Luxury holiday to California: Big Sur to Laguna Beach

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 14

From: UK – San Francisco

To: Los Angeles - UK

From

£5,690

Inc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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or Call +44 1273 320580

We don’t rush you along on this luxury holiday to California. With six nights to enjoy both the beautiful landscapes and unique accommodation along the Pacific Coast Highway, we make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy this peaceful part of the world at your own pace.

Overview

Experience the iconic Pacific Coast Highway in style. Flying over to California in business class you’ll start your trip in San Francisco, exploring this colourful city and tasting some delicious local wine in Napa. Picking up your convertible car, you'll then begin the dreamy drive south, looking for whales in the waves around Monterey and shopping in Carmel’s boutiques.

Stopping for a couple of days in the spectacular Big Sur coastline, you can relax or explore from your base in the ocean view Post Ranch Inn before heading down to Santa Barbara where delicious seafood and Spanish architecture awaits. Pause to say hello to Hollywood before finishing your holiday on the sands of Laguna Beach, toasting a wonderful California holiday as the sun sets into the ocean.

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

This holiday includes

  • International flights
  • All transfers
  • All accommodation in the USA  
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Convertible car hire        

You’ll remember…

  • Feeling the wind in your hair as you drive in a convertible along Big Sur’s wild coast  
  • ​Spotting humpbacks playing and splashing in the Pacific Ocean  ​
  • Watching the sunset over Laguna Beach              

Itinerary


Day 1: Depart UK

Depart the UK from your chosen airport. This holiday includes business class flights, so you’ll have access to an airport lounge in the UK. You should arrive feeling rested, comfortable and ready to explore San Francisco later that day. On arrival, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred privately to your hotel, checking in for three nights. Wander down to the harbour and enjoy a drink by the bay, looking out over the famous bridge and the wave drenched rocks of Alcatraz.

Included: International business class flights, transfers, 5* hotel

Day 2: San Francisco

Today is yours to explore “the city by the bay”. Make sure you take the cable car down to visit the sea-lions at Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf, before jumping on a boat over to Alcatraz Island where you can learn about the past of this notorious prison. Spend your afternoon uncovering the rest of the city - why not browse City Lights Bookstore for a glimpse into the history of Beat Poetry before strolling to Chinatown for dumplings? Alternatively, explore the Mission District with its colourful murals and famous burritos before renting a bike and cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Included: 5* hotel   

Day 3: Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour

This morning, you’ll leave the city behind and set off on a scenic tour in an eco-friendly bio fueled mini-coach over the Golden Gate Bridge into California's beautiful Wine Country. Upon arrival in Sonoma, you’ll embark on a 45-minute tram tour of the Benziger Family Winery and learn about the science of biodynamic winemaking.

During the trip, you’ll follow the winemaking process from roots to glass, discovering how wine is made, bottled, aged, and distributed. Finally, back in the tasting room, you can enjoy the fruits of these labours! After the vineyard tour, including tastings at Benziger and their sister winery, Imagery, you’ll relax with a picnic lunch before heading back to San Francisco. The afternoon is yours to continue enjoying the city at your own pace. Why not head to one of the many bars specialising in craft beer to try the local favourite – Anchor Steam Beer?

Included: 5* hotel, day tour        

Day 4: Drive to Monterey

This morning, you’ll pick up your car in San Francisco. We’ve added a convertible, so you’ll drive down the coast in classic American style. You’ll head south along the Pacific Coast Highway towards Monterey, following the famous Route 1. On the way, the scenery will swing between pretty beaches and tiny coastal towns.

You’ll be in Monterey by lunchtime, so you can grab a quick bite by the harbour before heading out on an afternoon whale-watching cruise. Hopefully, you’ll spot the splashing tails of blue whales and humpbacks as you sail through the Pacific waves.

Included: Convertible car hire, 5* hotel, whale-watching tour    

Day 5: Monterey

You can start today with a walk along the wharf, stopping at the little shops and restaurants that line the colourful front. Make sure you visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can see sea otters, sharks and thousands of other beautiful marine creatures.

This afternoon, why not do the famous ‘17-mile drive’? It's a scenic coastal route that will take you around the rocks to the neighbouring town of Carmel, where boutique shops and gourmet restaurants await. Enjoy the sunset from the sandy beach before tucking into a delicious seafood dinner in one of the local eateries.

Included: 5* hotel, convertible car hire

Day 6: Drive to Big Sur

Today’s drive is only around an hour, so why not spend your morning exploring Point Lobos State Natural Reserve? Only a couple of miles south of Carmel, Point Lobos is home to miles and miles of walking paths that lead through pine forests to tiny coves and rugged beaches.

After exploring a little here, you’ll begin the most picturesque section of your drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. Before long, you’ll reach Big Sur and drive over breath-taking Bixby Bridge, famously featured in ‘Big Little Lies’. Here, you’ll find cliff faces plunging into the Pacific Ocean, hidden coves, secret bays, and plenty of places to stop and snap photos.

Perched on the cliffs of Big Sur, you’ll be staying at Post Ranch Inn. It’s a true oasis and peaceful sanctuary where you can pause to take in the raw beauty of this coastline. With 39 rooms and a sparkling blue pool overlooking the ocean, it’s the perfect place to reconnect and detox from the rush of everyday life.

Included: Post Ranch Inn, convertible car hire  

Day 7: Big Sur

Many people only allow one day to see Big Sur, but we’ve added an extra night at the Post Ranch Inn, giving you time to relax and take in the beauty of this area. We’ve extended your stay, so your time at this luxurious lodge is reserved purely for soaking in the spectacular views, taking local oceanside hikes and enjoying the hotel’s amenities. If you fancy digging into a good book, the Henry Miller Memorial Library is a great place to find something to read inspired by the incredible local landscapes.

Included: Post Ranch Inn, convertible car hire, breakfast             

Day 8: Drive to Santa Barbara

Continuing along the beautiful coastal drive south of the Post Ranch Inn, you’ll soon reach Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where you can see the 80-foot McWay Falls, enjoy panoramic ocean views, and walk some of the trails. The drive is spectacular (and winding), so take your time and enjoy the ride.

We’d recommend a stop at the magnificent Hearst Castle. The former home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, this stately home with grand Greek columns and an enormous pool is well worth a visit. Eventually, you’ll arrive in Santa Barbara, where you’ll check into your hotel for two nights.

Included: Breakfast, convertible car hire, 5* hotel

Day 9: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a laid-back beach city where celebrities escape the busy city of Los Angeles to relax in the sunshine. It’s full of Spanish architecture, with boutique shops and open-air restaurants dotted along State Street in the middle of town. Spend the day shopping or on the beach and enjoy the views from the pier, before eating a delicious bowl of seafood in the balmy evening air.

If you want to be more active, why not take a day tour to the Channel Islands National Park? Located just offshore, the scattered islands have miles of hiking trails, clear blue waters to kayak through and lots of wildlife to discover, from the endemic island fox to rockpools full of anemones and crabs. We can book you a kayaking tour around these islands – just ask!

Included: 5* hotel, convertible car hire 

Day 10: Drive to Laguna Beach

Today is a day of glamourous beach towns. Leaving the glitz of Santa Barbara behind you, you’ll head south through Malibu and Santa Monica towards Laguna Beach. Stop for a wander along the white sands of Malibu before riding the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica pier and eating lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants.

When you arrive at Laguna Beach, you’ll check into The Ranch at Laguna Beach; a laid-back luxury resort tucked away between dramatic canyons, just a stone’s throw from the beach. One of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, it’s a haven of coastal cool, with an ultra-private golf course, farm-to-fork restaurants and beautiful views at every turn.

Included: The Ranch at Laguna Beach, convertible car hire        

 


Days 11 and 12: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is an artist’s colony with a jaw-dropping coastline that spans seven miles. Home to over 30 beaches, as well as sea caves, tidepools and oceanside bluffs, it’s a beautiful area to explore. Spend your time here hiking along the clifftop trails, browsing through beach boutiques and soaking up the Orange County atmosphere. Alternatively, set off on a whale-watching tour to spot the minkes, finbacks and humpbacks that call these Californian waters home.

After drinking in the fresh sea air, try heading inland, where you’ll find over 200,000 acres of wilderness just waiting to be discovered. Hurtle along famous mountain bike trails and hike through thick forests, stopping for picnics and spotting bobcats along the way. At the end of the day, settle down for a gorgeous sunset at The Ranch, with live music on the patio and breath-taking canyon views.

Included: The Ranch at Laguna Beach, convertible car hire        

Day 13: Depart Los Angeles          

After a final lie-in in your comfortable bed, you'll hop back in the car and drive back to Los Angeles Airport to catch your flight home. Enjoy the comforts of business class and raise a glass to a spectacular luxury holiday in California.

Included: Business class international flights, convertible car hire          

Day 14: Arrive UK

Info

Weather

The coastal cities of central California sit on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, giving them a changeable climate, where you can experience summer and winter in the same day. Coastal breezes keep the cities fresh, and fog drifts can sweep over the San Francisco during the summer. Winter is usually more reliable, with bright days and moderate temperatures. Cooler than most areas of California, you are more likely to be too cold than too hot, so bring a jacket!

Southern California enjoys mild winters with a little rain on the coast and dry cold nights inland. The summer brings a rise in heat, tourist numbers and prices but rainfall is rare, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for consistently sunny weather.          

We've made a similar trip

If you'd like to get a feel for this trip, read our blog post 'The best route for a California road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway'- written by one of our consultants who has been there.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.           

What's included: 

  • International flights
  • Return airport transfers
  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary   
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary

Not included: 

  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Fuel      
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