9 of the Most Romantic Getaways in California

Posted by
Emily Pennington
September 06, 2022
Updated March 20, 2023

romantic getaways california
Photo: San Francisco Proper Hotel

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With the stressors of the modern world at a staggering high, it’s more important than ever for couples to set aside time to relax, explore, and enjoy each other’s company in the peace of a new locale.

Luckily, California is home to some of the most stunning hotels, vacation rentals, and scenery on the planet, whether your idea of romance is lounging in a hot tub overlooking the desert, forest bathing amongst towering redwoods, or sipping a glass of wine as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Whether you’re a nature lover or a city kid at heart, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite romantic getaways the Golden State has to offer. They range from stylish staycations to remote cabins and everything in between.

Related Read: 12 Unique Places to Stay in California for an Epic Escape

1. Château du Sureau

Château du Sureau
Photo: Château du Sureau

Why you should stay: This boutique hotel is the most luxurious place to stay outside of California’s most popular national park.

  • Location: Oakhurst, Yosemite
  • Sleeps: 2-4
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $495/night

Château du Sureau is a European-style boutique hotel that promises to whisk away guests to another era. The service is top-notch, the location is excellent, and the décor is that of a stylish French countryside retreat, all situated just 30 minutes from Yosemite National Park.

But, with so many fabulous amenities on site, it’ll be hard to ever want to leave for a hike. The Spa du Sureau offers rejuvenating treatments for couples hoping to unwind in a quiet mountain town, like the fragrant Lavender Blossom Body Polish and the Hiker’s Repose Massage.

Plus, the Château’s own restaurant, The Elderberry House, boasts some of the finest dining in the Golden State, with specialties like Mao Farm’s Strawberry Salad and Maine Diver Scallops.

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Related read: 11 Stunning Glamping Spots Near Yosemite National Park, California

2. Moon Mountain Cabin

Moon Mountain Cabin
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: This private hilltop retreat is perfect for desert-loving couples who want to truly escape the stress of city life.

  • Location: Joshua Tree
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $187/night

Views. For. Days. That’s the allure of Moon Mountain Cabin, an ultra-private studio set atop a stunning hillside near Joshua Tree National Park. There’s no TV here; not that you’d need it with a cozy seating area lined with floor-to-ceiling windows, outdoor tables for al fresco dining, and a bubbling hot tub all on the property.

This adorable cottage is furnished with artful rugs and accent pieces and has a full kitchen and bathroom (with shower) for you to kick up your feet and stay a while. And if the mountains are calling, Joshua Tree is just a short drive away.

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Related read: 10 Best Glamping Spots Near Joshua Tree National Park, California

3. San Francisco Proper Hotel

San Francisco Proper Hotel
Photo: San Francisco Proper Hotel

Why you should stay: This Frisco hotel is a design-lover’s paradise, with fabulous food options and pet-friendly rooms.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Sleeps: 2-4
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $294/night

San Francisco Proper Hotel is a fitting flagship hotel for this luxe, Kelly Wearstler-designed brand. With its funky wallpaper, textured rugs, and plush linens, it’s fit for a city staycation or a romantic getaway to this beloved northern California locale.

Not only does the site have some of the most stylish rooms on our list, it’s also home to epic dining options, from Mediterranean La Bande to the palatial art nouveau of Villon. Whatever you do, don’t miss their view-filled rooftop cocktail bar, Charmaine’s, which is easily one of the best places in San Francisco to steal a smooch.

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Related read: The Ultimate Los Angeles to San Francisco Road Trip

4. Oceanfront Cottage

romantic cottage california
Photo: VRBO

Why you should stay: Nothing says romance like a remote bohemian enclave with views of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

  • Location: Big Sur
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $375/night

Big Sur is a paradise on earth for ocean and mountain lovers alike, with a happening food scene and sophisticated hippie retreat centers like Esalen. This oceanfront cottage offers the best of Monterrey County, with stunning sunset vistas, a lush garden, and a private patio overlooking the surf.

Wake up to phenomenal coastal views, and dine indoors at a table that faces the ocean. Sunbathe on the stone patio or meditate on the lawn and soak up the relaxing sensation of escaping the city. This little wonder has got everything you need to enjoy a romantic couple’s retreat.

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Related read: 9 Best Cabin Rentals Near Big Sur, California

5. Peaceful Forest Cabin

romantic forest cabin california
Photo: VRBO

Why you should stay: Forest bathe with the best of ‘em at this adorable cabin near the famed national park.

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Sleeps: 2-4
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $260/night

If a verdant lawn, adorably shuttered house, and stylish yet woodsy décor sound like a dream vacation, then this is the cabin for you. This northern California rental practically is the house equivalent of forest bathing, with a wood-burning fireplace, homey dining nook, and four-poster bedframe nestled into a space that’s surrounded by trees.

Skylights add to this sense of being immersed in nature, while a full-size kitchen ensures you won’t have to leave your romantic hideout unless you really want to. Right outside your front door, hiking opportunities abound, whether you’d like to stroll to a nearby lagoon, wander through a redwood forest, or try to spot a group of Roosevelt elk.

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Related read: 10 Best Hikes in Redwood National Park, California

6. Kimpton Canary Hotel

Kimpton Canary Hotel
Photo: Kimpton Canary Hotel

Why you should stay: Breezy town views, Spanish-inspired décor, and easy access to the sights of Santa Barbara make this Kimpton a stay to remember.

  • Location: Santa Barbara
  • Sleeps: 2-4
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $374/night

Not only does this Santa Barbara Kimpton Hotel feature a swanky lobby bordered by a fantastic restaurant (Finch & Fork), but it also boasts a rooftop pool and hot tub, perfect for sunset cocktails or afternoon lounging when the allure of the area’s wine tasting has worn off.

The all-suites Canary is a bastion of sunny, Spanish-influenced California style, with dark wood four-poster beds, cozy seating areas, yoga mats, and Juliet balconies adorning the amenity-rich accommodations.

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Related read: 10 Best Camping Spots in Santa Barbara, California

7. Idyllic Beachfront Apartment

romantic airbnb california
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: When the ocean is your backyard, you can’t help but sit back and watch the sparks fly.

  • Location: Malibu
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 3 nights
  • Rates from: $550/night

Recently named one of the best Airbnbs in Los Angeles by Condé Nast Traveler, this incredible oceanfront apartment in elegant Malibu is the stuff dreams are made of. Guests here have the luxury of watching the sunset and the waves from their own private deck, while inside, they’ll find vintage artwork, wood floors, and a sizeable walk-in shower.

There’s a full kitchen, too, for couples who like to cook and dine together, but the real stunner is the bedroom, where clean lines meet full bookshelves and coastal views, and you can lay in bed for hours simply gazing out at the surf.

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Related read: 11 Unique Places to Stay in Southern California

8. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Photo: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Why you should stay: This ski-in, ski-out resort is a marvelous Tahoe stay at any time of year.

  • Location: Lake Tahoe
  • Sleeps: 2-10
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $499/night

Featuring slopeside apartments, phenomenal fine dining, and easy access to all the watersports and summer hiking that Lake Tahoe has to offer, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe is a true gem for refined travelers hoping to unwind in the Sierra Nevada.

Guests can choose between more traditional hotel rooms with seating areas, gas fireplaces, and stellar mountain views, or, if you’ve got a group of couples, opt for a larger apartment-style dwelling.

When you’re not enjoying the whirlpools, private pier, and exclusive beach access of the property’s epic Lake Club, why not indulge in a Cranberry Pomegranate Scrub or a Lake Tahoe Stone Massage at the hotel’s world-class spa?

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Related read: 18 Unique Things To Do in Lake Tahoe

9. Bird’s Nest Bungalow

Bird’s Nest Bungalow
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: This beachside stunner is tucked between shady trees and serene ocean views for a nature-centric getaway right outside San Francisco.

  • Location: Stinson Beach
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 5 nights
  • Rates from: $210/night

Nestled in the quiet seaside town of Stinson Beach, just one hour from San Francisco, this charming cottage melds tranquil outdoor spaces with modern Zen interiors for the ultimate in relaxing couple’s getaways. Fall asleep with tree-filled vistas and rise to sip your coffee from the private ocean-view deck.

For the truly intrepid, there’s a luxurious, warm outdoor soaking tub that’s walled off for pristine privacy as you watch all your cares melt away. Plus, if you’re looking to explore further, the soft white sand, art galleries, seafood restaurants, and redwood hiking trails surrounding the Stinson Beach area are an easy drive away.

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Related read: 11 Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California

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