Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Pacific Coast Highway itinerary in 3 days

Hotels

Carmel:

Vagabonds House Inn

♥♥♥♥

Cute and charming hotel. Our room was really nice and included some California sherry to sip on before dinner! We had a small patio. Breakfast was included and delivered to our room in the morning. Highly recommended.

Cambria:

Blue Dolphin Inn

♥♥♥

This little inn/motel was on the beach and conveniently located to the Hearst Castle. It was clean and nice accommodations. Breakfast was included and delivered to our room in the morning. Recommended.

Los Angeles:

The Georgian Hotel

♥♥♥

Conveniently located on the north end of Santa Monica, across from the beach, this hotel was good but the rooms were a bit dated. It may have been renovated since our stay. 

Noteworthy Restaurants

Carmel:

  • Nepenthe Big Sur, is a restaurant along the Big Sur coast. It has stunning views of the waves from it's terrace and is a great place to stop for lunch. There is usually a line, but if you have time it is well worth it.

  • Christopher's Restaurant. This was a lovely small restaurant in Carmel. The food was nice and the atmosphere intimate.

Lost Angeles:

  • La Vecchia Cucina. We have been back to this restaurant many times. It is good Italian food in a casual atmosphere.

Favourite Museums

San Simeon/Coast:

  • Hearst Castle. I highly recommend visiting this magnificent and impressive home of the Hearst family while you are driving along the coast. They offer several tours and they should be booked in advance.

The 450-mile drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Route 1, is spectacular.  It is one of America's iconic road trips and should be on everyone's bucket list. It runs along the rugged coast, by mountains, beautiful state parks and charming towns. Definitely one of my favourite trips in the U.S. 

This trip was combined with Sonoma County in 4 days and San Francisco in 4 days.

Day 1

 

Morning and Afternoon

We departed San Francisco and headed out on our drive down the coast.

We drove southbound along towards Carmel. Although we were staying the night in Carmel we drove a little father south to Point Lobos State Park. We stopped there and went for a hike. We walked along the trails which had stunning views of the rugged coastline, tidal pools, cypress trees and rough waters. We also spotted some sea lions.

We continued driving a bit further south and stopped at Garrapata State Park where we hiked along the Bug Sur coastline, saw the redwoods and followed the trails inside the forests.

We arrived at the cute and charming hotel, Vagabonds House Inn, in Carmel.  Our room included some California sherry to sip on before dinner! 

 

We went for a walk in the charming town, checked out some local art galleries and walked along the beautiful, sandy Carmel beach.

Evening

We had dinner at Christopher's Restaurant in Carmel. It was a nice, quiet restaurant in an old house. 

Day 2

Morning

We departed our hotel and continued down the coast toward San Simeon. Along the way we stopped at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with hiking trails through forests of redwoods and along the river and gorge.

From there we continued to Nepenthe Big Sur, which is a restaurant along the Big Sur coast. It has stunning views of the waves from it's terrace and is a great place to stop for lunch. There is usually a line, but if you have time it is well worth it. 

Afternoon

We checked into our hotel, Blue Dolphin Inn, in Cambria on the coast and headed to Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

 

I booked two tours in the Hearst Castle - the Grand Rooms and the Upstairs Suites. It was very beautiful and lavish.  The views were spectacular. We learnt a lot about the history of the Hearst Family and the Castle. Highly recommended.

Evening

We had dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 3

Morning

We departed hotel and headed to Los Angeles.

Afternoon

We stopped in Santa Barbara and walked around the town and beach-front stopping for lunch at a local restaurant.

Los Angeles

Evening

Arrived in Los Angeles and checked into the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica.

We had dinner at La Vecchia Cucina which is one of our favourite restaurants on Main Street.

Day 4

Morning

Departed hotel and headed home.

 
Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with: