The West Coast of the United States is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, ranging from rugged coastlines and sandy beaches to lush vineyards and refined downtown areas. A few of the destinations on our West Coast vacations list are world-famous while others are hidden gems known to a relatively small number of travelers.

1. Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California
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Big Sur’s coastline has long been the inspiration for artists, writers and visionaries from all over the world. Consisting of a few hotels, restaurants, and art galleries, the village of Big Sur, California, is surrounded by vast redwood-filled state parks.

Giant elephant seals bask on the sandy shores, and gray whales migrate past in the deep indigo waters twice a year, while this untouched terrain remains as wild and exhilarating as always.

Where to Stay: Rooms and suites at Ventana Big Sur have wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor decks with forest and ocean views.

Where to Eat: Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn is the ultimate spot for a special celebration. Set high above the cliffs with floor-to-ceiling windows, the restaurant seems to float above the ocean.

Don't Miss: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has a beautiful sandy beach for sunbathing in the summer, and offers great whale watching in December and January.

2. Ellensburg, Washington

Ellensburg, Washington
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Boasting plenty of sunshine and magnificent mountain vistas, Ellensburg in Washington is less than two hours away from the hustle and bustle of Seattle, but will have you feeling as if you are worlds away. Brimming with lovely places to stay, a plethora of restaurants and cafés, and an array of fun outdoor activities to enjoy, Ellensburg will not disappoint.

The Downtown Ellensburg Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a wonderful variety of shops, antique stores, art galleries and spas. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the range of adventures, from world-class fly fishing and white water rafting to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Learn about the history of the area at The Kittitas County Historical Museum, located in the Cadwell Building which dates back to 1889. Take a traditional winery tour to taste some of the region’s finest wines, or go on a scenic drive into one of the surrounding state parks for excellent wildlife and birdwatching. If you are looking for great places to visit out West, don't miss Ellensburg.

Where to Stay: The Lodge at Canyon River Ranch has ten two-bedroom condos with kitchens and a private patio or veranda.

Don't Miss: The Kittitas County Farmers Market is open on Saturdays, May through October, offering farm fresh produce and a selection of hand crafted goods. Here you will find unique items such as handmade soaps, jewelry, and delicious artisan cheese by Tieton Farm & Creamery.

3. Healdsburg, California

Healdsburg, California
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Surrounded by some of Northern California's finest wine estates, Healdsburg is a charming town renowned for the finer things in life, from award-winning restaurants to boutique shopping.

Embraced by the rolling vineyards of world-renowned wine growing estates, this beautiful town offers an array of treasures to explore, from beautiful art and sculpture to quaint bookstores and antique shops. Intimate guesthouses provide luxurious overnight stays and cozy cafés serve artisanal breads, cheeses and wines. Take a walking tour of the town’s historic homes, enjoy a pampering massage at one of the spas, or meander along the farm and art trails in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys where you can sample delicious food and wine.

The spectacular surroundings make for excellent outdoor fun - adventure-lovers will delight in hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, boating and hot air ballooning.

Where to Stay: Located close to the Healdsburg Town Square, the renovated Bella Luna Inn has lush gardens and a heated pool.

Where to Eat: Baci Cafe & Wine Bar is a family-owned restaurant serving gourmet cuisine with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

Don't Miss: Wine Country Walking Tours offer a great way to get to know the area while sampling amazing food and wine.

4. Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon
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Home to the cascading waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge and views of the snowy peak of Mt. Hood, Hood River is surrounded by bountiful fruit orchards and jaw-dropping natural scenery. The winds that rush down the valley and the Columbia River Gorge create perfect conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing, as well as other adrenaline-inducing adventures.

Take a scenic rail trip through fruit laden orchards on the Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad for spectacular views of Mt. Hood. Whether you are an adventurous couple, food aficionados, history buffs or wine connoisseurs, this charming little town an hour’s drive from Portland has something for everyone.

Don't Miss: Northwest Rafting Company offers half day trips in the Wind River, the White Salmon River and the Columbia Gorge for beginner and expert paddlers.

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5. Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla, Washington
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Surrounded by Washington’s wine country, Walla Walla has much to offer in the way of a romantic weekend escape, from breathtaking scenic beauty and award-winning wineries, to elegant restaurants and an array of arts, culture and outdoor adventures. Walla Walla’s tree-lined central boulevard is an eclectic mix of past and present, featuring quirky vintage stores, luxurious boutiques, cozy cafés, art galleries, busy tasting rooms and bustling restaurants.

Walla Walla boasts more than 120 mostly family owned wineries, where you will get a chance to meet the winemakers, vintners and masters of this age-old tradition, and taste their wares along the way. The region offers plenty of outdoor fun in the surrounding mountains and rivers - choose from hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and canoeing.

Where to Stay: The Inn At Blackberry Creek has three guest rooms and a spacious suite set on two acres about two miles from downtown.

Wine Tasting: Visit Walla Walla Vintners for free wine tastings, scenic vineyard views, and special events throughout the year.

Don't Miss: Whitman College offers lovely architecture, art exhibitions at The Donald Sheehan Gallery, and beautiful landscaping.

6. San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo, California
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San Luis Obispo enjoys a Mediterranean climate with year-round sunshine, spectacular natural scenery, a bustling college town vibe, charming shops, restaurants and world-class wineries.

The town’s historic downtown area brims with beautiful turn-of-the-century architecture, boutiques, art galleries, museums, and shops while excellent restaurants, buzzing bars and chic cafés create a vibrant atmosphere. The magnificent working parish church of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa stands in the center of the city, and Thursday nights see one of the largest farmers markets in the country come to life.

The Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys are home to critically acclaimed wineries where some of the world’s best vintages can be sampled. A glorious landscape of lakes, mountains and beaches around the town makes for fantastic outdoor adventures, from hiking and biking to horseback riding and sailing.

Where to Stay: Petit Soleil has 15 rooms with an European flair and is close to downtown.

Where to Eat: Novo Restaurant & Lounge serves global cuisine on a romantic patio with views and sounds from the creek below.

Don't Miss: Downtown SLO Farmers' Market on Thursday nights features live music, 120 vendors and delicious each such as ribs, sausage, and BBQ. The market is held on Higuera Street, between Osos and Nipomo streets.

7. Seabrook, Washington

Seabrook, Washington
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Overlooking Washington's rugged coastline, Seabrook is a beautiful beach town that is making a welcome revival. The area was used by the US Navy and Air Force during the Second World War and was intentionally ‘removed’ from the map, however it is back on the map as one of Washington’s favorite seaside escapes. The town was established in 2004 and features a charming Retail District, new Town Hall, and the Dorothy Anderson Cottage which is one of the oldest cottages on the Washington coast.

Seabrook’s spectacular natural surroundings offer an array of outdoor activities and adventures, ranging from water-based sports such as swimming, sailing, surfing and fishing, to mountain-based adventures like hiking, biking, climbing, and exploring. The South Crescent Pool, a heated indoor pool, provides year-round swimming with a luxurious whirlpool and a sunny terrace.

Where to Stay: Contact Seabrook Cottage Rentals for a selection of furnished vacation properties for rent, many with ocean views.

Don't Miss: On your stroll through Meriwether Square, take photos in the charming gazebo.

8. Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon
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Resting on the southern banks of the Columbia River overlooking Young’s Bay, the beautifully scenic Astoria in Oregon is the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.

Once a fur trading post, this vibrant port city is a delightful romantic getaway with much to offer in the way of things to see and do. Surrounded by water and tall evergreen trees, Astoria is renowned for its scenic beauty, which encompasses miles of endless white sandy beaches and beautiful Pacific Ocean views, where visitors find a wealth of outdoor activities. Parasail and kayak off the beach, fish for salmon in the mighty Columbia River, or hike or bike along the trails in and around the city.

Take in the city’s rich history with a visit to one of the many museums, such as the nationally acclaimed Columbia River Maritime Museum, where you can view dugout canoes and walk on the bridge of a World War II warship. Don’t miss a visit to the famous “Goonies” set, which put Astoria on the map as a filmmaking destination.

Where to Stay: The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa is a historic riverfront hotel offering stunning views and plush accommodations, each with a fireplace and a private balcony.

Where to Eat: For some of the best views of the bridge and the river, head to The Bridgewater Bistro which serves delicious regional cuisine in an indoor and outdoor setting.

Don't Miss: The Astoria Riverfront Trolley will take you on a scenic one-hour ride past Astoria’s most popular attractions, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

9. Coronado, California

Coronado, California
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Steeped in history and culture, Coronado is a small, easy-going island town that has long been a famous getaway for the rich and famous. Boasting award-winning beaches, exquisite architecture, a vibrant community life and a near-perfect climate, Coronado is undoubtedly one of San Diego County’s gems. The historic downtown area brims with elegant hotels and boutique inns, chic sidewalk cafés, award-winning restaurants, stylish stores, tranquil parks and a beautiful old library.

Watch a show at the vintage state-of-the-art movie house or live theater at the Coronado School of the Arts. Take the time to explore the many historic buildings and museums dotted around town. Coronado’s beaches offer a wealth of activities, including swimming, snorkeling, sailing and scuba diving.

Where to Stay: Loews Coronado Bay and Hotel del Coronado and two iconic hotels in Coronado. Hotel Marisol Coronado offers an intimate setting and 15 guest accommodations close to the beach, shops and entertainment.

Don't Miss: Stop by the Coronado Visitor Center to get a free map and advice from friendly staff.

10. The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles, Oregon
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Located along the shores of the Columbia River, The Dalles is known as the eastern gateway to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and the end of the Oregon Trail. Not far from Mt. Hood National Forest and boasting magnificent natural scenery, this spectacular region offers many things to do for couples. Its unique location in the shadow of Mt. Hood provides visitors with outdoor adventures, including kayaking, white water rafting, windsurfing, fly fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling and skiing in the winter.

For more relaxed recreation, explore the many museums, murals and art centers about town, such as the Wasco County Historical Museum, the Fort Dalles Museum and Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, or check out the second largest Auguste Rodin collection on the West Coast at the Dalles Art Center. Plan your romantic weekend trip around one of the many festivals that happen throughout the year, like the ‘Northwest Cherry Festival’ in April, the ‘Cruise the Gorge Classic Weekend ‘and the ‘Dufur Threshing Bee.’

Where to Stay: The Celilo Inn has an outdoor pool and offers scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge

Where to Eat: Spooky's serves delicious pizza, sandwiches and salads.

Don't Miss: Learn about the history of the area and stroll through 54 acres of ponds and scenic overlooks at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum.

11. McMinnville, Oregon

McMinnville, Oregon
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Located in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, McMinnville is a charming agricultural town that offers excellent food and wine, fresh air, breathtaking natural scenery and a relaxed, laid-back ambiance ideal for a romantic getaway for two. The tree-lined streets of McMinnville feature beautifully restored buildings, stylish wine bars serving the finest vintages from the region, quaint antique stores and vintage boutiques.

Take an evening stroll in the City Park before dining at one of the restaurants in town where you can savor some of the world's best wines.

Where to Stay: A'Tuscan Estate is a European-style bed and breakfast just a short walk from downtown shops and restaurants.

12. La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California
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Located just a few minutes from downtown San Diego, La Jolla is a Southern Californian gem that sparkles with year-round sunshine and stunning views. Offering big city attractions and amenities in a quaint coastal village setting, La Jolla is a fun destination for couples.

Scenic beaches, secluded coves and dramatic cliffs are ideal for strolling, surfing, sunbathing and swimming. A variety of stores in the little village offer everything from haute couture to vintage treasures. Enjoy symphony orchestra performances, famous Broadway shows at the award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, and renowned art and wine festivals.

Where to Eat: George’s at the Cove has a romantic rooftop terrace with ocean views and serves delicious culinary creations with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.

Don't Miss: La Jolla Cove offers beautiful ocean views and is the perfect place to spot seals.

13. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon
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Home to miles of secluded beaches, sand dunes, charming lighthouses and towering forests, Cannon Beach’s breathtaking beauty has been inspiring creativity for decades. From Haystack Rock to the waterfalls at Hug Point, this lovely north coast town boasts a selection of art galleries, luxurious oceanfront lodging, cozy restaurants, and little boutiques.

Explore the many art galleries and eclectic shops in town, or take in the vibrant, artistic ambiance that emanates throughout the town with a performance at the local community theater. The Cannon Beach Farmers Market (open on Tuesday afternoons from mid-June though the end of September) is a great place to browse fresh produce, artisan foods and flowers while listening to music.

Stroll along miles of pristine shoreline as you watch resident wildlife and birds in their natural habitat or discover local marine life at the tidal pool at Hug Point Recreation Site, just five miles south of Cannon Beach.

Where to Stay: The Inn at Cannon Beach has a landscaped garden, courtyard pond and romantic gas fireplaces.

Where to Eat: Have a romantic dinner at Newmans at 988 which serves French Italian cuisine with a Pacific Northwest twist.

Don't Miss: Watch a cooking dinner show at EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School or sign up for one of their hands-on cooking classes.

14. Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California
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Best known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, luxurious spas and championship golf courses, the desert town of Palm Springs is also home to a wealth of beautiful mid-century-modern architecture, boutique shops, and award-winning restaurants.

With no less than 354 days of sunshine per year, Palm Springs is an ideal winter escape. You will never be at a loss for something to see or do in this vibrant city, with an array of activities and attractions to choose from. Palm Canyon Drive is a shopper’s paradise with hip interior design shops sharing sidewalk space with vintage fashion boutiques, and bustling restaurants competing with thumping nightclubs. Soak up the magnificent natural scenery with an aerial tram ride up Mount San Jacinto, or take in some culture with an architectural tour of the town’s homes.

Explore the area's incredible natural beauty with a tour or a hike in Joshua Tree National Park, Tahquitz Canyon, Indian Canyons or the Coachella Valley Preserve, where you can horseback ride and mountain bike as well.

Where to Stay: The Ingleside Inn is a Spanish-style getaway with 30 guest rooms on two acres.

Where to Eat: Workshop Kitchen + Bar has a wood-fired pizza oven, wood-fired grill and serves Americana cuisine with a twist.

Don't Miss: Have a romantic picnic surrounded by wilderness in the Coachella Valley Preserve.

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15. Ventura, California

Ventura, California
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Vibrant, alluring, artistic and relaxed, Ventura is a warm and welcoming town on California’s Central Coast. Renowned for miles of beautiful beaches and great surfing waves, Ventura offers something for everyone, from a rich heritage and a dynamic arts and culture scene to fun outdoor pursuits. Ventura’s rich and diverse cultural scene attract hundreds of artists to the town, creating a busy arts calendar packed with music, dance, theater and art exhibits, as well as festivals and arts and crafts shows throughout the year.

Busy restaurants, coffee houses, bars and nightclubs offer a fantastic nightlife with live entertainment. Ventura’s beaches are its main draw with excellent surfing, boogie boarding, beach walking and jogging, while parks such as Channel Islands National Park and Arroyo Verde Park offer a wealth of hiking and biking trails.

Where to Stay: The Inn On The Beach offers spectacular Pacific Ocean views, balconies, gas fireplaces, free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast.

Where to Eat: Pete's Breakfast House Restaurant is one of the favorite places for breakfast, serving American classics inspired by international flavors.

Don't Miss: Explore the town’s history and delicious eateries with Ventura Food Tours which last about 3 hours and let you sample a variety of flavors.

16. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California
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Located between the Pacific Ocean and the verdant slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is California at its best. Magnificent beaches, world-class hotels, award-winning restaurants, and spectacular scenery, Santa Barbara is perfect for a laid-back holiday or a quick romantic weekend getaway. Offering a seaside languor reminiscent of the Mediterranean with lovely stucco architecture, red-tiled roofs and lush tropical vegetation, Santa Barbara’s pedestrian-friendly downtown boasts beautifully preserved buildings, exceptional cultural institutions, superlative shopping and a fun nightlife.

Visit the beaches for sunbathing or surfing, hike to the hot springs of Gaviota Peak, or go rock climbing in the San Ysidro Canyon. Sail across the Santa Barbara Channel for a visit to Channel Island National Park to see a unique variety of fauna and flora endemic to this coastline.

Where to Stay: The Wayfarer Hotel & Hostel is located on the Urban Wine Trail right in the heart of downtown.

Where to Eat: The Lark enjoys a central location in the historic Santa Barbara Fish Market building, surrounded by art galleries and surf shops. Dishes are prepared using locally sourced ingredients.

Don't Miss: Visit Arroyo Burro County Beach Park for a romantic sunset stroll, whale watching or a picnic.

17. Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg, California
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Situated on California’s scenic Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg is a small coastal town that offers the perfect seaside escape. Miles of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, deep blue ocean, and sunny skies mix with a vibrant community life and busy town center packed with things to do. Explore the shops, galleries, museums and cafés of Fort Bragg’s downtown district, indulge with a massage at the Bamboo Garden Spa, and enjoy the buzzing nightlife at one of the many restaurants and bars in town. For outdoor fun, head to the redwood forests for great hiking and biking, stroll through the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, sunbathe on Ten Mile Beach or take a trip back in time with a visit to Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park.

Where to Eat: Piaci Pub & Pizzeria serves great pizzas, salads and desserts.

Don't Miss: Explore the beautiful Mendocino Coast with Liquid Fusion Kayaking which offers tours and classes that let you learn about nature as you glide on the water and admire the scenery.

18. Nevada City, California

Nevada City, California
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Surrounded by incredible Sierra Nevada Mountain vistas, Nevada City is a historic town with a rich gold rush heritage. The charming downtown is home to unique shops and cafes inviting visitors to relax and soak up the scenery. Outdoor enthusiasts will have access to diverse hiking and biking trails in the area which also host the Nevada City Bicycle Classic, a 50-year-old tradition and the largest bike race on the West Coast.

Where to Eat: The restaurants in town serve a variety of flavors, including sushi, Thai, Mexican and Italian. For dessert, try homemade ice cream at Treats or handmade chocolates at the Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe.

Don't Miss: Learn all about the narrow gauge railroad era at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum which houses important artifacts from that time period.

19. Sausalito, California

Sausalito, California
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Resting across the bay from San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge is the charming bayside city of Sausalito. This world-renowned waterfront community offers a wealth of exciting things to see and do, as well as a warm and welcoming ambiance in which to sit back, relax and take in the vibe. Stroll along the historic Sausalito waterfront to take in the nautical sights and sounds, cruise around the bay, stand-up paddleboard or kayak along the scenic shoreline, or go on a tour to see some of the city’s famous floating homes. Explore the hidden walkways, paths and stairs, or learn about the city’s long Portuguese-American history with a self-guided walking tour. Mount Tam Adventure Camps offer fantastic hiking and outdoor activities, Seaplane Adventures promise unforgettable aerial views of the coast, and wine tasting can be savored at acclaimed wineries in the area.

Where to Stay: Stay at Cavallo Point for best views of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Hotel Sausalito, a town icon dating back to 1915, has 16 luxurious rooms and suites featuring decor by local artisans .

Where to Eat: Scoma's serves seasonal seafood dishes in a beautiful overwater setting.

Don't Miss: The Cavallo Point Cooking School offers hands-on cooking and demonstration classes in a state-of-the-art kitchen.

20. Romantic Weekend Destination: Truckee, California

Romantic Weekend Destination: Truckee, California
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Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Truckee is a friendly and inviting mountain town that has been established as one of the region’s best summer and winter sport destinations. Surrounded by spectacular natural scenery, summer sees a wealth of outdoor adventures, with nature trails to hike and bike, lakes and ponds to fish and swim, and camping and picnicking to enjoy the warm summer sunshine. In the winter, there is world-class skiing, skating and sledding, as well as an array of winter festivals and carnivals to celebrate the snow. Downton Truckee is home to lovely little stores and shops to explore, as well as museums and historic buildings that tell the story of the town’s heritage.

Where to Stay: Donner Lake Inn B & B has five guest rooms and a great room with a library, game area and a wood burning fireplace.

Where to Eat: If you like to try new omelette flavors, Squeeze In boast a menu of over 60 delicious choices.

Don't Miss: Piping Rock Equestrian Center offers horseback riding for novice and expert riders, including clinics, and both Western and English instruction.

21. Two Harbors, Catalina Island, California

Two Harbors, Catalina Island, California
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Two Harbors is a rustic, charming seaside village tucked between two harbors: Isthmus Cove and Catalina Harbor on Catalina Island, 20 miles off the coast of Southern California. Rich in history, the little village attracts visitors from all over the U.S. with its cozy accommodations, excellent dining options and a wealth of recreational activities. Soak up the beauty of the island coastline with snorkeling, scuba diving and ocean kayaking. Enjoy mountain biking, hiking, seaside camping and boating around the sandy beaches that line the shore. The Catalina Express offers daily trips from Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Dana Point to Two Harbors.

Where to Stay: The Banning House Lodge is a historic hideaway which was built by the Banning brothers, once owners of Santa Catalina Island.

22. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
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Carmel-by-the-Sea does an amazing job with seamlessly blending its beautiful natural surroundings in the heart of Monterey Country with European-style refinement. You will be able to walk nearly everywhere in this pedestrian and bike-friendly village: to the white-sand beach, Carmel shops, art galleries and restaurants. Take your time to admire the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and blooming gardens around the town. Check into a romantic inn or B&B and wake up to sea breezes and scents of freshly brewed coffee. The village is home to nearly 100 art galleries, in addition to jewelry, antique and fashion shops.

Where to Stay: 25 Best Romantic Getaways in Carmel, California.

Where to Eat: Basil Seasonal Dining serves local California cuisine, including sustainable seafood and seasonal organic ingredients.

Don't Miss: Vino Napoli is a local and visitor favorite for wine tastings and after dinner drinks.

23. Langley on Whidbey Island, Washington

Langley on Whidbey Island, Washington
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The seaside village of Langley is the perfect starting point for exploring the romantic Whidbey Island, whether you are on a lookout for the endangered Southern Resident orca, or plan to relax on the beaches around town. Dine in style over mouthwatering cuisine created from locally sourced ingredients and freshly caught seafood straight from the Salish Sea; take in world-class theatre, performances, concerts, art events and festivals that are second to none; sip fine wines or strong coffee at sunny sidewalk cafés and watch the world stroll by; or take in the magnificent views of the Cascades and Saratoga Passage. Miles of pristine shoreline along Saratoga Passage and thousands of acres of wooded trails make Langley an outdoor adventure lover's paradise - grab your running shoes, bikes, kayaks, horses or scuba gear and head out for some fun.

Where to Stay: The Saratoga Inn offers a selection of ocean view rooms and suites, some with a deck and a gas fireplace.

Where to Eat: The Chocolate Flower Farm shop in downtown Langley sells delicious fudge, tea, and chocolate-inspired items such as candles and an edible chocolate garden seed kit.

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