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8 Amazing Valentine’s Day Experiences

Celebrate your love in an unexpected way with these romantic, only-in-California ideas

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Whether you’re craving picturesque seaside resorts or cozy mountain retreats, one thing’s for sure: California is for lovers. With Valentine’s Day 2021 right around the corner, there's no better time to plan a special, socially distanced getaway to one of these spots, which are among the most romantic the Golden State has to offer.

From coastal yurts to whimsical water towers, we’ve collected eight unique stays and unforgettable experiences to put on your romantic getaway bucket list. While a few of these packages are a limited-time offering, the destinations can be enjoyed at any time. If immediate travel isn’t in your plans, opt for a gift card and go when the time is right. Many destinations offer ongoing romance packages: At L’Auberge Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Romantic Getaway Package includes a couple’s massage, dinner with wine pairings at Aubergine Restaurant, and more; the Napa River Inn Romance Package comes with chocolate-dipped strawberries, champagne, and fresh pastries delivered to your room daily from a local Napa bakery.

You can also enjoy the allure of California without leaving your home. Get your beloved’s favorite Golden State meal—like Smoked Salmon Pizza from Spago or Wayfare Tavern Fried Chicken—delivered to your door. A box from a master chocolatier like Parliament from Redlands or Dandelion from San Francisco is always a smart move. If jewelry is your love language, try a bauble from L.A.’s Kathleen Whitaker or a timepiece from Vaer in Venice.

If you want an incredible experience that goes way beyond dinner and a movie, consider one of these only-in-California ideas, listed north to south.

 

Unwind in a Wooden Water Tower in Mendocino

Let the sound of crashing waves lull you to sleep at the MacCallum House. Dating back to 1882, the historic home has romance embedded in its very foundation—William Kelley built it as a gift for his daughter Daisy on her wedding day. Choose from one of the private cottages, including a three-story water tower topped by a working redwood tank. Bonus: Your four-legged best friend can come along too.

Rush Creek Inn

Escape Reality Near Yosemite National Park

With snow-capped peaks, meandering meadows, and cascading waterfalls, it’s impossible to visit Yosemite and not fall in love. Make the trip extra special with a stay at Rush Creek Lodge in nearby Groveland. The hotel’s brand-new spa offers waterfall coves inspired by Yosemite’s natural beauty and granite hot tubs. Order the Spa Romantic Getaway Package and you’ll get 90 minutes of private use of the 5,000-square-foot spa as well as two nights lodging and massages.

Enjoy a Michelin-Starred Meal in San Francisco

The Bay Area food scene is world-renowned thanks to innovative chefs and unparalleled local produce. Enjoy a to-go epicurean experience from the comfort of your own hotel suite or living room by ordering through Tock. Try a nine-course meal featuring abalone-stuffed chicken wings from Benu in the city, the tasting menu from Baumé in Palo Alto, or a dinner for two including wagyu beef and king crab from Manresa in Los Gatos.

Spend the Night in a Private Yurt in Big Sur

Get the ultimate glamping experience perched atop some of the world’s most beautiful seaside cliffs in Big Sur. Treebones Resort offers a magical way to experience the California coast with private yurts and even a human-sized nest built out of twisting branches. Indulge in an elaborate 16-course omakase menu at the on-site sushi bar. (Please note that while access to Treebones Resort is currently closed to the north on Highway 1, the resort can be easily accessed from the south.)

Go Full-Cupid in San Luis Obispo

With its signature petal-pink walls and swirling floral carpeting, Madonna Inn is a full-on Valentine’s Day fever dream. Book one of the aptly named suites like the Love Nest or Just Heaven. Spend the day with a horseback ride around the seaside property and end the night with a special V-day dinner, complete with a slice of the whimsical Pink Champagne cake.

Channel Your Favorite Rom-Com Duo in Beverly Hills

Find romance on Rodeo Drive with the "Pretty Woman" for a Day package at the Beverly Wilshire. Even if your love story follows a more (ahem) conventional plotline, you can still enjoy the luxurious backdrop of the iconic film. The package includes a two-night stay in a specialty suite, a behind-the-scenes tour of nearby fashion houses, couples’ massages, dining experiences, and more.

Float Above the Desert in Palm Springs

Let your heart take flight with a bird’s-eye view of beautiful Palm Springs. Fantasy Balloons offers adventures for two with champagne served at sunset. Spend the evening in your own sweet little casita at Talavera Palm Springs where you can enjoy the desert sky from a completely different perspective—stargazing from the private hot tub on your back patio.

Say “Yes” by the Sea in La Jolla

If there’s a question you’ve been dying to pose, make plans to pop it at Estancia La Jolla. The stunning, hacienda-style hotel offers a proposal special. Staff will set up rose petals and candles at a spot of your choice. After you get the answer you’re looking for, you can celebrate with in-room strawberries and champagne. Get your romance off on the right foot through a session with a sought-after intimacy coach.

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