Last week, I gave you a taste of Sonoma County with the Top 5 highlights. What wasn’t shown was the process leading up to Sonoma, which entailed a pretty intense road trip for Kendall and Shanna. Following Virtuoso Travel Week, they headed out to San Diego to start what has long been a bucket list trip for both of them: driving Highway 1. While they had many stops on their way from San Diego to Sonoma, a few really stuck out to them.
So it's over to Kendall and Shanna for this weeks Top 5.
Top 5 - California Highway 1 Roadtrip
1. Park Hyatt Aviara
Starting off very strong is one of our favorite properties in the northern San Diego area. Not only because we have an incredible relationship with our contact here (pictured below), but also because the property itself is beautiful (above). The true highlight here was the double king guest rooms, which is pretty unheard of. The resort boasts a coastal lifestyle with an array of amenities including five restaurants, family and adult-only pools, a tennis and recreation center, and Aviara Spa. It allows guests to unwind in the spacious nature-inspired guestrooms and indulge in personalized luxury.
2. Santa Monica (Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Shutters on the Beach)
Moving north from San Diego, our next stop was Los Angeles with our favorite area being Santa Monica. We stayed at the Fairmont Miramar (above) which offers a variety of accommodations from guest rooms to bungalows. Lush gardens, breathtaking views, and Southern California style await guests of the hotel. We also had the chance to tour Shutters on the Beach (below), which had more of a seaside, cottage feel drawing inspiration from Cape Cod. It’s situated directly on the beach and is a great option for guests wanting easy access to the ocean. Both resorts have amazing spas and restaurants!
3. Santa Barbara (above)After check-in at Mar Monte (Unbound Collection by Hyatt), we headed straight to the Funk Zone, the epicenter of the Urban Wine Trail — a self-guided trail of 20+ tasting rooms. This eclectic neighborhood is also home to artisanal restaurants, contemporary galleries, and locally-owned boutiques and surf shops. Our afternoon ended at Stearns Wharf overlooking the sailboats while feasting on fresh seafood. This city’s remarkable impression was topped with a morning stroll along the bike path that parallels the ocean. Oh, and don't forget the seals (below).
4. Pismo Beach to Carmel-By-The-Sea
After a quick, yet memorable stay in Pismo Beach, we ventured out to what became the highlight of our drive along Highway 1. As we winded the switchbacks of the cliffs, every twist and turn was breathtaking. The scenery change was drastic from the days before with lush forests on our right and rugged sea cliffs and crashing waves to our left. We laughed at elephant seals and were surprised by the turquoise waters of McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. After a lunch with incredible views at the famous Nepenthe eatery (above), we made the scenic drive over the Bixby Creek Bridge (below). As one of the top attractions along the Highway 1 coastline, Bixby is the tallest single-span concrete bridge in the world!
5. Whale Watching, Monterey (below)
Monterey is a premier destination for whale watching all year round. Wildlife visible in the area often include blue whales, humpback whales, multiple species of dolphins, and occasionally orcas (Shanna’s favorite). After making friends with the naturalist on board, he secretly told us that a very special surprise was just ahead. Minutes later we witnessed a rare sighting of a pod of 5 orcas! We spent the next 2 hours watching one of the world's most powerful predators.
Are you ready to start planning our Californian getaway? We would love to help you live out your bucket list trips. We are ready when you are. Click the button below to get started planning for 2023 & beyond.
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