Beaches, Mountains, and Wineries
Looking for a great weekend or afternoon getaway for Valentine’s Day? Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend at the ocean, a mountain getaway, or romance in the vineyards, there is something for everyone. If you are looking to get a way for a couple hours or a couple nights, these are some of the best destinations from San Diego to Temecula. (Click here to see my list of the best weekender bags to buy on Amazon!) Show that special person in your life that you love them by treating them to a day trip or a weekend escape. Each of these outings is a great way for any couple to reconnect, find romance, and have some fun!
Beach Getaway – Treat Yourself to Del Mar!
Del Mar is one of our favorite beach city destinations. It has great shopping, great eating, and beautiful views of the ocean. This a walking city, and I highly recommend you allow yourself plenty of time to stroll the streets and discover everything Del Mar has to offer. And if your Valentine’s outing includes your four-legged loves, Del Mar is just the place to include your dog for your weekend.
Besides being a dog-friendly city, Del Mar is also a great destination for bicycle enthusiasts. Wide bike lanes line the streets and everyone seems to be on the lookout for them. The bike routes bring riders right through downtown and then along sprawling stretches with uninterrupted ocean views.
Del Mar Beaches
Del Mar has several beaches to choose from, including a dedicated Dog Beach! Every one of the beaches is gorgeous and picturesque. Cliffs descend down to wide, flat beaches allowing for panoramic views from the clifftops, and long, expansive, dramatic shorelines. Leashed dogs are allowed on all the beaches during the off season (which is now), but there is a dedicated dog beach on the north end of town if you want to allow your pet to frolic freely and play off leash with other dogs year round.
Because the beach here is expansive and extends for more than 2 miles, there is plenty of walking and lots to see. This is a great place to watch surfers, fishermen and fisherwomen thigh-deep in the waves casting to sea, seals frolicking, sailboats skimming along the horizon, families building sandcastles and chasing the water as it washes over the sand.
Restaurants in Del Mar
There is a restaurant for every taste in Del Mar, from high-end to eclectic to quick and easy. Just walk along main street to see everything available to you, including beach front dining, street-side seating, and indoor restaurants with a view of the town. I recommend you be adventurous and ask for a table at the first eatery you see that grabs your attention, whether it’s because of the beautiful view, the delicious aroma, or the inviting atmosphere. We’ve yet to have a bad meal anywhere in Del Mar, so I don’t think you can go wrong with any place you choose.
If you love quaint, eclectic and delicious, don’t miss my current favorite – the Stratford Court Cafe tucked into 13th street a block or two off the main street. This is a dog-friendly restaurant that serves breakfast all day, along with sandwiches, soups and salads. Personally, I think their breakfasts are amazing, and love that they offer cold entrees as well as hot breakfasts. If you want a hearty and tasty breakfast, definitely go for the Stratford Scramble topped with fresh avocado. Any restaurant that offers fresh-brewed and unsweetened ice tea with refills scores high with me, but the Stratford completey won my heart with their passion fruit ice tea. Most passion fruit teas are herbal and overwhelmingly tart, but this is a perfect blend of black tea and fruit.
Where to Stay in Del Mar
If you are looking for a high-end romantic, seaside getaway, I recommend L’Auberge Del Mar. This gorgeous resort includes a restaurant, spa, pool, and beautiful sunset views of the ocean. This hotel has been recommended by Conde Nast as one of the country’s best luxury resorts, and you will not be disappointed with your experience.
If you still want ocean views but prefer a more affordable option, check out the Del Mar Motel on the Beach. This quaint hotel offers ocean views and beachfront sun decks for lounging. This is a great option for romantic getaway with easy access to the beach and lots of restaurants in walking distance.
Mountain Getaway – Escape to Julian
If the beautiful, sprawling views and crisp mountain air are more to your liking, then a weekend in Julian is just the place for a great Valentine’s weekend. Julian is a picturesque town with a history of mining that now owes its boom to the apple orchards. Apple pies in all forms and variations are made by the three bakeries in town, along with an array of other baked goods. You can spend the better part of a day going from bakery to bakery comparing the pies, and you won’t regret one moment of it!
The main part of town in downtown Julian is only a handful of blocks long and a few blocks wide, but it is packed with unique shops and quaint restaurants. I highly recommend that you allow yourself the time to stroll through the town and take in the stores for yourself. Along with all the specialty shops, bakeries, and restaurants, you’ll also find the small-town versions of the local grocery store, liquor store, and convenience store which shouldn’t be missed. Stop in to get the true flavor of mountain town living.
Add a romantic twist to your weekend by making an appointment at the Julian Mountain Spa for a couples’ massage. Besides this spa offering the best massages I’ve yet to have in southern California, the soothing aroma of baking apples and cinnamon from the bakery below gently wafts through the entire spa.
Where to Stay in Julian
The Julian Gold Rush Hotel is located on the main street and is within walking distance of everything in town. It’s a quaint hotel with an interior that is a step back in time with lush furniture, wood accents, and fresh flowers all arranged invitingly in parlors and dining areas. There is nothing typical about this hotel, making it the perfect fit for a special weekend away.
Temecula Wineries – Perfect Day Trip or Weekend Getaway for Romance
Temecula Wine Country is only an hour from San Diego, and less than two hours from the Los Angeles area. The valley of over forty different wineries offers gorgeous views, fabulous restaurants, beautiful hotels and resorts, pampering spas and a different adventure for everyone. Choose from winery tours on a trolley, tours on horseback, tastings that include food pairings, sparkling wine tastings, gourmet full course dinners and fantastic delis.
Vitagliano Vineyard & Winery for a Romantic Picnic
What’s more romantic than a picnic lunch with a great bottle of wine on the grounds of a gorgeous winery? The valley is full of beautiful wineries, but Vitagliano Vineyard & Winery is exceptionally romantic with it’s fairy tale grounds and Tuscan style stone buildings. You will feel like a king and queen as you stroll the cobblestone pathways among the trees, flowers, waterfalls, and ponds. Just when you think this winery could not be any more perfect, you try the wines and realize this place is heaven! The winery is known for its red wines, but the whites are just as fantastic. There is a wine here for every taste to make for a perfect day.
Wilson Creek Winery for a Romantic Lunch With a View
The Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery offers a beautiful outdoor dining experience with expansive view of the lush vineyards and the immaculate winery grounds. The menu at the restaurant is arguably the best in wine country, with locally sourced ingredients and entrees tailored to the season. The wine list is expansive and offers a great variety of reds, whites and sparkling wines to accompany any meal, including their famous and award winning Almond Sparking Wine.
After lunch, order a chilled bottle of sparking wine, white wine, or the perfect red wine, find a secluded table (there are many here!) and enjoy the romantic grounds of this winery with your valentine!
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa for a Weekend Away
If you want to spend more than a romantic afternoon in Temecula Wine Country, then I recommend South Coast Winery Resort & Spa for a romantic weekend getaway. Once you’re here, you won’t want to leave! The winery offers gorgeous villas set among the vineyards for a secluded country feeling, on site dining, a spa, and a huge wine list to taste your way through.
The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery offers an expansive menu with many of the ingredients freshly grown on site. Enjoy the Tuscan themed dining room inside the winery, or dine in the fresh air on the vast verandas overlooking the courtyard gardens. The restaurant is open all day from breakfast to dinner, and offers brunch on the weekends. For Valentine’s Day, treat that special someone in your life to a three course gourmet meal with wine pairings – reservations required.
The GrapeSeed Spa offers a full service spa with massages and treatments, poolside lounging and dining on the veranda, and sipping wine while relaxing in the cabana for a full day of pampering and rejuvenation.