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Top 10 romantic places in Southern California

The exterior of the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA Photo courtesy Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Pick a place, hop in the car, and go on a date you'll remember forever

Southern California is filled with beautiful, romantic places. With so many options, it can be tough to find the perfect one for you and that special someone. These 10 spots are favorites of Westways editors. Whether you like dining amid exquisite architecture, walking along the beach, or playing in the mud, you are bound to find a spot to impress your sweetheart.

Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Photo courtesy of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Photo courtesy of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

In February, the Inn throws a monthlong party to romance, the Festa dell'Amore, with romantic room packages, restaurant specials, and love-themed cocktails.

Tip: Along with beautiful Spanish—mission style architecture, the Riverside hotel is also a museum, displaying artifacts from the 18th century. 951-784-0300; missioninn.com.

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs

Photo by Thomas Shjarback / Alamy Stock Photo

Grab your honey and head to San Diego's Point Loma in the late afternoon. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and watch the sun set from atop dramatic cliffs with the soothing sound of the waves below.

Tip: Check the tides before going. Big waves crashing against the rocks will leave you in the splash zone.

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

Photo courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

Reserve a plush daybed on the beach and soak in that San Diego sunshine with the Victorian architecture of "The Del" behind you.

Tip: Reservations are recommended, but not required. Daybed: $200 a day. 619-522-8100; hoteldel.com. 

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Photo by Ron Veto

On cloudless nights, you can see the heavens and get unparalleled views of Los Angeles' light show.

Tip: You can also stargaze for free with the observatory's public telescopes, open until 10 p.m. 213-473-0800.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Photo by John Duncan

On the oceanfront West Coaster rollercoaster, you'll have a perfect excuse to snuggle up while overlooking Santa Monica Bay.

Tip: For $29.65 ages 8 and older ($16.15 for 7 and younger), you can purchase Pacific Park's Unlimited Ride Wristbands online. This allows you to ride all 12 rides as many times as you want. Pacific Park, 310-260-8744.

Santa Catalina Island

Catalina Casino

Photo courtesy of the Catalina Island Company

On glass-bottom boats in Avalon or sunshine-yellow kayaks in Two Harbors, you and your special someone can choose your own ocean experience.

Tip: Look for the fluorescent orange spots darting below you; they are California's state marine fish, the Garibaldi. 877-778-8322;  visitcatalinaisland.com. Glass Bottom Voyage, 800-626-1496.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Photo by Stephanie Starr / Alamy Stock Photo

The beach town is a wonderful place for strolling hand-in-hand as you view public murals and sculptures that line the paths along the oceanfront.

Tip: On the first Thursday of each month, Laguna Beach hosts an art walk. Participants can visit 85 galleries that offer demonstrations and live music for free.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Photo courtesy Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Relax and rejuvenate at this natural oasis in the Inland Empire. Soak in a mineral pool or giggle in Club Mud (a spring-water mud bath full of red clay).

Tip: Bring a dark or old swimsuit for Club Mud because the mud may stain your clothing. 888-453-6489.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara Courthouse

Photo by Robert Harding / Alamy Stock Photo

Spend a day shopping in downtown Santa Barbara, and then stop by the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on Anacapa Street. You can take daily free tours of the Spanish Colonial—style building. Don't forget an Instagrammable selfie with its four-faced clock tower.

Tip: Look at the ceiling in the Clock Gallery during your tour. You will see paintings of the exact constellations from the date that Santa Barbara was named in 1602. 805-568-3070.

Disneyland: Snow White Grotto

Snow White's Grotto

After the rides, snacks, and parades, take a romantic pause at the Wishing Well next to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Snow White will serenade you with her classic melody "I'm Wishing" as you and your companion make a wish together.

Tip: Bring some change to toss into the well. It is collected by Disney staff and donated to children's charities.

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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