The city of San Jose is tucked away in the Santa Clara Valley on the south end of the San Francisco Bay in California. With the Pacific Coast to the west and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, San Jose is home to spectacular views and attractions. Situated near many San Jose vacation rentals are nearly endless opportunities for shopping, sightseeing, wine tasting, fine dining, and intimate walks amidst magnificent natural beauty. Here are the most romantic weekend getaway spots from San Jose.

1. Little River

ocean trees
Source: Flickr/Don DeBold

The charming small town of Little River lies just over four hours north of San Jose on the magnificently beautiful Mendocino Coast. Enjoy leisurely hand-in-hand strolls through the lovely redwood groves of Van Damme State Park, which parallels the river, and along the soft sand of Van Damme State Beach. In the nearby town of Mendocino, peruse the work of local artists at the Mendocino Art Center and Prentice Gallery. Play nine holes with the vast Pacific Ocean as a backdrop at Little River Golf Course. If you’re looking to unwind, relax with a couple’s massage and aromatherapy at the Mendocino Inn and Spa. After, you can feast on fresh fish and organic produce while you appreciate a spectacular ocean view at Wild Fish Restaurant.

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2. Napa

napa wine countryThe beautiful city of Napa, which sits along the Napa River in the midst of California’s famous wine country, is less than two hours from San Jose. Savor a luxurious guided wine tasting experience in a sedan or stretch limo with Napa Valley Wine Country Tours. Alternatively, ride bikes from winery to winery with Getaway Adventures Sip ‘N Cycle Wine Country Bike Tours. Drink champagne and watch the sunrise on a romantic hot air balloon flight with Napa Valley Balloons. In town, pair your wines with appropriate snacks at the Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant and the Vintage Sweet Shoppe. When you’re hungry, enjoy a mouthwatering steak at Cole’s Chop House on Main Street.

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3. Mill Valley

creek forest treesLocated just under one and a half hours from San Jose, the lovely town of Mill Valley lies north of the Golden Gate Bridge at the eastern edge of the magnificent Muir Woods National Monument. Take an intimate walk along scenic trails through groves of towering redwood trees. Visit the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts and the Seager/Gray Gallery to appreciate the works of local artists. After you’ve spent a few hours browsing at art, you can explore the eclectic jewelers, boutique clothing shops, and antique shops in historic downtown Mill Valley. Enjoy some excellent Italian food at La Ginestra or some mouthwatering Mexican cuisine at the Playa.

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4. Carmel-by-the-Sea

seaside cityThe resort town of Carmel-by-the-Sea sits alongside a beautiful pristine section of beach on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula about an hour and a half from San Jose. The beach features long stretches of soft white sand and lovely paths over bluffs with scenic views. Renowned as an artist colony, Carmel-by-the-Sea has many fine galleries to explore, including New Masters Gallery, Gallery Sur, and Gallery by the Sea. Take a walking tour of the diverse venues with Carmel Art Tours, or enjoy a hands-on experience by joining a painting workshop at Titus Contemporary Gallery. Luxuriate in a relaxing couple’s massage at Kush Day Spa. When you get hungry, dine on some delicious seafood with an Asian ambiance at Flying Fish Grill. For dessert, select some delicious delicacies at the Cottage of Sweets.

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5. Kings Beach

lake snow mountainsThe town of Kings Beach lies on the north shore of gorgeous sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe about four and a half hours from San Jose. If you want to get your blood flowing, rent a pair of bicycles at Tahoe Bike and Ski, and pedal your way along the lakeshore while you marvel at the breathtaking panoramic scenery. Paddle the pristine waters of the lake on a kayak tour with Tahoe Adventure Company. When you want to relax, have a therapeutic massage at the Sanctuary. For breakfast, the Brockway Bakery offers a mouthwatering selection of donuts, Danishes, and rolls. For dinner, have cocktails and prime rib while enjoying a magnificent lakeside view at Jason’s Beachside Grille.

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6. Paso Robles

vineyard field
Source: Flickr/duluoz cats

Located three hours south of San Jose, the charming city of Paso Robles is renowned for the beauty of its vineyards, almond orchards, hot springs, and surrounding rolling hills. The experienced guides at Uncorked Wine Tours take you in luxury vans to the best of the area’s wine tasting rooms. Visit the Paso Robles Zoo, a project of Conservation Ambassadors, to view exotic wildlife rescued from abusive situations. Browse for antique jewelry, furniture, art, books, and other items from multiple dealers at the massive Relics Antique Mall. When you’re thirsty, enjoy some local craft beer and calamari at Pappy McGregor’s Irish Bar and Pub. If you crave a juicy cut of beef, enjoy the Old West ambiance at Cool Hand Luke’s Steakhouse.

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7. San Simeon

california museumSan Simeon is a lovely seaside town about four hours south of San Jose. The Hearst Castle, an immense mansion constructed by the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, dominates the hillside to the east. The town features a charming waterfront and pier, a long stretch of sandy beach, and the nearby Piedras Blancas Rookery, where you can view rare elephant seals. Don’t miss a romantic evening tour of the magnificent castle, which seems to spring right out of a fairy tale. Check out the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay for fascinating displays on local history and ecology. When it’s time for an intimate dinner, enjoy beachside views while you dine on local seafood at San Simeon Beach Bar and Grill.

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