Pack your bags and fill up the gas tank for a bed and breakfast tour along the Pacific Coast Highway. California’s Highway 1 is the perfect choice for a scenic drive, with its magnificent coastal views and winding roads. Picturesque sunsets, rolling mountains, jagged cliffs and sandy beaches, join with charming coastal villages to form one of the most brilliant drives along the Pacific Ocean. We have specially selected some of the most beautiful and accommodating inns listed on BnBFinder.com to make your drive down this “All-American Road” as comfortable as possible and a trip you’ll want to make again and again.
From San Francisco to Los Angeles, Route 1 will take you along twists and curves. The road can be challenging at times, with one section affectionately dubbed “Devil’s Slide”. By traveling from north to south, you will have unobstructed views of the cliffs and sea below, as you will be on the ocean-side of the road when driving. Take your time driving and don’t let the fabulous views distract you! There are many designated lookout points and safe stopping places for endless picture taking.
After arriving in San Francisco, take a day or two to explore the City on the Bay. See the playful sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, take in the incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge, tour the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company then indulge yourself in their gift shop, drive down Lombard Street: America’s most crooked street, sit in a prison cell at Alcatraz, and of course ride one of the world famous San Francisco Cable Cars.
After a day of touring and sightseeing, rest your weary body at one of San Francisco’s most delightful B&Bs. For a terrific night’s sleep in a quiet cozy neighborhood, coupled with an abundance of superb, moderately priced restaurants, coffee houses and internet cafes, the Country Cottage (www.bnbfinder.com/CountryCottage) is an excellent pick for those who want great accommodations in a wonderful area of town, with easy access to the heart of the city at an unbeatable price!
On your second day in the Golden State, get an early start and begin your drive down the coast. You may want to stop in Pacifica, which is known for its natural beauty and is filled with numerous hiking trails through rolling hills that overlook the ocean surf and forested canyons. Just after Pacifica is Montara State Beach, a wonderful place to stop and marvel at the bright blue water of the Pacific Ocean.
As you continue along the snaking course, you’ll drive into Half Moon Bay, a pleasant little seaside town filled with shops, art galleries and restaurants. Half Moon Bay is the perfect place to stay for a night and if you dream of falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the surf and waking up to a gourmet breakfast, you’ll love staying at the Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn (www.bnbfinder.com/LandisShores), a luxury bed and breakfast located above the rocky shoreline. Enjoy sampling premium wines in the afternoon after a romantic walk on a coastal trail or horseback riding along the beach. How about shopping along historic Main Street or a round of golf with a view? It’s all nearby!
From Half Moon Bay, you’ll travel to Monterey. On your way there, you can stop off in Santa Cruz for a roller coaster ride at California’s only seaside amusement park or in Rio del Mar, for a day at the beach, which is open from sunrise to sunset with on duty lifeguards in the summertime.
As you enter Monterey, you will be met with a city rich in history and culture. Walk where the first Spanish settlers walked, hike through Monterey State Historic Park or shop and dine at Monterey’s historic Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. Relax for the night at one of Monterey’s most elegant inns. The Old Monterey Inn Bed and Breakfast (www.bnbfinder.com/OldMonterey) is a historic boutique bed and breakfast inn and a popular choice for those seeking a California vacation. In addition to refined accommodations, fine linens and a wonderful location, Old Monterey Inn offers a beautiful garden for year round enjoyment. The inn is a short drive to world-renowned golf courses, wineries and entertainment. Let them show you how to truly “get away”.
The next stopover is the seaside village of Cambria and the surrounding villages of San Simeon, Harmony, Cayucos and Morro Bay. The inland wine region offers a wealth of fun activities that can be enjoyed for at least a day or two. Olallieberry Inn (www.bnbfinder.com/Olallieberry) is a historic bed and breakfast located in Cambria. This 1873 built home is one of the oldest buildings in town and sits on the banks of the Santa Rosa Creek. A 120-year-old Redwood tree greets guests from the inn’s front entry. Enjoy evening hors d’oeuvres and a full gourmet breakfast in the morning. Lush and colorful gardens can be enjoyed from the back deck – beyond which is an inviting carpet of lawn, which has made this inn famous for weddings and celebrations.
From Cambria, it’s less than an hour to San Luis Obispo, a quaint, and inviting village where intimate designer boutiques abound. Walking through the streets, you will get a sense of the town’s European-style culture. If you get worn-out from the town activity, you can rest on a bench overlooking San Luis Creek.
The Garden Street Inn Bed and Breakfast (www.bnbfinder.com/GardenStreet) is located in downtown San Luis Obispo. The grace and simplicity of yesteryear prevail at this 1887 Italianate/Queen Anne home, which was restored in 1990. The Garden Street Inn is the only lodging in the heart of old-fashioned downtown San Luis Obispo. Classic decor reflects Victorian charm and spacious outside decks and the well stocked Goldtree Library adds to guest enjoyment. Golf, tennis, biking and hiking opportunities abound. An evening reception featuring local wines and hors d’oeuvres is served to lodging guests from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The last trek of the journey will take you down into Santa Barbara. On the way from San Luis Obispo, you can stop in Pismo Beach and visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove, where from October to February, thousands of beautiful butterflies gather in tree limbs, giving the appearance of yellow and orange leaves.
Once in Santa Barbara, experience the essence of the Californian lifestyle. Here, the southern and northern regions of the state come together to combine the art and culture of a big city with the beauty and hospitality of a small beach town. There is plenty to do and experience during your stay in Santa Barbara, where some of the best shopping, beaches, restaurants, and resorts abound. The Cheshire Cat Inn (www.bnbfinder.com/CheshireCat) is located five minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, perfect for walking to restaurants, shops and galleries. Two historic Santa Barbara Queen Ann Victorians built in 1894 with high ceilings and pagoda type bay windows lend an air of elegance to this updated bed and breakfast inn. English antiques, hardwood floors and Oriental rugs add style and comfort.
Before you know it, you’ll be heading towards Los Angeles and your tour down the Pacific Coast Highway will be over, but not before spending a day of sightseeing in LA. It’s all about Hollywood in the City of Angels. Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame and place your hands where the actor you love once did. Visit Grauman’s Chinese Theatre or any one of the studios where films and TV are made. And of course, don’t forget the Hollywood Sign!
Although Los Angeles is the end of our tour and San Francisco the beginning, you can choose to start and finish your trip wherever you choose. Route 1 (or Route 101) starts in Washington and runs through Oregon into California as far south as Laguna Beach, where it intersects with Route 5, which will take you down into San Diego. Look for future Bed & Breakfast Tours covering these areas and regions and wake up someplace special.
Total Estimated Distance: 465 miles
San Francisco to Half Moon Bay: 24 miles
Half Moon Bay to Monterey: 104 miles
Monterey to Cambria: 102 miles
Cambria to San Luis Obispo: 34 miles
San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara: 105 miles
Santa Barbara to Los Angeles: 97 miles