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Don’t miss the latest travel and wine itineraries

10 Romantic Weekend Getaways from San Francisco Bay Area

Healdsburg wine tasting

This is the season for romantic weekend getaways and there are quite a few from the Bay Area – all less than 5hrs from San Francisco Bay Area. The best part is that some of these are less than 2hrs away and are a perfect escape from the hustle of the city. 

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

I am always on the lookout for places to escape to from SF Bay Area and I admit that I love romantic couples’ getaways. Getting away for just a day or two with my husband leaves me refreshed and ready for the new week. After our stressful workweeks, I think we all deserve to unwind from technology and need that break. While it takes some planning (that’s where I make your life easier :)), the feeling of being on the road is so liberating! In this blog post, I present to you 10 most romantic weekend getaways from San Francisco Bay Area that you can visit with your partner. The list includes best hotels with spectacular views, great restaurants to dine in and fun things to do at each place.

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10 Romantic Weekend Getaways From SF Bay Area

Bixby bridge, Big Sur

Bixby bridge, Big Sur

SANTA CRUZ

Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz

Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz sunset

Santa Cruz sunset

Drive from San Francisco: < 1hr 30min

Where to stay?

Chaminade Resort and Spa

Beach Street Inn and Suites

Hotel Hilton, Scotts Valley

Where to eat?

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen

Vino Locale Wine Bar & Tapas

Harbor Cafe

Things to do and see

Coastal views, Santa Cruz

Coastal views, Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
  • Walk along W Cliff Drive
  • Coastal hikes at Wilder Ranch State Park
  • Hike the Redwoods State Park
Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz

Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz

I consider anywhere with water and views as a romantic weekend getaway. And Santa Cruz is one such perfect getaway with a beautiful boardwalk, coastal trails and sunset views. Santa Cruz is the closest we have to Southern California beach towns and is a must visit from Bay Area. To avoid traffic, either go early in the morning on a Saturday or late in the afternoon.

POINT REYES & TOMALES BAY

Point Reyes shipwreck

Point Reyes shipwreck

Drive from San Francisco: < 1hr 30min

Where to stay?

The Quails Nest Cottage

The Continental Inn, Tomales

Four Points by Sheraton, San Rafael

Where to eat?

Saltwater Oyster Depot

Hog Island Oyster Company

Inverness Park Market Deli

Things to do and see

Cypress tunnel, Point Reyes

Cypress tunnel, Point Reyes

  • Point Reyes National Seashore and Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes shipwreck
  • Tomales Bay State Park
  • Cypress tunnel 
Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay are two of the more pristine places near Bay Area. This area offers some unique and interesting things to do like safaris, Elk tours, oyster shucking and perfect couples’ photography at Cypress Tunnel. Doing and figuring out things together is the essence of romance for me. And what better than oyster shucking and some laughs over romantic dinner? Spend a day exploring the shipwreck, cypress tunnel and sunset at the lighthouse. And end your weekend with a trip to Tomales Bay State Park and a tour at one of the many dairy farms or a safari.

NAPA/SONOMA WINE COUNTRY

Napa hot air balloon ride

Napa hot air balloon ride

Wine tasting in Sonoma

Wine tasting in Sonoma

Drive from San Francisco: < 1hr 30min

Where to stay?

The Meritage Resort and Spa

Silverado Resort and Spa

Hotel Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn 

Where to eat?

The French Laundry, Yountville

Bottega, Yountville

Angele Restaurant & Bar, Napa Downtown

The Girl & The Fig, Sonoma

Things to do and see

Jacuzzi winery, Sonoma

Jacuzzi winery, Sonoma

Ledson winery, Kenwood

Ledson winery, Kenwood

  • Bubbles tasting at Domaine Carneros
  • Napa riverwalk
  • Hot air balloon ride in Napa
  • Spa day and couples mud bath in Calistoga
  • Wine tasting in Kenwood

The wine country of Napa and Sonoma is the epitome of a romantic weekend getaway. Some romantic activities to do with your significant other are wine tasting in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, Napa riverwalk, brunch in downtown Sonoma and a stroll around Yountville. If you are feeling extra fancy, start your day with a hot air balloon ride and end with a romantic dinner at the renowned Michelin starred restaurant, The French Laundry. 

HEALDSBURG & DRY CREEK VALLEY

Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley

Healdsburg

Healdsburg

Drive from San Francisco: < 1hr 30min

Where to stay?

H2 hotel, Healdsburg

The Raford Inn

Duchamp Hotel

Where to eat?

Guiso Latin Fusion

Rustic at Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Bravas

Things to do and see

Lake Sonoma

Lake Sonoma

Healdsburg wineries

Healdsburg wineries

  • Healdsburg downtown
  • Wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley
  • Lake Sonoma

Healdsburg is a charming little town and quite a gem in the wine country. Unlike Napa or Sonoma, Healdsburg’s Downtown and the nearby wine region of Dry Creek Valley are quiet and not very crowded. Spend a fun weekend at one of the cute hotels in the downtown and taste famous Zinfandel of Dry Creek Valley. For a weekend full of activities, check out my post about Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley.

BIG SUR & CARMEL

McWay Falls, Big Sur

McWay Falls, Big Sur

Garrapata State Park, Big Sur

Garrapata State Park, Big Sur

Carmel-by-the-sea

Carmel-by-the-sea

Drive from San Francisco: < 2hr 30min

Where to stay?

L’Auberge, Carmel

Resort Hyatt, Carmel Highlands

Big Sur River Inn

Where to eat?

Sierra Mar, Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

La Bicyclette, Carmel

Casanova, Carmel

Things to do and see

Big Sur

Big Sur

Town of Carmel

Town of Carmel

  • Carmel-by-the-sea downtown
  • Carmel beach
  • Historic Carmel Mission
  • McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer State Park
  • Garrapata State Park
  • Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

You haven’t seen the beauty of California until you have visited the coast of Big Sur. Coasting along the Highway 1 with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean is one of the most romantic things to do in California. Add the quaint town of Carmel to your trip and you have the best couples’ weekend ever! A few stops that you cannot miss along the way are the town of Carmel, McWay falls and Garrapata State Park.

MENDOCINO COAST

Mendocino Headlands State Park

Mendocino Headlands State Park

Drive from San Francisco: 3hr

Where to stay?

MacCallum House Inn

Heritage House Resort & Spa

Little River Inn

Where to eat?

Wild Fish

Cafe Beaujolais

Fiddleheads Café

Things to do and see

Mendocino Headlands State Park

Mendocino Headlands State Park

wine tasting Navarro vineyards

Wine tasting Navarro vineyards

  • Hike Mendocino Headlands State Park
  • Visit Mendocino Botanical Gardens
  • Fort Bragg and Glass Beach
  • Wine tasting in Anderson Valley
Mendocino Botanical Gardens

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

Mendocino is probably the most romantic of all the listed couples’ weekend getaways from San Francisco Bay Area. Mendocino is a charming little town in the northern coast of California. It is quiet and peaceful with sweeping coastal views from Mendocino Headlands State Park, old Victorian bed and breakfast places and beautiful botanical gardens. Check out my post about all the things to do in Mendocino and stops to make on your road trip

LAKE TAHOE

Chimney beach

Chimney beach

Woman at Sand Harbor beach, Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor beach, Lake Tahoe

Drive from San Francisco: 3hr 30min

Where to stay?

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel

Resort at Squaw Creek

Where to eat?

The Bistro at Edgewood

Jake’s On The Lake, Tahoe City

Maya’s Mexican Grill, Heavenly Village

Things to do and see

Commons beach Tahoe City

Commons beach, Tahoe City

  • Emerald Bay
  • Spend the day at Sand Harbor beach
  • Kayaking, paddle boarding or skiing depending on the time of the year
  • Hike cave rock for the best sunset views.
Sunset at Cave Rock Lake Tahoe

Sunset at Cave Rock Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places to getaway from San Francisco Bay Area and relax. Lake Tahoe is so serene and peaceful that you will forget all your worries and would want to stay there forever. South Lake Tahoe and the towns around the lake offer plenty of activities to do like kayaking, paddle boarding, rafting, hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. I cannot think of a more romantic way than spending a weekend by the water. 🙂 Check out my comprehensive post about Lake Tahoe and 25 incredible things to do in the summer.

PASO ROBLES 

Sunset over vineyards, Paso Robles

Sunset over vineyards, Paso Robles

Drive from San Francisco: 3hr 30min

Where to stay?

La Bellasera Hotel

Allegretto Vineyard Resort

Manucci Winery B&B

Where to eat?

Thomas Hill Organics

Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ

Firestone Walker Brewery

Things to do and see

  • Wine tasting at Tablas Creek and Niner Estate
  • Beer at Firestone Walker Brewery
  • Field of light display 
  • Paso downtown stroll
  • Olive oil tasting at Kiler Ridge Olive farm

Paso Robles is so underrated compared its cousins Napa and Sonoma. The wineries and vineyards in the Paso Robles area are equally spectacular and make a perfect couples’ getaway from SF Bay Area. Some of the recommended activities include heart hill at Niner Estate, wine tasting, beer tasting and olive oil tasting. Also check out the incredible Field of Light display called Sensorio by Bruce Munro.

SAN SIMEON & MORRO BAY

Morro Rock

Morro Rock

Hearst Castle, San Simeon

Hearst Castle, San Simeon

Drive from San Francisco: 4hr

Where to stay?

Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, San Simeon

Ragged Point Inn, San Simeon

Ascot Suites, Morro Bay

Where to eat?

Sebastian’s, San Simeon

The Galley Seafood Grill & Bar

Giovanni’s Fish Market

Things to do and see

Morro Bay

Morro Bay

  • Hearst Castle
  • Morro Rock Beach
  • Beach towns of Cambria, Cayucos
Hearst castle

Hearst-castle

Morro Bay and San Simeon are not among the first places that come to mind when you think of romantic getaways near SF Bay Area. These two towns are 30min apart along the Pacific Coast Highway past Big Sur and are quaint getaways with sweeping ocean views and beautiful parks to explore. San Simeon is also home to Hearst Castle, the majestic home of William Hearst and a national landmark. I highly recommend visiting Hearst Castle while in San Simeon.

SANTA BARBARA

View from clock tower of the courthouse Santa Barbara

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Entrance with flowers and plam trees

The Four Seasons entrance Santa Barbara

Drive from San Francisco: 5hr

Where to stay?

Four Seasons The Biltmore

Hotel Milo

Kimpton Canary Hotel

Where to eat?

Los Agaves

Santo Mezcal

Cajé Coffee Roasters

Things to do and see

Woman standing on stairs at Paseo Nuevo Mall Santa Barbara

Paseo Nuevo Mall

  • Santa Barbara Courthouse and take a stroll along State Street
  • Santa Barbara Mission
  • Wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley
  • Sunset at Butterfly Beach
  • Day trip to Channel Islands National Park
Day trip to Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Courthouse

I cannot say enough things about how incredibly romantic Santa Barbara is. It is easily one of my favorite cities in California. Some of my favorite things about Santa Barbara are its long beaches, Colonial Spanish architecture, the beautiful courthouse and its bell tower, its Mexican heritage and the surrounding wine trails. My blogpost about spending a perfect day in Santa Barbara covers more things to do, places to stay and amazing restaurants that you do not want to miss. If you want to make the trip even more memorable, spend an extra day and check out the Danish town of Solvang. Another option is to take a trip to Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park.

P.S. If you are looking for Instagrammable spots while you are in Santa Barbara, check out my 7 favorite Instagrammable places in SB. 🙂

Bonus Getaway (SAN DIEGO)

I always love adding a bonus. Isn’t it fun and rewarding to find something extra? 😉 

San Diego skyline view from Tidelands park

San Diego skyline view from Tidelands park

San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art

Drive from San Francisco: 9hr

Air travel: < 2hr

Where to stay?

Hotel Indigo

Sheraton La Jolla

Fairmont Del Mar

Where to eat?

Sevilla, Gaslamp

Cafe 21

George’s at the Cove

Things to do and see

Balboa park architecture

Balboa Park architecture

Balboa Park pond San Diego

Balboa Park pond, San Diego

  • Visit Balboa Park
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Sunset at Coronado Beach
  • Check out La Jolla Village and Cove
Sunset at Windandsea beach, La Jolla

Sunset at Windandsea beach, La Jolla

Sunset at Coronado beach

Sunset at Coronado beach

If you have an extra day or are willing to fly, San Diego is a great city to getaway from the hustle of SF Bay Area. Yes, San Diego is a big city but the vibe is totally different and laidback. With warm ocean breeze, great restaurants and beautiful parks, San Diego does not feel like a busy city. If you are looking to spend a weekend or a long weekend in San Diego, check out my posts on how to spend 3 days in San Diego plus free itinerary (including more places to stay and things to do) and 20 best places to eat and drink that are a must visit!

*****

I truly enjoy living in the Bay Area and so grateful that there are many beautiful and romantic weekend getaways within driving distance. I hope you get to visit at least one of these and have a lovely romantic weekend with your partner. If you have any questions about any of these places, feel free to comment below or email me at hello@acharmingescape.com

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10 Romantic weekend getaways from San Francisco Bay Area

10 Romantic weekend getaways from SF Bay Area

 

 

Aswani-Kurra-A-Charming-Escape

Hi there!

I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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12 Comments

  1. Elena on July 18, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Loving all of these romantic ideas and your photos are so gorgeous! Thank you for giving me the inspiration to visit the Bay area!

    • Aswani on July 18, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Ahh thank you so much Elena! Glad you loved it and yes, time to visit. 🙂

  2. Shelley on July 18, 2020 at 7:02 am

    I have been so Cali many times, but I always seem to forget just how beautiful it is. Thanks for the gorgeous photos as a reminder. Saving & Pinning this post for so I can cross all these places off my California travel list.

    • Aswani on July 18, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Thank you so much Shelley! There are so many things to do here and truly lucky to live here. 🙂

  3. Katriona on July 18, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Loved reading this post! I don’t have a partner so will have to take myself on a romantic getaway. Would love to visit San Diego 🙂

    • Aswani on July 18, 2020 at 11:10 am

      That is so sweet. I sometimes like to take solo vacations too! Thank you for checking out. 🙂

  4. Sarah on July 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    What a dreamy post – your photos themselves are so romantic! I love the Santa Cruz coastal views. Lake Sonoma looks perfect, and obviously I will need to visit all of those wineries too!!! Ledson looks like a mansion! Thank you for the inspo – I’d love to get to California one day!

    • Aswani on July 18, 2020 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah! Ledson is actually a mansion turned into winery. 🙂

  5. Patti on July 20, 2020 at 12:10 am

    I love the Bay Area! And I love all the spots around it. Looks like there are a few I didn’t know about! Thanks!

    • Aswani on July 29, 2020 at 4:58 am

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  6. Kelsey on July 20, 2020 at 8:48 am

    This is a great post!! I love to road trip up to SF from SoCal! This is a great list of things to do to get away from the city or avoid tourist traps for a bit! Thanks for sharing.

    • Aswani on July 29, 2020 at 4:59 am

      I love the road trip too! And thank you for checking it out Kelsey!

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