Trying to decide where to go in California to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style? From the the vineyards of Napa Valley to the historic streets of Santa Barbara, you have plenty of romantic options. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back day of wine-tasting, a secluded weekend in the mountains, or an oceanfront California vacation rental perfect for watching the sunset, these are the top cities to visit with your valentine.
1. Napa Valley
Situated 50 miles north of San Francisco, Napa Valley is easily the state’s most popular romantic getaway for vacation rentals overlooking the region’s rolling hills and vineyards. Nearly 400 wineries dot the area, including the famous Castello di Amorosa. For a more unique wine-tasting experience, check out one of the sparkling wineries such as Schramsberg Vineyards. Napa is also home to Calistoga Spa Hot Springs and numerous other luxury spas where you can enjoy a dip in the natural warm waters with your loved one before your couple’s massage. To top off your stay, enjoy a special Valentine’s dinner on the Napa Valley Wine Train while sipping on champagne and watching the sun set over the vineyards.
2. San Francisco
For a nostalgic California Valentine’s Day, you can’t beat watching the sunset illuminate the Golden Gate Bridge from Golden Gate Park. You can also take one of the old-fashioned cable cars to one of the urban wineries such as Bluxome Street Winery followed by a date night at the American Conservatory Theater. For a truly special trip, embark on a Valentine’s Day bay cruise with Hornblower or a local schooner, or sample artisan cheeses at the ferry-building marketplace. Finally, give your loved one a kiss on Lover’s Lane at the Presidio, the city’s national park featuring endless networks of peaceful walking trails.
3. Catalina Island
This secluded island just 26 miles from Los Angeles is the perfect spot for a Valentine’s Day that blends island romance with outdoor entertainment. Choose from parasailing, helicopter tours, or glass-bottom boat tours followed by a massage for two at Hotel Catalina or one of the other luxury spas. You can also stroll hand-in-hand through the Catalina Art Gallery before sitting back for a bowl of clam chowder and a glass of wine at one of the oceanfront restaurants in Avalon. For a romantic stroll, try the paths winding through Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Gardens, or look for sea glass along Pebbly Beach.
4. Santa Monica
For a beach getaway with a touch of urban fun, your valentine is sure to appreciate strolling along the flowered walkways of Third Street Promenade while browsing art galleries in sunny Santa Monica. Be sure to enjoy an evening ride on the Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier when the wheel is illuminated by thousands of LED lights shining in red and pink for Valentine’s Day. When night sets in, enjoy dancing and drinks at the city’s hip bars such as The Bungalow, a trendy spot at Fairmont Miramar Hotel with margaritas and ping pong tables. For something a bit more laid-back, stop by Sonoma Wine Garden and other romantic wine bars, or sit down for champagne and fresh oysters at Blue Plate Oysterette.
5. Big Bear
If spending Valentine’s Day cuddled up together with a mug of hot cocoa while watching snow fall fits your style, this mountain resort town on Big Bear Lake is where to go in California. Enjoy a day of skiing at Snow Summit or Bear Mountain, and embark on a snowshoeing trip before retiring to your private cottage or rustic cabin. You can also hop on a toboggan to race down the alpine slide or set off on a winter horseback ride through the fresh powder. For a romantic dinner, consider The Pines Lakefront or Sweet Basil Bistro.
6. La Jolla
Sweep your loved one off to this chic town 15 miles north of San Diego for an enchanting beach vacation without the crowds. Relax on the beach with your Valentine at La Jolla Shores Beach, or enjoy some adventure with a kayak excursion through the sandstone formations of La Jolla Cove. After watching the sea life at Birch Aquarium, end the evening with a performance at the Comedy Store or La Jolla Playhouse. For a Valentine’s dinner with views of the sun setting over the Pacific, La Jolla features several fine-dining options such as an Italian dinner at The Marine Room or seafood cuisine at Georges at the Cove.
7. Santa Barbara
Journey 95 miles north of Los Angeles to this romantic city where the Spanish Colonial architecture of the old mission, the county courthouse, and other buildings transport you to a time gone by. Take a lover’s stroll through 78 acres of native flora at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, or tour the three wineries in the Santa Rita Hills for a relaxing day of wine-tasting. You can also find more than 30 spas as well as countless fine dining restaurants on Sterns Wharf. Don’t leave Santa Barbara without stealing a kiss in the rose garden of the famous hill-top mansion.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing California vacation rentals on Tripping.com.