California Coast Dreaming
The scenic beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway 1 is on par with the most breathtaking in the world. This trip explores the most popular stretch of the California Coast- the magnificent drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco. There is a ridiculous amount to see and do in this area of the world as well as a wealth of natural and marine treasures, and it is worth taking your time to really soak it in.
Give in to the bling and be a tourist in Hollywood: take pictures with the stars, shop for junkie souvenirs, and cap your day off with a movie, of course! Wander down Venice Beach and peruse the hemp necklaces, Rasta legwarmers, and muscle men. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Channel Islands and visit the Santa Barbara waterfront for some scrumptiously fresh seafood. Become bottle-literate at Santa Maria Valley wineries, and gain historical insight from the many old missions. Pretend to be rich at the palatial Hearst Castle and if you are rich then play a round of golf on Pebble Beach. Drool over the scenery along amazing Big Sur, and try your hand at surfing in Santa Cruz. Take the trolley in San Francisco and picnic under the Golden Gate Bridge. Exhale.
Starting Point: Los Angeles
Ending Point: San Francisco
Time Frame: 7-10 days (excluding time in Los Angeles and San Francisco)
You can take the bus along Hwy 110 from LA to San Francisco, but you will miss out on many stops along the way that require a vehicle or tour. Highlights include Channel Islands National Park near Oxnard; the Santa Barbara Region (1.5 hours from LA) including Santa Maria Valley and La Purisima Mission; the Central Coast Region (2 hours from Santa Barbara) including San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay and Hearst Castle; Big Sur Country (1hr from San Simeon) including Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park; the Monterey/Carmel region (1hr from Big Sur) including Point Lobos State Reserve and 17-Mile Drive; and Santa Cruz, just an hour south of San Francisco.