Holidays to Carmel, Big Sur & Monterey deliver a quintessential laid-back Californian atmosphere. Across California’s central coast, you’ll find hundreds of kilometres of beautiful beaches, quaint towns, 5-star hotels and luxury resorts.
Carmel is the epitome of California’s cool, coastal vibe, and is home to many downtown art galleries and chic boutiques. Outside of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can witness the natural beauty of Point Lobos Nature Reserve, or escape to Carmel Valley, a peaceful vineyard region known for excellent farm-to-fork dining.
Monterey Bay is famous for its year-round whale-watching opportunities. Days can be filled with leisurely walks along Cannery Row, Lover’s Point and Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping for lunch or dinner at an ocean-view restaurant or spending time out on the water kayaking, sailing, or fishing.
A short trip down the world-famous Big Sur Highway, this rugged stretch of spectacular coastline is a must-see destination. With enchanting beaches, wildflower coated hills and often misty seaside cliffs, Big Sur and its numerous state parks are ideal for hiking, camping, and beachcombing.
For a truly unforgettable holiday, why not combine all three destinations into a once-in-a-lifetime coastal drive? Our Travel Specialists can tailor make every aspect of your trip, so call them today to start planning your ultimate California adventure.
- Sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on your private, former America’s Cup yacht
- Enjoy gourmet food and fine wine on your exclusive private tour of Napa wineries
- Embark on an exhilarating eco-rafting adventure on Monterey Bay in search of whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife
- Soar high above the Hollywood sign, Universal Studios Hollywood and the Beverly Hills homes of celebrities on a private helicopter flight
- In Palm Springs relax by the pool, play a round of golf or discover the nightlife of this desert oasis
- Take to the skies on a helicopter flight for a bird's eye view of the breathtaking Grand Canyon
- Be surrounded in the outstanding natural beauty of Yosemite National Park
- Take a self guided tour of Alcatraz, the former federal penitentiary for America's most notorious criminals
- Enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, express access to theme park rides and shows with your VIP Universal Studios Hollywood tickets
- Learn to surf in Santa Barbara with our 1.5 hour surfing lesson
- Stop off at Piedras Blancas and watch the comical antics of the resident elephant seal colony
- Spend a day touring San Francisco on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus and take the ferry across to Alcatraz for a self-guided tour
- Take an eerie self-guided tour through the former high-security prison of Alcatraz where notorious criminals such as Mickey Cohen and Al Capone were once detained
- Stroll through the quaint seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea with its boutiques, galleries, pavement cafes
- Allocate a full day to enjoy the spectacular Big Sur coastal drive stopping at attractions such as Elephant Seal colony at Piedras Blancas and Hearst Castle at San Simeon
- Enjoy upscale accommodation and facilities at some of our favourite hand-picked Californian hotels
The highly acclaimed Post Ranch Inn combines elegance with barefoot luxury to create a calming and very special place. The Post Ranch Inn’s setting is the Big Sur, which emerges into view as you drive along the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In great contrast to these cosmopolitan cities, this stretch of unspoiled coastline possesses a mountainous majesty that thrills nat...
Welcoming romance-seekers, honeymooners, groups of friends and grown-up families, Ventana Big Sur is an utterly stylish Alila hotel for adults only. It’s a true haven, studded just off Highway One in Big Sur, surrounded by 160 acres of unspoilt meadows and towering redwood trees, with the Pacific Ocean shimmering in the distance. This natural wonderland of a location segues into the entire proper...
Located quite literally over Monterey Bay on the lovely Cannery Row, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is a beautiful waterfront hotel. Voted one of the ‘Top 25 Hotels in the US’ and regularly #1 hotel in Monterey by TripAdvisor reviewers and awarded a Forbes Four-Star Award, the Monterey Plaza is a perfect choice for a stay in the heart of the town. Accommodations are decorated in classic maritime ...
Located in the heart of the Carmel Valley amongst oak trees and vineyards stands the beautiful and tranquil Bernardus Lodge & Spa. This luxury retreat offers 73 accommodations scattered throughout 28 acres of gardens, orchards and vineyards. The rooms and suites offer a combination of old-world charm with modern sophistication, each featuring gas fireplaces, two-person soaking tubs, lavish king-s...
Set on 500 acres in Carmel Valley, the Carmel Valley Ranch is a 139 all-suite property with great family facilities, restaurants, spa and an impressive golf course. Recently renovated suites boast cathedral ceilings, pretty fireplaces and private decks. Guests will love the 9 tennis courts (7 hard courts and 2 clay courts), two outdoor salt-water swimming pools, two fitness centres, plenty of hiki...
Since 1919, The Lodge at Pebble Beach™ has welcomed visitors to this beautiful setting on the 17-mile drive of California’s coastline. Set beside the 18th hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Links course, the resort features an array of rooms and suites as well as excellent facilities. Choose from garden, golf course or ocean view accommodations, most of which feature a wood-burning fireplace. The Lodg...
Essential Information for Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur
Best Time to Visit
The incredible climate of California’s central coastline makes it a year-round destination. Average temperatures between April and November rarely drop below 20 degrees, and the rest of the year goes no lower than 15°C.
For a holiday in Carmel, Monterey or Big Sur, fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). From London Heathrow (LHR), the flight takes around 15 hours total, with a layover en-route.
Do I need a visa?
It's currently easier than ever to get into this incredible part of the world and many British citizens can travel visa-free with just a Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). That means if you're traveling on a valid, individual machine readable or e-passport, with a return or onward ticket, and are staying for less than 90 days, you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program.
There is a staggering amount to see and do in Carmel, Monterey and Big Sur. To make choosing the perfect activity a little easier, here are some of our favorite sightseeing opportunities in the area:
- In Carmel, the scenic Bluff Path runs along one of the most enchanting stretches of coast and ends at a fantastic scuba diving entry point.
- Then, Monterey has the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, home to thousands of marine animals, including its famed jellyfish, and interactive exhibits.
- If that wasn’t enough, Big Sur has a variety of landmarks including Point Sur State Historic Park, with its original lighthouse.
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