Large shutterstock california beach

Pacific Coast Highway Family Road Trip

Live the Californian dream on this 2 week road trip. Explore San Francisco, before heading off down the Pacific Coast to enjoy the beaches. Your holiday ends in Los Angeles, where you can enjoy the fun & thrills of the theme parks.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

People love what we do
Tourdust is rated 5.0 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

  • Explore San Francisco
  • Walk amongst Giant & Ancient Redwoods
  • Hit the surf in the Pacific Ocean
  • Find the perfect Pinot Noir in California's winelands
  • Indulge your inner child at California's theme parks
The Pacific Coastal Highway has to be one of the most iconic driving routes of them all and this holiday takes in the highlights over a relaxing 2 weeks. Your holiday begins in San Francisco, a city blessed with an idyllic setting and an independent vibe. While here, you can cycle the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoy the street artists at Fisherman's Wharf and visit Alcatraz; where Al Capone was incarcerated.

Leaving the city behind you, you then pick up a hire car and drive south to Santa Cruz; the original home of surfing. Here you can learn to surf, walk amongst the Giant Redwood trees and promenade on the wharf, not to mention go on the Big Dipper, Santa Cruz's famous roller coaster. Within easy driving distance, you also have the wild Big Sur and giant aquarium at Monterery.

Continuing your journey south, your next base is Pismo Beach, halfway between LA & San Francisco. Here you can further hone your surfing skills, with kayaking and stand up paddle boarding also on offer. The sandy beach is also perfect for sun bathing, if you prefer a slower pace of life. In the vicinity, you have Hearst Castle and Central California's wine country, not to mention some of the best seafood you've ever eaten!

Your final stop of the road trip is Los Angeles where you will be based in a family friendly hotel which is in the perfect location for visiting the local theme parks. Whether it's Disney, Knott's Berry Farm or Hollywood Universal Studios, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Day-by-day

Brief Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive San Francisco
Day 2 San Francisco
Day 3 San Francisco
Day 4 Santa Cruz
Day 5 Santa Cruz
Day 6 Santa Cruz
Day 7 Pismo Beach
Day 8 Pismo Beach
Day 9 Pismo Beach
Day 10 Drive to Los Angeles
Day 11 Los Angeles
Day 12 Los Angeles
Day 13 Los Angeles
Day 14 Depart

Itinerary in Full
Day 1 Arrive San Francisco
On arrival collect your hire car and drive 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. In the afternoon, you might want to go for a ferry ride in the bay. If you want to visit Alcatraz, make sure you have booked in advance.

Day 3 San Francisco
Today is another day at leisure in San Francisco. Today you might want to hire bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. 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.

Day 4 Santa Cruz
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 Santa Cruz
Today we suggest you explore more of the beaches that the area has to offer. You could drive south down to Big Sur, stopping off at Monterey's famous aquarium along the way. At Big Sur, seek out one of the secluded and wild beaches and enjoy the roar of the ocean!

Day 7 Pismo Beach
Today sees you driving south to the San Luis Obisbo Bay where your base will be Pismo Beach. Here, you can book surf lessons, go kayaking, try stand up paddle boarding or simply chill on the beach.

Day 8 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.

Day 9 Pismo Beach
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.

Day 10 Drive to Los Angeles
Today you will head south to sunny Los Angeles, where you will be based in a family friendly hotel in Anaheim; the perfect location for exploring the local theme parks. There is a shuttle from your hotel to Disneyland and Disney Adventure Park and you are also in easy driving distance of Knott's Berry Farm and Hollywood Universal Studios.

Day 11 Los Angeles
Day at leisure

Day 12 Los Angeles
Day at leisure

Day 13 Los Angeles
Day at leisure

Day 14 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

- 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

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Oceanfront hotel
- Family Friendly
- Direct Beach Access

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Excellent family suites
- Close to Disneyland

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. In the peak season, flights will cost approx £1,100 but there may be better prices available during the sales.

Price includes

The price is based on a family of 4 sleeping in one room together (one double plus either one double or two singles for the children).

When is best?

This holiday is available all year round, but best in the summer months. 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.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

+
See more reviews

Speak to a specialist

Our customers agree - a conversation with an expert makes for a better trip. Call us now or request a call back out of hours.

Call 855 686 7694 9am and 6pm GMT Monday to Friday

Or weekday evenings or Saturdays

Enquire

Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Visit theme parks in LA, then explore Yosemite before ending your holiday in San Francisco.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Families from $1,270 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,467 per person economy class from London

A family road trip taking in some of Western USA's biggest hitters: The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite & San Francisco.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Families from $1,362 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,376 per person economy class from London

Cycle the Golden Gate Bridge, raft the Colorado River, see the Grand Canyon & enjoy the bright lights of Las Vegas.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Families from $1,496 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,298 per person economy class from London

Decisions...

Stop searching and speak to someone who knows.

Enquire Now