When it comes to a romantic getaway in California, these are the weekend destinations you’ll want to book. From Northern California to Southern California, these are some of the top destinations to consider. Think stunning views, rolling hills in wine country, coastal hotels, and incredible food for your romantic getaway.
With a plethora of choices in California, it truly was hard to narrow down the list. For me, a romantic trip is a combination of the hotel, the setting, and the experiences. So this list is all of these things put together. In each listed below, you’ll find the hotel and destination which for me is definitely the highlight for these areas.
I’ve broken down the sections into both Northern California, Central California, and Southern California to make it easier if you’re looking for a particular part of the state. These are my favorite romantic weekend getaways in California.
The Best Romantic Getaways in California
Romantic Getaways in Northern California
If there is one place that comes to mind first, it’s the Farmhouse Inn located in Sonoma, California. We’ve stayed here several times and have recommended almost all of our friends here as well. It’s just so good. The Farmhouse Inn is located down a country road in the area of Forestville, a short drive from Healdsburg. The hotel is romantic in so many ways — the spa, turndown service that includes fresh chocolate chip cookies + milk, a Michelin-star restaurant on property, and more. The setting itself is charming across from vineyards and in the woods. You’ll find most people there are in for a weekend celebrating an anniversary, a honeymoon, or just sneaking away to wine country. The price point is high and I’d consider it a “splurge” trip but it’s well worth the money. Plus, a three-course breakfast at the restaurant is included with your stay.
It’s a close tie with the Farmhouse Inn — if you’re looking for the best romantic coastal hotel in Northern California, it’s the Harbor House Inn. One of those hotels I can’t quite put into words how special it is, you have to experience it yourself. Located in a small town called Elk, south of Mendocino, the inn sits above the ocean with incredible views. The rooms are cozy, most have soaking tubs. The highlight for me here is two things: the serene views and the food. It’s home to a Michelin star restaurant that is just incredible. Yes, this is one of those splurge hotels but again, so worth every penny. Another highlight is the warm breakfast served to your room. You’ll want to stay for a long weekend.
The whole area of Mendocino is ideal for a romantic weekend. You have everything you could possibly want here — beautiful hotels, iconic ocean views, and the charm of a small coastal town. It’s one of our personal go-to’s for a romantic weekend away in Northern California. The drive is beautiful through the redwoods and as you make your way to the dramatic coast of Mendocino, it takes your breath away. There are several hotels to choose from, my favorites are Glendeven Inn & Lodge, Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino Grove Glamping, and Little River Inn.
Lake Tahoe, California
Looking for this winter’s romantic getaway? Look no further than Lake Tahoe. This snowy retreat set in the mountains with the bluest lake you’ll ever find comes first to mind. It’s for those looking for a cabin to cuddle up in. Nearby you have incredible ski resorts and access to cross country trails. My ideal romantic weekend for when the snow starts to fall.
For those looking for an upscale hotel, I’d recommend the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.
My final pick for Northern California for a romantic getaway is Nick’s Cove located in the Point Reyes Area. The reason why? The waterside bungalows are incredibly charming. Each are uniquely designed set with a fireplace and beautiful views. In the morning a picnic basket with hot coffee and breakfast is delivered. My ideal way to start the morning! In the area, there are hikes, great restaurants, and coastal views.
Romantic Getaways in Central California
Carmel, California is one of the most charming destinations in California. Located on the central coast, the town itself is like a scene from a fairytale book. The area of Carmel is beautiful as well — coastal hikes, wineries in the nearby valley, and lots of fresh ocean air. The restaurants here are also incredible. My favorite hotel in the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is Hotel Carmel. For those looking for a resort, I’d consider Bernardus Lodge & Spa located in the nearby Carmel Valley. There is a lot to do here for a weekend, so you could consider extending for three nights in total.
What’s more romantic than spending the night in the vineyards? The newest hotel to open in Paso Robles wine country is Geneseo Inn and it’s one for the bucket list. For a romantic getaway in Central California, this is my number one pick. The rooms are set above the vineyards with incredible views. In the morning, a fresh breakfast is delivered and you can enjoy it from your patio. Geneseo Inn is located at Cass Winery, so you can enjoy a wine tasting with a short walk right from your room. Book this one quick, because it’s selling weekends fast.
Located in the quiet town of Cambria on California’s central coast, the recently renovated hotel, White Water screams romance. The bright and airy rooms are set with fireplaces, soaking tubs, and some even come with ocean views. What I love about this area is that it’s the perfect place for a slow weekend. Strolls along the ocean, good food, and a charming hotel to hideout in.
Big Sur, California
The ultimate Highway 1 road trip stop is certainly Big Sur. It’s home to some of the top-rated hotels that are iconic for romantic getaways. Its dramatic coastline makes it a breathtaking place to hideout for a couple’s getaway. Whether you’re passing through for a night on a road trip itinerary or heading there for the weekend, Big Sur is a sure bet for a romantic getaway.
Romantic Getaways in Southern California
Someone recently asked me my favorite romantic getaway in Southern California, and the first place that came to mind was the Korakia Pensione. It’s a Moroccan Mediterranean dream. The rooms are cozy and appointed with antiques from around the world and their desert setting is truly beautiful. I’ve personally stayed here a few times and am happy to confirm this may be one of the best romantic destination hotels.
For those looking for a very relaxed escape, Ojai is home to wellness retreats and perfect poolside escapes. The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa comes up number one rated for this reason, make it a perfect escape from the city for a romantic weekend.
Santa Barbara, California
For couples looking for a blend of city and beach, Santa Barbara comes straight to mind. A lot of resort hotels are here, making it a great spot to relax. And since you’re in an incredible city, you have all the perks of great restaurants and a bustling downtown. It’s the best of both worlds.
Laguna Beach has long been our go-to for a quiet escape in Southern California. The enclave on the Pacific Ocean feels a world away from the city madness. Home to several inns and hotels, the Montage is one of the best, awarded for its expansive property, spa, pool, and onsite amenities.
Ranch life and beach life in one? This is the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club. The decor of the rooms feel so cozy, and I can just imagine hiding out here for a weekend away.
Last but not least, an off-grid getaway in the desert. How epic is this cabin where you can sleep under the stars?