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Pacific Highway Holidays

One of the most scenic drives in the world, the Pacific coast highway snakes elegantly down the length of the fabulously rugged Californian coastline. This length of road offers you the opportunity to experience the best that California has to offer – laid back beach towns, glamorous cities and captivating landscapes and wildlife. There are so many amazing things to see along this stretch so grab yourself a car and head out on an iconic American road trip.

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San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is an excellent place to start or finish your trip. This vibrant city known for its hedonistic lifestyle, tech companies and the iconic Golden Gate bridge. Take the time to discover hidden eateries and tea houses in Chinatown, ride the quaint trams through the steep streets lined with Victorian terraces and see Alcatraz – the site of incarceration for some of the USA’s most infamous criminals.

Napa Valley

Whilst you are cruising along the Pacific Highway take a short detour to Napa Valley to taste some of the world’s most exquisite wines in some of the world’s most exquisite wineries. This region is famous for its Cabernet sauvignon but you can also find wonderful Zinfandels and even great white wines such as crisp Chardonnays and, surprisingly, outstanding Riesling.

Big Sur

The Pacific coast highway winds tantalisingly around the dramatic scenery of the Big Sur coastline. Cliffs rise up from sapphire waters which are populated with an array of marine life. Get up close and personal with this marine life at Point Piedras Blancas where a gigantic colony of Elephant Seals reside. Gaze down on the McWay Falls as it flows directly into the Pacific and cross the infamous Bixby bridge. Here you can also see Redwood forests, just off from the Pacific coast highway itself.

Santa Cruz and Monterey

Along the Pacific coast highway are the beach towns of Monterey and Santa Cruz. In Monterey you should visit the Monterey Bay aquarium to see some of the breath-taking wildlife that can be found just off the coast. In Santa Cruz walk along the lively boardwalk and, if you are feeling extremely racy, try one of the rides. Henry Cowell Redwoods state park is a fabulous place to visit and learn about the Redwoods that populate this area of coastline as well as hike amongst groves of these monstrous trees.

Hollywood

What would a trip to California be without walking the star studded walkway of Hollywood Boulevard? Stop off in Los Angeles to see the epicentre of so many iconic pieces of historic film and popular culture. Go behind the scenes on a tour of a studio, get a photograph in front of the Chinese theatre or seek out your favourite Hollywood star.

Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Whilst in Los Angeles head down to the coast to the trendy Venice Beach to see the famous muscle beach and watch locals skate along the boardwalk and in the bowl by the beach. Here you can also find artisan shops and stalls selling home made goods. Head along the coast and you will reach Santa Monica, Venice Beaches more polished neighbour. The pier marks the end of the epic route 66 and also affords great views of the surrounding coastline.  Santa Monica itself is awash with swanky hotels, great dining opportunities and classy bars.

Huntington Beach

Towards the South East of the city of Los Angeles, in Orange County, is Huntington Beach, known for it’s surf and sweeping 10 mile long beach this suburb more than earns it’s nickname of Surf City.

Santa Barbara

A great stop before or just after Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has an excellent Zoo, Botanic Garden and, for those who prefer a little more culture, Lobero and Arlington theatre.

San Diego

A great place to start or end the trip is San Diego. This laid-back city near the Mexican border embodies so much of what the locals love about “SoCal” – fantastic climate, beachside living, wide open parks and a thriving cultural and social scene.  

More About California

Currency: US Dollar

Language: English

Vaccinations: Extra vaccinations are not required.

Getting there

Flight time: London to San Francisco, San Jose or Oakland flight time is 11 hours. London to San Diego or Los Angeles flighttime is 11 hours 15 minutes.

Main Airports: Los Angeles International Airport, also known as LAXand San Francisco International Airport.
Visas: British Citizens require an ESTA, which you can apply for online.