• McWay Falls, Big Sur

Central California Coast Holidays

Head out on the Original Road Trip and explore coastline of craggy cliffs and mountain peaks in the north and palm tree-lined sandy beaches and charming coves in the south. Divided into four distinct regions - Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz County there is a California Coast holiday for everyone.

Explore the tide pools along the wild sands of Crescent Beach or ride horseback along the dunes of Pismo Beach. Discover unspoilt coastlines, rolling vineyards, golden hillsides, national and state parks and world-class wine regions as well as classic beach towns. If you're searching for the real California, this is it. Not just the coastline, these regions also extend far inland, encompassing towering mountains and rolling hills and sometimes desert like landscapes too.

Santa Cruz County

South of San Mateo County on the San Francisco Peninsula, just a 40 minute drive from San Jose you can discover state parks, wineries and beaches such as Wilder Ranch State Park or try your hand at stand up paddleboarding and surfing. Visit Santa Cruz for tourist-friendly attractions at Santa Cruz Wharf. 

Monterey County

A diverse coastline of jagged cliffs and rugged beach coves in Big Sur and sandy beaches around Monterey and Carmel. Stroll along Cannery Row in Monterey, walk the Path of History where you can experience what it was ilke when Monterey served as California's capitol and be mesmorised by the jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

San Luis Obispo County

Half way along the Central California Coast, with small towns spaced out along the region and often known to the locals as SloCal; San Luis Obispo County captures over 300 days of sunshine a year. With a unique microclimate, the area is diverse, yet perfect for growing world-class vines, olives, strawberries and many other produce. Tantalise your senses at a farmers market or winery, or why not combine both and take this locally farmed produce to the beach for a picnic. Hearst Castle, also known as La Cuesta Encantada or The Enchanted Hill is also a well-known visitor attraction. You will find this maginficent estate in the town of San Simeon, a few miles from Elehpant Seal Rookery.

Santa Barbara County

With a long, south-facing stretch of coast that meets the rolling hills of wine country, you can hop aboard a trolley tour in the Danish Capitol of America, Solvang during the day and have a tantalisingly tasty meal in the funk zone in the evening in Santa Barbara. Known as 'The American Riviera', this charming little city has a Mediterranean feel; stroll along Stearns Wharf and treat yourself to a sip of Sauvignon Blanc at the Conway Family Wines Deep Sea Tasting Room, while admiring the beautiful views of Santa Barbara and the ocean or ride the Santa Barbara Trolley visiting Spanish-style architecture and the historic Santa Barbara Mission. 

Take a boat trip out to the Channel Islands National Park where its astounding beauty will take your breath away. Lookout for dolphinsm whales and other local wildlife and kayak through sea-caves around the islands.

Ventura County

Often overlooked, this region is at the southern end of the Central California Coast, but this only adds to its charm. Stroll along a wooden pier and old-fashioned main street in Ventura that has a small town feel, jump into the array of water activities or relax on beaches like Malibu; home to the rich and famous.

With this beautiful stretch of coastline, there is something for everyone; so all that's left to do is start planning your Central California Coast holiday now.

Destination Highlights
  • Discover hidden beaches
  • Sip Pinot Noir in the Santa Ynez Valley
  • Drive the twisting, cliff hugging roads through Big Sur
  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Stroll through redwood trees
  • Look for sea otters and elephant seals

Time Zone

GMT -8 hours

Flight Time

Direct flights are available from Dublin to San Francisco and Los Angeles with Aer Lingus.

Currency

USD - US DOllar

Visa Information

Ensure you have a valid ESTA prior to travel

Language

English

Health Information

No special vaccinations are required for travel to California

From the epic Big Sur to Mediterranean-style Santa Barbara, the central California Coast offers you picturesque seaside towns, jagged sea cliffs, hidden coves and vineyards of rolling hills just waiting to be explored.

  • Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

    Pacific Coast Highway 1

    Drive this beautiful coastal-hugging road from San Francisco to Los Angeles while you stop off at stunning lookout points, discover hidden coves and beach towns, look for sea otters and other marine life from the shore or even get up close at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  • Pfeiffer Burns State Park

    Beautiful beaches

    As well as the long golden sands of beaches such as Pismo or Ventura to name a few; the crashing surf has created rugged but beautiful sea cliffs that stretch along the Pacific Coast, however this means there are many hidden coves and beaches to explore.

Select month

Average weather in January

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
11ºC
110mm
Monterey
11ºC
Pismo Beach
11ºC
75mm
Santa Barbara
12ºC
71mm

Average weather in February

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
12ºC
115mm
Monterey
12ºC
Pismo Beach
12ºC
83mm
Santa Barbara
13ºC
81mm

Average weather in March

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
13ºC
80mm
Monterey
14ºC
Pismo Beach
13ºC
68mm
Santa Barbara
13ºC
65mm

Average weather in April

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
13ºC
40mm
Monterey
15ºC
Pismo Beach
14ºC
23mm
Santa Barbara
14ºC
26mm

Average weather in May

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
14ºC
20mm
Monterey
17ºC
Pismo Beach
15ºC
12mm
Santa Barbara
15ºC
8mm

Average weather in June

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
15ºC
6mm
Monterey
19ºC
Pismo Beach
16ºC
3mm
Santa Barbara
17ºC
13mm

Average weather in July

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
15ºC
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
1mm
Santa Barbara
19ºC
9mm

Average weather in August

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
16ºC
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
Santa Barbara
19ºC
12mm

Average weather in September

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
17ºC
3mm
Monterey
20ºC
Pismo Beach
18ºC
4mm
Santa Barbara
19ºC
11mm

Average weather in October

Good travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
17ºC
30mm
Monterey
18ºC
Pismo Beach
16ºC
13mm
Santa Barbara
17ºC
12mm

Average weather in November

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
14ºC
70mm
Monterey
13ºC
Pismo Beach
14ºC
32mm
Santa Barbara
14ºC
42mm

Average weather in December

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
San Francisco
11ºC
120mm
Monterey
11ºC
Pismo Beach
11ºC
48mm
Santa Barbara
12ºC
47mm
  • Matthew

    Destination Specialist

    "To drive the Pacific Highway 1, hiring a convertible is a must! Top down, wind in your hair, sunshine on your face - it didn't get more Californian than this. I would also recommend driving from north to south, so you have unobstructed ocean views as you twist and curve your way along this amazing drive."

  • Karen

    Destination Specialist

    "Check out Cayucos State Beach for a charming little beach town. Pick up some fresh baked cookies from Brown Butter Cookie Co. and relax on the large stretch of sandy beach."

Types of Central California Coast holidays

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

Central California Coast Multi Centre Holidays

Multi Centre Holidays
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1

Self Drive Central California Coast

Self Drive Central California Coast

Frequently Asked Questions

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