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10 Days of Sights and Eats on California’s Highway One

By: Heather Lalley

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  • States:
    California

Follow one of the world’s most celebrated routes, California’s Highway One, on this 10-day driving tour.

Along the way, you’ll visit bucket-list attractions, beach towns and downtowns, and local restaurants. You can start this trip at either end, though this version begins in San Diego and travels north through beach towns, Los Angeles and other can’t-miss locales before ending in San Francisco.

Day 1: San Diego

Explore any of the city’s diverse neighborhoods — Little Italy, North Park, South Park or East Village — for cutting-edge cuisine and craft beer.

 

The Neighborhood, an unpretentious gastropub in San Diego’s East Village, for creative burgers, pub grub and an extensive menu of craft beers

The Neighborhood, an unpretentious gastropub in San Diego’s East Village, for creative burgers, pub grub and an extensive menu of craft beers
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Neighborhood San Diego

Day 2: Huntington Beach

Soak up the surfer vibe here with a short walk from landmark Huntington Pier to Main Street’s stylish boutiques and restaurants -- many feature sidewalk tables or decks so you can bask in Huntington Beach’s fresh ocean breezes and sun-soaked afternoons.

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Day 3: Los Angeles

Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with its wide, uncrowded beach; classic pier topped with carnival rides and restaurants; and upscale Santa Monica Place shopping center (perfect for rooftop dining with ocean and city views). Head downtown for hip, trendy dining options.

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Day 4: Santa Barbara

This elegant city, decorated with Spanish-style architecture, is home to fine wineries as well as fine dining. Stroll State Street for standout restaurant choices, offering everything from sophisticated sushi to casual tacos.

California’s Highway One, a portion of which is known as the Pacific Coast Highway, running along some of the most beautiful coastline in the USA

California’s Highway One, a portion of which is known as the Pacific Coast Highway, running along some of the most beautiful coastline in the USA
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Robert Holmes/Visit California
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Day 5: Santa Ynez Wine Country

The Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, is one of most diverse grape-growing regions in the U.S. Tour a winery here to sip varietals from Chardonnay to Bordeaux.

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Day 6: Hearst Castle

This 165-room mansion is today the centerpiece of one of California’s most visited state parks. After a tour of the stunning estate, order the signature burger (and enjoy the ocean view) at nearby Sebastian’s.

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Day 7: Big Sur

Linger over the bluffs, sea and sky here, then try the “Ambrosia Burger” — named for its creamy, tomato-based sauce — on the deck of Nepenthe.

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Day 8: Monterey & Carmel

Carmel’s downtown is lined with cozy gastropubs. In Monterey, tour the world-class aquarium before stopping at one of the many restaurants along Cannery Row.

Shopping at Pezzini Farms in Castroville, known as the Artichoke Capital of the World

Shopping at Pezzini Farms in Castroville, known as the Artichoke Capital of the World
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See Monterey
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Day 9: Santa Cruz

This mellow beach town packs the family-friendly Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (indulge in amusement park food here) and an inviting downtown that promises local, organic restaurants.

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Day 10: San Francisco

San Francisco’s noteworthy restaurants are focused on local ingredients. Sample as many as you can, but leave time for a picnic at Golden Gate Park. You may also want to check out the high-end food court at Westfield Mall.

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