The best thing about San Diego's beauty is that the city offers lots of places that provide a romantic backdrop to take that special person in your life. Even better is that heading to these places won't typically take a lot of money to enjoy. So whether it's Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or a first date -- here are the top picks for a little romance in San Diego.
It's one of the most beautiful natural spots in San Diego, and La Jolla Cove is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The Cove is just a perfect place to stroll and take in the ocean below. Plus, the ritzy La Jolla business district is nearby for some dining and window shopping.
Or, more specifically, the Coronado Beach in front of the Hotel Del. Because not only does Coronado have the best and widest stretch of sand in the county, you have the majestic Victorian hotel as your backdrop. Perfect for a stroll or a picnic. Maybe you can't afford to stay at the hotel, but you can enjoy the grounds after walking the beach and pretend.
Speaking of majestic, nothing gets better than the museum row area of Balboa Park, known as the Prado. This mostly pedestrian mall, with the arcade walkways and Spanish Moor architecture is romance from another era. Stroll the area and hidden garden areas in the late afternoon, when the sun casts a golden light upon the buildings - sheer beauty. Why do you think so many wedding parties take their portraits here?
Just west of Balboa Park, in the Banker's Hill neighborhood, is a place where you can literally feel like you're on top of the world. Bertrand at Mister A's is a restaurant that offers a stunning 12th floor panoramic view of the city. A little too steep for dinner? You can still enjoy watching the jets landing outside the windows - just have a cocktail at the bar.
Feel like an evening cruise on the water while sipping drinks or enjoying music? The Bahia Belle is perfect for you. Cruise Mission Bay aboard this Mississippi-style stern wheeler as it makes a loop between the Bahia and Catamaran hotels on Mission Bay. All for a mere $6.
Prefer to get away from it all? Then head up to the mountain town of Julian in the Cuyamaca mountains about 1.5 hours away. Breath the mountain air, stroll the little town, take a carriage ride, eat some Julian apple pie, and maybe stay at a bed and breakfast. Whatever you do, you'll feel relaxed and refreshed after a visit here.
It might not be as famous as the hansom cabs of New York City's Central Park, but Cinderella Carriage Company offers a variety of horse-drawn carriage rides around the downtown waterfront area. It's a great way to snuggle together and see the San Diego sites.
The name says it all: Sunset Cliffs. What could be more romantic, right? On the far edge of the city, just south of Ocean Beach and on the cliffside of the Point Loma Peninsula, Sunset Cliffs is some 68 acres of bluffs and walking paths high above the Pacific Ocean. The rugged cliffs sit above some of the area's most favored surfing beaches, which aren't too easily accessible. Park your car in one of the lots right on the cliff, sit on the sandstone and get lost in the scenery and sunset. Just be careful - you can easily lose your footing and slip down the treacherous cliffs.
It's not exactly Venice, but the Gondola Company attempts to reproduce the magic and tradition of Venice right here in San Diego as you gently cruise in a private gondola through the canals of the Coronado Cays, across San Diego Bay from downtown. It's a nice way to spend a romantic hour on the serene waters of the Bay.
Aw, c'mon. What could be more romantic than dinner and a movie - at the same time? You can pack your own special meal (unless you want to go the concession stand route) and you can get cozy in the relative isolation of your vehicle. Call it retro romance, old school style. Besides, there might not be too many chances to use this date card in the future: there are only two drive-ins in San Diego - the South Bay and the Santee.