Nothing says ‘American Dream’ more than California and classic cars. A trip along the edge of Western civilisation can be daunting to plan – there is simply so much to see. Allow us to be your Leisure Travel Manager, giving you a day-by-day plan to ensure that your West Coast road trip doesn’t break down.
Day 1: San Diego
Naturally, the first part of your road trip is to find the right car. You will be spending the days cruising through the beautiful open country, and having a car that is stylish and comfortable is essential. Finding a nice car is made easy by the large amount of car hire companies; finding the perfect car is much harder.
You will want a convertible. Enterprise’s exotic range will give a huge selection. But for a truly luxury travel experience, we recommend a classic American cruiser – which we can arrange for you. And what better than Cadillac Eldorado Convertible for getting you excited for the drive ahead.
Day 2: San Diego to Palm Springs (130 miles)
San Diego is perfectly placed to drive to the many famous must-see ‘SoCal’ locations. Palm Springs is just one, and it is a gorgeous stop on the way to Joshua Tree’s desert solitude and geological gems.
If you are a music lover, we strongly recommend timing your journey to accommodate Coachella music festival. We can book and organise the tickets for you. The world-famous festival is a mystical desert experience, attracting the top bands and coolest artists from across the world. It is usually across two weeks in April. Book the Safari Tent for the ultimate VIP experience, including access to secret DJ sets and VIP camping areas.
Otherwise, the Miramonte Resort and Spa is a fine place to enjoy your time in the desert, boasting an intimate yet expansive feel.
Day 3 & 4: Palm Springs to LA (107 Miles)
On your first night in LA, we recommend you stay somewhere central. LA is famous for its sprawling suburbs and terrible traffic, so a central location is key. LA’s affluent celebrities ensure that there are plenty of great golf courses. Trump National Golf Club is a great place to spend a day. Then head along to Huntington Beach to catch the sunset with the local surfers.
On your second day, we recommend heading to Malibu to avoid that horrid LA traffic when you set off. The area is classy and exclusive, and you won’t have any problems finding a bed at the famous Malibu Beach Inn. As the name suggests, this is a luxury beach resort with all the cool you would expect from Malibu. The great news is that the whole journey from Palm Springs to LA will take you less than two hours.
Day 5: Malibu to Santa Barbara (66 Miles)
Welcome to the famous Highway 1! The first major town you will come across is Oxnard. Be sure to stop by if you are a sailing fan, as America’s Tall Ships Institute is based on the town’s marina. If boats aren’t your thing, try Magnavino Wine Cellar as a whistle stop. You won’t be disappointed in the region’s famous wine selection.
Santa Barbara is known for its historic Spanish architecture, but its wines, mountain backdrop and Mediterranean climate, all add to its reputation as the Californian Riviera. Why not get into the Riviera spirit by dining at fine French restaurant, Bouchon. Its cool downtown location and wide selection of award-winning local wines (more on this below) make it the perfect place to dine out on your west coast road trip.
Day 6: Santa Barbara to Hearst Castle (136 Miles)
Another beautiful day of driving awaits you. We recommend going through Los Padres National Forest, and taking the scenic route through the stunningly beautiful Carrizo Plain, strewn with wild flower meadows and set against the distant rim of the central valley basin.
But sticking to the coast has its perks too, including stunning ocean vistas, as well as being the shorter route to the next destination. It is one you will want to hurry to see. Hearst Castle is a unique museum designed by William Randolph Hearst, and is known as ‘The Enchanted Hill’ for its magical beauty. Take a guided tour round the castle’s grand rooms and estates, making sure to see the two impressive outdoor pools.
Day 7 & 8: Hearst Castle to Monterey (95 Miles)
When people talk about a West Coast road trip, this is usually what they have at the forefront of their minds. This stretch of the coast covers Big Sur, the famously virgin coastline south of Monterey. Its huge redwood forests and staggering cliffs scream out for exploration, so this is what you should spend (at least) two days doing. Along the Big Sur, you should also expect to find a number of little art galleries that are well worth your time, too.
We recommend staying at the Post Ranch Inn. The Clifftop suite has a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, perfect for sunsets and champagne. Simply drive around this great, untouched swathe of ecological and geological majesty.
30 miles north of Post Ranch you’ll also find Carmel-by-the-Sea, a quaint seaside town that becomes the summer time homes of all number of Hollywood stars. So whilst you are eating at any of the numerous quaint little restaurants there, you might spot somebody famous.
Day 9 & 10: Monterey to San Francisco (116 Miles)
As you leave Big Sur behind, the scenery remains breath-taking all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. There is so much to do here, you may want to stick around for as long as you can. The famous hills and trams are both iconic and pragmatic, so make sure you use them for climbing the city’s towering hills.
It would be a crime to neglect the Bay area’s quintessential Californian charm, set against that famous red bridge. For maximum enjoyment, a helicopter ride is a must. You can take in the city from above, and look back on all the ground you’ve covered with a smile, knowing you truly made the most of your 10-day West Coast road trip.
There is always more to see in the huge state of California, and beyond. If you would like us to plan it all for you, then please get in touch with our Leisure Travel Managers at firstname.lastname@example.org.