If California isn’t at the top of your list when planning a romantic getaway—whether it’s an anniversary trip or honeymoon, a simple day trip or more extended stay—you might want to reconsider. The Golden State has plenty to offer when it comes to romance and it may come cheaper than you think!
How do I plan a romantic California getaway?
There are a couple of decisions you can make upfront that will help guide the plans for your California romantic getaway. For instance, are you looking for romantic getaways in northern California, or southern? Would you like to stay in a romantic hotel in southern California? Or would an all-inclusive resort—or even camping!—suit you better? Is this a California romantic getaway on a budget or are you planning to splurge?
Once you know the answers to those types of initial questions, the rest of the plan for your California romantic getaway should fall into place fairly easily—mostly because California has everything you could ask for, and more.
Need a few extra ideas to get the planning started? Read on for more inspiration and some of our favorite cities and activities for a romantic getaway in California!
Where should I go for my anniversary in California?
FOR THE ADVENTURERS:
Keep things spicy by learning something new together! Head to Los Angeles for a weekend of cooking classes, ballroom dance lessons, and even trapeze school. When class is over, rent a Harley and enjoy a beautiful drive down the Pacific Coast Highway!
Leo Carrillo State Park and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. Leo Carrillo State Park and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California.
FOR NATURE LOVERS:
Try Temecula (halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego) for a wine tour on horseback or San Francisco for a chocolate tour on foot (hey, chocolate comes from nature, right!?). You can hike your way through Big Sur, or hit up San Diego for the zoo and Flower Fields. The options are seriously endless for the outdoor enthusiast!
FOR THE BAY-BOUND COUPLE:
San Francisco is calling your name. Everything from sailing into the Pacific sunset on a luxury yacht or sailing above the city via hot air balloon, to hitting the streets for some of the world’s most eclectic culture and food, the Bay area has you covered.
Where should I honeymoon in California?
FOR GETTING COZY:
Try something like the Eden Vale Inn (outside Sacramento). Think cozy + luxury bed and breakfast that will even play backdrop to your romantic and picturesque elopement—if you haven’t sealed the deal yet, that is!
FOR HITTING THE TOWN:
Is there anywhere better to hit the town than Los Angeles? The city is overflowing with energy—so get right in the fray with a day of exploration (think museums, celebrities, and fashion), then head out for a luxe dinner and a night of dancing at some of the best nightclubs in the country.
FOR A PLAY-ALL-DAY GETAWAY:
There are several cities where you’ll find this easy to accomplish, but a favorite is La Jolla. Start the day by hitting the beach and exploring the pier and caves, move to the Underwater Park where you can snorkel, scuba, paddleboard, or kayak with incredible marine wildlife, then end the day with a beautiful hike through Torrey Pines State Reserve. Don’t worry, the next day can hold museum tours, the playhouse, the aquarium, and Gliderport!
How do you plan a romantic weekend getaway on a budget?
Trust us, romance doesn’t have to come with major dollar signs attached to it! Some of the best California romantic getaways we know of are simple, easy, and capitalize on what the area has to offer—often inexpensively, or even free!
When looking to plan a romantic getaway in southern California on a budget , always start by booking flights early. A great tool to use is Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar , which can help determine when your trip will be. Another idea is to use an individual city’s bureau website for insider tips on local events and deals.
Here are a few other budget-friendly options to consider when planning your affordable romantic getaway in California!
GONDOLA RIDES: When you’ve already saved so much by skipping the plane ticket to Italy, it’s worth it to cuddle up for a romantic gondola ride on the water. Head south near Long Beach or Newport Beach, and make sure to fit in a little piece of the exotic world right here on the west coast.
BALBOA PARK (San Diego): It’s 1,200 acres of gardens, museums, and—of course—the zoo. With so many options in one spot, this famous park is not only wallet-friendly but time-friendly (another important factor when “budgeting” for romantic weekend getaways in Southern California).
Casa De Balboa at Balboa Park, San Diego Casa De Balboa at Balboa Park, San Diego
CAMPING: Lake Tahoe, the Redwoods, Big Bear, Joshua Tree National Park…the entire state is covered with beautiful, natural scenery to enjoy for the more rugged couple looking for an affordable romantic getaway in California.
There are also several California cities that offer a LOT of bang for their vacation buck. Consider Dana Point, Carlsbad, Oxnard, Palm Springs, and Ventura when looking for cheaper accommodations and activities.
And when all else fails—which it won’t—just head to the beach.
What is the most romantic beach in California?
Cliché or not, few things beat a romantic walk on the beach with someone you love! The sunset, the salty air, the bare feet—just YES to all of it. And obviously California can seriously deliver on any number of incredible beaches, but here are a few to consider as part of your California romantic getaway.
Romantic Beaches in Northern California
BLACK SANDS BEACH, fly into San Francisco or Sacramento: Super unique, often almost deserted (read: ROMANTIC), and beautifully Instagrammable—if you’re about posting pics from your romantic getaway in California, that is.
PFEIFFER BEACH, fly into San Jose: Unbelievably breathtaking beauty, endless explorable terrain, and absolutely zero crowds. Perfect for the adventurous couple who may even want to camp for the weekend.
MARSHALL'S BEACH, fly into San Francisco: It may be a bit of a trek to get down to it (hello exclusivity!), but the dreamy sunset views of the Golden Gate Bridge will be worth every step.
Romantic Beaches in Southern California
THOUSAND STEPS BEACH, fly into Orange County: A peaceful getaway in the middle of your getaway—at the south end of this beach you can go through a big rock cave and find two hidden swimming pools that overlook the Pacific and that only locals know about. #wewonttellifyoudont
VICTORIA BEACH, fly into Orange County: Straight from a fairy tale, Victoria Beach is bound to become part of one of the best romantic getaways in California. Explore near the castle-inspired tower and dream together with your own prince or princess!
POINT DUME STATE BEACH, fly into Los Angeles: One of the most beautiful—and hidden—beaches in Malibu, Point Dume is prime rock climbing real estate. Send the incredible cliff faces while your partner enjoys the breeze from below, then cuddle up at the top for beautiful ocean views (and some sea lion entertainment).
Which beach is the cleanest in California?
No one wants to get down and dirty when we’re talking beaches. Here are a few famously clean beaches to enjoy during any California romantic getaway.
MANHATTAN BEACH, fly into Los Angeles: Notoriously clean, low crime in the city, and super relaxing.
CORONADO BEACH, fly into San Diego: Low pollution, lifeguards, and on-site showers for the win!
SAN SIMEON STATE BEACH, fly into San Jose: Clear water, clean sand, super quiet and beautiful. Bonuses: coastal highway views and dolphin spotting!
What do YOU think is the most romantic spot in California? Tell us in the comments below!
You can also visit our Discussion Forum to get more answers, information, and inspiration from travelers like you. There’s a whole section devoted to Travel Inspiration !
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One of my favorite low-cost vacation activities is to go on a "photo walk"—to just walk around the city, snapping photos of all of the interesting things that I see. I've done this in San Francisco twice. Once in the downtown area, taking photos of skyscrapers and the busy streets and then inside the Ferry Building. I was able to enjoy the city in such a wonderful way.
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Want to feel like you’ve landed on the outer rim of the Star Wars universe? Then get yourself to Disneyland or Disney World to enjoy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as soon as your ship can make the jump to lightspeed!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu—while the setting might be new, it was created by Disney and Lucas Film to give fans an amazing experience across all timelines in the Star Wars story. That means that no matter where your heart lies in the Star Wars fandom, you’ll find so much to enjoy during your visit.
How Many Rides are in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Two! But one is still under wraps. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open in Disney World on December 5, 2019. Disneyland visitors will have to wait a bit longer—until January 17, 2020.
But right now you can ride The Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run at both parks. And believe me, it is so much fun! You’ll enter the interior of the Millenium Falcon with enough time to snap photos and take a seat at the Dejarik (chess) table before you enter the cockpit to pilot the ship! Each Smugglers Run Ride is based on the idea that you and 5 other guests will be using the Millenium Falcon to smuggle supplies to The Resistance—2 people fill the pilot positions and are responsible for the actual flying and steering of the Millenium Falcon, 2 people are gunners and are responsible for fighting off The First Order, and 2 people are engineers and responsible for making repairs and providing assistance. Millenium Falcon: Smugglers is a fantastic 3D gaming experience combined with an extraordinary amusement park ride. Just wait until you feel your stomach flip when you make the jump to lightspeed!
Inside The Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run Inside The Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Keep in mind...part of the allure of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the immersive nature of this part of the parks, not just the rides. With the Disney Play App, you have the chance to engage in a live, interactive gaming experience with other guests in the park. You can pick a side (First Order or Resistance) and interact with droids, hack door panels, participate in challenges to earn points, translate Aurebesh, scan cargo crates to collect virtual items, and even—depending on which side you fight for—find yourself being harassed by Storm Troopers.
“Galaxy’s Edge is an incredible experience. You’re no longer in a Disney park, you really feel like you’re on Batuu!” @AdamH, Southwest Rapid Rewards Member
Will Star Wars Land Be The Same at Disneyland and Disney World?
Yes, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disney World and Disneyland are the same. The layout, shops, rides—it’s all the same.
The difference is that Disney World has some additional park elements and shows such as Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away .
Disneyland Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Tips
If you’re a big Star Wars fan (like I am) plan on taking your time visiting Black Spire Outpost because there are so many hidden “easter eggs” that will delight all of the Star Wars fans in your party—including the music in the area and on the rides that were composed especially for the parks by John Williams! The Disney Imagineers have really outdone themselves with the creation of these immersive Star Wars-themed areas of the park—the sounds, smells, and sights are meant to make you feel like you’re on another planet!
Imagineers even took rubbings from the feet of the R2-D2 droid used in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and turned those into a set of three-dimensional wheels. Then they built a trolley with those wheels and rolled it through the land before the concrete pathways fully dried to leave behind authentic droid tracks that you’ll see as you explore Black Spire Outpost.
A few of the droids you’re looking for. A few of the droids you’re looking for.
Here’s what you must see when you visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge…
The Millenium Falcon
There’s nothing like coming around the corner and seeing the Millenium Falcon for the first time. You will gasp. You will!
The Blue Milk Stand
Will you be Team Blue Milk or Team Green Milk? You’ll just have to visit the Milk Stand to enjoy both versions of this creamy, slushy drink to find out for yourself. My favorite was blue, but both were delicious. The blue milk his a tropical flavor and the green has more a citrusy zing.
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
At first glance, this is just another wonderful Disney gift shop, but look up, look around, and prepare to be amazed. The walls of this shop serve as a treasure trove of Star Wars relics and must-see items — like a stuffed wampa from the ice planet Hoth featured in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” along with countless other items that will make you whip out your camera to snap a photo.
The Droid Depot
Ready to build your own astromech droid? Trick question! Of course, you are! This little robot isn’t just some premium toy—it responds to elements of Galaxy’s Edge such as other droids, door panels, and possibly even those pesky Stormtroopers. Patrons can pick pieces off the conveyor belt to construct one of two models (R-series or BB-series) with a limitless number of design configurations. (A droid will run approximately $100, with additional accessories such as backpack carrying cases costing extra.)
In the Star Wars universe, a lightsaber is so much more than just a weapon issued to you by the Jedi Order. Patron’s at Savi’s Workshop will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jedi Padawans to select and construct the elements of their lightsaber including hilts, decor, and the all-important kyber crystals. (Constructing your very own lightsaber will cost approximately $200.)
The open-air market area of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is where you can find shops, food, and souvenirs with a distinctly Star Wars land vibe. If you’ve heard of the special BB-8 shaped Coca-Cola products, head to the market to get your hands on one.
I may or may not have overdone it when I visited Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge—I wanted to try it all! All of the food is delicious and fits into the whole Star Wars world environment. If I could give you one big tip it’s this: make a reservation as soon as you arrive for Oga’s Cantina. Oga’s is the “watering hole” you’d expect in the Star Wars universe. It’s a much classier version of the cantina we saw Luke and Obi Wan enter in a Star Wars: A New Hope and you can enjoy exotic beverages and concoctions (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic menu options are available.)
The Cast Members! Ahem, I mean “Inhabitants”
Get ready to say “Bright Suns!” to each person you meet—that’s the official greeting in Batuu and you’ll hear it a lot. You should also get ready for a Wookie run-in, or to see Kylo Ren stomping angrily through Black Spire Outpost. But hands down, one of the most entertaining elements of Galaxy’s Edge was seeing the Stormtroopers playfully harass visitors. The Stormtroopers are constantly on patrol and constantly hilarious. Also, Rey is as delightful as you imagine.
“Favorite parts: blue milk and being interrogated by Storm Troopers.
Least favorite part: my daughter’s reaction to our picture of blue milk when she realized it meant we were at Galaxy’s Edge without her. She is a HUGE Star Wars fan and wasn’t able to join us.” @SWDigits Southwest Rapid Rewards Member
Disneyland Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Ride Guide
Until Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens, my best advice is this: Go on the Millenium Falcon ride more than once!
The ride is a totally different experience depending on what role or position you have on the ship. Every spot is so fun, but if you can swing it, go back and try for one of the pilot positions on the ride—there are two—and it is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!
Tips for Booking Your Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Trip
Want to get the best deals on your Disneyland or Disney World trip? Check out Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar , which can help determine when you can get a great price on your airfare. You can also find hotel and airfare packages using the Southwest Vacations search engine.
Do you have any other questions about visiting Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Leave it in the comments section and we’ll answer them!
You can also visit our Discussion Forum to get more inside scoop from travelers—there’s a whole section just for Disneyland questions and answers!
May the force be with you!
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