Dream Design

A Pacific Coast rite of passage

  • Family of four walking across the beach with surfboards
San Francisco – Carmel Valley – Pismo Beach – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles – Laguna Beach

A Pacific Coast
rite of passage

With the dramatic cliffs of the Pacific Coast Highway charting the course, jump behind the wheel and take the whole brood on one of America’s most iconic road trips through some of California’s gems.

The trendy streets of San Francisco are the first port of call, where some of the country’s most iconic landmarks live, but so too do tours of the city’s neighbourhoods. Then, take off down California’s Route 1 to the marine-life-laden bays of Carmel Valley.

After a Pismo Beach pit-stop, Santa Barbara calls with its low-key style and leisurely aquatic adventures, before the blinding lights of Beverly Hills appear over the horizon. Everything L.A. has to offer is fit into three full days, leaving time for the blissed-out sandy coves of Laguna Beach to deliver a well-deserved break for both grown-ups and tuckered-out tykes.

Crowds of people crossing the road in Venice Beach
The iconic arch of Universal Studios in Los Angeles
Three of San Fransisco's iconic painted ladies in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood

Where you’ll be going

Get to know where you'll be exploring in California, from the bright lights of its iconic cities to the changing faces of the north’s national parks.

  • Looking up at one of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge
    San Francisco Bay Area

    This pint-sized city packs a lot into its borders. Sightseeing here can take up a day or two with the likes of the Victorian Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, but it has an educational side too with its Exploratorium and academy of sciences. Not to mention the winelands of Napa and Sinoma.

    Stay at: Fairmont San Francisco
  • Sun rays through clouds over Carmel Valley
    Carmel Valley

    Vineyards become beaches as they trip down the hills of Carmel Valley. Enveloping everyone into ‘ranch life’ with the likes of farm-fresh dining and almost every outdoorsy pursuit that springs to mind.

    Stay at: Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Rooftop view on Santa Barbara street in California
    Santa Barbara

    Bringing an urban twist to the ‘American Riviera’s’ Med-chic atmosphere, Santa Barbara’s downtown Funk Zone highlights all things local – from creative collectives to a delectable wine trail.

    Stay at: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara
  • Looking down a road lined by cars and palm trees towards the Hollywood sign
    Los Angeles & Santa Monica

    Los Angeles is the home to stars of film, music and all things golden. Known as the ‘city of angels’ its celestial bodies come in the form of Beverley Hills’ luxury shops and walking in Hollywood’s footsteps at Universal Studios. However there is a wholesome side, with a hearty bond to healthy cuisine (including Malibu’s sensational seafood) and a proud LGBTQ+ community in Santa Monica.

    Stay at: Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
  • Looking up at three tall trees
    Orange County

    Disneyland Resort holds some thrills and spills, but the beach is the real ruler of these parts. The Laguna Beach area is known for its artsy community who use the ocean as inspiration, Newport Beach is home to the surfers, and Dana Point is the best base to whale watch, with Greys, Blues and Minkes spotted at different points throughout the year.

    Stay at: Montage Laguna Beach


    • Gateway to Universal Studios Hollywood
      Go behind-the-scenes at Universal Studios.

      The VIP lounge is where visitors recline in anticipation for their guide, who is ready to delve deep into the studio complex. Sets like the War of the Worlds plane crash, Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane and Bates Motel fill the tour of the studio’s four acres, opening up access to areas usually closed off to the general public.

    • Seals on rock in the middle of the ocean
      Get a closer look at California’s marine life on an eco-raft.

      Guided by an expert captain, take to a private former military patrol vessel to cruise the waters of Monterey Bay, seeking out its abundance of wildlife. Whales are in droves, from humpbacks and orcas to blues and venturing to either Point Lobos or Elkhorn Slough introduces the animals of the wetlands like otters, seals and sea lions.

    • Street cars passing in San Francisco
      Hop on a cable car to explore the unique neighbourhoods of San Francisco.

      From the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf with its bustling Pier 39, to the pretty Painted Ladies and Chinatown home to the largest Chinese community outside Asia, a guide leads the way in discovering the rich history of this iconic city.

Itinerary essentials
  • 16
  • Apr - Nov
  • 11hrs 05min
    LHR - SFO
  • 10hrs 35min
Get in touch your way…
We customise every trip to you and our quotes are bespoke. We’re here to offer advice, recommendations and answer your questions.
  • Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.MediaWithCrops`1[Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.PublishedModels.Image]

    Explore more of

    California is one great big road trip; with pinstripe vineyards, seal-inhabited coastlines, glowing cities and a sunny disposition at every stop.
  • Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.MediaWithCrops`1[Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.PublishedModels.Image]

    Explore more of
    the USA

    The North American continent offers diversity quite like no other, from the iconic cities, rolling plains and spectacular national parks of the USA.