California is home to some of the most exciting places in the world. It is also home to some of the most romantic too. From watching sunsets by the ocean to toasting each other in the valleys and watching the stars in the desert, there are loads of wonderful spots in California that are perfect for a loved-up getaway. Looking to escape to the Golden State with your special someone? Here are some of the most romantic places in California.
7 of the Most Romantic Places in California
1. Napa Valley, San Francisco Bay Area
Napa Valley isn’t just one of the most romantic places in California, it is one of the most romantic places in the whole of the USA. With rolling vineyards, panoramic picturesque views and some of the best gourmet experiences in the country, it’s no wonder couples love to come here to pop the question and for their honeymoon. From sipping wine right in between the vines to winery tours and romantic hot air balloon rides and train rides, the Napa Valley has lots of memorable things for couples to do. There are also some incredibly romantic hotels and ranches. Here you can cosy up by roaring log fires, cuddle up in outdoor hot tubs and fall asleep in each other’s arms in luxurious four-poster beds.
2. Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
With its heady mix of sunshine, sea, scenery and sunsets, Los Angeles really does set the scene for a romantic vacation. One of the most vibrant and creative cities in America, there is so much to see and do here that you’ll never be bored. Catch the sunrise on one of the many beaches, hike up the Hollywood hills and soak in the views and admire the mansions. Up the romance factor by taking a gondola ride around the canals of Naples Island and Alamitos Bay and serenading your loved one. Then, catch a sunset over the ocean before making your way to the fantastic Griffith Observatory to gaze at the stars and each other all night long.
3. Catalina Island, Channel Islands
Catalina is a charming island located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. You reach the island from LA via a one-hour ferry ride. The picture-perfect paradise is an idyllic place to escape to for those looking to relax, recharge and revive. The main town of Avalon has a very romantic setting surrounded by evergreen-shrubbed hills dotted with colourful summer homes. This is set off beautifully by the bright blue waters that lap the shore. It is charming and feels positively Mediterranean. The soft sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming or snorkelling and there are lots of lovely coves and marinas to wander and explore. If you are looking for a romantic island escape in California, this is it.
4. Mammoth Lakes, Mono County
Sitting high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Mammoth Lakes is breathtakingly beautifully all year round. It’s very romantic in the summer when the meadows are blanketed with wildflowers and the valleys are verdant and lush. It is a wonderful place to bask in nature and bask in each other’s company whilst hiking, picnicking and dipping in the refreshing water. Come ski season, it is a winter wonderland. Couples ski together all day before cosying up by the fire at night with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It is fairytale romantic.
5. Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernardino County
The heat, the kaleidoscopic sunsets, the shooting stars at night, there’s something about the desert that’s incredibly romantic. Loved-up couples should head to Joshua Tree National Park, which is a desert paradise. Located in the heart of southeastern California, this breathtaking landscape is known as The Place Where Deserts Meet as it is home to the two distinct ecosystems of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. It is a wonderful destination to enjoy stunning panoramic vistas, ancient flora and fauna and some of the best stargazing in the country. The serenity, scenery, stars, it’s all very sexy when shared with someone you love.
6. Russian River Secret Spot, Healdsburg, Sonoma County
The Russian River Secret Spot is a special, secluded swimming hole. Here, you and your loved one can splash around and have a good time surrounded by the beauty of nature. When you get this place to yourself, it can be a very romantic spot, especially if you bring a picnic. There’s even a ‘secret’ island that you can both swim out to for some alone time. To get to the swimming hole, you have to tackle a steep, but thankfully short hike. The refreshing dip is so much more rewarding after the hard trek. Located an hour’s drive north of San Francisco in the town of Healdsburg, this also happens to be the meeting point of three of California’s most famous wine valleys. So, after your swim, why not continue your romantic escapades with a wine tasting tour?
7. Oceanside Pier, San Diego County
Watching the sunset with your lover is one of the most romantic things you can do. And it costs nothing. Yay for free love! Looking for the best place in California to watch the sun go down? Then head to Oceanside Pier in San Diego County. This 1,954-foot-long pier is the longest wooden pier on the western United States coastline. The seemingly endless wooden pilings stretch to the horizon and bridge the gap between the ocean, the fiery sky and the shoreline. It makes for an incredibly picturesque place to catch the spectacular Southern California sunsets.