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

Pacific Coast Highway

Visit San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Point Lobos, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach & San Diego.

575 miles of stunning coastal driving that's not to be missed

14 Nights from £1,699pp
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.

Starting in San Francisco, you’ll cruise south along the Pacific Coast of California, visiting vibrant cities, secluded beaches and stunning State Parks as you go. If you only experience one American road trip in your lifetime, then arguably the Pacific Coast Highway should be the one.

Key road trip highlights:

  • Visit California’s 3 major cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • Enjoy short, but epic drives which often skirt the Pacific Ocean coastline.
  • PCH is perfect for those who want a slow pace or are new to road-tripping.
  • Visit Laguna Beach in Orange County, a favourite stop-off of our team.
  • Drive further along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Fran to San Diego.
  • 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.
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Pacific Coast Highway 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.

Kimpton Alton, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco 4 star hotel

Hotel:

Kimpton Alton

Location:

San Francisco

Portola Hotel, Monterey Bay along Pacific Coast Highway

Hotel:

Portola Hotel & Spa

Location:

Monterey

Harbor View Inn, Santa Barbara

Hotel:

Harbor View Inn

Location:

Santa Barbara

The Garland Hotel, Los Angeles

Hotel:

The Garland

Location:

Los Angeles

Carmel Valley Ranch, Big Sur

Hotel:

Carmel Valley Ranch

Location:

Big Sur

The Ranch at Laguna in Laguna Beach along the Pacific Coast highway

Hotel:

The Ranch at Laguna

Location:

Laguna Beach

The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills

Hotel:

The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills

Location:

Los Angeles

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

Hotel:

Shutters on The Beach

Location:

Santa Monica, LA

Road Trip Itinerary

This Pacific Coast Highway road trip can be tailored to meet your requirements. Do you have more or less than 14 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

Arrive in America's favourite city... San Francisco

Touch down in San Fran, California, and take a convenient cab to your hotel in the hip city of San Francisco. Enjoy an evening meal in one of the city’s excellent restaurants before settling in for the night ahead of two action-packed days exploring this wonderful city by the bay.

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

Once the fog has lifted in the late morning, one of the Pacific Coast’s most vibrant cities will be revealed. Ride a cable car up and down the iconic steep streets to experience Victorian charm, famous movie locations and the numerous visitor attractions that San Francisco has to offer.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Painted Ladies, San Francisco, California, USA
3

Final day in the Golden Gate City

A second full day to explore San Francisco’s must-see sights, these include Coit Tower, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, Union Square and Alcatraz, to name just a few. Lastly, before leaving San Francisco, consider tasting some of the best Chinese food on the Pacific Coast. Chinatown is centrally located between Union Square and the Financial District.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, USA
4

Beautiful Carmel-By-the-Sea on Monterey Bay

After collecting your road trip wheels, try to take in Golden Gate Park on the way out of town, even bigger than New York’s Central Park; this is a lovely place to start and a great place to pick up the Pacific Coast Highway. Along the way to Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can visit Santa Cruz and Monterey. The Monterey Aquarium is the best aquarium on the Pacific Coast and the perfect attraction when paired with whale watching in Monterey Bay. Lastly, take 17 Mile Drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea, this short but super scenic drive passes through Pebble Beach and past beautiful beaches and millionaire mansions.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

120 miles

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay, California, USA
5

Explore the prettiest small town on the Pacific Coast

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a quaint and wealthy small town. Stroll down the hill to visit the Pacific Coast’s best beach, or climb the hill to find charming galleries, restaurants and homes. Point Lobos State Marine Reserve lies just a few miles south of Carmel. Point Lobos is a glorious place to spend a morning or afternoon hiking between the coves and along the rugged coastline. This beautiful spot is a firm favourite of our team and an essential stop along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

0 miles

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

Big Sur - The Pacific Coast Highway at it's best

Leave Carmel and head south down the Pacific Coast Highway to the southern end of Big Sur. This iconic drive is most dramatic along this particular 100-mile stretch of California’s coastline. Twisting roads curve around steep cliff faces, passing gorgeous State Parks and numerous spectacular vista points that overlook the vast Pacific Ocean.

Location:

Big Sur

Drive:

100 miles

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

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is an affluent town built in a charming Mediterranean style that’s an essential stop for anyone driving down California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Stroll along historic State Street, visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens or enjoy the beautiful beaches. As always, your Road Trip Pack will list everything you can experience. Wine and Taco tasting in the Funk Zone is a favourite of ours when we’re in town. What will you love the most?

Location:

Santa Barbara

Drive:

140 miles

Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California, USA
8

The beach cities of Los Angeles await

Before arriving in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway passes by Malibu’s beaches and coastal homes. Santa Monica is a fantastic place to spend a day. Hire a bike and cruise the boardwalk to Venice Beach, enjoy the fun and thrills found on Santa Monica Pier, or shop till you drop on 3rd Street Promenade.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

85 miles

Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles, California, USA
9

A full day enjoying Hollywood's iconic sights

Tinseltown is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and although many studios have moved on to other parts of the city, it’s still a fun place to visit. Visit the home of the Oscars and walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame looking for the handprints of your favourite movie stars. Just a short drive northeast of here lies the Griffith Observatory, perched high on a hill overlooking the City of Angels. This famous landmark is well worth visiting and offers excellent views of the legendary Hollywood sign.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

The Big Sur, California Coast, USA
10

A third day to explore Los Angeles

Beverly Hills offers the chance to see the homes of the rich and famous, dotted along palm tree-lined streets. Once you’ve found the home of your favourite celebrity, you can see where they shop by joining them on Rodeo Drive. Close by is the unique Getty Center, a firm favourite of ours, enjoy world-class art and architecture overlooking LA. Your personalised Road Trip Pack will explain how to visit this attraction and all the other essential places to see in Los Angeles.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Rodeo Drive Sign in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, California, USA
11

The charming beach towns of Orange County

Continue south on the Pacific Coast Highway for the short drive to your next destination – lovely Laguna Beach in Orange County. Along the way, you can visit the upscale town of Newport Beach and enjoy a stroll in Crystal Cove State Park, which lies between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Location:

Laguna Beach, CA

Drive:

60 miles

Beach in Orange County, California Coast trip, USA
12

Enjoy the beaches in this SoCal surf town

Get up early, and you’ll be rewarded by watching the sunrise in one of the town’s many beach coves. It’s often possible to see dolphins feeding close to the shore at dawn. Later, you can enjoy the beaches, shop in the town’s galleries and dine in one of Laguna’s many top restaurants. This Californian coastal town has a relaxing atmosphere and bucketloads of charm. You might wish you had stayed longer in Laguna, so feel free to request additional days here or at any point along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Location:

Laguna Beach, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Laguna Beach in Orange County, California Coast
13

Arrive in San Diego to complete PCH

The short drive to sun-drenched San Diego is the final stretch of your Pacific Coast Highway adventure. Stop by Torrey Pines State Reserve along the way; this spot’s glorious coastal trails are just off PCH. San Diego’s other highlights include Balboa Park, the Gaslamp District and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Location:

San Diego, CA

Drive:

70 miles

Balboa Park in San Diego, California
14

Relax in the San Diego sunshine

After two weeks of driving and sightseeing, maybe it’s time to just relax by the pool or chill out on Coronado Beach? If you want more action, your Road Trip Pack will list all of San Diego’s other attractions. These include Cabrillo National Monument, the USS Midway and San Diego’s Air & Space Museum. Tomorrow, you’ll return your car at the airport with a thousand Pacific Coast Highway memories before flying home to the UK.

Location:

San Diego, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Sunset on the beach in San Diego, 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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