7 of the most romantic weekend getaways in California

California is home to some of the world’s most exciting cities but also some of the most romantic places. From watching oceanside sunsets to watching the twinkling lights of the skyscrapers and watching the stars in the desert, there are loads of wonderful spots in California that are perfect for a loved-up holiday. Looking to escape to the Golden State with your special someone? Here are some of the most romantic weekend getaways in California.

7 of the most romantic weekend getaways in California

1. Santa Barbara

Also called the “American Riviera”, this iconic beach town also has easy access to the nearby Santa Ynez mountains. With such a romantic setting, it’s no wonder it is so popular with couples. When it comes to things to do, you can take to the water and enjoy all manner of activities, including whale watching. You can stay on dry land and enjoy romantic strolls on the beach. When you have worked up a hunger, Santa Barbara does not disappoint when it comes to food and drink. You can taste the very best foods that California has to offer in some incredible restaurants. No wonder A-List celebs like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres have homes here…

2. Los Angeles

LA sets the scene for romance with its intoxicating mix of bright sunshine, breathtaking scenery and brilliant sunsets. Spend your days drawing hearts in the sand at the city’s beaches before hiking up to the Griffith Observatory to gaze at the stars and into each other’s eyes. You can even take a gondola ride around the canals of Naples Island and Alamitos Bay before catching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. At night, head back to your splendid room in one of LA’s many romantic hotels.

romantic weekend getaways in California

3. Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County has a beautiful setting with rolling, vine-covered hills. It is a popular destination for couples who want to chill out. There are plenty of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors, including hiking, mountain biking, and hot-air balloon rides. Want to really impress your loved one? Book a night in one of the most romantic hotels in the world, the Farmhouse Inn Forestville. This retreat has a Michelin-star restaurant, cosy rooms, a luxury spa, a pool with a hot tub, outdoor fire pits, and beautiful gardens. 

4. San Jose

The home of Silicon Valley, San Jose is tech and future-focused, but it’s also California’s oldest Spanish civilian settlement and has vibrant Latin influences. Foodies will adore its thriving global food scene, and there are some brilliant cultural neighbourhoods to explore. If you want to get even more active, head to Alum Rock Park. This canyon in the foothills of the Diablo Range is a top spot for a hike, as there is plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy along 13 miles of trails, including six miles of horse trails and three miles of bicycle trails.

romantic weekend getaways in California

5. San Francisco

One of California’s best cities, San Francisco is famous for its incredible food and art scene. Spend a romantic weekend roaming the city’s many art galleries with your sweetheart before sealing it off with a romantic dinner. Check-in for a few nights at the famously elegant Palace Hotel and then explore the gorgeous Golden Gate Park the next day.

6. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is incredibly intoxicating with its heady mix of heat, wilderness, and remoteness. One of the most romantic and legendary desert landscapes in the USA, this is where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet. Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderful destination to enjoy stunning panoramic vistas, ancient flora and fauna and some of the best stargazing in the country. Joshua Tree gets its name from the Joshua trees that are found scattered throughout the area. Known as palm tree yucca, these unique trees could completely disappear from the region by 2070. Droughts affecting California are hitting the Mojave Desert pretty hard. So, if you haven’t made it out to the trendy Joshua Tree National Park already, add it to your list of the world’s most endangered travel destinations to visit before the tree disappears.

7. Big Sur

Big Sur is a mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel and San Simeon. It is famous for its rugged beauty, and on a visit here, you can explore the area’s long artistic history and dine in its many creative restaurants. It is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings dominated by fogs, redwood forests, and incomparable coastal views.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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