Discover the Gold Coast on a NoCal to SoCal Road Trip
A California journey offers a wealth of exciting things to do. From the north, with its Gold Coast and wine country, to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and SoCal beaches, ALL – Accor Live Limitless and Fairmont are there for you the entire way.
Plus, make your California adventure even more enjoyable with an exclusive offer for CAA Members: Receive a $50 dining credit and enjoy 15% off daily rates at participating properties in North & Central America.
Explore the East Bay
Start your Northern California trip by heading to the East Bay and the cities of Berkeley and Oakland. Berkeley, home to Claremont Club & Spa, offers excellent hiking and outdoor experiences. Save time to explore the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, with its 34 acres of gardens and more than 10,000 plants.
After a day of gardens, take a walk to discover the urban art scene in Oakland, where more than 1,000 murals line the city’s streets. In the mood to shop? Oakland also offers original gifts and a great clothing scene, inspired by its local history and culture.
When you’re ready to relax, head to Limewood Bar & Restaurant. The Limewood Deck is the perfect spot to sample healthy California cuisine as you savour the stunning bay views and impressive sunset.
Head to Wine Country
From East Bay, head an hour north to Sonoma, home to more than 500 wineries and world-renowned restaurants. Sonoma offers many wine tasting experiences where you can sample great wines. Try horseback riding and a picnic, lunch with a winemaker, or cycle and sip your way through the vineyards. Need a wine break? Take a cheesemakers tour through three local creameries.
After a day of wine tasting, book a Bathing Ritual in one of three outdoor thermal mineral pools at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Or, for more vigorous exercise, you can book a tee time at the private Sonoma Golf Club.
End your evening with dinner at Santé at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Executive chef Jared Reeves’ menu features “California fusion with a Sonoma passion,” and pairs local cuisine with great Sonoma wines.
Explore the City by the Bay
Head back south to San Francisco to Fairmont San Francisco, conveniently located so you can explore the city without your car. This grand beauty, perched atop Nob Hill, features an impressive lobby equaled only by the breathtaking views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge.
To explore the city, hop aboard one of the famous cable cars which stop right outside the hotel at California and Powell streets. Want to experience the bay from the water? Head to Pier 39 and book a 60-minute bay cruise with Blue & Gold Fleet. On weekends, you can opt for the 90-minute sunset cruise. While at Pier 39, be sure you catch a glimpse of the sea lions.
Begin your evening with a classic cocktail at the nostalgic Tonga Room’s tiki bar. The lagoon, tropical rain, thunder, and a band on a floating boat are an iconic part of the San Francisco experience.
Fall in love with San Francisco and want to stay for a while? Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square offers long-term rental apartments which are part of the historic chocolate factory.
Pacific Coast Highway
After exploring San Francisco, head south on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Considered one of the world’s most scenic drives, it meanders down the Pacific Coast. Located just 15 minutes from the beach, you’ll want to give yourself ample time to settle into one of the private 1930s garden bungalows at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. Each has a distinctive modern style paired with the luxury of a private patio and views of the lush gardens. The 31 free-standing bungalows, with their vintage art and fresh colour palette add a touch of nostalgic glamour to your stay.
Explore LA’s Star Power
You can’t be in Los Angeles without stargazing in Hollywood and shopping on Rodeo Drive. Begin with a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can explore more than 2,700 stars dating back to 1958.
Lunch brings even more stargazing possibilities. Lumiére at Fairmont Century Plaza is a modern American brasserie with a French twist. The French-inspired menu draws as many accolades as it does Hollywood A-listers.
After lunch, make your way to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Luxury, fashion, and entertainment converge in this 3-kilometre stretch of chic boutiques and restaurants.
After a day of stargazing, stop by Riviera 31, The Lounge at Sofitel Los Angeles for cocktails and live entertainment. It’s the perfect introduction to living the French Way as you indulge all your senses during your stay. The Cool HEaRT, a contemporary art gallery in the hotel delivers visions from some of the newest stars of the art world.
The End of the Journey
We began in the rolling hills and bays of Northern California and now end it amid the rolling SoCal hills outside San Diego. Your final stay is at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, surrounded by giant oaks in a tranquil sanctuary. The luxurious resort is 15 minutes from the coast. After a day exploring Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park, return to the hotel to celebrate your journey with a glass of rare Champagne at San Diego’s first two-star Michelin restaurant Addison. Reservations are a must, but you’ll be treated to an exquisite five- or nine-course tasting menu highlighting seasonal and regional flavours.
Although your road trip through California comes to an end, your memories of this iconic journey will linger forever.
Take advantage of the CAA Offer and click here to receive 15% off your stay and a $50 dining credit at participating Fairmont & Sofitel properties.
Susan Lanier-Graham is an Arizona-based travel writer who loves to share life’s wow moments. She edits several print and online travel magazines, is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist, and a member of Society of American Travel Writers.