Romantic California Vacation Ideas

Time together in a romantic setting strengthens a relationship.

There is no shortage of romance in California. The state has beaches, mountains, forests and deserts; it has both the coldest climate in the nation (Bodie) and the hottest (Death Valley). Finding the perfect spot to start a romance or to rekindle a flame takes time, but there are many California destinations worth looking into---some common and some that may not come immediately to mind.

A Romantic Taste of Paso Robles

Wine tasting together encourages intimate conversation.

California is known for its wines, and although Napa is historically the best known, wine lovers are discovering Paso Robles wines. In a small area behind the city of Paso Robles, wineries dot the map so thickly that it would take days for a couple to explore them all.

In the middle of this rich wine community is a cozy bed & breakfast called, appropriately, The Winemakers Porch. With this romantic setting as a base, a couple could drink in the quiet world of the vintner.

From the Porch, on Frances James Vineyard, you'll be surrounded by Bordeaux vineyards. And accommodations include a complimentary bottle of wine and a gourmet breakfast served on the patio each day.

Limousine service is readily available in Paso Robles for wine tasting excursions. From your cozy abode, you can venture each day to new wineries. Varietals in the region's most common grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel for the reds and Chardonnay, Viognier and Roussanne in the whites.

Romance in Yosemite National Park

Breathtaking scenery at Yosemite National Park brings couples together.

Romance comes to life at Yosemite National Park, and bed and breakfasts abound. A romantic place to stay is the Apple Blossom Inn Yosemite Bed & Breakfast in Ahwahnee. Enjoy the unique breakfasts---Apple Blossom Pancakes, Candy Apple French Toast and Banana Blossom Waffles with Apple Cider Sausages---that the inn is famous for.

Nearby is the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, a historic attraction that offers tourists a glimpse of the old-time logging. Ride a vintage steam locomotive on a restored track, and possibly time your visit to watch a train robbery played out.

Most people looking for romance in Yosemite are interested in the park itself, where famous artist and photographers have found plenty of material for their work. The Park Service offers opportunities for adventure year-round with ranger walks and campfire talks in the summer, and snow activities at the Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area.

At the Yosemite Theater, watch Lee Stetson's live portrayal John Muir, or choose from other live performances or films shown year round.

Back at the Apple Blossom Inn, enjoy the evening in front of a cozy wood-burning stove while the snow falls outside, or relax in the Jacuzzi under the stars.

Romance and Intrigue in Monterey

Watch sea life together on one of many day cruises offered in Monterey.

Monterey for couples offers history, wonder and peace in its scenery and attractions. Make the Jabberwock Inn your home as you venture out to nearby attractions and activities. The Jabberwock Inn is itself a romantic location. Set in a garden paradise, it offers a magnificent view of Monterey Bay.

Within walking distance, a couple can see what John Steinbeck saw with a visit to Cannery Row and stop at Steibeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum. Relax at the Bay View Tasting Room to sample wines before exploring the Historic Fisherman's Wharf.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see, but the cruises offered will also give couples a quiet, unforgettable view of aquatic life. Monterey has many walking, jogging and biking trails that take you through the beautiful garden-like surroundings. The Pacific Grove trail is just downhill from the Jabberwock Inn.

Back at the Inn in the evening are Jacuzzis for two, and wine, hors d'oeuvres and aperitifs are served outside under the setting Monterey sun.

San Francisco for Lovers

Fisherman's Wharf offers a lot of activities for couples.

San Francisco is full of life both day and night. For couples who enjoy the bright city lights and activity, there's much to choose from. Comedy and dance clubs abound. The music tastes of San Franciscans are varied, so the tourist will find rock, jazz, blues, new age, R&B, classical and even a little country. San Francisco is also home to the West Coast's premier opera house, San Francisco Opera, the second largest opera house in North America.

Make the historic Inn San Francisco your base. This Victorian inn on South Van Ness Avenue dates back to 1872 and offers a panoramic view of the city along with all the comforts you'd expect in a world-class city.

A day trip to Fisherman's Wharf offers enough variety to fill a day. Have espresso while you listen to the blues musicians on Pier 47. Eat fresh shrimp or any of the sea fare offered while you tour museums, aquariums and the famous Ghirardelli Square, where there's much more than the chocolate that made it famous.

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About the Author

June Farquhar has been writing for newspapers and special publications in California since 1998. She's the recipient of a press club award for organizing and designing a 42-page "Red Ribbon Week" tabloid, which received recognition from the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Farquhar studied newspaper journalism at Bakersfield College.

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