Planning an epic California road trip? Whether you're heading south from San Francisco to Los Angeles or north from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the most beautiful route available is Highway One. 129 miles of Highway One, from Monterey through Big Sur all the way down to San Luis Obispo, has been declared an All-American Road by the US Department of Transportation's National Scenic Byways Program and a State Scenic Highway by the State of California. The scenery simply can't be beat! Highway One runs right through San Francisco; from the Golden Gate Bridge, it becomes Park Presidio, and then crosses Golden Gate Park to become 19th Avenue. You'll merge with I-280 for a few miles to Daly City; then Highway One splits off to the breathtakingly scenic west. Get an early morning start - not just to beat the traffic, but because you'll want to stop at plenty of scenic viewpoints on your way down the coast. You won't want to miss a second of breathtaking Big Sur scenery due to darkening evening skies, so your rest stop for tonight will be along Highway One in Carmel. Three different hotels each provide a very different experience. The first hotel you'll see on your left is the Carmel Mission Inn, a trendy hotel with boutique ambiance. For a more laid-back experience, keep an eye out on your right for the Carmel River Inn, a hotel and group of cottages clustered in a wooded area along the scenic Carmel River. If you prefer the ultimate in luxury, follow Highway One only a mile further to the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, which has appeared repeatedly on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List and Travel + Leisure's World's Best list.
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