After Monterey, unpack your three B’s (Birkenstocks, beads, and board shorts) for one last rally along the legendary surf coast between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay – where, on a good swell, you can watch big-wave surfers tempt fate at Mavericks. From there, without much warning, the coast road’s twin lanes give way to four, and four becomes eight or ten or whatever it takes to snarl into San Francisco. But even as the rental car’s roof goes up, the momentum is hard to pack away. The best road trips linger with you like that.
From muscly Mustangs to BMWs, Porsche 911s, and even Bentley Continental GTs, L.A.-based Midway Car Rental
’s collection of convertibles gets road-trippers zipping up the coast in style.
Set on five manicured acres atop bluffs overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, the 297-room Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
is L.A.’s only beach hotel with private bungalows. The 31 ground-floor accommodations peek out at gardens and the pool, and range from 350-square-foot patio bungalows to the 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom Bungalow One, with its curated art collection. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.
The historic 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch
(Churchill slept here) once again welcomes travelers to its 41 suites – all with exterior entrances – and vine-covered private cottages featuring outdoor patios with rain showers and sunken hot tubs (and several with private plunge pools). Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.
Laid-back in the most civilized way, Santa Barbara’s hilltop Belmond El Encanto
has 92 California Mission-style rooms and one- to four-bedroom cottages with garden seating, heated stone floors in the bathrooms, and postcard views of the “American Riviera.” All accommodations feature separate exterior entrances. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.