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15 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in California

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One of the best parts of living on the Central Coast of California is that we are only within a few hour’s drive away from both Northern and Southern California. My husband and I love to travel and our dream is to travel full-time in the near future and live in different countries. For the time being, our jobs are a constraint so we’ve discovered the joy of romantic weekend getaways in California for couples!

I grew up in Santa Barbara, California so I’m a bit biased when it comes to how much I love my hometown. That said, I lived in Berkeley, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area for five years so I’ve experienced the variety of what this beautiful state has to offer.

Whether you’re on a budget, short on time, or looking for a luxury weekend getaway, California has so much to offer.

This post is dedicated to romantic weekend getaways in California for couples and offers suggestions on places you can go and even insider tips on some of the best places to stay.

Plan your next romantic weekend getaway in California

If you’re comfortable driving, then I highly recommend exploring California by car especially if you’re going to explore the coast of California.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or an action-packed adventure, there are plenty of options to choose from.

1. Explore the art and culture in San Francisco

Although I love the sunny days in Santa Barbara and had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the fog in San Francisco, it was only a small sacrifice compared to everything this city has to offer.

San Francisco is one of the most popular travel destinations in California.

With its iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, and its diverse neighborhoods, such as Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury, there’s always something to see and do in the city.

Some must-see attractions include the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Exploratorium, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Driving in the city is challenging and so is parking (expensive and hard to find). My suggestion is to leave your car at the hotel or house rental you’re staying at and use a combination of public transportation through BART and walking.

An insider secret tip

San Francisco has weird weather because of where it’s located so my best tip is to wear layers. It’s sunny in one area and then you walk a few blocks and it gets cold and windy. It’s far better to be comfortable and prepared rather than annoyed and cold.

2. Take a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway

When my husband and I were first dating, we took a trip together from Santa Barbara up to Monterey Bay and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway.

To tell you the truth, I think he had secretly researched romantic weekend getaways in California for couples because it was such a beautiful and scenic drive.

The Pacific Coast Highway is a winding road that takes you along the coast and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

There are numerous vista points along the way where you can stop and take photos.

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Some of the must-see attractions along the way include Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Limekiln State Park, and the Elephant Seal Rookery.

It’s typically expensive to stay anywhere along the PCH (as we locals like to call it). People generally go camping.

My husband and I went Glamping at Big Sur Lodge and highly recommend staying there. It’s one of the only affordable places to stay near Big Sur and you’re close to almost everything in the area.

While we were staying there we discovered this secret hike and went swimming in this amazing pool of water. Just ask the local park ranger and they’ll give you directions on how to get there.

An insider secret tip

You can hike in Limekiln State Park for free if you park alongside the road before the park. This incredible place has giant sequoias and redwood forests. If you don’t have time to go to Yosemite National Park or Sequoia National Park, you can get a similar experience by going here!

3. Trip for any type of traveler Los Angeles

My family lived in Los Angeles for less than two years when we first moved to the United States from Germany.

I’ll be completely honest, I have mixed feelings about this city. I love that there is so much to do but hate the traffic and stress of navigating the city by car.

Whether you’re a history buff, a culture lover, or just looking for some fun in the sun, there’s always something to see and do in LA so it’s worth exploring.

Some of my favorite places to explore are the Los Angeles Arboretum, the Griffith Observatory, and the Getty Center.

Pantea Rahimian in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city that offers something for everyone. The best-kept secret of Los Angeles is the Korean Spas! If you want to feel like a million dollars and spend a relaxing day getting pampered at an affordable spa, I recommend the Wi Spa in Korea Town.

An insider secret tip

If you’ve never gone to a Korean spa, be prepared for nudity. There’s an all women’s and all men’s section and everyone is naked while they are in the hot tubs and steam rooms. You will be given shorts and a T-shirt to wear in the co-ed sections. The 90-minute buff and mineral salt massage is worth every penny since anything under $150 requires you to pay the $30 admission fee. I not only feel 100 pounds lighter after my treatment but also calm and relaxed.

15 best romantic weekend getaways in California for couples

If you are looking for romantic weekend getaways in California for couples then here’s a list of the 15 best getaways you and your partner can explore.

  • San Francisco
    Known for its iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and cable cars, as well as its diverse neighborhoods, great food, and shopping.
  • Napa Valley
    Known for its world-renowned wineries, picturesque vineyards, and delicious wine-tasting experiences.
  • Lake Tahoe
    Known for its crystal-clear waters, beautiful beaches, and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and skiing.
  • Santa Barbara
    Known for its Mediterranean-style architecture, beautiful beaches, and historic Santa Barbara Mission.
  • Big Sur
    Known for its rugged coastline, beautiful state parks, and scenic hiking trails.
  • Palm Springs
    Known for its hot springs, luxury resorts, and golf courses, as well as its mid-century modern architecture.
  • Monterey
    Known for its world-renowned aquarium, historic Cannery Row, and beautiful beaches.
  • San Diego
    Known for its beaches, theme parks, and the famous San Diego Zoo.
  • Joshua Tree National Park
    Known for its unique desert landscape and rock formations, as well as its hiking trails and camping opportunities.
  • Yosemite National Park
    Known for its stunning granite cliffs, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
  • Santa Monica
    Known for its famous Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach, and 3rd Street Promenade.
  • Malibu
    Known for its beautiful beaches, celebrity sightings, and outdoor activities such as hiking and surfing.
  • Death Valley National Park
    Known for its unique desert landscape, including the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin.
  • La Jolla
    Known for its beautiful beaches, sea caves, and marine life, including seals and sea lions.
  • The Channel Islands
    Known for their unique wildlife and hiking opportunities, as well as their isolated beaches and sea cave kayaking.


Although I’m biased since I love California, I can honestly say that California is a state that offers a variety of weekend getaway ideas for all types of travelers.

From the iconic landmarks of San Francisco to the magic of Big Sur, the romance of the Central Coast, the scenic beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway, and the diverse attractions of Los Angeles, there’s always something to see and do in California. So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing romantic weekend getaway or an action-packed adventure, you’ll find it in California.

Have you recently taken a road trip and explored California? Are there any places you discovered that you recommend to others looking for a weekend getaway? What weekend getaway tips do you suggest? Please share your stories and comments below.

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40 Responses

  1. One of my favorite places in Calif is Carmel By the Sea. It’s so beautiful and very peaceful! We stayed at a bed and breakfast inn that was within walking distance of the beach! I would love to go back there.

    1. Hey Ambica I’m so excited to hear that you have a few additional activities and places to check out next time you’re on holiday in California. I highly recommend Big Sur and highway 1 since it’s an easy getaway from San Francisco.

    1. Hey Tracy where do you live now? I lived in Spain for 1 year and missed California quite a lot. My husband and I are debating about moving to Europe in the next few years and I’m apprehensive about being homesick!

      1. Hey Pantea, I am currently in Florida. Have lived in NJ, NY, FL, CA. I’ve never lived abroad to be able to talk about the homesickness but I’ve acclimated ok to the different coasts with occasional visits home 🙂

        1. Hey Tracy thanks for sharing your experience and I’m glad to hear that I can probably beat my homesickness if I can visit CA and my friends in Santa Barbara once we move to Europe!

    1. Hey Nicole I’m so excited that you’re going to try out some of these weekend getaways and insider tips in California! Let me know if you discover anything new so I can add it to my own travel wishlist.

  2. Love these insider tips! CA really has so much to do and offer…feel like I need to book another trip over yonder! Now I’m inspired thanks

  3. Nice review of California traveling. I’ve been to San Francisco and San Diego, but would love to see the other places you’ve mentioned, especially glamming in Big Sur.

  4. Love your pictures you can tell you two love it. Thanks for sharing these awesome places. It’s been so long since I’ve trave to Cali. but will keep these for future travel.

    1. Hey Nisee thanks so much for the positive feedback! The photos don’t fully capture how beautiful some of these places are so I hope you visit them and experience it for yourself!

  5. I wish I’d come across this two weeks earlier! I’ve just returned from California, but these insights will definitely keep some of those in mind when planning my next visit.

    1. Hey Amari which places did you visit in California? Anything you would recommend? We love discovering new places and a lot of the ones we have visited have been through recommendations from other folks! Hope you had a great trip while you were here!

  6. Out of these destinations, I’ve been only to San Francisco. I’ve heard about most of the others. Yosemite is a place I want to go to in the future. I love nature, and I believe I will really love it. Thanks for sharing these great tips and places!

    1. Hey Nelly Yosemite is an amazing national park and a must-see!! Although it’s now a big tourist attraction and hundreds of people go there during high season, it’s still worth it to visit!

  7. The Pacific Coast Highway sounds incredible! And so sweet of your husband to have planned a romantic trip! Putting this and the others on my bucket list. Thank you for the tips and detailed information.

  8. Never been to California but this is really helpful! Sometimes it can be tricky knowing even roughly where to go but I love that you highlighted in the list the best places for the best activities/reasons! Thank you for sharing!

  9. I have never been to California. I like the Loge idea. It sounds like a relaxing, but adventurous place to visit. Any place in Florida with easy access to the beach is a fun weekend getaway for couples. New Jersey, Atlantic City is another good place to baecation

    1. Hey Kevin thanks so much for the Florida suggestions. I’ve been to Fort Meyers and we loved the beach and also went to kayaking in the Everglades national park which was incredible!!

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