California Road Trip on Highway #1
By Doug Wallace | 12-19-2022 |
The journey from L.A. to San Francisco along celebrated Highway #1 is a swirling, scarf-flying, sunglasses-on, spiritual adventure – a road trip that tells a thousand tales.
As nice as the cities are, it’s nice to get out of Dodge in California, a state so remarkably beautiful, a gem in every quadrant waiting to be discovered. Road trips down the coast are very worthy pursuits, and the beauty of it is: Each person’s experience will be different. Embracing the fresh air through the national parks works wonders for the soul.
Begin in the City of Angels.
Try as one might, it’s impossible, to sum up, all that is Los Angeles. Iconic landmarks aside, it is a constantly shifting experience – one that dishes up plenty of luxury, simply thanks to pure practice. The beaches, the iconic streets, the rooftop glamor – everything has a veneer of ease and vitality.
If you’re a movie fan, spin through Warner Bros. Studio for a tour of its memorabilia collection and to pop into the studios – you never know who you’re going to see taking a break from filming. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a stunning new building with revolving exhibits all dedicated to the history of cinema. And if you haven’t been to the Hollywood Bowl or Dodgers Stadium, you’re due for a visit there, too. Hiking trails? Plenty of that in the hills overlooking the town.
Revel in the American Riviera.
Heading to the Pacific Ocean and veering northwest, you will be ready for a break in Santa Barbara. With all white-washed buildings and red tile roofs, the Spanish colonial look here set the tone for much of the trip up to San Francisco. Stop for lunch at The Anchor Rose, gazing out into the Santa Barbara Harbor, or hop on a cruise along the coast, communing with seals and pelicans. Santa Barbara is also famous for The Funk Zone, an industrial area turned arts community, home of the famous Urban Wine Trail, with a dozen blocks of boutiques, wine shops, galleries, and restaurants to check out. For dinner, Convivo Restaurant & Bar is a choice stop for New American cuisine.
Raise a glass in Paso Robles.
Paso Robles is your next destination, another region renowned for world-class wine – noted for more than 40 different varietals and more than 200 tasting rooms. People are practically lining up for the tastings at Justin Vineyards and Winery, which have a convenient downtown location for throwing back a tasting glass or two. And if you have a hankering for cocktails instead, the town’s only rooftop bar Tetto at The Piccolo virtually hums at happy hour. After dark, the highly acclaimed outdoor light shows of Light at Sensorio, just a few miles out of town, features a multi-acre walk-through light and sound experience anchored to sprawling, fiber-optic installations.
Hug a tree in Big Sur.
The central coast between Carmel and San Simeon is where Highway #1 puts on its biggest show – twists and turns, misty vistas of the sea, forest foliage. Big Sur is all this and more, filled with numerous state parks for nature bathing, hiking and beachcombing. This rugged natural beauty is punctuated by arts enclaves and cool eateries that make excellent pitstops. After checking into the adults-only Alila Ventana Big Sur, you may never want to leave. This five-star resort is a Hollywood celebrity favorite, its chalet-style suites serving up laid-back forest comfort within the redwood trees. Expect cozy nooks, a destination restaurant, an aerial art gallery and breathtaking hiking trails. Brunch down the road at Cafe Kevah delivers even more gorgeous views.
Paddle away in Monterey Bay.
Interestingly, Monterey is known as The Cradle of History because it lays claim to having many of California’s “firsts,” including its first theater, first brick house, first public school, and first public library – all around the mid-1800s. In addition to the history, the food factor is also high, with food tours serving up the region’s spectacular culinary offerings, including those on the famous Cannery Row, a legendary canning district transformed into a shopping and nightlife mecca. Two awards for absolute must-dos in town go to the excellent Monterey Bay Aquarium and to Monterey Bay itself, where you can kayak with very loud seals, sea lions, sea otters, and even dolphins.
Swing into San Francisco.
You would never run out of things to do in San Francisco if you stayed a whole season – the food, the iconic streetscapes, the history, the energy, everything is so unique and vibrant. A private tour of the key neighborhoods with Fogcutter Tour of San Francisco will help you get your bearings. Head out to The Presidio for a bit of outdoor fun. This former military base is now a recreation hub, with walking trails, a golf course and the comfortable Lodge at the Presidio. This part of town is also home to The Walt Disney Family Museum, an extensive and fascinating look at this famous man’s incredible life.
San Francisco is also an excellent jumping-off point for points yonder, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, of course, along with Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Travel Designers at Tully Luxury Travel are ready to plan an incredible luxury California trip to the places that interest you. Get in touch today to find out more about what The Golden State has to offer.