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Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary

Difficulty

846 miles/ 1400 km

Distance

7

Recom. Days

General

Trip type

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Inês Morais

Nature lover. If circling the world in an RV and exploring the most hidden gems spots was a job, probably wasn't writing this now...

Los Angeles - San Francisco Round Trip

Google maps itinirary

Google Maps

California is every camper’s dream road trip destination. From large, crowded cities like Los Angeles to the dreamy Malibu beaches to the Sierra mountain ranges, you find yourself in completely different environments without leaving the state. 

If you’ve been thinking about building a serious career in road-tripping and hitting the road during your next vacation, the Pacific Coast Highway itinerary is a great starting point. The scenic ocean views, rugged mountains, and sun-kissed beaches will have you glued to the campervan’s window. This road trip is the perfect opportunity to explore your adventurous side and have a taste of freedom in an extraordinary type of vacation.

The Pacific Coast Highway road trip is an unforgettable experience, especially if you make the right stops along the way. And, well, that is what this itinerary is here for, to help you go on the best Pacific Coast Highway road trip possible! Choose your campervan and get started on an amazing adventure.

Picture of La Jolla beach
Pick-up in
Los Angeles Pick-up center
1

Santa Monica

As one of the top beach towns along the Pacific Coast, Santa Monica is the first stop on this road trip. This sunny spot is Los Angeles’ neighbor and is every beach lovers’ ideal destination, thanks to its miles-long sun-bleached sand and welcoming waters. Malibu and Venice Beach are among the most iconic beaches of the area. If soaking up the sun on white sand isn’t your cup of tea, you can enjoy the beautiful ocean views from one of the many hikes in the Santa Monica mountains, such as the Sandstone Peak Trail.

Santa Monica Beach with Carnival

Visiting

Santa Monica

7

Recom. Days

Main route

13 miles

Los Angeles Depot

20 min

Los Angeles Depot

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Santa Monica Pier

Historical pier with an amusement park

Santa Monica State Beach

Background of the iconic series “Baywatch”

Santa Monica mountains

Coastal range packed with trails and amazing views

Signal

Eat at

Citrin

€€€

Modern Californian cuisine restaurant

Father’s Office

€€

Gastropub with burgers and craft beer

Rustic Canyon

€€€

Upscale neighborhood wine bar and seasonal kitchen

R+D Kitchen

€€

American-style restaurant

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Parking

Lot 4 South Ocean Avenue

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Stay at

Hollywood RV Parking

Fully facilitated

Dockweiler RV Park

Fully facilitated

2

Santa Ynez Valley

Rural California is yet to win the fight for the spotlight against the widely sought-for California beaches and piers. But Santa Ynez Valley is the perfect example of the beautiful secrets that the countryside hides.

Located near the mountains, Santa Ynez Valley is a wine country, best known for its Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and Merlot.

Wine field in Santa Ynez Valley

The several communities of the Valley show a unique character while offering rustic hospitality. While every single one of these communities has something to offer, you’ll have the most distinct experience in Solvang, the Danish Capital of the United States. Solvang thrives as a little Denmark and is a genuine outpost of Danish culture, traditions, architecture, and cuisine.

Visiting

Santa Ynez Valley

2

Recom. Days

Main route

125 miles

Santa Monica

2h20

Santa Monica

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Cachuma Lake

A reservoir that offers fantastic lake-view sites

Sunstone Winery

An organic vineyard retreat

Old Mission Santa Ines

One of the oldest surviving structures in California

Gainey Vineyard

A beautiful vineyard with wine, olive oil, and spices

Signal

Eat at

Plenty on Bells

€€

Farm-to-table restaurant featuring interior and patio dining

Toscana Pizzeria Tapas Enoteca

€€

Fresh Italian pizza and tapas restaurant

The Tavern at Zaca Creek

€€

Rustic-chic restaurant and bar with vegan options

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

€€

Wine country cuisine

RV icon

Parking

Solvang Veteran's Memorial Hall Parking Lot

Free

Signal

Stay at

Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

fully equipped

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground

€€€

Fully facilitated

3

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle, best known as La Cuesta Encantada, is a unique, stunning palatial estate in San Simeon. It is the house of one of the world’s most famous pools for its architectural beauty.

This piece of Mediterranean Revival architecture features walls adorned with velvet fabric and a marble balcony. In addition, Hearst’s extensive collection of antiques and artworks is displayed throughout the mansion. Hearst Castle is nestled high above the San Simeon, so guests get sublime ocean views.

Hearst Castle and Palmtrees

On your way to the castle, make a quick stop at Morro Bay, Pacific Gibraltar, and enjoy the fresh air, as well as the idyllic views and the Morro Rock, an extinct volcanic rock.

Visiting

Heart Castle

1

Recom. Days

Main route

109 miles

Santa Ynez Valley

1h50

Santa Ynez Valley

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

San Simeon pier and beach

Bay pier, ideal for nature lovers

Scenic View Point San Simeon

Coastal viewpoint with amazing sea view

Signal

Eat at

Cavalier Coastal Kitchen

€€

Classic American cuisine with panoramic views of the ocean

Sea Chest Oyster Bar

€€€

Small-town seafood restaurant

The Café on the Bridge St.

€€

A place with cute decor and mouth-watering sandwiches

RV icon

Parking

Hearst Castle Visitor Center Parking Lot

Free

Signal

Stay at

Paso Robles RV Ranch & Campground

€€

Fully facilitated

Bella Vista By The Sea

€€

Fully facilitated

4

Big Sur

The region of Big Sur is rich in state parks, from the well-known Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, surrounded by steep Santa Lucia Mountains, to the Garrapata State Park to the Limekiln State Park. Each park is packed with hiking trails that lead to natural wonders: redwood groves, waterfalls, and breathtaking coastal views. This makes the region the perfect stop for campers who love to take in the beauty of nature.

Big Sur beach with rocks

While going through this mountainous section of California’s Central Coast, expect to be swept off your by a number of unique natural attractions, such as the Keyhole Arch Pfeiffer Beach, which is essentially a rock formation in the shore that forms an arch. These rocks can give you a splendid view of the sunset a few weeks each winter, when the sun lines up perfectly with the arch and you get to see a setting sun beaming through the arch.

Visiting

Big Sur

1

Recom. Days

Main route

65 miles

Hearst Castle

1h30

Hearst Castle

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

McWay Falls

One of the few waterfalls that empty directly into the ocean

Bixby Creek Bridge

A Californian bridge with a unique design

Pfeiffer Beach

Tranquil beach best known for its purple sand

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Eat at

Nepenthe

€€€

Restaurant with a fantastic view and a tasty menu

Big Sur Roadhouse

€€€

Rustic restaurant with great outdoor seating

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Parking

Big Sur Station

Signal

Stay at

Fernwood Campground and Resort

€€€

Fully facilitated

Big Sur Campground & Cabins

€€€

Fully facilitated

5

Monterey

Monterey is a picturesque California region, widely known as the residence of the author John Steinbeck, as well as the backdrop of his book “Cannery Row”. It’s a natural paradise, packed with coastal cliffs and unspoiled beaches.

Beach in Monterey

Enjoy the path of the Salinas Valley and Carmel Valley on the River Road and Carmel Valley wine trails. Enjoy the serene beach town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where art galleries, restaurants, and hundreds of cultural offerings are on the menu. 

Don’t forget to visit Monterey Bay, where you can enjoy uncrowded beaches, delicious dishes with fresh local seafood, and stunning views.

Visiting

Monterey

1

Recom. Days

Main route

30 miles

Big Sur

40 min

Big Sur

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Lone Cypress

iconic 250-year-old tree clinging to a wave-lashed granite pedestal

Pacific Grove

the beautiful monarch butterfly’s favorite place

Point Pinos

the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast

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Eat at

Rosine’s Restaurant

€€

ideal for foodies looking for hearty meals

Monterey's Fish House

€€

expertise in seafood, steaks, and homemade pasta

Hula's Island Grill

€€

a fusion restaurant that smoothly mixes different cultures

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Parking

Monterey Bay Park

€€

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Stay at

Monterey Veteran's Memorial Park

6

San Francisco

San Francisco brings a few images to mind; the steep hills, the global center for high technology, and the Golden Gate Bridge to name just a few. 

But there’s much more to this California staple. From Segway tours in the vast Golden Gate Park to a visit to the rich California Academy of Science to drinks in the iconic San Francisco Bay Area, the eclectic San Francisco deserves its status as the Pacific Coast Highway road trip grand finale.

San Francisco bridge with the ocean

Visiting

San Francisco

1

Recom. Days

Main route

120 miles

Monterey

2h

Monterey

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Lombard Street

The most crooked street in the world

Golden Gate Bridge

a San Franciscan landmark

San Francisco Botanical Garden

A unique urban oasis in the Golden Gate Park

Signal

Eat at

Sotto Mare

€€

For fresh seafood lovers

Sam Wo Restaurant

Enduring symbol of San Francisco’s Chinatown

House of Prime Rib

€€€

English house where you can enjoy good ribs

RV icon

Parking

Northern and Southern ends Ocean Beach Parking Lots

Free

Golden Gate Bridge Parking

Free

Signal

Stay at

Treasure Island Mobile Home & RV Park

€€€

Fully facilitated

Drop-off in
Los Angeles Pick-up center

3 miles

Los Angeles International Airport

6 min

drive