California is everything you could ever want a romantic weekend getaway to be. There’s endless Pacific beaches, cities packed with art, and hiking trails galore in the likes of Yosemite National Park.
And it’s nothing but California Dreamin’ with these romantic getaways in ‘the Golden State’. From luxurious pampering and jaw-dropping views to exquisite cuisine, you’ll want to pack your bags as fast as you can to visit these California destinations with your special someone.
With such a huge and gorgeous state, it’s hard to cut the list down of potential picks. But I’ve managed it all the same. These getaways capture the very essence of all that is California: luxury, wine, celebrity, coast, and elegance. Here are our 15 favorite romantic getaway spots for California:
1. Meritage Resort and Spa
The Meritage Resort and Spa is the ultimate getaway for when you want to dive into European luxury without leaving the western hemisphere. Say “ciao” to this beautiful Tuscan-inspired resort nestled into the Napa Valley, known for its vineyards and charming old world landscapes.
The perfect hideaway for couples wanting to spoil themselves, the resort has a one-of-a-kind 22,000 sq. ft. spa located 40 feet underground. Using organic herbs and locally-grown ingredients, it’s menu of facials, massages, and body treatments are as luxe as you would imagine from its Napa Valley location.
To enjoy them without having to leave your spacious room, upgrade to one with a balcony overlooking the resort’s very own nine-acre vineyard. And for the ultimate in romancing, I’d suggest heading to Meritage during the grape harvest (or ‘crush’). It takes place between August and October.
2. Farmhouse Inn
Tucked into northern California’s wine country in world-reknowned Sonoma, Farmhouse Inn gives you the cozy bed & breakfast feel perfect for a weekend with your sweetheart. In this intimate home-away-from-home, each of the 25 guest suites features private saunas, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs. If that’s not enough to reel you in, consider the soothing spa services the Inn offers, focusing on all-natural, herbal spa products.
Outside of the Inn, enjoy a winery tour, hiking trails, canoeing along the Russian River, or visiting the nearby Armstrong Woods State Reserve to admire California’s famous redwood trees.
3. La Casa del Camino
This romantic California getaway is set directly on Laguna Beach, but that doesn’t make it all high school drama and no substance. Far from it. If you’re looking to turn up the heat, bring your loved one to this historic Mediterranean-style hotel just a block away from the stunning southern California beach featured in the reality TV hit.
Established in 1929, this luxurious hotel emphasizes elegance and style, making it a favorite among Hollywood’s elite. Couples can choose between Spanish-style rooms for when they’re feeling royal, Surf rooms to completely absorb the West Coast vibes, or sneak away into their own private cottage, called La Casita (The Little House). Nor does the romance end there, with sun sets at the nearby Top of the World viewpoint second-to-none. Pack a picnic, and nature will do the rest.
4. The Westin St. Francis
California’s vineyards and beachfronts aren’t the only places where you can turn the romance up. There’s no better example of this than The Westin St. Francis in downtown San Francisco.
Opened in 1904, this destination flaunts its rich history with European marble, oak panelling, crystal chandeliers, and vast murals. Oozing big band vibes, celebrities, politicians, and the world’s crème de la crème have been visiting this swanky destination for over a century. And it seems to only gets better with age.
Rooms are light and modern, with just enough historic detailing to prevent them becoming plain. But it’s the hotel’s public spaces which are the star of the show. So grab your sweetie for a romantic dinner at The Westin’s elegant Oak Room Restaurant. Opened in 1913 as a ritzy spot for men to smoke cigars and drink whiskey, the Oak Room now welcomes all for high-end American dining. And all a stone’s throw from attractions including Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
5. L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Join the rich and famous at this AAA Five Diamond Award winning hotel in California’s famous Beverly Hills. Situated on a palm-lined residential boulevard, you’ll soon feel part of the glitterati yourselves. And that’s before you spend a day relaxing in a luxury cabana at the hotel’s rooftop pool or draining your bank account on Rodeo Drive.
Beside sinking into the comfy sofas of this all-suite hotel, you can unwind further with a Swedish or Ayurvedic massage, before destressing in the hotel’s steam rooms. Need more inspiration for your romantic California getaway? Check out the hotel’s romance packages, which come with little surprises such as a bottle of champagne and chocolates specially made in the hotel kitchens.
6. Alila Ventana Big Sur
When it comes to isolated spots nestled in their landscapes, there’s nowhere better than the award-winning Alila Ventana Big Sur. Although just a short drive off Highway One midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it feels a world away. Situated where California’s ancient forests meet the waves of the Pacific, this adults-only resort specialises in the sort of seclusion it’s just impossible to get in a big city.
Amid the trees in 160 acres of private grounds, a series of hiking trails create the perfect excuse for a romantic stroll, while little-visited beaches and coves lie just a short distance away. There’s also an onsite spa, and several all-inclusive dining options. Its 59 suites have been designed with privacy in mind, but also offer large balconies – ideal perhaps for a sundowner with the one you love.
7. El Dorado Hotel and Kitchen
Take in the lively town of Sonoma from your own personal balcony at El Dorado, located right in the heart of this historic settlement. Coupling wine-country charm with urban sophistication, El Dorado makes the perfect getaway for lovers in northern California.
As well as a great selection of well-sized ‘California cool’ rooms, El Dorado has curated a range of experiences which make for a fun and unusual way of spending time with your other half. Fans of a tipple looking to get beyond the region’s vines could learn to make cocktails, or at the other end of the spectrum, learn the secrets of natural dyes. There’s probably no more ‘Cali’ experience out there than this!
8. Korakia Pensione
There’s something about California and historic Mediterranean-style resorts. They just can’t get enough of them! And who can argue, given the idyllic mix of fine weather, vineyards, rolling waves, and rustic charm? But Korakia Pensione does things a little differently.
A luxurious Palm Springs villa dating back to 1924, it combines the romance of the Mediterranean with the exotic taste of North Africa. Lined with Middle Eastern lanterns and fire pits, it’s no wonder Forbes Traveler named Korania one of the “Sexiest Hotels in America.”
On your arrival, you’ll be refreshed with mint tea, while in the morning, you’re greeted with a Moroccan-style breakfast, bursting with breads, eggs, and fresh fruit. So why not escape to your own Arabian Nights fantasy at Korakia, complete with Moorish wooden double doors, a heated pool, Moroccan day beds, and romantic courtyard?
9. AutoCamp Joshua Tree
Looking for a romantic weekend in California with a difference? I’d check out AutoCamp Joshua Tree. Decked out in retro gear alongside a stunningly contemporary arching clubhouse, AutoCamp has served as a refuge for the American wanderlust road trippers since 1922.
Using stylish aluminum Airstream trailers for lodging, and emphasizing classic Americana décor throughout, this spot prides itself in creating comfort for the adventurous spirits passing through California. Lovers of the great outdoors will adore the ability to experience the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park without sacrificing comfort, as is sometimes the case with camping and RV stays.
10. North Block Hotel
There’s nothing like California’s remarkable Napa Valley for remarkable getaways deluged in romance. Indulge in the North Block Hotel’s own version of a lover’s weekend and you’ll encounter gorgeous Tuscan-style architecture, heated floors, and extras which can include a couple’s massage.
A quieter part of the Napa Valley than nearby Sonoma, that hasn’t stopped North Block winning a huge number of awards. It’s also surrounded by vineyards and tasting rooms, if you manage to leave your pick of the guest accommodation here. With just 20 to choose from, the feeling of exclusivity pervades stays, while the landscape of rolling hills can be admired from balconies or ground floor patios.
And the North Block also satisfies your craving for romance with their “Petals & Pampering” Package. With this addition, enjoy a Deluxe King room, a bottle of champagne, a dozen roses, a one-hour couple’s massage, and a box of artisanal chocolates.
11. Beacon Grand
Bringing back the style and sophistication of old San Francisco, Beacon Grand has a heritage which goes back to the jazz age. It lived most of its life as the Sir France Drake Hotel, before being reopened as Beacon Grand after a careful rennovation in 2022.
Despite the name change, this is a hotel which still manages to pair Renaissance architecture with renowned hospitality, making your stay in the city as regal as possible. World-class shopping awaits you at this hotel, with Tiffany & Co, Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, and Saks Fifth Avenue just steps from the main entrance.
Meanwhile, on the 21st floor this decadent accommodation houses its famous Starlight Room club, where Harry Denton Starlight Orhestra plays live music below crystal chandeliers with a 180-degree view of San Francisco. It’s the kind of place you don’t leave without a ring on your finger.
12. Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa and Resort
To get away from it all, the Sycamore provides you with the ultimate retreat getaway in central California. The gem of this place is their hot mineral spring tubs, located on every private balcony or patio. These hot tubs are all natural, streaming from 100 acres of natural, underground resources. Providing a real alternative to the full-on spas of other stays on this list, you’ll feel like a whole new you after soaking in this pool of divinity.
When you’re rejuvenated enough to socialize, the Sycamore offers yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi classes daily. Reconnect with your inner core and your partner at this revitalizing resort. What’s more, if you just can’t bear to leave the other love of your life – your pooch – you’ll be happy to hear they’re welcome at Sycamore Mineral Springs too.
13. L’Auberge Del Mar
This southern California resort is so romantic that they’ve already planned a package deal called With Love for those coming to their destination to propose. L’Auberge Del Mar provides your proposal with white rose petals, candles, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne, and personalized attention for reserving the perfect location for that very special moment.
If you’re not going on vacation to pop the question, you can still enjoy every single inch of this resort. Nestled on the cliffs of perfect-for-a-stroll Del Mar, California, L’Auberge allows you to take in the breathtaking beach views while indulging in upscale cuisine including fish caught fresh daily. Its estate-style rooms provide a cool place to relax, while tennis courts and a full-service spa complete the deal.
14. Cavallo Point
Get your front-row ticket to San Francisco’s skyline—without having to deal with city life—at Cavallo Point. In this romantic lodge in the quiet backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can enjoy peace away from the hustle and bustle of reality.
Cavallo Point served as a World War One military base during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, but has since been converted into luxury lodging with just a dusting of the whimsical. No wonder Travel + Leisure voted Cavallo Point “#1 Best Hotel in the San Fransisco Bay Area” – one of several awards it has claimed over recent years.
A mix of contemporary and historic lodgings, depending on personal taste, the most romantic of rooms come with an open fireplace ideal for cuddling up with your loved one. That said, the world-class spa treatments available are also sure to have you smiling from ear to ear.
15. Sacred Rock Resort
Escape off the beaten path, past “northern California,” to the real northern California of Elk, a town known for—you guessed it—its excessive number of elk. Four hours north of San Francisco, Elk, California sits peacefully on the Mendicino coast away from the usual flood of tourists. Where better then, to take your beau for a romantic getaway? Where indeed.
At Sacred Rock, you and your sweetie get your own private cottage situated high on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Low-key in ambience, and with the feel of an old California village, the resort comes complete with a pub for non-pretentious, home-cooked dining which is nonetheless well worth looking forward too.
Further reading: Most beautiful places in California