a road next to a body of water
Summer Road Trips

Roll down the windows, turn up the music and hit the road this summer! We’re rounding up a few of our favorite summer road trips to inspire your next getaway. 

Enjoy our West Coast playlist while you plan your getaway

rows of green plants

Summertime Sips

Explore four distinct wine regions as you travel through the rolling hills of Northern California, unwinding each evening at an independent hotel that captures the spirit of its surroundings. Start your journey in Monterey and experience the wines of the Central Coast. Enjoy a stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, where you can spend your day venturing out to explore the tasting rooms throughout Monterey County and spend your evening on a culinary journey with a food and wine pairing at Coastal Kitchen. There are several tasting rooms within walking distance of the hotel along historic Cannery Row, as well as in the charming nearby town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. For a unique experience, visit Carmel Valley, a quaint village with multiple wineries located within steps of each other. Wine tours to Carmel Valley pick up passengers just four minutes from the Monterey Plaza, so you can enjoy a full day of wine appreciation with transportation included.

Cruise up the coast and across the Bay to reach the Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa, a short distance from the wine region of Livermore Valley. This under-the-radar AVA is one of California’s oldest wine regions and is home to more than 40 boutique wineries. Tastings here are laid-back and personalized, and often don’t require a reservation. Hire a driver for the day to make the most of your wine tasting adventure. In the evening, you can relax in Lafayette Park’s romantic courtyards as you enjoy a bottle from your favorite winery or visit Park Bistro & Bar to peruse their extensive wine list.

A wine lover’s road trip isn’t complete without a stop in world-famous Napa Valley. Napa is widely regarded as one of the best wine regions in the world, and a visit here will make you understand why. Spend your days exploring the impressive vineyard estates and charming tasting rooms throughout the valley to sample some of the country’s top-rated wines. When it’s time to unwind, stay at one of the Woodside Collection’s distinct Wine Country hotels. Napa Valley Lodge is a luxury boutique hotel nestled in the charming town of Yountville, just a few steps from the Valley’s most delectable and celebrated spots to dine, sip and discover. Yountville combines small-town charm with world-class experiences, home to remarkable (and Michelin-starred) restaurants, local art galleries and award-winning tasting rooms. For a picturesque Wine Country escape that blends contemporary California living with storybook charm, stay at Harvest Inn in St. Helena. The Inn is conveniently located within minutes of Napa Valley’s most renowned wineries, but also offers peaceful seclusion among towering redwood trees, lush gardens and breathtaking views of on-site vineyard and the Mayacamas Mountains.

End your epic journey on the Sonoma Coast, where the vines meet the sea. This region is a celebration of the finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the world and boasts over 50 vineyards, many with quaint tasting rooms. Here, your wine tastings can be paired with breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and rolling hillside. Purchase a bottle from your favorite winery and enjoy it by the firepits at the Lodge at Bodega Bay as you watch the sun setting over the Pacific.

a field of green plants
a glass of wine on a table

Insider Tip

Take notes at your wine tastings. After visiting a few tasting rooms, even the savviest tasters may forget which varietals or vintages they preferred. To help jog your memory and select the perfect bottles to purchase, jot down a few notes after each wine you sample. Many tasting rooms will provide a menu of the day’s flight where you can take notes, or simply photograph the bottle with your phone and add notes in your app of choice.

a rocky coast line with 17-Mile Drive in the background
a group of boats in a harbor

Coastal Escape

If you’re feeling called to the coast this summer, you’ll find oceanside paradise in Bodega Bay and Monterey. Start your journey at the Lodge at Bodega Bay, where you can enjoy all the Sonoma Coast has to offer. Ride the Lodge’s cruiser bikes to nearby Doran Beach and stroll along the coastline, hike the trails at Bodega Head and watch the waves crashing below, or charter a fishing boat to experience a day at sea. Or, spend some time exploring the small town of Bodega Bay and its many coastal charms. Whether you’re visiting one of the locally-owned shops or digging into a bowl of clam chowder, you’ll feel miles away from the stress of everyday life in this picturesque fishing town. At day’s end, you can watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean from Drakes Fireside Lounge or from the Lodge’s infinity-edge hot tub, the perfect way to unwind before beginning your journey down the coast.

Now, it’s time to hit the road! Few roadways in the world offer the breathtaking scenery and natural beauty of California’s famed Pacific Coast Highway, and some of the best vistas along the highway can be found here in Northern California.

As you leave Bodega Bay, plan to stop about an hour south at the Point Reyes National Seashore to enjoy a leisurely hike with stunning ocean views. Continue south along the PCH and cross the Golden Gate Bridge, making sure to stop at the vista point if you’d like to capture photos of the iconic landmark. As you wind your way down the coastline, visit the quaint surfing towns of Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, buy some fresh fruit at a roadside market, or simply turn up your favorite playlist and roll the windows down as you drive toward Monterey.

Once you arrive in Monterey, you’ll find endless opportunities for coastal adventure, and a stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa puts you in the heart of it all. Stroll down Cannery Row to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can learn about the area’s protected marine sanctuary and see the wildlife and underwater habitats up close. Head out to sea on a whale watching tour or explore the bay on a kayaking tour that launches from the beach right outside of the hotel. Take in the coastal vistas along the various hiking, biking and driving trails throughout the peninsula, including the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, the 17-Mile Drive and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. No matter how you choose to spend your days, you can look forward to a good night’s sleep in the evenings thanks to nature’s sound machine – the sound of crashing waves that can be heard from your hotel room at the Monterey Plaza.

an otter floating in water

Insider Tip

Don’t forget to pack some layers! While Northern California’s coastal regions typically offer warm, sunny days in the summer months, the evenings become quite chilly when the fog rolls in. Make the most of the cooler nights by bundling up and relaxing by the firepits.

a city next to a body of water

Best of the Bay Area

Stunning scenery, iconic destinations, vibrant cultural influence… few places in the country can compete with the San Francisco Bay Area. Explore this spectacular region as you travel from the East Bay to the Peninsula on a short, but sweet, road trip.

Begin your trip in Lafayette, California, a charming town tucked into the hills of the East Bay. Stay at the Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa, where you’ll be close to the abundant shopping and dining scene, yet feel like you’re summering in an elegant French chateau. Visit the nearby downtown area, with tree-lined streets and quaint boutiques, restaurants and bars. Don’t forget to spend some time poolside – the “sunny side of the Bay” offers the ideal sunbathing conditions all summer long, and the hotel’s pool area is the place to be.

Next, head to the city by the bay for a stay at the Hotel Drisco, where you’ll be perfectly positioned in the heart of San Francisco’s most sought-after neighborhood: Pacific Heights. Stroll through the area to discover its distinguished shopping and dining districts – Filmore, Sacramento and Union Streets – each with their own unique charms, or hop on one of the Drisco’s complimentary electric bikes to conquer the hills with ease. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can experience the exceptional cuisine the city has to offer, with everything from small cafes to Michelin-starred restaurants within a short distance of the hotel. Of course, San Francisco is also home to many iconic sites and landmarks to visit during your stay. Some of our favorite nearby destinations include the Lyon Street Steps, the Presidio and Golden Gate Park.

End your journey by heading south to Menlo Park, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, to stay at The Stanford Park Hotel. Here, you’ll be surrounded by tech giants and venture capitalists, but feel right at home thanks to Menlo Park’s laid-back, California vibe. Spend your days enjoying the fine dining, upscale shopping, cultural attractions and gorgeous hiking trails the area has to offer, or simply cross the street to explore Stanford University.

Retreat to the hotel’s famed patio in the evening to enjoy the live music, craft cocktails and elevated fare at Menlo Tavern. End your road trip on a sweet note by roasting marshmallows by the fire pits – the ultimate way to savor the summer season.

a person and a child walking on a path in a forest with Redwood National and State Parks in the background
a group of people sitting outside a building

Insider Tip

Depart from Lafayette in the early evening and stop at the University of California, Berkeley to catch a stunning sunset from the Stonewall-Panoramic Trail. You can hike this hillside trail to various scenic overlooks or drive to the Sunset Viewpoint off Panoramic Way. It’s the perfect place to catch a stunning view of the Bay before crossing the bridge into San Francisco.