When Long Beach, California is your vacation starting point, you’re in an excellent position to easily explore beach towns, electrifying big cities, and quaint communities. Whether you head up the coast to Santa Monica or Santa Barbara, down the coast to Laguna Beach or La Jolla, or inland toward Palm Springs, there are plenty of unique attractions situated in proximity to most Long Beach vacation rentals. Spend lazy days at the beach, take a stroll through shops and art galleries, and partake in the fun of wine-tasting. Check out a few of the most popular romantic weekend getaway spots from Long Beach.

1. Los Olivos

Source: Flickr/Abi Skipp

What’s more romantic than a weekend of wine-tasting? The good news is that you don’t need to waste all your time on the road. Instead, drive up the freeway from Long Beach to the Santa Ynez Valley, and book your vacation rental in quaint Los Olivos. You’ll find yourself surrounded by vineyards, or just stay in town, where the entire town square is filled with tasting rooms and charming shops and cafes, including Panino, a sophisticated sandwich shop within steps of local tasting rooms. With everything in walking distance, you don’t need to worry about who’s going to be the designated driver.

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2. Palm Springs

Source: Flickr/Joyce cory

If laying by a pool sounds like the ultimate relaxation to you, head east to Palm Springs to enjoy retro charm, amazing golfing, and lots of sun. Palm Springs fills up in the spring for spring break and the two-weekend Coachella music festival, but in the winter, it’s the perfect weekend vacation destination to beat the chill. Hit King’s Highway to enjoy the Bloody Mary menu at brunch, or try the old-school piano bar vibe of Melvyn’s. If you remembered to pack your winter coat, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up 5,000 feet to the top of Mount San Jacinto, where you’re likely to be greeted with snow in the wintertime. Golf aficionados may want to check out the many courses that fill the Coachella Valley.

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3. Santa Barbara

Source: Flickr/Michael Theis

Start your romantic weekend off right by getting off the freeway as soon as possible to take Pacific Coast Highway along Malibu and up the coast to Santa Barbara. Here, your vacation rental is likely to add to the romance if you choose one with the 1930s Spanish style that Santa Barbara is known for. In the summertime, grab concert tickets at the beautiful Santa Barbara Bowl, where you can enjoy the ocean view, or pull out a picnic blanket to enjoy outdoor movies on the lawn of the architecturally stunning courthouse. Head to the Funk Zone, as Santa Barbara’s arts district is called, to enjoy craft beers at Figueroa Mountain Brewing and Telegraph Brewing Company.

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4. Idyllwild

Source: Flickr/Brian

In the mountains looming over Palm Springs is the artsy village of Idyllwild, just a couple of hours east of Long Beach. In the summertime, talented young musicians flock here for camps and classes at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, and any concert that falls on your vacation weekend is going to be worth your evening. Get in some exercise by hiking the not-too-challenging Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, and then head to Idyll Awhile to soak up the romantic atmosphere over wine and munchies.

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5. La Jolla

Source: Flickr/Chad McDonald

Head south down the Pacific coast to enjoy a relaxing weekend in La Jolla, the jewel of the San Diego County coastline. Spend a beach day at La Jolla Shores, climb down to La Jolla Cove to view the seals that have taken over the beach there, or confine your strolling to the art galleries and trendy boutiques that line the streets of the charming downtown. Enjoy a romantic dinner at George’s or Whisknladle, and wake up in the morning to savor the ocean view from your vacation rental as you have a casual breakfast on the balcony or patio.

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6. Laguna Beach

Source: Flickr/tdlucas5000

Also a draw for art lovers, Laguna Beach packs its tiny downtown with galleries, quaint shops, and romantic restaurants. Stop by the Montage Hotel for a drink, and watch the sun sink into the ocean before you head back to your vacation rental for a quiet evening together. If you plan to weekend here during the summer, book tickets for the Pageant of the Masters well in advance to enjoy this unique show in which famous artworks are recreated in painstaking and unbelievable detail on stage. While you’re there, pop across Laguna Canyon to the Sawdust Festival to pick up a gift for your loved one from one of the many artisans showcasing their work.

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7. Santa Monica

Source: Flickr/Pedro Szekely

A vacation rental in Santa Monica lets you enjoy wide beaches, a carnival midway, and world-class shopping and dining, all within walking distance. Enjoy afternoon tea at Casa del Mar or drinks at The Lobster as you watch the sun drop over the horizon, and head out onto the Santa Monica Pier to check out the carnival rides, including a spectacular Ferris wheel with views to forever. You can relax on the white sands here, or stroll down the walkway that leads south all the way to the quirkiness of Venice. Shopping and dining on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade combines high-end choices with a little bit of funk; take time to enjoy some of the street musicians as you stroll hand-in-hand, and grab a selfie or two in front of the Chia-Pet-style dinosaur fountains.

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