October 07, 2020
As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.
While short autumn days beg for tender evenings cuddled up in front of the fireplace, California’s landscapes never cease to inspire romantic getaways. With miles of beaches, acres of rolling hills, and hundreds of luxury hotels, the Golden State oozes romance. Show your significant other how much they mean to you by taking them on a unique date or a much-deserved trip to California’s top destinations for love birds.
What better way to celebrate your love than to spend time somewhere new and do something exciting? With the numerous romantic things to do in California—whether you’re just falling for someone this fall, celebrating an anniversary, or looking for the perfect place where to pop the question—love is in the air here year-round. So, get inspired and start planning a romantic date or getaway with your flame.
The Top Romantic Things to do in Northern California
1. Follow Highway 1 for a road trip to the vast beaches and lush forests of Big Sur. Along the way, stop by Highbridge Falls—it's considered one of Big Sur's most romantic things to do.
2. Among the most romantic things to do this fall are strolling around the European-inspired village of Carmel-by-the-Sea and unwinding by the town's white sandy beaches. Make a day of it and spend the night at a hidden haven in the Carmel Valley.
3. Bike along the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail from Monterey State Beach to Lovers Point Park, and admire the crimson sunset while picnicking near the Point Pinos Lighthouse—ticking off the most romantic things to do in Monterey from your bucket list.
4. Book a cozy cabin tucked away in the pristine nature of Lake Tahoe, and propose on a sleigh or carriage ride by the lake.
5. Head to Tahoe City, one of the most underrated towns near Lake Tahoe, and explore the surrounding natural wonders together. Cap off the afternoon by enjoying a couple’s massage at the luxe Lighthouse Spa.
6. Cruise along the Sonoma Coast and spend the night at Timber Cove Resort—the coastal escape you don't know about yet but should.
7. If you seek a romantic thing to do in Fresno, look no further than Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater, where you can savor mouthwatering specialties by award-winning chef Eric De Groot while making memories with that special someone.
8. Unforgettable romantic things to do in Sacramento include strolling through the Sacramento Zoo, picnicking at Capitol Park, watching a movie at the West Wind Drive-in Theatre, and having a scoop of 8 Fahrenheit Ice Cream.
9. Take your beloved on a hot-air balloon ride with Napa Valley Aloft to enjoy a bird's-eye view of Wine Country. Hot-air balloon rides are the perfect blend of romance and excitement, so start your day off on a high note and take your relationship to new heights.
10. Promise your undying love while strolling amidst 4,000-year-old ancient bristlecone pines in the Inyo National Forest.
12. Take a leisurely stroll up to Twin Peaks for panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline. Make sure to time your visit in the early evening so you can witness the awe-inspiring California sunset.
14. Go spelunking at Lava Beds National Monument, and let the magical landscape give your relationship new unlimited strength.
15. Glamp at the Airstream Suite in Yosemite National Park. This is among the top places to glamp in Northern California, allowing you and your partner to reconnect in the great outdoors without having to sacrifice creature comforts.
16. Hike to the Yosemite Falls and fall in love with your second half all over again as they admire this natural miracle. Make sure to snap a selfie in front of the cascading waters before you trek back to your campsite.
17. Enjoy a gondola ride on Oakland's beautiful Lake Merritt with Gondola Servizio. Snuggle with your lover in the authentic Venitian gondola as you glide across the tranquil waters and take in the views.
Most Romantic Things to do in Southern California
2. Pitch your tent in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and watch the sunset give way to a starry night sky as your love life reaches a whole new level.
3. Head to the Mojave National Preserve—one of California’s most secluded getaways—and spend your evenings making s'mores by the campfire.
4. Reconnect and reminisce about the hot summer days poolside at California’s desert hotels that'll make you forget summer has ended.
5. Go on a trip to the "Island of Romance." There's no shortage of romantic things to do on Catalina Island, from taking scenic boat rides and scuba diving in the clear waters to soaking up the sun at the resort town of Two Harbors and touring the Catalina Casino.
6. Take a Date Night cooking class at Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom and learn how to become a well-balanced team in the kitchen, regardless of your level of culinary experience.
8. Show your special someone how much they mean to you while riding into the sunset on a romantic horseback ride through the SoCal wilderness with Sunshine and Daydreams.
9. Dine at Orange Hill Restaurant while the sun sets over the city and your partner’s eyes twinkle brighter than the stars above.
10. Meander through the vibrant Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and watch your love blossom.
11. If you're looking for romantic things to do in L.A., take a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier, ride on the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel 130 feet above the ground, and share a kiss on the shores.
13. Take ballroom and Latin dance classes at the Starlight Dance Studio in San Diego.
14. Head to La Jolla Cove in San Diego to go snorkeling and discover the magical underwater world with your lover.
15. Go for a ride in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world's largest rotating tram car—to the top of San Jacinto Peak and admire the sweeping view of Chino Canyon and beyond.
16. Looking for romantic things to do in Los Angeles on a budget? Take a stroll along the Venice Canals while the setting sun turns the sky into vibrant colors of blood orange and violet.
17. Snuggle up with your partner in one of the Big Bear Cool Cabins at Big Bear Lake.
18. One of the best things to do for your anniversary in California is to rent a yurt at El Capitan Canyon. Nestled by the coast in historic groves of oak and sycamore trees, this glamping destination in Santa Barbara will make sparks fly.
19. Book a vacation rental by El Matador State Beach to experience romantic days in Malibu, making sure to catch the SoCal sunset every night.