The Perfect Escapes for Every Budget: California and Florida’s Best Romantic Getaways

Feb 2, 2024 | Traveler’s Q

Are you looking for the ideal destination to enjoy a memorable romantic getaway with your special someone? Look no further than California and Florida! These two sunny states offer a wealth of options to suit every budget and taste, from luxury spa resorts to budget-friendly love nests tucked away in quiet corners. Whether you prefer exploring the great outdoors, relaxing on the beaches, or indulging in delicious food and drink, California and Florida have got you covered. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure filled with love, relaxation, and unforgettable memories! Let’s dive into some of the best romantic getaways that these two states have to offer.

The Best Romantic Destinations in California

Napa Valley

Napa Valley is an iconic destination for wine lovers and those seeking a romantic getaway in California. When it comes to where to stay in Napa Valley, there are a variety of options to suit every budget and taste. For a luxurious and indulgent experience, stay at the Auberge du Soleil, which offers stunning views of the valley and world-class amenities such as a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa, and private bungalows. If you prefer a more rustic and relaxed atmosphere, try the charming and cozy Brannan Cottage Inn or the wine-themed Senza Hotel.

Regardless of where you stay, make sure to take time to explore the area’s wineries and vineyards, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of rolling hills and picturesque countryside. Take a hot air balloon ride for a unique and memorable perspective, hike at  Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, and indulge in the fine dining options available like La Toque.

Santa Barbara

If you’re looking for a romantic and peaceful getaway in California, look no further than Santa Barbara. This charming coastal town has everything you need for an unforgettable couples’ retreat.  For those looking for a luxurious stay, consider The Biltmore Santa Barbara or the Belmond El Encanto, both offering stunning ocean views and world-class amenities.

Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to explore all the romantic activities that Santa Barbara has to offer. Take a stroll down State Street and discover the many art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Spend a day at the iconic Santa Barbara Zoo, home to more than 500 animals. Take a romantic hike at the gorgeous Douglas Family Preserve or the stunning Arroyo Burro Beach Park. And don’t forget to treat yourselves to the local wineries such as Santa Barbara Winery and Sunstone Vineyards & Winery. You can also try some exciting adventures together such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or whale-watching.

Carmel by the Sea

Carmel by the Sea is a charming seaside town located in central California, renowned for its picturesque scenery and idyllic atmosphere. For those looking to escape the bustling city life and indulge in some romance with their significant other, Carmel by the Sea is the perfect destination. When it comes to accommodations, there is a wide range of options available. The Cypress Inn is a popular choice among couples seeking a touch of Mediterranean charm, while the Tickle Pink Inn offers breathtaking ocean views and an unbeatable location.

As for things to do, Carmel by the Sea has something to offer for everyone, from exploring the town’s art galleries and boutiques to wine tasting at some of the finest wineries in California. For nature lovers, Point Lobos State Reserve is a must-see attraction, featuring scenic hiking trails, native wildlife, and stunning coastal views. Whatever your preferences, Carmel by the Sea is a destination that promises a memorable and romantic vacation experience.

Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island is a beautiful destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway in California. For luxurious and pampering stays, there are resorts like Catalina Island Company and Hotel Metropole.

When it comes to things to do on Santa Catalina Island, couples are spoiled for choice. For nature lovers, there are opportunities for hiking and exploring the island’s flora and fauna at the Catalina Island Conservancy. For adventure seekers, there are thrilling activities like zip-lining and snorkeling, which provide breathtaking views of the island’s waters and wildlife. For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, there are romantic strolls along the beach, sunset cruises, and visits to the island’s art galleries and museums.

Bodega Bay

Located in Northern California, Bodega Bay is a charming destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway. For accommodations, there are a variety of options ranging from luxury resorts to cozy bed-and-breakfasts. One popular spot is the Bodega Bay Lodge, which offers stunning ocean views and romantic amenities such as in-room fireplaces and private balconies. Another great accommodation is The Inn at Tides with its stunning views.

When it comes to activities, Bodega Bay is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Couples can go hiking in the scenic Bodega Head State Park, kayaking on the Russian River, or whale-watching during the migration season. For a more relaxing day, couples can check out the local wineries and indulge in a wine tasting. Lastly, Bodega Bay is known for its fresh seafood, so dining at local restaurants is a must.

Going to California on a Budget

Big Bear

Are you dreaming of a California getaway but worried about the expenses? Consider visiting Big Bear, a charming mountain town in San Bernardino County that offers plenty of attractions and lodging options for affordable prices. For budget-friendly accommodation, check out the many cabins and vacation rentals available on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

During your stay, take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding you by exploring the hiking trails and scenic vistas of Big Bear Lake. The town also offers a range of free or low-cost activities, including fishing, picnicking, kayaking, and bike riding. Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of ways to make unforgettable memories in Big Bear.


One great option for a budget-friendly stay is Malibu. Despite its reputation as a luxurious destination, there are still some budget-friendly accommodations available in Malibu, such as camping at Malibu Creek State Park or booking a room at the Malibu Beach Inn during the off-season.

While in Malibu, visitors can still enjoy the stunning beaches, such as Zuma Beach and Point Dume Beach, without spending a lot of money. Additionally, there are plenty of hiking trails in Malibu, including the Escondido Falls trail and the Sandstone Peak trail, which provide beautiful views of the coastline and mountains.

Half Moon Bay

One budget-friendly destination that is perfect for couples is Half Moon Bay, located just south of San Francisco. Half Moon Bay is known for its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, and incredible hiking trails. The best way to save money on your trip is to stay at one of the many budget-friendly hotels in the area. Some of the best options include the Oceano Hotel & Spa, the Harbor View Inn, and the Nantucket Whale Inn.

When it comes to things to do, Half Moon Bay has plenty of options for travelers on a tight budget. Hiking in nearby parks like Montara State Beach and Pillar Point is completely free and allows visitors to take in the stunning coastal views. For those interested in history, a visit to the Half Moon Bay State Beach Historic District is a must. Here, visitors can walk the shoreline and learn about the history of the area.


If you’re looking for a California getaway that won’t break the bank, consider Mendocino. This charming coastal town offers affordable lodging options, such as cozy bed-and-breakfasts and campgrounds. The budget options include Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites and Joshua Grindle Inn.

The town’s main attraction is the stunning Mendocino Headlands State Park, which offers miles of hiking trails and breathtaking ocean views. You can also explore the town’s galleries and boutiques, or take a scenic drive on Highway 1. For a budget-friendly meal, try the local seafood at the Little River Inn or grab some fresh produce at the weekly farmer’s market. With its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, Mendocino is the perfect destination for a low-cost California vacation.

Avila Beach

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in California on a budget, consider visiting Avila Beach. This hidden gem offers plenty of affordable accommodations, such as the Edgewater Inn & Suites and Spyglass Inn. The area is known for its beautiful white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect destination for couples seeking some sun and adventure. For a truly unique experience, consider booking a stay in one of the beachside yurts, which offer stunning sea views and a cozy atmosphere.

When it comes to what to do in Avila Beach, there is no shortage of fun activities. Hike the scenic Bob Jones Trail, a paved nature path that winds through eucalyptus groves and along the San Luis Obispo Creek. Beach lovers can spend their days surfing, paddleboarding, or lounging on the soft sand. Take a stroll along the Avila Beach Pier, which offers spectacular views of the coastline. For a taste of local flavor, visit the Avila Valley Barn, a family-owned farm stand that sells fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and artisanal crafts.

The Best Couples Destinations for Romance in Florida

Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island is the perfect destination for newlyweds looking for the ultimate romantic getaway. For those seeking ultimate luxury, the elegant Sandpearl Resort offers stunning oceanfront accommodations with private balconies and upscale amenities. The Opal Sands Resort is another great option for couples who want to relax in style and indulge in a variety of on-site activities.

Apart from the comfortable accommodations, Honeymoon Island also offers a plethora of activities that cater to all interests. Explore the island’s stunning natural beauty with activities such as hiking, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Embark on a romantic sunset sail or fishing expedition, or try your luck with dolphin-watching tours. The Caladesi Island State Park is a popular attraction, offering an untouched natural setting that is perfect for a quiet picnic.


Miami is a vibrant and dynamic city that offers couples a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a romantic getaway in Florida. While planning your stay, it is important to choose the perfect accommodation that will enhance your overall experience. Some of the top options include the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Mandarin Oriental, and The Setai, all of which offer luxurious amenities and stunning views of the ocean.

In addition to relaxation and luxury, Miami offers couples the opportunity to explore a variety of exciting activities. You can visit the world-renowned South Beach, where you’ll find stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a thriving arts scene. Alternatively, you can take a stroll through Little Havana and experience the colorful Latin culture firsthand. Regardless of your interests, Miami is an incredible destination that offers a wealth of exciting experiences for couples.

Key West

When it comes to planning your romantic getaway or couples vacation to Key West, there are plenty of options for where to stay and what to do. One of the top-rated hotels is The Marker Waterfront Resort, located in the heart of Old Town with stunning views of the harbor. Another great option is Casa Marina Key West, a luxury beach resort that dates back to 1920.

When it comes to activities, a sunset sail on a catamaran is a must-do experience, giving you and your significant other unforgettable views of the coastline. You can also explore the island’s history with a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum or the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. For a more adventurous outing, rent a paddleboard or kayak and explore the mangroves.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Florida, is a premier destination for those seeking sun, sand, and luxury. If you’re planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon, Palm Beach has no shortage of elegant accommodations, from the iconic The Breakers resort to the boutique elegance of the Brazilian Court Hotel.

When it comes to activities, Palm Beach offers a wealth of options. From relaxing on the pristine beaches to exploring the local culture at the Flagler Museum, there’s something for everyone here. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the numerous parks and nature preserves in the area, while foodies will appreciate the local dining scene with its emphasis on fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established city within the United States. With such rich history and charm, it’s no surprise that St. Augustine is a popular destination for vacationers. When looking for a place to stay, there are many options. The Pearl of the Sea Luxury Bed & Breakfast is a favorite among visitors, offering a romantic and peaceful atmosphere with stunning ocean views. Another great option is the historic Casa Monica Resort.

Some of the top things to do in St. Augustine include visiting the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, exploring the first Catholic parish in the United States at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, and taking a scenic tour on the St. Augustine Scenic Cruise. Adventure seekers can also take part in activities such as kayaking and zip-lining.

Florida on a Budget


If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation spot in Florida, look no further than Pensacola. There are plenty of affordable options such as the Beachside Resort Pensacola Beach and Red Roof Inn Pensacola Fairgrounds. Both options offer comfortable rooms and great amenities without sacrificing quality.

As for what to do, Pensacola is known for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, and delicious seafood. Take a stroll through the charming downtown district and visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. For a budget-friendly beach day, head to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, where you can swim, sunbathe, and even go hiking.

Crystal River

If you’re planning a trip to Florida on a budget, Crystal River should be on your list of must-visit destinations. Located along Florida’s scenic Nature Coast, Crystal River offers a variety of budget-friendly lodging options such as Crystal River Motel. For a unique experience, consider booking a campsite at Crystal River Preserve State Park.

Crystal River boasts an abundance of free and low-cost activities for visitors. Take a swim in the crystal clear waters of Three Sisters Springs or Homosassa Springs State Park. Visit the nearby Crystal River Archaeological State Park to learn about Florida’s indigenous cultures. And don’t miss the opportunity to go kayaking or paddleboarding down the Crystal River, where you can spot manatees and other marine life. With its natural beauty and wallet-friendly options, Crystal River is the perfect destination for those looking to explore Florida.

Daytona Beach

One option for a budget-friendly Florida vacation is Daytona Beach. This oceanside city is known for its wide, sandy beaches and lively boardwalk area. When it comes to where to stay, there are plenty of affordable options, ranging from motels to larger hotels. Check out hotels located directly on the beach, such as the Holiday Inn Resort Daytona Beach Oceanfront or the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center.

For activities, take advantage of the free and low-cost options in the area, including strolling along the boardwalk, visiting the Daytona Beach Bandshell for a free concert, and exploring the beautiful Ormond Beach Loop. Additionally, if you’re a racing enthusiast, be sure to visit the Daytona International Speedway or take a tour of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. With a little bit of planning and a willingness to explore off the beaten path, it’s possible to have an amazing Florida vacation without breaking the bank.

Cedar Key

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly getaway to Florida, consider checking out Cedar Key. This charming coastal town boasts unique architecture and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to accommodations, there are several budget-friendly options to choose from, including the Cedar Inn & Suites, Pirates Cove Cottages, and Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast.

As for things to do, take a stroll along the historic downtown area, visit the Cedar Key Museum State Park, or take a sunset cruise for breathtaking views. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching in the surrounding nature preserves. Lastly, don’t forget to indulge in local seafood dishes at spots like Tony’s Seafood or Steamers Clam Bar and Grill.

Sanibel Island

Consider visiting Sanibel Island for a budget-friendly vacation in Florida. This charming destination offers a variety of affordable accommodations, including West Wind Inn, Sanibel Moorings, and Sanibel Arms West.

One of the best things about Sanibel Island is the abundance of free or low-cost activities. From shelling on the beach to biking the island’s scenic trails, there’s something for everyone. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit attraction, offering free admission. You can also explore the island’s many parks and nature preserves, such as Bowman’s Beach and Bailey Tract.

From the sunny beaches of Florida to the majestic mountains of California, there is no doubt that both states offer endless opportunities for romantic getaways. Whether you’re planning a luxurious honeymoon or a cozy weekend retreat, our top picks have something for every budget. From affordable beachside cottages to extravagant resorts, we’ve covered it all.

So why wait? Book your trip now and let your worries fade away as you embark on a journey filled with love and adventure. And don’t forget to request a proposal from Traveler’s Q for personalized recommendations and exclusive deals. With our expertise and experience in curating the perfect escape, we guarantee that your romantic getaway will be nothing short of perfection. So grab your partner’s hand, pack your bags, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in these beautiful destinations. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Happy travels!