Highlights of caravanning on the West Coast, USA

Travelling on Highway 1 from San Francisco to LA, you’ll see some of America’s iconic landscapes and attractions.

Enjoy the California coast, wine country and Yosemite National Park on this eight-day tour.

Day 1 – San Francisco, California

Before you depart in your caravan, spend a few days seeing the sites of San Francisco, including Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Nob Hill, Chinatown, Union Square and the myriad galleries, boutiques and bars.

Day 2 – Muir Woods, Wine Country

From San Francisco, take a day trip to visit Muir Woods National Monument. See majestic coastal redwood sequoia trees. Continue on to Sonoma wine country. Enjoy wine tasting at a local vineyard. On your return to San Francisco, stop at the Golden Gate Bridge Overlook. Then ride a historic cable car or a cruise on San Francisco Bay.

Day 3 – Yosemite National Park

Head east into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Pass through the historic gold mining towns of the great California Gold Rush. Arrive at Yosemite National Park. Established in 1890, Yosemite’s 2590 square kilometre park is an enduring legacy to the conservation efforts of naturalist John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.

Enjoy an open-air tram tour of the wonders of Yosemite Park. During this valley floor tour, a park ranger guide will describe Yosemite Valley’s history, geology and plant and animal life. Look for waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls. Marvel at the two towering granite monoliths known as Half Dome and El Capitan. Hike the nature trails through giant cedar, pine and fir trees or just simply relax in the splendor of Yosemite Park.

Day 4 – Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel

Pass through the fertile San Joaquin Valley and by the San Luis Reservoir, part of the vast California irrigation project. Visit Monterey, home of John Steinbeck, who chronicled the adventures of this colourful fishing village. Enjoy free time at Cannery Row.

Next, wind along the coast on Pacific Grove’s Sunset Drive. Then, enjoy Monterey’s famous Seventeen Mile Drive. See natural wonders, including Seal Rock and the Lone Cypress.

Drive by the Pebble Beach Golf Course before enjoying a spectacular drive on the Big Sur, one of the world’s most awe-inspiring coastal drives. On one side is the sparkling turquoise Pacific Ocean with its pounding surf, dramatic cliffs and endless horizon, and on the other is the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Drive over Rocky Creek Bridge and Bixby Bridge. Photo stop at a Big Sur scenic viewpoint. Return north via the Big Sur for a second opportunity to see dramatic vistas. Drive through charming Carmel By The Sea. Overnight on Monterey Bay.

Day 5 – Hearst Castle

Stop and look for Elephant Seals resting along a Pacific Ocean beach. Then, enjoy a visit to Hearst Castle. During the 1920s and 1930s, politicians and Hollywood movie stars were frequent guests at William Randolph Hearst’s castle. Movie star Cary Grant considered the pool one of the most romantic spots on earth. Continue south. Photo stop at Morro Bay, the Gibraltar of the Pacific. Overnight along the Central Coast, in Pismo Beach.

Day 6 – Santa Barbara, Santa Monica

Visit to the historic Santa Barbara Mission and take a sightseeing drive of downtown Santa Barbara. Photo stop at the Santa Barbara waterfront. Continue south along the Malibu coastline to Santa Monica. Visit Santa Monica Pier, a backdrop for many Hollywood films and TV shows, including Baywatch.

Day 7 – Hollywood, Beverly Hills

Explore behind-the-scenes Hollywood at Sony Studios. The studio is home to the popular shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, as well as many blockbuster movies, including Spider-Man. Enjoy a rare glimpse of old Hollywood’s glory days as you walk on sound stages where movie history was made. Then continue to Hollywood. See the famous Hollywood sign in the hills above. Stop at the Chinese Theatre (Grauman’s). Here you can see the imprints of Jimmy Durante’s nose, John Wayne’s fist and Betty Grable’s legs.

Stroll Hollywood’s most-famous sidewalk, known as the Walk of Fame, where you see the stars of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and many more. See the dramatic entrance of the Dolby (Kodak) Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.

Day 8 – Los Angeles

Visit Venice Beach or, if you feel active, enjoy the rides Disneyland or Movie World. Take in the Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, America’s most-celebrated shopping district. You can spend as little or as long as you like in LA, but keep your camera ready for when you spot a star out shopping.

Please note: Recent natural disasters have closed some roads, please check local newspapers, tourism authorities or websites such as this one for information.

RACQ Travel can help you book your next US holiday.