Cali Coast Adventure

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Cruising down the coast and catching a couple waves, what’s more California than that? My Cali Coast Adventure looks to deliver the best the Golden State has to offer. Driving down the iconic Route 1 along the coast, you’ll stop at resorts near San Francisco, LA and San Diego. You visit some amazing hotels along the way as you take in all the joys of the coastal California lifestyle.

This is not a plan that I am selling, but a post to inspire you to explore different vacation options. With that being said, you can take this idea and adjust it to fit your needs, maybe by cutting nights or even destinations. I list the pricing after tax (except on some transport), and the prices are for May. The trip is calculated for a family of four, but I do list what a couple should expect at the bottom. So let's get started. Below are a couple maps of the trip and total cost:


Pricing Breakdown


When looking at the transportation costs of this plan, you'll be arriving in San Francisco and departing from San Diego. I've set a higher budget for airfare, $350 per person, for a total of $1,400. As usual, if you have points accumulated, that would be a great way to reduce the cost of this trip.

The best way to experience the coast is to rent a car. I will say that there are some stretches of highway that are intimidating. Route 1 does offer great views, but that’s because you’re driving along the side of hills and cliffs at time, so make sure you’re comfortable with this. Also, another disclaimer, the views change from sea views, to city streets, to neighborhoods and even to strip malls. So it will offer you amazing views and great places to stop, it will be a mixture of different atmospheres as you go. But, again, a really cool part of exploring.




Hotel Summary: While each hotel does possess several similarities, I think each one stands out for its own special reason.

Destination 1

Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay is perched on a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean. The accommodations are superb, the dining options are exceptional and the service is beyond compare. For activities, you can play a round of golf, enjoy a spa treatment or just head to the beach to go for a swim (or swim in the indoor pool.)

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach
A little further down the coast than the Ritz, Pismo beach is a beautiful area to visit, and The Dolphin Bay resort is the best place to stay while there. The all-suite resort offers a ton of space to spread out while enjoying the first leg of the trip.


Destination 2

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
The Ritz Carlton Santa Barbara is a peaceful getaway to enjoy while driving down the coast. It's surrounded by lush vegetation and is one of the only hotels on the ocean in Santa Barbara.

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort - Santa Barbara
The Hilton is a large sprawling resort that offers a ton of amenities while visiting. This hotel offers all the exceptional amenities that you would expect from the Hilton brand. Though the beach is across the street, the walk is fairly simple.


Destination 3

La Valencia Hotel, La Jolla
This San Diego resort is a stunning option in La Jolla, a upscale area north of the downtown area. While not on the ocean, this hotel is always on the top of the best places to stay list. It has amazing views, exceptional service and access to a very walkable area of town.

Hotel del Coronado
This is one o the best options for a San Diego hotel, just for it's location. The Hilton owned property is located on the little peninsula across from downtown San Diego. The area is a little more residential and less hectic than staying within the city. You're right on the beach, and the views of the ocean are amazing.

Itinerary and Activities

Above is an idea of what a possible itinerary would look like for this trip. Everything listed above is included in the price and covers all the activities that I have planned for the trip for four family members. So, again, if you see activities that don’t interest you, you could save money by skipping.

Included in the cost is a 2 day, all-inclusive Go San Diego Pass. This pass allows you to enjoy as many activities that you can squeeze into the two days you have it, which costs $159/adult and $149/child. There are a ton of activities you can enjoy, like a 2 day hop on, hop off pass. I've included a few that I like in the itinerary.

Food Budget

I have built-in about $150 per day which I think would be enough to get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since you'll have a car for most of the trip, I would recommend stopping at a grocery store for snacks and even quick a quick breakfast.lunch item. We do this occasionally to cut down on costs while traveling, that way we can really splurged for our dinners.


For couples, I've adjusted the amount spent on the flight, the activities, the food and the room rate. If you were to go, the prices would be similar to the chart below.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through my latest travel plan! If there's a region, or a trip, that you would want me to feature, just let me know!



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