Weather is the turquoise waters of the Pacific amalgamating into the majestic rocky crescent of the coast, the palm-lined beaches, or the jaw-dropping national parks, everything about southern California inspires romance.
Breezy, balmy, and renowned for its scenic natural beauty, the region is resplendent with spellbinding places that reward couples with one-of-a-kind experiences — from amazing wine tastings to whale watching cruises.
Read the full post to discover what are the 9 most romantic getaways in southern California and pick your favorite destination for a memorable vacation with your loved one!
The Most Romantic Getaways In Southern California
Spanning 110 miles of coastline, Santa Barbara proves that you don’t need to go to the Caribbean to enjoy a wonderful beach vacation with your significant other. The city is the perfect place for those who are dreaming of experiencing the oceanfront culture in full swing, and spending days on end soaking up the sun in stellar beaches like Butterfly Beach, East Beach, Summerland Beach, and Refugio State Beach.
But Santa Barbara is far more than just a beach destination. City brightly shines with tempting shopping spots, high-caliber museums, romantic sunset spots — including the Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara —, and freshly mowed lush parks. All that framed by the scenic Santa Ynez Mountains and picture-ready Mediterranean-style buildings. Not by chance, is regarded as one of the most romantic cities in California!
Santa Barbara also happens to be one of the top wine-growing regions in California, so when visiting the city during the harvest season, don’t pass up the chance to book a private wine tasting at some of the local vineyards. The must-visits? The Jamie Slone Wines, where you’ll be sipping on Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé, Pinot Noir, and other varieties, and the Presqu’ile winery, which offers a tasting of their release estate wines paired with a pre-set Mezze picnic.
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Channel Islands National Park
Couples who are spending a romantic holiday in Santa Barbara shouldn’t miss the chance of going on a day trip to the paradisiac Channel Islands National Park. Encompassing five idyllic islands, the park is one of the most biologically diverse places in the United States, and it’s home to 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world.
Adventurous couples can indulge in a strikingly copious variety of outdoor activities, like birdwatching in Santa Cruz Island, kayaking Santa Barbara Island’s five-mile coastline, and snorkeling in Santa Catalina Island.
San Diego has all of the features that travelers long for in a romantic weekend getaway: fine weather, gorgeous scenery, great beaches, jaw-dropping sunsets… and the list goes on! This sublime and sunny Southern California city is graced by 70 miles of coastline encompassing some of the finest beaches in the United States.
While not soaking up the sun in La Jolla Cove, couples can walk along the scenic paths of the lush Balboa Park, enjoy sweeping views of the San Diego Bay from the bustling San Diego Harbor, shop until they drop in the Seaport Village, and explore the vast wilderness of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
For the ultimate romantic experience, head over to the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which is filled with cliff formations and caves, to enjoy the most spectacular views of the city.
And there’s more! San Diego is one of the top destinations for year-round whale watching. For the one-of-a-kind opportunity to spot dolphins, whales, sea lions, and sea birds, go for a half-day cruise departing from Harbor Drive.
Hungry after a scenic harbor cruise? Then head over to The Fish Market for a romantic dining experience on the Southern California coast. This superb seafront eatery is perfect for some king crab legs and a glass of sparkling wine with a view!
Joshua Tree National Park
Does your idea of romance involve getting your heart pumping? Then the Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect destination for you. Protecting two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado deserts, the park is known for its rugged rock formations and scenic desert landscapes.
While exploring Joshua Tree, adventurous couples will have the opportunity to spot a variety of plants and animals, including marvelous bird species like the roadrunner, phainopepla, and mockingbird, aside from spectacular natural features, from exposed granite monoliths to rugged canyons.
The best way of uncovering the mother-nature-designed marvels of the park? By hitting Joshua Tree’s 300 miles of scenic hiking trails.
For the ultimate romantic experience, couples can camp under the star in one of the park’s 9 designated sites. And since the Joshua Tree National Park boasts some of the darkest nights in Southern California, this is the perfect opportunity for stargazing and getting the chance to see the Milky Way with the unaided eye.
Natural charms will prove a major attraction during your stay in Laguna Beach. Located within an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, this small coastal city in Orange County is known for its coastal canyons and hidden coves, and it’s the perfect place for couples who want to enjoy a breezy and balmy vacation in Southern California.
Aside from exploring the Laguna Beache’s world-renowned beaches and coastal parks, visitors can indulge in the city’s delightful maze of cosmopolitan amenities. Be sure to book a room in one of the local boutique hotels, like the oceanfront Hotel Joaquin, and sample the city’s delectable cuisine scene.
Craving some jet-fresh seafood? Then Nick’s Laguna Beach praised for their pan-seared Chilean sea bass, is the place to go.
Home to 100 art galleries, Laguna is also known for its promising art scene. Art lovers must visit the renowned Laguna Art Museum, which has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean features works created by Californian artists.
Big Bear Lake
Few things are more romantic than a bucolic mountain lake escape. Couples who are not in the mood for a beach vacation can head to the scenic Big Bear Lake, an atmospheric town gloriously places on the banks of the namesake lake. Perfect for outdoorsy pursuits galore, the city boasts 100’s of miles of scenic trails, which rewards hikers with some gorgeous views of the surrounding nature.
During the winter, the city turns into a veritable wonderland covered in snow and offers travelers amazing opportunities for snowboarding and skiing in the local resorts.
But if you plan on visiting Big Bear during spring and summer, no worries. You’ll still have plenty to see and do. Couples can rent a cozy cabin in the woods and indulge in some scenic vistas of the lake while drinking bubbly in the hot tub. There are also a huge variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and boating!
Known for its alluring desert landscape dotted with snow-dusted mountains and towering palm trees, Palm Springs is the perfect destination for couples who are looking for some peace and serenity in Southern California.
Boasting year-round luminous weather, this romantic getaway is praised for its luxurious hotels where couples can spend days on end swimming, drinking Prosecco, and indulging in restoring spa treatments. For a five-star luxury experience in the heart of the desert, book a suite at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, and get ready for a romantic vacation. In there, you and your loved one will be pampered with healing massages, yoga sessions, and mouthwatering meals made with seasonal fresh ingredients.
When not relaxing in the hotel, couples can also visit the Sunnylands Center & Gardens, a historic 200-acre estate that houses rotating art exhibitions, and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a scenic birdseye view of the desert.
Thanks to its year-round warm weather, Santa Monica is one of the most sought-after destinations among the sun-chasers. Whether you’re spending two days or a week in the city, be sure to idly roam around the bustling Santa Monica Pier, which offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.
After a sundowner at the 3-mile long Santa Monica State Beach, take your significant other for a breeze afternoon in Tongva Park, 6-acre green oasis featuring rolling hills, native plants, and braided paths.
Nature lovers will have the time of their lives while visiting the Point Mugu State Park. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Point Mugu State Park rewards visitors with 5 miles of ocean shoreline, rugged hills, beaches, sand dunes, and more than 70 miles of scenic hiking trails.
Did the hunger strike? Then lunch at Blue Plate Oysterette is a must. The restaurant is one of Santa Monica’s top spots for eating seafood, and famous for its superb West Coast oysters and succulent lobster roll.
Dubbed as one of the most romantic weekend getaways in Southern California, Venice Beach is an ideal location for a quick vacation with your loved one. Known for its bohemian atmosphere, this lively beach town is dotted with trendy restaurants, hippie-chic bars, and amazing brunch spots.
After blissfully wandering through the bustling Venice Beach Boardwalk, which is always crammed with skaters, joggers, and quaint street performers, hop on a bike and head over to a lovely afternoon in Santa Monica.
Couples can also take a romantic cruise on Venice’s canals (not the Italian ones, obviously), from where you’ll be able to marvel at Insta-worthy homes, lovely bridges, and blooming gardens, stroll along the charming Venice Pier, and watch the sunset from the top of the High Rooftop Bar at Hotel Erwin!
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