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Central Coast Fly Drive Holiday

13 days from £1,655pp

San Francisco - Santa Cruz - Monterey/Carmel - San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles

Our suggested fly drive itinerary showcases the rugged and dramatic coastline that California is famed for. Your holiday starts in San Francisco, where you should make time to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and Union Square amongst other sights and attractions. Santa Cruz will be your next stop where you can explore the scenic coastline before heading to Monterey and Carmel, where you can savour some exquisite seafood dining. Continue south along the coast, driving along majestic Big Sur towards the quaint towns of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, and the American Riviera that is Santa Barbara, before finishing your holiday in Los Angeles, the perfect end to a perfect holiday.

Holiday Highlights

  • Hire a bike and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge for truly incredible views!
  • Watch out for migrating whales, sea lions and sea birds as you drive along iconic Big Sur between Carmel to San Simeon.
  • Wander the Hollywood Walk of Fame stopping to take photos of your favourite celebrities outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Remember, we can tailor-make your fly drive holiday to suit your needs, contact our travel experts today, call us on 0208 290 9751.

Holiday Map

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    Detailed Itinerary

    Day 1: London - San Francisco

    As the gateway to northern California, San Francisco is your starting destination for this Central Coast fly drive holiday. There’s no need to use a car in San Francisco, so make your way into the city where a myriad of popular sights and attractions are waiting to be discovered. Stay 3 nights at the Handlery Union Square Hotel (or similar).

    Day 2-3: San Francisco

    With the imposing Golden Gate Bridge in view, check out Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf also home to a colony of resident sea lions. For those who wish to shop until they drop, a visit to Union Square is a must; or for sports fans, the AT&T baseball Park, home to the San Francisco 49ers is well worth a visit. You will be spoilt with activities on offer, from riding the iconic cable cars, cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, exploring the beautiful sights of Golden Gate Park, home to the California Academy of Sciences – and much more!

    Day 4: San Francisco - Santa Cruz (approx. 75 miles)

    Today, collect your Alamo car rental to begin your Californian coastal drive down south heading for the funky surf town of Santa Cruz, home to Mavericks, a world-famous surf spot. Why not visit one of the wineries located in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains followed by shopping and a bite to eat in the town of Los Gatos located nearby? Stay 1 night at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Santa Cruz (or similar).

    Day 5: Santa Cruz – Monterey/Carmel (approx. 11 miles)

    Back on the road again today as you drive towards the charming coastal towns of Monterey and Carmel which are just five miles apart. Monterey; home to a historic waterfront, Cannery Row, home to lovely seafood restaurants as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a great option if you feel like keeping your feet on dry land. Alternatively, head out on the Pacific in search of grey whales that migrate through these waters off of the coast of Monterey. Stay 2 nights at the Monterey Beach Resort (or similar).

    Day 6: Monterey/Carmel

    The best way to get from Monterey to Carmel is along the 17-Mile Drive that runs from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, with standout coastal scenery to view along the way. Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor is Monterey’s quaint, upmarket neighbour, perfect for a spot of designer shopping and people watching with its collection of charming shops, cafés and art galleries to visit. Then there’s the soft sands of Carmel Beach to enjoy and the unspoiled coastal bluffs of Point Lobos State Reserve to explore.

    Day 7: Monterey/Carmel – San Luis Obispo (approx. 145 miles)

    Today, head to the vibrant college town of San Luis Obispo where you can visit the historic mission and browse through one-of-a-kind shops and public art along the meandering river. Stay 2 nights at the Holiday Inn Express San Luis Obispo (or similar).

    Day 8: San Luis Obispo

    Take time to discover the local area, with San Simeon located just a few miles north where the opulent and world-famous Hearst Castle stands tall. The castle was once the palatial estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and is now a state historical monument offering stunning art collections, lush gardens, magnificent pools and sweeping ocean vistas.

    Day 9: Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara (approx. 95 miles)

    Continue south along the coast, taking in the majestic scenery from Highway 1 as you drive to Santa Barbara. Known as the ‘American Riviera’, Santa Barbara is famous for its miles of glorious beaches and lively promenade as well as its traditional Spanish architecture and local wineries. Stay 2 nights at the Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn (or similar).

    Day 10: Santa Barbara

    Spend time relaxing by the beach or exploring the local area. Shopping opportunities abound in downtown Santa Barbara with its variety of designer brands and one-off boutiques ticking every box. Or, for the wine connoisseurs, be sure to take a trip to Santa Ynez Valley, a leading wine region close to Santa Barbara which was the location for the film ‘Sideways’. Here, a variety of stunning wineries will be sure to please.

    Day 11: Santa Barbara – Los Angeles (approx. 95 miles)

    Finish your Central Coast adventure in the City of Angels. Why not celebrate your inner celebrity and visit Universal Studios Hollywood, home to real working movie sets and attraction rides that will appeal to film fans of all ages. Stay 2 nights at The Garland (or similar).

    Day 12: Los Angeles

    Head out to quirky Venice Beach for the last of your beach time and check out Muscle Beach. Just a short stroll along the promenade from Venice is attractive Santa Monica with its iconic pier and solar powered Ferris wheel, for funfair entertainment. Or why not hire a bike and explore the area that leads on up into beautiful Malibu, with its amazing beaches and million dollar beachfront homes. And don’t forget the Hollywood sights of the Walk of Fame or celeb spotting down Rodeo Drive. There’s never a dull day in LA!

    Day 13: Los Angeles – London

    Your Central Coast drive ends today, so perhaps extend your stay or return home, dropping off your car rental at Los Angeles Airport before boarding the overnight flight back to London.

    (read more...)

    Included in your fly drive holiday

    • Hotel accommodation
    • Economy flights
    • Airport taxes, fuel & duty
    • Car rental where stated
    • Any applicable offers

    Not included: Airport transfers, car hire one-way drop off fees, meals, sightseeing & personal expenses.

    Flights from regional UK airports available

    Remember, we can tailor-make your holiday to suit your needs, contact our travel experts today, call us on 0208 290 9751.


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