You don’t always have to pay an arm and a leg to have a romantic experience with your partner. Sometimes romance lies in the little moments as you hold hands on a hike or try some goodies at a new-to-you bakery. That said, sometimes romance does come from an indulgent, full-service spa treatment or a cozy evening together in a hot tub.
Whether you want a restful weekend trip in the mountains in Idyllwild, California or you want to go from beach to beach in La Paz, Mexico, you and your loved one can find something romantic to do in each of these romantic couples getaways from San Diego.
Quick Answer Guide: 9 Best Romantic Getaways From San Diego
From Del Mar to Boise, Idaho, there is a range of romantic options for couples looking to get away for a day or a weekend. Each of these destinations offers something unique with incredible food, things to do, and accommodations.
Romantic Day Trips From San Diego
- Best for a close day trip - Del Mar
- Best for nature and mountain lovers - Idyllwild
- Best for a DIY romantic getaway - Torrance
Weekend Getaways for Couples From San Diego
- Best for a romantic setting - Santa Barbara
- Best for adventurers - Lompoc
- Best for stunning outdoor activities - Ojai
Best Couples Getaways From San Diego
Romantic Day Trips From San Diego
You won’t have to drive more than two and a half hours to reach any of these romantic day trip options from San Diego. I’ll dive into how to spend your day in Del Mar, Idyllwild, and Torrance, all of which are located within Southern California. These places are pretty close, about the same as the drive to Los Angeles, but ideally without the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
1. Del Mar
- Perfect for: A close beach getaway
- Highlights of Del Mar:
- Ocean views
- Peace of mind
- Waterfront dining
The coastal town of Del Mar, California, offers plenty of romantic activities and attractions for couples who want to get away from it all for a day or a weekend. It’s also close to La Jolla, which is also worth a visit. Sometimes all you need is quality time together with a good view! You can also venture to other San Diego areas like Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, Temecula Valley, or Julian if you want to stay local.
Things to Do in Del Mar
Your romantic trip in this coastal town starts with a stroll through Del Mar Village. Hop into the shops, boutiques, and art galleries to see if anything catches your eyes. Walk through the year-round Del Mar Farmers Market on Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm at Civic Center Plaza.
For the adventuring couples out there, book a surf lesson, go golfing at The Grand Golf Club located at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, or get a bird's eye view from the clouds with a hot air balloon ride.
As for food, head to Jake’s Del Mar for epic oceanfront dining. They have brunch, lunch, and dinner, so you can savor the scenery and the food for any meal. My husband and I loved stepping outside to check out the scenery from the restaurant.
How to Get to Del Mar
Del Mar is a great place to visit if you’re seeking romantic day trips from San Diego since it’s only 20 miles away. It’s still a drive but close enough that you won’t get bored and antsy on the car ride over. You can take the I-5 the whole way up to Del Mar.
Where to Stay in Del Mar
Get a taste of luxury at Fairmont Grand Del Mar where you and your loved one can rest and relax near the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Depending on how much space you want, you can opt to stay in a guestroom, suite, or villa. While you're there, book a spa day at Fairmont Spa & Wellness. There are indoor whirlpools and a fitness center and then an outdoor area, whirlpool, and swimming pool.
Go for something more quaint at Les Artistes Inn. They only have 10 rooms so it’s quieter while remaining romantic. Plus, it’s conveniently located near nature spots like Torrey Pines State Beach, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and Fletcher Cove Beach Park.
- Perfect for: Picturesque panoramas and nature lovers
- Highlights of Idyllwild:
- Pine trees and mountain landscapes
- Peace and quiet
- Boutique shopping
Breathe in the fresh air and walk amongst the pines as you explore tranquil Idyllwild, located near the San Jacinto Mountains. This impressive getaway is filled with scenic hikes, boutique shopping, and quiet charm.
Things to Do in Idyllwild
Tucked away into the mountains, Idyllwild is the ultimate romantic choice for couples who just want to get away from it all. Walk around idyllic downtown Idyllwild to get a feel for the area. You’ll spot large trees, shopping opportunities, murals, and cafes to dine at.
Couples can spend time together as they go rock climbing, hiking trails, camping, and mountain biking. I camped at Stone Creek Campground and it was absolutely marvelous to be surrounded by trees, foliage, and nature. There are so many activities to keep you entertained during your weekend getaway. Visit the Idyllwild Nature Center where you can book a guided tour to suit your particular interests.
There are also plenty of fine dining opportunities in the area. FERRO offers regional Italian cuisine that’ll leave you drooling for more. The extensive menu means you’ll find something to love, whether it’s the cherry blossom cocktail, salame e funghi pizza, or cacio e pepe.
How to Get to Idyllwild
The drive to Idyllwild, California, takes a little over two hours from San Diego. You'll begin on the CA-163 N then take I-15 N to the CA-79. From there, follow CA-371 E and CA-74 W, then you can input your final destination into your GPS.
Where to Stay in Idyllwild
Spend the weekend at The Fireside Inn in downtown Idyllwild. The inn offers options like their Lodge House, a cabin with an incredible stone fireplace that goes from floor to ceiling, a cozy loft area with a king bed, a wood-paneled kitchen, and a deck to enjoy the ambiance.
The Strawberry Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast is another fantastic option in Idyllwild. Here you can opt for the Strawberry Cottage, courtyard theme suite, fireplace premium king suite, or the deluxe queen room. Breakfast is included every day of your stay, so you don’t have to leave the serenity of the property to get your morning cup of Joe. Get a taste of herb-baked eggs, fruit salad marinated in citrus and vanilla, and buttermilk biscuits.
- Perfect for: A relaxing weekend away
- Highlights of Torrance:
- King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant
- Abundance of parks
- Art galleries
Torrance might not be notorious for its romance, but it offers hotels, shopping, parks, and more to make your trip delightful. From breweries to nature, you’ll find loads of options for a fun and romantic day trip from San Diego.
Things to Do in Torrance
When I went on a little romantic trip to Torrance, my partner and I loved grabbing a bite from a bakery and then heading to a park to eat it. It’s a simple way to be together without having to plan too much. We picked up some goodies from Torrance Bakery: They have pastries, cake slices, pie slices, cheesecake, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and more.
For any King’s Hawaiian fans out there, you have to stop by the King's Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant, which just so happens to be located in Torrance. Dine in at the restaurant or pick up baked goods at their bakery. We got a scrumptious slice of their colorful Paradise Cake, a three-layer guava, passion fruit, and lime chiffon cake with tropical whipped cream.
Torrance has plenty of parks to pick from, whether you go to Discovery Park, El Pardo Park, Los Arboles Park, etc. There are historic sites as well as art galleries to check out, such as the Torrance Art Museum for contemporary art.
How to Get to Torrance
The drive to Torrance from San Diego takes just about two and a half hours. Long enough to feel like you’ve ventured away from SD, but not far enough that the drive seems ominous. All you’ll need to do is get on I-5 N. Follow CA-73 N and I-405 N to S Western Ave in Los Angeles County until you reach your final destination.
Where to Stay in Torrance
From luxury to comfort, Torrance has a hotel for that. The guest rooms at Bluestem Hotel offer curated in-room amenities, spacious rooms, and a courtyard with a fire pit. You and your partner can take an outdoor yoga class or get a workout in at the fitness center. The hotel has coastal decor with friendly staff.
You could opt for an Airbnb such as this classic cottage in Old Torrance for a more personal touch. It has a bedroom with queen size bed and en-suite bathroom, kitchen, as well as a private, gated yard. It’s close to Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach if you want to go for a beach stroll.
Weekend Getaways for Couples From San Diego
Your next romantic getaway might be a short drive away. From an outdoor adventure to world-class amenities, you’ll find a bit of art, nature, wine, and more at these weekend getaway destinations.
4. Santa Barbara
- Perfect for: Arts and culture lovers
- Highlights of Santa Barbara:
- Trapeze lessons
- Spanish-style accommodations
- Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Santa Barbara might be one of the most romantic getaways from San Diego, with its Mediterranean-style downtown area and beautiful backdrops. Create lasting memories as a couple as you relish in the city's natural beauty or enjoy a luxurious hotel stay.
Things to Do in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a romantic haven with its art, culture, recreational activities, restaurants, and more. Couples can check out art galleries, museums, historic landmarks, and theaters.
First, explore the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. You and your partner can spend precious time together while also supporting conservation and research efforts.
Next, support local arts as you watch a play together at Ensemble Theatre Company Santa Barbara (ETCSB), the leading professional, resident theater company in Santa Barbara. How often do you get a chance to do aerial art with your loved one? Unleash your inner acrobat as you fly in the sky at the Santa Barbara Trapeze Co.
Of course, any trip to Santa Barbara has to include a visit to the Old Mission Santa Barbara. It's a national historical landmark after all. You can do a self-guided tour or book a guided tour.
How to Get to Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a bit under four and a half hours away from San Diego. You’ll drive there via I-5 N and US-101 N pretty much the entire way there. Depending on your departure time, you might catch some traffic in Santa Ana and Los Angeles, but it should still take less than five hours.
Where to Stay in Santa Barbara
The Belmond El Encanto’s phenomenal overlook of the coast makes it a top choice for romantic places to stay in Santa Barbara. The airy and bright rooms are luxuriously decked out with a mix of Spanish Colonial and Southern California coastal chic decor and amenities, such as a marble bathroom with heated stone tiles or garden views.
Delight in the red tiles and rooftop pool of the Spanish-style Kimpton Canary Hotel. The romance lies in the elegant details, plush rooms, and 360-degree viewpoints, making it the ideal place to retreat each evening after a day of exploring Santa Barbara. Pick from guest rooms, specialty suites, and nesting suites with grand amenities in walking distance to downtown Santa Barbara.
- Perfect for: Lovers of wine and outdoor adventures
- Highlights of Lompoc:
- Wine tasting
- Golf courses
Have you heard of Lompoc? You might want to visit this California city, pronounced "lom-poke," if you’re a couple that loves an outdoor adventure and perhaps a spot of wine tasting. Go skydiving in the morning then on a romantic wine tasting in the afternoon. Lompoc will keep you busy.
Things to Do in Lompoc
Stay entertained with Lompoc’s range of activities. Spend a day golfing as a couple at the rolling hills of La Purisima Golf Course, designed by Robert Muir Graves, a world-renowned architect.
Rise above it all and go skydiving for a memory you’ll never forget at Sky Dive Santa Barbara. I went skydiving there and it still gives me an adrenaline rush to think about it.
No need to venture to Napa for a taste of California wine country. Sip on locally made wines at the Lompoc Wine Trail. You’ll find a collection of wineries, tasting rooms, and production facilities at Lompoc Wine Ghetto. For example, Temperance Cellars handcrafts their wines using old-world methods while allowing the grape's characteristics to shine through.
If you want to hit up a few spots and let someone else do the driving, book a wine tour. The Santa Rita Hills Wine Center is also a great, convenient option since it allows visitors access to four wine-tasting rooms all in one spot.
How to Get to Lompoc
Put on your favorite podcast or playlist during your five-hour drive to Lompoc from downtown San Diego. It's a relatively straightforward journey, mainly driving on the impressive California coast. From San Diego, you’ll get on the I-5 N and US-101 N to the CA-1 N.
Where to Stay in Lompoc
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc Central Coast offers top-notch amenities and rooms for your couples retreat. While you’re there, get a touch of sunshine at the outdoor pool and spa or attend the evening wine reception. This is also a fitting hotel if you want to go to the aforementioned Santa Rita Hills Wine Center or Lompoc Wine Ghetto.
O’Cairns Inn & Suites pairs kind hospitality with affordability to make it an optimal location for your romantic Lompoc stay. Unwind at this boutique hotel, situated near Vandenberg Space Force Base, Lompoc Wine Ghetto, and Jalama Beach. They have a variety of rooms and suites to suit whatever preferences and special needs you might have.
- Perfect for: Charming outdoor activities
- Highlights of Ojai:
- Olive oil tasting
- Horseback riding
- Picturesque trails
Ojai's natural beauty and romantic accommodations make it a must-see destination as far as weekend getaways for couples from San Diego. Whether you're indulging in olive oil tasting, exploring the outdoors, or simply relaxing together, Ojai offers the perfect setting to make cherished memories with your partner.
Things to Do in Ojai
Ojai has a little bit of everything like trails, horseback riding, art galleries, wine tasting, and shopping. Discover the Ojai Valley Trail as a couple by renting bicycles. Ride along the picturesque and peaceful trails that wind through past riverbeds and wooded areas.
Ojai Olive Oil Company is an organic and biodynamic family farm where you can do a $10 olive oil tasting. You can shop for extra virgin olive oils, infused oils, as well as olive oil gifts and accessories.
How to Get to Ojai
It’s around a 5.5-hour drive from San Diego to Ojai. Get on I-5 N and US-101 N to CA-1 N in Santa Barbara County. Take exit 132 from US-101 N. Then you’ll hop on US-101 S and follow that to CA-150 E/Rincon Rd in Carpinteria. Continue on CA-150 E into Ojai.
Where to Stay in Ojai
Almost anywhere you stay in Ojai feels steeped with charm and romance. Su Nido Inn is perfectly located in the heart of Ojai. The property will be your weekend sanctuary with its one- and two-bedroom suites, cobblestone courtyard, and walking distance from some of Ojai's top spots.
Couples Getaways From San Diego
Fly from Southern California to one of these weekend trip ideas. Seek the heat in Tucson's desert delights or the balmy beaches of La Paz, Mexico. Couples can enjoy the company of each other as they soak in the sun.
7. Tucson, Arizona
- Perfect for: Foodies who love to try new things
- Highlights of Tucson:
- Incredible eats
- Desert landscapes
- Amazing stargazing
As a designated UNESCO City of Gastronomy, couples coming to Tucson, Arizona can take a bite from the city’s culinary diversity. Slow down and spend quality time together during your stay at luxurious resorts like Hacienda Del Sol or enjoy a quiet stargazing evening.
Things to Do in Tucson
Eating is one of the best things you can do as a couple in Tucson, Arizona. There are restaurants, farmer's markets, food festivals, food trucks, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and so much more. Tucson has a long culinary and cultural history for you to nibble on.
Try Agustín Kitchen’s New American cuisine, where they focus on locally grown and made ingredients. To satisfy your sweet tooth, head over to Dolce Pastello for a blend of Mexican and European delights like tres leches cake, tres leches chocolate, and tres leches marble cake.
After a weekend of finger-licking good food, spend a romantic evening with your honey bunny stargazing at Spencer’s Observatory. Take a gander at the night skies on Spencer's Observatory's retractable roof and private patio with large telescopes and panoramic views. Make sure to book your tour ahead of time.
How to Get to Tucson
Tucson is only a 90-minute flight from San Diego International Airport with a direct flight. You’ll land in Phoenix and from there you can take transportation or rent a car to Tucson. A car rental might be the way to go, so you can navigate your romantic weekend away from San Diego with ease.
Where to Stay in Tucson
Round out each day of jam-packed activities with a relaxing experience at your hotel. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort shows off immaculate scenes of the Sonoran Desert with luxurious amenities. Couples can spend a romantic weekend rejuvenating with a spa treatment at Spa at Hacienda Del Sol, taking a refreshing dip in the pool, or strolling the botanical gardens.
If you want more of an all-inclusive romantic getaway, you might want to stay at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. Food, meals, coffee, and non-alcoholic drinks are already included, so your nightly credit can be applied to the spa amenities and activities.
8. La Paz, Mexico
- Perfect for: Beach getaway
- Highlights of La Paz:
- Seemingly never-ending sunshine
- Outdoor activities and beaches for days
La Paz looks like a dream with its aquamarine clear waters and fine sandy beaches. Couples can go whale watching, hop from beach-to-beach, or just take it easy at their beachfront hotel.
Things to Do in La Paz
While there are many options for couples getaways from San Diego, La Paz is ideal for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the sand and surround themselves with nature and vistas. There’s something magical about the sound of waves as the warm sun hits your skin.
La Paz has some of the best beaches to whale watch! Stop by one of La Paz's many beaches such as El Tecolote, Pichilingue, Pichilingue, or El Coromuel. Go diving at El Pescadero or kitesurfing at La Ventana.
How to Get to La Paz
Fly directly to La Paz from Tijuana, Mexico. The flight should take just about two hours. Crossing into Mexico is pretty simple thanks to Cross Border Xpress (CBX). I’ve used the CBX a few times, which allows a seamless pedestrian walk from San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport (and back).
Buy tickets ahead of time, as it’s often an option as you purchase your flight tickets. Since it is international travel, don’t forget your passport or any other necessary travel documentation and identification.
Where to Stay in La Paz
La Paz has lodging for any type of couple. Want to have a glamping experience? Stay at Camp Cecil de la Sierra or Camp Cecil de la Sierra. You can find both on the Todos Santos Eco Adventures (TOSEA) website. These two options are both luxury glamping experiences with walk-in tents, beds, linens, lamps, mirrors, and just about everything you need to have a cozy, unique.
If you’re on the hunt for a hotel, the incredible CostaBaja Resort & Spa property has a direct look at the Sea of Cortez. Their staff can also work with you to customize your romantic experience by helping with transportation, menus, and reserving activities such as kayaking, sailing, fishing, mountain climbing, and much more.
9. Boise, Idaho
- Perfect for: Nature and art lovers
- Highlights of Boise:
- Outdoor art and nature walks
- Charming theater plays
Boise makes for an underrated choice as a romantic weekend getaway for couples, but the capital city of Idaho has plenty to offer. Couples can enjoy activities and attractions like an open-air art gallery, going brewery hopping, or walking in nature.
Things to Do in Boise
Take a couples walk or bike ride through the charming Boise River Greenbelt. The tree-lined paths and surrounding greenery make the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to spend some quality time together as you breathe in the fresh air.
Afterward, head to Freak Alley Gallery, to soak in the open-air art and murals that Boise offers. It transforms year-to-year as new art gets added, which adds a unique, ever-changing element.
Then stop by a couple of Boise’s wineries or breweries such as Lost Sage Wines or Boise Brewery. Boise has 14 breweries, so it’s a great place to visit if you and your partner want a brewski. To round out the night, spend your evening date night at Idaho Shakespeare Festival to watch an outdoor play. It’s a wonderful way to spend a romantic weekend in Boise.
How to Get to Boise
Travel to Boise, Idaho via a flight from San Diego International Airport. A direct flight clocks in at just over two hours, so you’ll be there in a jiffy. From Boise Airport, you can rent a car, take public transportation such as the bus, or pay for a shuttle or rideshare like Lyft or Uber to your destination.
Where to Stay in Boise
Stay in downtown Boise at The Avery, which is part historic hotel, part restaurant and gastro tavern. The charming rooms offer comfort, romance, and functionality. For the duration of your trip, you can opt to stay in your chic and modern room with luxury amenities or maybe you want to head down to the Avery Bar + Brasserie for tasty bites and beverages. The Avery building has over 100 years of history, where over the years it has transformed from a hotel, a moving picture theatre, a boxing venue, and more.
Regardless of whether your desire exploring the deserts of Arizona or the beaches of Mexico, so many wonderful locales are within a short distance of San Diego, just waiting for you and your partner to discover their wonders on a romantic weekend getaway.