The actual Highway 1 picks up about an hour’s drive out of San Diego in Dana Point. And as you make your way into Orange County, you’ll have no shortage of spectacular places to stay as one world-class resort after the next lines the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. It’s hard to go wrong with a lineup that includes hospitality heavy hitters from the Four Seasons to Ritz-Carlton, though we’d suggest checking into a Californian original. In Dana Point, settle in at Monarch Beach Resort—home to the first Miraval Life in Balance Spa, which brings the Arizona institution’s holistic approach of wellness to the coast—or head to the Montage Laguna Beach for a plush suite that overlooks the ocean and the property’s now-iconic sunburst pool. Both feature fine dining, access to world-class golf courses, and plenty of opportunity to lounge on the beach.
To catch a glimpse of Laguna Beach’s more laid-back, surf-centric side, skip the classic resorts for the new Hotel Joaquin. The stylish 22-room retreat is set just off Highway 1 on Shaw’s Cove, where you can try your hand at riding the waves in between hitting the Laguna Art Museum (yes, there is a thriving arts scene beneath all the surf, sun, and shopping) and eating your way through 50-day dry-aged rib eyes at Spanish Steakhouse Vaca or classic comfort food at 370 Common.