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 5 Epic California Road Adventures

Golden Gate bridge and bottles of Director's Merlot and Director's Chardonnay wine.

Autumn is the perfect time for a drive along California’s famed roads. Blessed with ample sunshine, dramatic cliffs, towering redwoods, quiet beaches, seaside villages and iconic landmarks—give yourself time to enjoy one of America’s oldest pastimes. Below, five great trips best paired with pit stops and our Director’s wines.

North Coast: San Francisco to Sonoma
Steer from cityscape of San Francisco to the vineyards of Sonoma and alongside the rugged, driftwood beaches. You’ll also find plenty of culture and arts embedded in Northern California. Start by soaking in views of the Golden Gate Bridge Park and the lush Presidio as you make your way past Marin County and into wine country, dropping in an Italian lunch at Rustic, Francis’s Favorites. Later, head to Glen Ellen for some hiking and forest bathing. Pair Your Adventure: Director’s Cabernet Sauvignon

A couple driving down a coastal highway in a covertible car with the top down.Highway One: San Diego to San Francisco
This iconic route gives you mind-bending, coast-hugging views of dramatic cliffs and emerald forests. Start south in San Diego, and check out the taco stands and surf beaches, then cruise into Santa Barbara and weave to Big Sur where you’ll pass over the towering Bixby Bridge and encounter the famed, Instagrammable beaches of Monterey and Carmel. Finally, pull into San Francisco for lunch at Café Zoetrope (we like the spaghetti and meatballs). Pair Your Adventure: Director’s Merlot

Sunset on a forest covered mountain side.High Sierra: Lake Tahoe to San Diego
Within the majestic peaks of Sierra Nevada, you’ll find the turquoise waters of Lake Tahoe alongside ample waterfalls and granite monoliths of Yosemite. From here, soak in the Sequoias and Kings Canyon National Park as you wind up in Santa Barbara for some urban flare –plus kids love the local zoo and 78-acre Botanic Garden. Finally, wind down in San Diego and stroll around Old Town. At sunset, look no further than Point Loma for orange-hued views of the city and bay. Pair Your Adventure: Director’s Chardonnay

Southern California: Los Angeles to Joshua Tree.
Start with iconic destinations like Disneyland and Universal Studios and check out the bright lights of the newly-unveiled Downtown Los Angeles; home to a bevy of hot restaurants and world-class retail.  Then, head out for the mountains and high desert park known as Joshua Tree, known for its namesake tree and otherworldly landscape. Spend a night under the stars and as temperatures cool down, make sure to pack a warm sweater and keep an eye out for some amazing storms. Pair Your Adventure: Director’s Zinfandel

Santa Monica pier showing the ferris wheel , ocean and beach.Route 66: Santa Monica to Palm Springs
Another legendary strip of road, check out this iconic stretch that pioneers traveled in the 1930’s. Start your drive along the oceanfront town of Santa Monica, dropping by the market and strolling Main Street. Head towards San Bernardino for natural history, Native American crafts and further south, explore the otherworldly wilderness of Mojave National Preserve. In Palm Springs, hop in the old school Aerial Tramway for stellar views, hike in Indian Canyons or stroll Sunnylands estate with 200-acres of art and outdoor vegetation. Pair Your Adventure: Director’s Pinot Noir