Landing in Los Angeles is often the first taste of America for many travellers, with its grand boulevards, iconic beaches, glitz and glamour. Yet venture beyond the bright lights and California is a varied landscape of wilderness, beautiful beaches, fertile wine country and desirable desert views.
Hitting the highway on a classic American road trip is simply one of those must-do experiences. Although there are many great road journeys to choose from, the Californian charisma of Highway 1 beckons with a siren song that cannot be refused.
The Pacific Coast Highway through California is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world. Starting in San Diego, this incredible all-American drive provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, winding all the way north to San Francisco, so you can discover the regions that surround it.
Start dreaming in sun-filled San Diego, the oldest town in California. Balboa Park filled with its Spanish Colonial-style architecture provides an interesting glance into the city’s history. Highlights of the 1400 acre park include the Botanical Gardens, Museums and world famous San Diego Zoo. A short drive from the zoo, treat yourself with a visit to the trendy Gaslamp Quarter and its many boutique shops, fine dining and art galleries.
Santa Monica is an area renowned for its beaches and with the Santa Monica Beach averaging more than 300 days of sunshine a year and offering some of the best sunsets on the West Coast, it’s not hard to see why. Santa Monica is also known as a walkable and bike-friendly town, so it’s easy to get around and experience the haven of shops, restaurants, attractions like the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, and more.
Drive through Santa Barbara for a European Riviera experience on the California coast. White washed Spanish-style architecture covered in colourful climbing bougainvillea plants create a romantic backdrop in this seaside city. True to its Mediterranean influence, Santa Barbara is surrounded by countless vineyards producing world class wine and cuisine. Just north, Santa Ynez provides one of the best wine and dine settings, surrounded by rolling hills, towering oak forests and endless vines.
Discover one of California’s top food and wine destinations, home to more than 425 wineries ranging from rustic to regal. Hike among towering redwoods, cruise along rugged Pacific coastline and get to know inviting towns, or get better acquainted with a Sonoma history lesson while winetasting at Three Sticks at the Adobe, set inside a historic 1842 home.
For help on your next Californian adventure, talk to a Travel Adviser today!
This article originally appeared in the Inspirations Winter 2019 Edition.