California Highway 101: Art, Wine and Breathtaking Landscapes
Food & Wine
The open road unveils a world of wonder, ocean views to hidden trails. Driving is the ultimate way to experience the most beautiful part of California. Total freedom of explore and the joy of discovery unfold with every mile, igniting serious wanderlust. My best friend got married in Carmel and me and the best man drove home in a convertible along the coast. It was magical. I want everyone to experience the awe of the California coast. Every twist and turn is beautiful everywhere you look, along with the amazing local food and wine. Driving isn't just a mode of transportation; it's a canvas for crafting unforgettable memories.
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Where to stay in Laguna Beach, California
Montage Laguna Beach
Montage Laguna Beach welcomes guests into the heart of Southern California’s preeminent artist colony and features two outdoor pool decks, two spas and three signature restaurants with spectacular views.
$100 resort / hotel credit.
Breakfast daily, served in the hotel restaurant.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
San Ysidro Ranch
Tucked in the foothills of Santa Barbara, this dreamy ranch hideaway features a spacious garden, farm-to-table dining, 38 vine-covered cottages and a legendary guest list. The Kennedys honeymooned here.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom in the Stonehouse.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out based upon availability at check-in.
El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara
Located in the hills of Santa Barbara, this iconic resort dates back to 1918.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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Things to do in Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach Montage Hotel and Art Exploration
Begin your road trip along Highway 101 by arriving at the luxurious Montage in Laguna Beach. Immerse yourself in the coastal beauty and vibrant art scene of Laguna Beach with visits to local galleries and public art installations. Spend the evening enjoying fine dining and ocean views. Spend the day at the beach just below the hotel. Check out the Sawdust Festival. The Sawdust Art & Craft Festival is an annual event that typically takes place during the summer months.
Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara
Travel along Highway 101 to the stunning San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. Discover the charming city of Montecito and Summerland. In the evening, savor a romantic dinner at San Ysidro Ranch's Stonehouse Restaurant. Visit Lotusland limited visitors book in advance. Check into the El Encanto Belmond hotel. Visit The Moxi Museum Interactive Experiences in Science and Creativity. Explore the urban wine trail at the Santa Barbara Funk Zone, where you can savor local wines in local tasting rooms.
Coastal Drive to San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, often called SLO, is a charming city in California with a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Hike Bishop Peak: Enjoy hiking to the summit of Bishop Peak, which offers panoramic views of the city with stunning views. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. This historic mission, founded in 1772. Explore the beautiful mission grounds. San Luis Obispo Railroad District: Wander around the charming Railroad District, known for its boutique shops, art galleries and unique restaurants. It's a great place to discover local art. Stay at White Water Moonstone Beach, Cambria.
Coastal Drive and Art in Big Sur
Drive along the most beautiful part of California Highway 1 to the iconic Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. Along the way, make stops to admire coastal views and visit art galleries that dot the coastline. Arrive at Post Ranch Inn, perched on the cliffs and soak in the breathtaking view.
Hiking and Nature at Big Sur
Engage in a morning hike on the property's trails, taking in the majestic redwoods and stunning ocean views. The afternoon can be spent relaxing at the spa or exploring more of Big Sur's art and culture scene. Indulge in a farm-to-table dinner at the Sierra Mar restaurant while watching the sunset.
Exploring Carmel and Art Galleries
Head to the charming coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Stroll through the quaint streets lined with art galleries and boutique shops. Visit local studios and immerse yourself in the artistic community. Later, check into The Lodge at Pebble Beach for a relaxing evening.
Wrap up your road trip with a leisurely morning in Carmel enjoying a beachside stroll. Before departing, relish a final gourmet meal at a local Carmel eatery to cap off your culinary journey. Farewell and Drive to Monterey Airport to drop off the rental car.
Places to eat & drink in Laguna Beach, California
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Julie Willhide’s guide, Local's Guide to Picture-Perfect Laguna Beach.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.