You’re ready to take the next step and ask your partner to say yes to a lifetime together. So of course, you want everything to be perfect. If you want to make a grand gesture or just create an intimate moment, your location is almost as important as the big question itself. There’s no shortage of gorgeous spots around the world to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage. And quite a few of those places happen to be on the West Coast. Read ahead for tips on scouting the right proposal location and some of the most romantic places to propose in California.
What to Consider When Planning Your Proposal Spot
Choosing a proposal location is all about what fits you and your style. Here are a few environments to consider and some of the logistics involved with each.
If you’re looking for a striking location to propose, Mother Nature has provided you with plenty of options. Majestic locations such as mountaintops or waterfalls can set the perfect romantic atmosphere to get down on one knee.
If you want to be surrounded by pops of color, find a wildflower field or botanical garden during peak bloom season, such as the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Add to the sense of awe and propose near a natural wonder such as Limestone Canyon Regional Park, which is also known as the “Grand Canyon of Orange County,” or head to the iconic Big Sur coastline for breathtaking Pacific views. Or if you don’t want to venture to a large national park, simply time your local outdoor proposal to happen right at sunset.
If your partner doesn’t love being the center of attention and you think a public location may throw them off, consider a natural setting that’s a bit more secluded. Do keep in mind that the weather may affect your outdoor plans and be mindful of safety precautions if you’re hiking somewhere quieter. But with the proper planning, natural scenery can create a perfect moment that the two of you will never forget.
Iconic city landmarks
You’re about to experience a monumental moment in your love story. Why not choose a monumental proposal spot? Famous locations such as the Griffith Park Observatory and its spectacular view are made for a magic moment. Many landmark locations will also let you book a guided tour. Make a whole day or evening of it and let your tour guide know your plans when you make your reservation.
One thing to note is that a landmark location requires some extra planning. Time of day will bring different crowds, and some locations require permits for professional photography or anything elaborate.
A romantic vacation can provide the perfect spot to pop the question. Choose one of your favorite romantic cities and plan the trip of a lifetime. Luxury resorts or bed and breakfasts can set the ideal romantic tone. They also usually feature additional services that you can use to your advantage. Arrange a private dinner as the sun sets or ask the hotel concierge how to help you reserve a hot air balloon ride.
Do your research, plan ahead and pick the right time of your trip to pop the question. There’s not a right or wrong here. It’s all about knowing when the moment feels right. If you’re afraid of spoiling the surprise at the end of a long trip, ask the question early on. Or you can end your getaway on the perfect note.
Cultural and historical sites
Make history a part of your own story. Cultural and historically significant locations are visually appealing with their own special ambiance. Sites like the Mission Basilica in San Diego and Hearst Castle in San Simeon are a beautiful backdrop as you build your own history together. If you want to make a big show of it, consider hiring a tour guide and get them in on the fun of creating a special moment.
Just as with any landmark site, it’s important to do your research and see what limitations you might encounter. If you’re planning anything big, make sure your plan follows any local rules and is respectful of local customs as well.
Personal and meaningful locations
Of course, your proposal site doesn’t need to be famous to be special. Any place with personal significance to you is perfect for making a magic moment. Book a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant or return to the mini golf course where you had your first date. Include the venue in your plans, so you can make the moment extra special and play their favorite song.
If you want total privacy, there’s also nothing wrong with proposing at home. Make their favorite food or decorate your backyard in an array of twinkling lights. Any place where you can create a memorable experience is a great spot to propose.
5 most romantic places to propose in California
Whether you want to propose at a natural wonder or iconic city landmark, California’s got it all. Here are just a handful of the most romantic spots in California to ask the big question.
The Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco’s biggest landmark makes a great awe-inspiring backdrop for your big moment. And you have tons of choices for locations that offer a great view of this iconic landmark. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere to the crowds of Golden Gate Park, check out Marshall or Baker Beach for a gorgeous view.
Or if you prefer a big gesture and want to propose on the bridge itself, book a walking tour and let your tour guide know of your plans well in advance. You may even be able to get a videographer to pretend to be a member of the tour, so they can film your big moment.
If you have a fairytale vision for your proposal, Big Sur is about as close to an enchanted forest as you can get. With stunning Redwoods surrounded by magnificent mountains and ocean views, Big Sur has no shortage of naturally beautiful places to pop the question. After hiking near the famous McWay Falls, you can enjoy a romantic evening camping under the stars, or relax in the comfort of a lodge.
If you want to propose on one of Big Sur’s many impressive trails, you may want to scout out your exact location ahead of time. The weather tends to be best between spring and mid fall, which is also when you’ll encounter the most crowds, so plan accordingly.
Toast to your future after a private proposal in one of Napa Valley’s beautiful vineyards. With a little planning, you can work with many of Napa’s wineries to arrange a private wine tasting for your proposal. Get down on one knee in a vineyard grove that’s circled by breathtaking valley views. Or if you need a backup plan for unexpected weather, many wineries can help arrange an indoor proposal as you tour the wine cellars. Napa may be more popular in the summer months, but this West Coast gem is lovely to visit any time of year.
Santa Monica Pier
Between the beautiful beach view and charming pier amusement park, Los Angeles’ famous Santa Monica Pier sets a fun, whimsical tone for your proposal. You can pop the question over the water after you walk to the end of the pier. Or if you’re dreaming of a night time proposal at the top of the ferris wheel, the Pier’s amusement park is open until 10 p.m.
Do keep in mind, the pier tends to be popular in the summertime, so it won’t be the most private location. But if you’re both early risers, you can go for a sunrise walk on the beach to beat the crowds. Find a spot on the sand where the pier is in perfect view, and surprise your partner with a professional photographer to capture the moment.
Joshua Tree National Park
When you think of romantic California locations, you probably picture the coastline first. But if you go further inland, California’s deserts have just as much beauty to offer. Joshua Tree National Park’s out of this world natural setting offers the opportunity for a uniquely special moment.
Make sure you have the right permits for any professional photography and be mindful of the fact that the summer weather often reaches triple digits. But if you plan ahead and pick the right season, Joshua Tree may be the perfect place to ask them to marry you. And if you’ve dreamed of proposing under the stars, you couldn’t ask for a better place, far away from the city lights.
Your forever starts here
Whether romantic coastline, historic site, or iconic landmark, your imagination is the limit if you’re planning a California proposal. Private moments and grand gestures alike are beautifully set against the backdrop of the Golden State’s endless romantic spots. A memorable proposal sets the stage for the rest of your life together, so choose a site that’s meaningful to you and your spouse-to-be.