Hidden California Honeymoon Destinations

And let the romance begin

Once the vows are said, it's time to begin your new life together. Even if you've been living together for years, the amazing moment when you realize you're truly married is a magical time in your lives. There's no better way to further bond your love than at a truly dream honeymoon destination. And California offers a range of options, from beachside romance to a visit to wine country or the desert.

Read on and you'll find exactly the place to thrill both you and your sweetheart with this useful guide of our editor's picks of the top hidden honeymoon destinations in the Golden State.

Hidden California Honeymoon Destinations

Big Sur

Don’t overlook Big Sur as a potential honeymoon locale. It’s the perfect spot if you’re the outdoorsy type but you want your honeymoon to feel luxurious and special. Try glamping, which is glam camping, and eliminates the rough part of “roughing it.” One of our favorite spots is TreeBones Resort. You’ll experience incredible ocean views, hiking along the ocean cliffs and visits to the nearby towns of Carmel and Monterey.

If you want to opt for a total luxurious vacation instead of glamping, you can head over to the Post Ranch Inn Resort on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoy a special honeymoon package that includes breakfast in bed, massages and a Champagne picnic lunch.

Hidden California Honeymoon Destinations

Desert Springs

If golf, moonlight and the desert sunshine are two of you and your fiancè's favorites, consider the “Have it All Under the Desert Stars” package for newlyweds is at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in California.

The package includes countless bottles of Dom Pérignon, a private safari excursion and a gourmet picnic under the stars, a personalized shopping experience and credit to Saks Fifth Ave., and a $1,000 telescope for keeps. It's for the couple looking for a crème de la crème honeymoon experience to get pampered and play in the midst of desert decadence. Here are just a few of the luxuries guests will experience:

  • Gaze at the desert sky with a star-studded picnic including a gourmet basket filled with treats as well as a Coronado Solar MaxII 60 Double Stack Telescope for the best sight of the stars.
  • Venture together on a private star-gazing safari tour through an 800-acre private preserve on the San Andreas Fault.
  • Get pampered in a private spa sanctuary for post-sun wraps and a body treatment.
  • Enjoy a Californian-inspired chef's tasting menu on the hotel's boat dock before sailing on a private gondola ride accompanied by dessert and Dom Pérignon.
  • Channel the inner champion at the 18-hole golf courses, hit up the tennis courts, and make a splash in one of the resort's five spacious pools.

Santa Rosa

Is there anything more romantic than cozying up with your partner in an elegant inn, surrounded by acres of flourishing vines, drinking world-class wines over some of the best farm-fresh food in the country?

Get a room at the Vintners Inn, a boutique hotel hidden behind a lush enclave of Santa Rosa, Calif.; this hotel features all king beds, feather bedding, huge jet bath tubs, and stunning culinary gardens that are used in the legendary John Ash & Co. restaurant.

Spend the day on Santa Rosa's famous cycling routes, which might lead you
to a winery or award-winning brewery and then have dinner in a chic new restaurant in the charming town of Healdsburg. It's the perfect destination for wine lovers who want to escape the bustling crowds of Napa.

Hidden California Honeymoon Destinations


Head north of the Bay Area and visit Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, Calif. The lodge is ranked as one of the Top 4 Resorts in the US by Travel + Leisure and it offers the best of both worlds, a romantic seclusion in an inviting historic or contemporary suite and the exciting city of San Francisco just across the bay. Along with breathtaking views from their hotel room, couples can enjoy soothing spa treatments, award-winning dining with Champagne toasts, a hike to see the sunset, and a nightcap near the fire at Farley Bar.

One of the best parts is that it is an upscale and environmentally sustainable resort tucked in the Marin headlands, across the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s just a stone's throw away from the best wineries in the world. Visitors can participate in special guided hikes that take them beneath the Golden Gate Bridge for panoramic vistas of the San Francisco Bay.

Try one of the morning yoga classes in view of the Golden Gate Bridge for an unforgettable and breathtaking experience.

Hidden California Honeymoon Destinations

Palm Springs

Add a bit of historic Hollywood to your honeymoon via The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn. This desert resort, 2 hours east of Los Angeles, is where Carole Lombard and Clark Gable spent part of their honeymoon and many stars, from Shirley Temple to Cameron Diaz, have visited over the years.

The inn is an eight-room hideaway and it’s housed in the former home of silent screen star Marion Davies. It’s earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award for the 19th consecutive year and is the only Palm Springs hotel to have made this year’s list.

With just eight rooms, including one named for Ms. Davies and another named for Albert Einstein, a frequent guest back in the 1930s and ‘40s, The Willows plays a starring role among the desert’s more typical mid-century properties. Registered guests receive the red carpet treatment and are privy to an abundance of privacy and amenities. Each suite is a capsule of luxury boasting its own style, charm and design with fireplaces, tandem claw foot tubs, private balconies, separate entrances, fainting couches and more. Each room features a king or queen-size bed, plush linens and hand-selected antique furniture reminiscent of the era in which the inn was built.

Guests can also plot their Willows escape around one of the many events taking place in Greater Palm Springs. During March, there is the La Quinta Arts Festival and Nabisco Women’s Golf Championship in Rancho Mirage. April features the Indian Wells Arts Festival and famous White Party. During May the Smooth Jazz Festival, featuring jazz musicians from all across the country, convenes just below The Willows at The O’Donnell Golf Club in mid-May.

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