Big Sur, California, USA

Classic Highway 1

Visit San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Point Lobos SP, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Barbara & Los Angeles.

Drive down Highway 1, the most famous scenic drive on the planet

10 Nights from £1,599pp
i
‘from’ prices are based on off peak travel, 2 people sharing a standard car, economy flights and 2-3* Hotels. All trips are completely bespoke so just tell your expert any requirements you have.

The iconic road of Highway 1 includes two of America’s very best cities, linked by one of the world’s most breathtaking drives. This bucket-list route connects San Francisco to Los Angeles. Once driven, you’ll understand why Highway 1 deserves its worldwide reputation. 

Key road trip highlights:

  • Spend three nights in the iconic California cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Collect a convertible or car type of your choice and cruise down Highway 1.
  • Enjoy epic coastal views and charming Californian beach towns as you work your way down the Pacific coast.
  • Discover superb State Parks & beautiful beaches that lie along Highway 1.
  • Stay in the upscale Mediterranean-styled coastal town of Santa Barbara.
  • What’s included? Direct flights with a premier carrier like Virgin Atlantic, accommodation to your desired standard and length of stay, car rental and a detailed road trip pack.
Classic Highway 1 route with The American Road Trip Company

Our Favourite Hotels

We’ll suggest properties to match your preferred budget, be it low-cost, mid-range or high-end luxury that you’re looking for. We can also mix it up so you’ll experience a range of standards and experiences along your road trip.

Harbor View Inn, Santa Barbara

Hotel:

Harbor View Inn

Location:

Santa Barbara

Kimpton Alton, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco 4 star hotel

Hotel:

Kimpton Alton

Location:

San Francisco

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

Hotel:

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

Location:

Las Vegas

The Garland Hotel, Los Angeles

Hotel:

The Garland

Location:

Los Angeles

Post Ranch Inn, The Big Sur

Hotel:

Post Ranch Inn

Location:

Big Sur

Intercontinental at the Clement, Monterey

Hotel:

Intercontinental at the Clement

Location:

Monterey

Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

Hotel:

Bellagio

Location:

Big Sur

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California Road Trip

Hotel:

Shutters on the Beach

Location:

Santa Monica, LA

Road Trip Itinerary

All of our 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.

1

First stop on Highway 1 - San Francisco, California

Fly directly to San Francisco, then 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. You’ll need to be ready and refreshed for two full days exploring this wonderful city by the Bay. There’s no need for a car just yet; you’ll pick up your wheels when you leave for Highway 1 on Day 4.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

San Francisco, Cable Cars, California Coast and Ls Vegas
2

There's so much to see and do in San Francisco

San Francisco has charming Victorian houses, iconic movie locations, wealthy tech companies and popular tourist attractions. Ride a cable car, climb the streets or grab a cab to swing from one to the next. Chinatown is a popular place for dinner, as it’s well-located near Union Square. If you have more expensive taste, San Francisco has more Michelin Star restaurants than New York. On a budget, visit the Ferry Building for fresh and tasty take-out treats.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Painted Ladies, San Francisco, California, USA
3

Alcatraz, Union Square and a whole lot more!

A second full day to explore San Francisco’s must-see attractions like Coit Tower, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, and Union Square, to name just a few. Alcatraz is also a must for most visitors to San Francisco. It’s great to spend time at this famous former prison while visiting the popular Fisherman’s Wharf. Afterwards, why not stroll or bike across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, USA
4

Pick up your wheels and cruise south on Highway 1

Today, you’ll pick up Highway 1 and follow it south to Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel. Once the capital of California, Monterey boomed off the back of yesteryear’s whaling and sardine industries. Today, it’s best known for the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium that presides on Cannery Row. Want to experience Monterey Bay first-hand? Then, take a boat trip to one of the World’s best whale-watching spots. In the early evening, cruise the famous “17-Mile Drive” to pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea; you’ll pass by Pebble Beach, millionaire homes and miles of beautiful rugged coastline.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

120 miles

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay, California, USA
5

Highway 1's prettiest small town, Carmel by the Sea

Sitting on Highway 1, Carmel-by-the-Sea offers two world-class beaches backed by a gorgeous small town made up of beautiful homes, quaint streets and classy restaurants. 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 Highway 1 road-trippers can appreciate on various short hiking paths.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Main Beach in Carmel by the Sea, California, USA
6

Big Sur - The crowning glory of Highway 1

Today, you’ll cruise south along Highway 1 through Big Sur; this is the most scenic and dramatic section of Highway 1. Enjoy endless curves that pass gorgeous State Parks and offer spectacular vista points overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. Hearst Castle, near Cambria, perches on “The Enchanted Hill” and overlooks Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean. This extraordinary home 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.

Location:

Big Sur, CA

Drive:

100 miles

Pacific Coast Highway, Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, Highway 1, California
7

Santa Barbara - an essential stop for any Highway 1 road trip

A further 140 miles down Highway 1 is upmarket Santa Barbara. Today’s drive passes through the lovely beach towns of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast Wine Region. After a few hours, you’ll reach the charming Mediterranean-style town of Santa Barbara. Shop and dine on historic State Street, visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens or enjoy the town’s beautiful beaches. Your Road Trip Pack will detail everything found along Highway 1 and within this beautiful beach town.

Location:

Santa Barbara, CA

Drive:

140 miles

Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California, USA
8

Last stop, Los Angeles! Highway 1 is almost complete

Next up, Highway 1 passes through the classic California beach towns of Malibu and Santa Monica as you enter Los Angeles. Santa Monica, with its “Baywatch” beaches and famous Pier, is a worthy finish to any Highway 1 road trip. Enjoy the fun and games of the Pier, shop till you drop on 3rd Street Promenade and hire a bike to cruise along the boardwalk to Venice Beach.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

85 miles

Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles, California, USA
9

The iconic attractions of Hollywood

Leave Highway 1 and visit Hollywood, Tinseltown is synonymous with glitz and glamour. Visit the home of the Oscars and walk Hollywood Boulevard looking for the handprints of your favourite movie stars. You can visit Griffith Observatory, perched high on a hill overlooking the City. You’ll learn lots about our galaxy and beyond, plus it also offers excellent views of the iconic Hollywood sign. Universal Studios and Warner Bros Studios are close by also.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

The Big Sur, California Coast, USA
10

Enjoy a final day and a half in Los Angeles

You might want to relax by the hotel pool on the final day of this Highway 1 holiday. Alternatively, you can head for Beverly Hills to try and find your favourite celebrities home or bump into them whilst shopping on Rodeo Drive. Tomorrow, you’ll return to the UK, remembering Highway 1’s numerous highlights as you fly home.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Rodeo Drive Sign in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, California, USA

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Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find answers to most of your questions right here. If you still need assistance, Feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be sure to get back to you promptly!

Can I Add Extra Nights To The Road Trips?

Not a problem. If you are lucky enough to have extra time to explore more places or add more rest days, then just let us know and we’ll adjust your trip to match your preferred timescale.

Must I Have Travel Insurance?

We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance for your holiday to cover you against medical expenses, theft and other financial costs. Should you need to cancel before travelling, some insurance policies may pay out for any loss of funds that have been paid to us and which cannot be refunded under our cancellation policy.

Can I Do A One-Way Rental?

Many of our trips have a different end destination than the starting point, so this is not a problem. Please note a fee sometimes applies for one-way rentals between other regions or states, which will be paid to the supplier directly when collecting the vehicle. We’ll endeavour to inform you of this charge within your quote.

Am I Limited To Certain Hotels Or Chains?

No, far from it. We work with a range of properties from 3* to 5*, so we can adapt the trip to match most budgets. We have access to rooms in more than 800 hotels, motels, lodges and B&Bs across North America.

How Old Do I Need To Be?

The minimum age to rent a car is 21 in the United States or Canada, although, in addition, any drivers under 25 years of age will generally incur a surcharge.

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Our Trusted Partners And Providers

ARTCo customers can be confident that we only work with the very best service providers, such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Alamo. Any payments made to us are fully protected via the government’s ATOL scheme (Flight packages) or Financial Failure Insurance (Non-Flight Packages).

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