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California Romantic Honeymoon

OK! So my FI and I are pretty sure we will be staying in California for a few days. We have been thinking either San Diego, San Francisco or L.A? Or if you ladies have ideas of a beautiful place to stay in cali? A city near a beach of course! If we went to San Diego or those other cities what are fun things to do, romantic beautiful places to eat? Nice hotels by the beach? Thanks

Re: California Romantic Honeymoon

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    I've only ever been to SoCal, so I can't help with San Fran.

    I love both San Diego and LA. My fiance and I would go out for a week and stay with his uncle around the Anaheim area. We have stayed at two diffrent hotels though. The Magic Castle in Hollywood (it's a great find in a good location, but it's no 5-star hotel.) More pricey, but you can find good deals is the Hotel Palomar in Westwood area of LA. Hotel Palomar or Hotel Monnaco are part of Kimpton Hotels - they're super trendy and modern. We love them, but they're a little pricey.

    I don't know if you want to do touristy things or not. If so, I'd recommend San Diego's Balboa Park. It contains the San Diego Zoo, many museums and gardens. While in San Diego, I'd try and check out La Jolla and possibly stay in that area, north of San Diego. It's BEAUTIFUL. Also, you could check out the Hotel DeCoronado in San Diego - that's right on the beach.

    LA wise, you could stay in Santa Monica/Venice area - very close to the beach. Touristy things that I enjoyed were of course, the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I'd definiely recommend the Getty Center (it's free). It houses an art museum and outside there are many flowers and sculptures to walk around. I'd also highly recommend visiting the Griffith Observatory at sunset. It gives you very nice views of downtown LA. 

    Anything I've mentioned you can find with any Frommer's or Fodor's travel books to Southern California. You can definitely do San Diego and LA together to.

    Hope this helps! You'll have a great trip no matter where you go in CA.
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    We went to Napa for our HM, which is another option! I can give recs if you'd like.

    If you want a beach, I would not do San Francisco. I love SF, but the weather doesn't lend itself to the beach often.

    If you do SoCal, San Diego is more of a beach city than LA, because it's actually ON the coast. Check out the Gaslamp district - there are hotels along with lots of bars and restaurants. San Diego also has a GREAT craft beer scene, with tons of breweries, including Lost Abbey, Stone, Cismontane, Coronado, Green Flash, Pizza Port.

    For LA, you'll need a car (and to a certain extent, San Diego). I recommend Disney World (also, it's between LA and San Diego if you want to spend a few days in each and go to Disney in between), as well as Catalina Island. The ferry ride can be pricey, but it's quaint and pretty romantic. I'd also recommend staying at the beach (Santa Monica), but if you stay in Hollywood, there's a new W Hotel on Hollywood and Vine and the Hollywood Roosevelt is amazing (and old - they held the first Academy Awards there and it's said to be haunted by Marilyn Monroe, among others). Cirque du Soleil is playing in Hollywood, across from the Roosevelt (at the Kodak theater, where they have the Oscars) and there's a mall attached to that and a lot of bars and restaurants in the Hollywood area (I can give you more recs). If you like clubs, the Sunset Strip is a few miles away and there are some good places for dancing. You can also take the subway to Universal City and go to Universal Studios Hollywood.

    Of course there's also Beverly Hills (Rodeo drive), as well as a lot of nice things and performances in downtown LA. Depending on the time of year, the LA Philharmonic plays downtown at the Disney Concert Hall or at the Hollywood Bowl. There might also be sporting events going on.

    Let me know if you have more questions!
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    We are doing Northern California for our anniversary in July. San Fran, Napa, then driving down to Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur. I have heard (and seen from pics) that the Big Sur area is absolutely gorgeous and very romantic. However, it isn't really "beach" weather there, though they do have some pretty beaches. Like a PP said, if you want laying out in the sun type weather, SoCal is where you'd want to go. However, I've done a ton of research for our North Cali trip and there are a ton of things to do up there, and you can make that quite romantic too. Just depends what you're looking for.


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    You don't say how long you are staying or how much you want to spend.

    We took a 14 day HM last September, flew into San Fran, stayed there 4 nights, then rented a convertible and drove down the coast on the Pacific Coast Hwy for the remainder of the trip. We stayed in hotels all along the beach or right on the beach. We ended up at Coronado Bay near San Diego and flew home from there. FYI: multiple city flights are generally around the same price as round trip into and out of the same city, and you can turn your rental car in at any airport. Think about it.

    I can send you a copy of my spreadsheet with all the locations we stayed if you send me a private message below with YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. (I've had brides send me PM's and forget to send their email address)

    Our favorite areas were Carmel/Monterey, Malibu/LA and Coronado Bay.
    In Carmel we stayed at the Carmel Mission Ranch, which is owned by Clint Eastwood. FABULOUS is all I can say about this. Has a 4 star restaurant, lovely, idyllic, serene. We didn't go into Carmel the city, and I am sorry we missed that because I've heard it's lovely.

    Definitely go to the Monterey Aquarium, it is as great as everyone told us it would be.

    Malibu: we stayed at the Casa Malibu Inn. They don't have a website, but you can find them on www.tripadvisor.com. We had a room with a deck right on the ocean, could see Malibu Pier from there, heard the waves all night. We were there 2 nights, drove into LA for the touristy things, Kodak Theater, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Rodeo Drive. Great romantic restaurant in Malibu, Geoffrey's, right on the water.

    Coronado Bay: we stayed at the Loew's Coronado Bay for 3 nights. We drove into San Diego to Balboa Park, took the tram, got off and looked at things and got back on. There is "old town", with Mexican eateries.

    Coronado Bay is a charming town with a Main St and I highly recommend the Burger Joint for the best burger and fries in your life (I had a chocolate milk shake too). There is a gondola company next to the Loew's hotel where you can get a sunset cruise in a gondola (our gondolier sang!) around the bay area for $99. Bring your own wine/champagne, they supply strawberries dipped in chocolate.
     
    I did a ton of research on trip advisor for hotels all along the coast. I highly recommend it. I also signed up for weekly emails from www.travelzoo.com and received discount info, but found my own research skills and trip advisor to be the best way.

    San Fran is nice, but the weather is cool/foggy in the morning, and in September it was downright chilly. Not sure about when you go. It's lovely, but if you want "Romantic", I'd recommend one of the spas or B&B's in Napa or Sonoma. We didn't do that, but I did find tons of stuff online.
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    We'll be there for a week probably so we can travel to cities close to eachother
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    Definitely San Diego. 
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    Santa Barbara or Mendocino.
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    Since you have said in both threads that a beach is important to you. I wouldn't do SF. It's a great city, but I don't think it has what you are looking for on your honeymoon. I really recommend San Diego/La Jolla. Beautiful beaches, lots of great restaurants. Balboa Park has the zoo and a number of museums for whatever you are interested in, like PP said. Old Town San Diego is fun to visit too, it's set up like an old west town, similar to Williamsburg, VA with people dressed up and selling old west goods. A bit overpriced, but fun to walk through. Go to Trip Advisor to get good restaurant recommendations, I don't know of any off the top if my head but there are plenty to choose from!
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