Southern California

From Palms to Pines: 8 Romantic Getaways in Southern California

These 8 romantic getaways in Southern California will help you rekindle the flame in your relationship – or make sure it keeps burning strong.

As we sped up the Pacific Coast Highway, the hectic streets and busy city life were literally in our rear-view mirror. Looking ahead, we could see the coastline stretching out in the distance, set to the backdrop of a sky bursting with oranges and pinks. We pulled off the road, shuffled over to the soft sand, and sat side by side where we could watch the sunset fade into a pastel twilight.

The natural beauty abundant in Southern California is really all you need for a romantic weekend with your best guy or gal, but there are a few places that really kick up the ambiance. Whether you’re in the mood for sand and surf, fresh mountain air and pine trees, or some cleansing desert heat, try one of these romantic getaways in Southern California. A new chapter in your love story awaits.

Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego

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Many of the coastal communities that line the shores of sunny California are well known for their laid-back surfer vibes, but even in a line-up including Huntington Beach and Malibu, San Diego is next-level chill.

To completely tap into the SoCal state of mind, book your own spacious one-bedroom bungalow on the shores of Mission Bay at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa. The resort is located on its own island, with 44 acres of tropical paradise made for romantic walks through lush greenery and late nights in the Jacuzzi.

Make an evening reservation on the patio at Tidal and dive into their menu of oysters, fish, and scallops while watching white egrets glide by as the sky melts into an intense shade of pink. Skip dessert for now and make a stop at the resort’s convenience store to pick up firewood and a s’mores kit on the way back to your bungalow. Once the stars are out and the air has cooled, grab a fire pit just steps from your door on the beach. Cozy up with blankets and deck chairs while you listen to the fire crackle and pop and the tiny waves of the bay lap up on shore.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

San Diego, 4.3 miles to Balboa Park
7.5 Good (3332 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Lovely "Shea-D Pines" Home with fire pit & Spa near Strawberry Creek, Idyllwild

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Sometimes the best way to reconnect is to disconnect. Head up into the San Jacinto Mountains via the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway to enjoy the peace and quiet of Idyllwild. This little mountain town was originally known as Strawberry Valley, named for the wild strawberries that grow among the pine and cedar trees.

Check in to your own mountain home called the Shea-D Pines Home, nestled among the towering trees for a secluded getaway. Follow the trail along Strawberry Creek to walk into downtown for a morning cup of coffee at Higher Grounds, peruse the art and antique shops, and eat at the best restaurant in town, Café Aroma. Head back home to spend the evening on the large wrap-around deck; breathe in the sweet-smelling mountain air, enjoy the warmth of the outdoor fireplace, or take a long soak in the hot tub.

Lovely Shea-d Pines Home With Fire Pit & Spa Near Strawberry Creek

8.5 Excellent (38 reviews)
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs

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A few more miles along the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway, you’ll experience a dramatic change in climate and scenery as you descend from the San Jacinto Mountains, ending in the warm desert of Palm Springs. The first hotel was built in Palm Springs in 1886. Ever since then, people from near and far have flocked to this desert oasis for blue skies and endless sunshine. Establishments like the El Mirador Hotel acted like a second home to the biggest celebrities during the golden age of Hollywood. Palm Springs’ status as a hot spot for the rich and famous only continues to grow.

Korakia Pensione could be easily overlooked among the slew of mid-century modern, brightly colored hotels known for large summer pool parties in Palm Springs, but it’s better that way. Stepping through the hotel’s keyhole-shaped entrance and into the dreamy Moroccan courtyard is like being transported to another time and place.

Korakia Pensione feels like two resorts in one since half the property is a Moorish-style villa while the other half across the street pulls from Mediterranean inspirations. Both sides feature gorgeous saltwater pools surrounded by rustic but chic villas full of style and charm.

Wake up to a full breakfast served just outside your villa in the Moroccan courtyard, enjoy a complimentary yoga class, or just relish those rays of Vitamin D from a cushy lounge chair by the pool. If you need some extra pampering, schedule a couple’s massage, and then spend the afternoon with a good book pulled from the shelves of the library lounge.

Korakia Pensione

9.1 Excellent (242 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

The Resort at Pelican Hill, Corona del Mar

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If you’re dreaming of a romantic getaway in Southern California that includes a rolling green landscape dotted with stunning Tuscan villas, delicious food and sunny, 75-degree weather, book a stay at The Resort at Pelican Hill. Step onto the 504-acre grounds and you might think you’ve just landed in the Italian countryside, but with the added bonus of ocean views.

The Resort at Pelican Hill in Corona del Mar exudes an effortless sense of luxury and sophistication. Practically every room and villa have a fireplace, deep-soaking marble tub and a view of the Pacific. You’d be remiss not to spend at least an afternoon at the iconic Coliseum pool, preferably at your own private cabana. This is the largest circular pool in the world, with a bottom that sparkles and glows bright blue from over one million glass mosaic tiles.

The Rotunda on the grounds of Pelican Hill easily wins my vote for the most romantic spot in Southern California. The dramatic soaring columns topped with a domed roof are reminiscent of a Roman temple, and the backdrop makes you feel like you’re among the clouds. If a walk down the aisle is in your near future, there’s no better place to pop the question or say “I do” than the Rotunda.

Hotel The Resort at Pelican Hill

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (1880 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles

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All that glitters isn’t gold; you’ll be awash in pastel pinks and dark greens at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, whose long history includes a guest list that reads like the who’s who in the golden age of Hollywood. The hotel predates the city itself, so you could even call it the birthplace of Beverly Hills.

Walking the red carpet into the hotel will get you ready for the star treatment you’re about to receive. The hotel touts itself for its unparalleled service, evidenced by the original owner’s motto that the “guests were entitled to the best of everything, regardless of cost.”

A stay at the ‘Pink Palace’, as it’s often called, isn’t complete without a reservation at the famous Polo Lounge where you’ll sit in the same spots as some of Hollywood’s most prominent power couples. If you had something more relaxing in mind, hang out poolside or in your private bungalow.

The Beverly Hills Hotel

Top rated
Beverly Hills, 1.1 miles to Rodeo Drive
9.2 Excellent (1107 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Calamigos Guest Ranch, Malibu

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A drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu straddles the best of both worlds – Pacific coastline on one side, rolling mountains on the other. The Calamigos Guest Ranch deliver on both sides; the private cottages, bungalows and estate rooms are located on a large ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, but you can still hit the surf by hopping on the resort’s shuttle to their private beach club just 12 minutes down the road.

Since 1937, Calamigos Guest Ranch has been welcoming visitors in search of respite from their busy lives in this simple, rustic mountain setting. The guest ranch is in Malibu Wine Country, so book a private wine-tasting tour, take a scenic horseback ride up through the hills, or head out on a guided nature walk.

If you prefer to spend your time together at the beach, go surfing or paddle-boarding with the complimentary gear available at the beach club. You could also make the most of our time at the hotel by soaking up one of the several stunning pools and the amazing Spa Calamigos located right on the property.

Calamigos Guest Ranch

Malibu, 8.9 miles to Malibu
8.8 Excellent (232 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai

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Ojai is widely known as a mystic area purported to rejuvenate the mind and body. The area was considered a sacred site to the Native American Chumash tribe, naming the valley Ojai, derived from the Chumash word for “crescent moon.” Some still think that Ojai sits atop a spiritual vortex, with individuals and couples alike seeking its healing energy. Even if alternative energy isn’t your thing, you’ll still benefit from the serene atmosphere in this small town.

The Ojai Valley Inn has long played host to tired travelers looking for a weekend of wellness and relaxation. This mission-style retreat sits on an expansive property dotted with majestic oak trees and includes a world-class spa, championship golf course, tennis courts, pools, and bike paths that lead into town.

Book a couple’s massage and you’ll have time to unwind afterward in a spa room that includes a fireplace, whirlpool, and private terrace. The resort also has its own Artist Cottage & Apothecary, where you can get crafty with activities like candle-making, paper marbling or pottery painting during the open studio hours, or sign up for one of the group classes hosted by a local artist.

Ojai Valley Inn

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (1307 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara

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Of the tens of thousands of miles of coastline in the United States, the area around Santa Barbara is prime real estate dubbed the American Riviera. It draws comparisons to the famous French Riviera for its blue waters, stunning mountain backdrop, and quaint, small-town streets lined with whitewashed and red-tiled structures, museums, galleries, interesting shops, and fantastic restaurants.

The Belmond El Encanto, a luxury resort perched among the hills of Santa Barbara, feels more like a wooded neighborhood than a hotel with its brick pathways, ancient eucalyptus trees, and twisting wisteria vines surrounding free-standing bungalows in the California Craftsman and Spanish colonial architectural styles. The Belmond El Encanto has everything you’d expect of a five-star hotel, including ocean views from the horizon-edge pool, verdant gardens, and spacious accommodations that feature private terraces to soak up the serene setting.

California’s central coast has been a leader in the farm-to-table movement, and the dining room at Belmond El Encanto, headed by Executive Chef Johan Denizot, is no exception. Dine al fresco on the hotel’s terrace, where all ingredients from the seasonally based menus are locally sourced, including freshly caught seafood and herbs from the kitchen garden. Order a cheese plate, and you just may be able to sample a slice of cow’s milk cheese from Ellie, the resident dairy cow.

Belmond El Encanto

Top rated
Santa Barbara, 2.6 miles to Leadbetter Beach
9.1 Excellent (787 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Featured image by Kimson Doan on Unsplash