Sometimes the question of “wanna get away” can take on a whole new meaning when there’s romance involved. But, where is there to go in under a day’s drive from Los Angeles? Skip the freeways and instead take a drive by the sea, through the woods or through the desert. You won’t even have to board an airplane or break the bank.
9150 Santa Rita Rd.
Cayucos, CA 93430
Located on the coast of San Luis Obispo, the accommodations at Wellspring Ranch are absolutely beautiful and spacious. Offering cabanas, a cool airstream trailer, or a stunning chic, yet rustic main lodge and converted barn areas, there are plenty of options here. Yurt cabanas feature plush king beds, as well as Jotul gas fireplaces, and circular skylights. Watch the stars and tall trees in this intensely private and romantic hideaway. At your stay, you’ll get to enjoy abundant hand-crafted organic breakfasts served up at an outdoor kitchen with a charming al fresco dining area, relax by the koi pond and rose garden, and hike on beautiful ranch trails. Indoor bathrooms are elegantly appointed, but be sure to check out the private outdoor showers with towering oaks above. This perfect retreat is just four hours from LA, located in the hills above the charming coastal enclave of Cayucos, not far from San Luis Obispo.
Casa del Zorro
3845 Yaqui Pass Rd.
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
A classic, elegant desert resort with the vibe of a Spanish hacienda, Casa Del Zorro offers many reasons to make the trip. Surrounding the pools, sculptures, rose garden, spa, and luxurious, spacious rooms, the vast Anza Borrego State Park provides a great spot for hikes and scenic drives. This stunning resort complex with red-tiled roofs and the feeling of a vibrant hacienda was opened in 1937 and recently revamped and re-opened in 2013. On the property, there are 43 acres of stunningly landscaped grounds, and rooms with private patios or balconies, walk-in showers, and fireplaces. The Butterfield Dining room offers a classic setting and cutting-edge cuisine as well.
Julian, CA 92036
Observers Inn is a cozy two room guest-house just outside the quaint town of Julian, known for its apple pie and antique shops. But it’s not just pie, antiques, or even the relaxing inn itself that is the main draw here for couples. The inn has its own private observatory, with a different, guided “Star Tour” each night, revealing as many as 12 stars, planets, and constellations through stunning, sharp, research-grade telescopes. It’s like getting a gift of the universe, with the heavens above and heavenly beds below, as well as extra deep soaking tubs in the private bathrooms. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that’s made to be repeated.
Sonoran Desert Conference Center
South, 55 Orilla Ave.
Ajo, AZ 85321
Don’t let the name fool you. While there is space here for conferences and large gatherings on site, this is one of the most romantic destinations for couples. Perched on the edge of the desert less than a twenty minute drive from the amazing scenery, easy hikes, and great sunsets of Organ Pipe National Monument, the center is located in the charming town of Ajo, just six hours from LA. High ceilings, plush bedding, industrial-chic style, and cozy javalina-shaped pillows are just a few of the pluses in their expansive rooms. In addition, a beautiful walk in their courtyard with a fire pit, an easy stroll into the historic town plaza, and stellar star gazing are all part of the picture here. Add in a little art and you’ll have plenty to do. Ajo is home to many charming galleries, and artists studios that share the Conference Center property, offering ceramics, sculpture, handmade soaps, and yes, those javalina pillows. There are also over thirty-five murals and sculptures spread out all over town.
1404 Vacation Rd.
San Diego, CA 92109
This private island resort features beachside bungalows with a view of the harbor, romantic and elegant dining at the hotel’s Tidal restaurant, a variety of pools and lagoons, including the quietly romantic adults-only pool and hot tub, and a plush spa. With a tropical feel and bay views, it makes guests feel as if they’re staying in the tropics. For a night out on the town, the city of San Diego is just across that bay, too. Water sports rentals, a comfortable waterfront bar, and private lanais make this the perfect spot for adventure, romance, and intimate elegance. The pristine and classic room appointments make any couple feel like a king and queen for their stay.
West Inn and Suites
4970 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Just steps from one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California, West Inn and Suites offers spacious, plush suites in a boutique setting. Also housing one of the best best steak and seafood restaurants in San Diego county, West Steak and Seafood, it’s perfect for a date night. In addition, a quaint village with shops and galleries await, which is perfect for browsing. Or, make sure to visit Legoland, which is just around the corner. Still hungry? From a tasty complimentary breakfast to a tour of area breweries, this is the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and watch the waves.
622 N Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Perched in the heart of Palm Springs with a beautiful blue pool, replete with pristine white lounge chairs and umbrellas, waterfall fountains, and gas fireplaces, The Alcazar is a prime destination. While the outdoor space encourages lingering, so do the Spanish Colonial style haciendas, housing cool, quiet rooms with peaceful courtyards, white duvets on the beds, white floors, and walls. In short, it’s serenity, surrounded by galleries, shops, and restaurants in this urbane desert enclave. On site, two gourmet dining options await as well, including the delicious Cheeky’s for breakfast, and sandwiches and more at Birba.