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Big Sur, California

California & the Pacific Coast Highway

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,225 pp incl. flights


Short description

A classic American fly-drive along the iconic California State Route 1


  • Let soaring cliffs and rolling vineyards guide you along California's Pacific Coast Highway
  • Explore two of America's city greats – Los Angeles and San Francisco
  • Drive between pristine beaches and pretty coastal towns
  • Stop for seafood on Santa Barbara's famous pier
  • Watch sea lions bask on the shoreline in Monterey and Cambria

In Brief

  • 3 Nights San Francisco
  • 2 Nights Monterey
  • 2 Nights Pismo Beach
  • 1 Night Santa Barbara
  • 2 Nights Santa Monica


Recommended for:
Beach | Bucket-list holidays | City | Food & wine | June holidays | May holidays | Natural world | Self-drive

Also known as California Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway is America’s dream drive, and one of our most popular fly-drive itineraries in the USA. You'll travel south from San Francisco's Golden Gate icon to Los Angeles, passing through mile upon mile of spectacular mountain and ocean scenery. Skirt acclaimed vineyards, stop to explore historic buildings and relax on beautiful golden beaches and in peaceful seaside towns. As with all of our North America fly-drives, we offer you complete flexibility to add or remove destinations, reduce or increase the number of nights and change your accommodation or car hire to suit. Contact our North America specialists to discuss your plans.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-3
UK/San Francisco

With included VIP airport lounge access, you'll enjoy a relaxing start to your trip before your direct flight to San Francisco. Beginning your adventure in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, you'll have two full days to explore its eclectic mix of suburbs, from trendy Nob Hill to lively Chinatown to bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, a waterfront hub where seafood restaurants overlook a fishing boat-filled harbour and colonies of sunbathing sea lion. Then, picturesque Angel Island affords wonderful views across to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Head north and you'll find towering redwood forests and the vibrant wine regions of Sonoma and Napa – perfect for a day trip or extended overnight stay. We particularly recommend the Napa Valley Wine Tour where, after an early start from the city, you'll board the train in Napa and enjoy a three-course gourmet lunch among rolling valleys before an included vineyard tour and tasting. 

Stay: The Marker San Francisco, or Handlery Union Square (Superior) or The Argonaut, San Francisco (Deluxe)

Days 4-5

Collect your hire car and depart San Francisco, driving south for a two-night stay at Monterey. Cruising along the interstate, you'll be accompanied by views of wooded hills and sparkling lakes as you head to the coast. The next day, embark on a stunning journey along the 17-Mile Drive before visiting Pebble Beach and fashionable Carmel, a place of mansions, golf courses and no little natural beauty. Then, return to Monterey for an overnight stay, perhaps heading to the docks to spot harbour seals basking on the rocks before tucking into a delicious seafood dinner, fresh from the sea. 

Stay: Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa, Monterey (Standard) or Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (Superior)

Days 6-7
Pismo Beach

Rugged Big Sur is next on the bucket-list trip – as you head over Pfeiffer Bridge you'll be greeted with the most spectacular stretch of the Highway 1. The Hearst Castle appears next on the route, the estate of publish William Randolph Hearst, before you travel to Cambria and its abundance of sea lions. Arrive at Pismo Beach in time for a stunning sunset.

Stay: Cottage Inn by the Sea, Pismo Beach (Standard) & Inn at the Pier (Superior)

Day 8
Santa Barbara

Before heading south, perhaps call into San Luis Obispo where winding backroads and ocean views frame some of the region's most prestigious wine estates. Then, after an hour-and-forty-minute drive south, you'll arrive at Santa Barbara where you'll spend the night. This evening, be sure to head out to the town's famous pier for dinner at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company; the steamed crab and lobster tacos are both highlights, best washed down with a glass of local wine.

Stay: Inn by the Harbour, Santa Barbara (Standard), Kimpton Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara or Harbor View Inn (Superior)

Days 9-10
Santa Monica

Continue on past Malibu's sprawling mansions to drop off your hire car at Los Angeles Airport before making your way to Santa Monica. While it's a great base for exploring Los Angeles, this laid-back beachfront city is a highlight in its own right, home to a golden beach, historic pier and probably America’s best weekend Farmers’ Market.

Stay: Gateway Hotel, Santa Monica (Standard) or Le Méridien Delfina, Santa Monica or The Shore Hotel (Superior)

Day 11
Depart Los Angeles

On your last day, enjoy some time to yourself before making your way to Los Angeles International Airport. Board your overnight flight to the UK, arriving the next day. Alternatively, consider an extension, perhaps to Palm Springs, Las Vegas or sunny San Diego.

Day 12
Arrive in the UK

After your overnight flight, arrive back in London on day 12 and return home.



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Standard Superior

12-day tailor-made self-drive
from £2,225 pp incl. flights


Low Season

from £2,225 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £3,565 pp. incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Flight from the UK to San Francisco
  • Flight from Los Angeles to the UK
  • 6 days Compact car hire including personalised road book*
  • 10 nights in a mixture of 3* (Standard) & 4* (Superior) accommodation on a room only basis

High season: June-September

* Excludes one-way car hire fee during July-August

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

Meet our experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0636

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0636 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
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Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected