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The Most Romantic Getaways in Southern California| CuddlyNest Journey Weblog

The weather is the turquoise waters of the Pacific that merge with the majestic rocky crescent moon, the palm-fringed beaches or the breathtaking national parks – everything in Southern California inspires romance.

Airy, mild and known for its scenic beauty, the region shines with fascinating locations that reward couples with unique experiences – from fantastic wine tastings to whale watching trips.

Read the full post to discover the 9 Most Romantic Getaways in Southern California and pick your favorite destination for a memorable vacation with your loved ones!

The Most Romantic Getaways in Southern California

Santa Barbara

Stretching over 110 miles of coastline, Santa Barbara proves that you don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to have a wonderful beach vacation with your significant other. The city is the perfect place for those who dream of experiencing the seaside culture in full swing and soaking up the sun for days on gorgeous beaches like Butterfly Beach, East Beach, Summerland Beach, and Refugio State Beach.

But Santa Barbara is much more than just a beach destination. The city shines with alluring shopping, high-profile museums, romantic sunsets – including Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara – and freshly mown, lush parks. All of this framed by the picturesque Santa Ynez Mountains and picture-ready Mediterranean-style buildings. It is no coincidence that it is considered one of the most romantic cities in California!

Santa Barbara is also one of the top wine growing regions in California. So if you’re visiting the city during harvest time, don’t miss the opportunity to book a private wine tasting session at some of the local vineyards. The mandatory visits? The Jamie Slone Wines, where you’ll sip Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé, Pinot Noir and other varieties, and the Presqu’ile winery, which offers a tasting of their release estate wines paired with a preset mezze picnic.

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Channel Islands National Park

Aerial view of Catalina Casino and Avalon Harbor with sailboats, fishing boats and yachts.

Couples on a romantic Santa Barbara vacation shouldn’t miss a day trip to the heavenly Channel Islands National Park. Spanning five idyllic islands, the park is one of the most biologically diverse places in the United States and is home to 2,000 species of flora and fauna, 145 of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Adventurous couples can indulge in a strikingly wide variety of outdoor activities, such as bird watching on Santa Cruz Island, kayaking on the five-mile coast of Santa Barbara Island, and snorkeling on Santa Catalina Island.

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San Diego

La Jolla Beach in San Diego, California

San Diego has all the amenities travelers crave on a romantic weekend getaway: beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, great beaches, breathtaking sunsets … and the list goes on! This sublime and sunny southern California city is bordered by 70 miles of coastline that includes some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States.

While not soaking up the sun at La Jolla Cove, couples can stroll the scenic trails of lush Balboa Park, take in breathtaking views of San Diego Bay from the busy San Diego Harbor, shop till you drop and explore at Seaport Village the vast wilderness of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

For the ultimate romantic experience, visit the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which is filled with cliff formations and caves for the most spectacular views of the city.

And there is more! San Diego is one of the top year-round whale watching destinations. For the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spot dolphins, whales, sea lions and seabirds, take a half-day cruise from Harbor Drive.

Hungry after a scenic harbor tour? Then head to The Fish Market for a romantic dining experience on the Southern California coast. This superb oceanfront restaurant is perfect for a few king crab legs and a glass of sparkling wine with a view!

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Joshua Tree National Park

The arch of the Milky Way galaxy over the Joshua Tree

Does your idea of ​​romance involve making your heart beat faster? Then Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect destination for you. The park protects two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, and is known for its rugged rock formations and scenic desert landscapes.

While exploring Joshua Tree, adventurous couples will have the chance to spot a variety of plants and animals, including wonderful species of birds such as roadrunner, phainopepla, and mockingbird, as well as spectacular natural features, from exposed granite monoliths to rugged canyons.

The best way to discover the park’s mother nature designed wonders? Through the 300 miles of scenic walking trails at Joshua Tree.

For the ultimate romantic experience, couples can camp under the stars at one of the park’s 9 designated locations. And since Joshua Tree National Park has some of the darkest nights in Southern California, this is the perfect opportunity to go star gazing and see the Milky Way with the naked eye.

Laguna beach

Laguna Beach, California.

The natural charm will prove to be the main attraction during your stay in Laguna Beach. Known for its coastal canyons and hidden coves, this tiny coastal Orange County town is just an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and is the perfect place for couples looking to enjoy a breezy and balmy Southern California vacation.

Aside from exploring the world famous beaches and coastal parks of Laguna Beache, visitors can also enjoy the delightful maze of cosmopolitan amenities of the city. Make sure to book a room at one of the local boutique hotels like the Oceanfront Hotel Joaquin and sample the city’s delicious kitchen scene.

In the mood for fresh seafood? Then Nick’s Laguna Beach, which is lauded for its pan-fried Chilean sea bass, is the place for you.

Laguna is home to 100 art galleries and is also known for its promising art scene. Art lovers must visit the renowned Laguna Art Museum, which offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and displays works by Californian artists.

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Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake and Dam, California.

Few things are more romantic than an idyllic mountain lake escape. Couples who are not in the mood for a beach vacation can visit the picturesque Big Bear Lake, an atmospheric town beautifully situated on the shores of the lake of the same name. The city is perfect for outdoor activities galore and offers hundreds of kilometers of scenic hiking trails that rewards hikers with wonderful views of the surrounding nature.

In winter, the city turns into a true snow-covered wonderland, offering travelers great snowboarding and skiing opportunities at the local resorts.

But if you want to visit Big Bear in the spring and summer, there is no need to worry. You will still have a lot to see and do. Couples can rent a cozy cabin in the woods and enjoy some scenic views of the lake while soaking up the hot tub. There is also a great variety of outdoor activities including kayaking, canoeing, and boating!

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Palm Springs

The desert city of Palm Springs, framed by mountains and palm trees in California, USA.

Known for its seductive desert landscape of snow-capped mountains and towering palm trees, Palm Springs is the perfect travel destination for couples looking for peace and serenity in Southern California.

This romantic retreat with year-round brilliant weather is praised for its luxurious hotels where couples can swim for days, drink Prosecco, and enjoy relaxing spa treatments. For a 5-star luxury experience in the heart of the desert, book a suite at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage and get ready for a romantic getaway. There you and your loved ones will be pampered with healing massages, yoga sessions and delicious meals made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

When not relaxing at the hotel, couples can also visit Sunnylands Center & Gardens, a 200-acre historic property that hosts rotating art exhibits, and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for scenic bird’s-eye views of the desert enjoy.

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Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, USA

Thanks to its year-round warm weather, Santa Monica is one of the most sought-after sun-seekers. Whether you’re in town for two days or a week, be sure to stroll around the busy Santa Monica Pier, which offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

After a sundowner on 3-mile-long Santa Monica State Beach, spend an afternoon with your significant other at Tongva Park, a 6-acre green oasis of rolling hills, native plants, and plaited paths.

Nature lovers will have the time of their lives visiting Point Mugu State Park. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Point Mugu State Park rewards visitors with 5 miles of ocean coastline, rugged hills, beaches, sand dunes, and more than 110 miles of scenic hiking trails.

Has the hunger strike? Then lunch at the Blue Plate Oysterette is a must. One of the best places in Santa Monica to eat seafood, the restaurant is famous for its superb west coast oysters and succulent lobster bun.

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Venice Beach

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, USA

Considered one of the most romantic weekend getaways in Southern California, Venice Beach is an ideal place for a quick getaway with loved ones. This lively beach town is known for its bohemian atmosphere and offers many trendy restaurants, hippie-chic bars and fantastic brunch spots.

After blissfully wandering the busy Venice Beach Boardwalk, which is always full of skaters, joggers, and scenic street performers, hop on a bike and head out for a lovely afternoon in Santa Monica.

Couples can also take a romantic cruise on Venice’s canals (not the Italian ones, of course) from where you can marvel at Insta-worthy homes, beautiful bridges, and flowering gardens, stroll along the charming Venice Pier, and watch the sun set from the top of the high Rooftop bar in the Hotel Erwin!

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The 9 Best Affordable Romantic Getaways in California

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