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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.