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California's 11 Most Romantic Beaches

California's 11 Most Romantic Beaches

Show your partner how much they mean to you by planning a romantic beach getaway in California that’s straight out of a fairytale.


6 min read

January 22, 2021

Planning a couple’s retreat along sandy shores? Making a list of outdoor date ideas you haven’t thought of yet? Looking for a romantic spot to propose to the love of your life? Whatever you’re searching for can be found at the romantic beaches along the Golden State’s rich and varied coast. 

Show your partner how much they mean to you by planning a romantic beach getaway in California that’s straight out of a fairytale. From cool, crescent-shaped coasts to breathtaking blue coves, the state has it all. We can’t think of a more romantic thing to do in California than taking a stroll along one of these beautiful beaches while the waves crash onto the shore and your toes sink into the sand.

The Best Beaches for Couples in Northern California

Whisk your partner away on a romantic escape along the rugged Point Reyes National Seashore.

1. Point Reyes National Seashore

The farther north you go in California, the more wild and rugged the beaches get—the vast coastlines of Point Reyes National Seashore are a prime example. Ideal for adventurous couples looking to embark on a romantic beach getaway that’s anything but ordinary, this NorCal beach boasts raw beauty, untamed coasts, and majestic mountain views.

What to do here: Hike the Earthquake Trail, explore the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and visit the Tule Elk Reserve.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: Point Reyes

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Admire unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beautiful Baker Beach.

2. Baker Beach

Breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, gorgeous sunsets, and a buzzing coastline—we’re talking about the mega-popular Baker Beach, of course. This treasured spot is a romantic beach in California ideal for Bay Area couples looking for an escape they won’t have to travel too far to enjoy.

What to do here: Do a photoshoot with an amazing backdrop, check out Fort Point National Historic Site, and plan a picnic at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: San Francisco

Head down to the shores of Moss Beach to enjoy total serenity with that special someone.

3. Moss Beach

The Golden State is known for having many amazing tide pools, and Moss Beach is said to boast some of the best. So, if you and your significant other have been dreaming of a nature-filled getaway to a romantic beach in Northern California, then Moss Beach is the ideal spot for you. This beautiful destination, just 22 miles south of San Francisco, will cure your wanderlust and make sparks fly.

What to do here: Visit the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, ride into the sunset at Moss Beach Ranch, and spend the night at Seal Cove Inn. 

Continue exploring: 17 Things To Do in Monterey, CA That Locals Don’t Want You To Know About

Take a trip to Main Beach in Santa Cruz for a fun-filled day along the Central Coast.

4. Main Beach

Feel like your relationship is losing that “spark?” Plan a romantic getaway to this California beach for a trip full of amusement park rides, soft-serve ice-cream cones, arcade games, and good vibes. Also known as Boardwalk Beach, this bustling Santa Cruz spot always has something going on—seriously, it’s impossible to get bored at Main Beach.

What to do here: Walk along the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, scream your heart out on one of the many roller coasters, and take a dip in the cool ocean waters.

Continue exploring: Beach Day Itinerary: Santa Cruz

Visit Pfeiffer Beach around golden hour to witness a breathtaking sunset with your sweetheart by your side.

5. Pfeiffer Beach

A can’t-miss stop along the Pacific Coast Highway—an unbelievably scenic one-day drive—Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is a breathtaking beach for couples you can’t help but love. Its rocky cliffs, purple-hued sands, and many hiking trails make it a prime romantic spot to watch the sunset in California.

What to do here: Hike to a spot where you can see McWay Falls, snap photos of the famed Bixby Bridge, and take your next favorite Instagram pic as a couple by the rugged Big Sur coast

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: Big Sur

Enjoy sandy shores and spectacular scenery at Carmel Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in California.

6. Carmel Beach

The enchanting European-village vibes, beautiful architecture, and white sandy shores of Carmel-by-the-Sea make the place feel like a postcard that’s come to life. This romantic beach in California will take your breath away and have you planning a return trip in no time.

What to do here: Picnic by the beach with your four-legged friend, walk the scenic bluff path by the shore, and peruse the many unique boutiques and galleries in town.

Continue exploring: Spend a Day (or Three) in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Romantic Beaches in Southern California

Snuggle up with your S.O. at these romantic beaches in Southern California. We guarantee sparks will fly.

7. Arroyo Burro Beach County Park

Arroyo Burro Beach County Park is the official name for the much-beloved Hendry’s Beach. As one of the best beaches in California for couples, Arroyo Burro will help you relax and rejuvenate amidst the backdrop of gorgeous sunsets and glimmering waters. Hit up this hidden gem in Santa Barbara in February for a romantic Valentine’s Day beach getaway your partner will love.

What to do here: Go paragliding from Elings Park, enjoy a sunset stroll, and savor fresh seafood at the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: Santa Barbara

Embark on an adventure with your partner by hunting down the hidden pirate tower at Victoria Beach.

8. Victoria Beach

This long, white, sandy shore in Laguna Beach is straight out of a storybook and is as breathtaking as Orange County beaches come. An ideal spot for a cute outdoor date in SoCal, this romantic beach features a mysterious tower that’ll bring your childhood fantasies of a fable romance to life.

What to do here: Scout the hidden La Tour tower by the beach, go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters, and drive through the beautiful nearby neighborhoods with luxurious mansions.

Continue exploring: The 14 Hidden Gems in Orange County You Didn't Know Existed

Spend a romantic weekend on Santa Catalina Island exploring the pristine beaches and azure waters.

9. Crescent Beach

Hop on a ferry from Long Beach to the charming Santa Catalina Island for a romantic beach getaway along a picture-perfect harbor. You won’t find wide, sandy shores at the beaches of this postcard-like island, but the majestic views, idyllic harbors, and surrounding cliffs make up for it.

What to do here: Explore Green Pleasure Pier, rent a kayak or pedal boat, and dine at one of the many local eateries.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: Long Beach

Marvel at the magnificent sunset while visiting El Matador State Beach with your beloved.

10. El Matador State Beach

Clear blue waters, dramatic cliffs, and secret sea caves—this romantic beach in Southern California looks like it was plucked right out of a Hollywood romance scene. Head to this Malibu destination to catch some rays, splash around in the refreshing ocean, and enjoy the passionate beach retreat of your dreams.

What to do here: Find hideaway spots for a secluded evening, picnic while watching the sun go down, and admire the stunning houses on your walk towards Lechuza Beach.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: Malibu

Make your way to Mission Beach with bae for a romantic beach getaway in San Diego.

11. Mission Beach

If you have kids you’re taking along on your beach getaway in California, Mission Beach is the prime spot for you. A ride on the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller-coaster that’s been collecting screams since 1925, is a must-try on any trip to this San Diego beach

What to do here: Play mini-golf and arcade games at Belmont Park, indulge in fair-style treats, and bike along the boardwalk.

Continue exploring: Getaway Guide: San Diego

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