Counterculture, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Bottle Shock…
California has a very unique culture, and every section of the coast is different itself, yet always surprising are the sheer quality and variety of waves, amazing food, incredible local wineries and breweries, beautiful landscapes and the most iconic sunsets in the ocean.
One of surfing’s meccas, the sport’s roots here date somewhere between 1885 in Santa Cruz, where it’s said some Hawaiian students surfed the first waves on the coast, to 1907, when George Freeth introduced surfing in Redondo Beach with the help of fellow Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku. Malibu later became the sport reference for it’s historical importance, but nowadays it’s Blacks, Trestles, Huntington, Rincon and Mavericks that make surfers worldwide daydream of California.
The Pacific Coast Highway 1 road trip will take you from San Francisco to San Diego, passing through Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, according to your time availability and preferences. Apart from the world-class waves, the road is full of amazing luxury hotels, incredible landscapes and many hidden gems known only by locals.The Resort at Pelican Hill
SFO - San Francisco International Airport
SJC - San Jose International Airport
OAK - Oakland International Airport
MRY - Monterey Regional Airport
LAX - Los Angeles
SBA - Santa Barbara Airport (domestic)
SNA - John Wayne/Orange County Airport
LGB - Long Beach Airport
SAN - San Diego Lindbergh Field Airport.
California offers surf year-round, but the best season, generally speaking, is around the northern hemisphere winter, from november through march.
Winter storms create larger and more consistent swells out of the W/NW, this is prime season for spots in Santa Barbara, Ventura, South LA and most of San Diego. Weather can deteriorate a bit but often for only a day or two in SoCal before sunny skies and excellent conditions return. Many days with clear blues skies and light wind/glassy conditions all day. Central California has a different weather pattern, which tends to be colder and foggier.
Some regions, like Orange County and Northern LA County, as well as select areas in San Diego and Ventura, prefer South and Southwest swells, which are more common in Summer. This is also a period of less swell, the water is warmer, and school holidays are in full effect, so expect a lot more people in the water.
Fall and Spring will be in between with a lot more swell than summer, less crowd, but not to the full consistency of winter just yet.
One interesting fact is the “San Francisco Summer” is actually in September, when the fog gives the city a breather and the sun kicks in, raising temperatures and the overall mood.
THE RITZ-CARLTON HALF MOON BAY - Best for exploring Mavericks and enjoying the rugged nature of that very peculiar coast.
L’AUBERGE CARMEL - Best for some romance, walking around town, driving the 17-mile road and visiting the Monterey Aquarium.
BELMOND EL ENCANTO - Best for the amazing views from the top, incredible rooms and hoping between wine bars in the funk zone.
MONDRIAN LOS ANGELES - Best for convenient location and the “night club” atmosphere, with a constant buzz that keeps it very alive.
PELICAN HILL - Best for relaxing and enjoying the magnificent golf course on property, as well as Newport Beach’s many attractions.
THE RITZ-CARLTON LAGUNA NIGUEL - Best for having a perfect lefthand point break (Salt Creek) on your doorstep!
RANCHO VALENCIA - Best for the perfect end of your trip: incredible spa, fantastic rooms, service, food and just a lot of space everywhere for kids and grown ups to have fun.