Take your significant other on one of these top romantic getaways from L.A. for some quality one-on-one time.
Edited by Michael JulianoWritten by Stephanie MorinoFriday January 20 2023
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 (and, a bit closer to home, evenings spent at romantic restaurants, too). 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.
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Brandon DesJarlais
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.
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Matt Artz
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. (Though we’ll leave it to one of our favorite comedians, Kurt Braunohler, to explain why hot air balloons might not be quite so romantic.) 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 (or some mineral waters at the nearby Glen Ivy Hot Springs).
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Thomson
3. Big Sur
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, splurge on a wellness retreat at Esalen (their late-night public bathing hours are unfortunately still on hold) or rough it at one of the many beaufitul campgrounds in the area—we recommend Kirk Creek Campground. Take a day trip up to Carmel or embark on one of many hikes with beautiful outlooks featuring a view of the entire coastline.
Photograph: Courtesy Korakia Pensione
4. Palm Springs
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, we think 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).
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Yifan Ma
5. Santa Barbara
Spanish architecture, world-class restaurants, beautiful beaches: Santa Barbara is the closest you’ll come to riviera vibes without boarding a plane (and, in fact, you can even get there by train). The Central Coast city 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.
Photograph: Courtesy Terranea
6. Rancho Palos Verdes
Sure, it’s technically more of a staycation, but the traffic and mileage means that Rancho Palos Verdes is a bit of a trek for many Angelenos. And when we say PV is a top romantic getaway, we really have one particular place in mind: Terranea. Situated 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.
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Jeremy Bishop
7. Big Bear
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. Big Bear can get pretty busy on snowy weekends and during the summer, so consider some of the other nearby lakes and mountain destinations, like Lake Arrowhead, for a more low-key stay.
Photograph: Michael Juliano
8. Catalina Island
What’s more romantic than heading off to a secluded island? Okay, Catalina may not exactly be an exclusive oasis in the Pacific, but if you venture outside of Avalon—the main port and a largely car-free town—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. If your idea of romance is less B&B and more pitching a tent, consider cruising into the outdoorsy Two Harbors instead.