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Classic Highway 1

San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, Cambria, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles & more

Two of America’s greatest cities, linked by one of the world’s most scenic roads. Whether you call it Highway 1, Big Sur or the Pacific Coast Highway – the breathtaking drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles is an amazing adventure that is worthy of its reputation.


Classic Highway 1 10+ days

All of our American road trips can be tailored to meet your requirements. Do you have more or less than 10 days for your road trip? No problem, we can bolt on extra nights to allow more time to explore or shorten the number of destinations as required. Just let us know when requesting your quote.

Everyone simply must drive Big Sur & Highway 1


San Fran skyline

Day 1

America's favourite city - San Francisco

Arrive in California, and take a taxi from the airport to find your hotel in the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco. Enjoy an evening meal in one of the city's excellent restaurants before settling in for the night, so you are ready and refreshed for two full days exploring in this wonderful city on the bay.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

The Painted Ladies

Day 2

So much to see and do in San Francisco

Once the fog lifts, one of America’s favourite cities will be revealed. Ride a cable car, climb the streets and get into the vibe that only this city can offer. Full of Victorian charm, famous movie locations and wealthy tech companies, this city has it all.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

Alcatraz Island

Day 3

A third day in the Golden Gate City

A second full day to explore San Fran’s must-see places which will be listed in your personalised Road Trip Pack. These “must see” places include Coit Tower, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, Union Square and Alcatraz to name just a few. Whilst you’re in San Francisco you simply must experience some of the best Chinese food in the world, thanks to the large Chinese community that call this city home.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

Monterey Bay

Day 4

Whale watching and a world class aquarium in Monterey

Today you'll make your way out of San Francisco to Monterey. Monterey was once California’s capital of the whaling and sardine industry, however, today it's best known for the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium that presides on Cannery Row. The focus now is on marine education and preservation. Want to experience the bay area first hand? Take a whale watching trip during spring or autumn. In the early evening, cruise along the famous “17-Mile Drive” on your way to Carmel-by-the-Sea. You’ll pass millionaire mansions, Pebble Beach Golf Club and a beautiful rugged coastline along the way.

  • Key location: Monterey, CA
  • Carmel, CA
  • 123 Miles

Classy Carmel Beach

Day 5

Spend a full day exploring the prettiest small town in America

Carmel-by-the-Sea has two world-class beaches backed by a gorgeous small town made up of beautiful homes, restaurants and quaint streets. To the north is the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and to the south is Big Sur starting with the wild and wonderful Point Lobos which can be enjoyed through the many short walks.

  • Key location: Carmel, CA
  • Carmel, CA

Bixby Bridge - Big Sur

Day 6

Big Sur - The drive of your life

Head south down the iconic Pacific Coast Highway to the southern end of Big Sur. This classic All-American drive is at its most dramatic along this 90 mile stretch of coastal driving. Twisting roads curve around steep cliff faces, passing gorgeous State Parks and spectacular vista points that overlook the vast Pacific Ocean. Hearst Castle, Cambria perches on “The Enchanted Hill” and overlooks the ocean in the distance. This is an extraordinary home that hosted the world’s most famous and wealthy. Today Hearst Castle offers the chance to see fine antiques and art from around the world in an over the top setting.

  • Key location: Big Sur
  • Cambria, CA
  • 101 Miles

Old Mission

Day 7

A full day to explore the mediterranean styled town of Santa Barbara

Continue South along Highway 1 and the 101 passing lovely small beach towns such as Morro Bay, San Luis Opisbo, the central coast wine area and Pismo Beach. You'll then reach Santa Barbara which is built in a charming Mediterranean style making it one of the Central Coasts top highlights. Stroll along historic State Street, visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens or simply enjoy the towns beautiful beaches.

  • Key location: Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • 139 Miles

Santa Monica Pier

Day 8

Continue down Highway 1 to Malibu and Los Angeles

After breakfast, you’ll continue driving south down the Pacific Coast Highway passing Malibu’s beaches and coastal homes en route to Santa Monica in Los Angeles. Santa Monica with its “Baywatch” beaches and old-fashioned Pier is a worthy finish to the day. Hire a bike and cruise along the boardwalk down to Venice Beach or shop till you drop on 3rd Street Promenade.

  • Key location: Beach Cities, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 95 Miles

Stars of a different kind

Day 9

Spend the day enjoying the iconic sights of Hollywood

Tinseltown is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and although many of the studios have now moved onto other parts of the city, it's still fun to visit the home of the Oscars and walk Hollywood Boulevard looking for the handprints of your favourite movie stars. You may want to visit Griffith Observatory, perched high on a hill overlooking the city is well worth a visit and is great for views of the legendary Hollywood sign.

  • Key location: Hollywood, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA

Rodeo Dr - Beverly Hills

Day 10

A third day to explore LA LA Land

Enjoy your final day in Los Angeles. You may want to stay close to the coast sampling Santa Monica or Venice Beach which are both best explored by bike. Alternatively, head for the Hollywood Hills to visit one of the movie studios for a tour. Tonight, you may want to enjoy dinner in downtown Los Angeles as you take in the skyscraper scenery. Tomorrow you’ll fly home from LAX after spending the morning finishing off any sightseeing.

  • Key location: Beverly Hills, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA

Check out some of the other tours that explore this region

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