Tightly hugging the spectacular California coast, Highway 1 is simply one of the most amazing drives in the world. This trip allows you to focus all your attention on the incredible views and let someone else do all the driving!. Pack in the best of the California coast in a really short period of time. See otters, sea lions and the rocky coves on the Monterey Bay area, the dramatic cliffs of Big Sur, and the sandy beaches around Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara.. This wouldn’t be an all-American road trip without camping in the States’ beautiful outdoors surrounded by the sounds of the Pacific and an ocean of stars above..
This is what road trips were made for. Take the ultimate drive down the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles. With the old school sound of the Beach Boys in your head, it’s “California Dreamin” down to the bayside city of Monterey, a wildlife-filled marine sanctuary where there’s “Fun, Fun, Fun” with kayaks and boat trips on the bay. From “Surfin’ U.S.A.” in Big Sur, to “Good Vibrations” around the hairpin curves of Highway 1, “God Only Knows” how this jagged landscape of crashing waves and sheer cliffs got so stunning. This short break passes through some of California’s most charming towns – San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara – and memorable scenery. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to drive it every day.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel loby today at 6 pm. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city with spectacular coastline, iconic sights, and a humming cultural mix across its unique neighbourhoods. As this short trip doesn’t include any time in San Francisco, arriving a day or so early to give you time to explore (and to be in time for the welcome meeting) is strongly recommended.
We leave the city this morning and drive south down the coast to Monterey (approximately 3.5 hours). You’ll spend the afternoon in the Monterey area, which is home to a National Marine sanctuary – an incredibly deep ecosystem just metres off shore. Mammals, seabirds, fish, invertebrates and plants all thrive in a remarkably productive coastal environment. Maybe see it up close up with a kayak around the bay, or head further out to try and spot some whales. On dry land, you can wander down atmospheric Cannery Row, a favourite hangout spot for sea lions. This evening you’ll set up camp here along the beautiful California Coast.
Santa Barbara Area
Today, cruise southbound along Highway 101 for approximately 4 hours. There will be restroom breaks along the way before stopping for lunch on San Simeon Beach. After lunch, head north and check out the elephant seals near Piedras Blancas. This special spot is visited by over 25,000 elephant seals every year! From here, head up to Ragged Point for a short walk overlooking the cliffs. Time permitting, we may also stop at one of the small seaside communities, such as Cambria or Morro Bay, before driving past classic Californian hotspots like San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach on the way Santa Barbara (approx. 2.5 hours).
Spend some time in Santa Barbara this morning, one of the prettiest towns in California. The relaxed atmosphere, Mediterranean-style architecture and an exceptional year-round climate have long made it a millionaire’s residence of choice. It’s attracting a younger, ‘hipper’, crowd these days too thanks to its new “Funk Zone”, a 12-block area of converted warehouses with new restaurants, pop-up shops, galleries and craft breweries. A walk along the long beach, gazing out at Stearns Wharf, and then a sip of one of the famous local wines is the perfect way to round out your time here. Then it’s on to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with a drive down to LA. The adventure down the California coast ends on arrival in the City of Angels. There much to see and do here, so maybe stay a couple of days longer to explore.