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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Yifan Ma

The best romantic getaways from L.A.

Take your significant other on one of these top romantic getaways from L.A. for some quality one-on-one time.

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
Written by
Stephanie Morino
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Looking to book a trip for two? You don’t have to go far for some fun quality time with your significant other. From the best beaches to the mountains, Southern California is ripe for romantic getaways. So whether you’re in the middle of wedding planning or you’re still feeling that high from your first date (though, maybe slow down a little before you start planning a vacay together), grab the cutie in your life and head to one of these romantic destinations.  

Top romantic getaways from L.A.

Temecula tops this list because it’s the only place with pretty much all the romantic gestures. How many destinations boast hot air balloon and carriage rides, horseback riding through wineries, wine tasting—the list goes on. Cheesy? Maybe. Romantic? Definitely. And if none of that is up your alley, simply stay at one of the many beautiful hotels, be it a winery hotel or a small bed and breakfast, and soak in the beautiful views with the one you love.

Ojai is home to one of the most romantic restaurants in America—no, really, the Ranch House has landed on a nationwide list from OpenTable. And the lush, garden-like atmosphere is the cherry on top of a delicious menu. But that’s not the only reason Ojai is such a great a romantic destination. Small hotels like the Hummingbird Inn make for lovely stays for couples. Take a hike, have a spa day, walk through an orange grove or go wine tasting—whatever you choose, Ojai is ripe for romance.

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The six-hour drive up Southern California’s beautiful coast to Big Sur is magnificent in its own right, but once you get to your destination, the romance amps up. Completely unplug and stay in a cliffside yurt at Treebones Resort, or rough it even more at one of the many beaufitul campgrounds in the area—we recommend Kirk Creek Campground. Take a day trip up to Carmel or stick around and take a very late-night soak at the oceanside Esalen Institute (their hot spring baths used to be open to the public from 1–3am with a reservation, but that’s been temporarily suspended) or embark on one of many hikes with beautiful outlooks featuring a view of the entire coastline.

Jetsetting houses with pools, fire-lit patios, palm-tree–lined scenery: Palm Springs is a primo destination for a bit of desert romance. Stick to an Airbnb for the most privacy, though among the area hotels, Korakia Pensione is particularly romantic. Make sure to ride the gondola up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway while you’re there, and consider taking the hour-or-so trek to Joshua Tree (particularly for some nighttime stargazing).

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Spanish architecture, world-class restaurants, beautiful beaches—what more could you want? Santa Barbara can be as romantic as you want to make it—and as expensive. Stay on State Street at Hotel Santa Barbara, on the beach at a swanky resort hotel or a hidden ranch in the foothills. Go wine tasting at one of the many wineries or tasting rooms in the area, rent bikes on the beach, go to the zoo or just take in the beautiful views. Whatever you do, your significant other is sure to swoon.

Sure, it’s technically more of a staycation. But when we say that Rancho Palos Verdes is a top romantic getaway, we really have one particular place in mind: TerraneaSituated on an oceanside bluff, the picturesque resort is an oceanfront utopia of relaxation and resort life—it boasts a nine-hole golf course, spa, four pools (including an adult-only one), and eight restaurants. Take a romantic stroll along the bluffs and there’s a good chance you’ll see a whale or two in the distance. Accommodations range from typical rooms and suites to larger, more luxurious bungalows, casitas and villas. 

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If your idea of romance is cuddling up by a fire in cabin in the woods as the snow falls outside, Big Bear is your closest bet. If you’re looking to rent a cabin, you can try Airbnb or local vacation rental businesses like Big Bear Cabins. If you’re looking for activities to do, hit the slopes (depending what time of year you go) or throw on your hiking shoes. There’s also horseback riding and a myriad of lake activities in the spring, summer and fall.

What’s more romantic than heading off to a secluded island? Okay, Catalina may not exactly be an exclusive oasis in the Pacific, but the island has romance written all over its undeveloped hillsides and rugged shoreline. With ocean-view hikes, kayaking, camping and plenty of bed and breakfasts, Catalina is the closest island getaway possible, and (for now) relatively affordable, too.

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