The most romantic places to visit in California, ranked.


A romantic holiday or honeymoon in California is sure to be memorable because to the state’s secluded beaches lined with palm trees, breathtaking sunsets, and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains. The variety of sceneries ensures that there is something to appeal to every traveller.

Beachgoers will enjoy the picturesque seaside communities, crescent-shaped bays, and tranquil coves that are located along California State Route One, which is more commonly known to as Highway One. Big Sur is without a doubt the most breathtaking destination due to its high cliffs that drop down into the Pacific Ocean and its fascinating beauty.

Carmel and Santa Barbara, both beautiful seaside communities, appeal to tourists who are looking for a luxury resort experience, while Santa Catalina Island offers wonderful island charm while being reasonably accessible.

People who are looking for rural charm will find that the historic communities in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, which are only a few hours away from San Francisco, are quite appealing. Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for anyone who enjoy being outside because of its stunning alpine environment and cosy, rustic cabins.

In California, there is a wide range of activities that are perfect for couples, from relaxing on the beach to exploring scenic mountain towns. The following guide to the most romantic vacations will help you choose the right places to go on holiday with your significant other.

1. The Stunning Scenery of Big Sur’s Coastline

Big Sur is a breathtakingly gorgeous place to get away from the rest of the world and get some much-needed mental and physical rejuvenation. The rugged scenery and the expansive vistas of the ocean are really breathtaking.

This cliff-clinging section of the Northern California coastline, which is 90 miles long and is accessible via a spectacular cliff-clinging stretch of Highway One, gives the impression of being quite remote from civilised areas. There has not been much expansion, and there is no mobile phone service accessible.

Despite its remote location, Big Sur is home to a variety of accommodation options, including luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, and posh spa resorts, in addition to rustic-chic inns and campers.

Whether a couple would rather rough it or be pampered, Big Sur’s breathtaking natural beauty is sure to be a major selling point for the area. The beautiful redwood woods that surround the coast of Big Sur soar up to a height of 1,200 feet above the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. The visitors are struck speechless as they see the sheer cliffs drop into the roaring seas below.

Behind the seashore hills and the coastal cliffs are where you’ll find beaches all to yourself. A number of state parks may be found in the region of Big Sur. These parks provide vast hiking trails that weave through a variety of ecosystems.

2. Carmel-by-the-Sea: An Elegant Beachfront Resort

This upmarket beachfront resort exudes charm, as seen by the whimsical cottages, secret tunnels, and one-of-a-kind stores that are located around the property. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a wonderful place to visit for a romantic weekend for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it offers first-rate accommodations, upscale eating options, and cultural activities throughout the whole year.

It takes only ten minutes to stroll from the centre of Carmel to reach a tranquil sandy beach that is encircled by cypress trees with characteristic wind-sculpted branches. This pristine section of Northern California coastline is often considered to be among the state’s most picturesque shorelines.

Along the breathtaking 17-Mile Drive is where you’ll find the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, which is just a few minutes away. It is well-known for the challenging 18th hole, which features a view of a well-known cliff along the shore.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is an excellent launching place for an excursion down the Big Sur coastline, which starts about 25 miles to the south of the town. Big Sur begins at Point Lobos. Point Lobos is a coastal nature reserve that offers some of the best hiking trails in the area and may be found along the route.

3. Santa Barbara has been referred to as the “American Riviera” on more than one occasion.

Santa Barbara has been given the nickname “the American Riviera” because of its Mediterranean seaside surroundings and resort-like atmosphere. It is tucked away in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and the coastline is lined with palm trees.

This quintessential destination in California is home to a historic Spanish Mission as well as stunning sandy beaches that receive an abundance of sunlight. Those with a penchant for sentimentality will be captivated by the breathtaking sunsets and the soothing rhythm of the waves smashing on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

In keeping with the history of the area, the charming downtown district is encircled by historic buildings designed in the Spanish colonial style. These buildings house a variety of establishments, including art galleries, stores, restaurants, and cafés. 

Santa Barbara is often considered to be one of the most delightful destinations to visit in the state of California, particularly for the purposes of dining and shopping.

In addition, participating in outdoor activities and relaxing at one of the high-end spas in the area are both common forms of recreation in this town. The breathtaking natural scenery provides the perfect setting for a variety of outdoor activities, including canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding.

4. The Undulating Landscape of Sonoma County’s Hills

The rolling hills of Sonoma County, which are covered with vines and may be seen an hour north of San Francisco, give the county its name.

Many married couples go to Sonoma for the purpose of enjoying the region’s more relaxed way of life and the abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hot-air ballooning, mountain biking, and hiking. It is also an excellent location to enjoy some of the region’s gourmet cuisine, which is often cooked using locally sourced products.

Sonoma is a picturesque town that dates back to the Gold Rush and now is home to some of the country’s finest eateries and shops that are clustered around a central plaza.

5.Santa Catalina Island 

On Santa Catalina Island, you’ll find tranquil beaches, picturesque coastal communities, and beautiful island scenery—everything you might want from a destination for a romantic trip. The most varied selection of places to stay on the island may be found in Avalon, the principal town, which features everything from luxurious historic hotels to up-to-date resorts.

Sunbathing is a popular activity on Avalon’s beaches because of their protected environments. The options for swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking at Descanso Beach are among the best in the area. 

This beach, which can be found tucked away in a secluded little cove, has first-rate amenities, one of which is a private beach club. At the Descanso Beach Club, guests have the option to rent cabanas and beach chairs, as well as eat at the restaurant that overlooks the ocean.

The idyllic atmosphere of Two Harbors, which can be found near the far western tip of the island, is hard to miss. This tranquil hamlet is situated in the middle of two ports and is surrounded on all sides by placid coves; it is home to a café, a convenience store, excellent beaches, fishing locations, and little motels with more moderate rates.

There are options for camping and trekking in the wilderness of Santa Catalina, which is located just outside of the town of Two Harbors. The vast majority of the island’s trails pass through its mountainous terrain, which provides breathtaking vistas of the sea and the coastline.

6. The county of Mendocino is wild and undeveloped.

The county of Mendocino is found in the far northern part of the state of California. It is a stretch of rugged coastline that is rich in wildlife and redwood trees. Mendocino County’s serene atmosphere, expansive natural spaces, and beautiful vistas of the coast make it an excellent choice for couples looking for a place to spend quality time together.

Visitors are rejuvenated by the untainted natural landscape, where they may take deep breaths of clean air and rest on deserted beaches.

Camping, hiking, and participating in outdoor sports such as kayaking or canoeing on the Big River Estuary, as well as boating, swimming, or fishing at Lake Mendocino, which is a 700-acre protected nature reserve, are all fantastic activities that can be enjoyed in this area.

Mendocino is filled to the brim with cosy bed & breakfasts, upscale inns, and welcoming hotels, in spite of the fact that its surrounds are rugged and isolated. Mendocino is included on the National Register of Historic Places as a result of the excellent condition in which it has maintained its buildings from the nineteenth century.

In addition, this picturesque town from the Victorian era is home to some of the world’s finest restaurants, most intriguing shops, and most significant art galleries.

Fort Bragg is a more urban neighbourhood, and it features an active fishing harbour, several outstanding seafood restaurants, and motels with more affordable rates. Gualala is a little community perched on the cliffs of the coast and is surrounded by redwood forests on all sides.

7.River Russian

Outdoor enthusiasts travel to the Russian River throughout the summer to participate in a variety of activities on the river, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, sunbathing on riverbank beaches, and floating down the river on inner tubes while reading and relaxing. Other activities include hiking in the surrounding forests.

At any season of the year, the area is characterised by its serene atmosphere thanks to the presence of a river with a gentle current and towering redwood forests. The tranquil atmosphere of the countryside combined with the charming old towns that dot the landscape of the Russian River area make it an ideal spot for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Residents of San Francisco frequently choose Guerneville as their vacation destination of choice because of the wide range of accessible lodging options, which include anything from campers and rustic lodges to romantic inns and elegant restaurants and cafés. The peaceful atmosphere along the riverbank of the town is something that couples would appreciate.

Duncan Mills is a quaint small community that seems to have been transported back in time. Many of the buildings from the Victorian era, including an old general store, have been meticulously renovated and repurposed as tourist destinations such as art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants.

Jenner-by-the-

When it comes to breathtaking scenery and stunning sunsets, the sea has no equal. This secluded coastal community is perched atop a hill with sweeping views of both the Russian River and the Pacific Ocean. In the vicinity of the village lies a sandy beach with picnic tables, as well as two cottages that provide breathtaking views.

People who have sophisticated tastes will find that Healdsburg, a hip town located around 30 minutes away from Guerneville, is the best place to stay in the area. The central business district of Healdsburg is home to an abundance of high-end establishments, including upscale hotels, restaurants, and boutiques run by independent owners.

8. The quaint Victorian neighbourhood of Ferndale

A tranquil village steeped in traditional Americana, Ferndale can be found in Humboldt County, in the northern part of California, and is only five miles from the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The charming main street and side roads of this picturesque rural community are dotted with more than two hundred Victorian buildings that have been masterfully restored.

Vacations spent in one of Ferndale’s quaint motels or bed-and-breakfast inns make for wonderful opportunities for romantic getaways. Guests who stay in hotels decorated in a vintage manner receive excellent service.

The Gingerbread Mansion Inn is the hotel that offers the highest level of elegance. It is a beautiful example of High Victorian architecture, characterised by an ornate façade and a lavish interior that has been decorated and furnished in the style of the era.

The Gingerbread Mansion Inn is known for its historical allure, which is in part due to the fact that it serves a hearty breakfast and high tea in the afternoon.

In addition, guests can order a “Romantic Picnic for Two” hamper from the hotel, which contains a gourmet dinner and can be transported to a nearby park or beach.

The Victorian Inn, which was built in 1890 and is now a historic landmark, has been renovated into a boutique hotel and now features a restaurant that serves gourmet cuisine as well as period furnishings. The beautiful lodgings feature flowery wallpaper as well as floral-patterned linens. Some of the rooms have seating areas as well as bay windows.

The Shaw House is one of the most well-known historic inns in the area, and it is a magnificent Victorian mansion that is located on an acre of peaceful grounds that are shaded by trees. Romantics will like the garden’s lovely patio area, fragrant roses and rhododendrons, and the length of beach that is privately owned and not accessible to the public.

The Hotel Ivanhoe, which dates back to the Victorian era and was built in the 1870s, is not only one of the oldest hotels in the Western Hemisphere but also the only Victorian-era hotel that still stands in Ferndale. This historic hotel features a cosy restaurant and tastefully decorated guestrooms, many of which are furnished with antiques from the Victorian era.

There are a number of state parks in Humboldt County, each of which is home to a spectacular old-growth redwood forest. This county is a natural wonderland. Popular things to do in this area include taking scenic drives through ancient redwood forests and along the Lost Coast beachfront path. 

Other popular things to do include going to the Humboldt Botanical Garden and engaging in a variety of outdoor activities such as walking, biking, horseback riding, and beachcombing.

9.Lake Tahoe, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Lake Tahoe, which is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an elevation of over 6,000 feet, is known for its breathtaking alpine scenery and is a popular tourist destination. The spirit is revitalised by the glistening, deep blue waters of the lake, while the body feels invigorated by the crisp, fresh air.

The stunning natural location encourages relaxation as well as exploration of the surrounding environment. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, making it an ideal location for skiing in the winter and for a variety of other outdoor activities in the summer, including hiking, bicycling, camping, and boating.

Couples who are vacationing in Lake Tahoe for their honeymoon or a romantic weekend getaway will enjoy the region’s upscale resort hotels, small ski lodges, rustic-chic inns, and superb dining venues. The accommodations that guests can select from span a wide price range, giving them a variety of alternatives to meet their needs.

The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe is known for having some of the most luxurious ski-in/ski-out suites in the world. These suites come complete with romantic details like sitting spaces with fireplaces and private patios or balconies.

This five-star hotel has a lakeside clubhouse in addition to its on-site restaurants and spa. The clubhouse has a private pier, beach access, changing rooms and showers, as well as the ability to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other water sports equipment.

In order to provide guests with a genuine Tahoe experience, the Postmarc Hotel and Spa Suites channel the ambiance of a classic mountain lodge while still giving contemporary amenities and easy access to the water’s edge.

Guests have access to a variety of different types of outdoor activities, including canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding. In addition, the hotel offers movie evenings, comedy events, and themed meals that couples are welcome to participate in.

10.Half Moon Bay.

Half Moon Bay is a sleepy coastal village that is encircled on all sides by gently undulating hills, tiny farms, and dense forests. Because of its pristine sandy beaches and gorgeous hiking paths, Half Moon Bay is one of the best day excursions you can do from San Francisco and is one of the most popular weekend destinations for people who are interested in the environment.

The breathtaking coastline at Half Moon Bay State Beach encourages guests to go for strolls down the shoreline so that they may take in the pristine ocean air and watch the crashing waves.

In addition, this sandy beach that stretches for four miles is an excellent location for having picnics and viewing the sunset. Even when cloudy and rainy, the breathtaking vista never fails to reinvigorate those who take the time to take it in.

Visitors are enticed to stay in the community of Half Moon Bay by its quaint yet compact downtown area. There are a number of lovely local shops, as well as cafes and restaurants that are locally owned and operated, all along Main Street.

The Half Moon Bay Inn, located on Main Street and dating all the way back to 1932, is a historic hotel that exemplifies Spanish Revival architecture with its breathtaking paintings and bright indoor garden.

The Mill Rose Inn is the most charming and romantic place to stay in Half Moon Bay. It is a bed and breakfast that features lovely guest rooms that are decorated with floral prints, antiques, and decor that is inspired by the past. 

The garden of the inn is designed in the form of an English country estate, and it is filled with colourful flowers throughout the year. As a result, the inn is a popular location for weddings.

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