California’s size and diversity mean there is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway to the beach, a trip to wine country, or a journey through the wilderness, you can find it all and more.
Travel bloggers have shared 17 honeymoon destinations in California ranging from the beauty and history of northern California down to the diversity and urban vibes of southern California.
Northern California Honeymoons
Cities in northern California are known more for their natural beauty, and it’s easy to see why. There are deep valleys flanked by breathtaking mountains and towering redwood forests following the California coastline.
Not to worry, though. This area of California also has the conveniences of urban cities. You can find the Golden Gate Bridge as well as historic cities like San Francisco. Take a look at these highly recommended honeymoon destinations in northern California.
Recommended by Ania from The Travelling Twins
If you are a nature lover and have no time or money to fly anywhere exotic, Humboldt County may be the perfect place for your honeymoon. Gorgeous dense redwood forest, endless beaches, and a great selection of romantic accommodations on the coast are ideal for outdoorsy honeymooners.
I was always fascinated by Sequoia trees and their heights. So hiking through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and seeing magnificent Redwood trees was on my bucket list. The park has over 100 miles of hiking trails. Our favourite was James Irvine Trail where hiking through the redwoods leads you to a beautiful beach where we have seen a couple of Roosevelt Elks.
If you are a bird lover, as my husband is, you should visit Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. This place is an excellent spot for bird watching and hiking (again!)
Maybe hiking as a honeymoon adventure doesn’t speak to everyone, but for such outdoorsy freaks like us, Humboldt County was a perfect spot to spend time together in nature. And in the evening you can relax in one of the Victorians Inns. Don’t forget to try delicious food in Restaurant 301 in Oldtown Eureka.
Carmel by the Sea
Recommended By Chrysoula from Travel PassionateCarmel by the Sea is a wonderful destination for a Californian honeymoon as it offers beach relaxation, delicious dining, scenic drives, and challenging trails so you really can make it the perfect couples’ trip to remember!
Lying just two hours south of San Francisco, the Carmel Coast is a breathtakingly beautiful destination that provides honeymooners with peaceful, pristine beaches, ancient redwood forests, and a laid-back, bohemian town that truly allows you to escape with your loved one.
Whether you choose to catch a ‘Film in the Forest’ hosted by the Forest Theater Guild, enjoy a day of wine tasting and massages or take a drive down to Big Sur, you won’t be disappointed with your stay in Carmel by the Sea.
Recommended by Sydney from A World In Reach
For couples who prefer an activity-packed vacation over a more relaxing one, San Francisco is the perfect California honeymoon destination. This city is an essential stop on the Pacific Coast Highway that truly has it all: exciting sights, beautiful nature, and delicious food.
San Francisco is full of great things to do. If this is your first time visiting the city, you won’t want to miss the main sights. A few romantic activities include having a picnic in Alamo Square overlooking the Painted Ladies, taking a bicycle ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, and hiking Twin Peaks for a gorgeous view over the city.
Visiting Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco, and it’s worth spending an afternoon there – make sure to reserve tickets in advance. Sights like Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square are all pretty touristy but still worth a visit.
There are several great places to stay in San Francisco for your honeymoon. For a more traditional, romantic vibe, consider a stay at Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, a lovely seaside boutique hotel just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. For a more affordable yet elegant option, consider Staypineapple in Union Square.
Recommended by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
The beautiful Lake Tahoe region is perfect for a honeymoon! Located in the High Sierra in eastern California, the alpine lake is spectacular in every season, with crystal clear water and mountains on its periphery.
You can stay on the shore of the lake, and, if you so choose, do nothing other than enjoy the beauty of your surroundings and each other. Wake up to beautiful sunrises, go for hand-in-hand strolls along with one of the beaches, and enjoy long romantic dinners as you watch the sunset over the lake.
If you want an active honeymoon, you can go on short or long hikes, take a cruise or go canoeing on the lake, ride the Heavenly Mountain gondola to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views, or drive the shore of the lake and snap photos from viewpoints along the way. If you visit Lake Tahoe in the fall, there are many spots near the lake where the colors are gorgeous.
The Landing Resort & Spa is located right on the lakeshore and offers a full-service spa for some pampering couples treatments. The on-site restaurant is also highly rated. Rooms feature lovely fireplaces for snuggling on the couch with some wine.
Recommended by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
As the most famous wine region in the US, Napa is the perfect honeymoon spot for wine lovers. There are more than 400 wineries that make many varietals, but it is best known for the Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a special experience, do your wine tasting while riding on the Napa Wine Valley Train through the spectacular landscape. Also, book a celebratory dinner at the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant.
Once you’ve had enough to drink, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Napa that don’t include wine tasting. You can take a sunrise hot air balloon ride or try the Calistoga mud baths. Art lovers will also enjoy the di Rosa museum which has contemporary art and an outdoor sculpture garden. You can also go hiking in nearby Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.
To get to Napa, fly into San Francisco Airport (SFO), and it is a little more than an hour’s drive. It’s probably best to book a hotel in downtown Napa as it’s the biggest town in the area.
Recommended by Ale from Sea Salt & Fog
Monterey, California is a beautiful coastal community on the California central coast, located less than two hours south of San Francisco. Monterey is a more affordable honeymoon destination than nearby Carmel but still delivers a full California experience.
The city is known for its range of outdoor activities, including beaches, hiking trails, and vibrant marine life. It’s the perfect destination for couples looking to unplug and enjoy the breathtaking California scenery.
Some of the best beaches to visit are Lover’s Point, Asilomar, and Fort Ord Dunes. Lover’s Point is great for a romantic picnic by the water. Asilomar is a local favorite for watching the sunset.
Fort Ord Dunes (our personal favorite) is another great spot to spend the day hanging out and enjoying your partner’s company. At Fort Ord Dunes, keep an eye out for sand boarders (locals who go “surfing” the sand dunes).
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent kayaks and go kayaking right off the beaches, or drive 30 minutes north to Moss Landing to kayak alongside sea otters. Continue driving up the coast and you’ll find a funky beach town you’ll never want to leave.
And don’t forget to visit the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium to meet their sea otter pups. Bonus: you can whale watch right off the aquarium’s decks most of the year.
Staying at the Portola Hotel & Spa will put you within walking distance of downtown Monterey for shopping and trendy eateries, but the area is small enough that you can stay anywhere.
Central California Honeymoons
A little further south is central California. This area begins to offer a little more city-based activities, but there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. This area blends the beauty of the coast with quaint towns full of culture, activities, and beauty. You’ll love these recommended honeymoon destinations in central California.
Recommended by Chantae from Chantae Was Here
Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada is Bass Lake, a quaint lake surrounded by pine trees and just a thirty-minute drive from Yosemite National Park. If you’re a couple who enjoys a bit of adventure, nature, and relaxation, there are few better places in California.
Pack a pair of binoculars to go wildlife-watching as bald eagles build their nests in the trees overhead. Deer often make their way to the lake for a drink of water. Spend your days kayaking, swimming, and picnicking overhead. Visitors can rent a boat for the day for a bit of cruising around the lake and water skiing.
There are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore during the day and quirky restaurants to dine in come mealtime. The Forks Restaurant and Miller’s Landing are two of the most popular cafes among locals and a must-visit during your trip for delicious food and snacks.
One of the most romantic places to spend your honeymoon on Bass Lake is The Pines Resort, a lakeside resort with rooms that range from cozy chalets to waterfront suites.
Recommended by Jessica Kay from A Passion and a Passport
Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in California, and it’s easy to understand why. There are ocean views for days, seaside cliffs, iconic misty coastlines, and even a waterfall flowing right into the Pacific Ocean (one of only two in California).
Big Sur is known for its iconic (and downright stunning) Bixby Bridge, purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. There’s also Limekiln State Park, known for its trails leading to waterfalls in redwood forests and access to the beach.
Ways to make Big Sur an epic honeymoon destination? Have cocktails at sunset at Nepenthe, go hiking at Point Lobos (don’t miss China Cove and Bird Island lookout!), and stay at Ventana Inn – the ultimate honeymoon retreat (and bonus, it’s adults-only). Whether you explore Big Sur for a few days or spend an entire week here, you’re bound to fall in love with this section of California’s Central Coast.
Recommended by Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear
Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in California making it the perfect destination for your California honeymoon. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite is home to gorgeous granite mountains, gushing waterfalls, and sky-high sequoia trees.
Be sure to check out Tunnel View for a scenic view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. In Yosemite Valley, you’ll also get a chance to see other beautiful waterfalls including Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, and Nevada Falls.
In fact, the park is so beautiful that it is known as a great wedding venue making it quick and easy to continue onto your honeymoon in the very same park. The Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite is a nice resort hotel and venue. The Ahwahnee Hotel is also a popular historic hotel from the 1920s with a majestic dining room.
With some of the best sights to see located right in Yosemite Valley, your honeymoon will be memorable and your photos will be amazing.
Southern California Honeymoons
The southern part of California may be its most iconic, with well-known areas like Los Angeles and San Diego. But you won’t be lacking beach views here. Take a look at these popular Southern California honeymoon spots.
Recommended by Victoria from Bridges and Balloons
Palm Springs is an ultimate honeymoon destination, perfect for days lazing by the pool, alfresco cocktails, and nights out at hip bars and restaurants. Depending on your vibe, you could hunker down as a couple or join in with the famous Palm Springs party scene.
It’s home to some of the country’s hippest hotels and luxury suites, but you might prefer a Palm Springs Airbnb where you can have your own space and live like a glamorous local in a quintessential mid-century home, many with their own pools.
Things to do, aside from simply relaxing, are visiting Joshua Tree National Park, having a picnic at Vista Point on Highway 74, taking a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, or doing some shopping along the glitzy El Paseo in Palm Desert.
There are also plenty of spas to choose from, and the hotels are ideal places to hang out for cocktails in the evenings, including the Ritz Carlton, Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Arrive Palm Springs, The Saguaro, and the Parker Palm Springs. Or for some evening entertainment in Rat Pack style, head to Melvyn’s Piano Bar or Michael Holmes’ Purple Room.
Recommended by Daria from The Discovery Nut
A coastal city in Orange County, San Clemente offers a mix of gorgeous scenery and an idyllic seaside atmosphere – a perfect combination for a relaxed and fun honeymoon away from the tourist crowds. The city’s beautiful scenery and idyllic atmosphere make it a perfect honeymoon destination.
Some of the highlights include the iconic San Clemente Pier that opens stunning coastal views and San Clemente Beach Trail along the ocean where you can run, bike, or walk.
But it’s not just honeymooners who are attracted to this place – San Clemente is a surfer’s heaven with people from all over Southern California coming here to ride a wave. Some of the popular beaches in the area are San Clemente State Beach, San Clemente North Beach, and San Onofre State Beach.
After spending time near the ocean, head to Downtown San Clemente for some shopping and dining along the busy Del Mar Street and finish your day with a tour of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, a historic landmark that is perched on a sandstone bluff where you can learn about history and culture of California.
Although San Clemente is an off-the-beaten-path destination in California, it makes for a perfect honeymoon destination with a lot of sunshine, plenty of cultures, and beautiful scenery.
Recommended by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
Couples who love the outdoors should jump at the opportunity to honeymoon in Joshua Tree. Its vastness and plethora of trails mean that you will have lots of time with your special someone without the interruption of others.
The rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes of California’s Joshua Tree National Park make it a bucket-list-worthy destination. Some of the most well-known trails include Indian Cove Nature Trail, Arch Rock Trail, and the Cholla Cactus Garden loop.
However, one of the most romantic things to do in Joshua Tree is to set up a picnic and watch the sunset at Keys View. The lookout point offers panoramic views of Coachella Valley and on clear days you can see out to Signal Hill in Mexico.
For an untraditional honeymoon accommodation, consider staying at Indian Cove at the Joshua Tree National Park or one of the many other glamping spots in the area. We slept there on our USA road trip. The campsite was nestled right inside the park, allowing us to spend the night under the stars among the boulders and Joshua trees. It was a night to remember!
However, there are plenty of boutique hotels and resorts in the nearby towns of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms for more traditional honeymooners.
Recommended by Chris from Explore Now or Never
The super chic village of La Jolla, just north of San Diego, is a honeymooner’s paradise. Tucked into the scenic coastline here, it oozes romance. Red tiled roofs and white stucco cottages are generously draped with brilliant magenta bougainvillea vines. Cute cafes, hip bars, and healthy, Mediterranean restaurants abound. This is So Cal’s answer to Carmel.
During the day, window shop the art galleries and cute boutiques. Or kayak the sea caves after admiring the sea lions sunbathing in La Jolla Cove. Hike scenic Torrey Pines Reserve or watch the hang gliders at nearby Glider Port.
Choose from dozens of beautiful sandy beaches for a stroll. An electric bike or Segway tour is the perfect way to experience the best of this beautiful village. Or explore the many things to do in San Diego further afield.
Stay in the spacious coastal villas at La Valencia, a memorable Spanish-style hotel that’s been welcoming the Hollywood elite since 1926. With a panoramic view of the coastline and a top-notch spa, you’ll never want to leave!
Recommended by Lina from Divergent Travelers
There are few places in the USA that can offer that vintage romantic feel like Los Angeles. It’s a city that offers the perfect balance between fast-paced city life, high-end shopping, and relaxed beach vibes.
Located in Southern California, the weather is always pleasant with sunny days and plenty of palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze. It’s a city of glitz and glamour and it’s not uncommon to see celebrities out and about while you’re exploring the city.
For the perfect honeymoon, rent a villa on the ocean where you can wake up to the sound of the water lapping on the beach. When you’re ready, you can then head into the faster-paced feeling of the main city areas.
You can do things like hike to the Hollywood Sign, read the stars onsa Hollywood Boulevard, have some fun on the Santa Monica Pier, and then do some window shopping in Beverly Hills. If you’re into the celeb scene, book a Hollywood home tour and drive into some of the swankiest districts of the city.
The best part about Los Angeles for a honeymoon, though, is the ability to slip into quiet corners of the city, into a café or on the beach, where you can share moments between just the two of you.
Santa Catalina Island
Recommended by Daisy from Beyond my Boarder
Santa Catalina Island is a beautiful spot along the coastline of California. Since it lies off of the US mainland, Santa Catalina is a lot more laid back than the hustle and bustle of major Californian hubs. With its crystal blue Pacific Ocean, white sandy beaches, and slender palm trees typical of the state, it can serve as an incredibly romantic honeymoon getaway.
Whether it be a hike along the Trans Catalina Trail or a visit to Lover’s Cove, there are numerous options that offer both tranquility and adventure. You can choose to have a romantic dinner in one of the many yachts along the Santa Catalina coast or attend an event at the gorgeous Catalina Casino Ballroom. Whichever the case, don’t miss out on a few cocktails on the deck of Bluewater Avalon mid-sunset!
To complete the experience, choose one of the many Pacific-facing hotel rooms that the island has to offer. Both the Glenmore Plaza and the Holiday Inn Resort offer great views of the scenery below! Without a doubt, a stay in Santa Catalina is one of the best things to do in California.
Recommended by Gina Tarnacki from Evergreen & Salt
There are so many things to do in Santa Barbara that are great for couples. From activities that create bonding memories to intimate restaurants and wineries, Santa Barbara is the perfect place for a honeymoon. Santa Barbara is an oceanfront city in Central California so you can take long, romantic walks on the beach or walk down the long Stearns Wharf pier.
In town, take an amble down ritzy State Street and tuck into coffee bars or do some shopping for your home at one of the many shops along this pretty street. Renting a tandem bicycle is another fun and romantic way to explore State Street and the surrounding blocks.
Stop at the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and go up to the clock tower for one of the best views in Santa Barbara. The city is close to numerous vineyards and wineries, but you don’t have to leave the city limits to do some wine tasting; just head to the Urban Wine Trail just a couple blocks from the beach and East Cabrillo Boulevard.
For a stay perfect for a honeymoon, check into the opulent Ritz-Carlton Bacara in northern Santa Barbara right by the ocean. It has restaurants and wine tasting conveniently onsite, and beautiful grounds with ocean and mountain views that cover 78 acres. Book an oceanview room with a fireplace for an unforgettable honeymoon filled with romance.
Recommended by Sara from Our Kind of Crazy
If you’re looking for a getaway that is both great in the Summer and the Winter, look no further than Big Bear, California. This little town has it all, a beautiful lake, awesome hike trails, and unbelievable sites. Mix that in with a quaint downtown with great restaurants and shopping and many other things to do and you have a fun-filled honeymoon destination.
Only a few hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear is also one of Southern California’s best ski mountains, which could be a perfect winter honeymoon idea as well. Nestled in the mountains are lots of cabins and dude ranches to choose from for the perfect winter retreat.
Enjoy a romantic week in Big Bear riding around in a pontoon on the lake, kayaking around, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, and cozying up in your own unique cabin. You would never guess this little slice of paradise was just within driving distance of the big city.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central America, South America, and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.