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California Coast Custom

Big Sur to Santa Barbara on the Pacific Coast Highway

Cycling the Central Coast offers a week overflowing with all the ingredients for a perfect bicycling vacation: sun, breathtaking coastal views and delicious food and drink.

This is true California, with a relaxed vibe and awe-inspiring scenery. The Central Coast overflows with everything that makes California great, from the crash of the surf in Monterey Bay to the vibrant green views along Pebble Beach, to the crisp mornings in small towns overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. Every night you’ll stay in handpicked, unique hotels that capture California style, and every day you’ll uncover a new treasure along the Pacific Coast Highway. We’ll start our journey in the seaside town of Santa Cruz and make our way to Santa Barbara, known as the “American Riviera." Don’t be surprised if you find yourself breathing in the sea and surf. That is, when the scenery isn’t taking that very same breath away.
6 Days & 5 Nights
Rider Type: ?
3 / 2 - Active / Recreational
Hotel Style: ?
Trip Wows
Enjoy the culture and feel of the quintessential West Coast, surf-crazed town of Santa Cruz.
Savor fresh, local, seasonal fare and seafood prepared in California’s fusion style at restaurants like Schooners Coastal Kitchen and The Lark.
Explore some of California's quiet historic towns as you cycle down one of the country's most picturesque coastlines on the iconic Highway 1.
Kick back oceanside as four out of five properties on this trip are located on the water.
Visit Hearst Castle and marvel at this impressive monument to many architectural styles.
Watch the Experience
The camaraderie that is intimately built from these trips is priceless. Trek Travel trips allow a daily work out while at the same time intimate bonding with my family, friends, and peers. Laying by the beach just doesn't cut it anymore.

Dates & Prices

This trip is available as a custom trip only, please refer to our custom trip page for more details.

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Looking for a one of a kind, once in a lifetime experience?
Look no further. All you need to do is pick any open trip date, get your group together and we will do the rest. Private trip pricing is as follows:
  • 10+ Guests Price as advertised*
  • 8-9 Guests +$500 per person to trip price*
  • 6-7 Guests +$1,000 per person to trip price*
  • 4-5 Guests +$1,500 per person to trip price*
  • 2-3 Guests +$2,500 per person to trip price*
*Pricing, availability and guest minimums are all subject to change at any time. Private pricing is not available on Ride Camp, Race, Special Edition or Cross Country style trips.
Welcome to the Golden State! After everyone has gathered you'll be treated to a taste of California with a brunch featuring local specialties. Next, your guides will ensure you a comfortable fit to your bike and familiarize you with its features. Then it's time to ride! You'll head out of Santa Cruz, past famous surf breaks and farmland, enjoying dramatic views of the coastline and Pacific. The final 15 miles of today's ride takes you onto a bike path which leads to Monterey and your accommodations for the night, which are perched on Monterey Bay. Take time to enjoy the views from the rooftop jacuzzi and freshen up before getting to know your fellow travelers during a social hour. Your guides will also fill you in on the details of the days ahead and the upcoming rides down the dramatic and picturesque California Coast. Afterward a delicious meal of fresh local food awaits at Schooners Coastal Kitchen.*Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Santa Cruz to Monterey
Approximately 47 miles with 1,600 feet of climbing


Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Included Meals:

Lunch | Social Hour | Dinner

This morning you will awaken to the sights and sounds of Monterey in all its coastal glory. After breakfast at the hotel you have some time to explore this famous town as you wish. Two great options are walking down the street to tour the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium or getting up close to marine life in the Bay with a self-guided sea kayaking adventure. Lucky kayakers may be rewarded for their paddling with a view of harbor seals, sea otters and pelicans in their natural habitat on the dazzling waterfront of the sanctuary (note that this morning's activities are not included in the trip price). You'll also fuel up at a local bistro of your choosing before reconvening with the group to start the day's ride along the famous 17-Mile Drive to the artists' enclave of Carmel-by-the Sea. Leaving Carmel, the road narrows and sweeping views of the Big Sur coastline come into view. There are several riding distances for you to chose from, so make it your day. This evening relax and revel in the quiet and beautiful surroundings of the rustic Big Sur Lodge, located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.*Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Monterey to Big Sur
Approximately 44 miles with 2,700 feet of climbing

Short Option:

Monterey to Carmel River State Beach
Approximately 16 miles with 600 feet of climbing

Today’s Activity:

Free morning to explore Monterey


Big Sur Lodge

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Dinner

The poet Robinson Jeffers wrote that Big Sur is “the greatest meeting of land & sea.” Today, witness for yourself the views that inspired such a bold claim. As the ride begins, you'll tackle a climb to the community of Post. If you prefer to skip this first ascent, there's a seat in the van with your name on it! Whether you begin from the Lodge or from the town of Lucia, today's riding is spectacular. You'll stop for lunch at Treebones Resort and continue on to Piedras Blancas Light Station just north of San Simeon. You’ll be biking long rolling climbs all day – the terrain is more challenging than the first part of the trip – so feel free to end your ride here. Those who pedal the full distance into Cambria will be rewarded with views of Hearst Castle in the hills to the left and the sounds of elephant seals barking on the beaches. Your home for the night is the breezy Sand Pebbles Inn on Moonstone Beach. You are on your own this evening to explore the nearby restaurants after checking off today's bucket list ride.*Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Big Sur to Piedras Blancas Light Station
Approximately 60 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing

Short Option:

Lucia to Piedras Blancas Light Station
Approximately 37 miles with 3,330 feet of climbing

Avid Option:

Big Sur to Cambria
Approximately 74 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing


Sand Pebbles Inn

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Lunch

This morning starts with a tour of the Hearst Castle. Perched on “La Questa Encantada,” The Enchanted Hill, this amazing palace was designed by architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst on his family’s traditional camp site. This magnificent estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, walkways and a private zoo commands a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and was a significant upgrade from the Hearst family's original tents and camp fires. You will have a chance to see the most impressive rooms of the Casa Grande, which was inspired by the architecture of Spanish cathedrals. After the tour, you'll shuttle back to Cambria where you will hop in the saddle and ride south along the Pacific Coast Highway to Morro Bay and Pismo Beach. Today's route typically enjoys much-appreciated tailwinds and relatively flatter terrain. Tonight your lodging is on the bluffs above Pismo Beach and you are free to enjoy dinner on your own at one of the local restaurants. Take in the sunset from your room overlooking the water or walk down to the beach just steps away to sink your toes in the sand. *Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Cambria to Pismo Beach
Approximately 46 miles with 1,750 feet of climbing

Short Option:

Cambria to Morro Bay
Approximately 23 miles with 800 feet of climbing

Today’s Activity:

Grand Rooms Tour at Hearst Castle


The Cliffs Resort

Included Meals:


Another rewarding day of riding awaits as the anticipation of reaching Santa Barbara builds. After a gorgeous 90-minute shuttle down the coast, you will start your ride just north of Santa Barbara, at Goleta Beach near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Your journey today will follow a bike path and residential roads that wind through the beautiful homes in Hope Ranch and down Shoreline Drive. After a casual lunch stop at the hotel, you’ll decide how to spend the rest of the afternoon. Today's avid ride along East Mountain Drive offers a chance to test your climbing legs as well as stunning views of the ocean and downtown. Or you may choose to end your ride after lunch in order to take advantage of the shopping on Santa Barbara's famous State Street; the wine tasting on the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail; or the chance to walk along the oceanfront path and Stearns Wharf, right across the street from the hotel. This evening you’ll walk to Santa Barbara's trendy "Funk Zone" to toast your Pacific Coast journey at tonight’s farewell dinner at the acclaimed restaurant The Lark.*Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Goleta Beach to Santa Barbara with East Mountain Drive Loop
Approximately 35 miles with 2,600 feet of climbing

Short Option:

Goleta Beach to Santa Barbara
Approximately 13 miles with 500 feet of climbing


Hotel Milo

Included Meals:

Breakfast | Lunch | Social Hour | Dinner

Today sleep in or enjoy a final leisurely spin along the coast to take in more of the beauty and charm of Santa Barbara. The waterfront and bike path are just across the street from the hotel, so perhaps a last relaxing stroll to savor the sights and smells of the Pacific is in order before bidding your final farewells to this stunning coast.*Routes may change as this area has been experiencing flooding that is affecting road and bridge conditions. Contact us for details.
Today's Ride:

Hope Ranch Return
Approximately 14 miles with 750 feet of climbing

Included Meals:



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Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey, California

Relax on the water’s edge at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Dramatically perched over the Monterey Bay and located on historic Cannery Row, the Plaza is the perfect place to enjoy the gentle sounds of the surf, the fresh scent of sea air and all of the activities that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer. A recipient of the coveted Forbes Four Star rating and Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, the Plaza welcomes you with its warm Mediterranean ambiance and its legendary personalized service.
hotel image

Big Sur Lodge

Big Sur, California

This rustic lodge is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, among towering redwoods and oaks. Nestled on the hillside above Highway 1, there are no phones, televisions or air conditioning (which is rarely needed) in these basic but comfortable and spacious rooms. The park, which is the gateway to the Ventana Wilderness, makes for a peaceful stopover on your way from Monterey to Cambria.
hotel image

Sand Pebbles Inn

Cambria, California

The Sand Pebbles Inn offers a spectacular oceanfront location and a relaxing experience for all guests. Located directly on Moonstone Beach, just steps from the water and tide pools, accommodations at Sand Pebbles provide all the amenities you could want to enjoy the sights and sounds of coastal California.
hotel image

The Cliffs Resort

Pismo Beach, California

Nestled halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, The Cliffs Resort perches atop bluffs overlooking beautiful pristine beaches. Enjoy the deck overlooking the ocean, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and on-site spa. For an evening or early morning stroll on the beach you can walk down a flight of stairs just beyond the pool to sink your toes in the California sand.
hotel image

Hotel Milo

Santa Barbara, California

The colorful grounds of Hotel Milo blend beach-chic décor and classic Spanish Colonial architecture in an enviable waterfront location. This cozy property is located just a short walk from the Marina, Stearns Wharf, State Street and many other Santa Barbara attractions and activities. Open your windows or sit in the courtyard or a poolside cabana to take in the refreshing sea breeze and the vibrant atmosphere along the oceanfront of this wonderful city.

Travel Details

How to Get There


Say Farewell



We suggest that you arrive at least one day prior to the trip start, which will enable you to adjust to the time zone and minimize the risk of missing the trip start due to flight-related delays. We recommend that you fly into San Jose International Airport (SJC), which is served by most major airlines. Various shuttle companies offer door-to-door service or shared ride shuttles from SJC to Santa Cruz. You may contact Santa Cruz Flyer (831 423 5937; SantaCruzFlyer.com); Early Bird Airport Shuttle (831 462 3933; EarlyBirdAirportShuttle.com) or Santa Cruz Airport Shuttles (831 421 9883; SantaCruzShuttles.com) to set up a charter or book a seat on an existing shuttle. Per person rates vary based on the type of service and the number of people in the party but generally range between $40 and $80 per person.

At the conclusion of your trip, we suggest flying home from the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA). You will say farewell to your guides in the morning at Hotel Milo. Trek Travel will provide a shuttle to the airport, which will leave at 11:00 AM. If you wish to spend some additional time in Santa Barbara you may depart at your leisure and arrange for your own transportation to the airport or to your next destination. Taxis from the hotel to the Santa Barbara Airport cost approximately $50. You may contact S R Transportation at 805 708 1403 to prearrange a taxi. Please be sure to mention that you are a guest of Trek Travel.

Due to better connections from most major cities, you may alternatively choose to fly out of Los Angeles (LAX) by taking the Santa Barbara Airbus from Santa Barbara to LAX. Visit www.SBAirBus.com for more information. Or you may book a private car service to LAX through S R Transportation at 805 708 1403 for approximately $200 one way. Again, please be sure to mention that you are a guest of Trek Travel.

Chaminade Resort & Spa | Santa Cruz, California

Your Trek Travel guides will meet you at the Chaminade Resort & Spa (One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, CA 95065) at 9:00 AM on the first day of the trip. The group will shuttle to a nearby location for a bike fitting and brunch. Please wear your cycling clothes and have a bag with your first day's riding gear (cycling shoes, pedals, helmet, etc., if you have your own) so it will be easily accessible, separate from your luggage. After your light meal and a round of introductions, you'll begin the day's ride to Monterey.

If you will be late for the pick-up or are going to miss it altogether, please inform your guides. You will receive an email a week before the trip start with their names and contact details. If you cannot reach them, please call our first hotel, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (831 646 1700), and leave a message with your expected arrival time and contact details. Contact Arrow Luxury Transportation (831 646 3175; www.arrowluxurylimo.com) to book a transfer from Santa Cruz to Monterey. The cost varies depending on group size. From SJC, consider the Monterey Shuttle (831 373 7777; www.montereyshuttle.com). The service runs regular departures from SJC to points in Monterey and is the most economical option for getting to Monterey. The cost per person is about $40. Take a taxi from the drop-off in Monterey to the hotel.

View our pre hotel recommendations


Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) | Santa Barbara, California

You will say farewell to your guides at 11:00 AM at the Hotel Milo. You’ll then shuttle 20 minutes to the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA), arriving at approximately 11:20 AM. Please allow adequate connection time to accommodate possible traffic delays. If you prefer to fly out of Los Angeles (LAX) your guides can help arrange transportation to meet the Santa Barbara Airbus for transportation to LAX.

View our post hotel recommendations

What's Included

We Include More

Every moment of a Trek Travel bike trip has more than you could have ever dreamed. More romance. More scenery. More choice. It's the little additions to every Trek Travel cycling vacation that make it truly special. And that’s how we help you create more memories. See more


  • Gratuities for all scheduled special events, restaurants, hotels, local guides and transportation during your trip.
  • Private tours
  • Entrance fees to all group events/activities
  • All luggage transfers
  • All transportation during the trip, including private coaches
  • 5 nights of accommodation
  • In every region we travel, we uncover the area’s best, and most delightful accommodations. On our California Coast trip, you will stay in a variety of accommodations, from the redwood forests of Big Sur to the Santa Barbara waterfront. Four of the five properties on this trip are located directly on the water.
  • Daily breakfast, 3 lunches, 2 social hours, 3 dinners, and all snacks and drinks for each day
  • On our California Coast trip, you will experience the elegance, innovation and attention to detail that has come to characterize California cuisine. There is a strong seasonal focus to California dishes, so in spring and early summer you can expect meals to be accompanied by produce from nearby farms. You will be treated to an assortment of excellent and interesting salads, always made with fresh hand-picked greens like radicchio, butter lettuce, and arugula, topped with fresh fruits and cheeses. Fresh seafood is also offered in abundance, as well as locally-produced wines.
  • The knowledge, support, and camaraderie of experienced guides
  • Daily route support
  • Paper route guides also available upon request
  • Comprehensive trip literature


  • The use of a Trek Domane SL 7 carbon road bike with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, or Trek 7.6 FX Hybrid bicycle
  • Trek Electric Assist XM700+ also available in a limited quantity
  • The use of GPS cycling computer
  • The use of Bontrager bike helmets and other gear and equipment to make your ride comfortable
  • Trek Travel water bottles
  • Coupon valued up to $500 off a new Trek Bicycle. Contact us for details.
  • Trek Travel Bontrager RL jersey


Gratuities for your Trek Travel guides are not included in your trip price. We recommend tipping 7.5-10% of your trip price for the guide team. Local currency is preferred and unless you want to tip separately, guides will divide tips amongst themselves. Please tip your guides at your discretion, based on their level of professionalism, guest care and service.
  • Airfare and transportation to and from the trip pick-up/drop-off locations
  • Lodging before and after the trip
  • Personal items purchased during the trip
  • Optional activities not scheduled by Trek Travel
  • On select trips some meals are not included. On these trips, Trek Travel invites you to explore the local cuisine at your leisure.
  • Gratuities for your Trek Travel Guides may be given at your discretion in response to their professionalism and leadership.Industry standard is for each individual guest to tip the guide team 7.5-10% of the trip price.

More Information

Rider Level: 2&3?

41 miles
N/A miles
2,100 ft.
This destination is best suited to guests who want to cycle every day. Because of the terrain and/or remoteness of the hotels and riding routes, there are few, if any, non-riding options available. If a non-rider wants to accompany a rider guest on this trip, they would need to spend many hours in the van and/or at the hotels on the trip. Due to this, we strongly discourage non-riders from this destination.

Our itineraries are an approximation of our trips. Trek Travel strives to offer each and every guest a vacation of a lifetime on every trip. At times routes, hotels, activities, etc. listed here may change at the discretion of the trip designer or guides to improve the trip experience.

On all of our vacations, Trek Travel strives to find quiet, paved secondary roads or bike paths to experience a region; busy roads are avoided as much as possible. California Coast is best suited for our Type 2&3 Riders. Our Trek Travel guides can also easily accommodate Type 2 Riders, who seek less mileage or fewer uphills, with a boost in the van. Type 4 Riders will enjoy the extra mileage the avid route options offer. The terrain is varied with rolling hills, at times steep and with strong coastal winds. Some sections of Highway 1 run high above the Big Sur coastline (as you can see from some of the trip photos) so riders who are uncomfortable with heights are likely to find these sections of road to be uncomfortable. See Itinerary for specific daily ride distance and elevation options.

Planning For Your Trip

Before and After Your Trip


Before: Santa Cruz, California

Located on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, the seaside town of Santa Cruz embodies a laid- back, bohemian vibe that is quintessential California. Renowned as one of the world’s best surfing locations, life in Santa Cruz revolves around the ocean. If your travel plans allow, we encourage you to arrive a few days early to take in the sights and sounds of this not-to-be-missed town. Visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the only original boardwalk amusement park still operating on the West Coast; check out the sea life and views from the Wharf; snap photos from Lighthouse Field or Natural Bridges State Parks; take a surfing lesson; or cruise the diverse dining and shopping scene on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz’s vibrant downtown. We recommend the following accommodations for your pre-trip hotel:


After: Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is a lively cosmopolitan city with plenty of opportunities for shopping, nightlife, and outdoor recreation. Check out the many tasting rooms of the Funk Zone; rent a kayak or stand up paddle board at the Santa Barbara Harbor; walk on the waterfront path along East Beach; or take a day trip to the vineyards and wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley. You can also explore some of southern California's other coastal cities, including Ventura, Onxard, or the big one, Los Angeles, which is located approximately 90 minutes south of Santa Barbara. We recommend the following accommodations for your post-trip hotel:

Why Trek Travel

Our Bikes

Our unrivaled selection of Trek Bikes sets the bar for quality and comfort. From the all-new, ultra smooth Trek Domane SL 7, to the new Trek Electric-Assist XM700+ and the comfortable Trek 7.6 FX Hybrid, to our numerous upgrade options, you deserve the best ride on your vacation.

Our Guides

Our guides are trained to make your trip magical. They aren't just experts in riding; they're trained in delivering uncompromising service in ways you won't believe. We know that it's the unexpected surprises that make a trip magical. That's why our guides pride themselves on anticipating your needs before you ask.

Your Day. You Decide.

Our vacations are built to deliver the ultimate in flexibility, from extreme relaxers to hard-core roadies. You pick your mileage, itinerary and experiences. We take care of the rest.

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