Also known as California Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway is America’s dream drive, and one of our most popular fly-drive itineraries in the USA. You'll travel south from San Francisco's Golden Gate icon to Los Angeles, passing through mile upon mile of spectacular mountain and ocean scenery, skirting acclaimed vineyards, stopping to explore historic buildings and relaxing on beautiful gold-sands beaches and in peaceful seaside towns. As with all of our North America fly-drives, we offer you complete flexibility to add or remove destinations, reduce or increase the number of nights and change your accommodation or car hire to suit. Contact our North America specialists to discuss your plans.
Days 1-3: UK/San Francisco
With included VIP airport lounge access, you'll enjoy a relaxing start to your trip before your direct flight to San Francisco. Beginning your adventure in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, you'll have two full days to explore its eclectic mix of suburbs, from trendy Nob Hill to lively Chinatown to bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, a waterfront hub where seafood restaurants overlook a fishing boat-filled harbour and colonies of sunbathing sea lion. Then, picturesque Angel Island affords wonderful views across to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Head north and you'll find towering redwood forests and the vibrant wine regions of Sonoma and Napa – perfect for a day trip or extended overnight stay. We particularly recommend the Napa Valley Wine Tour where, after an early start from the city, you'll board the train in Napa and enjoy a three-course gourmet lunch among rolling valleys before an included vineyard tour and tasting.
Days 4-5: Monterey
Collect your hire car and depart San Francisco, driving south for a two-night stay at Monterey. Cruising along the interstate, you'll be accompanied by views of wooded hills and sparkling lakes as you head to the coast. The next day, embark on a stunning journey along the 17-Mile Drive before visiting Pebble Beach and fashionable Carmel, a place of mansions, golf courses and no little natural beauty. Then, return to Monterey for an overnight stay, perhaps heading to the docks to spot harbour seals basking on the rocks before tucking into a delicious seafood dinner, fresh from the sea.
Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Monterey (Standard) InterContinental The Clement Monterey (Superior)
Days 6-7: Pismo Beach
Rugged Big Sur is next on the bucket-list trip – as you head over Pfeiffer Bridge you'll be greeted with the most spectacular stretch of the Highway 1. The Hearst Castle appears next on the route, the estate of publish William Randolph Hearst, before you travel to Cambria and its abundance of sea lions. Arrive at Pismo Beach in time for a stunning sunset.
Stay: Seacrest Ocean Front Hotel, Pismo Beach (Standard) Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach (Superior)
Day 8: Santa Barbara
Before heading south, perhaps call into San Luis Obispo where winding backroads and ocean views frame some of region's most prestigious wine estates. Then, after an hour-and-forty-minute drive south, you'll arrive at Santa Barbara where you'll spend the night. This evening, be sure to head out to the town's famous pier for dinner at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company; the steamed crab and lobster tacos are both highlights, best washed down with a glass of local wine.
Days 9-10: Santa Monica
Continue on past Malibu's sprawling mansions to drop off your hire car at Los Angeles Airport before making your way to Santa Monica. While it's a great base for exploring Los Angeles, this laid-back beachfront city is a highlight in its own right, home to a golden beach, historic pier and probably America’s best weekend Farmers’ Market.
Stay: Gateway Hotel Santa Monica (Standard) Le Méridien Delfina, Santa Monica (Superior)
Day 11: Depart Los Angeles
On your last day, enjoy some time to yourself before making your way to Los Angeles International Airport. Board your overnight flight to the UK, arriving the next day. Alternatively, consider an extension, perhaps to Palm Springs, Las Vegas or sunny San Diego.
Day 12: Arrive in the UK
After your overnight flight, arrive back in London on day 12 and return home.
High season: July-August
* Excludes one-way car hire fee
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
Sign up to our weekly Trip Finder email and get a selection of the best trips to feed your Wanderlust