of fun and romantic things to do on the island once you hop on a boat to get here, such as theater performances, restaurants, water sports, and relaxing beach time. You can stay in a romantic bed and breakfast here, a luxury hotel, or even camp out for a little more adventure. The most accommodations are in the town of Avalon, and you can reach the island in about a one-hour ride by ferry from Long Beach, Dana Point, or San Pedro.
If you’re looking for plenty of things to do and ways to stay entertained on your California honeymoon, then also consider the SoCal city of San Diego. From romantic walks around Balboa Park to exploring the cute beach communities, San Diego has a lot to offer couples who want everything at their fingertips. The city is also home to so many amazing accommodations, including top luxury resorts, adorable boutique hotels, and unique Airbnb properties.
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a romantic honeymoon destination that has an enjoyable slow pace and pristine beaches. It has an unpretentious atmosphere and some great bed and breakfasts that are romantic for couples. Check out the boutique shops on Main Street and be inspired by the calming scenery.
For a relaxed vibe with still plenty of things to do and ways to enjoy the finer things in life, Santa Barbara is a top pick for your California honeymoon. Here you can tour the historic missions, sip local wine, enjoy Stearns Wharf, and eat some incredible meals. While honeymooning in Santa Barbara, plan to book a spa treatment, go for a bike ride, and perhaps hire a local guide to get out on the water and go sailing.
Yosemite National Park
Outdoorsy and adventurous couples love taking their honeymoons to Yosemite National Park to be amazed by the beauty of nature and spend quality time together. You can stay at a lodge right inside the park to be treated to a little luxury in the wilderness, or set up a tent in a campground if you feel like roughing it. While you’re here, you and your lover can spend your days hiking, rock climbing, and taking photographs together with perfect scenery in the background.
San Luis Obispo
Located along California’s central coast about midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo is a relaxing and welcoming community that is perfectly sized for a honeymoon adventure. There are plenty of things to do here without feeling overwhelming or ever bored. SLO has fun festivals, including the Thursday night farmers’ market, great restaurants, uncrowded hiking trails, and the vineyards of Paso Robles nearby for tastings.
To treat yourself like a celebrity after your wedding, consider booking your honeymoon in Malibu. The beaches are beautiful, the views memorable, and many of the accommodations ultra-luxurious. Romantic things to do together during your Malibu honeymoon include touring the Getty Villa, spending time at El Matador State Beach, and walking along the Malibu Pier. Other top beach areas to enjoy with your new spouse are Zuma Beach, Point Dume State Beach and Preserve, and the Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach.
Another scenic and outdoorsy honeymoon destination in California is Big Sur, which is along the central coast and Highway 1. The dramatic cliffs and ocean waves are wonderfully romantic, allowing you to be as active or inactive as you please on this honeymoon vacation. You’ll feel like you’ve escaped from the rest of the world together and be able to rejuvenate your souls after stressful months of wedding planning. Lodging includes everything from spa resorts to rustic inns and campgrounds. Take a scenic drive on Highway 1 and recharge at a local spa during this trip.
For a quaint and storybook-style honeymoon in California, choose your trip for Carmel-by-the-Sea. This upscale destination is a resort town with art galleries, cultural events, and wonderful restaurants. It is home to beautiful Northern California beaches and has coastal hiking trails in the area to get some fresh air and exercise. Ways to fill your days with romance in Carmel-by-the-Sea include having breakfast at La Bicyclette, walking around Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and enjoying a wine tasting at the nearly 20 tasting rooms in this area that are in walking distance of each other.