Yosemite National Park & Pacific Coast Highway
Three nights is ideal in the breathtaking Yosemite National Park, famed as one of the most beautiful parks in the US. It is about 4.5 hrs away by car, but there are also day trips available from San Francisco, but it really deserves a two night break here. The main central valley floor looks as if it is out of a fairy tale, lined with the shear faces of vast granite mountains; picturesque lakes and elegant waterfalls. There are roughly a dozen areas to stop in here, each with a selection of walks to take, some for half an hour others for longer. The higher upland area above the valley is considerably larger, but many parts of this are closed until June lingering snow. There is still be plenty to see, including the giant Redwoods at the bottom of the park. If booking late and at weekends here may be an issue staying within the park, but we have a number of alternatives. Combined with a trip down the the Pacific Coast Highway makes a delightful and well balance trip
Highway 1/The Pacific Coast Highway
You need once again a few nights to do this justice, three is ideal, but it’s well worth the investment as this is one of the world’s greatest roads. It is imperative that you drive going south, as the view points and turn-outs are all on the right hand side of the road. You can then safely and without stress pull over or re-enter the road. It is a small point but will make all the different to your enjoyment. Our recommendation is to have a brief stop in Monterey and then continue for an overnight in the charming town of Carmel. You will then be ready for an early start along the photogenic and very wiggly section from Big Sur down to the around Morro Bay. This section is the top half and by far the most interesting part on the way to Los Angeles. It is best you take this portion at a relaxed pace with plenty of stops. It is possible to race all the way to LA, but then you arrive in their rush hour and will be very tired. We therefore normally suggest an overnight stop in the cliff side town of Pismo Beach to break up the journey, then possibly a stop in Santa Monica which is 20 mins from Los Angeles LAX Airport. Returning home from Los Angeles is normally the same cost as San Francisco.
Some California and Nevada add-ons
Napa and Sonoma Valleys
Relatively near San Francisco and perfect for a calm relaxed few nights away from the city then we have the perfect place, a luxurious resort about two and half hours away. It has some elegant restaurants and a good quality Spa, but most importantly is a great base to visit the wine lands of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Should you not want to drive much, then there is the Pullman style scenic wine train that tours the length of the Napa Valley, with a restaurant car and observation carriage.
An easy add-on and way of letting your hair down, Vegas is relatively easy to get to, with only short flight or 4-5 hour drive from Los Angeles. Two days and three nights gives you a chance to for a flight across the Grand Canyon and catch a show. Accommodation mid week is usually not an issue but weekends are often double the cost, so worth booking well ahead for a good selection.
A delightful former artist colony, 45 mins south of LA. Full of galleries; shops and restaurants. We have a beautiful; cliff-top inn overlooking the little bay. There are convenient flights from San Francisco to Santa Ana airport which is quite close, or it’s about an hour and half from LAX outside the rush hour.