My friends and I are coming over from the UK to go on a road trip from San Fran -> Beverly Hills -> Vegas.
Have read on this forum that we should go along highway 1 from SF -> BH, but wanted to know where to stop off in between.
We're looking for fun places to stay the night and go out and enjoy the locals way of life (i.e. locals bars, clubs, shooting ranges etc), so after your help of guiding us to the right places.
Basically we're after as much fun as possible and to try out everything that we don't get in London.
Any ideas/suggestions, would be greatly appreciated.
ps - we'll be doing this an a convertible mustang for added effect.
If you are in to wine, there will be plenty of vineyards along the way. Also, Santa Barbara is beautiful and a great place to stop. I've never been north of Santa Barbara, but I also hear Monterey is really nice.
You also might want to check out Palm Springs and then the drive from Palm Springs to Vegas is really interesting because it's complete desert with nothing else (much like LA to Vegas, but even more deserted).
you will find that driving down highway 1 will take you through small towns' main thoroughfares. as you find one you like, stop and absorb the community.
they are all unique in their own way. you will find the more you stop, the longer the road trip takes.
Okay, here's the rundown. When in San Francisco, go to Ruby Skye downtown (hottest club) or go anywhere along Polk Street (about 5-7 great places out here) for nightlife. For restaurants it depends on the $ you want to spend. There are lots of good small restaurants along Columbus or out on the west part of town along Union Street.
In San Jose area, go down to Los Gatos, along University Street you'll find lots of places to eat and on Santa Cruz Blvd is Mountain Charlie's, the place to party.
In Santa Cruz, go to the Catalyst nightclub--this small place has hosted over 2000 major bands--everybody from 10,000 Maniacs to Ray Charles to Ziggy Marley to Green Day. For restaurants, try Shadowbrook (big bucks but unbelievably beautiful) to Cafe Cruz to Crow's Nest (on the beach and with a good bar crowd). To eat cheaper, go down Hwy 1 to the north and stop at "Vasili's Greek Place" or "The Brazilian Cafe", both right next to the McDonalds, but with much better food.
Next on your trip is Monterey. The aquarium is great, and visiting the old Fisherman's Wharf is fun. There is also an okay area called Cannery Wharf near the aquarium worth a look. The 17 mile drive is on the south end of town, if you're intested in a scenic drive. Take the off-ramp for the Pebble Beach golf course to get to it. Visiting Carmel is good for shoppers, but otherwise just continue down Hwy 1 to the most scenic shoreline area in all of California, stretching from Carmel to San Simeon.
For visiting along the way, when you get south of Monterey, you'll want to go to Hearst Castle, and maybe Cambria, then take Hwy 46 east to stop in Paso Robles to visit the wineries--there are too many to list here, but some of the best are J. Lohr, Meridian, Summerwood, Opolo, and Justin. The last three are out west of town (just off Hwy 46) the other two are east of town and a little bit north (have to backtrack maybe 5 miles to get to them).
Continuing south, in San Luis Obispo, go to Monterey Street (main street in town) for restaurants and nightlife. This is primarily a college town and so should be just your "cup of tea". Just south of town is the Madonna Inn which has the most unusual hotel rooms (and urinal) anywhere in the world. Not trying to sound weird here--just check out their website yourself for details.
South of San Luis Obispo you enter the Santa Ynez Valley. In Los Osos you will find the wineries of Santa Barbara. Winery tours in this area have become real popular ever since the movie "Sideways" was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards last year (though Million-Dollar Baby won).
The bar featured in the movie is located on Highway 246 in Buellton just about 1 mile east of Highway 101. It is called the Hitching Post. The restaurant where they ate in the movie is located in Los Olivos and is called the Los Olivos Cafe and Wine Merchant.
The winery they visited in the movie (where he gets in the fight) is Fess Parker Winery (in the movie it was called Frass Canyon). Other wineries featured in the movie are Sanford, Andrew Murray, and Firestone. Sanford is probably the best of these--especially for Pinot Noir--which is what the movie was about.
Also in this area is the city called Solvang. You have to go here--it's a town entirely done up like you are still in Denmark, and the pastries and sausages here are the best. Just east of here is "Neverland", the complex where Michael Jackson lives (but you can't get in without an invite). Also, there are ostrich and horse farms here you can visit.
South of here is Santa Barbara. The main place to go is State Street where all the shops, restaurants, and clubs are located. This is one of the most beautiful large cities in the country and is located right on the water.
South of here is Los Angeles (and Beverly Hills). There are lots of posts covering this city (and Vegas)--many of which I've already posted to. So take a look at those, and enjoy your trip.