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Updated July 2023

Living in San Francisco means being surrounded by an endless array of charming and diverse getaways. Whether you’re looking to go wine tasting in Napa or enjoy a mountainous escape in Tahoe, there are plenty of nearby weekend escapes for couples.

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When my husband and I plan a trip, we typically like to keep our drive time under three hours so that we can make the most of a weekend. All of these are within that time, making it super easy to head out on a Friday and get back Sunday. My suggestion is to leave early if you can to avoid the weekend traffic!

Whether you are planning an anniversary or even a birthday celebration, I’ve rounded up the 10 most romantic getaways near the Bay Area so that you can make the most of a weekend staycation. Over the years I have had the pleasure of getting to experience these and curated my favorites!

Short on time? Here are my top picks for the best romantic getaway hotels near the Bay Area:

  1. Farmhouse Inn, for the best luxury hotel
  2. Timber Cove Resort, for the best oceanfront resort
  3. Alila Ventana, for the best romantic hotel

10 Romantic Getaways Near the Bay Area


1. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most idyllic towns in Northern California. This fairytale-like oasis is home to incredible restaurants, wine tasting, and European-style architecture.

The beaches here are stunning as well, but I would consider Carmel-by-the-Sea to be a major culinary destination for foodies with fine dining options. Monterey is also right next door, so you can easily cross both destinations off your list if you’re looking to make it a long weekend.

Those seeking some romance will also find plenty of upscale hotel options. What could be more romantic than a couples massage at L’Auberge Carmel followed by a glass of champagne in your room? If you’re looking for something more quiet, don’t miss a stay at the adults-only, Villa Mara.

After enjoying everything your inn offers, make your way down to the beach or tide pools to enjoy California’s most scenic coastline. And P.S., the Monterey Bay Aquarium isn’t just for kids. Book your ticket in advance as it’s one of the best things to do in Monterey.

Helpful Carmel Guides to Plan Your Trip

Carmel Hotel Recommendations

2. Point Reyes

Point Reyes in Marin County is the perfect place to soak up the pristine Northern California coastline. If you’re looking to spend a decent chunk of time outdoors, the Point Reyes National Seashore is a must.

This unique national park is home to cliffside waterfalls, diverse marine life, and the iconic Point Reyes Lighthouse. The Philip Burton Wilderness has tons of great hiking trails. Even if you’re not super into hiking, the views are well worth attempting at least one trail.

There are a few inns to choose from for your booking, but my favorite all-around is the Olema House. The inn offers everything you could need and you’re a short drive to the best things to do in the area.

Helpful Point Reyes Guides to Plan Your Trip

Point Reyes Hotel Recommendations

  1. Olema House, for the best overall hotel
  2. Nick’s Cove, for the best waterfront stay

3. Sonoma

Though it is not as famous as nearby Napa, Sonoma is home to some of the best wine tasting in the country. There are a few solid hotels in the area to choose from, but the Farmhouse Inn is the ultimate place to book a room for a romantic getaway.

Their inn offers farmhouse-style rooms that are simple yet luxurious. From Barn rooms to cottage suites, there are plenty of options for every couple to choose from. The in-room amenities are also awesome, ranging from complimentary snacks to a curated wine fridge.

When it comes to the spa, The Wellness Barn’s treatment menu features from signature couples massages to anti-aging facials. Afterward, soak in the hot tub or lay out by the pool.

There is also a fine dining restaurant called the Farmhouse Restaurant, which is Michelin-starred and internationally recognized. You’ll be a short drive to redwood forests, wineries, and other things to do while staying here.

Helpful Sonoma Guides to Plan Your Trip

Sonoma Hotel Recommendations

  1. Farmhouse Inn, for the best overall hotel
  2. MacArthur Place Inn and Spa, for the best boutique hotel
  3. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, for the best luxury hotel

4.  Healdsburg

10 Romantic Getaways Near the Bay Area

Healdsburg is a charming town located right along the Russian River. The small-town vibes here are beyond adorable, making this Sonoma County gem a true treasure.

The town plaza is home to tons of great restaurants, tasting rooms, galleries, and bars, making this a great option for foodies seeking a quaint getaway any time of the year. Since Healdsburg is situated right at the center of three wine valleys, vino is at the forefront of the local culture.

Farm-to-table restaurants are also abundant in Healdsburg. Local favorites include Valette, SingleThread, and Bravas Bar de Tapas. While visiting, don’t forget to walk the square where you are close to things like tasting rooms, shops, and more.

Helpful Healdsburg Guides to Plan Your Trip

Healdsburg Hotel Recommendations

  1. The Madrona, for the best boutique hotel
  2. Montage Healdsburg, for the best luxury hotel
  3. Hotel Healdsburg, for the best downtown hotel

5. Timber Cove

10 Romantic Getaways Near the Bay Area

Timber Cove Resort blends rustic, cabin living with the coast. The hotel sits high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific while the redwoods lie just on the other side.

This is a wonderful resort for couples looking to unplug for a bit and immerse themselves in nature without skimping on luxury living. The on-site Coast Kitchen serves up a seasonal fare and local wines in a warm and cozy setting.

Since the hotel sits on more than 25 acres, there is plenty of space and land to explore. Though there are only 46 guest rooms, the hotel is also home to a common Great Room and Outdoor Living Room where guests can play ping pong or gather around the fire pits.

Helpful Northern California Coast Guides for Planning Your Trip

Timber Cove Hotel Recommendations

  1. Timber Cove Resort, for the best overall hotel

6. Lake Tahoe

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe
Image via Booking.com

If you’re looking for a woodsy getaway, Lake Tahoe is by far the best option. This lakeside community is a special place to visit no matter what season, and there are so many different beaches and areas to explore.

Since Lake Tahoe straddles the border of Nevada and California, you can even cross state lines for your romantic getaway without actually going too far. From taking a dip in the lake during summer to skiing in winter, there are plenty of outdoor activities to take full advantage of in Lake Tahoe.

If I can make one recommendation, it would be to book accommodations that offer a hot tub. After a day of hiking or exploring, you’ll want to rest your body. Or even consider booking a couples massage at a local spa!

Helpful Lake Tahoe Guides for Planning Your Trip

Lake Tahoe Hotel Recommendations

  1. Edgewood Tahoe Resort, for the best lakefront hotel
  2. The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, for the best luxury hotel
  3. The Coachman, for the best South Lake hotel
  4. Basecamp Tahoe City, for the best North Lake hotel

7. Fort Bragg

Image via Booking.com

The Inn at Newport Ranch offers a more rustic and off-the-beaten-path getaway in Fort Bragg. The hotel sits on more than 2,000 acres of land and encompasses seven different microclimates along the coast.

It is surrounded by more than 20 hiking trails, allowing you to get your steps in and explore the land at your leisure. There are only nine accommodation options on-site that are scattered across four buildings, giving The Inn at Newport Ranch a very intimate and exclusive vibe.

Helpful Northern California Coast Guides for Planning Your Trip

Fort Bragg Hotel Recommendations

  1. The Inn at Newport Ranch, for the best overall hotel

8. Yountville

Image via Booking.com

Located in Napa County, Yountville is a quaint yet elegant town that is sprinkled with an abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants, award-winning tasting rooms, and high-end art galleries. One of the best things about visiting Yountville is that almost everything is within walking distance of one another.

The hotel options are luxe and inviting, placing you in the heart of Napa Valley. Whether you’re a foodie-centric couple or simply want to escape to the California countryside, Yountville is a wonderful option with no shortage of activities.

Helpful Napa Valley Guides for Planning Your Trip

Yountville Hotel Recommendations

  1. Bardessono Hotel and Spa, for the best Yountville hotel
  2. Hotel Yountville, for the best luxury hotel
  3. Hotel Villagio, The Estate, for the best all-around hotel

9. Mendocino

Couples seeking a more quiet and laid-back coastal community will fall in love with Mendocino. The cliffside trails at Mendocino Headlands State Park are beyond breathtaking, and there are so many quiet beaches to explore.

If you’re looking to experience the more modern side of town, there are some great restaurants and galleries that you can easily spend an entire day exploring. Just north of Mendocino is Russian Gulch State Park, which offers stunning Pacific views along the dramatic coastline.

Helpful Mendocino Guides to Plan Your Trip

Mendocino Hotel Recommendations

  1. Heritage House Resort and Spa, for the best oceanfront hotel
  2. Brewery Gulch Inn, for the best Mendocino hotel
  3. SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm, for the best bed and breakfast hotel

10. Big Sur

From its winding roads to its iconic lookout points, Big Sur is perhaps the most iconic Northern California destination of all time. This is the ultimate place for a romantic road trip.

While a huge appeal to visiting Big Sur is rooted in nature, resorts like Post Ranch Inn prove that luxury is still an option. Between the rolling fog and the surrounding redwoods, the scene at Big Sur really is unlike any other.

Some must-see spots while in the area include Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. You’ve probably seen this 80-foot-tall waterfall on tons of postcards and souvenirs, and it is undoubtedly one of the most recognized scenes in the entirety of California.

Helpful Big Sur Guides to Plan Your Trip

Big Sur Hotel Recommendations (or peruse this list of best Big Sur Hotels)

  1. Alila Ventana, for the best all-inclusive resort
  2. Post Ranch Inn, for the best luxury hotel
  3. Glenn Oaks, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
  4. Big Sur Lodgefor the best family-friendly stay
  5. Big Sur River Innfor the best budget stay

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10 Romantic Getaways Near the Bay Area

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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