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Scenic surroundings, mighty mountains, striking sunsets—California has it all when it comes to the best fall vacations for couples.
9 min read
October 23, 2021
Scenic surroundings, mighty mountains, striking sunsets, sunny weekends—California has it all when it comes to romantic fall getaways. As summer comes to an end, a new season of potential vacations arrives, which means it's time to start planning a romantic trip with your S.O.
Walking on the beach as you hold hands, curling up in a cabin while sipping hot chocolate, or enjoying the outdoors while appreciating each other’s company—what’s not to love about an intimate romantic getaway in October? Let your love bloom among the Golden State’s breathtaking landscapes as you savor an ideal romantic fall weekend getaway with your partner.
There are plenty of romantic things to do in the Golden State, whether you just started dating, wish to celebrate a milestone, or looking for the perfect place to pop the question. Now that you have an inspiring list of the best fall vacations for couples, nothing should get in the way of whisking your partner away on a romantic fall getaway.
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Does anything sound more appealing than a rustic, serene escape with your favorite human? Nestled in the Sacramento Valley, Winters is the best fall getaway for couples who appreciate the tranquil and harmonious nature of California. If you plan on popping the question to your partner, Winters just might be the perfect place to do it.
Set the mood at Park Winters, where the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the gorgeous gardens, as well as pecan and olive trees will take your partner’s breath away. Dial up the romance by enjoying the vistas of the city from above with Yolo Ballooning Adventures. Once you’ve experienced life in the clouds, hike the Putah Creek Trail, which is just what you need to strengthen your connection with nature and your partner.
As for dinner, Buckhorn Steakhouse should be your go-to place. The former hotel-turned-steakhouse will complete your perfect romantic fall getaway with its delicious menu and folksy ambiance.
Forever a lovers’ paradise, romantic vacations in Mendocino are always a good idea. The phenomenal cuisine, intimate hotels, outstanding vineyards, and magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean enchant every couple on their romantic fall weekend getaway.
A favorite pastime here is whale watching with Anchor Charter Boats in Fort Bragg—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss. Afterwards, continue immersing yourself in the wonder of Mendocino by driving along the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic highway running through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. If you prefer staying closer to the ocean, indulge in the beauty of Bowling Ball Beach, one of the most unique stretches of coast in California.
A romantic evening awaits you at the Little River Inn, where all the rooms boast an ocean view. The inn's beautiful grounds, world-class golf course, and award-winning restaurant elevate your best fall getaway for couples and enhance your experience.
An idyllic destination for Californians, the rustic town of Guerneville is known for its towering redwoods, serene rivers, campgrounds, and hip cafes; perfect for couples who like being in the great outdoors on a romantic fall getaway. When you arrive in the Sonoma County town, settle into your romantic refuge at Fern Grove Cottages, where each cabin has its own unique style and a delicious, seasonally inspired continental breakfast is served each morning.
A few miles away from the cottages, you’ll stumble upon multiple outdoor activities—canoe trips on the Russian River, hiking in the majestic Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, and so much more. If your ideal date is near the water, Johnson’s Beach is your top pick. Lounge comfortably by the river with your significant other as you soak up the sunshine.
While it’s certainly not the only way to bring couples closer together, dessert is the quickest way to capture one's heart. So, head to Chile Pies Baking Co. for mouthwatering bites, share a milkshake with two straws, and split the signature green chile apple pie. What’s a romantic fall weekend getaway if it doesn’t end with dessert?
Further down along the Central Coast is one of the best fall vacations for couples, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Love is always in bloom in this charming and romantic seaside destination.
Treat yourselves to an unbelievable cliffside sanctuary at Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Only four miles from Downtown Carmel, this luxurious hotel features a heated outdoor swimming pool, gorgeous ocean views, and unforgettable sunsets that seem all the more romantic on a fall getaway.
Once you’re settled in, head over to China Cove at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to discover the incredibly diverse wildlife, watch the sea lions resting on the rocks, and enjoy amazing tide pooling. For a change of scenery, take your partner on an adventure to explore the fairytale cottages of Downtown Carmel. Spend hours photographing the architecture, exploring hidden passageways, checking out cool galleries and boutiques, and strolling through the serene gardens.
As soon as your stomach starts growling, have a bite to eat at Lafayette Bakery and Cafe. This pretty corner will give you a taste of Paris in Carmel, and make your fall vacations for couples all the more sweet.
Known for its beaches, sunny weather, and upscale neighborhoods, Malibu is the perfect place to enjoy the remnants of summer as the leaves change colors. Spend your nights at Moonshadows or Malibu Beach Inn with magnificent ocean views, gorgeous sunsets, and dreamy rooms that’ll find themselves occupied on many fall getaways for couples.
For an extraordinary evening, ditch the usual date night and take your partner horseback riding with Malibu Riders. The hour-long ride provides stunning views of the coast and incredible scenery—the ultimate way to wow your S.O. Looking to impress your partner further? Lunch at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe will do.
If you’re looking to spice things up after lunch, book a tour at Malibu Wine Safari and make new friends with zebras, water buffalo, llamas, and other animals. Now, all that your romantic fall getaway’s missing is a bit of art and culture. So, escape the busy city and admire the gardens of the Getty Villa along with the buildings and museum, which features Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art and artifacts.
The best fall vacation for couples is in the seaside community of La Jolla in San Diego—moonlit nights on the beach, beautiful tide pools, and extraordinary underwater adventures await. The abundance of outdoor activities here makes it the right spot for outdoorsy lovebirds.
Don’t be afraid of the extreme: Start your day with a two-hour snorkel tour to discover marine life with your partner. Leopard sharks, sea turtles, and other underwater creatures will leave you mesmerized during the unforgettable subaquatic experience. Next, embark on a sea caves tour with La Jolla Kayak and explore the incredible rock formations inside the caves. On your way back to the shore, look out for seabirds, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and orcas lingering about.
Make your romantic fall getaway even better by sharing your love of food with a waterfront dinner at George’s at the Cove. Wrap up the best fall getaway for couples with an intimate picnic at the sandy beach of La Jolla Shores during sunset. The special moments of your vacay will be forever engraved thanks to La Jolla’s charm.
It’s no secret that the best fall vacation for couples is in the mecca of modernism: Palm Springs. Start big and book a trip with Balloon Above to soar over the breathtaking landscape covered with deserts and palm trees. If a hot-air balloon ride is too intense for your liking, an appropriate equivalent is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Get a fantastic view of Chino Canyon from the world's largest rotating aerial tram and engage in a range of outdoor activities at the peak.
While you drive through the streets of Palm Springs on your romantic fall getaway, embrace the mid-century modern architecture that covers most of the city. Luxury-loving couples can later visit The Spa at Desert Springs for a relaxing spa day. Pamper yourselves with a therapeutic massage, steam rooms, and both indoor and outdoor pools. As for dinner, take it up a notch at Four Saints—Palm Springs’ trendiest rooftop eatery—and have a meaningful Mediterranean dining experience with a view.
The cherry on top of your romantic fall getaway for couples is a trip to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, where you can escape to an idyllic wildlife setting. Whatever you end up planning, Palm Springs is always an excellent destination.
When it comes to fall vacations for couples, the charming town of Solvang should be at the top of the list. A little slice of Denmark in California, Solvang is a nice change of scenery from the usual sunny beaches and city buzz.
One of the first things to do in the Danish-inspired town is visiting the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. The small and modest museum focuses on the author’s life and works (as well as his love for the famed singer Jenny Lind). Revisit your favorite fairy tales on your romantic fall getaway, then head over to see Solvang’s bronze replica of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue; the picturesque city looks like it’s straight out of a storybook.
Stop by Paula's Pancake House for French toast and eggs and transport yourself to Europe. Once you’re done, plan an unusual date at the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, where 95 of the rarest vintage and classic motorcycles are on display.
If your romantic fall getaway is spanning several days, the best place to stay is at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, where you can enjoy fly-fishing on the resort's 100-acre spring-fed lake and get a taste of the cowboy life. Or, stay closer to town at The M Solvang so you can appreciate the European-inspired charm while feeling the tranquility of a retreat.
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