Not much beats a balmy summer day on California’s Pacific coast: a long stretch of highway hugging emerald green cliffs and rocky outcroppings ahead, and to the left, a bright summer sun glinting off the water.
Searching for the perfect summer road trip? A drive from Los Angeles to Pebble Beach via Highway 1 could be just the right fit. We’ve crafted a leisurely itinerary that takes in all the sights, with luxurious accommodations to look forward to each night.
Day 1: Los Angeles to Santa Barbara
To kick off the trip, start from SoCal’s urban metropolis and head west toward Highway 1, connecting in Long Beach. Once en route, stop for lunch in scenic, celebrity-favorite Malibu, then continue along the coast toward Santa Barbara.
Though known for its temperate Mediterranean climate and convenient proximity to both L.A. and San Francisco, Santa Barbara—called the “American Riviera”—has a culture all its own. Take in the Spanish-colonial architecture and explore the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, featuring 65 acres of native flora. Then, enjoy dinner at bouchon Santa Barbara, an upscale farm-to-table take on French cuisine with Californian flare.
Day 2: Santa Barbara to Big Sur
Feeling well-rested? It’s time to get an early start for this lengthiest portion of the trip—and be sure to get gas before leaving Santa Barbara city limits.
Continue along Highway 1 through Cambria, a good halfway point to stop, stretch out, and take in some beach views. Then, about 12 miles past, stop to see the elephant seal rookery in San Simeon, and grab a bite at Sebastian’s, a burger bar featuring Hearst Ranch wines and an ocean-view patio.
From there, it’s 65 miles ahead to Big Sur, your destination for the night. Accommodations at Ventana Big Sur await, boasting rustic charm with a sophisticated edge. Tucked amid California redwoods, this eco-friendly, adults-only resort is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of coastal cruising. Grab dinner on the property at The Sur House before turning in for the night.
Along the way, be sure to take in postcard-worthy views of Bixby Creek Bridge—an iconic landmark along the Pacific Highway. Then, stop for photos at scenic Point Lobos State Natural Reserve before the final 8-mile stretch into Pebble Beach.