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This eight day Road Trip makes California Dreamin' a reality. Iconic Highway 1 which hugs the rugged California Coast is considered one of the world's most scenic drives. So sit back, relax and let the stunning coastal scenery unfold in front of you on this oh-so leisurely, and pretty cool, fly-drive..
Prices are based on off-season travel. Please call or email for costs for your preferred date of travel.
Other durations are available. Call the team of USA tailor-made experts at Bon Voyage to discuss your ideal California Coast fly-drive holiday.
Your Pacific Coast Highway adventure begins! Long Beach is a great starting point – the RMS Queen Mary has been in residence for over 40 years and you can either stay a night or take a tour of this art deco treasure. Hermosa and Redondo Beaches are full of cool dudes and a fun place to watch the surfers try and catch a wave. About 15 miles north is Venice Beach – possibly the most vibrant and eclectic city in the US. Park the car and strap on a pair of rollerblades, or simply sit back and watch the bladers, skateboarders, volleyball players and weight lifters! Surely you’ve worked up an appetite now and no better place for alfresco dining then Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. A pedestrian area full of shops and restaurants – another great place to relax and become one with the beach community. If you are travelling on a Saturday or Sunday, treat yourself to brunch at Shutters on the Beach. Delicious food, outstanding scenery and maybe a movie star or two. Speaking of movie stars – another 15 miles down the road is Malibu – famous for its movie star residents and great surfing beaches like Zuma and Surfrider.
Distance: 75 miles
Leave behind the surfer mentality for somewhere a bit more refined and sophisticated - Santa Barbara. With the Santa Ynez Mountains in one direction and the Pacific Ocean in the other it is hard to imagine a prettier city. Spanish colonial architecture, tasteful boutiques and more seafood than you can ever eat top it off. This is where celebrities come when they want to leave their fame behind. Internationally respected wine guru Robert Parker has declared that within the next decade, Santa Barbara’s Wine Country will “rule America.” It’s that good. It’s also still largely undiscovered, although its starring role in 2004 Oscar®-winning film Sideways changed that somewhat. The fact is that this wine country is uncrowded, sophisticated without being pretentious and spectacularly beautiful. One last shopping trip before getting back in the car? La Cumbre Plaza is an open air delight with many Santa Barbara exclusive stores.
Distance: 105 miles
Approximately 1 hour north of Santa Barbara is the Danish village of Solvang one of California's most charming cities with a shopping district that stretches for nearly one mile. Further north, nestled in lush hills stretching for miles along California's Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley's fertile land has a long, rich history. The region is filled with thousands of self-made men and women who have simply believed in something and pursued it. This is John Steinbeck country and in Guadalupe – a retro 50’s border town – you will transported to another time. An hour further north yet and you are back in surfer territory at Pismo Beach. Leave the car for a round of golf, look around Pismo Prime Outlets or get the sand beach your toes. San Luis Obispo is the midway point between LA and San Fran. An ideal stop for the night is the Madonna Inn. A local landmark, this kitsch hotel offers themed rooms with no two being the same.
Distance: 105 miles
Less than hour from San Luis you’ll hit San Simeon and Hearst Castle. Once home to William Randolph Hearst, the American newspaper magnate of the late 1800’s, the 165-room Moorish castle is an architectural fantasy of unbridled excess. After Hearst died, family fortunes declined, and they gave Hearst Castle to the state. Today the state Park Service preserves Hearst Castle as a State Historical Monument, and we can all enjoy a glimpse into the Hearst's opulent lifestyle.
Four miles north of San Simeon you’ll find Piedras Blancas famous for its protected colonies of elephant seals who claim the secluded beach as their own. Now for the main event – 70 miles of the most breathtaking stretch of Highway anywhere in the world. Spot blue and humpback whales in the summer or grey whales in winter and drive over Bixby Creek Bridge, important historically because it introduced automobile travel to Big Sur, connecting the remote coastal towns to each other. It is now time to park the car! Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is yours to explore. Hike among the redwoods and look for one of the few waterfalls on the Pacific Coast that plunges directly into the ocean.
Distance: 75 miles
The Monterey Peninsula starts you out at a leisurely pace with your first stop being Carmel. Famous for electing Clint Eastwood as mayor, this town can best be described as sweet! Clint Eastwood still lives in Carmel and runs the Mission Ranch. The restaurant offers a Sunday brunch that is fabulous or you can enjoy the piano bar nightly. The peninsula drive, also referred to as the 17 mile drive, takes you past the private residential area of Pebble Beach and on to Monterey. An hour further brings you to Santa Cruz a real Californian mix of surfers, hippies, artists and new-age freaks. The vibrant downtown is a great place to hang out and once again mesh with the California beach vibe from the vintage boardwalk.
Distance: 80 miles
It’s not over yet and this bit of Highway is every bit as gorgeous as Big Sur. Rolling hills, country towns, windswept beaches and giant trees make for a landscape you won’t see often. Take Highway 84 up into the Santa Cruz mountains and drive through the redwoods. San Francisco is on the horizon – follow Highway 35 north until Interstate 280 which will have you in central San Fran before you know it. Here’s where you wish you had another seven days!
Want to extend your tour and travel on further up the California coast into Oregon and Washington State, or visit one of the stunning California National Parks? Not a problem, our holidays are flexible, please do call or email us to discuss the options available to you.
The person we dealt with (Kirsty Houghton) was helpful and the online information was better than the 'competition' who were offering the same package. The service was quick and it was easy to contact a named person who dealt with our enquiry
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