Thursday, May 2

Explore Coastal California on a Drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Road trips are as American as apple pie, but nothing says vacation like a few days on the coast. Here, we’ll show you how to get the best of both worlds by taking a week-long drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the iconic Pacific Coast Highway. Travelers, start your engines. 

Day One: Los Angeles

Begin your adventure with a day in the iconic City of Angels. Once you’ve picked up your rental car, head over to the city’s east-side neighborhoods to browse the boutiques in Atwater Village, sample organic treats in Highland Park and wander the trails near Eagle Rock. Prefer to see a few iconic sights? Make a bee-line for the Venice Beach boardwalk or Santa Monica Promenade, and then spend the evening relaxing with a cocktail in West Hollywood.

Day Two: Malibu to San Luis Obispo

Rise and shine: It’s your first driving day, and you’ll want to get an early start. Head up to Malibu for breakfast at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, and then drive to Santa Barbara for a peek at Stearn’s Wharf, some shopping on State Street and a visit to the wondrous Santa Barbara Mission. Call it a night in San Luis Obispo after grabbing a quick dinner at one of the city’s unbeatable Mexican restaurants.

Day Three: San Luis Obispo to Big Sur

Ready to catch a glimpse of paradise? It’s just two hours away. Though you can easily drive straight through from San Luis Obispo, plan a little extra time to stop at on-the-way sights like Hearst Castle, San Simeon State Park and the Los Padres National Forest shore-front. Just make sure to use
American Express Travel to book your Big Sur hotel; once you get to the area, you’ll definitely want to stay for a while.

Days Four and Five: Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey

Gorgeous trails, idyllic towns, shorelines galore: There’s so much to do in Monterey Country, you’ll need at least two days to even scratch the surface. Nature-lovers will want to hike through the verdant Point Lobos State Reserve and search for jade on the Big Sur beaches, and shopping addicts should go straight to Carmel for its quaint shops and cobblestone streets. Need to see a few city lights? Head up to Monterey’s Cannery Row area for an array of seaside shops, restaurants and wine-tasting rooms.

Day Seven: On to San Francisco

Bid farewell to Monterey County with breakfast at The Wild Plum, and then take your time driving the two hours north to San Francisco. Make sure to stop in Santa Cruz for a look at one of California’s most famous boardwalks and again at Half Moon Bay for some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. The Bay area is calling, but there’s plenty to see before you get there. 

*This is a guest post

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