How to experience California to the fullest in just one week

When someone mentions California, your first thoughts are probably Hollywood, glamour and glorious beaches and sunsets. And you’re not wrong, but California is so much more! To make the most out of your trip, we suggest you take a ride along the Pacific Coast Highway and be amazed by the incredible landscapes — beaches on one side, wild forests on the other, embroidered with numerous cities, each of them unique. The highway belongs to All-American Roads, highlighted by the United States Department of Transportation for having archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic value.

1. San Diego

Did you know that LA’s more down-to-earth brother is known as America’s craft beer capital? Visit one of San Diego’s many craft beer festivals or take a beer tour and mingle with friendly locals to the sounds of great music. Be sure not to miss Balboa Park — the cultural center of San Diego with its many museums and venues to everybody’s tastes. If you’re feeling romantic, take a dinner cruise and enjoy the stunning night view of the San Diego Harbor or go to La Jolla Cove, whose natural setting delivers one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. Finally, Mexico is just around the corner, so why not pay it a visit and add another pin to your world map.

2. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

Just north of La Jolla lies one of the wildest stretches of land in SoCal. Majestic plateaus offering uninterrupted views of migrating whales, awe-inspiring cliffs and very diverse flora and fauna including many extremely rare or endangered species — all this in just 8km2. There are also 8 different hiking trails suitable for beginners and more experienced hikers that will reward you in the end by taking you straight to a wide-open beach.

3. LA

Do we really need to elaborate? Practically anything you can imagine, you can do and see in LA. That’s why we’d venture to suggest some places off the beaten path. Nostalgia is really trending right now and Time Travel Mart knows it, so they’ll take you anywhen you want to go. If you’re into morbid stuff, the Museum of Death will not disappoint you, you weirdo. In case urban exploration is more your kind of thing, give the old abandoned zoo in Griffith Park a go and see what it’s like to live in a lion’s den.

4. San Luis Obispo

Why SLO? Because it’s a long road trip and you need a break and also because it looks like completely out of place, as if it belonged somewhere in the Austrian Alps instead of central Cali. You’ll love this small detour from the coast.

5. Big Sur

Do yourself a favor — dedicate a few days to this region and really let its beauty sink in. It’ll be hard to do any driving, because it’s just one beautiful sight after another. It’s where the mountains come crashing into the bluest of seas, which are usually too cold to swim in and rather inaccessible to humans, but seals seem to love it. Bixby Creek Bridge is truly impressive, both for its design and the setting, and one of the most photographed sights in the world. If you feel that your mind needs a break, drop by the Esalen Institute, but we think the drive along the coast should be enough to heal you. Once you’re ready to return to civilization, head north to Carmel-by-the-Sea and its cute seaside village shops and cafes.

6. San Francisco

Is there a better way to end your Californian adventure? Hardly. Artsy and romantic, The City by the Bay will have you fall in love with it instantly. Jump on a tram and do some sightseeing, drink lots of coffee and celebrate tolerance, compassion and the freedom to be yourself by visiting the Beat Museum. Go admire the painted ladies and enjoy the bustle of Pier 39 (and don’t forget to say hi to the sea lions). Hop over to the Alcatraz and admire the Golden Gate Bridge, because after all, you are in San Francisco. Finally, you can just sit down on one of the benches in Frisco’s many beautiful parks, bury your head in your hands and cry because you have to leave this colorful city eventually.

Ultimately, to get the true California experience, you must follow your heart. Stop and stare at the ocean. Have brunch in one of Cali’s many picturesque villages. Whatever you do, you cannot miss.

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Originally published at www.expressrentacheapcar.com.