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Romantic Road Trips In California

5 min read

One of the best ways for couples to reconnect is by sharing a romantic road trip. Spending unscheduled hours together, free from screens and responsibilities, while traveling through gorgeous landscapes inspires intimacy. Escape from the pressures of daily life and rediscover one another. California offers world-class coastal views, extraordinary natural beauty, glamorous city life, and incredible outdoor adventures for your couple’s road trip.

Tips to Making Your Couple’s Road Trip More Romantic

A couple’s road trip needs more than a spectacular destination to become a romance-filled getaway that strengthens your bond. Follow these tips to make yours a truly romantic road trip:

  • Don’t label it a romantic trip! It’s just too much pressure.
  • Discuss your plans ahead of time. Avoid mismatched expectations.
  • Don’t try to “do it all.” Enjoy spending time together rather than checking off lists.
  • Avoid peak tourist times. Unless for a special event or must-see holiday display, go when it’s less crowded.
  • Plan plenty of downtime. Relax, unwind, reconnect.
  • Refrain from discussing finances. Take a couple’s trip you can afford, and skip the bean-counting.
  • Skip the diet. Engage your senses and leave the stress behind.

Planning ahead will minimize stress. Download your digital ID and proof of insurance so you’ll always have it handy. And make sure your roadside assistance is up to date for worry-free travel. Now, let’s get to those road trip ideas for couples.

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) – Big Sur

Driving along California’s coastline on Pacific Coast Highway is one of the world's most spectacular and romantic road trips. The iconic road wends along the coastline, passing through state parks, charming seaside towns, and white sand beaches. The dramatic cliffs of Big Sur soaring over the crashing waves create breathtaking views. Rent e-bikes for a scenic city tour and enjoy a picnic on the beach. Take in the sensational sunsets from the hidden cove on Pfeiffer Beach.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a jewel for couple’s road trips, with its awe-inspiring granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Get out and hike together around the mesmerizing Mirror Lake in spring or early summer. The dazzling display of autumn leaves makes visiting Yosemite in fall a truly romantic road trip. Summer offers boating, swimming, fireworks, kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking. Stay in a cozy lodge or lakeside suite with a deep jacuzzi tub, ideal for a luxurious bubble bath.


Escape to Ojai, a small, serene town tucked into the valley formed by the scenic Topatopa Mountains. Renowned for its “pink moment” sunsets, which bathe the mountains in rosy hues, this hidden oasis is the perfect destination for a relaxing and romantic road trip. Explore art galleries, boutique spas, and artisanal shops hand in hand. Farm fresh produce and local wineries will delight your senses as you slow down and appreciate the beauty in each moment.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley is the heart of California winemaking, with world-class vineyards and exquisite scenery. Any list of California’s best road trip ideas must mention this romantic destination. For an unforgettable experience, watch the valley awaken from a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Then, take a horseback riding tour of a local vineyard, followed by a private wine tasting. If you’re traveling with your furry friend, Napa Valley is an excellent place for dog-friendly hotels, bistros, and vineyards.

San Francisco

Considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, San Francisco offers a glamorous destination for your next couple’s trip. This oceanfront Golden City has everything from spectacular seaside views to the city lights. Explore supreme natural beauty, architectural wonders, world-class art exhibits, music festivals, sensational seafood, and sizzling nightlife. Those traveling with their dog will find the city pet-friendly, with many inclusive opportunities. Walk the iconic Golen Gate bridge and play on the sandy beaches together.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, is a stellar, all-season destination for a couple’s road trip. An awe-inspiring natural beauty awaits around every turn of the hiking trails. Consider mountain biking, rock climbing, water skiing, or kayaking by day, and check out the local nightlife before retiring to your hotel suite. Or, take a more leisurely approach, visiting the beach or taking a gondola ride over the exquisite valley. In winter, this “Jewel of the Sierra” offers exceptional skiing.

Joshua Tree National Park

For magnificent sunsets, glorious, starry skies, and stark beauty, Joshua Tree National Park is the ideal destination for a romantic road trip. The vast Mojave Desert contains incredible views and stunning natural rock formations. The much-Instagrammed Heart Rock is a naturally formed boulder shaped like a valentine and a prime spot for proposals. Enjoy the stellar shows from watching the sun rise over the Cholla Cactus Garden, setting a zillion spines aglow, to stargazing at the Sky's The Limit Observatory and Nature Center.

Mendocino Coast

The Mendocino Coast seems to be crafted by God as a romantic destination for lovers. The rugged cliffs overlooking the misty shores of the Pacific Ocean create a scenic locale for your next couple’s road trip. Victorian architecture houses art galleries and cozy dining experiences. Visit the exquisite botanical garden and the magical Glass Beach with its dazzling bed of multicolored sea glass. Take a whale-watching tour and explore the coastal trails of this quaint coastal town.


The storybook cottages and white sandy beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea provide a delightful setting for the two of you to relax and reconnect. This picturesque town blends European charm with California's coastal beauty and vitality. Stroll through hidden passageways to discover secret courtyards and whimsical art installations. Explore the vibrant marine life at the Carmel River State Beach or take in the majestic views along the world-famous 17 17-mile drive. As night falls, cozy up by a beach bonfire for the perfect end to your romantic road trip.

It takes more than romantic road trip ideas to make your getaway successful. Follow our safety tips for long drives, and make sure your car insurance is current. Please call your friendly Wawanesa agent with any questions!

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