Valentine’s Day may be over, but you can keep the romance going all weekend long with a last-minute getaway for you and your significant other. And if you happen to live in California, count yourself lucky! From national parks to wineries to beaches, you’re surrounded by a myriad of options for romantic escapes that are easily accessible by car. Recently, we expanded our coverage area to add even more places in Northern and Southern California. So we collected some of our favorite picks for the most swoon-worthy getaways to add to your long weekend agenda. Scroll down, and cue the wanderlust!
“Get back to nature and escape to the wild and rugged coastline of Big Sur, which offers stunning views of the Pacific along miles and miles of dramatic cliffs. Visit a few “jewels” of California’s state park system and walk among the redwoods to discover secret beaches and waterfalls. Soak in natural hot springs, pamper yourselves with a massage or spa treatment and enjoy a romantic dinner for two perched above the endless blue ocean.” (CBS Los Angeles)
“It’s an interesting experience; peaceful and quiet floating through the sky intermittently interrupted by the roar and flames, only to have the propane turned off abruptly and be wrapped by the cool air and silent drifting once again. […]Hot air balloon rides are on many travelers’ bucket lists of vacation activities. I can’t think of a better way to check that item off your list than to enjoy the sun rising over Napa Valley. ” (The Vacation Gals)
“There’s no sunset quite as spectacular as a desert sunset. From the red-hued rocks to the yucca trees and tumbleweeds, Joshua Tree is a serene escape with sparse beauty all around. Rent a design-forward home in the middle of it all, and soak in the sights and sounds of the high desert. Explore the wilderness during the day and cozy up and star gaze with your S.O. at night.” (Refinery29)
“The village area of downtown La Jolla oozes luxury and has many romantic restaurants, bars, and cafes ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway, but La Jolla’s main romance factor can be found at the La Jolla Cove. Curving around the Pacific Ocean, the La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacularly stunning stretches of coastline in California. With a wide grassy area ideal for a picnic and a meandering walking trail along the perimeter of the cove, its an ideal place to spend a leisurely romantic afternoon.” (One Day In A City)
“The air feels fresher and the ocean more serene in Santa Barbara, which offers great hiking and mountain views amid historic 1930s architecture and terra-cotta paved streets. Visiting a courthouse may not sound like the most romantic idea, but the circa-1926 Spanish-style Santa Barbara County Courthouse offers sweeping views of the entire city, and on Fridays in the summer there are movie screenings on the lawn. And no need to travel to Santa Ynez Valley wine country – downtown Santa Barbara’s railroad-adjacent arts district, the Funk Zone, is where you’ll find the city’s newest wine bars and breweries.” (LA Weekly)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
“Yosemite National Park is sort of like a theme park plunked into the great outdoors: visitors can choose any number of activities during their trip, including hiking, climbing, trail rides, photography tours, live theater, and fine food. But it’s special for another reason, too: On June 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant that protected 39,000 acres of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove for public use. The best starting point for a park adventure is Yosemite Valley, an eight-mile glacial valley floor is covered in pine forest, with views of peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan.” (CN Traveler)
BONUS: Hop in one of these getaway-for-two cars, and cruise along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, spanning San Diego to San Francisco. The sweeping views will make your and your honey’s hearts race!
Looking for more options? Test drive any of these road trip-friendly cars!
What other romantic getaway destinations in California did we miss? Leave a comment below for your best recommendations!