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California Romantic Getaways You’ll Love!

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If California isn’t at the top of your list when planning a romantic getaway—whether it’s an anniversary trip or honeymoon, a simple day trip or more extended stay—you might want to reconsider. The Golden State has plenty to offer when it comes to romance and it may come cheaper than you think!


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How do I plan a romantic California getaway?

There are a couple of decisions you can make upfront that will help guide the plans for your California romantic getaway. For instance, are you looking for romantic getaways in northern California, or southern? Would you like to stay in a romantic hotel in southern California? Or would an all-inclusive resort—or even camping!—suit you better? Is this a California romantic getaway on a budget or are you planning to splurge?


Once you know the answers to those types of initial questions, the rest of the plan for your California romantic getaway should fall into place fairly easily—mostly because California has everything you could ask for, and more.


Need a few extra ideas to get the planning started? Read on for more inspiration and some of our favorite cities and activities for a romantic getaway in California!


Where should I go for my anniversary in California?


Keep things spicy by learning something new together! Head to Los Angeles for a weekend of cooking classes, ballroom dance lessons, and even trapeze school. When class is over, rent a Harley and enjoy a beautiful drive down the Pacific Coast Highway!


Leo Carrillo State Park and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California.Leo Carrillo State Park and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California.Leo Carrillo State Park and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California.


Try Temecula (halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego) for a wine tour on horseback or San Francisco for a chocolate tour on foot (hey, chocolate comes from nature, right!?). You can hike your way through Big Sur, or hit up San Diego for the zoo and Flower Fields. The options are seriously endless for the outdoor enthusiast!



San Francisco is calling your name. Everything from sailing into the Pacific sunset on a luxury yacht or sailing above the city via hot air balloon, to hitting the streets for some of the world’s most eclectic culture and food, the Bay area has you covered.


Where should I honeymoon in California?


Try something like the Eden Vale Inn (outside Sacramento). Think cozy + luxury bed and breakfast that will even play backdrop to your romantic and picturesque elopement—if you haven’t sealed the deal yet, that is!



Is there anywhere better to hit the town than Los Angeles? The city is overflowing with energy—so get right in the fray with a day of exploration (think museums, celebrities, and fashion), then head out for a luxe dinner and a night of dancing at some of the best nightclubs in the country.



There are several cities where you’ll find this easy to accomplish, but a favorite is La Jolla. Start the day by hitting the beach and exploring the pier and caves, move to the Underwater Park where you can snorkel, scuba, paddleboard, or kayak with incredible marine wildlife, then end the day with a beautiful hike through Torrey Pines State Reserve. Don’t worry, the next day can hold museum tours, the playhouse, the aquarium, and Gliderport!


How do you plan a romantic weekend getaway on a budget?

Trust us, romance doesn’t have to come with major dollar signs attached to it! Some of the best California romantic getaways we know of are simple, easy, and capitalize on what the area has to offer—often inexpensively, or even free!


When looking to plan a romantic getaway in southern California on a budget, always start by booking flights early. A great tool to use is Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar, which can help determine when your trip will be. Another idea is to use an individual city’s bureau website for insider tips on local events and deals.


Here are a few other budget-friendly options to consider when planning your affordable romantic getaway in California!


  • GONDOLA RIDES: When you’ve already saved so much by skipping the plane ticket to Italy, it’s worth it to cuddle up for a romantic gondola ride on the water. Head south near Long Beach or Newport Beach, and make sure to fit in a little piece of the exotic world right here on the west coast.
  • BALBOA PARK (San Diego): It’s 1,200 acres of gardens, museums, and—of course—the zoo. With so many options in one spot, this famous park is not only wallet-friendly but time-friendly (another important factor when “budgeting” for romantic weekend getaways in Southern California).


Casa De Balboa at Balboa Park, San DiegoCasa De Balboa at Balboa Park, San DiegoCasa De Balboa at Balboa Park, San Diego


  • CAMPING: Lake Tahoe, the Redwoods, Big Bear, Joshua Tree National Park…the entire state is covered with beautiful, natural scenery to enjoy for the more rugged couple looking for an affordable romantic getaway in California.


There are also several California cities that offer a LOT of bang for their vacation buck. Consider Dana Point, Carlsbad, Oxnard, Palm Springs, and Ventura when looking for cheaper accommodations and activities.


And when all else fails—which it won’t—just head to the beach.


What is the most romantic beach in California?

Cliché or not, few things beat a romantic walk on the beach with someone you love! The sunset, the salty air, the bare feet—just YES to all of it. And obviously California can seriously deliver on any number of incredible beaches, but here are a few to consider as part of your California romantic getaway.


Romantic Beaches in Northern California


  • BLACK SANDS BEACH, fly into San Francisco or Sacramento: Super unique, often almost deserted (read: ROMANTIC), and beautifully Instagrammable—if you’re about posting pics from your romantic getaway in California, that is.
  • PFEIFFER BEACH, fly into San Jose: Unbelievably breathtaking beauty, endless explorable terrain, and absolutely zero crowds. Perfect for the adventurous couple who may even want to camp for the weekend.
  • MARSHALL'S BEACH, fly into San Francisco: It may be a bit of a trek to get down to it (hello exclusivity!), but the dreamy sunset views of the Golden Gate Bridge will be worth every step.


Romantic Beaches in Southern California


  • THOUSAND STEPS BEACH, fly into Orange County: A peaceful getaway in the middle of your getaway—at the south end of this beach you can go through a big rock cave and find two hidden swimming pools that overlook the Pacific and that only locals know about. #wewonttellifyoudont
  • VICTORIA BEACH, fly into Orange County: Straight from a fairy tale, Victoria Beach is bound to become part of one of the best romantic getaways in California. Explore near the castle-inspired tower and dream together with your own prince or princess!
  • POINT DUME STATE BEACH, fly into Los Angeles: One of the most beautiful—and hidden—beaches in Malibu, Point Dume is prime rock climbing real estate. Send the incredible cliff faces while your partner enjoys the breeze from below, then cuddle up at the top for beautiful ocean views (and some sea lion entertainment).


Which beach is the cleanest in California?

No one wants to get down and dirty when we’re talking beaches. Here are a few famously clean beaches to enjoy during any California romantic getaway.


  • MANHATTAN BEACH, fly into Los Angeles: Notoriously clean, low crime in the city, and super relaxing.
  • CORONADO BEACH, fly into San Diego: Low pollution, lifeguards, and on-site showers for the win!
  • SAN SIMEON STATE BEACH, fly into San Jose: Clear water, clean sand, super quiet and beautiful. Bonuses: coastal highway views and dolphin spotting!


What do YOU think is the most romantic spot in California? Tell us in the comments below!


You can also visit our Discussion Forum to get more answers, information, and inspiration from travelers like you. There’s a whole section devoted to Travel Inspiration


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