California’s romance isn’t just found in movies. From cozy cabins in the mountains to magnificent sunsets on the ocean, cultural epicenters, exciting adventures and more, California is packed with the opportunity for romance. Here are 15 places to get romantic in the Golden State.
Big Sur is amongst the most beautiful places to see in all of California. Set alongside Pacific Coast Highway, stop at one of the turnoffs for a romantic look at the ocean meeting the mountains. You can cuddle up for the night at a romantic inn, or stop in to an art gallery or gift shop to commemorate your visit.
Take a stroll along the boardwalk of Cambria’s Moonstone Beach during the sunset and find a quiet nook with a piece of driftwood to sit and gaze out at the ocean. The rocky beach makes a perfect spot for an unexpected proposal or just a romantic stroll. Stay the night at one of the numerous inns located along the shores or enjoy a gourmet dinner at The Black Cat.
Napa Valley is legendary for it’s wine country and fine food. Together they make for a very romantic weekend getaway, or stay for longer driving through vineyards in an open convertible before enjoying a roaring fire at one of the stunning hotels in the valley.
Santa Barbara is known as California’s Gold Coast. The romantic town features luxury hotels right on the beach as well as swanky celebrity hideaways, excellent cuisine, a selection of nearby wineries, live theater, museums and plenty more cozy corners to explore.
Not far from sunny San Diego is the mountain town of Julian. A former historic gold mining town, Julian is now famous for its annual apple festival. If you think there’s no fall in California, check out Julian during the autumn for a delightful look at history.
A short boat ride away from the mainland, Catalina’s only city features a beautiful historic casino, a quaint main street area filled with adorable shops, delicious ice cream, and romantic strolls on the beach. Spend a night or a weekend at one of the picturesque hotels overlooking the Pacific.
Even if you don’t consider a museum a romantic way to spend the day, the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art’s Urban Light exhibit may change your mind. Get lost amongst the hundreds of restored antique streetlights and let your loving glow shine.
Nothing says cheesy romance like a day at the carnival. Sneak a kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier for a picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean meeting some of California’s most famous coastal real estate.
Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner rides alongside the coast, giving you stunning views of the Pacific. A glimpse into the romance of days of yore when train travel was the way to get there, you can head from Central California to San Diego, without ruining the mood by getting angry about traffic conditions.
Balboa Park in San Diego offers everything from entry to the San Diego Zoo to museums and theater, for a choose-your-own romantic adventure. The historic setting is continually growing and adding new features, including beautiful gardens and museums.
Somehow everything is more romantic by the ocean and Nobu Malibu has a stunning view of the Pacific. Sit on the balcony for warm sea breezes and food that has celebrities stopping in to make an appearance. Enjoy some of the famous Japanese eatery’s most talked acclaimed dishes or just relax with a cocktail.
Disneyland isn’t just for kids. It’s also where grown-up fairy tale romances come true. The park offers weddings, complete with carriage rides and even a magical honeymoon. If you’re already official, there’s still plenty of romance to be found, including high end dining at Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square.
Saddle Peak Lodge is an unexpected woodsy getaway in the midst of Malibu Canyon. The fine dining restaurant is best known for its menu filled with game, a nod to it’s elegant rustic décor. It has a long history in Hollywood and has been used as a filming location as well as the rumored site of various hauntings. The Lodge is standby for special occasions from anniversaries to date nights and Valentine’s Day.
Hollywood’s iconic Hollywood sign in the Hollywood Hills is nearly a century old, but the glamour lives on. Instead of just catching glimpses on the freeway, head into the hills for a romantic stroll to the sign itself. You can also get a great photo op from set viewpoints that make it a great backdrop for engagement photos.
Bike or stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge for spectacular views of the City by the Bay. Nothing says romance more than visiting one of the most bridges in the world. Stop and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the bridge’s cafes, or experience some of San Francisco’s famous artistic culture with an outdoor exhibit detailing everything you ever wanted to know about the bridge.