Call us 9am - 9pm Mon - Sun Tralee 066 7164410
Dublin 01 6649900

Search

Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

11 Nights Self-Drive Tour from €2,249 per Person Including Flights

Click here for Pricing & Dates

Overview

This magnificent self-drive holiday takes you from San Francisco to San Diego along the iconic Pacific Coast. You will see spectacular seascapes, enjoy sampling the Californian wine, sunbathe & surf in sandy bays, explore buzzing cities & quaint seaside resorts. You can make this holiday as relaxing or as energetic as you wish ... bike, hike, kayak…or simply sit back and enjoy the views. We can recommend and book a whole range of experiences and excursions, whether it’s wine-tasting or whale-watching, Segway tour or foodie tour.

This is a tailor-made itinerary so we can change the route, duration and hotels to suit you.

Highlights

  • Ride the San Francisco trolley cars, cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, visit infamous Alcatraz. Click here to view the experiences we can book for you in San Francisco
  • Drive the Big Sur, pausing the admire the rugged coastline and plunging cliffs
  • Relax in the Spanish colonial town of Santa Barbara, where California cool meets Mediterranean style
  • Explore La La Land, take a studio tour or a trip around the homes of movie stars
  • Take a boat trip from San Diego to spot whales, dolphins and sealions

Itinerary Overview

Fly into San Francisco and travel south with a return flight from San Diego

San Francisco 3 nights - Monterey Peninsula 2 nights - Santa Barbara 2 nights - Los Angeles 2 nights - San Diego 2 nights

Details

Day 1

Arrival in San Francisco

Fly to San Francisco Airport and transfer independently to your chosen hotel to check in and have a restful night before the start of your coastal adventure. You could pick up your hire car at the airport but we don’t think you need the car until you’re ready to move on from San Francisco.

Day 2

San Francisco

A great way to get your bearings in any city is a flexible hop-on / hop-off bus tour, and we can book you some tickets to do just that. Combine that with the number one attraction of San Francisco – the prison island of Alcatraz. It’s essential to pre-book your ticket for this tour, as every day is a sell-out. This evening perhaps explore Chinatown, where you can feast on Cantonese pork filled buns, Peking duck and Barrack Obama’s favourite Dim Sum.

Day 3

San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the most iconic sight and what better way to take in the views than to take a bike ride over it. You can cycle over to Sausilito, a charming town full of quirky shops and boutiques, plus a picturesque waterfront and hundreds of quirky houseboats. But if cycling isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of other options – try out a Foodie Walking tour or choose a Segway tour of the neighbourhoods. We think the trams though are the best way to really experience San Francisco, with three lines running through the city. Buy a day pass for $21, work out your route and then sit back and enjoy the views.

Day 4

San Francisco to the Monterey Peninsula – 118 miles

Pick up your hire car, then head south to the stunning Monterey Peninsula. But don’t take the direct highway, enjoy the scenic route heading clockwise along the beautiful 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. This is what the northern part of the Pacific Coast route is all about – high cliffs swooping down to rocky coves and magnificent vistas. You’ll want to stop for some great photo opportunities such as the giant trees at Crocker Grove and the Restless Sea at Point Joe. At Spanish Bay, take time to stroll the boardwalk above the beach. Entrance to 17-Mile Drive costs $10.25 per vehicle (cash only), but it’s worth every cent. For the next few nights, stay in Monterey or Carmel – both beautiful locations filled with quaint boutiques, bars and restaurants

Day 5

Monterey Peninsula

It might be tempting to spend the day just kicking back and admiring the spectacular views, but wine lovers are not going to want to miss a Monterey wine tour, golfers cannot turn their back on the 16 world-class golf courses in this area, and we can also recommend simply mooching around the pretty town of Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor. Here you can enjoy great views as you walk the Scenic Bluff Path which runs from surfers Carmel Beach to the nature reserve of Carmel River State Beach.

Day 6

Monterey to Santa Barbara – 235 miles

The highlight of today will be driving the Big Sur – the rugged coastal stretch from Carmel to San Simeon. This part of Route 1 is world-famous for its plunging cliffs, stunning sea vistas and beautiful state parks, plus the iconic Bixby Bridge towering 270 feet across a canyon. Park the car and walk through Juila Pfeiffer Burns State Park to the spectacular McWay Falls, cascading 80 feet over granite cliffs into the ocean. You might want to stop for a late lunch in Pismo Beach, before the final drive into Santa Barbara, where you will stay for the next few nights

Day 7

Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara, described as the American Riviera, you will find Mediterranean-style white buildings with red-tile roofs, reflecting the city’s Spanish colonial heritage. The Ynez Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to this charming resort, with winding lanes flanked by little boutiques and bars offering local wines. Cycle along the waterfront at Stearns Wharf, critique the fish & chips fresh from the daily catch, try out paddle-boarding or a kayak trip. East Beach is perfect for families with gentle surf and soft sand, and if you’re here on a Sunday you can browse the local art show.

Day 8

Santa Barbara to Los Angeles - 95 miles

Don’t be intimidated by the vast sprawl of LA – we’ll choose the best hotel for you and your LA experience. Plan your time wisely in this city, so that you can see as much as possible – we can help you book some fantastic tours and experiences. The classic tours are those of Warner Bros studios and Movie Stars homes, but we would also recommend a food tour such as “Sips of Old Hollywood” taking you along the “Walk of Fame” to soak up the atmosphere in iconic bars, speakeasies and mobster hangouts.

Day 9

Los Angeles

 A full day to enjoy the City of Angels, so why not take a guided hike or a horse-ride through the Hollywood Hills. We can also recommend taking a tour of LA by bike or Segway, or for movie buffs we can arrange a behind the scenes tour of Universal Studios Hollywood. This evening why not book a dinner cruise on board a sleek yacht to sail along the Southern California coastline, or if you would like something edgier how about an ethnic neighbourhoods foodie tour.

Day 10

Los Angeles to San Diego - 120 miles

Today head further south to San Diego – known as America’s Finest City and well-loved for having a superb climate with year-round sunshine. There is so much to experience and enjoy in the San Diego area that you may want to book additional nights here to finish your holiday with a bang.

Day 11

San Diego

Perhaps start with a Segway tour to get your bearings in this stunning coastal city. You can also take a land & sea tour by SEAL or jump into a dinky little GoCar to zip around the streets. We recommend you take a cruise of some sort during your stay, which could be a whale & dolphin watching boat ride or a champagne brunch cruise around the bay. Highly recommended is a visit to the MSS Midway, once the largest aircraft carrier in the world, this ship is now a fascinating museum with 60 exhibits and 29 aircraft. A Trolley Tour ticket is a good value way to get around the city, as you can hop-on and off at 11 different stops, which will take you into the evening so you can sample the cafes, bars and restaurants of the Old Town.

Day 12

You’ll have just a few more hours to soak up the sun and perfect your paddle-boarding technique, before taking the short drive to San Diego airport for your flight home.

Our suggested hotels for this itinerary are:

San Francisco

Monterey Peninsula

Santa Barbara

Los Angeles

San Diego

 

  • Prices shown include 3* - 4* hotels for the duration of the itinerary based on two people sharing on a room only basis
  • International flights
  • Fully inclusive car hire
  • Personalised Roadbook

What's not included

  • Resort fees and parking fees where applicable
  • Excursions
  • Road tolls

The weather information shown below refers to the first stop on the tour, call us and speak to one of our travel experts for the most up-to-date forecasts and weather details for your tour.

TODAY 16ºC
THU 14ºC
FRI 16ºC
SAT 15ºC
SUN 15ºC
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)
14ºC
16ºC
20ºC
21ºC
26ºC
30ºC
32ºC
32ºC
30ºC
26ºC
19ºC
14ºC
3
4
2
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
4

Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)

Jan
14ºC
3
Feb
16ºC
4
Mar
20ºC
2
Apr
21ºC
1
May
26ºC
1
Jun
30ºC
0
Jul
32ºC
0
Aug
32ºC
1
Sep
30ºC
0
Oct
26ºC
1
Nov
19ºC
2
Dec
14ºC
4

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel  

3 Nights Room Only

 - Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

The historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a landmark boutique hotel located at Union Square in downtown San Francisco, just steps away from the best shopping in the city, theatres and some of the finest dining in California.

More Details

Portola Hotel & Spa  

2 Nights Room Only

 - Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

A nautically inspired hotel in Monterey Bay, closeto shops and restaurants, this waterfront hotel boasts an ideal location near Carmel, Big Sur and the world-class Pebble Beach Golf Links.

More Details

Kimpton Canary Hotel  

2 Nights Room Only

 - Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

Located in a charming neighbourhood of Santa Barbara, the Kimpton Canary Hotel is surrounded by red-tiled roofs, palm trees and lanes brimming with boutiques and cafes. There are beautiful views from the pretty pool deck, decorated with hand-painted tiles and elegant wrought iron.

More Details

Kimpton Everly Hotel  

2 Nights Room Only

 - Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

Close to Hollywood Boulevard and the iconic Capitol Records Building, this is a comfortable hotel with a modern vibe. With an outdoor pool, cool cocktail bar, all-day restaurant and daily hosted wine hour, this is a great base for an LA stay.

More Details

Kimpton Solamar Hotel  

2 Nights Room Only

 - Explore California & the Pacific Coast Highway

Hotel Solamar is a hip luxury hotel located in the heart of the lively Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego, just steps away from San Diego’s best shopping, dining and entertainment.

More Details

Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday.

Tralee 066 7164410

Dublin 01 6649900

9am - 9pm Mon - Sun

Jackie

American Sky also recommends

National Parks Explorer

13 Nights Tour from €2,649 Including Flights

This 14-day tour begins in San Francisco and visits no less than nine National Parks en route to Los Angeles, including Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, the spectacular Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and Canyonlands. You’ll also get to enjoy the delights of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

More Details

Early Payment Discount

Northern California

7 Nights tour from €2,229 Including Flights

Head for Northern California for a taste of the Napa Valley, a glimpse into the culture of San Francisco and an awe-inspiring visit to the Yosemite National Park - a fantastic introduction to this remarkable region.

More Details


Back to Top

Get exclusive offers & deals delivered to your inbox

Tell us your holiday preferences and receive special deals and exclusive offers straight to your inbox.