California has a certain allure one can't deny. Its landscape is an ideal tapestry for romance up and down the coast to take in those spectacular sunsets over the ocean. Its inland offerings with golden rolling hills and several popular wine regions are also enticing for couples. The West Coast will delight and surprise with breathtaking vistas, amazing eats, wonderful wines, and charming cities big and small ready to welcome you for romantic getaways in California.

Wether you're West Coast residents hitting the road for a couple's weekend, or you're coming from afar for more quality time, the Golden State will pull out all the stops for a romantic interlude in our favorite destinations below. HomeExchange has an abundance of hosts across California ready to share their homes for romantic getaways in Southern California and Northern California. Find out more about how HomeExchange can make your romantic getaways in California beautiful, comfortable, and affordable.

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Romantic Getaways in Southern California

Palm Springs: A Desert Oasis for Lovers

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Palm Springs is renowned for its mid-century magic, with stunning architecture and design that add a touch of retro elegance to your romantic escape. Take a leisurely stroll through neighborhoods adorned with iconic homes or embark on a guided architectural tour, discovering the hidden gems of design history. Immerse yourselves in the era's glamour, transporting you to a bygone era where romance and sophistication reigned. Palm Springs also boasts a vibrant culinary scene, offering a myriad of dining options to satisfy every palate. From intimate candlelit dinners in upscale restaurants to al fresco dining under swaying palm trees. Another great couple's activity is to enjoy the local hot springs and spa offerings.

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Joshua Tree: A Spiritual Couple's Retreat

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Immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of Joshua Tree, where desert landscapes intertwine with celestial wonders, creating an enchanting backdrop for a romantic escape. This desert marvel in Southern California beckons lovers from near and far, inviting them to explore its otherworldly charm and surrender to the magic of their connection. Joshua Tree tree is the perfect place for a captivating journey where love and nature converge in perfect harmony. Begin your romantic adventure by exploring Joshua Tree National Park for rugged trail hiking, and as the sun sets stick around for stargazing like you've never seen before. The area also offers a range of retreats providing spa and wellness offerings like couple's massages and more.

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Newport Beach: Postcard So-Cal Coastal Romance

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Skip the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and head south to Newport Beach with your partner for a more relaxing side of Southern California. This pristine Coastal Paradise is just the California cliché you dreamed of, complete with sailboats criss-crossing the horizon. Take a romantic drive down the Highway 1 and turn off towards Balboa Island. This sweet place is perfect for strolling together and admiring its beautiful bridges, houses, and main street where you can shop or stop for a sweet treat. For more shopping and restaurants, head to the adorable Lido Marina Village where you can dine waterfront. For romantic beach walks and some easy trail hiking, Crystal Cove State Park offers bird watching, whale watching, tide pooling, or just the perfect place to relax at the beach for the day. If you're feeling adventurous you can also venture out to discover Catalina Island.

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Santa Barbara County: Romance on the American Riviera

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Santa Barbara steals our hearts again and again. We can't help but keep coming back to this majestic place. In the town of Santa Barbara, couples can soak up all the romance of European charm thanks to its perfectly preserved Spanish colonial architecture. In the downtown district, wine bars and gourmet eateries burst with ambiance for the perfect date night. In Montecito, you can enjoy lush hiking trails that take you to new heights together for beautiful views, or head to the water at Butterfly Beach to watch those stunning sunsets. Escape just over the hill on a romantic drive through San Marcos Pass to visit the Sante Ynez Valley and wine country, where wineries and chic shopping in quant little towns like Los Olivos and Los Alamos will continue to enchant you.

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San Luis Obispo County: Embrace Slow Living Together

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San Luis Obispo, a hidden gem nestled between rolling hills and vineyards, offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Lesser known and thus less expensive than Santa Barbara County or places like Napa, it's an ideal choice when searching for romantic getaways in California on a budget. You can stroll hand-in-hand through charming streets filled with quaint shops and sidewalk cafes. Embark on a romantic hike to the iconic Bishop Peak, where panoramic views reward your efforts. Enjoy a picnic in one of the picturesque parks or soak in rejuvenating hot springs. The nearby wine country of Paso Robles offers vineyards to explore and cuvées to enjoy. You can also head to the coast to see the charming Cambria, and drive a little further up to San Simeon for a romantic jaunt at the famous Hearst Castle. Embrace the slower pace of life in the enchanting San Luis Obispo County that is the perfect place to connect with your loved one.

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Romantic Getaways in Northern California

Carmel: A Seaside Haven of Love

Nestled along the picturesque California coastline, Carmel awaits couples. It's a haven of captivating beauty and timeless romance, with its fairytale-like charm, gorgeous beaches, and quaint village streets. Carmel truly sets the stage for an unforgettable romantic getaway in California. Begin your romantic escapade by taking a leisurely walk along Carmel Beach to embrace the serenity of the Pacific Ocean. Later in town, admire the fairytale-like cottages adorned with vibrant flowers and quaint gardens and explore local art galleries. Carmel also boasts an impressive culinary scene, offering a myriad of dining experiences including award winning restaurants with impressive local wine lists. We also suggest driving the scenic Highway 1 for a romantic outing. For romantic getaways in Northern California, let your love story unfold amidst the beauty and tranquility of the coastal haven that is Carmel.

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Sausalito: The Best Spot for Bay Area Romance

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Nestled along the sparkling shores of the San Francisco Bay, Sausalito beckons lovers with its idyllic charm and breathtaking vistas. This picturesque waterfront town, with its Mediterranean flair and artistic spirit, sets the stage for a truly romantic getaway. Stroll arm-in-arm along Sausalito's Waterfront Promenade to discover stunning views of sailboats on the bay. The town offers amazing waterfront eats, especially for seafood lovers, so make the most of romantic dinners with panoramic views of the bay, all while toasting to your love with glasses of local wine. You can also enjoy a romantic bay cruise together departing from Sausalito. The town boasts shops and galleries, and even some local parks that are the perfect place to steal away for a moment together in nature.

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Napa Valley: Toast to Love in this California Classic for Romance

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Escape to the rolling hills and sun-kissed vineyards of the Napa Valley, where romance blossoms amidst the scent of grapes and the clinking of wine glasses. This renowned wine region is a favorite destination of honeymooners and couples for romantic getaways in California. Immerse yourselves in the vineyard-dotted landscapes that define the Napa Valley from the moment you arrive, or enjoy them from the air with a romantic hot air balloon ride together. A seemingly endless supply of wineries to choose from offers tastings and opportunities to expand your wine making knowledge, or simply stroll amongst the vines. Local towns offer gourmet shops to pick up goodies for the perfect romantic picnic, and an abundance of local spas offer treatments for couples to indulge in wellness together.

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The Sonoma Coast: Dramatic Seascapes to Enjoy Together

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On the breathtaking Sonoma Coast, rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and dramatic seascapes converge to create a paradise for lovers. This idyllic stretch of California's coastline offers a serene and intimate escape that is inviting for couples. You'll enjoy discovering the areas many hidden coves along coastal strolls together. Pack a gourmet picnic and find a secluded spot overlooking the ocean to indulge in a romantic feast for two and stay for a spectacular sunset to enjoy together. If you visit the local renowned coastal wineries, we do recommend picking up something sparkling to make the occasion extra festive. The Sonoma County coastal breeze, scenic views, and crashing waves make it the perfect place to relax and reconnect together. The lesser known Sonoma is also slightly less popular for wine tastings and tourism than the nearby Napa Valley, which makes it a good option for couple's searching for romantic getaways in California on a budget.

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Mendocino County: Coastal Beauty & Majestic Forests

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Just up from the Sonoma Coast, Mendocino County offers another great escape for lovers with it's unique combination of coastal beauty and majestic forests. Immerse yourselves in the artistic spirit of Mendocino County by exploring its charming coastal villages. Wander through the streets of Mendocino and Fort Bragg, where you'll discover art galleries, boutique shops, and quaint cafes. Engage with local artists and artisans, and admire their creations that reflect the region's natural wonders. In addition to its coastal offerings, couples shouldn't miss the majesty of the Mendocino County redwood forests. Here, towering trees create a cathedral-like ambiance for you to take peaceful hikes through the shaded trails,  and marvel at the sheer magnitude of these ancient giants. You'll be sure to find secluded spots to enjoy and make wonderful memories together.

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Romantic Getaways in California with HomeExchange

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As you can see, travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic getaways in California. The Golden State is a trove of treasures for couples looking to make memories together and these destinations are just the beginning. With hosts up and down the state in many of the most desirable destinations, HomeExchange is an ideal way to stay for romantic getaways in Southern California or Northern California. The price of home exchange versus traditional lodging options also can't be beat. So for romantic getaways on a budget in California, HomeExchange makes anything possible. No more excuses, pack your bags and get ready for romance because California is calling...