Here at Black Tomato we’re big fans of iconic trips, and when we think California, we can’t help but drift off and become mesmerised by the great coastal road trip. Think all-American Mustang convertibles, big shades and landscapes so stunning your jaw will drop. But let us at Black Tomato put a twist on your road travels. Setting off from San Francisco, head south towards Los Angeles keeping the Pacific as your right hand backdrop with no other car spoiling the view. We’ll give you the inside scoop on the best roads to turn down for the best views, the must see pit-stops and hole you up in properties that will leave you wanting more. And if you feel like shifting it up a gear, then why not go true American style and throttle down the coast on a Harley Chopper.

san francisco in style

With the beautiful Fairmont hotel as your first resting place before the open road calls, drop your bags and enjoy one of our favourite US cities for a day or two before hitting Highway 1.  Relax and take in the San Francisco sights from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the lesser known stores and restaurants in the heart of the city. We’re on hand to help pick that perfect part of town for a bite or to share some of the hippest bars, galleries and secret viewpoints.

You’re sure to get your fill of classic road trip traditions when heading out of San Fran. There are loads of choices, but to start off we say a drive through the gorgeous town of Carmel, with a pit-stop at the beautiful Pebble Beach is a must. Be sure to grab a slice of pizza in Capitola and have a seat at the beach to enjoy lunch. Next, it’s time for dessert. Santa Cruz is the spot for the best ice cream in California at Marianne’s.

If you’re still hungry, how about trying the classic American s’more? Stop off at Half Moon Bay for some kayaking with the sea lions, before gathering around the fire pit to roast your s’more. Graham cracker crusts with melted chocolate and marshmallow from a fire on the beach at sunset, cheesy as it sounds, you really will be asking for “some more.”

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relax and unwind

Leaving San Francisco, embark on one of the most memorable drives to date. Winding down the coast you’ll have the Pacific Ocean crashing on the rocks to your right and stunning landscapes stretching afar on the left. Sure beats the daily commute if you ask us. After such an awe-inspiring drive, a relaxing few days is definitely in order. Take advantage of the beautiful, calming scenery that surrounds the Post Ranch Inn, then take it one step further with some time in the spa for the ultimate relaxation experience.

californian castles and nature’s wonders

Before you know it, you’re back on the road; Highway 1, to be exact. Nature lovers rejoice for the second stop, as you’ll get to explore the Morro State Park. This State Park boasts Morro Bay and the iconic Morro Rock which drastically breaks up the landscape. While you’re here, try your hand at fishing. Learn to fish like a pro with our guys and you’ll be reeling in the big fish in no time. After your day at sea, look forward to your overnight stay at the Anderson Inn at Morro Bay.

Next, head to San Simeon for a private tour of Hearst Castle, formerly owned by the American journalism guru William Randolph Hearst. There aren’t many castles in the USA, and certainly none like this. Inspired by a Spanish Cathedral and filled with a collection of priceless art, Hearst Castle is more like a palace.

journey to santa barbara

Last but one stop,  Santa Barbara. Hole up in the gorgeous Canary Hotel where you’ll find yourself in the heart of California wine country. The car is handy to get to all the exclusive vineyards on our list, so make sure you appoint the driver now. Our secret tip, head out to Solvang and you’ll think you’ve been transported to Denmark. This is an authentically Danish city where you have to try the wine, and try you will at the Bridlewood Estate on your own private wine tasting experience.

California means beaches, so after your wine tasting it’s time to get to the water for whale watching. Channel Islands National Park has a lot of whales. And we mean a lot. Not many Parks can say that one third of all the species of whales are part of the environment, and you can see them on a whale watch at any time of the year. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a kayak and head out to sea.

los angeles living

End your trip in the city of Los Angeles: home to the Hollywood stars and some of the hottest spots in the USA. Whether it’s checking out the scene on its beaches, treating yourself to a bespoke personal shopping experience or getting into some of L.A.’s hard-to-get-into nightspots, we’ll make sure the end of your road trip is just as memorable as the drive. In the evening, rest your head at Shutters on the Beach, the perfect bolt-hole to watch the sunset over the Pacific waves and to get a good nights rest before the best coastal journey you’ll ever take.

Return the keys or put the helmet down, but it’s never too soon to start planning another journey.