Day 1 – San Francisco
I’m a huge fan of this diverse city. It gives off such a fun vibe and there’s so much to do! Start your day at Lapisara Eatery, where you can enjoy a delicious brunch, including a Fried Chicken Benedict for the proper American experience. Then, spend the day getting to know the city by walking around some of the iconic sights:
- Painted Ladies
- 2640 Steiner Street
- Lombard Street (known as the most crooked street in the world)
The Painted Ladies are a row of colourful houses that are used as the exterior in the TV series Full House and in the blockbuster film Mrs Doubtfile. 2640 Steiner Street was the address of the Hillard family in Mrs Doubtfire, although this isn’t actually one of the Painted Ladies. San Fran is incredibly hilly, so make sure to have your walking shoes on and enjoy a hefty dinner at The Cheesecake Factory afterwards – the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake is my favourite.
Day 2 – San Francisco
Head to Honey Honey Café & Creperie for a breakfast of sweet and savoury crepes, omelettes, bagels and more! Make sure it’s a clear day before cycling the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito with Blazing Saddles. It’s a lot of fun and worth the journey! Sausalito is a lovely little village to wander around and Venice is the place to grab a bite to eat if the journey has you feeling a bit peckish. You can cycle back over the Golden Gate Bridge or take the ferry. Once back, jump on the tram to Chinatown and have dinner at the House of Nan King; let the waiter bring you what he recommends – everything is incredible!
Day 3 – San Francisco
The Saratoga is a nice place to have brunch. It’s a little fancier that some places, but the food and cocktails were really tasty. Spend the first half of your day visiting Alcatraz, learning about the federal prison that housed Al Capone and taking in the amazing views over the city and the bay. Once back on land, take the chance to walk around Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf (Ghiradelli’s chocolate is a must!) before dinner at Scoma’s. This is a good chance to try the local dish, cioppino and eat amazing sourdough bread that you’ll be thinking about long after your trip.
Day 4 – San Francisco
Use your final day in San Francisco to explore the Napa region with Wine Country Limos. It is such a fun way to see Napa and try some amazing wines. It’s a beautiful location and the rose wines are delicious! If you’re looking for something quick to soak up the wine afterwards, head to Mac D – a build your own Mac ‘n’ Cheese place.
Day 5 – Yosemite
I still haven’t done this part of the trip, but I have friends that made the journey, and I would include it on another visit. By the time you arrive, you can explore a little bit of the valley floor to get a quick insight into the National Park. Mariposa is a nearby town where you’ll be able to find dinner for the evening.
Day 6 – Yosemite
Today, pick from one of the many trails around the National Park. There are lots of different options suitable for different fitness levels/abilities. After a day of exploring have a relaxed evening at Tenaya Lodge or in front of a campfire enjoying s’mores.
Day 7 – Monterey
When you arrive head to their version of Fisherman’s Wharf for a stroll by the pier and some saltwater taffy or visit the Monterey Aquarium. For dinner go to Pepper’s (Mexican) or Peter B’s Brewpub for a tasty and hearty bite to eat.
Day 8 – Big Sur/Pismo Beach
This morning don’t miss the scenic 17 Mile Drive from Monterey to Carmel. Then it’s time to drive the amazing Big Sur. Today is all about the views, and you’ll have plenty of them! The scenery on the Big Sur is stunning and you’ll want to stop for photos at:
- Bixby Bridge
- McWay Falls
- San Simeone (elephant seals)
- And probably every corner with amazing scenery!
The Big Sur Roadhouse is a good place to stop for lunch on route, before arriving in Pismo Beach to sample the amazing clam chowder at Splash Café. If you’re looking for a bigger meal at a restaurant, Yanagi has a great sushi selection.
Day 9 – Los Angeles
Before driving to LA, visit the Madonna Inn for breakfast (you could also go here for dinner the previous evening). This hotel/restaurant is all about the colour pink – making it extremely Instagrammable! There’s also Bubblegum Alley in Pismo, which is another Instagram friendly spot. Santa Barbara is a nice town to stop in to break up your drive and get a bit of time on the beach before arriving in LA for dinner. California is all about Mexican food and Casablaca is a great place to enjoy hand-made tortilla’s and delicious guacamole.
Day 10 – Los Angeles
Head out to see LA’s most famous sights today:
- Beverly Hills
- Rodeo Drive
- Hollywood Walk of Fame (good time to grab wings at Hooters)
- Lake Hollywood Park (good view and photo of Hollywood Sign)
Enjoy dinner at The Misfit, which has a varied menu and everything we ate was amazing. To round off your evening, bar hop around Santa Monica, or take a walk down to the pier.
Day 11 – Los Angeles
Rise and shine, and head to the beach! Venice Beach is a super fun area of LA, which is an incredibly spread out city. Go for a morning run/walk along the boulevard and people watch or take part in a workout on Muscle Beach. Brunch should be at Rose Café, where I had the most amazing breakfast burrito! Then you can spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach and exploring the streets and canals (electric scooters are a good way to do this). High Rooftop Bar in the Erwin Hotel is a nice place to have a sundowner before more Mexican food at Mercado.
Day 12 – San Diego
It’s time to continue south to the chilled-out gem that is San Diego. On the way you can stop at Laguna Beach and La Jolla. Make La Jolla your lunch stop and head to The Taco Stand for some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. If you’re looking to do some shopping on this trip, Las Americas Premium Outlets is a good mall to visit. No Californian road trip would be complete without grabbing a burger and animal fries from In ‘n’ Out Burger. Round off the day with a baseball game, if you haven’t already seen one in San Francisco or LA (don’t forget the Cracker Jacks!).
Day 13 – San Diego/Tijuana
Today I would head to Tijuana, Mexico because it’s so close and I’m a huge Mexican food fan! You can either park your car at the Premium Outlets and walk over the border, or you can join a tour departing from San Diego and spend the day on the Baja coast. However you decide to do it, make sure you have tamales for breakfast, tacos for lunch and lots of tequila throughout the day. There are plenty of sports bars in San Diego for you to continue your fun day in on your return. Or if you’re in San Diego on a Friday head to Balboa Park for Food Truck Friday’s.
Day 14 – San Diego
Breakfast should be at The Mission, where you can order incredible breakfast burritos, quesadillas and more. For your last day you could do some sightseeing, including the USS Midway Museum for aviation fans and The San Diego Zoo. Coronado Island is a cool place to visit, with a ferry taking you over. There is also a Marriott Hotel on the island, where you can pay in to and lounge by the pool for some ultra-relaxation on your final day of the trip. Before dinner, watch the sunset at Wonderland Ocean Pub, where you can cheers a tequila with the whole room as the sun goes down! Continue the Mexican theme, with an amazing dinner at La Puerta (taco Tuesday’s is a good night to visit); get the Bark at the Moon margarita, it’s been my favourite yet!