What You Need To Know Before You Go:
This Trip Is For You If:
✓ You’re looking for that iconic California road-trip with your girlfriends or loved one
✓ Ready to hit the road, making multiple stops (and Instagram worthy pictures) along the way
✓ Don’t mind spending a little more to experience the best food, shopping and spots California has to offer.
How Long To Go For: 6-8 Days
Weather In California:
- July is the hottest month in Los Angeles with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) with13 hours of daily sunshine
- The coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with an average of 79mm of rain
- The best month to swim in the sea is in September when the average sea temperature is 20°C (68°F).
SOURCE: HOLIDAY WEATHER
Daily Travel Costs In California:
Below is daily average of a typical travel budget for California. Costs include accommodations and food in US dollars.
Budget Travel: $75/day
- Hostel dorm beds: $25–$55
- Take-out meal: $6-$12
Mid-Range Travel: $75-$200/day
- Two-star motel or hotel double room: $75–$150
- Rental car per day, excluding insurance and gas: $30–$75
Luxury Travel: $200 day/day
- Three-star hotel or beach resort room: $150–$300
- Three-course meal excluding drinks in top restaurant: $75–$100
SOUCE: ESTIMATED COSTS AND EXPENSES FROM LONELY PLANET
Getting There & Around:
Flights: See the best flights to California and compare prices here.
Airport Transfer: Arrange your private transfer from LAX to your hotel of choice here.
Car Rental: Road trip here we come! Find the cheapest car rental rates to take you from LA to SFO here.
Local Transpiration: Here’s Plan B: use local bus transportation. Find the routes here.
Day 1-2 : Los Angeles
✓ SEE: Santa Monica and Venice Beach
- Rent bikes and ride along the beach: Jay’s Cycles
- Explore the Venice canals
- Walk to the Venice Boardwalk and check out the street entertainment
- Take a Yoga class on the beach: Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga
TIP: Avoid the horrible LA traffic by making sure you avoid rush tour
“Lovely and clean, lots to do. We hired bikes and explored the promenade. Muscle beach was interesting and the little restaurants were lovely”–TripAdvisor
✓ EAT & DRINK:
- For a delicious fresh and healthy lunch: Lemonade
- If you want to try one of the best Vegan lunches: Cafe Gratitude
- Happy hour on a rooftop bar with a view of Venice beach: High Rooftop Lounge
- A classic dinner with a fantastic menu: Gjelina
- Budget ($40-50/night): HI Los Angeles Santa Monica HostelHI
- Best Value ($170-180): Seaview Hotel
- Best luxury hotel ($500-600): Huntley Santa Monica Beach
Day 3: Los Angeles- San Luis Obispo
✓ SEE: Santa Barbara, Solvang, San Luis Obispo
- Stop by Santa Barbara and go on a historical walk. Look up and admire the city’s Spanish colonial architecture.
- Next stop: see the Historic Danish Village of Solvang while eating an authentic Danish cookie.
- Drop by Pismo Pier. Go for a walk and see breathtaking views of the Pacific.
- Once in San Luis Obispo, don’t miss the unique and amazing roadside attraction, Madonna Inn.
TIP: The city’s name is pronounced the Spanish way. It’s not Louis the French pronunciation but Luis. SLO locals are a friendly bunch and they lead a laidback lifestyle. When driving, avoid honking.
✓ EAT & DRINK:
- For authentic Danish pastries at Solvang: Mortensen’s Bakery
- Solvang is home to finest of wineries. Try out one: Sort This Out
- Craving for a Mediterranean lunch? Go to Petra at SLO
- Don’t leave without trying a tri-tip sandwich! Firestone Grill
- Budget ($27-70): HI San Luis Obispo
- Best Value ($200-280): Madonna Inn
- Best luxury hotel ($440-460): Avila La Fonda Hotel
Day 4: San Luis Obispo – Big Sur
✓ SEE: Cayucos, Cambria, Big Sur
- On the way to Big Sur, make a pit stop at Morro Bay. Take photos of the rock and spot falcons, otters, and squirrels too!
- Park your vehicle, grab coffee and pastries from nearby bakeries, and recharge at Cayucos Pier.
- Next stop: stretch your legs and go for a walk at the wooden walkway to Moonstone Beach in Cambria.
- Before hitting Big Sur town, visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, go on a short hike, and enjoy stunning views of the coast and waterfalls.
- After 85 miles of driving, say hello to the quiet town of Big Sur nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Range.
TIP: Mobile coverage and GPS drops in some areas. Plan ahead, get a map, and put your plans in writing.
“There were lots of baby squirrels between the rocks that kept peaking out at us. The locals were very friendly as were others that were just stopping for pictures. It’s a really nice easy breezy picturesque stop on a PCH road trip.” – TripAdvisor
✓ EAT & DRINK:
- For pastries and breakfast: Big Sur Bakery
- Fancy dinner plus a stunning view and a good wine selection: Sierra Mar
- Tasty sandwiches for lunch: Linn’s Fruit Bin restaurant at Cambria
- Heavenly gourmet cookies: Brown Butter Cookie Company at Cayucos
- Budget ($65-430): Big Sur Campground and Cabins (higher rate for cabin accomodation)
- Best Value ($150-375): Big Sur River Inn
- Best luxury hotel ($1000++): Post Ranch Inn
Day 5: Big Sur- San Francisco
✓ SEE: Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco
- Don’t forget to take your photos at the iconic Bixby Bridge.
- Fall in love with the rustic town of Carmel. Visit Carmel by the Sea and see beautiful houses and artisan shops.
- Stop by Monterey Bay Aquarium – one of the best aquariums in the country.
- Make time for some amusement park fun by the beach at Santa Cruz Boardwalk
- Say hello to San Francisco! Head to the Golden Gate Bridge for that ‘We’re in SFO!’ photo.
TIP: Eating fresh seafood is a must in Monterey!
???•Coastal Pitstops• Soaking in the sun along highway one with @oscarwastaken and @isabellekri . Tag who you'd share this view with. Or tag yourself if you're a third wheeler casually following your friends around and taking pictures of them. Shoutout to @jarradseng The king of picturesque third wheeling. Stay Adventurous Dear Friends!!
✓ EAT & DRINK:
- Sandwiches for breakfast: Molinari Delicatessen Restaurant
- Seafood lunch: Hula’s Island Grill restaurant in Monterey
- Homemade ice cream goodness: Marianne’s Ice Cream Restaurant at Santa Cruz
- Feast on oyster for dinner: Hog Island Oyster Company in San Francisco
- Budget ($45-129): Encore Express Hotel/Hostel
- Best Value ($300-370): Villa Florence
- Best luxury hotel ($1000++): Hotel Zeppelin
Day 6-7: San Francisco
✓ SEE: San Francisco
- Visit the Alcatraz and go on an audio tour of the island.
- Go on a bike tour of the streets of San Francisco.
- See great overlooking views of San Francisco from Twin Peaks.
- Explore the museums in the city such as Palace of Fine Arts and The Exploratorium.
TIP: Get your tickets ahead of time online if you plan to visit Alcatraz.
✓ EAT & DRINK:
- Grab a breakfast burrito: Carmel Bakery Restaurant
- Lunch at the wharf area: Hollywood Café Restaurant
- Recharge with a cup of coffee: Blue Bottle Coffee Ferry
- Feast on clams, crab, and codfish for dinner: The Bimini Twist Restaurant
Day 8: Depart
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