Love romantic getaways? Then take your partner and visit California! You'll discover romantic places, great food, and a vibrant culture.
It’s called Wine Country. Not village, corner, or municipality - but Wine Country. As one of the world’s foremost regions largely dedicated to one of life’s greatest pleasures, Napa Valley certainly needs no introduction.
Napa Valley produces a variety of full-bodied Chardonnays, light Sauvignon Blancs, and peppery Zinfandels, but the region is best known for its prized and world-famous Cabernet Sauvignons. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a casual wine lover, there is plenty for everyone to discover here. That’s the fun part.
There are 6 distinct cities that make up Napa Valley and its over 400 wineries - Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga, Oakville, Yountville, and Rutherford. While the options may be overwhelming, you can rest assured that there is no wrong answer here. Indulgence and relaxation is the deal in Napa Valley, so first-time visitors need not worry.
So, where do you two start?! Why not board an antique train car for a scenic tour through Napa Valley’s wineries. Stop at the valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug in St. Helena, for a wine tasting. Lounge in a velveteen armchair in the dining car and surround yourself with rich mahogany wood panelling, and warm brass accents. And, for your viewing pleasure, remember to take a moment to look out the window and watch the hills and valleys pass you by. If something kitschy tickles your fancy, book your train time during a Murder Mystery dinner. Enjoy a three-course meal and wine pairing while you gather the facts to j’accuse a suspect as the train takes you back in time to San Francisco, 1915. (Was it the Grand Duchess?)
Dear, foodies. It goes without saying, but it will be said: You will be pleasantly beside yourself and thrilled to find yourself amongst some of the finest fare made in California. There are currently five Michelin-star restaurants to choose from in Napa Valley, as well as award-winning farm-to-table eateries all throughout the region. While you're vineyard-hopping, be sure to pick up some of the locally made handcrafted cheeses and light, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils and dressings. To find the best way to one's heart, start with a romantic wine and culinary weekend in Napa Valley.
Sip, eat, relax. Repeat.
The Painted Ladies, a Golden Gate Bridge, a sparkling blue sea, and an iconic city connected by cable cars rolling up and down the main streets. There is plenty to see and do in San Francisco.
While the city is well-known for its iconic bridge, the abandoned Alcatraz, and Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s a city prides itself with being built on progressive change, forward culture, and free love.
The energy here is electrifying and will meet you in all corners of San Francisco. From its vibrant neighbourhoods, buzzing nightlife, exceptional cuisine, to a healthy dose of successful start-ups like workplace favourite Slack, rideshare program Lyft, and customizable educational program Altschool.
Once you’re here, you’ll want to get lost in this fascinating city, find yourself on an adventure, and inevitably come back after you’ve fallen in love with it. Just ask Tony Bennett.
Sea meets sky on this scenic stretch of highway. Clinging to a drop of 350-foot cliffs is a winding stretch of road that takes road trippers on a journey through California’s grandiose Central Coast.
Big Sur is a spectacular marvel of natural beauty. Watch California condors soar above as you cross Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz as sky blue and ocean blue meet below. Carmel’s village and small-town charm will lure you to its art galleries, cozy inns and dog-friendly white sand beaches. Follow in the footprints of author John Steinbeck who called Monterey home and walk down Cannery Row, where you’ll find turn-of-the-century canneries, galleries, and restaurants. Santa Cruz is the original beach town where surfing was first introduced in California by three Hawaiians who attended school there 20 years prior. But if surfing isn’t your game, then maybe you’ll find yours at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an amusement park with beachfront roller coasters, arcade games, and a Ferris wheel - the best ride to hop on and watch the sunset over the ocean.
Big Sur is an essential California road trip and a popular destination for weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways.
If Europe quite isn’t in the cards this year, visit the next best thing. Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a charming coastal town with a mild Mediterranean climate and Spanish colonial architecture. Between beach-hopping, shopping, and wine drinking, this relaxed slow-paced setting will remind you to stop and smell the roses.
Which is why you should start at the wineries. Santa Barbara’s cool climate, lush rolling hills and sprawling orchards produce some of the state’s best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Sauvignon Blanc. Spend a day in a small chateau, Spanish mission style winery, or futuristic tasting room at one of Santa Barbara’s vineyards and start your romantic getaway with an afternoon or evening of fresh farm-to-table seasonal fare and a glass or two. Maybe this will spark an impromptu trip to nearby Napa Valley?
Unwind with a romantic stroll for two along the beaches of Santa Barbara’s coastline. Leadbetter Beach is one of the busiest and most centrally located. It’s a wide sandy beach located across the city college, so you’ll find plenty of locals and surfers here. Arroyo Burro County Beach Park is a wide sandy beach as well and it’s known for being dog-friendly. So if you’re mid-road trip and you and your two-legged companion want to stretch your legs out with your four-legged companion, this would be the place to do so.
One of the first things you may notice upon arrival in Santa Barbara is some of the county’s most charming enclaves. Historic State Street is a charming tree-lined row of shopping adobes with everything from surf shops, big brand stores, to one-of-a-kind boutiques.
Santa Barbara’s mix of things to see and do is sure to please the lover of wine, nature, and shopping in all of us.
Joshua Tree National Park
Low, odd-limbed trees, towering cacti, smooth peaks of granite rock formations, distinct mountain ranges, nocturnal wildlife. Joshua Tree National Park is an 800,000-acre life-size terrarium.
In this vast, remote expanse, it’ll be easy to feel like the only two people in the world. And what’s more romantic than a balmy, moonless night with a sky full of stars in the desert? For the stargazing lovers, it may be worth noting that Joshua Tree National Park was recently designated an International Dark Sky Park. That means the park’s night skies will remain dark, cozy, and protected from light pollution. (Ooh la la?)
For the most spectacular view of the desert, take a short drive out to Keys View. It’s a short drive and an even shorter hike to get to the best and highest viewpoint of the desert. See the Coachella Valley, San Andreas Fault line, and on a really clear day, see as far as Mexico. Get up early, get down, and hike the paved path (or drive to the entrance of the trail loop), and take in an unforgettable view of the California desert.
Want to see a giant skull in the middle of the desert? There’s an easy hike trail called the Skull Rock Nature Trail. The trail is about 2.5 kilometres long and leads to a giant granite rock which over time eroded forming two hollowed-out eye sockets and eventually resembled a skull. For those who want to take their desert hike trail to the next level, you can set up camp here, go rock climbing, or take one of the more advanced off-trail routes.
With so much wildlife, nature, and intriguing sites, like the Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park is a romantic, laid-back getaway with a side of adventure. Make it part of your California adventure.
Joshua Tree National Park offers a range of accommodations to suit your styles. Most people come here to camp out, so if this happens to be your style, then you’ll have over 300 campground options available to you. The cost to camp within the park boundaries is about $15 USD a night. For those who enjoy creature comforts of running water, plumbing, and air temperature control, there are a few inns and hotel options located just outside of the park.
The best time to travel is in the spring and fall, when the desert temperatures are an average high of 29C and a low of 10C. Expect winters to hit average highs of 15C and summers to swelter with highs of 38C and lows of 24C.
Did you know? The Joshua tree was named after the biblical leader, as these trees appeared to Mormon migrants as worshippers raising open and outstretched arms in prayer.