Imagine the wind in your hair, the sun shining and the sea glittering. This is the California Coast. Rent an open-top Mustang and put the joy back into driving.
Along the road you will visit the iconic cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
You will also drive Big Sur and the renowned coastal Highway 101.
This itinerary is flexible and can be tailor-made to suit you; if you want to add extra days in one area, extend the holiday or maybe change the direction of travel. Talk to one of our experts about how to make this holiday the perfect one for you.
Frontier’s Personal Experience
“The California Coast and Pacific Highway 1 is should be on everyone’s list to experience. I recommend you drive from North to South down the coast so that your are driving on the scenic side of the road rather than looking over the on-coming traffic. The numerous seaside towns along the coast are beautiful, stop off as often as suits you. Monterey and Carmel are musts, and San Simeon, Hearst Castle and the dramatic coast of Pismo Beach are worth a stop on the way down to LA and San Diego.”Joanne Moores,
Itinerary (13 Nights)
Here’s a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by contacting us directly, so we can give you the best price.
Depart the UK on your scheduled flight to San Francisco. San Francisco is the home...
Depart the UK on your scheduled flight to San Francisco. San Francisco is the home of cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz and any number of other well-known names. It is also a delightful mix of cultures, drawing as it does from both East and West. Explore Chinatown, which is well known. Perhaps less well known is the Presidio, a park and former military base on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. Another worthwhile trip is to go across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito and return by ferry, which affords great views of the bridge and the city.
3 nights in San Francisco
This morning collect your hire car (why not spoil yourselves and rent a convertible?) in...
This morning collect your hire car (why not spoil yourselves and rent a convertible?) in downtown, before you head south towards Monterey and Carmel. Stop in Santa Cruz for lunch where you could visit America’s oldest theme park – the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You can also watch the surfers and sea lions for which this area is renowned and ride an old steam train through the redwood forest. Onward to Monterey, which you should visit even if you are staying in Carmel. Made famous by John Steinbeck, Monterey is an old canning town and is now known for its restaurants, sea otters and the remarkable aquarium. You should also take the 17 mile drive which loops its way around the Monterey Peninsula through the Del Monte Forest, past Cypress Point and into Carmel.
2 nights in Carmel
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most spectacular coastal drives anywhere in the...
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most spectacular coastal drives anywhere in the world. You might want to split the day into two, in which case you could stop in Pismo Beach for a night where we would recommend the Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa. En route, you should also visit Hearst Castle at San Simeon, the palatial estate of publisher William Randolph Hearst.
Silhouetted against the Santa Ynez Mountains and with a splendid beach, Santa Barbara has rather a Spanish feel with its many red tiled roofs. Enjoy a walk along the beach or explore the harbour where you will find Brophy’s Tavern, an Irish Pub and Sports bar, one of Santa Barbara locals’ favourite restaurants. It is noisy and you will have to queue, but the food is good.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach, we suggest you explore the hills behind Santa Barbara, places like Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos and surrounding communities. You could also visit the Channel Islands National Park, a string of five uninhabited islands home to a variety of unique animals and plants not found anywhere else on earth. From Santa Barbara Harbour, take a short boat trip (keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and seals) to enjoy a day of guided sea kayaking, hiking or snorkelling along this mystic coastline.
2 nights in Santa Barbara
You can continue along Highway 101 and the coast through Malibu and Santa Monica, but...
You can continue along Highway 101 and the coast through Malibu and Santa Monica, but you might like to venture inland and visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in the Simi Valley.
Your accommodation for the next two nights will be in the Beverly Hills or Hollywood area of Los Angeles.
You are close to Rodeo Drive, so time for some serious shopping; you might like to visit the extensive collections of the J Paul Getty Museum, the contemporary Broad Museum or maybe drive along Mulholland to get some great views of the city. You are also only about 5 minutes from Hollywood, so whether you want to see some of the great mansions or make a visit to Universal Studios, you are well placed.
2 nights in Los Angeles
Los Angeles to The Beach and Orange County
Although it is only short distance to the beach, it seems worth moving as getting...
to The Beach and Orange County
Although it is only short distance to the beach, it seems worth moving as getting around Los Angeles can be slow due to heavy traffic. Now it’s time for more relaxation on the beach. From Los Angeles, a short drive will take you to Long Beach, Huntington Beach (AKA Surf City USA) or if you prefer, Newport Beach. Have a “do nothing day”. Surf, or watch the surfers, laze in the sun, visit a spa, join a whale-watching cruise – the choice is yours. If “doing nothing” is not your thing, you are only about 30 minutes from Anaheim, so you might want to add in an extra day or two to visit Disneyland or one of the other theme parks in the area.
2 nights at the Beach
The Beach and Orange County to San Diego
Your last drive of the holiday as you make your way south to La Jolla...
The Beach and Orange County
Your last drive of the holiday as you make your way south to La Jolla / San Diego. Allow time to include a stop at Laguna and Oceanside, where the sport is celebrated at the California Surf Museum or the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve. San Diego is known for its beaches, parks and warm climate. It is the home to the renowned San Diego Zoo, as well numerous art galleries, gardens and museums – one of which is the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier.
2 nights in San Diego
J Smith - Travelled New York to Toronto
I have just returned from a tailor made holiday made possible by Jeannette Dembrey. This was the first time I had ever organised such a major holiday and as it was a gift for my children after my retirement it was really important to get things right. I went to quite a few agencies but Jeannette was way better than any of the people who I spoke to. She was so professional and wanted me to get the best from the money I could afford. The holiday was absolutely amazing and everything went like clockwork. Jeannette had thought of everything even the connections between places and the things we would do in each town. We stayed in 6 hotels altogether starting in New York and ending in Toronto. I am amazed at how smoothly it went. Even my son who has travelled all over the world was impressed with the way things had been organised. I cannot praise Jeannette enough for her professionalism. Thank you Jeannette. I would recommend you to anyone with the satisfaction of knowing that you did an amazing job. Thank you.