CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

Discover the west coast of America with this scenic route. From the bustling city of San Francisco to the quiet hills of Napa Valley and the giant trees of Sequoia to super hip LA, this itinerary makes sure you see it all.

Lightfoot Travel specialises in tailor-made itineraries for family holidays, honeymoons and corporate travel around the world. Below is a sample itinerary for a road trip through California, and can be adjusted based on your time, budget and interests.

Day 1 San Francisco Arrival

Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport, you will be met by your Lightfoot Travel guide and transferred to your hotel, approximately 15 minutes by car.
Located between Union Square and the achingly hip SoMa, Hotel Zetta has been “the coolest boutique hotel.” This cultural hot spot is the perfect launch pad to explore the city, providing an enclave for savvy travelers, culture seekers, and local creatives. The ultramodern accommodations and dynamic gathering spaces provide a sophisticated respite in a fresh, sustainable, vibrant setting. Make the most of your stay with a drink in the lobby bar, a game of giant Jenga in the playroom, or a workout in the state-of-the-art Technogym.

Stay: Hotel Zetta

Day 2 Explore Infamous Alcatraz

With an enviable location in the bustling heart of SoMa (South of Market Street), Hotel Zetta is the perfect base from which to explore. Start the day ‘biking the bridge’, indulging in the city’s delectable foodie treats, wandering through world-class galleries and museums, and zigzagging down one of San Francisco’s steep hillside streets.
In the afternoon explore infamous Alcatraz, with a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast, the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public, and the 18-month occupation by Indians of All Tribes. Rich in history, there is also a natural side to the Rock—gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare.

Stay: Hotel Zetta

Day 3 Slow Down in the Valley

From hurried city life to the remote, slower-paced wine region of Napa Valley, it’s time to relax and unwind. After a short 90 minute transfer by private car you’ll arrive at Calistoga Ranch. Nature is the main focus at this spa resort, built on 157 acres spotted with ancient oaks, majestic hills, rock-hewn streams, and a private lake.
Experience the award-winning Napa Spa & Fitness programs or indulge in the rich culture of food, wine, and nature inherent to the region. Designed with relaxation in mind, Calistoga Ranch offers guests acres of scenic hiking trails, hot air balloon rides, fabulous restaurants, and championship golf – the ultimate luxury experience in the heart of the wild.

Stay: Calistoga Ranch

Day 4 Wine Tasting and Ranch Life

Today, take full advantage of the complimentary fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, ready to chauffeur you around the region as you get drunk on the heady scent of nature and the spectacular beauty of Napa vineyards, not to mention the wine. Sample some of the finest tipples made stateside, at your choice of the more than 300 wineries that surround the resort. This is an ideal day for wine novices and experts alike to learn more about the art of winemaking and experience la dolce vita.

 

Stay: Calistoga Ranch

Day 5 Luxury “Glamping” in Yosemite National Park

Sleep off any lingering wine fog on the 4-1/2 hour drive to Yosemite National Park. Then arrive refreshed at Tenaya Lodge, your home for the next two nights.
Tenaya Lodge is your gateway to Yosemite adventure. Rest, play, rejuvenate, and make memories you’ll never forget. This elegant resort in the California High Sierra offers spacious rooms with custom amenities and a unique secluded escape. Head straight into the fresh air to explore Yosemite, or hang back and book a treatment at the spa.

Stay: Tenaya Lodge

Day 6 Bigger is Better - Granite Monoliths and Sequoia Trees

Today pull yourself out of your comfortable bed because Yosemite adventure awaits.
Home to stunning granite monoliths and roaring waterfalls, hiking trails, alpine meadows, and groves of gargantuan sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park is an outdoorsman’s dream. Shout your name into the roar at Yosemite Falls. Marvel at El Capitan. Gaze up nearly 5,000 feet above the valley at Half Dome. This is a place where size matters and where nothing is done half way, so embrace adventure head on and head out into the wild. More than a thousand square miles of mountain scenery is yours for the taking.

Stay: Tenaya Lodge

Day 7 Return to the Coast

Returning to the coast today, you’ll discover the stunning setting of Post Ranch Inn, a sanctuary for the soul, perched on the edge of a cliff. Sitting 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Post Ranch Inn is ideal for romance, relaxation, or rejuvenation. With natural architecture embracing the coast’s rugged beauty, 39 rooms blend rustic elegance, comfort, and privacy with panoramic ocean or mountain views. Relax by the pools. Rejuvenate with a yoga class. Take in endless ocean views. Or head off to picturesque Monterey or Carmel, beautiful coastal towns just a short drive away.

Stay: Post Ranch Inn

Day 8 The Dramatic Headlands of Big Sur

Just beyond Post Ranch lies a wealth of attractions and amenities sure to delight outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. Stand atop a dramatic volcanic rock at Point Sur Lighthouse. Get a day pass to Esalen and further your journey to enlightenment. Snap photos of Bixby Bridge, the world’s highest single span concrete arch. Take the scenic 17 Mile Drive to Pebble Beach. Hike. Bike. Breathe in the fresh air. And at the end of the day, book a “duet hand massage” back at the Ranch, the perfect antidote for trek-weary muscles.

Stay: Post Ranch Inn

Day 9 Big Sur to Santa Barbara

The journey from Big Sur to Santa Barbara is one of the most scenic stretches of Highway 1. And arriving at Belmond El Encanto brings its own taste of romance and glamour with authentic 1920’s styling and a retro sense of home.
True to its Californian roots, this luxury hotel combines glamour with laidback style. It’s an enchanting hideaway for guests who seek privacy and serenity. Sitting high in the hills, amid lush gardens, Belmond El Encanto offers stunning views across the town and ocean. The original architectural features have been lovingly restored and updated with modern amenities like an expansive outdoor swimming pool and boutique spa.

Stay: Belmond El Encanto

Day 10 Santa Barbara Charm

Start your day with a delicious breakfast, then hop on an electric bike and explore charming downtown Santa Barbara, full of shops, museums, and cafes. Discover the local area with complimentary transport in the hotel’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Travel anywhere you want within a five-mile radius. Visit the Farmer’s Market on State Street, head to a restaurant in Montecito, explore Santa Barbara’s waterfront. The choice is yours.

Stay: Belmond El Encanto

Day 11 Santa Barbara to LA

It’s a short drive to Shutters on the Beach, and once you’re there, you will have arrived in every sense of the word. Where else to conclude but the inimitable Los Angeles? Settle into your home Angelino home base, with its effortlessly cool interiors, and a prime setting right on the Santa Monica sands.
A room at Shutters is like nowhere else on earth. It’s the home you wish you had. It’s calming palettes inspired by the ocean just outside. It’s the comfortable bedroom you’ll never want to leave. So enjoy it, then tear yourself away; the city is waiting to be explored.

Stay: Shutters on the Beach

Day 12 Santa Monica, a Balance of Culture and Cool

Whether beachside or roadside, Santa Monica is the epitome of California cool. Bike from Malibu to Manhattan Beach. Try your hand at volleyball. Pack a picnic for alfresco dining under the shady palms. Shop the Third Street Promenade. Brave the Ferris wheel at the pier. The hotel is located in the best neighbourhood in the U.S. and the staff will happily share their favourite spots for whatever you’d like to do and wherever you’d like to go.

Stay: Shutters on the Beach

Day 13 Until Next Time LA!

Spend your morning at leisure before heading to the airport for your flight home. Your bags will be a little heavier with sand. Your skin will be a little darker from sunkissed days. Your heart will be a little fuller with love.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1 San Francisco Arrival Hotel Zetta
Day 2 Explore Infamous Alcatraz Hotel Zetta
Day 3 Slow Down in the Valley Calistoga Ranch
Day 4 Wine Tasting and Ranch Life Calistoga Ranch
Day 5 Luxury “Glamping” in Yosemite National Park Tenaya Lodge
Day 6 Bigger is Better - Granite Monoliths and Sequoia Trees Tenaya Lodge
Day 7 Return to the Coast Post Ranch Inn
Day 8 The Dramatic Headlands of Big Sur Post Ranch Inn
Day 9 Big Sur to Santa Barbara Belmond El Encanto
Day 10 Santa Barbara Charm Belmond El Encanto
Day 11 Santa Barbara to LA Shutters on the Beach
Day 12 Santa Monica, a Balance of Culture and Cool Shutters on the Beach
Day 13 Until Next Time LA!

Inclusions

Not Included

  • Visas
  • International airfare
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

San Francisco Napa Valley Yosemite National Park Big Sur Santa Barbara Los Angeles