The Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco — Photo courtesy of Argonaut Hotel
After years of being trapped at home, we need adventure. But travel is increasingly difficult. Airfare costs are up, flights continue to be canceled, and there’s still unpredictability related to COVID-19. Add to that higher gas prices.
We want to travel. But how? And where?
The solution: Skip all that and go on a road trip in an electric vehicle. More than 90 percent of people said they plan on taking a road trip this year, according to Outdoorsy.com, the “Airbnb of RVs.” And you don’t need to be attached to the gas pump to do it. Outdoorsy itself has a ton of trailers light enough to be pulled by EVs. Hertz just purchased 100,000 Teslas, and other rental car companies are offering electric options, too.
The best place for an epic EV road trip? Down California’s Pacific Coast, which InsureMyTrip recently ranked No. 1 for the number of charge stops and free chargers in close proximity to amazing attractions.
Here’s how to tour iconic Highway 1 (mixed in with some nearby highways, if you want to shave off a little mileage and time) in a way you’ve never done it before: a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego specially designed between EV charge spots at scenic stops, hidden gems, high-quality hotels and drool-worthy restaurants.
It’s time to make up for years of lost adventure, and this time, we’re not letting anything get in our way.
Inside the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco — Photo courtesy of Argonaut Hotel
The “City by the Bay” has nearly 900 chargers, and 46% are free. Stay in the heart of the action right on Fisherman’s Wharf at the historic and luxurious Argonaut Hotel. Enjoy Golden Gate views from bed, free bikes and easy walking access to the piers and best seafood restaurants. Tip: Check out the city from the other side of the bay at Sausalito’s historic Cavallo Point, which has a great spa on site.
In San Francisco, don’t miss a hidden gem, a breakfast pop-up called Friends With Benedicts, run by a former magician, staffed by comedians and featuring fun, themed menus, like “Star Wars,” with a Death Star croque.
Avila Beach in Slo Cal — Photo courtesy of Visit Slo Cal
The median range for an EV is more than 250 miles, and the drive to scenic Slo Cal (San Luis Obispo) falls under that. Stay at the Avila Lighthouse Suites, right on the warmest beach on the Central Coast (and across the street from an EV charger).
You’ll want to stay here for a few days. In Slo Cal, tour the famous Hearst Castle, relax in a private hot springs on the side of a hill at the Sycamore Mineral Springs, get a massage at the Hotel Cerro Spa (with its five free EV stations), and try the pink champagne cake at the Madonna Inn.
Daou Vineyards, a hidden gem with its expansive views — Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards
Also, take time to explore Slo Cal’s wine region, especially the family-run Daou Vineyards. Taste wine paired with Middle Eastern-inspired fare in a private cabana atop Daou Mountain, with panoramic views → some of the best you’ll witness on this already scenic road trip.
The newly renovated lobby at the Portofino in Redondo Beach — Photo courtesy of Portofino Hotel and Marina
Just under 200 miles will drop you outside Los Angeles in Redondo Beach. Charge your car just a five-minute walk away from the newly renovated Portofino Hotel and Marina. Sit on your private, glass-rimmed balcony and watch (and hear) sea lions crooning all day and night. It feels like you’re sleeping with the sea lions.
If you’re craving something special to eat, stop at Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey, one of L.A.’s oldest, family-run restaurants and a local fave built right on the marina.
With more than 1,400 chargers, it’s easy to boost your battery in San Diego (even though it’s only 120 miles to get here from Redondo).
Stay at the stylish L’Auberge Del Mar hotel, with its own charging port and a short walk to the pristine Del Mar Beach. Sophisticated Del Mar is a half-hour from downtown San Diego – close enough to the action but far enough for a peaceful buffer from the crowds. This hotel epitomizes that, with the perfect balance between action (it’s a popular wedding destination) and serenity (take a quiet walk along the shore at night).
When in San Diego proper, grab brunch at the busy Garage Kitchen + Bar, where you can order a flight of pancakes and wash it down with shots inspired by breakfast cereal. For dinner, hit up Water Grill, with an ever-revolving, massive oyster selection, hard-to-find seafood offerings and live crabs in the kitchen. With its own seafood distribution company, Water Grill is as fresh as it gets, making it the perfect way to end your Cali adventure.