From the rolling vineyards in the deep countryside, to the hustle and bustle of the movie-star capital Los Angeles, the most populated state in
the US certainly has a lot to offer. On this road trip, Dawn by passed the film sets and the grapevines, and headed straight for the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, and the sunny coastal towns of California.
Located in northern California, San Francisco is famous for its beautiful scenery, iconic landmarks and luxury hotels, and we were here to experience it all. We stayed in the newly transformed Grand Hyatt – which has everything on the doorstep. It also boasts some of the most unforgettable views of the city from its Grandviews restaurant, on the 36th floor. First we decided to check out the world-famous San Francisco cable cars which offer great views of the city - it’s essential to stand at the front of the cable car, holding onto the pole whilst standing on the front running board. If you’re cooped up inside you probably won’t see anything. We passed through the grand and charming Russian Hill, a residential neighbourhood with lots of great restaurants, and exited the car at Lombard Street, which is a steep, sharply curved one-way hill lined with beautiful Victorian mansions.
That evening we ate at the Fairmont Hotel, perched on the prestigious Nob Hill just a short walk from Union Square and Chinatown, and within easy access of Fisherman’s Wharf by cable car, which stops right outside. The hotel has rooftop garden – a peaceful setting perfect for soaking up the Californian sunshine. Having done the cable car trip we then set off on an official tour. “Located in northern California, San Francisco is famous for its beautiful scenery, iconic landmarks and luxury hotels.” We started at Fisherman’s Wharf, which has been the home of San Francisco’s fishing fleet for over a century and is famous for its wide variety of seafood. The opening of the crab season in November is a big occasion, and much of the area’s fame is due to the annual harvest of the Dungeness crab, a day when the cauldrons at Fisherman’s Wharfe are lit ready to receive boxes piled high with the crab from the decks of the first boats that come sailing back into port. Next we took in the city’s Chinatown, (the largest Chinatown outside Asia) stopping at hirardelli Square to enjoy outstanding views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. We ended the tour at the central shopping and theatre district, Union Square. It’s also worth taking a Golden Gate Bridge cruise at Pier 43 which takes you under the bridge and right past Alcatraz Island. Next stop was 25 miles south to the romantic seaside town of Half Moon Bay and The Ritz Carlton. The only Oceanfront resort in the area, the hotel is perched on the edge of a cliff and the natural beauty of the rugged coastline is surrounded by a great golf course. We also took time out at the charming rustic town of Carmel, which has lots of art galleries and shops to explore. It’s only 17 miles away - a short drive and well worth doing. The Four Seasons Resort boasts jaw dropping views of the Santa Barbara coastline, while a couple of hours further down the coast, we came to Newport Beach in Orange County, and The Pelican Hill Resort, which sits in 504 acres of sun-drenched illsides, overlooking the ocean.
After our road trip this resort is pure six star luxury and Newport Beach is a beautiful area, boasting unspoiled fine sand beaches – a great place to relax. From its golden beaches, and quaint towns and villages, to its world-famous tourist landmarks, the Californian coast has lots to offer. The combination of sun, sand and sea along with inspiring architecture means there’s something to suit active sight-seekers and those who simply want to unwind and enjoy a luxurious resort.
Visit: The Californian Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, the only place on the planet where you can explore an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum under one roof.
Get involved: Half Moon Bay during Halloween, home to one of the world’s largest pumpkin festivals!
Don’t miss: The Spa at The Pelican Hill Resort,Newport Beach. From the Aqua Colonanade herbal steam room and sauna, to Swedish
massage, this is the perfect way to relax .
California is a year-round travel destination, with weather that will please everyone from snowbirds to sun worshippers. The best time to visit really comes down to what you want to do and what you want to see.
11 1/2 Hours
+ 8 Hours
Best time to travel
March - May or June - August
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