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Mountain View

San Francisco, Santa Cruz

Terribly Romantic Ocean View near SF?

My wife loves the ocean. I'd like to take her someplace wonderful and romantic for our 10th anniversary. Has to have a wonderful view of the ocean and nice beaches to walk. Less crowded is better. I'm not concerned about price, but we aren't really into unnecessary luxury (our favorite places are in all price ranges). Location between Big Sur to the south and Point Reyes to the north would make it a reasonable drive from where we now live (just moved to SF peninsula area). Unusual, funky, or whimsical gets extra points!

11 Answers

top answer by
Max from San Francisco

I would suggest Baker Beach at sunset. It's close to San Francisco and has an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's usually empty during week days at sunset and you can't go wrong with relaxing on a blanket with a glass of wine. I'm not sure if alcohol is allowed or not, but I've brought wine down there many times with no issues. I would also recommend bringing jackets and a blanket because it gets cold in the afternoon. The beach is also great for a walk. Parking is crazy during the day on weekends.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Baker Beach (attraction)
  2. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Evan from Virginia

My wife and I eloped in Muir Beach - It is a wonderfully romantic area with not only scenic mountains, but also ocean and beach views. 

Where to Stay
I highly recommend renting a house (using or similar website). We stayed here, but you can find other reasonably priced guest houses, or you can splurge a bit on large places with access to the beach. I'm sure you can find a place on the mountain that is funky or whimsical. Our house looked kind of like an old ship! 

Why it's Romantic
Aside from the views, each morning you'll be greeted with fog that covers the area like a blanket of romance.  It's also a fun, curvy drive up the mountain, which makes it feel like a bit more like an adventure (and a little bit of adventure can help increase the romance factor!).

Must-See Sites Nearby

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Muir Beach (city)
  2. Muir Beach Overlook (attraction)
  3. Muir Woods National Monument (attraction)
  4. Pelican Inn (hotel)
3 thanks

answered first by
John from Carlsbad (California)

One place that comes to mind is Seven Gables Inn.  We stayed there a couple years ago and loved it.  Some of the rooms have fantastic views of the water and there are nice beaches across a small road.There is an excellent restaurant near the Inn called Passionfish.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Seven Gables Inn (hotel)
  2. Passionfish (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Adam from Los Angeles

Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa in Sausalito just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Easy access to the great city, historic hotel newly renovated, lots of great shops and restaurants in walking distance and you can even take a 10 minute ferry or private water taxi into the city from right outside the hotel!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa (hotel)
2 thanks

answered by
Amy from Florida

Drive to Pfeiffer State Beach, a beach tucked away from the more touristy destinations of the city. It's $10 to enter, but it is worth every penny. 

Walk out onto the golden sand and you'll see several towering rock formations with arches drilled through them from years and years of the waves pounding the stone.

(Photo by Cathy and licensed by CC by-NC 2.0)

Pick your way down the rocks--be careful!--until you're standing directly inside of the arch. I can't describe how it is to stand there, with all the light from the sun radiating into the archway as a wave comes crashing inside--the bright light, the roaring sound, your precarious perch upon barnacle-covered rocks--it is magic. You must experience this. 

(Photo by Kartik Ramanathan and licensed by CC by-NC-ND 2.0)

You'll probably see many photographers set up tripods around the main arch, trying to snap the perfect photo as the sun makes its way below the horizon and shines directly through the hole in the rock--BUT you can make your way up to one of the many vantage points nearby, and there will be no one else there. Get cozy with your wife and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life. You MUST go! :)

Oh, and happy anniversary!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pfeiffer State Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Andy from San Francisco

I would have to say Pebble Beach, along 17 Mile Dr. The entire 17 mile drive is littered with beautiful ocean views, but having lunch at the Pebble Beach golf club is one of the best experiences I've had. The food there is excellent, the service is amazing, and the views are spectacular. You will definitely not regret it. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 17 Mile Dr (attraction)
  2. Pebble Beach (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Daniel from Newport Beach, California

You can't go wrong Cliff House in San Francisco if you want something close. The food is pretty good, and it's set up to be more of a formal dining experience. It's right on the water over looking the old Sutro Bath ruins and the ocean. You are going to want to make reservations well in advance, and time it before sunset If you can. Ocean Beach is also right next door to it.

If your looking for something more casual or adventurousness, I suggest the drive along highway 1 between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. There are plenty of quiet beaches and small foodie stops along the way. There are great restaurants in both cities too. I personally love Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel and Highway 1 Brewing Company.

Cannery Row has a few restaurants on the water and a great beach to the south, but it is definitely more touristy.But the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must if you are new to the area.

Any further south then Carmel and down to Cambria are all sea cliffs and tiny beaches that are hard to access. It's a beautiful drive though.

I hope I have helped. You really don't need to travel far to get what you are looking for.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cliff House (attraction)
  2. Ocean Beach (attraction)
  3. Half Moon Bay (city)
  4. Santa Cruz (city)
  5. Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel (attraction)
  6. Highway 1 Brewing Company (restaurant)
  7. Cannery Row (attraction)
  8. Monterey Bay Aquarium (attraction)
  9. Carmel (city)
  10. Cambria (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Virginia from California

Most amazing view and a quiet spot Post Ranch Innif price is no object.  Mid week rates are a bit lower if you can make that work.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Post Ranch Inn (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Bridge from San Francisco

This may be more of a good Sunday night surprise trip, but Lands End at night, just after sunset is incredible.

It's not crowded (technically it's closed), but there are tons of little private places along the beach and off the trail a bit. If it's not too eerie for you, the cove for the shipwrecks is one of my favorites. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lands End (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
J from Santa Cruz

Cliff House is always a great place for views but also to have a nice romantic dinner at. And it has a great history of the amusement park and baths that used to be there. I also like Sutro Heights Park. You can see all the coast line of Ocean Beach.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cliff House (attraction)
  2. Sutro Heights Park (attraction)

answered by
D from California

Without a doubt, Pebble Beach. $$$$$. Lunch at Rocky Point Restaurant. I' m sure there  are funky places in Pacific Grove and Carmel. Try TripAdvisor

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pebble Beach (attraction)
  2. Rocky Point Restaurant (restaurant)
  3. Pacific Grove (city)
  4. Carmel (city)
comments (1)

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