When it comes time to propose, one of the hardest decisions is where to ask the big question. While there are countless places fit for an epic proposal, if you’re looking for a spot in The Golden State, we’re breaking down the best options for every type of couple. From waterside oasis to forest retreats, gorgeous getaways to art-filled backdrops, here are the best places to propose in California.
Sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, The Griffith Observatory is one of the most iconic spots in Los Angeles. With vast views of the stars and the night sky in the evening (oftentimes with telescopes available to get a closer view of planets), spectacular sunset views as the night approaches, and sweeping city views any time, this is the spot to promise a love to the moon and back.
If you want the famous Golden Gate Bridge to be the backdrop to your romantic proposal, Baker Beach is one of the best places to propose in San Francisco. The small, sandy beach is lesser-known and, therefore, usually free from tourists during the week. Most photographers know the area, so coordinate with your pro (if you plan on having one) to get a breathtaking view and incorporate an element of surprise (if you don’t want your SO to expect a thing).
With giant sequoia trees, glittering waterfalls, and soaring views, Yosemite is a 1,200-square mile park ideal for lovers of nature, hiking, and above all, one-of-a-kind panoramas. Head to Glacier Point after the sun goes down to propose under a star-studded sky or hike up Mist Trail to ask your love for their hand in marriage at Vernal Fall, an awe-inspiring 300-foot waterfall. If you’re after something with less hiking and more admiring, visit Mariposa Grove to propose amongst the ancient sequoias or check into a nearby bed and breakfast for a cozy proposal with the backdrop of nature’s playground.
If your SO is a fan of magic and Mickey, it makes perfect sense to propose at the happiest place on Earth. Consider asking a passerby to snap a pic in front of Cinderella’s castle and drop a knee, or book a room at one of many nearby themed resorts to add to the whimsical (and well photographed) proposal weekend you’ll reminisce about for a lifetime.
If your SO loves adventure, exotic animals, great photo ops, and excellent wine, the 1,000-acre Saddlerock Ranch and vineyard in Malibu is the ideal spot for your one-of-a-kind proposal. Ride around in an open-air Safari vehicle that takes stops for local wine tastings and animal sightings (including water buffalo, alpacas, bison, zebras, and even giraffe). Whether you opt for a private hike for just you and your partner, a private safari tour with your family or pals (perfect if you want your loved ones there for the big moment), or just take a stroll around Saddlerock Gardens, this unique spot will make for a surprise proposal unlike anything he or she has ever seen.
Just two hours outside of San Francisco, Point Lobos State Park is located on the rugged California coast and is home to gorgeous vegetation and water views. Nicknamed “The crown jewel of the State Park System,” Point Lobos hosts some of the most spectacular sunsets imaginable—perfect for a seaside proposal. Take a stroll to Weston Beach around sundown to see a myriad of colors mirrored in the rocky tide pools and animals such as seals, otters, and the occasional grey whale.
If your relationship is based on laughter, few spots are better than the Santa Monica pier. Famously located on the California coast in Los Angeles, enjoy the electric energy of old-school games and sharing a cotton candy or plate of fries while watching boats sail by. Head to the ferris wheel at sunset to propose at the top with the city lights and sunset shining in the background.
Located in the heart of Marina Del Rey just a short walk to both Venice Beach and The Santa Monica Pier, The Marina Del Rey Hotel is the definition of luxurious waterside romance. Book a room for the weekend to enjoy pure romance with a dash of Palm Springs vibes. Propose on your balcony overlooking the marina or at the onsite restaurant called SALT while soaking up the famous water views. If your love is about all things luxury and Cali vibes, The Marina Del Rey Hotel offers it all in an impossible-to-beat proposal location.
One of the most photographed art displays around, Urban Light is a large-scale sculpture located at the entrance of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The 2008 installment by Chris Burden is composed of restored ‘20s and ‘30s street lamps that makes for one amazing photo op. Consider hiring a photographer to secretly capture the special moment as you propose amongst the famous lights.
Nestled along the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Big Sur is a dream proposal spot for nature lovers who want it all—beaches, woodlands, wildlife, and mountain views. Grab a campsite for a weekend of exploring, or book a room at Big Sur Lodge located inside the park. When it comes time to actually propose, the 80-foot waterfall at McWay Falls, the gorgeous ocean views seen from the top of the Buzzards Roost Trail, or the banks of the Big Sur River are all supremely special spots for an exquisite proposal.
If you dream of toasting your engagement with a glass of vino, there’s no better place than the famous Napa Valley. Located north of San Francisco, the renowned region is known for its hundreds of world-class vineyards. And with countless winery and resort options, the choices are endless when it comes to finding a spot to ask the big question. Whether you envision a private balcony with florals and candles overlooking the rolling hills, a surprise tasting at dinner with the ring on top, or getting down on one knee in the middle of the grape fields, a Napa proposal is a dream come true.
If you can’t make your way to Italy or Greece for a proposal (or just prefer to stay in The Golden State), visiting The Getty Villa on the east end of the Malibu coast is a dreamy retreat celebrating art, history, and culture. With antique Greek, Roman, and Etruscan statues, stunning gardens, and swoon-worthy courtyards, there are plenty of spots to pull off an incredible proposal. Plus, with skilled team members on hand, coordinating romantic extras will be easy to make it the special moment you’ve always dreamed of.
No matter where you choose to propose, as long as it’s a place that represents your relationship, it will make for a one-of-a-kind moment fit for your one-of-a-kind love story.