You’ve likely clicked on this article for one of three reasons: first, you’re looking to celebrate something like a birthday or an anniversary. Second, you’re one for impressive, swoon-worthy spontaneity. Or third, you’ve royally screwed up and you now find yourself in damage repair mode. No matter what brought you here, we can all agree that if money can’t buy love, it most certainly can buy a beach bungalow with an ocean view. In all their Hollywood romanticism, resorts in California have perfected the idea of an intimate retreat. And instead of tacky, rose-petals-and-heart-shaped-bed decór, these gems flaunt meticulously curated aesthetics and pampering amenities to create a kind of experiential aphrodisiac — if that’s a thing. No matter your taste, one of these spots is sure to suit your fancy. Scroll down to discover the best romantic getaways in California.
Wine Country Getaway – Calistoga Ranch
Tucked away inconspicuously in the foliage of Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch is the ultimate romantic retreat for couples who enjoy sharing a bottle of wine together. The whole establishment has a very rustic feel with wooden lodges that blend in well with the surrounding environment. Amenities on deck include warm pools that you can enjoy beneath the night sky, a eucalyptus steam room, lavish oversized bathtubs, and complimentary bottles of rosé wine. For as much as Calistoga offers indoors, there’s plenty of things to do outdoors. Hikes, outdoor yoga with a view, a bocce court, a fitness center, wine tasting seminars — you won’t be bored here.
National Park Experience – The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
Who said ruggedness and romance can’t go hand in hand? Any couple who would even remotely call themselves nature-lovers should consider a romantic getaway at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Located right in the heart of Yosemite Valley, this old-timey gem boasts the perfect balance between Native American architecture, woody frontier design, and modern art deco. Think geometric tapestries, fireplaces, and natural stone trim — but also flat screen TVs and fine dining. It offers views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, and is close to hiking trails that lead to all the best spots in the Valley. For you and bae, be sure to reserve one of the two dozen romantic cottages hidden in the pine trees out back.
Rustic Colonial Getaway – La Estancia La Jolla
Nothing quite screams romance like sprawling out on a beachside resort with mojitos and massage tables. However, if the standard run-of-the-mill beach holiday seems too basic, La Estancia in La Jolla is a hacienda-style resort with Spanish colonial flair and 10 acres of manicured gardens — all within minutes of the beach. Your suite will come equipped with Turkish linens, idyllic balconies overlooking courtyards with peaceful fountains, and elegant feng shui. Mustangs and Burros is the onsite restaurant that offers delicious takes on southwestern cuisine. La Jolla is within a stone’s throw from many of San Diego’s prized gems including the Torrey Pines golf course and gliderport (where you can watch paragliders fly over the ocean), downtown, and Black’s Beach (famous nudist spot if your romantic getaway calls for something steamier).
Big Sur Escape – Ventana Inn and Spa
Big Sur could perhaps be considered the most quintessentially “Californian” destination in the Golden State. Somehow it manages to boast the vast expansiveness reminiscent of pre-colonial times, the gritty Redwood forests of Northern California, the soft sand of Southern California, and the mom-and-pop shop quirkiness of an American historic site. Something else? It’s great for couples. The Ventana Inn and Spa is the spot if you’re looking to cash in on the endless beauty of Big Sur. On their 160-acre property, the resort has sweeping views of the ocean, faded cedar architecture, and all the plush amenities of a five-star resort. Daily activities range from photography hikes to beekeeping classes, drum circles, and seminars in the music/library room.
Beachside in Santa Barbara – Four Seasons Biltmore
Dating back to 1927, the Biltmore in Santa Barbara offers historic charm with the added luxury of a Four Seasons resort. Located on the shores of Montecito, this is your best option for a straight-up, no-funny-business beach resort. Walk from your room to the water in seconds, and soak up the amenities that make this hotel a truly unique experience. There’s a heated “jungle pool” with underwater music, world-class spa suites for couples on the sand, and a 24-hour babysitter program for those traveling with young ones (and looking for a little separation). The site has 22 acres of lush jungle and tranquil gardens, so feel free to get lost.