Many people choose to spend a weekend getaway in California because this state is a land of extremes—from the wild desert sprawled south to the densely forested north—this place has it all. With its towering mountains on one side and its extensive coast facing the Pacific Ocean on the other, California can offer anybody a secluded area to retreat to and enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway.

Being near the ocean has a special romance to it and there are plenty of places along California’s coast to make those dreamy strolls happen along empty, sugary beaches with the wonderful sunset on the horizon. The stretch of California’s coastline, with its miles and miles of sandy and rocky beaches, rugged cliffs, and dramatic waterfronts, presents numerous spots perfect for romantic getaways.

Northern California Beach Weekend GetawayThe extent of the coast you’ll see depends on the length of your trip but both day trips and short weekend getaways already allow you to have a taste of California’s coast. Just north of San Francisco is Point Reyes National Seashore. This area has a scenic lighthouse that can be often viewed with fog blanketing the whole landscape, giving it a more haunting beauty. Take the Coast Highway to go further up north to Point Arena. Along the coast, you can stop by and soak up the sun at one of the beaches that you’ll find. Whether you and your partner want a popular beach or a secluded, windswept beach for a real romantic getaway, you’ll find plenty of options.

Driving up north along highways closest to the shore is the best way to go. You’ll pass by lots of tiny towns, vineyards, coastal retreats, and seaside rest stops. Car camping is a fantastic and affordable way to explore the coast, especially in the late spring to early autumn. For those who prefer more amenities for a more relaxing weekend getaway, there are dozens of hotels and bed-and-breakfast along the way.

The scenic drive will take your breath away and if you drive all the way up to Mendocino, you’ll be able to watch whales from the shore when migrating grey whales travel close to the Californian coast. Also, you don’t have to drive further inland to see giant redwoods, since there are plenty of them on the coast.

With plenty of lovely little towns, lighthouses, wineries, redwood forests, wildlife watching and hiking opportunities, a weekend getaway along California’s coast can really be a scenic, invigorating trip that will inspire and delight you.