The beautiful and often rugged Californian coastline provides some of the most spectacular vistas in the USA. The 500 mile-or-so drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles will take you through famous spots such as the Monterey peninsula, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, the Danish community of Solvang and picturesque Santa Barbara. Further south, the attractive seaport of San Diego is a great location to relax at the end of any trip.
Two hours south of San Francisco sits Monterey, with its own Fisherman’s Wharf, superb aquarium and Cannery Row, immortalised by John Steinbeck. Monterey’s peninsula boasts some of the most acclaimed of America’s coastal scenery, particularly around the famed 17-mile drive to the artist’s haven of Carmel, long-time residence of Clint Eastwood. Here, a worthwhile visit is to the Mission and Museum, whilst all golf-lovers will surely want to have a glimpse of one of the world’s most famous courses, Pebble Beach.
In San Luis Obispo, about mid-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this maginificent estate of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways commands stunning views. Over nearly three decades, the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst evolved his ranch into what became the setting for legendary parties during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Two hours north of Los Angeles lies the coastal town of Santa Barbara. The influence of the Spanish is very much in evidence, with the beautiful Mission being the town’s focal point. A short drive out of town will take you to the quaint Danish town of Solvang, with its windmills, timbered Tudor facades and array of pastry shops.
Out and About in San Diego:
Two hours drive south of Los Angeles and just a few miles from the Mexican border, San Diego offers an almost perfect climate as well as being home to a variety of attractions and points of interest, including San Diego Zoo, the vast Wild Animal Park and SeaWorld, every bit as entertaining as its Florida counterpart. Lush Balboa Park, with over a dozen museums, is well worth a visit, as are historic Old Town, the picturesque Gaslight Quarter and Seaport Village, with their many shops, restaurants and entertainments. There’s tennis, golf and water sports galore in and around San Diego, as well as memorable boat trips, especially during the whale watching season (Mid-December to mid-March). Out of town trips could include the Anza-Borrega Desert State Park and, just across the border, Tijuana, - with its lively markets and duty-free shopping.