The United States is pretty much the perfect country to do road trips in. Great roads, cheap fuel and hundreds of amazing destinations to choose from. I believe that California is a magical place. There’s really no other state that has everything “Cali” does. From the spectacular mountains and gorgeous beaches to the glamor of Hollywood’s lights, California has a bit of everything that every traveler can be satisfied.
If you are planning an epic California road trip along Highway 1, you don’t have to research anymore! Here’s my detailed day-to-day breakdown of a nine day itinerary in California. Buckle up here we go!
How to Get Around California
There is no public transportation that would allow you to do this trip, the only way is to rent or drive your own vehicle. When you have a car, you get to pull over, take photos and enjoy the scenery as long and often as you want!
Actually the best part of our road trip was the car we were driving in. Thanks to Toyota we enjoyed our trip in Toyota Camry Hybrid. I was so excited because Camry is the best selling passenger car in America for the last 17 years in a row.
I’m a very big fan of hybrid cars. Myself, Adan, my parents and my brother personally own Hybrid Toyota vehicles. They have so many benefits like; they are better for the environment, they have excellent fuel economy and longer lasting brakes.
We got into our Toyota Camry Hybrid and we were ready to roll!
I had no idea that this car has so many cool features. For example It has Apple CarPlay. We were able to connect our iPhones and get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to our own playlist, all while maintaining focus on the road. There were also 3 usb ports and one wireless iphone charger.
Additionally heated leather seats were a life saver in the cold mornings.
Our peace of mind came with an active safety package that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing and Road Sign Assistant.
Last but not least Toyota Camry Hybrid was even able to show us how many miles until an empty tank. Can you believe that during 9 days of the road trip we only went to the gas station once!
All of these features helped us drive with confidence during our Californian road trip.
THE ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
Below you'll find the outlined itinerary we did for our Pacific Coast Highway journey. This itinerary is from south to north (starting in Los Angeles and ending in San Francisco), but you can easily invert it if you want to travel from north to south or make it longer or shorter. All depends how much time you have.
Day 1-2: Los Angeles
Things to do:
□ Walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame,
□ Drive down Sunset Boulevard and Rodeo Drive,
□ Have a laugh at the world famous Comedy Store,
□ Take lots of pictures:
My favorite Instagramable Places:
Where to Stay: Hotel 850 SBV
This hotel has a perfect location at the intersection of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, just a few blocks away to all the night life Hollywood has to offer.
Hotel 850 blends the comfort and ease of residential living with the design and service of a luxury boutique hotel. Every detail is intentional, every amenity is inspired, and every guest is a friend. Definitely my favorite hotel in Los Angeles.
Day 3: Drive to Redondo Beach
Hotel 850 SBV- Redondo Beach 18 miles ~ 45 minutes drive with the traffic
Where to Stay: Shade Hotel
It’s the first luxury boutique hotel in Redondo Beach. It’s located right on the waterfront. Our room view was incredible. We could see the Pacific coastline from Palos Verdes to Malibu.
Day 4: Head to Pismo Beach
Redondo Beach- Pismo Beach 185 miles ~ 3 Hours 30 minute drive
Stops on the way:
□ Salt Cave in Santa Barbara
It is a great place to experience a Sacred Sound Healing session. Shamanic sounds healing is a transmission that helps reconnect with the Heart Centre and melt away perceived limits and obstacles.
□ Cachuma lake ($10 entry fee includes parking)
□ Once you arrive to Pismo beach stop by a local landmark Splash Café Pismo Beach for its award-winning clam chowder. More than 30,000 gallons are served at the café per year! Pismo Beach is self-dubbed “Clam Capital of the World”.
Where to Stay: Vespera on the Ocean
This hotel just recently opened. Embodying an upscale beach house-inspired design, Vespera on Ocean offers a fun, active, and stylish escape for guests to relax, unwind, and enjoy the best of Pismo Beach. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, our room was basically right on the beach!
Day 5: Drive to Carmel by the Sea
Pismo Beach – Carmel by the Sea- 157 miles ~ 2 hours 40 minute drive
Stops on the way:
□ Elephant Seal Vista Point
Perfect spot to explore Elephant Seals in their natural habitant.
□ McWay waterfall trail ($10 Parking fee)
If there is a single most popular image of Big Sur, it is probably of the 80 foot falls seen from this trail as McWay Creek cascades onto the sandy shore.
□ Nepenthe Restaurant
Open since 1949, Nepenthe is a staple of Big Sur attracting artists, poets, and travelers to its 800-foot sea cliff views.
□ Pfeiffer Beach ($12 Parking fee)
It's a beautiful beach to watch the sunset with sea arches, long sandy stretches for walking and dunes. Fun fact! The color of the sand on this beach is purple.
□ Bixby Creek Bridge
Recently re-opened, this bridge is historical and highly photographed. It’s one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world and made famous as featured in the opening credits of the movie: Big Little Lies with Nicole Kidman.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Carmel Highlands
Day 6: Drive to San Francisco
Carmel by the Sea- San Francisco- 122 miles ~ 2 hours 30 minutes
Stops on the way:
□ Pebble Beach 17 mile Drive ($10.50 entry fee)
Enjoy the iconic 17 mile drive among the coast of Pebble Beach. There are beautiful coastal cliffs, white beaches and iconic golf courses.
□ Monterey Aquarium ($49.99 admission fee per adult)
The Monterey Aquarium is the centerpiece of the city where they study the waters of Monterey Bay and tackle the oceans health problems. It’s a non-profit organization that has been open for more than 30 years. You can learn about 500 different species, and observe daily penguin and otter feedings throughout the day.
Day 7-9: San Francisco
More about San Francisco in my next blog post
California is a must-see destination that should be on everyone's bucket list. Especially the natural beauty of this area is one you'll never forget and will absolutely take your breath away.
Being one of the most scenic drives in the world, I advise you to take your sweet time to really savor all the charming beauty of this west coast road trip down California. It was definitely an unforgettable trip for me. Thank you Toyota for making our road trip possible!