Deep blue waves of the Pacific kiss the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara, a hip California city framed by the steep, stunning Santa Ynez Mountains. Graced with sunshine and perfect weather, this SoCal town is what California honeymoon dreams are made of. Dubbed the “American Riviera” due to its Mediterranean climate, Santa Barbara is reminiscent of the French coastal retreat Côte d’Azur. Situated just north and west of Los Angeles with a south-facing coastline, many consider Santa Barbara to be one of the most beautiful places in California. So grab your bikes, car, or beach towels and get exploring!

The first thing you’ll want to do together is hit the beach. Santa Barbara has ample opportunities for seaside frolicking and there’s beach access right in town. For honeymooners who like to be in the center of it all, go to East Beach, right downtown and close to everything with lifeguards and a volleyball net. If you’re looking for a little more privacy (or you brought your pup along for the adventure), dog-friendly Arroyo Burro Beach’s gorgeous, rocky shore is the perfect haven. To relish ultra romantic sunset views, west-facing Butterfly Beach in nearby Montecito will take your breath away.

Santa Barbara is full of Spanish-era history, cool architecture and cultural retreats. Honeymooners should pay a visit to Mission Santa Barbara, known as “The Queen of the Missions”, for a glimpse of the area’s rich history and the incredible view from the landmark. Stop to admire the gorgeous architecture and design of the operational Santa Barbara County Courthouse, where you can summit the famous El Mirador bell tower. Aside from wonderful architecture, Santa Barbara honeymooners can enjoy excursions to the Museum of Art, the charming Botanic Gardens, and the 30 acre Santa Barbara Zoo, ranked one of the best small zoos in the country.

Once you’ve had enough of the surf, sand, and local history, take some time to poke around the city’s extremely walkable downtown area.Wander the quaint, cobblestone State Street, lined with chic boutiques and cozy nooks to explore. Be sure to include a visit to the Stearns Wharf, a deep-water pier with photo-worthy views and plenty of restaurants, shops and even an aquarium. Fantastic shopping opportunities abound on a Santa Barbara honeymoon.

It’s true that honeymooners in Santa Barbara have it all: the mountains, the city, the sunshine, and the sea. Gently take the hand of your other half and have a little “us” time in this coastal California wonderland on your honeymoon.