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California Bucket List: Strange vibrations near Joshua Tree, monarch butterflies, startling urban archaeology and a new adventure each day

Romantic getaways almost guaranteed to make your love's heart sing

Perhaps that overwater bungalow is a bit out of reach. Here are five  suggestions (and one big splurge) that could make you a hero or heroine on Cupid’s Day (an IOU bundled with a favorite adult beverage will work) to the love in your life. 

The Goodland

Goleta, Calif.

The hipster Goodland used to be a no-tell motel before Kimpton bought the property eight miles west of Santa Barbara and made it one of the gems of the area.

The hotel, self-described as “California Cool,” has gone to lengths to take surf culture upmarket.

The Good Bar, for instance, is decorated with arty skateboards, and the Outpost restaurant offers  fresh local seafood.

Some of California’s best surf beaches are a five-minute drive, and the hotel also has yoga classes, guest DJs playing poolside at night, indie movie nights, tarot card readings and Throwback Thursdays, where you get to play Nintendo to ’90s music.

Rooms have turntables so you can listen to your own vinyl or you can peruse the lobby library of vintage records, borrowing, perhaps Marvin Gaye and snuggling.

Info: The Goodland, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta; (877) 480-1465 or (805) 964-6241. Doubles from $175, higher on weekends.

Caravan Outpost

Ojai

This is a different kind of boutique hotel: The accommodations are Airstream trailers from various eras parked around a central campfire.

The Airstreams are modern sleekness inside, with a private, palm-tree enclosed lounging area outside that invites relaxation in a hammock or deck chair.

Each trailer has its own name and varies in size, from 19-foot Lala to Diego, a 30-foot behemoth with a queen bed and a TV. If you want a throwback, book Sam, the 20-foot 1959 original.

All have a bathroom, shower, kitchen, air conditioning and heat, and a Bluetooth-enabled vintage record player.

A shop sells vintage and new goods, so you can look appropriately retro as you sit by the communal campfire and listen to one of the musicians who play on site.

Info: Caravan Outpost, 317 Bryant St., Ojai; (805) 836-4891. Doubles from $199.

The Marker San Francisco

San Francisco

The Marker is two blocks from Union Square in a sumptuous Beaux Arts building.

The Marker does away with the stuffiness of old San Francisco and replaces it with a jazzy, Art Deco vibe. You can't help but feel happy walking into your room with its multicolored striped walls, jewel-colored throw pillows and loud patterned wallpaper in the bathroom.

It’s near the theater district and great restaurants. Dine at Tratto restaurant and bar and experience home-style Italian cooking in a palatial setting, or order a cocktail beside the giant original fireplace while sitting on Moorish yellow leather chairs.

If you book this month and stay two nights, you get 20% off your stay. Now there’s motivation.

Info: The Marker San Francisco, 501 Geary St.; (415) 292-0100 or (844) 736-2753. Doubles from $139. 

Monterey Tides

Monterey

Monterey Tides is smack dab on a quiet stretch of beach.

Get a room with an ocean view and lie in bed and look out at nothing but sapphire blue water and the other side of Monterey Bay in the distance.

The décor is Mexico-meets-Midcentury, with colorful walls and boldly patterned carpeting. If you’re not brave enough to venture into the ocean, there’s a heated pool.

Or you can rent bikes to cruise into Monterey and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium or Cannery Row of Steinbeck fame.

For an active adventure, you can rent a kayak and paddle among sea lions and otters, or drive south to Carmel to shop in style.

It restaurant serves ocean-to-table seafood.

Info: Monterey Tides, 2600 Sand Dunes Drive, Monterey; (831) 394-3321 or (800) 242-8627. Doubles from:$126.

Siete Lunas

Sayulita, Mexico

Sitting high above a cliff overlooking the hip little surfer town of Sayulita, a one-hour drive north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, is Siete Lunas, out of the fray of town but a five-minute golf cart ride to all the activity.

The hotel has seven palapa-roofed free-standing casitas, each surrounded by greenery but offering a view of the ocean and private beach below. There’s a shared pool and lounging area on top of the hill, with a view of Playa de los Muertos and Sayulita beach in the distance.

If you book all seven casitas, you can arrange for a private chef to cook all meals.

Besides lounging at the hotel, you’ll find plenty to do. Aside from surfing, stand-up paddleboards are available to rent. You can play golf at nearby Punta Mita, go on snorkeling or fishing trips, take yoga or dance classes in town, shop for finely beaded Huichol Indian jewelry or hang out at bars among the barefooted, beautiful people who either live here or visit often.

Info: Siete Lunas, 714 Camino Sin Nombre, Sayulita; 011-52-329-298-8557. Doubles from $216 a night.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Much farther afield and quite the splurge, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers is on New Zealand’s North Island in the Hawke’s Bay region on the eastern coast.

This part of the country is particularly verdant and home to excellent wineries, lovely beaches, rivers ideal for trout fishing, Maori culture and artisanal cuisine.

The Farm, which has 22 suites and a four-bedroom owner’s cottage, is on 6,000 acres of coastline and a working sheep and cattle station. It also has one of New Zealand’s best championship golf courses.

The lodge was built to look like a farmhouse. Inside, antique farm equipment is used as décor alongside wood, leather and cowhide.

Apart from golf, you can ride the property on horseback, go birding, hike, fish or go wine tasting. But the highlight of your stay might just be getting to hold a kiwi bird in the wild. The Farm has gone to great efforts to bring them back, fencing off and trapping predators.

Info: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, 446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay; 011-64-6-875-1900. Doubles from $2,100 a night.

travel@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimestravel

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