In general, California is not known as a budget travel destination. Still, when the urge strikes to take a weekend to get away from it all -- whether to rekindle romance with your long-term partner or to indulge your senses with a new flame -- with a little patience and research, you can find a romantic retreat to fit any budget. Look past the big cities Instead, opt for beaches off the beaten path, cabins amidst the redwoods or desert hideaways.
Old Turner Inn, Catalina Island
Catalina Island is located off the coast of Southern California near Long Beach, and it's long been respected as a romantic getaway destination. The island features numerous choices for accommodation, but the most romantic may be the bed and breakfast known as the Old Turner Inn. Each of the five rooms features its own bathroom; four have working fireplaces. A full warm breakfast is served every morning. While visiting Catalina Island, you can encounter both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, go horseback or bicycle riding together and dine on the beachfront.
Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs
Consciously styled like a Mediterranean pensione, this destination provides not just a bed to sleep in but an immersive experience. From breakfast in the courtyard and Moroccan tea service in the afternoon to pool and spa diversions to complimentary bicycles with which to explore the desert oasis of Palm Springs, everything you need for a romantic retreat is provided. No wonder the resort proclaims itself one of the sexiest hotels in America. For all this indulgence, however, prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Hideaway Cottages, Napa
Rent one of these private and picturesque cottages in the heart of California wine country. The management provides a continental breakfast tote each morning, so you can choose to dine in your room or take a romantic breakfast-time stroll together through two acres of garden landscapes instead. While you're strolling, hit up the hot tubs or mineral springs. You can also visit nearby wineries for a tour. The cottages have no landline phone, so if you want to experience true romantic seclusion, turn off your cell phone and leave the laptop at home.
La Jolla Inn, La Jolla
La Jolla is located right outside San Diego, and the La Jolla Inn is located right on the Pacific coast. Choose from 23 rooms, some with ocean views. The rooms feature charming handmade quilts on the bed and -- importantly -- air conditioning. The La Jolla Inn will also assist you in renting bikes, snorkels and boogie boards. Or just borrow a free beach towel and chair and take in the sun together.
Treebones Resort, Big Sur
Big Sur contains some of the most dramatic landscapes in all of California, and that's saying something. This central California region is rugged and more than a little removed from civilization, and local residents like it that way. Treebones Resort exemplifies the area's spirit. Its accommodations consist entirely of a set of luxury yurts -- fabric tents built upon wooden frames. Yurts are open to the starry night sky and feature a full pinewood plank floor and space heater plus a cozy double bed. Treebones likes to say that it specializes in "glamping" -- a portmanteau of "glamor" and "camping." In other words, you get a fascinating and definitely romantic combination of outdoorsy and luxurious in your amenities -- shared bathrooms, exposure to the elements and lack of soundproofing, balanced with nearby amenities, including two-person hot tubs, a pool with a view, even a sushi bar. It's a one-of-a-kind retreat for sure.