August 13, 2014
California 101: The Road Trip of a Lifetime
Road-tripping has been the all-American pastime since the invention of the automobile and it’s easy to see why its popularity has never waned. America is filled with heart-stopping, breathtaking, fun, and just plain quirky sights— and among them all, California’s reign among the best.
While California did not invent the road trip, it certainly may have perfected it. There are so many exceptional possibilities, and so nearly impossible to see them all that we had to choose just one —one glorious California road trip of a lifetime, the beautiful and cultural Highway 101.
So pack your bags, grab some FIJI Water, and hit the road.
The Royal Road
U.S. Route 101 is not your average highway. Commissioned in 1926 to take travelers from the Mexican border at San Diego to towns along the coast all the way to Washington, it has an impressive history that extends even beyond its construction.
The route is also called El Camino Real, Spanish for the Royal Road, because it was the original trail which linked the California missions. Today, that history infuses the California coast with a vibe not found anywhere else in the world.
The best way to see California is in a convertible; so pull the top down, and get ready to see the sights.
We Love LA
First stop? LA. There is more to LA than the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Take a deep dive into what makes it so iconic: Olvera Street, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Griffith Observatory, and of course Pink’s Hot Dogs.
Don’t forget to treat yourself at any of the many authentic Mexican food restaurants or food trucks; we suggest The Border Grill with 2 locations in Downtown LA and Santa Monica, as well as a roaming food truck.
If you are dying to do Hollywood check out our City Guide for the best places to dine, stay and play.
As you travel the 101, the beautiful coastline beckons. While there is never a “bad” beach, there are some that rank as exceptional and even sublime. Carpinteria is one of the sublime. The small, super casual town is home to cool surf shops, must-try restaurants, and of course Carpinteria State Beach.
The Santa Barbara Mission, art galleries, famous restaurants, vineyards, horseback riding, and beautiful hotels all wait in this California road trip treasure. Cruise around long enough and you may spot some of its famous citizens.
Chances are pretty good you’ve never heard of Avila Beach. Most people haven’t and that is a good thing. This little town is an undiscovered gem and home to a beautiful pier with nearby mineral springs. Go, but don’t tell anyone!
This sweet little gem of a town is a perfect stop for lunch or and early dinner as you head up the coast. One of our favorite restaurants is Hoppe’s Garden Bistro.
Get a feel for old California and new wine country in Paso Robles. It is quiet, sophisticated, beautiful, and well worth a stop on any California 101 road trip. For a special treat stay at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery and have a 7 course wine-pairing dinner at The Restaurant at JUSTIN.
A 101 road trip must culminate with a stop in San Francisco, where, you are likely to want to stay anyhow.
If you want to see what San Francisco is all about, Mission Dolores Park is a must see on your itinerary. Grab a sandwich from Ike’s Place and head over to people watch at this glorious sixteen acre park. Be sure to grab a bite of delicious craft ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery.
Don’t forget to make a trip up to Twin Peaks during the day or night for picture perfect photo-ops of the city.
While there no wrong turns when you are on a California road trip, being prepared is a must. Be sure to pack your bag with all of the essentials, including your FIJI Water.