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Looking for romantic getaways from San Diego? Here are our top picks of nearby destinations that are perfect for a blissful break with your loved one.
Between the daily hustles and socializing, it becomes really difficult to keep the romance alive in modern relationships. No doubt San Diego itself is a beautiful city, there are more charming destinations that you would love to explore with your partner hand in hand. Whether you like a relaxing holiday at the beach, want to treat your partner at gorgeous wineries or lounge while soaking up breath-taking views of nature, you will surely find a destination that suits both of you. Here are the most romantic getaways from San Diego that are totally worthy of the escape.
Romantic Getaways From San Diego
1. Coronado Island
Located just a fifteen-minute drive from San Diego is Coronado Island—a romantic beach escape with a laid-back atmosphere to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. During your time on the island, you can enjoy an action-packed trip, or you can simply relax on Coronado Central Beach with a cocktail in hand. Some of the best things to do on Coronado Island for couples include renting a tandem bike to cycle down The Strand as a team, perusing the boutique shops along Orange Avenue, or enjoying a delicious dinner date at The Henry. You can end the night with gelato from Bottega Italiana, located across the street from The Henry/
For a memorable romantic stay, book a room at the Hotel del Coronado. This beachfront hotel was built in 1888 and has hosted dozens of celebrities and political figures over the past century. Even if you don’t stay at the Hotel del Coronado, don’t miss the chance to walk through the hotel’s historic lobby and beautiful garden courtyard.
Distance from San Diego : 8 km
How to Get to Coronado Island : Drive across the Coronado Island Bridge or take the Coronado Ferry from San Diego.
Best Time to Visit : March – November
Where To Stay In Coronado Island (Resort) : Loews Coronado Bay Resort
By Brittany Sawyer of Travel By Brit
2. Catalina Island
The charming town of Avalon at Catalina Island is one of the most romantic getaways from San Diego located 22 miles off the coast of the Pacific Ocean from mainland California. This beautiful island town offers incredible ways to spend a romantic day, night, or weekend away with your lover. For starters there are magical resorts with ocean views steps away from the water and breathtaking views of the ocean.
Spend your mornings or afternoon at the Descanso Beach club sipping on cocktails taking a break to cool off in the chilly turquoise water where you can see the giant, orange Garibaldi fish swimming beside you or rent a kayak here for a little adventure. Hike up to Mt. Ada for an unforgettable meal with a view at one of the highest points in town overlooking everything. Along the way, be sure to stop at the viewpoint and take a seat on the bench under the tree to relax and take a romantic moment in together.
At night, be sure to book a date night by enjoying a movie for two inside the historic Casino movie theatre that is preserved from the 1920s. Join a food tour, happy hour tour, history tour, ghost tour, or play a round of mini golf together in the heart of town. Don’t miss the gorgeous flora and fauna plus additional views and vistas at the Wrigley’s Botanic Garden located just a short walking distance from town too.
Last but not least, you can book an adventure on the back side of the island to areas less explored seeing some of the island’s native fox species that can only be found on the Channel Islands about the size of a house cat, the island bison left there from a movie shoot in the golden years of Hollywood, or check out insane vistas that will have you questioning if you are actually on an island in the US or not!
Distance from San Diego : 65 miles to Dana Point where you get on the Catalina Express ferry for 9:30 am departure which is another 90 minute journey to Avalon.
How to Get There : Get to the Catalina Express ferry terminal at 34675 Golden Lantern. There are daily ferries at 9:30 and 11:30 am. These ferries are 90 minutes long. If you’re doing a day trip from San Diego it is recommended to book your tickets in advance and secure a 9:30 am departure ferry so you can return on the 2:45 pm or 5:00 pm departure ferry from Avalon. Staying overnight is the best though.
Best Time To Visit : All year long! Expect that the summer months are going to be the most in demand and popular times to visit, this will require advance booking on ferry tickets. Going off season or shoulder season gives more flexibility and is often less crowded.
Where To Stay In Catalina Island : The Edgewater
By Megan Indoe of Bobo and Chichi
Temecula is the perfect romantic getaway from San Diego because there are so many fun things to do with your partner. You can also make your trip as adventurous or as relaxing as you would like. Temecula is most well known for its wineries so if you are a wine lover then this trip is a must. You can spend a full day hopping from winery to winery. A few not to miss are Miramonte Winery, Robert Renzoni Winery, and Wilson Creek Winery.
You can even go horseback riding through a winery here. If you want to get in some exercise after all the wine tasting then there are plenty of hiking trails to explore as well. Head to Harvest-On Lake Loop for an easy one or try Vail Lake Loop for a little tougher challenge. If you are looking to relax instead then check out one of the many spas in the area. One of the best is The Grapeseed Spa at South Coast Winery.
You can really splurge on this trip and take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. It’s expensive, but what could be more romantic than that? Temecula really is a great weekend getaway from San Diego.
Distance From San Diego : 1.5 hours/106.5 km
How To Get There : Car is the best though you could take a Greyhound Bus or Uber.
Best Time To Visit : March – May brings the best weather but you will find more festivals/entertainment in the months June till October.
Where To Stay In Temecula : South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
By Chelsey of Chelsey Explores
4. Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe, or Valle (pronounced vay-yay) for short, is one of the most unique places in Mexico. Known as the Napa Valley of Mexico, this up-and-coming wine region and foodie haven in Baja California state is a popular romantic trip for Southern Californians. For wine novices, head to Santo Tomas to learn the basics of winemaking and enjoy the views from their tasting room. If you want one of the most special Valle experiences, check out AlXimia, which is basically a winery meets spaceship.
For a romantic sunset dinner, you can’t beat the panoramic views at Bar Bura, situated high upon a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you’re staying overnight, Bura is located at Cuatro Cuartos, one of the places for glamping in Valle.
Distance From San Diego : Valle de Guadalupe is located just two hours/135km from San Diego via either the Tijuana or Tecate border crossings.
How To Get There : You can drive your car or join a tour, which is a great option because then you won’t have to worry about driving after wine tasting. Either way you get to Valle, the landscape along Mexico’s Route 3 as you drive in is very beautiful. When you arrive, there are about 120 vineyards and gourmet dining options on the Valle Wine Trail.
Best Time To Visit : The best time to visit Valle is in late-August to early-October, during the grape harvest season. If you’re really lucky, you might even see grapes being sorted and processed.
Where To Stay In Valle de Guadalupe (Chalet) : Don Tomas Viñedo cabañas
By Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo
If you are looking for an easy romantic getaway from San Diego, then consider wine country at Escondido. Just under 45 minutes drive from downtown San Diego, Escondido is the county’s version of wine country growing a variety of viable and up and coming vineyards and wineries to visit in the area. Escondido also has a wonderful and walkable downtown street venue filled with antique stories, fun cafes and restaurant, art galleries and cool boutique stores.
For those that are interested in more beers and breweries, Escondido has a variety of fantastic brew pubs to visit, sample and even eat some delicious foods prepared at the breweries including’ Stone Brewery, Wild Barrel Brewing, Plan 9 Aleshouse, Little Miss Brewing and quite a few more to enjoy. Escondido also has lots of fun outdoor parks, lakes and hiking venues that you and a romantic partner can enjoy being active in some gorgeous countryside.
For a wonderful and easy weekend getaway from San Diego, consider visiting Escondido for wine country to brew pubs, exploring a fun downtown scene and also cool outdoor activities to do around the area.
Distance From San Diego : Escondido is located about 40 minutes north of central San Diego
How To Get There : How to get there: You need to drive and take Hwy 163 North and Hwy I-15
Best Time To Visit Escondido : Escondido is a year round wine country destination but is definitely cooler in the winter months and popular to visit in the summer time vacation periods. Fall time brings in fall colors from the landscape and vineyards in the area.
Where To Stay In Escondido : SpringHill Suites
By Noel Morata of Oahu Travel Now
6. Palm Springs
Palm Springs is an ideal romantic getaway from San Diego, especially during October through April. Palm Springs offers much more than golf courses, pools, and excellent cuisine, although there is plenty of each. Note that the Greater Palm Springs area includes other cities, like La Quinta, Coachella, and Indian Wells. The area remains a green and lush oasis in the California desert chiefly because it sits upon a massive underground aquifer.
Popular things to do in Palm Springs with your partner include riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tram (be prepared for 30º cooler temps at the mountain top), visiting the hip Palm Springs Art Museum, hiking in Agua Caliente Indian Canyons and many other places, and exploring San Andreas earthquake faults with Desert Adventure Red Jeep Tours. Of course you can always opt to relax by the closest pool (or enjoy even more private romance in your cool inn suite), be pampered with spa treatments, and stare into each other’s eyes over a romantic dining experience. You can even leave your car and take advantage of the trolley running along Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon roads.
Some annual events to share with your partner include Modernism Week (February), Walk of the Inns (December), Palm Springs Film Festival (January), and Palm Springs Indian Festival (February). But any month is a great time for a romantic getaway to Palm Springs.
Distance from San Diego : 2 hours 20 minutes, 224 km
How To Get There: Car is most convenient but Greyhound bus operates between San Diego and Desert Hot Springs.
Best Time To Visit: people visit Palm Springs all year but winter through Spring Break is most popular.
Where To Stay In Palm Spring : Alcazar Palm Springs
By Charles McCool of McCool Travel
Solvang, California is easily one of the best romantic getaways from San Diego. This charming Danish town is full of great wineries, lovely hotels, and boutique shops that make a quick weekend getaway well worth it. Start off by admiring the lovely architecture and scenery in the town known as “Little Denmark in America.” There are windmills to spot, cute little shops, and even a replica of the Little Mermaid statue.
Grab some lovely danishes at a shop here before trying some of the best wineries in Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. Some favorites include the Wayward Son Pinot Noir from Carhartt Vineyard, the Consilience La Presa Petite Syrah from Sanger Family of Wines, and the Grenache Rose from Sunstone Vineyards & Winery. Then, be sure to get a couples massage at the Enchanté Cottage Spa before a lovely dinner at Mad & Vin.
Other great things to do in Solvang include a hike up to Nojoqui Falls, explore the Jule Hus Christmas store, and visit many museums like the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum. Solvang is the little Danish town in SoCal that you will absolutely want to visit for a weekend getaway.
Distance From San Diego : Located in Santa Barbara County, it is around 420 km from San Diego.
How To Get There : After a 4.5 hour drive from San Diego, if you are lucky and don’t hit traffic, this quaint little town has all you need for a relaxing and romantic trip.
Best Time To Visit : Solvang is lovely pretty much year-round. But it is charming in the autumn months (September till November) when the leaves change as well as around the holidays for the Christmas decorations around the town.
Where To Stay In Solvang : Hotel Corque
By Katherine Butler of World Wide Honeymoon
8. Big Bear
The snow-covered mountain peaks, the fresh air, and the crisp clean winter weather are just a few of the things that make Big Bear an ideal romantic holiday destination. The slopes are perfect for beginners and experts with many different levels of difficulty. You can also get a ski or snowboard lesson to improve your skills in no time.
There’s plenty more fun to be had outside the mountains too, from winter activities like ice skating on Bear Mountain Lake all year round to boating and fishing during the warmer months. There are a number of accommodations available in Big Bear from ski lodges that offer suites with fireplaces to quaint summer cabins right by the lake. You will want to bring your own skis or rent some at one of many local shops along Village Drive.
Distance From San Diego : Big Bear is just 145 miles from San Diego.
How To Get There : It’s a quick three-hour drive from San Diego. Most people travel by car to get there but you can also take a nice relaxing train ride in approximately 7 traffic-free hours.
Best Time To Visit : From January to March when the snow is plentiful and piles high on Sugarloaf Mountain.
Where To Stay In Big Bear : Holiday Inn Resort
By Cortney of Tin Can Living
Which one of these romantic getaways from San Diego is your favourite? Share with us in the comments section below.