About the Region
With beautiful beaches backed by stunning mountain peaks, lively and cosmopolitan cities and a wealth of tourist attractions the region is the perfect place to enjoy your car hire in California. Southern California is home to Disneyland and Hollywood while further North you will find San Francisco and the vineyards of the Napa Valley.
The Iconic Pacific Coast Highway
Collect your car hire at San Francisco International Airport ready for a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. The first stop on your trip is Santa Cruz with its surfer-friendly beaches and shops. Carmel-by-the-Sea strikes a balance between history and nature while nearby Monterey Bay is famous for its aquarium. Take time out at Paso Robles to enjoy its hot springs and then as you continue South on Highway 1 you will come to the ornate turrets and towers of Hearst Castle. A visit here takes in its panoramic bay views as well as its two over-the-top swimming pools. Spend some time in Los Angeles before finishing your road trip in sunny San Diego. Take the children to visit the giant pandas at San Diego Zoo or dive into its growing culinary and craft beer scene.
The Pacific Coast Highway has many high points but make sure you see the Golden Gate Bridge before leaving San Francisco as well as taking in the Long Beach Museum of Art at Los Angeles. End your trip at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego for breathtaking bay views.
Tip:At just over 600 miles the Pacific Coast Highway is a long trip so we recommend taking some time to plan it carefully or select just one section to enjoy. Go prepared for temperature changes as you travel South.
California grew rich on gold so head inland from San Francisco to Sacramento, the state's capital and then on to retrace some of the Gold Rush years. From Sacramento take Highway 49 to:
- Nevada City with its pretty Victorian villas and the oldest theatre in California.
- Grass Valley is one of California's richest gold mines. Here you can explore the history of gold mining with a tour deep underground.
- If you like the buzz of adventure take a side trip to the American River for some white water rafting.
- Continue South through the vineyards of the Shenandoah Valley before finishing at the Columbia State Historic Park, a living memorial to the Gold Rush.