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Experience one of the most iconic fly-drive itineraries in the world. Highway 1 hugs the scenic Californian coast from just below San Francisco to just short of Los Angeles. Along the way you'll encounter wilderness, wildlife, quaint California towns, lively seaside resorts, vineyards and whales.
Price per person includes:
Return flights to San Francisco/home from San Diego
13 nights accommodation hand picked per your specifications
10 days car hire
A personalised road book with North America travel tips and a day to day driving itinerary with local area information
Alcatraz Island and Chinatown
Hearst Castle, the 17 Mile Drive, Monterey and Santa Barbara - The American Riviera
Hollywood, the beaches of Los Angeles and Universal Studios
Olde Town San Diego
Wineries and whale watching (in-season)
Days 1 - 2 : San Francisco
San Francisco is full of iconic images such as cable cars climbing halfway to the stars, the scarlet slash of the Golden Gate Bridge, the dragon-adorned gateway to Chinatown and the sombre, island-sited Alcatraz, once a formidable prison, now a tourist attraction.
Discover San Francisco on foot, by cable car or the superb BART system. Explore places like Union Square, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, mooch through China Town, Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. From San Fran, you can also explore the nearby rolling hills of California Wine Country. Napa Valley's famed wineries are always open for tours and tastings.
Bon Voyage can pre-book all city tours, excursions and the Napa Valley Wine Train for you.
Day 3 - 4 : San Francisco to Monterey
Distance: 126 miles
Leave the City on the Bay behind you as you head south. Few stretches of coastal road match the Pacific Coast Highway for scenic beauty. Forested mountains slope off the edge into azure water; great jagged rocks jut out of the crashing surf like breaching whales; and hilltops are crowned with picturesque towns, spectacular mansions and old mission churches dating back to Spanish colonial days.
The famous 17-Mile Drive toll road winds along the Peninsula Coast from Pacific Grove to Carmel. There are over 20 scenic stops including the Lone Cypress Tree, the Restless Sea, Seal Rock and Spyglass Hill. Spend the night in Monterey, a beautiful seaside community combining the charm of a small town with an endless variety activities.
Day 4 - 5 : Monterey to Cambria
Distance: 95 miles
Hit the road for Cambria via Big Sur - a rugged and breathtaking 90 mile stretch of coastline, which starts at Carmel and ends at San Simeon. A stop in the pretty town of Carmel is certainly worth a visit, Clint Eastwood was once the Mayor and is still a long time resident. In fact, Clint owns the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant, so if you are travelling on Sunday, plan to pop in for brunch.
Enjoy an evening in Cambria and then a free day to spend on the beach, whale-watching or tour Hearst Castle.
Hearst Castle, set on 250,000 acres, is one of the most extravagant houses in the world. Once home to the publisher William Randolph Hearst, guests included Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Cary Grant and Charles Lindbergh.
Day 6 - 8 : Cambria to Santa Barbara
Distance: 125 miles
Continue south today through the Santa Ynez Valley with a stop for lunch in Solvang, a quaint city founded by Danish immigrants in 1911. The Danish architecture, food and overall influence isn't something you expect to find in Southern California.
Then it's on to your stop for two nights - Santa Barbara. Known as the American Riviera due to its Mediterranean climate, this sun drenched gem is nestled in sloping hills above the Pacific Ocean. Hire a bike and explore this historic town, have a picnic at one of the many vineyards, visit the Botanical Gardens, enjoy a sunset cruise or simply pull up a sun lounger and relax.
American Riviera Whale Watching
Santa Barbara is an excellent location for whale watching as its southern facing coast is sheltered behind the Channel Islands. Over 27 different types of whales and dolphins inhabit the Santa Barbara Channel at various times of the year, making these waters one of the best whale watching areas in the world.
There are two windows of opportunity to see whales in this area. February to early April you can see California Grey Whales. From May to September you can see Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Humpback Whales. Occasionally, you can see Right Whales and Orcas. All year long you have an excellent chance of seeing dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions.
Contact a Bon Voyage specialist who can arrange your whale watching tour.
Day 9 - 10 : Santa Barbara to Santa Monica
Distance: 89 miles
Santa Monica is where Los Angeles meets the beach and is the next stop on your California adventure.
This is the ideal base for those who prefer a laid-back beach experience to the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. However, it is still easy access to Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and all the sights.
Hire bikes or roller blades and explore the famous Santa Monica Pier - the official end to Route 66. Or just pull up a seat, sunglasses on and soak up the surfer vibe.
Day 11 : Santa Monica to Long Beach
Distance: 29 miles
Ladies and Gentlemen - welcome to the Queen Mary.
This grand ocean liner, an art-deco masterpiece, is the focal point of Long Beach harbour and your hotel for the night. Discover the magic and history of the ship, launched on the Clyde in 1934. Enjoy several food and beverage venues along with live entertainment and dancing without ever setting sail.
If you'd prefer a hotel, that's fine, but we'd still recommend doing a tour or popping in for a cocktail.
Day 12 - 13 : Long Beach to San Diego
Distance: 110 miles
San Diego County is blessed with over 70 miles of beaches and a near perfect year round climate. California's oldest city has something for everyone. Many of the city's attractions are within a short distance of the downtown lively bay front area or are linked by the San Diego Trolley. Be sure to visit neighbourhoods such as Little Italy, East Village and the historic Gaslamp Quarter. This National Historic district is a step back in time. In fact, Wyatt Earp once ran a couple of saloons here and apparently his ghost is still a resident.
Surrounding downtown, Old Town State Historic Park is a tribute to 18th century days when San Diego was California's first Spanish Settlement. Another popular destination is the island of Coronado with it's uncrowded beaches and charming village backdrop.
Want to extend this California fly drive? Maybe fly onto the Hawaiian Islands afterwards? Call Bon Voyage to discuss the options available to you to create your dream California experience.
Day 14 : San Diego
Depart on your early afternoon flight back to the UK.