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What to Do on a California Road Trip from La Jolla to Napa

October 5, 2022


There’s so much beauty in the Golden State that it can be hard to know where to go and what to see. That’s why a road trip from San Diego can be so appealing—you’ll get immersed in our sunny seaside city before discovering other hot spots in the north, where there’s no shortage of beauty. In this blog, we’re recommending our favorite places to go on a road trip to San Francisco, including a few of our sister hotels where you can rest your weary head in comfort.


Start Your Journey in La Jolla

As the southernmost big city in the state, San Diego is a natural place to start a Southern California road trip. And what better place to end up in America’s Finest City than one of the area’s finest beach towns?

The first stop in your California road trip is the swanky seaside town of La Jolla, where an awesome stay at Cormorant Boutique Hotel awaits. This chic, newly remodeled property is located on Prospect Ave, the main artery in the town’s commercial district. Check in to your balcony room and admire Pacific Ocean views (and sip some freshly brewed coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine!) before setting out to explore the town.

Take a leisurely stroll down to La Jolla Cove, just a few minutes from the hotel, to see sea lions and seals sunning themselves on the rocks there. Go for a refreshing dip at one of the string of beaches tucked into the coastline, or rent kayaks from Everyday California Kayak, located near La Jolla Shores Park, and explore La Jolla’s famed sea caves (guests of Cormorant Boutique Hotel get 20% off!).

Back in town, you’ll discover a range of shops, galleries, and bars along Prospect Ave in the surrounding village. Don’t miss your chance to see the recently reopened Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, a sprawling seafront institution and must-see for art enthusiasts.  

As afternoon slips into evening, make your way to the rooftop of Cormorant Boutique Hotel, home to La Jolla’s hottest new rooftop restaurant and bar, Birdseye. Dine from a delicious menu of international-inspired fare and sip craft cocktails while you enjoy breathtaking sunset views. Best of all, you’ll get 15% off as a guest of the hotel.

Make sure to rise early and grab a quick breakfast from on-site Prospect Market before heading to your second stop!


Head Across the Bridge to Coronado

Early in the morning, drive south a ways and cross the bridge to Coronado to check in to 1906 Lodge first thing. Then, hit the town to check out the seaside shopping and dining district of Coronado Ferry Landing, where the ferry from downtown arrives and departs. Next, pack a picnic and spend some time under the shade of the tall trees peppering Spreckels Park, the island’s iconic green space.

If you’re an active traveler, there’s no better way to see Coronado than to take a ride along the Bayshore Bikeway, skirting the waterfront and meandering below the Coronado Bridge. That’s easy to do when you borrow bikes from 1906 Lodge. You can also borrow beach umbrellas and chairs from the hotel and set up at Coronado Beach, the famous stretch of sand overlooking Point Loma off in the distance.

 After a day out in the sun, you’ll need some refreshments. Head back to 1906 Lodge for the complimentary evening happy hour, including wine and hors

d’oeuvres. After mingling with fellow travelers, head out for dinner at one of

the island’s highly rated restaurants, such as Il Fornaio Coronado, Bluewater Boathouse, or Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar.

Prepare to get on the road early the next morning (a long day of driving awaits!), but don’t leave before indulging in a complimentary hot breakfast prepared by 1906 Lodge innkeepers.


Make Your Way to San Francisco

A road trip to San Francisco from San Diego encompasses nearly 500 miles and requires more than 8 hours on the road, so the earlier you hit the road, the better. When you arrive, check in to Golden Gate Hotel, a charming boutique hotel in Union Square. You’ll likely be tired from your long drive, so plan to relax after a low-key dinner at one of the cities highly rated restaurants, such as Lucca Delicatessen, a mainstay for sandwiches since 1929; Sotto Mare, a neighborhood spot serving ciopinno, a fish stew originating from San Francisco; or Sam Wo Restaurant, a Chinatown hotspot for more than 100 years.  

 The next morning, plan to get up in time to enjoy a nice continental breakfast in the parlor at Golden Gate Hotel. You’ll have fresh croissants with butter and jam, fresh juice, and coffee or tea. It will be just enough fuel to prepare you for a fun day of exploring nearby sights, such as Chinatown, the Embarcadero, all the shops near Union Square, or famous parks such as Golden Gate Park or the Presidio of San Francisco.


Head to Napa Valley

Just an hour or so north of San Francisco lies Napa Valley, the world-renowned wine region. Since you’re so close, why not stop through and see what all the fuss is about? Make the short trek up and then get a seat on the Napa Valley Wine Train, which gives you a 36-mile scenic ride through wine country, stopping at wineries along the way. You can even have a multi-course gourmet meal while you ride.

After you’ve had your fill of wineries, stop through Napa’s charming downtown to stroll from shop to shop or pop in at one of many restaurants lining Main Street. After a busy day, you’ll be ready to check in at Candlelight Inn, a delightful bed & breakfast offering a warm atmosphere and a romantic ambiance. Rest up in the well-appointed Candlelight Suite with a king-sized bed, a fireplace, and a bathroom with a tub. Before you set out on your way home from your California road trip, make sure to enjoy the multi-course breakfast made from scratch. 




Like Cormorant Boutique Hotel, the hotels mentioned above offer comfortable accommodations in beautiful locations. Book your stay at Cormorant to enjoy our excellent location, rooftop bar and restaurant, and comfortable rooms with ocean-view balconies. It’s the perfect jumping off point for a California road trip!