The Best West Coast Destinations for a Minimoon or Honeymoon
West Coast states Washington, Oregon and California have a lot to offer couples—whether you’re looking to explore a new city, hike a few trails or just relax while sipping some vino. Check out our top picks for romantic West Coast getaways below, and start planning your trip for two.
Seattle truly embodies the Pacific Northwest feel: laid-back with plenty to do, both indoors and outdoors. If you’re feeling brave, take a 20-minute narrated seaplane tour with Kenmore Air to get the lay of the land. After touching down, hit up Fremont Brewing Company for a flight of its finest brews. But don’t forget about Seattle’s more famous brew: coffee. Try the butter coffee at Bulletproof Coffee, stop by Vivace—where latte art was invented—and, if you’re a Starbucks fan, don’t miss its Reserve Roastery, where you can sip on blends exclusive to that location. At night, pick up some firewood and some teriyaki (the city’s known for it) to go at Mr & Mrs Wok and head to Golden Gardens beach to cozy up as the sun sets behind Olympic National Park in the distance.
Where to stay: Treat yourself to a stay at the historic Hotel Sorrento, which opened in 1909. The hotel has gone through several renovations, but has kept its boutique charm, with only 76 rooms. Its location can’t be beat either. It’s only a few minutes walk away from famous Pike Place Market. Be sure to check out the Sunday jazz brunch in the Fireside Room.
Methow Valley, Washington
If your love for the great outdoors has no bounds, then hidden gem Methow Valley is the place for you. Cross-country skiing is especially popular here, with steady snow until early April—but there’s hiking, biking, fishing and more come warmer weather. Check out Winthrop for its Old West inspired buildings, grab some grub at Copper Glance and enjoy a beer or cider at Old Schoolhouse Brewery. For a more dressed-up dinner, dine on small, seasonal plates at Arrowleaf Bistro.
Where to stay: For the adventurous couple, book your own private hut at Rolling Huts to take in the picturesque views. This modern take on camping ensures you won’t be roughing it too much—each hut has a fridge, microwave, sleeping platform with mats and Wi-Fi.
Portland has two distinct feels on either side of the Willamette River. On the west side, explore downtown. Start the day at Mother’s Bistro & Bar—the breakfast nachos are a must—then wander around Powell’s Books (you can seriously get lost in here). Walk over to Washington Park to check out the Portland Japanese Garden and a plethora of roses (depending on season), then reward yourself for taking on those hills with some craft brews at Deschutes Brewery. The east side has a totally different, more small-town vibe. Enjoy a sugary treat at Blue Star Donuts (its buttermilk old-fashioned is ah-mazing) then grab your Portland Distillery Passport and taste your way through a selection of bourbon, vodka, gin and more at various distilleries.
Where to stay: The Duniway in downtown Portland is the perfect location in the City of Roses. The recently opened hotel features a rooftop, bar (get the Coin Toss cocktail) and restaurant Jackrabbit (request The Rabbit Hole room to enjoy an intimate dinner—and be sure to try the foie gras). Indulge in the Wine Beyond the Vine tour and a decked out vehicle from M Executive Car will take you to the vibrant Stoller Family Estate in Oregon’s wine country, where you’ll meet the winemaker, tour the property and end with a tasting and lunch as you take in the breathtaking views.
Looking to get away from it all and get in touch with nature? Manzanita, located right on the coast in Oregon, is a perfect pick. Choose from land- and water-based adventures. Hike on Neahkahnie Mountain or at Alder Creek Farm to see wildlife ranging from elk to bald eagles, then take to the river or bay in a kayak, where you might be lucky enough to spot some sea lions or gray whales. Its beautiful beaches are perfect for lounging or surfing—no matter the month. All that sea air will work up an appetite, so sample’s the area’s renowned seafood at Big Wave Café or Neah-Kah-Nie Bistro. Support local businesses and sample some wines at Nehalem Bay Winery, or enjoy a nightcap at MacGregor’s whiskey bar.
Where to stay: Coast Cabins offers a variety of accommodation options to give you two the alone time you deserve. Stay in one of its oceanfront homes and take in the sights from your wraparound deck, or make one of its cabins your home base, where you can relax in a private hot tub or sauna. Scour the Manzanita Farmers Market and cook an intimate dinner on your own grill.
Unwind and sip your way through your honeymoon in Napa. It’s the perfect spot to relax with your SO. The vineyard options are endless, and there’s truly something for everyone. Head up routes 29 and 128 to see which wineries call to you. If you’re all about white wine, V. Sattui Winery makes 21 (yes, 21) varieties. Do a tasting and then pick up a cheese plate from its artisan deli to pair with your favorite for a picnic on its grounds. More into reds? Head to Silverado Vineyards for its legendary cabernet sauvignon and you’ll be treated to beautiful views in both the tasting room and courtyard area. If you’re still in celebratory mode and only sparkling will do, try the varieties at Mumm Napa. Be sure to make a pit stop at Gott’s Roadside to refuel (its burgers and milkshakes are legendary).
Where to stay: Make downtown Yountville your home base and treat yourself with a stay at the luxe Vintage House. Each room has a working fireplace (can’t get more romantic than that) and a private outdoor patio, as well as either a soaking tub or twin showers. Enjoy the sun (or the shade) on a chaise by the pool, then take advantage of the hotel’s downtown location. Walk to nearby tasting rooms JCB and Priest Ranch Winery, where you can pair a flight of bacon with your tasting. Be sure to book a treatment at its spa—located at its sister property (a five-minute walk)Hotel Villagio—to really take care of any leftover planning stress.
San Francisco, California
One thing that’s a must-do in the Golden Gate City is to, well, check out the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk across it for some amazing bay panoramas and head to Battery Spencer for a view of the bridge and the city. Make sure to try some sourdough bread at the Ferry Building, see the sea lions at Pier 39, take a trolley tour around the hilly city and visit Alcatraz (if you dare). Check out its many districts—including Chinatown, where you have to get the dim sum at Delicious Dim Sum (it lives up to the name—we promise), and the Mission, which boasts some amazing Mexican spots like La Taqueria (get the burrito) and Loló.
Where to stay: Not feeling a downtown vibe? The Inn at the Presidio is your answer. The Presidio—a state park—is located in the northern part of the city, right near the Golden Gate Bridge, and is less than a 20-minute drive to most of the sites. The inn has a historic past (it used to be home to bachelor officers back when the park was an army post) but now offers all the modern conveniences—plus a complimentary afternoon wine and cheese tasting every day. And its outdoor fire pit is the perfect place to end a night after the hustle and bustle of the city. Ask to stay on the third floor—you'll have some amazing views overlooking the park. On Sundays it’s only a short walk to Picnic at the Presidio, where you can stretch out on a blanket, enjoy some beverages and taste some San Francisco fare from your choice of food truck.
Enjoy the laid-back island life just off the coast of California on Catalina Island. Though the island itself is only about 75 square miles, there’s plenty to do, whether you’re looking to kick back and relax or get your adrenaline going. Claim your spot on one of its beautiful beaches, like Descano Beach or South Beach, or sign up for parasailing or paddleboarding in the water. To work up a sweat, hike part of the 38.5-mile Trans-Catalina Trail (it’s worth the effort—we promise). Head to Luau Larry’s to quench your thirst with the island’s signature drink, Buffalo Milk, which is named after the animal who roams here. It’s a frozen alcoholic concoction of fresh bananas, dark cocoa, milk, creme de bananas and vodka, and you’ll find varieties all over Catalina. For a casual lunch spot, hit up Mi Casita or Coyote Joe’s for some Mexican specialties, or The Lobster Trap for fresh seafood and crisp beers on tap. For a restaurant with views, make a reservation at Steve’s Steakhouse & Seafood and ask for a table next to the window. And if you really want to get a taste of the island, sign up for a Catalina Food Tour.
Where to stay: Don’t choose to stay close to the beach or shops and restaurants—you can have both at Hotel-Metropole. You’re only a few steps away from sinking your toes in the sand here, and there’s also plenty to do. Walk on the cobblestone streets in Metropole Market Place and browse through shops, then head back the the hotel for a hot-stone massage at its spa or some Jacuzzi time on the roof with your number one.
San Diego, California
San Diego offers the perfect mix of beautiful scenery, enticing culture and mouthwatering bars and restaurants. If it’s sun and sand you crave, you’ll find the perfect spot to lounge on its 70 miles of coastline. Popular beaches include La Jolla, Oceanside and Encinitas along the 101. Wander through the 16 gardens at Balboa Park, where you can find the famous San Diego Zoo (say hi to the giant pandas). And definitely don’t miss the historic Gaslamp Quarter, which is known for its night scene. Get a bird’s-eye view while you sip and snack at rooftop Rustic Root, and be sure to indulge in the craft beer scene—there are more than 150 breweries in San Diego. Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery, Stone Brewing, Mike Hess Brewing and Ballast Point are all must-visits. And to check out a wide selection of brews, head to Hamilton’s Tavern or Blind Lady Ale House. If it’s craft cocktails you’re after, try one (or three) at Polite Provisions. For bites, try the tacos at South Beach Bar & Grille or Oscars Mexican Seafood, or the pizza at Buona Forchetta—you’ll be dreaming about its Luigina pie (with mozzarella, white truffle cream, porcini and prosciutto) long after your trip. Looking for a more upscale option? Sample the modern American fare at Urban Solace. It’s famous for its Ducaroni, and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like—duck confit meets mac ’n’ cheese, with some bacon breadcrumbs, of course.
Where to stay: Located on Shelter Island, Kona Kai Resort & Spa is right on the marina. Relax poolside or on the beach, take one of its complimentary workout classes, cruise around the island on one of its bikes or book a treatment at SpaTerre. Oh, and did we mention you can bring your furry best friend along too?
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