If you’re heading to California, consider taking one of America’s most scenic drives: Los Angeles to San Francisco. Heading north west out of LA, the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) will take you along the sparkling coastline of Santa Monica and Malibu Beach. Journey through Ventura County and stop in Santa Barbara. As you continue along the highway, look out for sea lion colonies and wildlife along the coast.
At picturesque Morrow Bay, once an abalone fishing port, stop off at Morro Rock – a volcanic plug. The highway will lead you through the stunning coastal region of Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Mountains abruptly meet the Pacific Ocean. The region is renowned for its giant Redwood forests and coastal views, stretching for around 140kms.
Continue along the coastline of Monterey Bay, Sand City, Seaside and Marina, then north west to Santa Cruz and your destination of San Francisco. There is much to see and do in this vibrant city, but don’t miss a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or visit to the former island prison of Alcatraz.
The Pacific Coast Highway spans the entire western coast of the United States, from the Mexican border into Canada, so an alternative (or additional) route is to head north from San Francisco to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Bring an umbrella, as this region is known to be rainy.
A day’s drive north of San Francisco (10-12 hours), you’ll find Portland, Oregon. This ultra-hip city is divided into four distinct districts, offering something for any interest group. Hit up the Portland’s famous food carts for lunch and take a brewery tour in this city lovingly called, “Beervana”. Catch a glimpse of Mount Hood in the horizon before taking on Portland’s stimulating culinary scene.
Just a few hours north, you’ll reach Seattle, known for its iconic Space Needle, Pike Place Market and Seattle Underground Tour. Visit the Museum of Flight in the home of the Boeing Corporation, or enjoy a cup of coffee at one of Seattle’s many cafes. If you’re looking for a day trip out of the city, check out Bainbridge Island, Tacoma, Leavenworth or Mount Rainier.
Cross into America’s neighbour to the north and experience Vancouver, one of the most enchanting cities in Canada. Stop off at Wreck Beach or head out to the slopes- Vancouver’s location offers remarkably diverse climate and terrain, so it’s not uncommon for visitors to ski and sail in the same day. Take a ride on the Aquabus Ferry and stroll through Stanley Park to enjoy all this city has to offer.