Next summer my boyfriend and I will be driving down the coast from SF to LA. I have read other tips for this trip but I would like some updated suggestions. We have a week (or more if needed) to do so, so we can really enjoy everything on the way. I did the trip 4 years ago when I was 16 and we stopped off at Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and LA only, so i'd like to fill in the gaps. I will have just turned 21 by that time so any evening out suggestions are welcome!
Try adding Yosemite to the trip.Your text to link here...
I suggest the following:
Day 1: Spend in SF recovering from your trip to the city--and at some of San Francisco's sites:
Golden Gate Park (Japanese Gardens/Arboreteum), Fisherman's Wharf, riding cable cars, visiting Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, etc.
Day 2: Drive to Santa Cruz, stopping on the way to visit Big Basin Redwood Park, then have dinner at the Shadowbrook restaurant in Capitola
www.shadowbrook-capitola.com, then spend the night down the road (another 30 minutes away) in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Day 3: Visit the Monterey Aquarium, then drive the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. Spend the afternoon driving to San Simeon area and stay in Cambria.
Day 4: Drive back the 7 miles to San Simeon and visit the Hearst Castle. When done, drive down to Cambria again, then take state highway 46 east and visit the wineries along the way to US Highway 101 (there are 40 or so to choose from). Drive down the coast to Pismo Beach and spend the night. Have a simple dinner at "Splash in Pismo Beach and be sure to get the clam chowder (best on the west coast).
Day 5: Enjoy Pismo Beach, then drive down the coast to Solvang and visit the Scandinavian village there. Spend another day at the wineries, visiting Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, the Santa Ynez mission, some bakeries, doing some bike riding, seeing the ostrich farm near Solvang, then drive into Santa Barbara and spend the day at the beach, visiting the Santa Barbara Mission. and visiting the shops along State Street in Santa Barbara.
Days 6-7: Get up early and drive to Los Angeles. Choose from the following four items to do over your two day visit: (1)Go to either the Getty Museum near Westwood or (2)to the Hungtington Library and Gardens in San Marino, or (3) drive down to the south bay area and visit either Huntington or Newport Beach or (4) go visit Disneyland in Anaheim.
You could also spend one more day in SF and one less in LA--or take day 5 (above) and split it into two days If you do this, spend dinner on your first evening at the Los Olivos Cafe in Los Olivos, just north of Solvang (this is where they had dinner in the "Sideways" movie).
P.S. If you decide to go to Yosemite instead, then stop on the way in Murphys one day and look around, and try to cut back to the coast .
Calcruzer, thank you for posting a great itinerary! I'm heading to San Jose next July to visit family. After the visit, I'd definitely like to try this route to meet up with friends in LA!
Well, I'm partial to the Coast route, but Jambo101's suggested route via Yosemite is also quite beautiful. If someone had the time to do the round trip, I'd say do the coast route down and the inland (Yosemite) route back.
Hope you enjoy your trip.
P.S. If you go to Shadowbrook restaurant, ask for a table in the Greenhouse room. I think it's the most romantic of the many choices--and be sure to buy your tickets early for Hearst Castle, because they always sell out early.