My husband has a September birthday. He’s not big on celebrating his birthday, but this year I thought that he deserved a little more than a night on the town. I decided to book a trip that we have been talking about for years: Driving the coast of California.
We decided to abandon our children for 5 nights. Lucky for us, the kids have amazing grandparents who were willing to move into our house and be with the kids the entire time we were away!
So in late September we hopped on a flight to San Francisco, rented a car and took to the open road. Our plan was to drive directly from airport to Big Sur, stay there at the most fantastic hotel, The Post Ranch Inn, for 2 nights, then drive to Montecito and stay at my new favourite hotel, The San Ysido Ranch. We ended up in LA for 1 night to see James’ brother and catch our LA-Toronto flight the next day. I was blown away by this trip. Seriously. Blown away by the the beauty. Living in Canada I am privy to some pretty incredible settings. But honestly, this drive is special. It was warm and sunny every day, allowing us to take in the terrifying cliff heights and hike thru the redwood forests of Big Sur. And something that was really amazing to me was that almost all of our meals came from gardens on the grounds of the restaurants/hotels we ate at. My dream!
I cannot recommend this trip enough. It’s definitely one of my new favourite places. I encourage you to take the time out to drive the Pacific Coast HWY!
Big Sur – we splurged and stayed at The Post Ranch Inn. If the Post Ranch isn’t for you, don’t worry, there are other great places to stay in the area. You need at least one full day in Big Sur to wake up to the sun rising over the mountains and the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
We hiked the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park “Ewoldsen Train”. Amazing hike. It’s a relatively challenging hike but still easy enough to do before lunch and Rosé. We ended up 1000 feet over the PC HWY and had unbelievable views of the coast.
After 2 nights in Big Sur we drove to Montecito. We stopped in at the Big Sur Bakery before hitting the road to get some snacks for the trip. The Big Sur Bakery is a landmark in the area and worth it to visit.
The drive to Montecito is about 4.5 hours and the first 2 hours are through rollar coaster like roads. Although very beautiful, it can make one a tad queasy! Once you hit the flat lands, stop in to see the Elephant Seals sunning themselves on the beach!
We ended our drive at the San Ysido Ranch. This hotel is worth every penny. I felt like I was in a magical garden the whole time. The service was spectacular and our cottage room was so cozy. We stayed here 2 nights. Santa Barbara has lots to offer – biking, hiking and lots of fantastic restaurants. I must admit that we loved the food so much at our hotel that we stayed there for dinner both nights!