Three days later and I’m still on a high after returning from our Cali trip! If you’ve been thinking about doing the iconic PCH drive, email your boss now and tell them you need a week off ASAP! (It’s seriously so amazing what vacation does for you and how it can get you recharged and ready to hit the ground running when you get back.) I wanted to share some of our favorite stops from our trip should you decide to take the most beautiful (and romantical) trip ever! While the act of driving down a highway may seem incredibly boring and redundant, the views and vibes are unparalleled. My boyfriend and I have traveled around the world seeing some of the most breathtaking places, but this trip to California is now at the top of our list as one of our most memorable trips yet. We started in Carmel/Pebble Beach area, then proceeded down the PCH stopping in Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Malibu, and last but not least San Diego. Here are some of our favorite places to stay, relax, eat + drink, and sightsee! Let us know your favorite stops so we can add to our list because we are DEFINITELY heading back to Cali soon!
Carmel Valley/Pebble Beach
17miledrive – Take this scenic drive and explore the beauty of Pebble Beach. (there will most likely be a little traffic, but def get out of the car to stop and take pics! SO worth it!)
The Bench– Make a stop at the Pebble Beach Golf Course during your 17miledrive excursion and soak in the beautiful views while sipping a little rose and eating delicious food. (Make a Rez ahead of time because this place gets packed). Ladies- if your man (or you) loves to golf, lunch in front of the iconic 18th hole is a win for everybody!
Casanovas Carmel– Casanova Carmel focuses on contemporary and rustic cuisine. Quality ingredients are used straight from their local small organic farms and fisheries. This spot is truly food for the soul. The second you walk in you feel like you’re in the middle of Florence <3 The Fettuccine and Pappardelle Alle Vongole are so delicious!
Post Ranch Inn– This is probably the most sought after hotel to stay at in Big Sur, while we didn’t get a chance to stay here this trip we will definitely be back! And if you don’t get a chance to stay there, at least book dinner around sunset at their restaurant Sierra Mar.
Sightseeing- Stop at just about any state park/reserve and literally become one with nature. We stopped at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve on the way down but had we had a couple of extra days we would’ve loved to stop at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground and Limekiln State Park. The highlight of my trip was getting to explore all of the beautiful scenery and nature that Big Sur had to offer. The views are unforgettable and will have you leaving with a new found respect and adoration for our planet!
The Ritz Carlton Bacara– One of the most relaxing hotels we’ve been to! A little outside of Santa Barbara proper, we cherished our long beach walks along the cliffs and incredible service.
Rosewood Miramar Beach– We’ve been a huge fan of this hotel since our stay at the Rosewood Mayakoba, so when we heard it just opened in SB we had to check it out! A blast from the past this gem of a hotel will have you feeling like your back in the 50s/60s! It’s charm, scenic views, and delicious drinks are the perfect spot for an afternoon on the deck enjoying the sun and beautiful beaches.
Four Seasons– Our stop for lunch here was delicious! The hotel had a Mediterranean/lavish ambiance complete with outdoor patio seating and some of the most delicious tacos we’ve ever had.
Sirena boutique- We stumbled upon this boutique while checking out some art and wineries in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. This beachy boho boutique is too adorable for words. I found some of the cutest swimsuits, beach outfits/coverups, jewelry, and accessories. Wishing they’d open up a store in NYC!
Malibu Beach Inn– There aren’t many hotels along the PCH in Malibu so we were a little nervous about finding the perfect place to stay. When we found the Malibu Beach Inn we booked immediately! The hotel is newly renovated and has a beachy-chic vibe to it. We didn’t realize this when booking, but it’s also right next door to Malibu Farm which was just all too convenient!
Malibu Farm– We’ve seen this farm-to-table lunch spot all over Instagram, so we naturally had to check it out, and definitely lived up to the hype! The combination of food, scenery, and frosé made for the most perfect afternoon in Malibu- so dreamy!
Malibu Village– Your neighborhood shopping center right off the PCH. Malibu Village is fully outfitted with all your must-haves- Sephora, Soul Cycle, Saje Natural Wellness, Zadig and Voltaire, San Lorenzo Bikinis, Lululemon, Fred Segal, and Mr Chow, (another NY fave) just to name a few!
Nobu Malibu and Mastro’s Ocean Club Malibu– Both of these restaurants are the perfect places for a beautiful seaside dinner. While Nobu (a NY fave) was booked out for the entire day we were there (who does that and how can we get invited?! lol) Mastro’s is another great option for a little surf n’ turf action!
Fairmont Grand Del Mar– Our best friends got married here, and for our own selfish reasons, we’re so glad they did! When we say this hotel is massive, even that is an understatement. We may or may not have gotten lost on several different occasions, but honestly, the best place to wander! Not only is the hotel beautiful, but the service is incredible, food is delicious, and an adult only pool makes it the perfect weekend getaway.
One Paseo– While we didn’t have as much time to explore San Diego as we would’ve liked, I’m so happy a quick trip to Dry Bar led me to this brand new and adorable shopping center. All things culture, entertainment, shopping, and food, I could’ve spent a couple of hours roaming around the streets of One Paseo. Shops include Drybar, Marrow Fine, Soul Cycle, Vandevort, Whiskey and Leather, Sephora, Shop Good, and my favorite new store, Pigment– the cutest home items here!
Herb and Wood– Our first group dinner was held here and came highly recommended by our bride! Herb and Wood is a timeless, sought-after dining escape that incites long dinners, conversation, and culinary delight. We can’t wait to go back to dinner here when we come back!
Share with us!
We’d love to hear about some of your favorite spots in Cali! Share with us in the comments below and we will add them to our list of places to check out. We are definitely going to be making these California trips a regular thing!
All things beautiful,