California's Wildly Romantic Beach Getaways

Romantic beaches are not hard to find. All you need is the crashing surf and a stretch of beach long enough to go walking hand-in-hand. As long as you don't pick the back bay at low tide, you're set. But why settle for ordinary? Let's milk the romance for all it's worth. Here are some suggestions for wildly romantic getaways at California beaches. We'll start in Northern California and head south.

Mendocino's Scenic Romantic Beaches

Photo © Nelson Minar /

What could be more romantic than a walk on a deserted beach with the light of your life? Along the Mendocino coast, you might just be lucky enough to have the beach to yourselves. And what wild and splendid beaches they are!

The Village of Mendocino is simply awash in romance, charm, history and gorgeous scenery. It's a haven for artists and writers, where you'll find art galleries, fine restaurants, and unique shops. Many of the buildings date from the 19th century.

Most of Mendocino's bed and breakfast inns are housed in quaint Victorian homes and old farmhouses or cottages. Enjoy it all with a horse drawn carriage ride through the Village.

But the Village isn't your only choice. There are many lovely inns, bed and breakfast establishments and resorts tucked away in the small communities along the Mendocino coast. If you truly want to relax and get away from it all, there's plenty of room to breathe up here.

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Santa Cruz
Fun-filled Romantic Beach Town

Santa Cruz is perfect for playful romantics. At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, you can act like a couple of goofy kids, riding the roller coaster and the antique carousel, playing at the arcade, and stuffing yourselves silly. And, of course, there are miles and miles of beautiful beaches.

If you're so inclined, go surfing, or take lessons. Take a walk among the redwoods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, or go wine tasting in the Santa Cruz mountains . Romantic vacation accommodations include quiet Santa Cruz bed and breakfast inns, luxury spas and resorts, and a variety of hotels and motels.

A Charming Romantic Beach Getaway

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Carmel, California - the name alone conjures romance. You'll find fluffy white sand beaches and an awe-inspiring coastline. Carmel's quaint European style village is a stroller's paradise, with its tree-lined streets, art galleries, antique shops, charming cafes and gourmet restaurants. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, yet always artistic and elegant.

There are plenty of quaint Carmel bed and breakfasts, cozy inns and luxury resorts to choose from, but you'll want to spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring the scenic wonders of the area.

The 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach is a must-see, and nearby Point Lobos State Reserve boasts numerous sandy coves, beaches and tide pools. Big Sur is only 26 miles to the south, on one of the most scenic drives in California. It will take your breath away.

Santa Barbara
A Romantic Beach Resort Destination

Photo courtesy of Rich DuBose

Santa Barbara is elegant, sophisticated and relaxing. The city bills itself as the "American Riviera," and it's not hard to see why. With its tiled roof Spanish Revival architecture, the city exudes an old world charm, and its palm lined streets and beautiful warm beaches make it an inviting resort town.

You'll find plenty of great restaurants and entertainment in Santa Barbara. There are museums, theaters, art galleries, historic sites and plentiful shopping. Take a wine tasting tour in Santa Barbara's wine country, or take a trip to the zoo. If you're feeling more adventurous, go sailing or take a whale watching cruise to the Channel Islands.

You'll find many fine hotels and resorts in Santa Barbara, as well as romantic bed and breakfast inns.

San Diego's Romantic Beach Vacations

Photo © Robbie Rogers /

San Diego is beautiful any time of year. Balboa Park is the jewel in the center of the city, with its lovely botanical gardens, numerous museums, and Spanish colonial architecture. You could easily spend a day here, strolling the grounds. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, head up to La Jolla's craggy shore to explore the sea caves in a tandem kayak.

But the most romantic spot in the San Diego area, bar none, has to be Coronado, with its long stretches of sandy white beach and the dramatic and historic Hotel Del Coronado. This "island" in the San Diego Bay houses a charming little city with plenty of cafes, restaurants, art galleries and unique shops. Take a romantic gondola cruise or enjoy a pedicab tour. You can stay at a luxury resort or hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast or even the magnificent "Hotel Del" itself.

If you're planning a romantic vacation, California has much to offer. These 5 suggestions are only a few of the endless possibilities.

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