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CA by VW

California by VW........................(vwsurfari6.jpg)

California and the Volkswagen camper van, they go together like sun and surf. Throw a board on top and an ice chest inside, and you're all set for the quintessential West Coast road trip.  

California by VW........................(vw2.jpg)

In fact, say the folks at Vintage Surfari Wagons, the VW bus is responsible for tickling the imagination of countless adventurers. You just jump in and go, travel slowly, and end up on the oddest adventures. As soon as you set out, they say, you'll be met by friendly waves, peace signs and shakas. And that, after all, is what California's all about. Peace, love and road trips.

California by VW........................(vwsurfaristitch.jpg)

Vintage Surfari Wagons offer restored VW camper buses (complete with refurbished interiors, mechanical upgrades and camping gear) for rent from their Los Angeles location. And they're happy to help you design the perfect route, taking in all of the Golden State's hottest spots, from Yosemite and Death Valley to surf destinations like Hollister Ranch and Half Moon Bay.

California by VW........................(vw.jpg)

The first road trip they recommend is the inevitable one, the road trip everyone should do before they die: LA to San Francisco, taking in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cambria, Big Sur, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Monterey. It's a 500-mile journey, on which they recommend you spend five to seven days. Or a lifetime. Though you might be better off buying your own bus if you're going to take that long. 

Calfornia by VW.........................(vwsurfari5.jpg)

Then there's the 49-mile Drive around San Francisco, following the blue-and-white seagull signs. It takes in the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Twin Peaks, Nob Hill, the Presidio, Chinatown, and even Alcatraz.

California by VW........................(vw3.jpg)

The third drive they suggest is to Yosemite and the High Sierra, traveling from San Francisco to Merced, Mariposa, Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne Grove, Olmsted Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, Bodie and back to San Francisco. It's a three-day round-trip, covering 568 miles.

Personally, I'd string all three trips together, throw in Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, and San Diego – and just keep driving. Slowly. RM

Images: Vintage Surfari Wagons

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  • Joan Donelan

    August 9, 2011

    Wow…what an awesome van! I remember our first trip up the California coast years ago. Santa Barbara truly is a beautiful little town on the way up the coast. I love camping over there. I never bother staying in the over-priced touristy hotels…we always camp or stay at a budget-friendly inn. Last time we passed through we were at The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com) and loved it, we also went to Cold Spring Tavern…SO GOOD! Happy travels and take care. Drive safe!

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