• McWay Falls, Big Sur

Pacific Coast Highway Holidays

Take to one of the most scenic drives in the world on a Pacific Coast Highway holiday. Journey along white sand beaches and stretches of wild coastline, sample delicious fresh produce and local wines, and wander sunny cities and small surfing towns; it’s exactly what California is all about. 

Technically speaking, you could drive the length of the Pacific Coast Highway in a day, but why would you want to? This is a route that’s meant to be taken slowly, with time to really explore the route’s bustling cities, like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, and get lost in the charm of quaint towns, like Morro Bay, Cambria and San Simeon. There’s also sun-soaked vineyards to tour and fine wines to sample as the Highway takes you through world-renowned wine country.

Pacific Coast Highway: A Road Full of Beaches

Driving along 600 miles of coastline, you’ll find more than a fair share of breathtaking beaches. Between Carmel and San Simeon, in Monterey County’s Big Sur region, the mountains on one side of the highway give way to a wild and rugged coastline on the other. Here, lesser known trails lead you to remote and secluded beaches like Fuller’s Beach, known only to dedicated surfers. Head a few hours south and you’ll find the charming beach town of Pismo Beach, a gateway to the stunning turquoise waters of the San Luis Obispo County coastline. Further south still lies Orange County, scattered with beach towns like Huntington Beach, where incredible waves beg to be surfed and beachfront restaurants boast delicious food.

The Pacific Coast Highway was made for multi centre holidays, but, of course, you don’t have to stick to the coast. Why not combine your Pacific Coast Highway holiday with a trip further inland? Discover the glamour of Palm Springs, or explore the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park.

Destination Highlights
  • Drive along the rugged cliffs of Big Sur, an impressive stretch of coastline between Carmel and San Simeon
  • Visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, a castle built between 1919 and 1947 that’s now a National Historic Landmark
  • Explore the beaches of Monterey Peninsula and it’s three cities: Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove
  • Venture along 17 Mile Drive, a road that follows part of California’s coastline and offers some incredible views and fun stops along the way

Time Zone

GMT -8 hours

Flight Time

Approx. 11 hours; direct flights from the UK are available

Currency

USD - US DOllar

Visa Information

Ensure you have a valid ESTA prior to travel

Language

English

Health Information

No special vaccinations are required for travel to California

From the epic Big Sur to Mediterranean-style Santa Barbara, the central California Coast offers you picturesque seaside towns, jagged sea cliffs, hidden coves and vineyards of rolling hills just waiting to be explored.

  • Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

    Pacific Coast Highway 1

    Drive this beautiful coastal-hugging road from San Francisco to Los Angeles while you stop off at stunning lookout points, discover hidden coves and beach towns, look for sea otters and other marine life from the shore or even get up close at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  • Pfeiffer Burns State Park

    Beautiful beaches

    As well as the long golden sands of beaches such as Pismo or Ventura to name a few; the crashing surf has created rugged but beautiful sea cliffs that stretch along the Pacific Coast, however this means there are many hidden coves and beaches to explore.

  • Jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Located right at the ocean's edge, Monterey Bay Aquarium is a fun day out for all ages. Head to the penguin enclosure at feeding time, watch the playful sea otters, learn about what hides among the rocky shores and be mesmerised by the jellyfish.

  • Elephant Seal Beach, San Simeon

    Visit Elephant Seal Beach

    Stretching out over 6 miles of beach, the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery is well worth a visit. The best viewing areas are located in San Simeon, around 5 miles north of Hearst Castle State Historical Monument. Peak season is December through March but they come to the beaches year round - even if you can't see them, you will definitely hear them.

Select month

Average weather in January

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
11ºC
110mm
Monterey
11ºC
Pismo Beach
11ºC
75mm
Santa Barbara
12ºC
71mm

Average weather in February

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
12ºC
115mm
Monterey
12ºC
Pismo Beach
12ºC
83mm
Santa Barbara
13ºC
81mm

Average weather in March

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
13ºC
80mm
Monterey
14ºC
Pismo Beach
13ºC
68mm
Santa Barbara
13ºC
65mm

Average weather in April

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
13ºC
40mm
Monterey
15ºC
Pismo Beach
14ºC
23mm
Santa Barbara
14ºC
26mm

Average weather in May

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
14ºC
20mm
Monterey
17ºC
Pismo Beach
15ºC
12mm
Santa Barbara
15ºC
8mm

Average weather in June

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
15ºC
6mm
Monterey
19ºC
Pismo Beach
16ºC
3mm
Santa Barbara
17ºC
13mm

Average weather in July

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
15ºC
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
1mm
Santa Barbara
19ºC
9mm

Average weather in August

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
16ºC
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
Santa Barbara
19ºC
12mm

Average weather in September

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
17ºC
3mm
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
4mm
Santa Barbara
19ºC
11mm

Average weather in October

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
17ºC
30mm
Monterey
18ºC
Pismo Beach
16ºC
13mm
Santa Barbara
17ºC
12mm

Average weather in November

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
14ºC
70mm
Monterey
13ºC
Pismo Beach
14ºC
32mm
Santa Barbara
14ºC
42mm

Average weather in December

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
11ºC
120mm
Monterey
11ºC
Pismo Beach
11ºC
48mm
Santa Barbara
12ºC
47mm
  • Matthew

    Destination Specialist

    "If you're thinking of driving the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, opt for doing it north to south. The weather will generally be better as you go and you'll be driving on the ocean side of the road so you get the best views. Also think of stopping off at Solvang. Halfway between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, it's a little slice of Denmark in the heart of the Golden State - quite unexpected but hugely enchanting."

  • Omkar

    Destination Specialist

    "Check out Cayucos State Beach for a charming little beach town. Pick up some fresh baked cookies from Brown Butter Cookie Co. and relax on the large stretch of sandy beach."

  • Pebble Beach Food & Wine

    This luxury epicurean event sees celebrated chefs and sommeliers gather at Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula to host cooking demonstrations, renowned dining experiences, wine tastings, food sampling and wine and spirit seminars. Unfolding over 4 days each April, the Pebble Beach Food & Wine event is the pinnacle of indulgence. 

  • Monterey Jazz Festival

    For two days and three nights in September, the Monterey Jazz Festival sees thousands gathering to delight in wonderful jazz music. Across the event, hundreds of musicians perform to crowds on eight stages spread over the Monterey County Fair and Event Center. There’s also great food, international shopping, exhibitions and children's activities, with exclusive hospitality experiences available as well. 

  • Taste of Carmel

    The Taste of Carmel event gives visitors and locals the chance to come together and enjoy a sample of incredible wines from the Monterey County area while they sample food from some of the best local restaurants. Hosted for one night by the Carmel Mission Courtyard, the event also features live music, culinary experiences and a silent auction. 

  • Fish Tacos

    Though you’ll find incredible taco stands all along the Pacific Coast Highway, San Diego is the real hot spot known for its fish tacos, where a Mexican influence can be seen all around. Fresh seafood is fried up and, along with delicious accompaniments like avocado, pico de gallo, cabbage, cheese and crema, is wrapped up in a fresh tortilla. 

  • Clam Chowder

    From Morro Bay to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the villages, towns and cities along the Pacific Coast Highway are generously scattered with seafood shacks and restaurants serving up delicious creamy Clam Chowder.

Types of Pacific Coast Highway holidays

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

Pacific Coast Highway Multi Centre Holidays

Multi Centre Holidays
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

Self Drive Central California Coast

Self Drive Central California Coast

Frequently Asked Questions

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