Home to world-famous cities, gorgeous beaches, scenic mountains, historic small towns, and wondrous national parks, California packs in arguably the most diverse experiences and one-of-a-kind destinations of any state in America.
Where do newlyweds even begin with so much to explore and do? Read on for our top ten locations to spend a honeymoon in the Golden State. Then start your honeymoon registry and begin planning the getaway you've always been dreaming about.
Whether it's the world-famous sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, long-standing attractions like Fisherman's Wharf, or world-class dining options, San Francisco truly has it all and is overall a fabulous choice for a honeymoon getaway.
Couples could easily spend weeks exploring the city's marvelous neighborhoods, gorgeous parks, and embarking on unforgettable active pursuits like biking, hiking, and kayaking. The city also makes for a terrific jumping off point to other nearby destinations, so couples could spend a memorable week in "The Golden City" before taking off to other amazing places like Napa Valley, Big Sur, or Lake Tahoe.
Stay: The Fairmont San Francisco is an ideal pick for honeymooners. The elegant property is known for its tremendous city views, top-notch service and central location in Nob Hill.
With nearly 350 days of sunshine per year, this is an ultimate honeymoon spot for sun-seekers. A true year-round destination, Palm Springs also beckons newlyweds thanks to numerous galleries, boutique shopping, excellent fine dining, and stylish accommodations (which often feature gorgeous mid-century modern design).
Don't miss exploring Joshua Tree National Park, just a 35-mile drive from town. The park, which features two unique desert ecosystems, boasts incredible hiking, biking, climbing, and stargazing opportunities.
Stay: Drop your bags at Sparrows Lodge, a completely restored 1950s retreat. On top of 20 well-appointed rooms (many with private patios), the modern rustic property features a communal barn, outdoor fire pit, vegetable garden, and beautiful pool complete with umbrellas and misters.
Looking for a small town honeymoon retreat? Only a handful of places in America can rival the quaintness of Carmel-by-the-Sea, home to a colorful mix of boutiques, art galleries, cozy accommodations, superb dining options, and unique architecture. This fairy tale-like destination is nestled right along California's scenic coastline, about 75 miles south of San Jose, and is the perfect home base for exploring beautiful spots like Carmel Beach, Monterey, and Big Sur.
Stay: Book your honeymoon accommodations at L'Auberge Carmel, which exudes an "Old World" ambiance that few U.S. properties can match. Honeymooners can expect four-poster, open canopied beds, heated floors in the bathroom, and complimentary breakfast.
Let the glitz, glamour and bright lights of Los Angeles shine the way towards a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. Start by booking a behind-the-scenes tour at Universal Studios Hollywood or Warner Brothers. Couples can get a unique glimpse at sets, props and working studios for current TV shows and classic movies.
In addition to Hollywood attractions, the city also blends fabulous beaches -- each one with a very distinct personality -- with amazing art (don't miss the Getty Center) and other world-class cultural attractions like Griffith Observatory. Meanwhile, with terrific year-round weather, Los Angeles is ideal for amazing al fresco dining experiences at top eateries like Firefly and Republique.
Stay: Drop your bags at Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, a modern-style property situated in one of LA's most walkable neighborhoods. The hotel features 105 guest rooms and suites, a poolside lounge, and some terrific dining options.
Couples seeking once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experiences will certainly find them in the Golden State. California is home to a whopping nine national parks, the most of any state in America. From the otherworldly desert terrain of Joshua Tree and Death Valley to the massive trees of Redwood and Sequoia to the iconic scenery of Yosemite, the national parks of the state are truly diverse and captivating.
Stay: Some of the most scenic campgrounds in the United States can be found in California national parks. Newlyweds seeking cozier quarters will want to book at spots like The Ahwahnee at Yosemite National Park or Wuksachi Lodge at Sequoia.
With a super walkable downtown entertainment district, fabulous beaches, and world-renowned destinations like the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego is easily a top honeymoon pick.
First, soak in the sun at Coronado Beach, a 1.5-mile long stretch of gorgeous sand that's popular with swimmers and sunbathers alike. After exploring the Zoo and Safari Park, spend your nights exploring the Gaslamp Quarter and it's impressive collection of fine dining, shopping, parks, nightlife, and theaters.
Stay: Hotel del Coronado, an iconic luxury hotel situated right along the beach. Couples will find ample romantic options, from bonfires on the beach to surfside dining to relaxing in a private pool cabana.
Seeking a taste of the Mediterranean without leaving the states? Plan a honeymoon to beautiful Santa Barbara. Between the red tile roofs and Spanish-Moorish architecture, sandy beaches, terrific wineries, and big-city culture, newlyweds can plan a European-style getaway filled with one-of-a-kind experiences. Plus, with gorgeous mountain views, close proximity to the ocean, and pleasant year-round weather, there's never a bad time to visit.
Stay: Make your reservation at Palihouse Santa Barbara, a lovely boutique hotel situated in Santa Barbara's downtown historic Presidio neighborhood. Highlights include 24 rooms and suites, a peaceful Mediterranean-style courtyard, shimmering pool with cabanas and lounge chairs, cocktail bar, and garden cafe.
For grape, dining and outdoor enthusiasts, Napa Valley is a perfect place to spend your first days as newlyweds. Begin with a tour of acclaimed wineries like Schramsberg Vineyards, Round Pond Estate, and Beringer. Next, be sure to soak in the region's amazing landscape (think endless rows of vines and rolling hills), leading to wonderful adventures like hot air ballooning, hiking, biking, and golfing.
When you also factor in the region's charming small towns, world-class dining options, and extraordinary resorts and inns, this is one special destination that honeymooners can easily explore for weeks.
Stay: Reserve a room at North Block in Yountville. The small, chic property features 20 comfortable, sophisticated rooms centered around a lush courtyard. Premium king rooms have a fireplace while second floor accommodations have balconies. The hotel is also home to the North Block Restaurant, serving up fresh, seasonal California cuisine along with woodfired pizzas.
As a notable winter sports destination and top-notch summer getaway spot, Lake Tahoe provides honeymooners a wonderful vacation no matter the season. Thinking about a cold-season honeymoon? Take advantage of Lake Tahoe's plethora of ski resorts, many of which are ranked among the best in North America. The region also boasts a ton of winter sports activities such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.
Prefer a warm-weather getaway? Couples can look forward to plenty of boating pursuits, zip lining, hiking, kayaking, and hot air ballooning. It's also the perfect season for day trips to charming towns like Truckee and Tahoe City.
Stay: Soak in the beauty of the region with a stay at Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe. The luxury resort is located slope-side on Northstar California, allowing ultimate convenience for skiers. Come summer time, the resort boasts exclusive lakeside access at Lake Club, an outdoor pool, invigorating spa, and fine dining options.
Known as one of the happiest places in America, the town of San Luis Obispo is also a delightful honeymoon destination. On top of its amazing Mediterranean climate, San Luis Obispo, nicknamed "SLO", is a unique place to explore the great outdoors thanks to its location near the Pacific Ocean and scenic Coast Range. Be sure to discover the amazing surroundings through hiking, biking, kayaking, or surfing. Also, don't miss some of the award-winning wineries spread throughout Edna Valley.
SLO is also home to one of the most charming downtowns in America. Couples can spend days browsing the many boutique stores, restaurants, galleries, farmers markets, and parks.
Stay: Drop your bags at Hotel San Luis Obispo, a contemporary property conveniently situated downtown. Couples can expect cozy accommodations, two restaurants and bars, complimentary bikes, a swimming pool, and an excellent spa.
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