California has given us many things to be thankful for. Most of the world’s best movies, for one. Not to mention amazing burgers, celebrity culture, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career in politics.
But one of the best things about California has to be it’s amazing coastline. Not only is it stunning, but it’s home to some of the world’s most wonderful and diverse sights and cities.
We reckon the California coast deserves a massive High Five! To quote one of our favourite TV shows set on the coast itself…
Californiaaaa, Californiaaaa, here we coooo-ooome!
Get ready to dream of California's amazing coastline
Five of our favourite things to do along the Californian Coast
1. Drive down the Pacific Highway
A trip to the Sunshine State demands a good, old fashioned American road trip. And you might as well make that road trip one of the top-rated road trips in the world, right? Join the iconic Highway 1 in San Francisco, and get your camera at the ready: this is a drive like no other. As you wind your way down to Los Angeles, you’ll swoop along the dramatic coastline, taking in views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean that will blow your mind. Doesn’t the M25 seem like a world away? Not up for driving? Our 3-day California Coast tour will take you down the Pacific Highway and do all the hard work for you.
2. Act like a movie star in Los Angeles
It’s the home of Hollywood. It’s the setting for all our favourite 90s TV shows (hello, Saved By the Bell/90210/California Dreams). It spawned Paris Hilton, for crying out loud. So no trip to California would be complete without spending a few days in Los Angeles to see what all the fuss is about.
Experience all LA has to offer
Tread the stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, spot celebs in Beverly Hills, and head to the coast to watch the talented (weird) street performers on Venice Beach, and the tanned, beautiful residents of Santa Monica. Our 1-day city tour, LA Getaway, is worth a look.
3. Sample Santa Barbara’s finest export
Glug glug glug. Hear that noise? It’s the sound of you knocking back the vino at one of Santa Barbara’s numerous wineries. California is known for producing some of the world’s finest grapey goodness, so make the most of it and sample some of the good stuff on a tour of the vineyards. Probably a good idea to enlist a driver, or join an organised tour – we challenge you to limit yourself to just one glass!
4. Find your way to the City by the Bay
If LA is California’s glamour puss, San Francisco is its more mature, slightly cooler mate. Get lost down its labyrinth of back streets, and eat your way around the city, with cuisine from all around the world. Don’t miss a bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, and a night time tour of world famous old prison Alcatraz, narrated by a former prison guard – just make sure you book it in advance; Alcatraz must be the only prison in the world that people will queue to get into. See the City by the Bay in style on our 11-day LA to the Bay tour.
A bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge is a must
5. Chill out at the Big Sur
And… relax. If you’re driving the Pacific Highway, a stop off at the Big Sur is a must. It’s a beautiful area where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise suddenly from the ocean, which, as you can imagine, makes for some pretty spectacular views. Its isolation and beauty attracted lots of writers and artists in the early 20th century, while the hippies flocked here in the later 60s. Go, breath in the fresh air, and be at one with nature, safe in the knowledge that civilisation is just a short drive away. Want to really get back to nature? Visit the Big Sur and camp your way along the West Coast on our Camping America’s West tour.