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7 Swoon-Worthy Summer Vacation Ideas for Couples

7 Swoon-Worthy Summer Vacation Ideas for Couples

Find the Harold to your Maude on a romantic summer getaway at one of these majestic destinations in the Golden State.


6 min read

June 21, 2021

California got us looking so crazy in love and it’s more than just a feeling. You’ll find the romance alive in secluded coves, crescent-shaped bays, and at the top of breathtaking cliffs—taking a leap of faith has never been this gorgeous. And while many prefer romantic winter getaways to cuddle and snuggle, there are more than enough summer vacation ideas for couples who fancy being in love under the sun. 

In the mood for love? Recreate the iconic dance scene from La La Land with your special someone or find the Harold to your Maude on a romantic summer getaway at one of these majestic destinations. 

Unforgettable summer vacation ideas for couples

1. Enchantment Under Carmel-by-the-Sea 

Live your happily ever after in the most fairytale-esque way possible in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Here, you’ll get lost in love, literally—you won’t find any street names or numbers in this Central Coast beach town. Storybook cottages, European architecture, and hidden passageways make Carmel the perfect place for your love to bloom. 

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Book a room at Bernardus Lodge and Spa to start your mornings with a delightful breakfast and stunning vistas for days. Spend your afternoons discovering the secret courtyards of the quaint town, then go scuba diving at Carmel River State Beach. Don’t forget to stop by Carmel Mission, one of the best places to visit in NorCal. No matter how long you stay here, this summer getaway for couples packs plenty of unexpected things to do.  

Want to do the Paso Doble in Paso Robles? This SLO city is known for its hot springs, wineries, olive oil, almond orchards, and romance.

2. The Spectacular Paso Robles

The ideal romantic getaway in California involves soaking in hot springs and taking mud baths and Paso Robles is the place to do all that and more. As the heart of Central California’s wine country, this rustic-chic town is where you swoon your boo. From olive oil tastings to vineyard tours, life here is slow-paced and luxurious. 

Relax and rejuvenate at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa and treat yourself to a hydrating facial. Soak in the thermal mineral springs to restore balance to your body and spirit. When you’re not unwinding, spend your days exploring the sculpture garden at Sculpterra Winery, marveling at the mesmerizing art installationField of Lightand admiring the architecture of Downtown Paso Robles. 

Big Sur is a spectacularly beautiful, rugged, and scenic stretch of the Pacific Coast in central California, located between San Simeon and Carmel.

3. Lost in Big Sur

Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty of Big Sur. This rugged stretch of coastline is where nature lovers dream—the perfect long weekend here is best spent with your one and only. Drive north from Los Angeles and you’ll find plenty of places to stop along the way that make your romantic summer getaway extra intimate. Partington Cove is one spot you have to see in Big Sur. This small and remote beach is accessed by a dirt trail that takes you through a wooden bridge and tunnel towards one of the most idyllic coves on the Central Coast.

Visiting Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is also a must—one of the two tide falls in the Golden State is found right here. The 80-foot McWay Falls plunges right into the ocean at high tide, creating a one-of-a-kind sight you won’t find anywhere else. As for romantic beaches to spice up your getaway, Pfeiffer Beach is always a top choice in Big Sur.   

Northern California’s best romantic summer getaway 

Not long after the California gold rush, a man by the name of John Patchett bought up land and planted the first commercial vineyard in Napa.

4. Brief Encounter in Napa 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need vino to be drunk in love and Napa is a testament to that. Plan the best August vacation for couples in this Wine Country destination to discover the abundance of Napa while falling deeper in love. Your romantic adventures begin with Safari West, a unique wildlife preserve offering exciting open-air jeep tours. Then, it’s time to unwind at Indian Springs Resort and Spa and detoxify your skin with a mud bath.  

No getaway to Napa is complete without visiting Castello di Amorosa, a striking 13th-century Tuscan castle winery. Tour the medieval-style structure, explore the 100-plus rooms, and marvel at the architectural excellence. Before you conclude your getaway, go on a scenic drive in Napa to take your partner’s breath away. 

Romance is all about ambiance, and San Francisco is one of the few cities in the world that can offer romantics such a distinct advantage.

5. Away We Go To San Francisco 

You gave your heart to your special someone, now get ready to leave it in San Francisco. The City by the Bay is where the best summer vacation ideas for couples come to life. Whether it’s touring the many art galleries, cycling along must-ride bike routes, or riding the waves at the best beaches, you won’t be surprised to find out that S.F. is full of unique things to do with your significant other.   

Begin discovering the hidden gems of San Francisco starting with the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. If you’ve wanted to snap a #couplegoals photo for Instagram, this is where you do it. Later, listen to the ocean calling your name at the Wave Organ located on a jetty in San Francisco Bay. And for a quiet afternoon, head over to the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden, the oldest in the U.S. 

Southern California’s top summer getaway for couples

It's no surprise that so many people get married in Santa Barbara. This California beach town is a lovers' paradise.

6. Sleepless in Santa Barbara 

Luxury, love, and leisure are the holy trinity of Santa Barbara—couples come here to relax on the beach, dine at fancy eateries, and pamper themselves at hotel spas. And honestly, this is exactly how we prefer to spend a romantic summer getaway. It’s time to experience the American Riviera. The best part? You’ll encounter plenty of hidden gems along the way. 

There’s a beach for people of every interest in Santa Barbara—swim at Butterfly, tan at Leadbetter, take a sunset stroll at Loon Point, and play volleyball at Summerland Beach. Cross off one of the things on your itinerary and take the Lil’ Toot taxi for a 15-minute boat ride between the Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf. And while being in and around the water is always a pleasure, dedicate an afternoon to exploring one of the most beautiful gardens in CaliforniaGanna Walska Lotusland.  

Next to your boo, the sky is more blue in Malibu. You can literally spend the rest of your life here watching the sun go down with your s.o.

7.  500 Days of Summer in Malibu 

Malibu is all about good times and tan lines, which is why the most romantic summer getaways for couples are always spent here. And where do lovebirds ride excellent waves here? The most common answer is Zuma Beach, respected for its rad waves. Surfrider Beach is another good spot for couples who love to shoot the curl in majestic Malibu.

Outdoor enthusiasts would be happy to know that hiking is a fun way to pass the time here. The Grotto Trail is a great hike for newbies, but the path to Escondido Falls is possibly the most rewarding. When you feel like doing something indoors, make sure to visit the Adamson House—it’s regarded as the “Taj Mahal of Tile”. 

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