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Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

One of the most iconic road trips in the world has to be Highway One in California, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway. Explore San Francisco before heading south, passing wind swept beaches & coastal towns before a dose of glamour in LA.

Tailor-made 10 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $948 per person economy class from London

People love what we do
Tourdust is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars


…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

Missing Matthew McSweeney. See all Reviews

Itinerary

Overview

  • Enjoy the urban life in hip San Francisco
  • Hit the surf in the Pacific Ocean
  • Feel the sea spray in your hair on Big Sur's wind-swept beaches
  • Find the perfect Pinot Noir in California's winelands
  • Soak up the sun on California's best beaches
One of the most scenic road trips of them all, California State Route 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway, takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the world. This road trip takes in the stretch of road between San Francisco and Los Angeles, incorporating two of California's best cities alongside some stunning coast line. Your holiday begins in San Francisco, where you are spoilt for choice for activities. Choose between exploring Alcatraz, cycling the Golden Gate Bridge, people watching in Fisherman's Wharf or sipping wine or a craft beer in one of San Francisco's many wine bars. If wine tasting is your thing, then we can arrange a day tour out to the Napa & Sonoma valleys where you can visit a selection of boutique wineries.

Leaving the city behind, the first stop along the way of your road trip is Santa Cruz; a coastal town with attitude. There are many options here to entertain you, from learning to surf, going on the rides on the Boardwalk to walking amongst the giant redwoods in Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.

Further south, your route passes through Monterey, before reaching the jewel in this holiday's crown; Big Sur. With fantastic views, wild and wind swept beaches, lie back and feel the sea salt in your hair. Your next base is Pismo Beach. If you're visiting in the winter months, you might see the whale migrations. In the spring and summer months, you can surf, relax or use this as a base to visit the nearby wineries or the opulent Hearts Castle.

Your last stop on the route is LA. Passing through Santa Barbara, you are then based in the coastal suburb of Santa Monica. From here, you can rollerblade or cycle along the beach path, or perhaps go on the tourist trail in Hollywood.

Day-by-day

Please note, this trip is entirely customisable. We can extend this trip to 2 weeks, or add an extension to Las Vegas if required. Please contact us for details.

Brief Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive San Francisco
Day 2 San Francisco
Day 3 San Francisco - Optional Wine Tour
Day 4 Santa Cruz
Day 5 Santa Cruz
Day 6 Pismo Beach
Day 7 Pismo Beach
Day 8 Drive to Los Angeles
Day 9 Los Angeles
Day 10 Depart

Itinerary in Full
Day 1 Arrive San Francisco
You will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel

Day 2 San Francisco
Today you are at leisure in San Francisco. You might want to catch a cable car up to Fisherman's Wharf and wander down to pier 39 to see the sealions. If you have the energy, we suggest cycling all the way to Sausalito, where you can enjoy a relaxing lunch with fabulous views of San Francisco across the water. If you want to visit Alcatraz, make sure you have booked in advance.

Day 3 San Francisco - Optional Wine Tour
Today you have the option to go on a wine tour. You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and transferred in a small minibus, which can carry a maximum of 13 people. During the tour, you will visit 4 - 6 boutique wineries in the Napa and/or Sonoma Valleys. You will be visiting a mix of smaller and larger wineries and will also have a chance to request stops along the way.

Day 4 Santa Cruz
This morning you will pick up your hire car and drive to Santa Cruz. Located on the Pacific Ocean, this town is the spiritual home of Californian surfing. With a beach right across the road from your hotel, you can rent body boards or simply lie back and catch some rays. Later in the afternoon, you can wander down to the Boardwalk where you can ride on roller coasters to your heart's content.

Day 5 Santa Cruz
Today is a free day in Santa Cruz. We suggest that you catch the train up to Henry Cowell State Park to marvel at the giant and ancient Redwood trees. Later in the afternoon, we suggest you wander down the wharf to spot the resident sealions resting in the shade.

Day 6 Big Sur
Today sees you driving south passing through Monterey before hitting the coastal road and Big Sur. Leave early so that you have plenty of time for lots of spots and to take photos. Your day ends at the San Luis Obisbo Bay where your base will be Pismo Beach.

Day 7 Pismo Beach
You might be too busy hitting the surf today, but if you wanted to do more exploring, then you could go north to Hearst Castle, an example of 1920's decadence. We recommend you go early to avoid the crowds. If you are a wine lover, you might want to head inland today to Santa Barbara Wine Country. There are numerous vineyards around where you can taste that local speciality, Pinot Noir. There are several local companies offering a shuttle service, so you don't need to worry about driving. If you are staying on a Thursday night, be sure to drive to nearby San Luis Obispo for their famous farmers night market.

Day 8 Drive to Los Angeles
Today you will head south to sunny Los Angeles, where you will be based at the Beachside location of Santa Monica. We recommend stopping off for lunch in Santa Barbara along the way.

Day 9 Los Angeles
Today you might want to rent rollerblades or bikes and explore the promenade next to the beach. Alternatively, you could drive into Hollywood and spot celebrities on the walk of fame.

Day 10 Depart
Today is your departure day. You will need to leave your car at the rental returns and make sure you leave plenty of time to check in for your flight.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Union Square location
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Fitness Centre
- Excellent mid-range option

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Good value hotel
- Union Square Location
- Modern rooms
- Swimming Pool

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Superb Value
- Laid-back accommodation
- Excellent family suites

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Smart, chic hotel
- Direct Beach Access
- Private Balcony

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Oceanfront hotel
- Family Friendly
- Direct Beach Access

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Art deco, historic hotel
- Great location

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- luxurious option
- 2 pools
- chic & spohisticated decor

Details

Getting there

This holiday begins in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles. Both of these destinations are serviced by direct flights from the UK with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. From November to March, flights will cost from £670, April - June, these prices increase to from £770 and then in the peak season they jump to £1,100, but there may be better prices available during the sales. It is often cheaper to fly mid-week, rather than at the weekend. Please get in touch for a quote.

When is best?

This holiday is available all year round, but if you are travelling without children, we recommend avoiding July & August due to the increased flight prices. The weather is warmer in the summer, but the Central Coast & San Francisco areas can become shrouded in fog, especially in the mornings and evenings. Our favourite times for this holiday are April - June.

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 600 reviews

(4.93/5)

  • Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
    Key highlights:
    - Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
    - The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
    - Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
    - Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
    - Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant

    If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.

    MissingMark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016

  • Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.

    Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.

    No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.

    MissingTerence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016

  • Our trip was excellent. Thank you! We were particularly impressed with the way it all worked seamlessly: someone was at each arrival point to meet us (or Alex was on the end of the phone to tell us what to do) or there was a phone message at Reception for when to expect someone.

    The Jerusalem Hotel in Lalibela is not the same standard as Tukul Villages but it was OK for one night & we had plenty of warning. Lalibela at Christmas is pretty manic: full to bursting!

    I must say that Alex looked after us well. He came to see us in Gondar to make sure everything was in place for the Simiens Trek & that we knew what to expect. When we got back after it, there he was again! Small but highly-valued pieces of customer care, evident again when he spoke to drivers while we were travelling.

    All the staff who worked with us were of high quality, especially drivers and guides. Two who stood out were Younus, our driver both times we were in Addis Ababa, who we felt went beyond the call of duty & made our time there enjoyable - our last evening when waiting for a 2 a.m. flight could have been a drag, was in fact absolutely fine because of his suggestions (the Via Via cafe for dinner & then Mama's Kitchen for some music) and company.

    The Simiens Trek was outstanding. Spectacular scenery, challenging at times, full of interest. Key to making it so was Dereje Gedamu who is a wonderful guide: we felt privileged to have him. he was ably assisted by the other staff & when our first, excellent chef had to leave at short notice to visit his mother in hospital, a replacement was found immediately (at Chenek!) who fed us to the same high standard. It was all a great experience that we will be talking about for a long time.

    We were all pleased to have selected the 8 day option (& were not at all jealous of the peak-baggers heading for Ras Dashen). The second half of the trek was a good contrast to the high altitude section in the National Park's heartland as we descended through more intensively cultivated and populated areas, down steeply to the river and then back up past wonderful rock formations towards Mulit and out to the road at Adi Arkaye. It was full of interest and we were pleased to be pretty much on our own, rather than with the crowds at Geech & Chenek.

    By comparison, the TESFA trek was rather tame, although an interesting comparison to see a more pastoral landscape and less remote villages. We had another good guide & enjoyed the lunch & evening stops, and the "loos with a view".

    Pleased as we were that we had opted to drive from Bahir Dar to Lalibela, we had mixed feelings about driving the rough Gashena-Lalibela road three times - the starting and finishing points for the TESFA trek were just beyond Gashena. In 3 years when the road is complete this point may become academic, but meanwhile - if anyone else wants to do the same thing - it would be better for them to drive from Bahir Dar to Gashena, meet the TESFA crew there, do the trek & then continue to Lalibela. I am sure that TESFA could look after any extra baggage that people did not want on the trek.

    One other point about the TESFA trek: we were not aware that there are several grades offered. I think we did the easiest and might well have preferred something more challenging so perhaps you could clarify the options available.

    Only one other critical comment: we were underwhelmed by the Mayleko Lodge near Gondar airport. It was indeed welcome to have somewhere peaceful to return to after the trek, the rooms are nice & a couple of us enjoyed a "refreshing" swim, but on the other hand the restaurant was pretty mediocre and slow: we might have preferred to be out in the town.

    Apart from that it was all good! A glimpse of Addis and another of Gondar; trekking with some R&R in Bahir Dar with its different scenery and history, ending with the religious fervour at Lalibela. A great holiday.

    MissingGordon Parker reviewing Simien Mountains Trek & Northern Highlights on 09 February 2016

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