Go for a sunset stroll on the beach and do other romantic activities in southern California. — Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki
With sandy beaches, stunning vistas, gourmet restaurants and five-star hotels, Southern California is made for romance. The next time you're looking for a couple's getaway or date day in SoCal, head with your sweetie to one of these 10 best Southern California locations for romance.
1. La Jolla
The upscale San Diego community of La Jolla is made for romance. Amble down the walking path framing the La Jolla Cove, a rugged piece of shoreline teeming with cliff views and sea life. Then dine in one of La Jolla's romantic five-star restaurants, such as the Marine Room, where waves crash against the windows at high tide.
Located across the bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado is a ritzy neighborhood with an island vibe and a wide beach with some of the cleanest, softest sand in San Diego. Spend the day lounging together by the surf, then retire for the night in a room at the famous Hotel Del Coronado.
3. Laguna Beach
Spend time as a couple wandering the streets of downtown Laguna Beach and popping into its many art galleries, such as the sea-life-themed Wyland Galleries. It will feel like a posh date without losing the laid-back cool of Southern California, thanks to the adjacent beach.
Go for a romantic drive along the Malibu coast. — Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki
Malibu is located at the north edge of Los Angeles, but seems a world away from the glitz and glam of the city due to an incredible coastline punctuated by rocky cliffs and shimmering waves. Find a spot just for the two of you at El Matador State Beach. Then dine at one of the restaurants hugging the cliff, like Nobu.
5. Catalina Island
Escape to some island paradise at Catalina Island, which is a little more than an hour from the SoCal mainland. Rent a golf cart and drive around the perimeter of the little town of Avalon for ocean vistas, or rent lounge chairs at Descanso Beach Club and relax while being served tropical drinks.
Spend the afternoon sipping wine together in Southern California's premier wine tasting destination, Temecula Valley. Don’t miss Wilson Creek Winery and its Almond Champagne. Stay overnight at South Coast Winery’s romantic boutique accommodations right next to the vineyard.
Check out Carlsbad’s charming and walkable downtown area, Carlsbad Village. Wander the streets and do some shopping in its many beachwear shops, stop in Carlsbad Chocolate Bar for some sweets, visit Paon or Relm for a glass of wine and eat dinner on the romantic garden patio at Fresco Trattoria & Bar.
8. Santa Monica
Enjoy a fun date at the Santa Monica Pier. — Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki
Put some fun into your romance at Santa Monica's famous pier. With rides, carnival-style games and food – plus impressive ocean views coming at you from nearly every side – the Santa Monica Pier is a fun, active place for a date. Stay the night at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and get a couple’s massage at the luxurious on-site spa.
When it comes to date locations, Newport Beach is an Orange County favorite. Walk down the boardwalk and take a spin on the Ferris wheel or split a yummy funnel cake, go for a romantic sunset cruise around the scenic bay (and marvel at the amazing oceanfront mansions) and spend the night listening to waves at the Newport Beach Hotel.
You may think Disneyland is for children, but the amusement park wonderland in Anaheim is also great for couples. Feel like kids again as you hop on rides and reminisce about your favorite childhood characters. Make a reservation to eat under romantic twinkling lights at Blue Bayou Restaurant, located right by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.