One of America's most recognisable cities. Fishermans Wharf is a great place with some great shops and restaurants. Make sure you try out the Clam Chowder. This is where you will find the famous sea lions who lounge around on pier 39. Alcatraz sits just out in the bay and boats depart from the Wharf for tours of this infamous prison island. Of course the Golden Gate bridge is San Francisco's most famous landmark. You can take a drive over at anytime but I think cycling or walking over is a much better option. Back in the city there are so many great places to visit. My favourite is Chinatown, the oldest Chinese ex-pat enclave outside Asia and a great place to explore and eat at one of the great restaurants.
Pacific Highway - Monterey
Jump in the car and head out of San Francisco for the two hour drive to Monterey. There are various routes but the coastal road via Pescadero and Santa Cruz takes you past lovely ocean views and national parks. Monterey is a great place to see marine life. If not in the World famous aquarium then out on the water. Take a boat trip to see the whales, dolphins and sea lions that inhabit the bay.
Pacific Highway - Beaches
After Monterey head on down the Pacific highway. You will be driving on some of the most scenic roads in the World. The road winds past rugged cliffs and stunning sandy beaches. Take time to stop at Pfeiffer beach which is one of the best along the coast. Then down to Pismo beach to stay in a lovely hotel on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. If you are driving an RV you can actually drive onto the beach to stay the night. Pismo is a great place to hit the beach and maybe grab a surf lesson.
After Pismo drive down to LA stopping off in Santa Barbara which is an attractive town with a Mediterranean look and feel. Maybe stop in Malibu and check out the luxurious beach houses, home to the rich and famous. Los Angeles will be a bit of a shock with lots of traffic and huge six lane freeways. There is so much to do in LA. If you like theme parks you can visit Disney, Universal or Knotts Berry Farm among others. Hollywood is a firm favourite. Go and see the famous Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame. Head to the beach and take a stroll along the boardwalk from stylish Santa Monica to Venice beach. Or you could hire a bike or rollerblades. Check out the big guys working out at Muscle beach or watch a local basketball game at the outdoor courts.
Yes I realise that Vegas isn't in California. It is only a four hire drive from LA though, so why not? Vegas is amazing! After a busy stay in LA head out of the city towards the desert and Vegas. On the way when you get to Victorville you can get off the interstate and take the old Route 66 to Barstow. Stop off at an old roadside diner for lunch. After Barstow you are driving through the dusty landscape of the Mojave desert until you hit Vegas which seems like a neon island in a sea of sand. You will be staying in one of the incredible Casino hotels on the World famous strip. Spend your days by the pool and your nights exploring these amazing casinos or taking in a show. For something unforgettable why not book a night time helicopter trip over the strip.
Vegas is just over two hours drive to the Grand Canyon. You don't have to add this to your itinerary but why wouldn't you. The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonder of the World. When you see the sheer grandeur of the place up close you will be glad you came. It is truly awe inspiring. There are hotels in the national park here so you can stay, although you can get to the Canyon and back in a day from Vegas. The drive is pretty cool too. You actually drive over the impressive Hoover Dam which is a great place to stop and take pictures.
The next journey is the longest of the trip. The drive from Vegas to Yosemite is over seven hours so leave early. You could split the journey and overnight in a motel if you wanted. The drive is right through the heart of the Death Valley national park. Your drive starts in barren inhospitable lands and ends in the lush mountains and valleys of the stunning Yosemite national park. Stay in a lakeside cabin and enjoy exploring this beautiful region. Go hiking, biking or rafting. Check out the towering cliffs, amazing waterfalls and giant Sequioa trees. You will need a few days at least to explore Yosemite. After that you will unfortunately have to pack up the car for the four hour drive back to San Francisco airport for your flight back to the UK
You will be picking up your vehicle at San Francisco airport. You have a huge choice. Personally I would go for a convertible Mustang. What could be better for a California road trip that driving an iconic Muscle car with the top down?
If you prefer European cars then what about a Mercedes or BMW convertible?
The U.S is the home of the huge SUV. If you need a bit more space then why not grab an Chevy Tahoe or splash out on an Escalade. For something a bit more refined then what about a Range Rover.
You might prefer to rent a motorhome or RV as they say locally. They come in a range of sizes and this route offers lots of RV parks along the way. Remember though, it is always best to book in advance on peak dates as the parks can get booked up.
You will be in your vehicle everyday for two weeks so it's important to make the right choice for you.
A self drive road trip is a great way to explore and experience this colourful and fascinating part of the world. Stop where you want, when you want at your own pace. A road trip is a great way to get off the beaten track and see things you wouldn't otherwise. here are just a few of the main highlights of this trip......
Explore Fishermans wharf in San Francisco. see the famous (and rather smelly) sea lions and take a boat over to Alcatraz.
Drive the iconic Pacific highway along some of the most dramatic coastline in the World.
Go whale watching in Monterey
Enjoy some of the best beaches in America like Pismo and Pfeiffer. Maybe grab a surf lesson?
Stroll along the boardwalk from Santa Monica To Venice beach. See the street artists and watch the big boys at Muscle beach gym. visit Hollywood to see the famous Chinese theatre and the Hollywood walk of fame.
Have a fun day at one of LA's theme parks. Universal, Disneyland and Knotts Berry farm to name just a few.
Drive through the desolate Joshua Tree national park and Death Valley.
See the lights and razzmatazz of Vegas. Enjoy a night out in the mesmerising casinos and nightclubs.
Drive over the Hoover Dam on the way to the awe inspiring Grand Canyon.
Take a hike through the stunning wilderness of Yosemite National Park. Stay in a lake side cabin.