California is different to everywhere else in America because it’s less a state and more a state of mind. It’s liberal in the best way possible; freedom, expression, beauty, and dreams. California is a rarity where everywhere you look, stop and explore has the power to melt your brain until it starts to drip out of your ears. It’s got more character than a Charles Bukowski protagonist and more personality than a puppy. Each city, town, and province connected by untold miles of breathtaking moments; mountains, countryside, coasts, and deserts.
It’s a place that you need to see with your own eyes. It needs to be seen for what it is – an adventure – and that means hopping in a vintage convertible, pushing the pedal to the metal and eating up the road in front. But unlike most road trips where the rougher you do it the more authentic your experience, California needs to be done in style. You need to see the right places and stay in luxury. And here is how:
- San Diego
The first stop on anyone’s Cali adventure needs to be San Diego. It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before. It’s bustling and hustling. It’s an upbeat metropolis that boasts more awesome beaches than Kim Kardashian has shoes, and some of the coolest, most hip surfer’s paradises. Just head to La Jolla. As for an insider’s tip, seas the day and check-in to the beachside, Tower 23 and get pampered at Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
- Santa Barbara
This is your chance to soak up some Riviera chic, soak up the beach vibe or a real beach town and start your authentic Californian wine-sipping experience. It’s an urban gem of a town, a place where foodies will feel their tongue’s fizz and those who struggle with FOMO will want to hang out for a month straight. In either case, make sure you do lunch at FisHouse and dinner and dinner at Toma.
It might not be on your bucket list (yet!), but everyone road-tripping in Cali needs to point the hood toward Oakland. It’s one of the most aesthetically stunning cities we’ve ever cruised through. It’s incredible. It is to San Fran what Brooklyn is to Manhattan – cool. That said, this is a trip of luxury, so make sure you book a stay at Chateau Sureau, soak up all you can in the way of relaxation and then drop into Oakland for the museums and historical sites, the vibrant arts scene and innovative restaurants, the badass bars and boutique shops.
We don’t know how else to put this: if you’re zooming through California on an epiphany trip, you cannot miss Carmel-by-Sea. It doesn’t matter what far-flung pocket of the planet you want to compare it to, this will still be one of the most beautiful, unusual places you ever visit. It’s got that upmarket village vibe; a place with boutiques and bakeries, Italian restaurants and charming alleyways, plazas, and pizzerias. It’s magical. It’s as simple as that.
*This is a collaborative post