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.
Your Ultimate California Guide!
Unlock the best-kept secrets of Northern & Central California with my curated Google Map, showcasing 600+ accommodations, eateries, coffee shops, and unique experiences. Get the map here!
I’ve broken down the sections into 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.
Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for Best Romantic Getaways in California:
- Farmhouse Inn, for the most romantic Northern California hotel
- White Water, for the most romantic Central California hotel
- Korakia Pensione, for the most romantic Southern California hotel
The Best Romantic Getaways in California
Romantic Getaways in Northern California
1. Farmhouse Inn (Sonoma)
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 (Read about my recent stay). 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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436
2. The Harbor House Inn (Elk)
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 (Read about my recent stay). 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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 5600 CA-1, Elk, CA 95432
3. Mendocino, California
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 (Read A Weekend Guide to Mendocino). 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:
- Brewery Gulch Inn, for the best Mendocino hotel
- SCP Mendocino Inn & Farm, for the best bed-and-breakfast stay
- Mendocino Grove, for the best glamping stay
- Little River Inn, for the best coastal resort stay
4. 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. There are several hotels to choose from. My favorites are:
- Edgewood Tahoe Resort, for the best lakefront hotel
- The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, for the best luxury hotel
- The Coachman, for the best South Lake hotel
- Basecamp Tahoe City, for the best North Lake hotel
5. Nick’s Cove (Point Reyes)
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 (Read my weekend guide to Point Reyes). Book the best rates here.
Address: 23240 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940
Romantic Getaways in Central California
6. Carmel-by-the-Sea, 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. There is a lot to do here for a weekend, so you could consider extending for three nights in total. The restaurants here are also incredible.
Here are my favorite Carmel hotels:
- Hotel Carmel, for the best village hotel
- Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave, for the best new hotel
- Villa Mara, for the best boutique hotel
- Carmel Mission Inn, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
- La Playa Carmel, for the best larger hotel
- L’Auberge Carmel, for the best luxury hotel
- Carmel Valley Ranch, for the best luxury resort
For more in-depth guides on Carmel, read:
- The Best Hotels In Carmel, California
- Best Things To Do In Carmel, California
- First-Timer’s Guide To Carmel, California
- 20 Best Restaurants In Carmel, California
7. Geneseo Inn (Paso Robles)
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 (Read about my recent stay). 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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 7350 Linne Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446
8. White Water (Cambria)
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 (Read about my recent road trip through Cambria). Strolls along the ocean, good food, and a charming hotel to hideout in. Book the best rates here.
Address: 6736 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428
9. 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. Here are my top picks for hotels in Big Sur:
- Alila Ventana, for the best all-inclusive resort
- Big Sur Lodge, for the best family-friendly hotel
- Big Sur River Inn, for the best budget hotel
- Glen Oaks Big Sur, for the best design-for-dollar hotel
Romantic Getaways in Southern California
10. Korakia Pensione (Palm Springs)
Someone recently asked me my favorite romantic getaway in Southern California, and the first place that came to mind was the Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs (Read my guide to Palm Springs). 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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 257 S Patencio Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262
11. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (Ojai)
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, making it a perfect escape from the city for a romantic weekend. Book the best rates here.
12. 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. Here are my top picks for hotels in Santa Barbara:
- Hotel Californian, for the best overall hotel
- Palihouse Santa Barbara, for the best downtown hotel
- El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, for the best luxury hotel
13. Montage Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach)
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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
14. Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club (Malibu)
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. Book the best rates here.
Address: 327 Latigo Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265
Save This Post for Later on Pinterest
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
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: